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Is D800/E in DX mode A Reasonable Substitute For D400?

jim thomas

Edmond, US
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jim thomas Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Jan 2003
Sun 14-Oct-12 03:09 AM

I shoot a D200. I bought a D800E which had the focus problem and returned it rather than fight the, in my opinion, ridiculous repair procedure offered by Nikon. I also want a D400 if and when it is offered (assuming that it the build quality, etc. is comparable to the D200/D300 cameras). However, since we don't know if Nikon is going to produce the D400, it seems that shooting a D800 in DX mode should be a reasonable substitute for the D400. If my math is correct the D800 in DX mode would produce about 15 megapixels, which is a little more than the D300s. I am patiently waiting for the focus problem to become a matter of history (some say that we are now there) and do plan to buy a D800E anyway. So maybe I don't really need the D400 (unless, if produced, it offers more fps, important for sports, or other features that are significantly better than the D800 in DX mode).

What are your thoughts on this? I sometimes shoot action (American Indian dancers) in low light, so I need all the reach I can get, hence the need for DX mode.

JDT

briantilley

Paignton, UK
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#1. "RE: Is D800/E in DX mode A Reasonable Substitute For D400?" | In response to Reply # 0

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 07:48 AM

I think we will find this difficult to answer until we know what a "D400" is and isn't. It's true that a D800 in DX crop mode gives you more pixels than a D300/s, but if a D400 were to come along with 24MP, say, then the boot would be back on the other foot

Brian
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PerroneFord

Tallahassee, US
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#2. "RE: Is D800/E in DX mode A Reasonable Substitute For D400?" | In response to Reply # 0

PerroneFord Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Apr 2011
Sun 14-Oct-12 09:00 AM | edited Sun 14-Oct-12 09:02 AM by PerroneFord

>What are your thoughts on this? I sometimes shoot action
>(American Indian dancers) in low light, so I need all the
>reach I can get, hence the need for DX mode.
>
>JDT

My thoughts?

1. Shooting DX mode on an FX body is silly unless your lenses force you too.
2. The D800 is not a sports camera. The D400 better be.
3. I expect the D400 to be 24MP
4. I expect the D400 to be FX. (Most do not though)

If you shoot low light, buy a D600. It's very impressive.

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Ernie14226

Buffalo, US
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#3. "RE: Is D800/E in DX mode A Reasonable Substitute For D400?" | In response to Reply # 2

Ernie14226 Registered since 08th Oct 2012
Sun 14-Oct-12 11:30 AM

Perrone:

I am with you on the specs but I am beginning to wonder if we will actually ever see this rumored D400.

The D600 does seem to make wonderful images, what I find odd is that from my random web sampling I could almost be made to believe that the D600 does better at distance sharpness "in landscape sceans" than the D800. I have to admit that I cant come to this conclusion in a scientific basis but only from random web samplings from unknown photographers "or guys with cameras".
I would love to see some crisp and sharp landscape images from the D800 but have yet to come across them.

klrbee25

Naples, US
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#4. "RE: Is D800/E in DX mode A Reasonable Substitute For D400?" | In response to Reply # 3

klrbee25 Silver Member Nikonian since 03rd Jun 2006
Sun 14-Oct-12 12:40 PM | edited Sun 14-Oct-12 12:40 PM by klrbee25

Happy to send you some in hi-res. I've posted some in the 'Your Favorite D800 Photos' thread. They're razor sharp.

https://www.nikonians.org/forums/dcboard.php?az=show_topic&forum=430&topic_id=17161&mesg_id=17161&page=


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jim thomas

Edmond, US
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#5. "RE: Is D800/E in DX mode A Reasonable Substitute For D400?" | In response to Reply # 1

jim thomas Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Jan 2003
Sun 14-Oct-12 06:28 PM

Hi Brian,

Of course that is right. I am assuming that IF the D400 is produced it will have approximately the 24MP that is speculated and also have better fps than the D800. If Nikon does produce such a camera I would want to also buy it for use as a sports camera. In the meantime I am considering how well the D800 in DX mode might be "good enough" for that purpose. I probably was not as clear as I should have been about my thinking on that.


JDT

jim thomas

Edmond, US
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#6. "RE: Is D800/E in DX mode A Reasonable Substitute For D400?" | In response to Reply # 2

jim thomas Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Jan 2003
Sun 14-Oct-12 06:39 PM

Hi Perrone,

Why do you think that shooting an FX body in DX mode is silly? Although the D800 is not a "sports camera" (as you point out) it seems to me that it might serve the purpose in DX mode because it (i) provides the crop factor for composition; and (ii) in that situation, 15MP may produce more images that appear reasonably in focus than 36MP.

If the D400 is produced in the profile most speculate about (DX mode, 24MP, pretty good fps) I will want one. In the meantime I am considering the D800 to serve the action camera purpose.

Do you think that the D600 is a better action/low light camera than the D800? If so, what is the advantage?

JDT

jim thomas

Edmond, US
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#7. "RE: Is D800/E in DX mode A Reasonable Substitute For D400?" | In response to Reply # 4

jim thomas Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Jan 2003
Sun 14-Oct-12 06:40 PM

Hi Alex,

Very nice photos. I plan to join the D800/E club soon.

JDT

km6xz

St Petersburg, RU
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#8. "RE: Is D800/E in DX mode A Reasonable Substitute For D400?" | In response to Reply # 2

km6xz Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, including Portraits and Urban Photography Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009
Sun 14-Oct-12 06:48 PM

I have my doubts whether there is even a market for a D400 as the rumors seems to speculate. High speed, 24mpx, high ISO, pro AF....for $1700?? Makes no sense that state of the art performance of subsystems thrown into a pro style body for less than a price difference for the sensor alone versus the D600. The specs people are expecting beat a D800 and we know that one is a bargain at "only" $3000.
It makes more sense from a marketing and share point of view for a bit faster D7100, 24mpx, 6-7fps, Multicam4800, a few more buttons in a D7000/600 body for $1700-1900.
What features that could be removed to lower the price of a D4 by $4000 that would still allow high speed with AF that tracked at that speed, plus low noise from a sensor with higher density than a D800. I can't think of much that could be removed and still get the D4 type of speed and AF the rumors are predicting for the D400.
Additionally, Nikon knows very well that the market is shrinking for niche products in DX, particularly when it will cost closer to other top pro cameras.
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ericbowles

Atlanta, US
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#9. "RE: Is D800/E in DX mode A Reasonable Substitute For D400?" | In response to Reply # 6

ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005
Mon 15-Oct-12 02:24 PM

I tend to agree with Perrone. DX mode is fine in terms of image size - equivalent to a D7000 - but framing the image in the viewfinder is a nuisance. The viewfinder is full sized with a line to indicate the DX crop. That means your viewfinder is less magnified than normal and much smaller - nearly half the size of the FX view.

I had a problem with my 24-70 lens last week and chose to use my D7000 backup rather than my 16-85 on the D800. I would only use a DX lens on an FX body in an emergency or special situation.

Now the D800 is a better camera than the D600. I have both and the D600 is small in the hand - like the D7000 - and has a less advanced AF system. The disadvantage of the D800 is potentially frame rate - if you shoot bursts at critical action. If you are timing the key action and have one image at the critical time, the D800 is fine. So frame rate is a matter of style.


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FFN

Hudson, US
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#10. "RE: Is D800/E in DX mode A Reasonable Substitute For D400?" | In response to Reply # 0

FFN Gold Member Donor Ribbon. Awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Charter Member
Mon 15-Oct-12 02:27 PM | edited Mon 15-Oct-12 02:28 PM by FFN

Here is a shot and 100% crop taken with a D800 and 18-300 Nikkor in DX mode. It works fine. ISO 2000, no NR.



Click on image to view larger version



Click on image to view larger version


Attachment#1 (jpg file)
Attachment#2 (jpg file)

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ljordan316

Inverness, US
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#11. "RE: Is D800/E in DX mode A Reasonable Substitute For D400?" | In response to Reply # 3

ljordan316 Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2010
Mon 15-Oct-12 02:43 PM

If you want to see the difference in sharpness between a D600 and D800/e, use FoCal and do an Aperture Sharpness test on each back-to-back under the same lighting and target conditions using the same lens and focal length. I did that with a D800 and D800e, and sold the D800...and bought another D800e. The difference was dramatic.

By the waay, Reikan Technologies says such a comparison is not yet valid with ver 1.6 of their software. However, I did enough testing that I was sure of the difference.

Visual comparisons even down to the pixel level are hard to do except with fine details and with high contrast. You certainly cannot do it with images displayed through the Internet. I compared RAW files down to the pixel level with black/white FoCal target images, and I could see a significant difference when viewing details that were less than 5 pixels wide (i.e., hair, feather patterns, etc.).

Larry Jordan

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jim thomas

Edmond, US
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#12. "RE: Is D800/E in DX mode A Reasonable Substitute For D400?" | In response to Reply # 9

jim thomas Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Jan 2003
Mon 15-Oct-12 04:45 PM

Hi Eric,

All my lenses are FX. Your point about the viewfinder is a good one. I do not have a digital FX camera so I have no experience with using one in DX mode.

As I recall, the D600 is capable of about 5 fps vs. 4 fps for the D800. I doubt that in most applications that small difference would really matter.

Of course, what I really want is both the D800E and the D400. I don't want to buy a D300 due to the age of the technology and the probability that it will be replaced by....well, something. I don't want to buy a D600 since I want the D800E. At this time Nikon is not making the camera that a lot of us want, which is a camera that has approximately the specs that are speculated about the D400. I would be happy if that camera had less than 24MP. At this time I am just trying to figure out how to bridge the gap until (perhaps I should say if) Nikon makes the D???.

Thanks for the post.

JDT

jim thomas

Edmond, US
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#13. "RE: Is D800/E in DX mode A Reasonable Substitute For D400?" | In response to Reply # 10

jim thomas Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Jan 2003
Mon 15-Oct-12 04:47 PM

Looks darn good, especially for ISO2000. Thanks.

JDT

KnightPhoto

Alberta, CA
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#14. "RE: Is D800/E in DX mode A Reasonable Substitute For D400?" | In response to Reply # 0

KnightPhoto Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Dec 2006
Tue 16-Oct-12 07:50 AM | edited Tue 16-Oct-12 07:54 AM by KnightPhoto

I've been shooting my D800E in 30x20 mode since that gives me 5fps for birding.

I did chop off some birds if I wasn't careful looking at the viewfinder lines. For context regardless even when using the full frame of a DSLR, chopped off BIF is somewhat a norm as the subject approaches.

Do I have that right that I am getting 5fps without grip as a result? I was left a little uncertain from reading the manual, but I think this is correct.

Also, is 30x20 mode and 1.2 crop the same thing?

This also allows for more frames before the buffer fills.

Best regards, SteveK

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MotoMannequin

Livermore, CA, US
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#15. "RE: Is D800/E in DX mode A Reasonable Substitute For D400?" | In response to Reply # 14

MotoMannequin Awarded for his extraordinary skills in landscape and wildlife photography Registered since 11th Jan 2006
Tue 16-Oct-12 07:50 PM

Steve, are you sure you're getting 5fps? I believe that is contradicted by the D800 specs.

The key to measuring frame rate is the interval between shots. 250ms = 4fps, 200ms = 5fps. Even at a 250ms interval, people will count 5 shots in 1.001 seconds and call that 5fps, which is wrong.

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MotoMannequin

Livermore, CA, US
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#16. "RE: Is D800/E in DX mode A Reasonable Substitute For D400?" | In response to Reply # 0

MotoMannequin Awarded for his extraordinary skills in landscape and wildlife photography Registered since 11th Jan 2006
Tue 16-Oct-12 07:59 PM

I'll reiterate a couple important points already made before offering my conclusion:

- We don't know what a D400 is, so there's no way to speculate its performance against a D800 in DX mode.
- Buying a D800 only makes sense with the intention of using it in FX mode. Crop performance is equivalent to D7000 which is available sub-$1000, less than 1/3 the price of D800. It makes no sense to spend $3K for that level of performance.

To the question - assuming the D400 is a DX camera, there's absolutely no way a D800 in DX mode should in any way compete with it (and if it does, Nikon shouldn't bother with D400 DX). The D300s offers high pixel density and high frame rate, compared to its FX counterparts. The D400 should do the same compared to D800. If not then don't bother with it. 24MP DX 8fps in a D800 body.

Larry - a Bay Area Nikonian
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jim thomas

Edmond, US
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#17. "RE: Is D800/E in DX mode A Reasonable Substitute For D400?" | In response to Reply # 16

jim thomas Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Jan 2003
Wed 17-Oct-12 12:24 PM

Hi Larry,

I do not plan to use the D800E primarily as a DX camera. I plan to buy the D800E primarily because I want the 36MP performance in FX mode.

I realize that the performance of the D800/E in DX mode is not equal to the rumored specs of the D400. I also realize that Nikon may or may not produce the D400. At this time I am considering whether the D800/E might be a "reasonable substitute" for the D400 since the D400 is not available. If Nikon does produce the D400 (or whatever else Nikon may choose to call it) with specs that are similar to the rumored specs I would then also buy the D400.



JDT

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