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sffranky

US
4 posts

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sffranky Registered since 11th Dec 2012
Thu 03-Jan-13 08:04 PM

I know this has probaly been asked before, But as I'm about to spend in the neighborhood of 5k on a new body and lens, I just had to get a little reassurance one more time.

I was an advanced amatuer with film cameras (Leica M6 mostly) - did a lot of my own darkroom work, etc) specializing in environmental portraits. But now I'm retiring and I want to do wildlife - birds - stuff like that. So, time to go digital. I've got a nice pair of zoom leses that I bought a few years ago along with a D70. The D70 had problems and I got busy with other things in life. So i never really played with it. However, I did invest in both the 17-35 2.8 and a 28-70 2.8 auto focus zoom lenses - figuring the camers would advance and I'd replace the d70. But good glass would always be good glass.

Now it's time to get a great new body and a 70-200 lens and a 1.4 teleadapter.

I want to make big prints - at least 2 by 3 feet. So I'm thinking the denser the better - which leads me to the 800. But which one would be best for me given what I want to do ad where I'm coming from?

Thanks,
Frank (who will own one or the other by next monday...)

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walkerr

Colorado Springs, US
16907 posts

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#1. "RE: 800 0r 800E" | In response to Reply # 0

walkerr Administrator Awarded for his con tributed articles published at the Resources Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in multiple areas Master Ribbon awarded as a member who has gone beyond technical knowledge to show mastery of the art and science of photography   Donor Ribbon awarded for his most generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 05th May 2002
Thu 03-Jan-13 07:22 PM

Both work well and will produce pretty much identical results if you use the appropriate sharpening. Here's how I would decide:

- D800 if you want to save a few hundred dollars for other worthwhile accessories.

- D800e if you think you'll second-guess your decision and will think you've bought a camera that produces images that are less sharp.

Incidentally, you can make excellent 2x3 ft prints of wildlife with a D600 as well (or a D700).

The limiting factor for what you plan to photograph is going to be the 70-200mm lens. Even with a 1.4x teleconverter, it's likely to be a bit short unless you're photographing large birds that are acclimated to people. Larger mammals would be fine, but birds will be tough except under the best of circumstances.

Rick Walker

My photos:

GeoVista Photography

sffranky

US
4 posts

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#2. "RE: 800 0r 800E" | In response to Reply # 1

sffranky Registered since 11th Dec 2012
Thu 03-Jan-13 10:36 PM

Thanks for the reply walkerr

I guess I'm wondering if it's more difficult working with NEF raw file capture than JPEGs.

I'm really a luddite here . but I do plan on educating myself. I may be a luddite , but I'm also an autodidact...
I think that intuitivly, I'd go for the sharpest immages I could and then worry about Moire and color correction on the back end....

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walkerr

Colorado Springs, US
16907 posts

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#3. "RE: 800 0r 800E" | In response to Reply # 2

walkerr Administrator Awarded for his con tributed articles published at the Resources Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in multiple areas Master Ribbon awarded as a member who has gone beyond technical knowledge to show mastery of the art and science of photography   Donor Ribbon awarded for his most generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 05th May 2002
Thu 03-Jan-13 10:47 PM | edited Thu 03-Jan-13 10:52 PM by walkerr

It's not more difficult working with NEFs than JPEGs if you use the right tools, and you're going to lost a certain number of D800/e strengths if you shoot JPEGs. The difference in sharpness is trivial between the two cameras if you sharpen both correctly (and both need sharpening). As an owner of both models, I don't see the choice as particularly obvious. Don't stew over it too much.

Keep in mind that much (probably most) of photography can't be learned from reading, and it's easy to get the wrong "messages" on the internet. Some of this only comes with time - lots of it. You can easily mask any slight benefit in sharpness with the D800e through inappropriate sharpening or other post-processing steps. In fact, it wouldn't be hard to lower the quality of a D800e image below that of a correctly-processed D700 image if your sharpening and general post-processing was off.

Rick Walker

My photos:

GeoVista Photography

LMMiller9

Potomac, US
1168 posts

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#4. "RE: 800 0r 800E" | In response to Reply # 0

LMMiller9 Silver Member Nikonian since 18th Dec 2005
Fri 04-Jan-13 12:01 AM | edited Fri 04-Jan-13 12:03 AM by LMMiller9

Frank,

I have the D800 and could not be happier with it. I think the decision is like... "Should I buy the Ferrari with 500 horsepower, or should I spend another 20K for the Ferrari with 520 horsepower." In the real world it won't matter! You are going to have an incredible 36megapixels to work with which produces incredible detail.

Take a look at my Smugmug gallery. All the photos there were taken with the D800. I seriously doubt that you would see any difference in any of these with the D800E. Personally, I think you will be better off spending that extra money on glass. Every deficiency in my photos is entirely a function of the lack of skill of the operator!

But, you will be happy with either camera.

On the processing side. I recommend you use Nikon Transfer, ViewNX and Capture NX2, all of which are easy to use and designed to match the camera. I haven't found a need for anything else.

Larry Miller, Potomac, MD
DF/D810
http://lmmillerphotography.smugmug.com/

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EricBarney

US
32 posts

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#5. "RE: 800 0r 800E" | In response to Reply # 0

EricBarney Registered since 02nd Oct 2012
Fri 04-Jan-13 01:03 AM

If you are going to buy the 70-200 F 2.8, I would suggest getting the TC 20E III teleconverter. It is 2X, and works very well.

I own a D800, and think it is a camera I will never outgrow.

noneco

Vancouver, CA
307 posts

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#6. "RE: 800 0r 800E" | In response to Reply # 0

noneco Gold Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 12th May 2009
Fri 04-Jan-13 05:51 AM

Frank:

Your fun has just begun! About 5 years ago I retired and bought a D300 and, at first, some DX lenses then FX lenses with an eye to my next body. Last summer I bought a D800. Along the way I "invested" in a good tripod and a gimbal to stabilize long lenses and landscape HDR sets. You have great wide and midrange lenses. Don’t get hung up on getting lenses with consecutive non overlapping focal lengths. I’ve found that having overlapping focal lengths is much more convenient as every other time I go out, my mood and the subject is somehow different and the same place yesterday my shots were 35 to 180mm and today they were all 100 to 300mm or . . . Thoughts:

For wildlife you need speed and length with good light. For birds, even more so; for small flighty birds a long enough fast enough lens has yet to be made. 70-200 f/2.8 with a TC2 III for 400mm @ f/5.6 or a 300mm f/2.8 is a sharp bright 300mm and with a TC2 III is 600mm @ f/5.6. The D000/E will auto focus up to f/8.

Darkroom work in your past? Good, you now get to learn about cropping, dodging, burning, brightness, contrast, and white balance on a computer. Now add sharpening and noise reduction. Yes, you want to shoot NEF RAW files if you want to get the most out of your high quality glass. Convert or Save As to JPG afterwards. I enjoyed the time I spent in a darkroom and I now enjoy the time I spend post processing (PP) my images, often as much as I enjoyed getting the image in the first place. As well, don’t forget that you will be getting a lot of large digital files to sort, delete, manipulate, catalogue, save, and backup.

Now about that computer with a lot of RAM and fast drives and a large moitor and software that you have never heard about . . . What the hell is HDR? Oh, you are sooo going to enjoy yourself!

Suggestion, checkout the Nikonian workshops; workshops like these will greatly accelerate your learning curve(s).

Cal

texspeel

Fairfax Station, US
391 posts

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#7. "RE: 800 0r 800E" | In response to Reply # 0

texspeel Silver Member Nikonian since 09th Nov 2011
Fri 04-Jan-13 11:27 AM

Frank,
One consideration that no one has mentioned regarding the D800 and shooting birds is the frame rate which is only about 4 fps in RAW. Birds are fast moving and the higher the frame rate, the more more likely you are to capture "the moment" in a sequence.
That said, I shoot birds with the D800, the D3s, and the D300s. I tend to shoot more with the D3s and D300s because of the higher frame rate. However, I've gotten some incredible shots with the D800 as well. Bottom line is that if you do capture the moment with the D800, you will have a spectacular shot.
Good shooting!
Tom

"Nothing can be recognized without light and shade. It is only through the eye, the window of the soul, that we can truly understand the complex workings of nature." - Leonardo da Vinci

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km6xz

St Petersburg, RU
3559 posts

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#8. "RE: 800 0r 800E" | In response to Reply # 0

km6xz Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, including Portraits and Urban Photography Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009
Fri 04-Jan-13 01:25 PM

I guess I am going to be the contrarian. Yes, the D800 is great, yes, the 70-200VRII is great. But you are diving on the deep end in investment requirements by aiming as a subject matter that will be very capital intensive.
Before doing down that road too far, consider your budget, long term commitment and goals. Your $5k budget will get you only so far in the most expensive and time consuming area of photography.
Unless money is no object, I suggest testing the waters. Sign up for a bird/wildlife workshop, rent a D800 and 300 or 400 2.8 plus TC and a great tripod and see if you are really planning this most effectively.
The 70-200 is a wonderful lens but it is more of a general purpose mid-telephoto, which is very versatile but not very effective for birds.
Would $14,000 scare you off? That is what a good tripod, gimbal mount, a D800e, and a good lens would cost for this subject matter. Taking the workshop might be $500 and help save a great deal of time and money by avoiding mistakes in choices and getting you started at a higher level up the learning curve.
The reason I bring all this up was your initial budget, to most people would be quite a luxury budget to have earmarked $5k of gear. But for birding it was bound to be a shock to find out what is really involved. I would suggest, if $5k is the limit, to start out a bit modestly, with easier to capture subjects or larger one, like portraiture, macro, landscape or architecture, where $5k would result is top quality tools.
Stan
St Petersburg Russia

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walkerr

Colorado Springs, US
16907 posts

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#9. "RE: 800 0r 800E" | In response to Reply # 8

walkerr Administrator Awarded for his con tributed articles published at the Resources Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in multiple areas Master Ribbon awarded as a member who has gone beyond technical knowledge to show mastery of the art and science of photography   Donor Ribbon awarded for his most generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 05th May 2002
Fri 04-Jan-13 02:18 PM

Excellent advice.

Rick Walker

My photos:

GeoVista Photography

sffranky

US
4 posts

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#10. "RE: 800 0r 800E" | In response to Reply # 8

sffranky Registered since 11th Dec 2012
Fri 04-Jan-13 09:32 PM

Thanks to everyone for their thoughtfull replies.

I am quite aware of the expense involved in my endeavor. Back it the late 80's I did a camera safari in Tazania and Kenya. I used a Nikon FM with a rented 300mm 2.8 lens - usually bracing the lens on a couple of sand bags on the top of the Land Rover. At the time there was no way I could afford such a lens. But times change.. My budget is not limited to 5k. That's just what I'll probasbly spend this month. I also realize I have a lot of learning to do. But right now I don't even have a DSLR to work with when I tske that workshop. As for portraits and landscape - been there and done that. I spent a decade avoiding landscapes when I realized I had thousands of beautiful photos of places - but almost none of the people around me. That's when I went on my HCB kick and got the Leica. I spent years working exclusivly with one lens: a 35mm 1.4 summilux - and concentrating on environmental portraits and darkrooms. As for architecture: I spend a lot of time in San Francisco. So I have plenty of material to work with. But I can't immagine lugging around an 8X10 bellows camera adjusting for parallax all day.
Now I'm getting ready to sit in Northern CA. surrounded by white tail kites, quail, migrating waterfoul, hawks of all kinds, Spotted Towhees, foxes, coyotees, Kingfishers, hummingbirds, nuthatches, great horned owls, etc, etc. That's what I want to do next: Environmental portraits of the critters in my environment. I
I've always been an outdoor type anyway...

Thanks again everyone.

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mrginhop

Exeter, US
108 posts

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#11. "RE: 800 0r 800E" | In response to Reply # 10

mrginhop Silver Member Nikonian since 29th Mar 2009
Mon 07-Jan-13 02:14 AM

Speaking as someone who does a lot of bird photography the advise above is quite correct. Let me even suggest a different approach- start with the glass you will need (e.g. 500 mm) & then get the body to meet your needs. The D7000 with the 500mm automatically puts you out at 750mm F/4. I.e. start with the lens then the body. Also consider refurbed or used top glass advertised in Nikonians & Fred Miranda.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

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G