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Anyone Swap Out Their D3s For a D800?

spiritualized67

Western PA, US
3288 posts

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spiritualized67 Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas, most notably in Street & Landscape Photography Nikonian since 01st Mar 2007
Thu 11-Oct-12 05:34 PM

Would love to hear your observations/comparisons, especially as it relates to Image Quality and Low-Light Capability up to ISO 6400.

When down-sampled to 12MP, is the D800 IQ better or about the same? And if the low-light capability is mostly on-par with the D3s up to 6400, I'd like to know that as well.

I'm thinking about selling my D3s for a D800. I do a lot of landscape work and sell my prints, and the extra resolution would be nice for my larger prints.

I still do environmental portraiture and photojournalism/street type of work, but almost never push beyond ISO 3200 or 6400.

Frame rate is never an issue (don’t do sports) and I have computing power to handle the larger D800 size. Not too worried about build quality – the D800 should hold up well enough.

If I had the money, I’d get both – but I need one versatile camera that can cover multiple genres. I love my D3s but have always felt restricted by the rather small native print size.

But I’d hate to switch only to find out that some of the moderately higher ISOs don’t look great or that the IQ (when comparing apples to apples) is worse.

From what I understand DR is much better on the D800, which is a selling point for me.

Thanks,

Dan
www.danielstainer.com

PerroneFord

Tallahassee, US
2807 posts

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#1. "RE: Anyone Swap Out Their D3s For a D800?" | In response to Reply # 0

PerroneFord Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Apr 2011
Thu 11-Oct-12 06:10 PM

I've been shooting the D3s and the D800 back to back now for several months. But I am tainted by the fact that I shoot mostly sports with the D3s. I don't use it for much else. At ISO 6400, my personal feeling is that the D3s is doing a better job. At 3200 it's close.

If I wasn't shooting sports, I'd say the D800 would be sufficient for my needs, or frankly for most people's needs. Focus is great, files are terrific, DR is astounding. Nikon got a LOT right with the D800. But you do have to compromise SOMEWHERE, and for me, it's the high-ISO noise. Remarkable for what you get, but it wasn't built for that purpose.

------
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mklass

Tacoma, US
7421 posts

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#2. "RE: Anyone Swap Out Their D3s For a D800?" | In response to Reply # 1

mklass Platinum Member As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006
Thu 11-Oct-12 07:56 PM

I got my D800e in mid-august and have had a D3s for 3 years. So far, I am finding the low light, high ISO capabilities of the D3s are better, while the dynamic range of the D800e is superior.

I haven't nailed down exactly the breaking point, but the D3s is across the board in higher ISO.

For landscapes and portraits, I'd grab the d800e (although the Portrait picture control is not to my liking).

For weddings in dimly lit venues, I prefer the D3s, and I would also choose that for sports.

But am am beginning to wonder if I need to be more selective about when I need a 45MB file. SAS is getting to be a factor.

Mick
http://www.mickklassphoto.com
or
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icslowmo

Surprise, US
613 posts

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#3. "RE: Anyone Swap Out Their D3s For a D800?" | In response to Reply # 0

icslowmo Registered since 01st Jan 2012
Thu 11-Oct-12 11:13 PM

Here is a site compares the two .....

http://photographylife.com/reviews/nikon-d800

It seems to agree with the others her about iso3200-6400 is about the limit. I have the D800E and would agree with this test and others comments as I wouldn't use anything higher for paying jobs... Maybe small family stuff but that's a maybe also....

Chris

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JonK

New York, US
6317 posts

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#4. "RE: Anyone Swap Out Their D3s For a D800?" | In response to Reply # 0

JonK Moderator Awarded for his high level skills and in-depth knowledge in various areas, such as Wildlife, Landscape and Stage Photography Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 03rd Jul 2004
Fri 12-Oct-12 01:01 AM

I shoot with both. For general use, landscape, street, etc. The D800 is wonderful — and lighter to boot. I've also shot some (poorly lit) off-off-Broadway theatre, auto ISO floating between ISO 2400 – ISO 6400.

Perrone is probably right: at ISO 3200 there's no difference in the noise; at ISO 6400 the edge may be to the D3s, though a perfectly exposed shot ISO 6400 almost matches the D3s (of course, when stretching to ISO 6400 I'm not sure that perfect exposure is truly obtainable ).

For those times when I shoot high FPS, the 4 FPS of the D800 is usually fine. It flunks with baseball (II haven';t shot much sports since college and don't have Perrone's skill set and experience) and BIF are a bit iffier than with the D3s. Of course, BIF are iffy with any body…

If FPS doesn't matter, and high ISO use is rare and tops out at ISO 3200, then I'm hard pressed to think of why you wouldn't want a lighter body with more DR and lot of droppable pixels!

Jon Kandel
A New York City Nikonian and Team Member
Please visit my website and critique the images!

Hawk Eyes

US
167 posts

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#5. "RE: Anyone Swap Out Their D3s For a D800?" | In response to Reply # 0

Hawk Eyes Registered since 09th Jun 2012
Fri 12-Oct-12 03:23 AM | edited Fri 12-Oct-12 03:28 AM by Hawk Eyes

IMO the D800E is better all around. I sold my D3s, Both are great cameras and I shoot sports and sports fashion.
FPS is all the D3s has on the D800E, and I am a timing shooter when I shoot and do not need to spray photos to get the shot I need !

spiritualized67

Western PA, US
3288 posts

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#6. "RE: Anyone Swap Out Their D3s For a D800?" | In response to Reply # 0

spiritualized67 Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas, most notably in Street & Landscape Photography Nikonian since 28th Feb 2007
Fri 12-Oct-12 02:32 PM

Some excellent observations from all who chimed in - and I certainly appreciate the insight!

Based on what I'm hearing and reading, I think a move to the D800 might make sense for me.

About the only major concern I have is over something that was posted in the Mansurovs review about the D800, which dealt with Live View.

I use Live View a great deal on my D3s, and have it set so that when I press the center button, it zooms in 100% for critical focus.

Here is what the reviewer said. Is this a deal killer? Of course most of the time, I don't have to see exact detail to know that it's accurately focusing where I place the focus point, especially when I get the green confirm box. I suppose for testing lenses or Macro work, this would be more of a limitation.

But if the Live View focus is less accurate than the D3s in general, that's a different story altogether.

"While the camera has an impressive live view implementation with more features than on any previous DSLR, there is one very disappointing news – the magnified view on the D800 is not 1:1 pixel level. Because it interpolates the image instead of showing 1:1 pixels, the image appears with much less detail. I noticed this while testing lenses and it was a very annoying problem, making it difficult to see if the focus is accurate or not."

~Dan

mklass

Tacoma, US
7421 posts

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#7. "RE: Anyone Swap Out Their D3s For a D800?" | In response to Reply # 5

mklass Platinum Member As a semi-professional involved in all manner of photographic genres including portraiture, sports, commercial, and events coverage, Mick is always ready to help Nikonians by sharing his deep knowledge of photography and printing. Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 08th Dec 2006
Fri 12-Oct-12 09:12 PM

>IMO the D800E is better all around. I sold my D3s, Both are
>great cameras and I shoot sports and sports fashion.
>FPS is all the D3s has on the D800E, and I am a timing shooter
>when I shoot and do not need to spray photos to get the shot I
>need !

FPS, plus the ability to shoot higher ISO, plus a built in vertical grip, plus...

They are different camera for different purposes, and each will serve one individual's needs better than the other.

I have used both on several different shoots now, weddings, portraits, commercial photography. Except for image size, and potential detail level, I can get just as good a shot from the D3s as the D800e.

Mick
http://www.mickklassphoto.com
or
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JonK

New York, US
6317 posts

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#8. "RE: Anyone Swap Out Their D3s For a D800?" | In response to Reply # 6

JonK Moderator Awarded for his high level skills and in-depth knowledge in various areas, such as Wildlife, Landscape and Stage Photography Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 03rd Jul 2004
Fri 12-Oct-12 10:10 PM

There is some hope that Nikon will go back to 1:1 pixels in a firmware upgrade…

Jon Kandel
A New York City Nikonian and Team Member
Please visit my website and critique the images!

akers

Roseville, US
391 posts

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#9. "RE: Anyone Swap Out Their D3s For a D800?" | In response to Reply # 0

akers Registered since 10th Aug 2004
Fri 12-Oct-12 11:10 PM

I'm trying, honest I am. I'm trying like an addict trying to cold-turkey heroin. As great as the D800 is I just can't bring myself to give up the D3s. When the grand-kids are playing in the family room, ambient light, cute as a bug, I grab the D3s. Auto iso at 6400 max, CH, 24-70 at 5.6, grin at max-wide.

Tomorrow, I'll give it up tomorrow ... really ... I will. OK, well, maybe when the D4s is released.

Chuck

D800, D3s, 14-24, 24-70, 24-120 f4, 70-200 VR and VRIIx2, 80-400 VR, Sigma 150-500.

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Hawk Eyes

US
167 posts

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#10. "RE: Anyone Swap Out Their D3s For a D800?" | In response to Reply # 7

Hawk Eyes Registered since 09th Jun 2012
Sat 13-Oct-12 04:22 AM | edited Sat 13-Oct-12 04:23 AM by Hawk Eyes

You have the right to think and believe what ever you want.
I disagree completely with what you are saying, and do not need to have a writing contest on this forum to prove that the D800E is better that the D3S.
I think the D800E is better hands down =)

Iceman15613

Apollo, US
476 posts

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#11. "RE: Anyone Swap Out Their D3s For a D800?" | In response to Reply # 6

Iceman15613 Silver Member Nikonian since 30th Oct 2005
Sat 13-Oct-12 10:57 AM

I do not have a D800 series as of this date. I have a D3 and a D3s. I sold my D700 to help finance my D800 purchase. While attempting to research and decide between the 800 or the 800E, a decision, by the way, that is still unclear, all of the focusing issues
Began cropping up. When I need my camera to make an onboard focusing decision I want to be able to trust the technology. When that moment arrives I will own one.
The price point is reasonable enough that unlike the D3x, I can afford. Either body would be more than sufficient to stand alone. Neither body would be the best tool for all applications. Meanwhile, I can enjoy the research and anticipation of a complete resolution, (pardon the poor pun) of the focusing issues.

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briantilley

Paignton, UK
30235 posts

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#12. "RE: Anyone Swap Out Their D3s For a D800?" | In response to Reply # 10

briantilley Gold Member Deep knowledge of bodies and lens; high level photography skills Donor Ribbon awarded for his support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 26th Jan 2003
Sun 14-Oct-12 07:56 AM

We can't disagree with Mick when he points out the fact that FPS is not the only area where a D3s can outdo a D800/E. As well as the higher ISO capability, there is also longer battery life, dual cards of the same type, smaller file sizes (important for some users) and some other little things.

Personally, I agree with Mick that a D3s is still a more suitable camera for some users than a D800/E. It is for me, but clearly not for you - but that's OK, because we are all different

Brian
Welsh Nikonian

RRRoger

Monterey Bay, US
3373 posts

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#13. "RE: Anyone Swap Out Their D3s For a D800?" | In response to Reply # 9

RRRoger Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his long history of demonstrated excellence and helping other members with equipment, technique and DSLR video in the true Nikonians spirit. Charter Member
Sun 14-Oct-12 10:47 PM

What about the D4 and D600?
They are both contenders is some ways.

However, I agree that the D3s is still the High ISO king,
while the D800e rules supreme on image size and quality.

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KnightPhoto

Alberta, CA
4954 posts

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#14. "RE: Anyone Swap Out Their D3s For a D800?" | In response to Reply # 13

KnightPhoto Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Dec 2006
Tue 16-Oct-12 08:47 AM

Early early stages for me but D4 AF appears to be superior on long lenses with teleconverters. By this I mean initial AF acquisition.

D4+500VR+TC17E just hold the rig up and AF snaps into focus on my BIF. Boom boom boom, the thing just never quits

D800 does not acquire initial AF nearly as quick from very limited experience. It also gives up far more often (fails to achieve), so I have to point it at something else at a similar distance and with better contrast to get it in the zone, then repoint on subject, acquire AF, then shoot.

I'm not talking down light ideal situation (all our DSLRs are good at that). But the tough, light angle is wrong, using a long f/4 lens with a long TC (TC17), bird and lighting are lower contrast than ideal, D4 is snappy snappy snappy. D800 I have to work it, refocus on something else. Not sure what D4 is doing but it is a lightning machine and of course the fps and buffer just add to that whole experience.

I am currently considering D4 as perhaps my better BIF tool and D800E as non-in-flight bird tool.

Don't take as gospel though, I've had my D800E for a week, and D4 for 6 months. Not sure about AF tracking after initial AF acquisition, need more experience but I do intend to critically evaluate that too.

The other thing that occurs to me to be careful of in drawing this conclusion is this noted difference may not apply on lenses shot native (as opposed to with TC at starting focal length of f6.7).

TCs are tough on AF.

Best regards, SteveK

'A camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.' -- Dorothea Lange
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moizes

Brooklyn, US
1322 posts

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#15. "RE: Anyone Swap Out Their D3s For a D800?" | In response to Reply # 14

moizes Silver Member Nikonian since 19th May 2006
Tue 16-Oct-12 03:59 PM

While I agree with the others on comparison of 2 bodies, I'd say that the D800/E VF looks to my eyes a bit darker. D4 on that respect looks on par with D3s. Dimitri.

chuckbernard

San Francisco, US
23 posts

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#16. "RE: Anyone Swap Out Their D3s For a D800?" | In response to Reply # 2

chuckbernard Registered since 30th Dec 2009
Tue 16-Oct-12 07:30 PM

>I got my D800e in mid-august and have had a D3s for 3 years.
>So far, I am finding the low light, high ISO capabilities of
>the D3s are better, while the dynamic range of the D800e is
>superior.
>
>I haven't nailed down exactly the breaking point, but the D3s
>is across the board in higher ISO.
>

I was about to write the exact same comments! Although I have a D800 instead.

The dynamic range is most impressive attribute of the D800.
The D3s is an overall better camera, except for when comparing the DR and sensor resolution. People keep raving about the high ISO of the D800 but I just don't get it. D3s is clearly better in my opinion.

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G