I recently responded to a forum thread asking about the impacts of greater resolution. I too have wondered whether, as some are claiming, the 36mp sensor magnifies problems with lenses and technique. In my response I asked if we had the same discussion when Nikon introduced the D700 and many of us changed from the D200. I don't think so, but it may be another sign of age catching up with me.
In essence, what we have seen is parallel to introduction of a new film 20 years ago. We still use lenses to gather and then form an image on a plane. We still use focus mechanisms and systems to view and select a point of focus. So in the end, like replacing older films with newer ones, we have replaced an older sensor with a newer one that is capable of resolving more lines per millimeter and capturing light with a broader scene brightness range. Like the those transitioning from the D200 to the D700 not questioning this kind of advantage, we never heard people say that moving up to a new film was going to result in inferior results unless we bought new lenses, used high shutter speeds and stayed above f8 to avoid diffraction.
I hear the arguments about down sizing images or something or other, but I just don't see how better ability to record an image can be bad. Am I, in my aging status failing to grasp something here? I'll throw this one out for comment now.
#1. "RE: D800 -- Nothing really new?" In response to Reply # 0
>Am I, in my aging status failing to grasp >something here? I'll throw this one out for comment now.
You have reached out to grasp, and failed --- because there was nothing there to grasp!
I, too, am perplexed to hear numerous people state that the extra resolution "magnifies" lens problems, "magnifies" camera motion, and "provokes" diffraction.
None of that is true, except if you plan to actually use those 36 megapixels by producing prints which were impossible with 12 megapixels, or by cropping way beyond the capability of your 12 Megapixel camera, or by obsessive pixel-peeping.
It can be bad only if we somehow create irrational expectations that the extra resolution will cleanly break the laws of physics and nature.
#5. "RE: D800 -- Nothing really new?" In response to Reply # 1
Seattle, WA, US
> None of that is true, except if you plan to actually use those 36 megapixels by producing prints
This is the catch right here. If you normally downsize your pictures for your uses, be it web viewing or whatever, then you are not gaining anything from the increased megapixels. Any problems in your technique or equipment will be minimized by the downsizing. From that perspective, saying with the D700 would work fine.
For the folks who are actually using all 36 mp, the errors in technique and equipment as shown by the increased camera resolution are realities that they need to work through.
As a personal example, this was something I had to deal with when I upgraded from the D70S to the D200.
What the D800 gives beyond the quantity of pixels is the increase in quality of the pixels, which is not lost in any downsizing of the images.
---------+---------+---------+---------+---------+ Joseph K Seattle, WA, USA
#3. "RE: D800 -- Nothing really new?" In response to Reply # 0
I've noticed a big difference in my lenses - a difference that I could not see with any earlier camera. Now that's good and bad. My 24-70 is still a favorite lens. But my 600 f/4 is the one that is spectacular in the sharpness.
Just for fun, I tried an older lens recently - a Tamron 28-200 that sells used for about $65. Wow - you could really tell the difference! Every image was soft all over the frame - even stopped down to f/8. Sure I can downsize them and use it for web posts and small prints, but at 100% it was remarkably soft. Film prints with this lens were okay - not perfect - but fine for normal use. The D800E really shows the flaws.
The lens is going to charity and will never be used again.
#7. "RE: D800 -- Nothing really new?" In response to Reply # 0
Bay Area, US
You are completely correct in theory. In practice, I am going to sell some of my older lenses like the 135/2 or 180/2.8. They still give the same good results on the D800 as they did on the D700, a bit better even. But modern lenses give *much* better results on the D800 than on the D700. And I prefer much better over a little better.
#8. "RE: D800 -- Nothing really new?" In response to Reply # 0
Chula Vista, US
Higher quality lenses have always produced better images while even 35mm format could show the weaknesses of poor lenses.
With 35mm film, making large prints with great image quality required decent equipment, the knowledge, and skills to use the equipment. The latter being called good technique. And for many that included the use of a tripod, mirror lockup, and a shutter cable to get the best images. The other concern for the best of images was diffraction.
During the several decades before the demise of film, film did not go through evolutionary capabilities increasing image resolution anything close to what has occurred with digital sensors, unless one moved to a larger format. So some have forgottones, or became lazy, or never learned good techniques.
So I see nothing new when it comes to the D800, except the increased resolution of the D800 (and other cameras) over previous digital cameras has reminded or taught many that it does take a certain level of finesse and skill.
There are a couple of major pluses for the D800 - - when downsizing images one can usually hide small errors in technique, actually pretty large errors - the high dynamic range and the greater detail does provide better quality downsized images in comparison to the same image taken on a less capable system - the D800 brings out the best that lenses can produce, and that is something I do not remember any 35mm being capable of doing.
#9. "RE: D800 -- Nothing really new?" In response to Reply # 8
Clint - I agree that the D800 -- which I unfortunately do not yet own -- probably surpasses any 35mm camera-film combination. I say that because I think the D700 - D3 family actually or nearly did so as well.
I just threw this thought out for discussion and to check my suspicion: that is, that the D800 does not make people better photographers. If they already have developed a high level of skills and continue to bear down, the camera will deliver superior results. If they could not take decent photos with any earlier Nikon DSLRs, they are not likely to do so now either, regardless of the camera.
That said, I don't ever tell people they have "too much camera." I just urge them to study, practice and in all other ways strive to push themselves to produce the finest images -- as measured by content and quality -- they are capable of.
Thanks to all for joining in -- and don't quit now if you have ideas to share. I hesitated to spend the $3 grand for a D800, choosing to stick with my D700 bodies. I will keep them for their uses -- probably sports and certainly when I am shooting an event and know I will not need the huge RAW files the D800 produces -- until all my other equipment, such as computers and storage, move ahead to render this concern moot. Then there will likely be two D800 cameras in my bag with a D700 back up at home.
#10. "RE: D800 -- Nothing really new?" In response to Reply # 0
Chula Vista, US
I have an added twist to add. A camera is always more than the specifications speak to. Much of a great camera is how well all of the parts and sub-systems contribute to the overall capabilites.
I've now had a pretty good opportunity to shoot with D600, D700, D800, D7000 and D7100 bodies and I have found a significant trend. The only camera that has not had a fair shakeout (less than 5,000 images under a variey of circumstances) in my trend analysis is the D7100, but I do not have much doubt that it could exceed the trend of what I have found. All of these are very fine peices of gear!
Bottom line is I have kept a significant higher percentage of shots from the D800 than any other of these cameras. It not only the quality of the subsystems, but the synergy of them working together to a best overall performance.
So the supposition that the 36mp magnifies problems is just the opposite of my experiences.