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D800 - A bit underwhelmed (low-light) :-(

Pick of Penang

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Pick of Penang Registered since 09th Nov 2011
Wed 08-Feb-12 03:43 AM

Currently I have a Nikon D90 with a couple of DX lenses but also some FX. For many shots I can continue to use the D90, esp as a travel camera with just one or two lenses.

Lately though I have needed to shoot a lot more indoors in low light with no flash and the D90 has struggled at times with the light conditions. I considered getting a D7000 which clearly is better in low light but then thought about an FX to gain some of the other benefits as well.

At first I thought I'd get a D700 as that seemed to fit the bill, good low light but without the price tag of the D3. The D4 has come out which has great low-light but a mega-price tag. Too much for my needs. I held off then because the D800 was coming and was sorry to see that its low light performance is the same as the D700, possibly worse if you take into account the 36MP sensor I sure don't need video or any of the other improvements the D800 brings over the D700 and it seems Nikon intend restricting very good low light performance to the D3/4 range.

So, bit of a dilemma now. I need MUCH better low light than the D90. MUCH better. I could go for a D700 or, considering the price of a D800, could opt for a D3S. Hard decision to make really. I'm figuring a D700 might be the best option?

avm247

Rancho Cordova, US
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#1. "RE: D800 - A bit underwhelmed (low-light) :-(" | In response to Reply # 0

avm247 Moderator Awarded for high skills in documentary architecture and aviation photography Donor Ribbon. Awarded for his support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Charter Member
Wed 08-Feb-12 03:24 AM

If you need this now, get the D700 and use it for several month. By then, the reviews and critical tests will be up and you can get a better decision if you want or need a D800.

If you decide you need to change, you can always offset the cost of a D3s or D800 by selling the D700. Or you might find that its all you really need.

While I love the D800 specs and if I had waited a few more months I probably would've waited and picked up a D800 when released, I have no regrets in buying my D700, new, last November. It's a heck of camera, old technology or not, it still produces some amazing images.

In the mean time, I'm saving my pennies for a speedlight, then faster glass.

Anthony

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bclaff

Vancouver (WA USA not BC Canad, US
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#2. "RE: D800 - A bit underwhelmed (low-light) :-(" | In response to Reply # 0

bclaff Awarded for multiple contributions for the Resources Registered since 25th Oct 2004
Wed 08-Feb-12 03:39 AM

Adrian,

I held off then because the D800 was coming and was sorry to see that its low light performance is the same as the D700.

I think it's too early to come to a conclusion.
We have not yet seen NEF files at various ISOs.
I'm expecting the D800 to test out better, the question is how much better.


Bill

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Pick of Penang

MY
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#3. "RE: D800 - A bit underwhelmed (low-light) :-(" | In response to Reply # 2

Pick of Penang Registered since 09th Nov 2011
Wed 08-Feb-12 04:58 AM | edited Wed 08-Feb-12 04:59 AM by Pick of Penang

Thanks both. Yes, it's a tough call. My need is not urgent so I can wait some. Trouble is, if the low-light performance is only a little better it's not worth the extra cost over the D700 for me. The other improvements I don't need. I really don't need 36MP or movie.

I think it's a question of wait and see, as has been suggested. See if the low-light performance IS worth the upgrade cost. Does seem that Nikon is focussing its low light performance on the D3/D4 now though. Shame really, costs prohibitive for some.

NASattack

Dartford, UK
177 posts

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#4. "RE: D800 - A bit underwhelmed (low-light) :-(" | In response to Reply # 3

NASattack Silver Member Nikonian since 13th Feb 2008
Wed 08-Feb-12 05:53 AM

I see the D4 as a Pro's low light speed type camera.
I see the D800 and D800e as a Pro's studio and landscape type camera.
I also think Nikon will bring out an enthusiasts FX camera that will combine some of the D4 and D800 features in about 6 months time.
So that said I am going to wait and see as I have no need for the D4 or D800. In the meantime I will continue to use and enjoy the cameras I have as they meet all of my requirements perfectly.

Steve.

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rodsky77

US
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#5. "RE: D800 - A bit underwhelmed (low-light) :-(" | In response to Reply # 4

rodsky77 Registered since 08th Jan 2008
Wed 08-Feb-12 08:25 AM | edited Wed 08-Feb-12 08:26 AM by rodsky77

>I also think Nikon will bring out an enthusiasts FX camera
>that will combine some of the D4 and D800 features in about 6
>months time.
>
>Steve.
>

I would love for that to be true. I am not quite sure if this will ever happen though. I really don't need or want 36MP - the file size
is just not very attractive. I think that the D800 is a step in the right direction - Nikon was missing a Pro studio body - for larger prints.

If they do come out with a D700S - the price difference between it and the D800 would need to be at least $500-$600 for people to buy it. In order to make this body, they would need a new production line, unless of course they could just stick the sensor from D4 into the D800 body - but then we know that it does not quite work like that.....

All in all, I am hopeful, but I don't think that this will happen in 6 months - most likely, the next body to come out is the D400 - it's long overdue.

I am perfectly happy with the D700

It's my wife who needs the D400

Gromit44

UK
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#6. "RE: D800 - A bit underwhelmed (low-light) :-(" | In response to Reply # 5

Gromit44 Registered since 04th Jan 2012
Thu 09-Feb-12 11:57 AM | edited Thu 09-Feb-12 11:58 AM by Gromit44

>Nikon was missing a Pro studio body - for larger prints.

The pro studio body is the D3x.

DVDMike

Metro Atlanta, US
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#7. "RE: D800 - A bit underwhelmed (low-light) :-(" | In response to Reply # 3

DVDMike Registered since 25th Mar 2003
Wed 08-Feb-12 08:54 AM


The low light (IQ) performance of the D700 is the same as the D3. So if you like the D3 performance and the D800 is slightly better than the D700 and thus D3, then you should love the D800.

Its speculative until we see a number of images from the D800 under varying conditions. There will likely be a D400 and it may be better in low light than the D800 and be geared to sports/low light for users who cannot afford the D4. But if you are not in a hurry, you can wait or buy the best option for you that is available now.

DMCdigitalmedia

US
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#8. "RE: D800 - A bit underwhelmed (low-light) :-(" | In response to Reply # 7

DMCdigitalmedia Registered since 04th Jan 2007
Wed 08-Feb-12 10:34 AM

"I held off then because the D800 was coming and was sorry to see that its low light performance is the same as the D700"

Are you serious ?....are you shooting at night with no moon or something ? LOL The D700 is absolutely fantastic in low light...so far ahead of the D90 its ridiculous ! Useable ISO 6400 - how much more do you really need ? Sounds like the D4 might be the better option if you need even better low light performance.

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Pick of Penang

MY
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#9. "RE: D800 - A bit underwhelmed (low-light) :-(" | In response to Reply # 8

Pick of Penang Registered since 09th Nov 2011
Wed 08-Feb-12 11:36 AM

No the D700 would be fine. Point is, if I was going to pay the price premium for a D800 there would need to be much better low-light improvements against the other improvements which I don't need.

Leonard62

Pa, US
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#10. "RE: D800 - A bit underwhelmed (low-light) :-(" | In response to Reply # 9

Leonard62 Gold Member Awarded for excellent contributions and sharing his in-depth knowledge and experience with the community, especially of Nikkor Lenses Writer Ribbon awarded for his contributions to the Nikonians Resources articles library Nikonian since 15th Mar 2009
Wed 08-Feb-12 01:22 PM

>No the D700 would be fine. Point is, if I was going to pay
>the price premium for a D800 there would need to be much
>better low-light improvements against the other improvements
>which I don't need.

When a camera maker designs a new product they mostly want the features that appeal to the most number of users. If you fall outside of that target group then you have to look elsewhere. It sounds like you want D4 noise performance in a D700 body at a D700 price. As of today that won't happen. Your best choice is the D700 which is far better then your D90.

Len

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Pick of Penang

MY
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#11. "RE: D800 - A bit underwhelmed (low-light) :-(" | In response to Reply # 10

Pick of Penang Registered since 09th Nov 2011
Thu 09-Feb-12 01:29 AM | edited Thu 09-Feb-12 07:39 AM by briantilley


Yeah, I think I can actually figure that out myself. Point is, I expected the D800 to have better low-light improvement than it it did. I doubt I'm the only one expecting / hoping for that. It's hardly a niche requirement. And the assumption (as many are) is wrong, I'm not looking for D4 performance, I was looking for BETTER performance over the D700, not an unrealistic expectation in light of 'advancement'.

The D700 does seem the best option at the moment albeit I may wait to see if anything else comes out. The D400 has been mentioned but I'd rather go for FX this time around.

icslowmo

Surprise, US
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#12. "RE: D800 - A bit underwhelmed (low-light) :-(" | In response to Reply # 11

icslowmo Registered since 01st Jan 2012
Thu 09-Feb-12 04:50 AM | edited Thu 09-Feb-12 05:06 AM by icslowmo

From what I've seen and played with the jpegs that are floating around... The D800 seems to do well with higher iso values... iso 25,600 can be used in small prints (4x6) if real world pics turn out like the one I fixed up. I'm not scared of the 36mp, if iso performance turns out to match the D700, then I would say spend the extra $300 for features you may not use right now but might like to try later. Always is nice to have the most updated AF system (same as D4), 2 frame HDR in camera, up to 9 frame bracketing, etc.. etc... just my 2 cents.... I pre-ordered the D800E so I'll see if it worth it... If all turns out well then I will sale my D7000 because the D800 in crop mode is still 15mp.... so want need a DX body anymore....

Chris

Here is that pic I fixed:

<a href="http://s1201.photobucket.com/albums/bb357/icslowmo/?action=view&amp;current=d800-sample-4_DN_CapNX2_Fixed_CS5.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i1201.photobucket.com/albums/bb357/icslowmo/d800-sample-4_DN_CapNX2_Fixed_CS5.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

Go here to see original and others:

http://mansurovs.com/nikon-d800-high-iso-image-samples

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Baaker

Dumbarton, UK
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#13. "RE: D800 - A bit underwhelmed (low-light) :-(" | In response to Reply # 12

Baaker Silver Member Nikonian since 18th Aug 2009
Thu 09-Feb-12 08:06 AM

I also think Nikon will bring out an enthusiasts FX camera that will combine some of the D4 and D800 features in about 6 months time.

Unquote

Anyone in a quandary about buying a new camera and reading this will now have another rumour to think about? Now where is the evidence to back up this statement? Just think someone might read this statement and post it on another site as gospel and in a day or two it will become a "fact" and possibly be posted back in the Nikonians via Nikon rumours as factual and we will all be wondering what to do next?

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briantilley

Paignton, UK
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#14. "RE: D800 - A bit underwhelmed (low-light) :-(" | In response to Reply # 13

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
Thu 09-Feb-12 10:15 AM

I'm sure Steve wasn't trying to start a rumour - just explaining why he is going to wait a while and not jump on the D4 or the D800 now.

Brian
Welsh Nikonian

Kentcrawford

Fort Worth, US
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#15. "RE: D800 - A bit underwhelmed (low-light) :-(" | In response to Reply # 11

Kentcrawford Registered since 21st Oct 2011
Thu 09-Feb-12 12:00 PM

Ditto

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output555

US
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#16. "RE: D800 - A bit underwhelmed (low-light) :-(" | In response to Reply # 0

output555 Silver Member Nikonian since 29th Aug 2008
Thu 09-Feb-12 10:02 AM | edited Thu 09-Feb-12 10:17 AM by briantilley

I, like many others, was underwhelmed and disappointed by the specs of the D800. As a D700 owner, I was hoping/expecting a replacement that exceeded it in ISO low-light performance because that's where the biggest improvement could be made (not that the D700 is lacking in this area, just that in the past 3 years low-light technology has greatly improved). Instead, Nikon goes the other way and triples the pixels. Meh. How many current D700 owners need billboard-sized prints? And at the cost of eating up memory cards, hard drives and clogging the camera's buffer? In some ways it struck me as a cynical move by Nikon, done to humble Canon in the fool's race for more pixels.

At $3,000, the D800 had no immediate appeal to me and left me pretty annoyed at Nikon for the long, slow tease. My other choice, the new $6000 D4--uh, no thank you.

But, yesterday, I saw the Russian post ostensibly showing sample images taken with a D800. The ones at 3200 and 25000 were very impressive, making me think Nikon has indeed tweaked the algorithms to get another stop or three out of the D800. If so, then they've got me interested again.

Still, 36MP is overkill and presents more problems than appeal to me, and I suspect many other D700 owners, too.

Pick of Penang

MY
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#17. "RE: D800 - A bit underwhelmed (low-light) :-(" | In response to Reply # 16

Pick of Penang Registered since 09th Nov 2011
Thu 09-Feb-12 11:44 AM

Couldn't agree more.

callaloomix

US
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#18. "RE: D800 - A bit underwhelmed (low-light) :-(" | In response to Reply # 17

callaloomix Registered since 12th Jun 2008
Thu 09-Feb-12 12:08 PM

These pictures may change your mind about being underwhelmed. They're just spectacular and even the iso 6400 images. The detail is unmatched.

http://www.cmphotography.com/blog.cfm

CypressC

Austin, US
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#19. "RE: D800 - A bit underwhelmed (low-light) :-(" | In response to Reply # 0

CypressC Registered since 25th Jan 2012
Thu 09-Feb-12 12:19 PM | edited Thu 09-Feb-12 12:24 PM by CypressC

Get the D700. You will love it and not regret it for a second. I got one three years ago when it came out and was amazed at the low light/high ISO capabilities. Since then, the D3s has taken low light to the next level, but the D700 still does more than everything I could possibly ask of it. The first FX lens I put on it was a 50mm 1.4g -- and I didn't take it off the camera for almost a year because I was having so much fun shooting without a flash in places I never cold shoot before (dark restaurants, dimly lit parties, concerts, etc) - fast primes on a D700 are like having night vision! You can shoot in ridiculously low light with slow shutter speeds you would never otherwise consider with a D90.

Personally, I am not considering the D800. I don't care one lick about video, I don't need 36MP files for the type of shooting I do, and the D800 seems to be more of an extension of the D3x - high resolution. If the D700 wasn't enough low light for me, I would get a D3s or wait for a D4s/D800s. Short of those three models (two of which don't even exist), the D700 can't be beat.

_____
D700 and fast primes.

TonyJ

Boulder, US
1467 posts

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#20. "RE: D800 - A bit underwhelmed (low-light) :-(" | In response to Reply # 0

TonyJ Silver Member Nikonian since 14th Sep 2004
Thu 09-Feb-12 01:43 PM | edited Thu 09-Feb-12 02:41 PM by TonyJ

I've already seen a low mileage D700 body on Craigs for $2000. I expect to see them for $1800 before March. Screaming good time to buy a great camera with the Nikon NAS heating up... $3k is a great opening price for a camera that offers the features of the D800. Of course the D4(s) is what we really want. Always need some pie-in-the-sky to dream for...

Keep in mind that 36mp is going to have us scrambling for better quality lenses again. Personally, I'm very happy with the D700. I just need to get back my 14-24mm...

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