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D800 Flagship - How Does It Compare to Medium Frame, e.g.Hasselblad, Mamiya, etc

DinoCardelli

Plantation, US
236 posts

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DinoCardelli Registered since 19th Oct 2010
Mon 08-Jul-13 01:04 AM

Just a question to the pros...

The D800 is now the flagship, in terms of meg-pixels....I've read alot about Hasselblad, Mamiya etc.. and these cameras are in the $20K plus just to enter door number one.

How much different are the systems....can one really tell a photo between the two?

Is there a different use for this format ?

TIA for taking time to contribute to learning...

dc

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icslowmo

Surprise, US
613 posts

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#1. "RE: D800 Flagship - How Does It Compare to Medium Frame, e.g.Hasselblad, Mamiya, etc" | In response to Reply # 0

icslowmo Registered since 01st Jan 2012
Mon 08-Jul-13 04:41 AM

I am not a pro, but will offer what I've seen on the net. When it comes to resolution and dynamic range, and color depth, medium format still has a slight lead over the D800(E). The couple of reviews I've seen seem to say it's a minor lead, but I have a feeling it has more to do to the fact the D800 is limited by the 14bit files vs 16bit of the medium format cameras. With more bit depth, there will be more data. Now I believe the one area the D800(E) has a lead with no question would be high iso performance.

Now for comparing the two systems, I depends on what you already have invested into a system. If you have a lot of 35mm glass, it may cost you a bit to move to a MF system as you have seen is not cheap, granted to many, the 35mm digital system isn't exactly cheap either with good glass. Also with focal length, it will "shrink" like from going DX to FX is to FX to MF. I'm not sure of the ratio but for an un-exact example, 80mm lens on MF may be closer to a 50mm lens when thinking of FOV. Also, depth of field would be reduced as well due to sensor size and also from using longer lenses...

Now to the main question of would you see it in a print? Depends on the print size and viewing distances, but if very large prints and/or very close viewing distance is of concern with larger prints, some would say there is a difference, but again, it all comes down to the size of the prints.

Chris

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ajdooley

Waterloo, US
3387 posts

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#2. "RE: D800 Flagship - How Does It Compare to Medium Frame, e.g.Hasselblad, Mamiya, etc" | In response to Reply # 0

ajdooley Gold Member Nikonian since 25th May 2006
Mon 08-Jul-13 11:06 AM | edited Mon 08-Jul-13 11:07 AM by ajdooley

There are other major differences too.

Compare the weight and bulk of a medium format system with a D800 and lenses, etc.

Second, compare the handling and ease of use.

And of course -- $20k to look at a Hasselblad behind door one, versus $3k. And have you priced Hasselblad lenses lately?

In the end, you might be able to tell the difference in an extremely large print, from extremely close. I don't know. I don't own one. But I'll bet Hasselblad is looking over its shoulder more frequently now that the D800 -- and dare I say the top-shelf Canons as well -- have arrived. The digital cameras in 35mm-sized bodies have closed the gap by a large leap! And I don't think Hasselblads shoot video yet either, do they?

Alan
Waterloo, IL, USA
www.proimagingmidamerica.com

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DGB66

UK
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#3. "RE: D800 Flagship - How Does It Compare to Medium Frame, e.g.Hasselblad, Mamiya, etc" | In response to Reply # 1

DGB66 Registered since 15th Jun 2013
Mon 08-Jul-13 11:08 AM

I used to own a Hasselblad H4d-50 prior to my divorce and unfortunately I had to sell it as part of the settlement. The image quality is stunning and the tonal range supposes the D800 but remember the H4D records at 16 bit colour, if you compare images side by side then the Hasselblad wins. However its not all plain sailing.

The Hasselblad is not good with outdoor conditions, weather proofing is very poor but its not been designed that way. Read some of the Hasselblad forums there's plenty of minor problems with connectivity. Some get regular error message "reattach lens" etc, I've experienced that when photographing a sunset, not good at all. It produces stunning images but there's associated problems.

The shallow depth of field can be a problem for landscape photographers like me, you have to be very critical with setting the hyperfocal length, I've experienced many failures compared to 35mm hyper focal and this is with 35years experience in photography.

Overall I'm happy with the D800e and have no intentions to change back to medium format when my finances improve. The only part of the H4D is miss is the large viewfinder. The D800e is a lot more flexible and reliable for my style of photography i.e. Landscape work. I now print most of my work at 24'x30" max size, the D800e is very capable of supporting this with good quality IQ.

PerroneFord

Tallahassee, US
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#4. "RE: D800 Flagship - How Does It Compare to Medium Frame, e.g.Hasselblad, Mamiya, etc" | In response to Reply # 0

PerroneFord Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Apr 2011
Mon 08-Jul-13 01:36 PM

I strongly considered going to medium format before buying the D800. The price wasn't a major factor to me. However, the ISO performance was as I sometimes need to shoot indoors with ambient light only. I also considered the RED system as well since I am also a filmmaker, but the ISO performance wasn't there either.

There are times when I'd really like to do the shallow DOF of a MF camera, but for 95% of my uses, it's just not an issue.

------
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lukaswerth

Lahore, PK
578 posts

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#5. "RE: D800 Flagship - How Does It Compare to Medium Frame, e.g.Hasselblad, Mamiya, etc" | In response to Reply # 0

lukaswerth Registered since 24th May 2012
Mon 08-Jul-13 02:25 PM | edited Tue 09-Jul-13 06:04 AM by lukaswerth

Look at this comparison:

http://blog.mingthein.com/2012/05/05/an-unfair-fight-nikon-d800e-vs-leica-s2-p/

What Ming Thein actually says is well, the Leitz lenses are still that little bit sharper, but for all practical purposes, image quality is about the same.

My impression is the d800(e) about equals the 40mpx range, 14bit or not, and I remember having read somewhere that its dynamic range significantly surpasses that of the Hasselblad - seems to be about the same as the Leica S2, but Ming Thein has not really tested this out, as far as I can see.

Someone correct me if I am wrong, but most medium format equipment in the 20-50k range seems to me optimized to be used in studios, with a laptop connected and assistants around, for high-gloss commercial advertisements - the least interesting and most sterile situation for me.

By the way, I have not made systematic comparisons, but my Nikon appears to me to equal without effort my analog Mamiya RZ 67.

Lukas

Trying to be a keeper of the light

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MNP500

Tarrytown, US
341 posts

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#6. "RE: D800 Flagship - How Does It Compare to Medium Frame, e.g.Hasselblad, Mamiya, etc" | In response to Reply # 0

MNP500 Silver Member Nikonian since 11th Feb 2006
Mon 08-Jul-13 04:55 PM | edited Mon 08-Jul-13 04:55 PM by MNP500

I frequently go out shooting with a friend who owns a Phase IQ180 (80mp).I own a D800 and a D800e. We have compared images on screen and in prints. There are many images where we simply can't tell the difference (except for the aspect ratio). And then there are images where the Phase has slightly better tonality and more realistic color rendition in certain colors. I'm talking VERY SLIGHT. Of course with similar glass and gigantic prints, you will see more detail with 80mx. But it's less of a difference than you would think. Then, there are images where the Nikon looks better. Who knows why? My personal opinion is that for someone who hasn't already spent huge bucks on MF, forget it--the D800 is that good.

BTW, I use the D800 and D800e interchangeably. I defy anyone to pick out the difference between images (same lens/tripod etc) shot with each camera looking at 2 24x36 prints. I've done this test, and nobody I know could see the difference. Sure if you stick the tip of your nose on the paper, you will see a slight difference..but you might not like it better.

Michael

DinoCardelli

Plantation, US
236 posts

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#7. "RE: D800 Flagship - How Does It Compare to Medium Frame, e.g.Hasselblad, Mamiya, etc" | In response to Reply # 6

DinoCardelli Registered since 19th Oct 2010
Mon 08-Jul-13 10:53 PM

What great info fellow Nikonians....what a great thread...

Others, please contribute...learning curve now logarithmic at this point

dc

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lukaswerth

Lahore, PK
578 posts

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#8. "RE: D800 Flagship - How Does It Compare to Medium Frame, e.g.Hasselblad, Mamiya, etc" | In response to Reply # 6

lukaswerth Registered since 24th May 2012
Tue 09-Jul-13 02:41 AM

>Who knows why? My
>personal opinion is that for someone who hasn't already spent
>huge bucks on MF, forget it--the D800 is that good.
>
>BTW, I use the D800 and D800e interchangeably. I defy anyone
>to pick out the difference between images (same lens/tripod
>etc) shot with each camera looking at 2 24x36 prints. I've
>done this test, and nobody I know could see the difference.
>Sure if you stick the tip of your nose on the paper, you will
>see a slight difference..but you might not like it better.
>
>Michael

Your comments confirm my assumptions. I suspect some photographers need the high-priced equipment also simply for status reasons, or to make the right impression on their clients. Just as many of those Leica owners buy their camera more for the name than anything else.

And your comparison is good to keep in mind if I will ever think about a second body.

Lukas

Trying to be a keeper of the light

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lukaswerth/

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migs

Warrington, UK
30 posts

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#9. "RE: D800 Flagship - How Does It Compare to Medium Frame, e.g.Hasselblad, Mamiya, etc" | In response to Reply # 8

migs Basic Member
Tue 09-Jul-13 08:52 AM

Michael is absolutely right. When in the hands of a good photographer, the differences between medium format and D800 images are almost nil. A long time medium format pro friend of mine is currently weighing up his options, as he has also seen a significant change in IQ comparison tests. He can re-equip himself with all the Nikon bodies and glass he needs, for about 1/3 the cost of replacing just the essentials of his current medium format gear. The only thing making his stop and think is that it all seems too easy.

Leaving aside actual resolution, several high end Nikon and Canon bodies are knocking on the medium format door, in terms of IQ.

Previously, medium format was so far ahead that it was impossible to even think about having this conversation.

--
Paul
- Head full of magic, shoes full of rain

Surge75

CA
7 posts

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#10. "RE: D800 Flagship - How Does It Compare to Medium Frame, e.g.Hasselblad, Mamiya, etc" | In response to Reply # 9

Surge75 Registered since 08th Jul 2013
Wed 10-Jul-13 05:27 PM

Read this, amazing comparison:

http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Nikon_D800/Nikon_D800_vs_Phase_One_medium_format_quality.shtml

Note how the author stitched 2 images together to get a 70 MP monster than compared amazingly well to an IQ160 Medium Format camera that runs about $35K.

Merbryndy

US
1 posts

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#11. "RE: D800 Flagship - How Does It Compare to Medium Frame, e.g.Hasselblad, Mamiya, etc" | In response to Reply # 9

Merbryndy Registered since 14th Apr 2013
Wed 10-Jul-13 05:30 PM

You may want to refer to an interesting YouTube video for a test the pros did between the two cameras. Enjoy!
http://youtu.be/9UBTE4xpvpk

km6xz

St Petersburg, RU
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#12. "RE: D800 Flagship - How Does It Compare to Medium Frame, e.g.Hasselblad, Mamiya, etc" | In response to Reply # 8

km6xz Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, including Portraits and Urban Photography Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009
Wed 10-Jul-13 06:11 PM

The motivation for getting a high cost camera and it equally high cost lenses is often driven by customer demand. Art directors can be pretty demanding and if he is bringing high end projects to the studio, the value added is well worth the cost. Keeping the lower cost competition out of the running is probably more important a factor than absolute IQ. Even with $50k cameras, commercial photography is still one of the cheapest entry cost businesses you can get into. Any neighborhood cafe has much more invested in the hardware than a studio.
The job of a studio is to appeal to a clients whims, not produce a great photo, although as a byproduct of appealing to the client's taste sometimes produces a compelling image.
Stan
St Petersburg Russia

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Antero52

Vantaa, FI
2683 posts

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#13. "RE: D800 Flagship - How Does It Compare to Medium Frame, e.g.Hasselblad, Mamiya, etc" | In response to Reply # 0

Antero52 Silver Member Awarded for his expertise in post-processing, being  consistently helpful and professional. Nikonian since 07th Jul 2009
Wed 17-Jul-13 04:19 AM

c’t Digital Photography, issue 10, compared Nikon D800E with Hasselblad HD-40. Hasselblad won a majority of the tests by a hair, but where the D800E won, it crushed the competition. The slightly better resolution and more accurate color of the 'Blad, mainly thanks to its better lenses (each of which costs more than the D800E body), is only seen below ISO200. Raise ISO to 400 and above, and noise eats away all the benefits. The Blad is only good for stationary targets. It has only one focus spot in the center. You focus with the center spot and recompose. A built-in computer senses the change in orientation and uses the focal length to re-adjust focus. I seriously doubt a system like that can be used to shoot birds from a kayak.

See the back issues here: http://www.ct-digiphoto.com/available_issues.html

Regards, Antero

DinoCardelli

Plantation, US
236 posts

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#14. "RE: D800 Flagship - How Does It Compare to Medium Frame, e.g.Hasselblad, Mamiya, etc" | In response to Reply # 13

DinoCardelli Registered since 19th Oct 2010
Wed 17-Jul-13 09:44 AM

Thanks for the info....the magazine is someting I was not aware of....will grab a subscripton for a year to evaluate.
dc

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G