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Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?

lifewings

Santa Fe, US
87 posts

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lifewings Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Jun 2008
Sat 02-Jun-12 02:56 AM

I am thinking of ordering either the 800 or 800E, and am wondering if anyone uses either for shooting birds or wildlife? If so what is your experience?

I currently use the D300, and D7000, and needless to say enjoy the extra reach of a DX camera. I am intrigued however about the greater possibilities inherent in an FX body ... while I am primarily a bird photographer, I also shoot quite a number of abandoned buildings, as well as some macro work.

Thanks for responding.

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gqtuazon

FPO, US
644 posts

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#1. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 0

gqtuazon Registered since 18th Nov 2009
Sat 02-Jun-12 07:41 AM

Some of the images on the link below where taken with a D800 such as the Great Heron with a fish. Match it with a great lens and you'll get stunning pictures.

https://plus.google.com/photos/114340717560114340370/albums/5532563239910439873?banner=pwa&gpsrc=pwrd1#photos/114340717560114340370/albums/5532563239910439873


Regards,

Glenn

walk43

Pennsylvania, US
719 posts

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#2. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 0

walk43 Registered since 07th Feb 2012
Sat 02-Jun-12 11:01 AM | edited Sat 02-Jun-12 11:02 AM by walk43

It's great for macro, close-ups etc. Check out my gallery for macros and close-ups with (w/D800'in the pic title) and the pics of several others on the forum for birds. There are postings over the past few weeks and you will see them and you go through the posts. Go especially to Eric Bowles' post on May 8th (unless updated)titled "D800E Bird Photography Images". His are the best I have seen.

The single biggest reason for me about a D800 is the high resolution that lets me crop deep and pull out details from the shadows. Also.. if your crop to a DX size you still have the 'reach' you talk about and still are at 16mp. Most folks shoot at FX anyway since it is either a crop in camera or in PP. A crop is a crop ...and if you shoot FX you can crop what you want and still have the area surrounding the crop in your VF for flexibility etc....especially for BIF.

PS: VERY...very nice pics in your gallery!!

Dan
(Nikon D800,V2,Sony HX400V,Lumix ZS40)
"I don't read, I just look at pictures" - Andy Warhol

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wesmannmsu

US
302 posts

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#3. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 2

wesmannmsu Silver Member Nikonian since 19th Mar 2011
Sat 02-Jun-12 05:31 PM

The will perform the same, in every way except the D800e will be slightly sharper..

Moire will not be in insure here, its a minimal issue anyway but wildlife can not (mostly) produce moire. You can read about my experience and what cause Moire below.. I would get the 800e

http://www.nikonfanboy.com/2012-05-30/dealing-with-nikon-d800e-moire-in-lightroom-4


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lifewings

Santa Fe, US
87 posts

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#4. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 2

lifewings Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Jun 2008
Sat 02-Jun-12 06:04 PM

Thanks .... much appreciated.

This is very helpful, and certainly is helping to make my decision a bit clearer. I have always shot DX for the reach (with birds you're never close enough!), and at this point pretty sure if I won't be upgrading my 500 mm for the 600 any time soon, but I suspect this camera will give me a wider latitude in the types of images I shoot, as well as how I edit.

Now the question becomes D800 or 800E?

I really like your macro shots as well ... great sharp detail, really good eye. I love your Milkweed Pod.

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wesmannmsu

US
302 posts

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#5. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 4

wesmannmsu Silver Member Nikonian since 19th Mar 2011
Sat 02-Jun-12 06:20 PM | edited Sat 02-Jun-12 06:24 PM by wesmannmsu

>I have always shot DX for the reach

Careful not to fall into that reach trap, its not really more reach, its less area.



If you look at this images, you can see the FX captures everything the DX does (with more detail in the case of the D800/e). The extra "reach" people refer to, is that to achieve the same "view" in the FX camera, you have to get closer.

Also note from the image, that the reason the D800 is in DX mode, when using a DX lens, is because a fair part of the sensor is outside the DX images area.. its absolutely NOT more reach


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lifewings

Santa Fe, US
87 posts

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#6. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 5

lifewings Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Jun 2008
Sat 02-Jun-12 08:18 PM

This really puts it very much in perspective ... thank you for the visual.

For birds, of course, it is not always possible to get closer (especially the songbirds), but as I'm understanding this the FX sensor captures more information, so even cropping in to get the same "view" I come out ahead ... is this right?

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walk43

Pennsylvania, US
719 posts

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#7. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 6

walk43 Registered since 07th Feb 2012
Sun 03-Jun-12 09:31 AM | edited Sun 03-Jun-12 09:44 AM by walk43

My answer to your question is YES.

I used to think that DX gave me an advantage for 'reach'. I thought that for years, even though others told me otherwise. Somehow I just could not get it in my head that it was only a FOV difference that made it 'appear' that the DX image was larger and 'stronger' in mm. I thought that a 300mm lens gave me a 450mm 'total' equivalent in DX. IT did...but at half the resolution of the FX image.

On the D800 it became like a light bulb going off in my head since the D800 shows both the FX (full frame) and DX (cropped frame) in the viewfinder. The DX image is only the center portion of the sensor at about 1/2 the resolution of the full sensor. Therefore the FX at 36mp and the DX at 16mp...just as the prior post illustration shows.

The DX image is larger in the VF (on DX cameras) and easier to see details for focusing... and has a smaller file size. Those are the only 2 primary advantages to DX ...if you feel those are advantages.

If you take an FX pic on the D800 at 36 mp (the pic will be full frame and the center portion is what the DX image will become) download it to your PC and crop out the center section to the exact same FOV as the DX FOV you have the same result as if you had shot the pic in DX....only it is 16mp in resolution.

By using FX all the time, you have the VF showing the full frame of the FX format (and 36mp) and the image you what will 'become' the DX view (16mp)...except since you are in FX mode you will have all the VF and FX FOV to work with ...and to crop from ...to end up with the same DX FOV had you shot it in DX. That will give you the flexibility to see where the birds are heading (for example) and perhaps 'lead' them a bit and take the shot to the right or left of center frame and then crop the FX image to the DX FOV you want still at the DX 16mp.

I found that when I was in DX mode sometimes I ended up missing the tail or top of a wing when I was too tight on the bird. In FX mode I don't have that problem as much because the frame around the bird is bigger and then when I crop it, I then have all the bird and still have the 16mp DX FOV (reach). If you want another good explanation go to "mansurovs" website ( search for 'mansurov') and then search his site for 'DX versus FX'....he provides a better explanation that I do.

It can be a bit confusing but as I said when I got the D800 it was so obvious I was a bit embarrased that I had not understood it before.

NOTE...remember you have to compare the same camera...not two different cameras. If you had a 36mp DX camera and a 36mp FX camera the DX 'would' be an advantage. Because then you would have twice the resolution in your DX FOV image as you have in your FX FOV image. Now you may see why some wildlife shooters are awaiting a 24mp Nikon DX camera. Except that I doubt that the potential Nikon 24mp DX camera will be as good at all the other things that the D800 is good at. So...will the new 24mp DX NIkon have the better total IQ in the resulting image....hmmmmm.


Trust us...you really do not get 'reach' from DX that you don't have with FX unless you refuse to crop in-camera or in post-processing.

Dan
(Nikon D800,V2,Sony HX400V,Lumix ZS40)
"I don't read, I just look at pictures" - Andy Warhol

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K64drb

Blacksburg, US
324 posts

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#8. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 0

K64drb Silver Member Nikonian since 18th Feb 2012
Sun 03-Jun-12 02:40 PM

Yes - the D800. I shoot a wide variety of subjects, including birds and wildlife. I have been thrilled with the results from my D800. After deciding which of the two to go with, and finally getting my hands on my D800, I have never had any second thoughts about my choice. The resolution of the D800 is incredible, regardless of what the E might have produced, and I never have to think about Moire.

And as the others have pointed out - DX "reach" is a misconception. DX "crop" on the hand is real and unavoidable with any DX camera, and is one reason I went with an FX camera. When I want to capture the widest possible angle of view, non-DX lenses will give that to me on an FX camera body. They don't turn my 28 into a 42 as would happen on a DX camera.

All things considered - you'll love the D800 - or the D800E if you go with that. You get the best of both worlds. I love mine, and I am sure you will too.

Dave

lifewings

Santa Fe, US
87 posts

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#9. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 7

lifewings Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Jun 2008
Sun 03-Jun-12 03:11 PM

Thanks so much ... all this is very eye-opening.

It's kind of funny actually to think that I, as well as a large majority of the bird photographers I know, talk about the "crop factor" as actually being a benefit ... I am beginning to see now that is just a misconception (and not so much of a benefit).

I too have been missing the tail or wing tip at times when too tight on a bird, and it feels like a refreshing breeze to understand how using an FX body would give me more latitude.

You've been very helpful.

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lifewings

Santa Fe, US
87 posts

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#10. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 8

lifewings Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Jun 2008
Sun 03-Jun-12 03:17 PM

Thanks Dave. I appreciate your reply. I am excited to start working in an FX format, now that I have a clearer sense of what this would give me versus the DX crop mode.

I'm going a bit dizzy now trying to decide between the D800 or 800E ... results I've seen with both are beautiful, with seemingly a slight edge in sharpness with the E (and a slight trepidation in getting a D800 until Nikon has worked out the focusing bugs).

Decisions, decisions ...

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gbheron

Cedar Falls, US
216 posts

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#11. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 0

gbheron Gold Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 22nd Apr 2007
Sun 03-Jun-12 04:09 PM

Good afternoon, Beverly,

I spent a few hours Friday afternoon photographing insects in a reconstructed prairie using a hand-held D800E with the 200 mm Micro-Nikkor and SB-900 Speedlight. There was a large population of newly emerged Great Spangled Fritillary butterflies feeding on freshly opened purple coneflower (Echinacea). It was a challenge to maintain focus with a variable wind moving the long-stemmed blossoms! I was pleased with my first attempt at using the new camera in the field. The system was capable of resolving individual scales on the butterfly wings. There were also a few species of dragonflies that offered challenging targets; the combination allowed the resolving of the individual hexagons within the large compound eyes. I had some concern the repeating hexagonal pattern in the eyes would cause moire, but none has been detected. The D800E has been quite a step up from my beloved D200.

Randy from Iowa

lifewings

Santa Fe, US
87 posts

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#12. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 11

lifewings Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Jun 2008
Sun 03-Jun-12 04:36 PM

Ahhh .. thanks Randy.

Yes moire has been a sneaky fear in the back of my mind for both bird feathering and insect eyes, scales etc. I shoot a lot of dragonflies ...

I understand moire is relatively easy to correct with the LR PS and CNX tools now available, but I have not seen how well these do with delicate feathering or compound eyes, only cloth.

Thanks for your comments ... and putting my mind to rest.

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K64drb

Blacksburg, US
324 posts

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#13. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 10

K64drb Silver Member Nikonian since 18th Feb 2012
Sun 03-Jun-12 04:52 PM

You're very welcome. I went through the same struggle on the decision between the two versions. For me it came down to peace of mind and probabilities.

I asked myself two questions. First, what is the probability that with a D800 I would ever get an image that I would be unhappy with because of a lack of resolution and detail? Second, what's the probability that with a D800E I would ever get an image with Moire in it that I would be unhappy having to deal with it?

For me, the chance of the first is zero. At that point in time, what the E might have been able to do in a side by side comparison shot is meaningless. For the second question, the risk is real. There's no way to put an exact number on it, but it is greater than zero - people are on occasion getting images with Moire in them with the D800E.

Since I am not a pro, and don't really want to worry about relying on PP to clean up the image, for me peace of mind is a real benefit and pointed me to the D800. I never have to think about the chance of Moire in an image when I take a shot. I've been totally happy with that decision.

On the DX crop matter, understand that a DX lens will still create that crop on an FX camera. So, if you have a collection of DX lenses, you can certainly use them on the D800, but you will still be getting that cropping effect. They are not designed to project an image over an entire FX image sensor. If you do have a lot of DX lenses, the good news is that the D800 in DX crop mode outperformed the D7000, and in that sense is the best DX camera Nikon currently produces as well. Again - you can't go wrong!! From now on, only buy full sized Nikkor lenses, and cropping will not be an issue.

As I said before, you are going to love either version of this camera!

Dave



gbheron

Cedar Falls, US
216 posts

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#14. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 12

gbheron Gold Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 22nd Apr 2007
Sun 03-Jun-12 04:55 PM

Greetings, again, Beverly,

I had the same concern since a few incidents of moire have shown up in photographs taken with the D200, most recently in shots taken for a local contractor. The were taken in harsh sunlight with fairly small apertures (f/8-f/11); the pattern showed up in shingle and brick runs on houses. My preferred subjects are in nature, not in architecture or fashion, but you know how one gets "recruited" into other areas when you have a big black camera! Dragonflies are one of my most loved subjects, and the 200 mm Micro-Nikkor is my favorite close-up lens for critters; the 300 mm f/4 AFS is the second choice.

Happy shooting,
Randy

walk43

Pennsylvania, US
719 posts

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#15. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 11

walk43 Registered since 07th Feb 2012
Sun 03-Jun-12 05:47 PM | edited Sun 03-Jun-12 05:58 PM by walk43

Randy,

By looking at your list of equipment in your profile I have a feeling that you have a lot more experience than I do. But just in case...when I encounter a lot of wind and/or surrounding brush, leaves, branches, etc. that prohibit me from keeping a locked on AF-C, I switch to AF-S or ususlly manual focus and up the shutter speed to 2x + focal length, stop down a stop for a little extra DOF and up the iso (on the D800 that's not a problem). I seem to get many more keepers that way. I still have trouble getting good hexagons on the eyes of dragonflies when I hand-hold however.

PS: Interesting that you prefer your 300 f/4 second to your 200 micro. I use my 105 vr as my first choice (no 200 micro)and my 300 f/4 second. Why don't you like the 105 vr second...I guess it's working distance for the dragonflies but what about other bugs where you can get close?? Do you still prefer your 300 over the 105?

Dan
(Nikon D800,V2,Sony HX400V,Lumix ZS40)
"I don't read, I just look at pictures" - Andy Warhol

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gbheron

Cedar Falls, US
216 posts

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#16. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 15

gbheron Gold Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 22nd Apr 2007
Sun 03-Jun-12 08:16 PM

Good afternoon, Dan,

I love the 105 mm VR; it is the favorite for flowers. I assume many of the insects encountered will be too camera shy to be approached with the shorter lens. Longer focal lengths also provide a more comfortable distance from wasps, hornets, and bees. Even on the D200, the individual hexagonal elements of dragonfly compound eyes have been resolved using the 300 mm f/4 AFS with the Nikkor 1.4x TC attached. The camera is usually set to manual at 250th and f/11 with some combination of flash units. I rely on the flash duration to be my effective shutter speed so the subject is immune from my movements. I would miss most of my shooting opportunities with skittish insects if tripod use was mandatory. I certainly agree some insects would tolerate the closeness of the 105, but I never know when the photo opportunity for a rare dragonfly, butterfly, or cicada killer will arise!

Happy "bug" hunting,
Randy

walk43

Pennsylvania, US
719 posts

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#17. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 16

walk43 Registered since 07th Feb 2012
Sun 03-Jun-12 08:36 PM

Thanks Randy,

I have the TC-17EII that I got for my 70-200VR, 105 vr and 300mm f/4. Have you tried the TC-17? From what I hear, the 14 and 17 are not much different regarding IQ? But my experience is that the 17 leaves me wanting for crisper pics. What's your opinion?

Dan
(Nikon D800,V2,Sony HX400V,Lumix ZS40)
"I don't read, I just look at pictures" - Andy Warhol

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gbheron

Cedar Falls, US
216 posts

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#18. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 17

gbheron Gold Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 22nd Apr 2007
Sun 03-Jun-12 10:16 PM

Hello Dan,

No, I have not used anything other than the TC-14EII. I was really surprised it performed so well with the 300mm f/4. I forgot to mention I never use AF on my close-ups, and have never used the 105 VR function when shooting close-ups.

Happy shooting,
Randy

ljordan316

Inverness, US
830 posts

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#19. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 18

ljordan316 Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2010
Mon 04-Jun-12 08:23 PM

I shot birds with my D800 all weekend. I used a 200-400mm f4 with a 1.4x teleconverter. I was using a Gitizo tripod and Wimberley head and panning a lot.

I had no issues. I cranked the ISO up to 1600 and got some great images. The dynamic range is excellent when it comes to dropping the white feathers down a notch and bringing out shadows in post. I did find that it helped with sharpness and details if I kept my shutter speed up around 1/1600s or higher.

Larry Jordan

D800E, D500, 14-24, 16-35, 24-70, 70-180 Micro, 80-400mm AF-S, 500mm AF-S II

Website:
http://larryjordan.smugmug.com/

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Billsnature

US
27 posts

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#20. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 19

Billsnature Registered since 22nd Apr 2012
Mon 04-Jun-12 10:51 PM

I have both D800 and D800E. I was nervous about the possibility of Moire in bird feathers with D800E, but dispite my best efforts have not been able to create it. Have a few hundred shots of very close up birds with a ton of fine feather details and no moire.

That said, I don't see a whole lot of difference in detail between the two. Both are wildly better than the Canon cameras they are replacing, but not a lot of difference between the the 800 and 800E. Both are just plain great.

ljordan316

Inverness, US
830 posts

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#21. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 20

ljordan316 Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2010
Mon 04-Jun-12 11:58 PM

I made the last five bird shots at the following link with the D800:

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2740905554738.130328.1020396151&type=3&l=764c8cadd2

You can also see them on SmugMug when it gets around to posting them...at:
http://larryjordan.smugmug.com/Animals/Florida-Wildlife/13940239_x8VjnW#!i=1886655792&k=PJxjcQv

Larry Jordan

D800E, D500, 14-24, 16-35, 24-70, 70-180 Micro, 80-400mm AF-S, 500mm AF-S II

Website:
http://larryjordan.smugmug.com/

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lifewings

Santa Fe, US
87 posts

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#22. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 21

lifewings Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Jun 2008
Tue 05-Jun-12 01:09 AM

Larry, those Skimmer shots are great ... (the others too). Pretty impressive at high ISO ... Did you do any noise reduction on the birds?

Thanks.

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lifewings

Santa Fe, US
87 posts

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#23. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 20

lifewings Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Jun 2008
Tue 05-Jun-12 01:16 AM

Thanks ... This is heartening. I just took the plunge and put my money down on an 800E, and hopefully my experience (once I get my camera) will be just as moire-free as you and others are reporting.

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Gromit44

UK
730 posts

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#24. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 20

Gromit44 Registered since 04th Jan 2012
Tue 05-Jun-12 10:42 AM | edited Tue 05-Jun-12 11:06 AM by Gromit44

>I was nervous about the possibility of Moire in bird feathers with D800E, but dispite my best efforts have not been able to create it.

Bill - have you encountered any moire when shooting other subjects with the 800E (e.g. buildings or fabrics)?

ljordan316

Inverness, US
830 posts

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#25. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 22

ljordan316 Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2010
Wed 06-Jun-12 10:46 PM

Yes, the D800 does produce a good bit of noise at 1600 ISO even in moderate shade/shadow. I used ACR 7.1 to remove the noise in part of the skimmer images. When I open them into CS6/PS, I open them as smart objects and then copy them to another smart object layer. I go back to the lower layer, double click on it to open it back in ACR and crank the noise reduction to zero. When I OK the change and get back to PS, I either use a brush to paint away the noise in the top layer or use a mask to get rid of an entire area of noise.

It gets pretty fast after you do it a few times. I do not envy people who do no use CS5 or CS6 to remove noise. I tried using Nik and Topaz plug-ins to reduce the noise, but they took away too much detail where I wanted to keep it. I do sometimes use the plug-ins after I merge the two lowest layers of smart objects where I eliminate most of the noise.

Hope this helps!

Larry Jordan

D800E, D500, 14-24, 16-35, 24-70, 70-180 Micro, 80-400mm AF-S, 500mm AF-S II

Website:
http://larryjordan.smugmug.com/

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dankeny

Roland, US
1555 posts

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#26. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 7

dankeny Gold Member Nikonian since 29th May 2006
Wed 06-Jun-12 11:50 PM

Well, not quite right. You do not get more area on the subject with DX, but with same pixel count you get more pixels on the subject. That's why many of us carried two bodies. In my case D700 and D7000. Quality aside, if I needed more reach, I would shoot the 7000 over the 700. That's one reason that the D800 is a game changer for me. The D800 DX crop puts more pixels on the subject than the D7000.

David

Billsnature

US
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#27. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 24

Billsnature Registered since 22nd Apr 2012
Thu 07-Jun-12 12:45 AM

>>I was nervous about the possibility of Moire in bird
>feathers with D800E, but dispite my best efforts have not been
>able to create it.
>
>Bill - have you encountered any moire when shooting other
>subjects with the 800E (e.g. buildings or fabrics)?

I have not shot any pictures of buildings or Fabrics so I have no comments what so ever.

I am perfectly aligned with the OP questions about birds and wildlife. If it doesn't have feathers, fur, a snowcap or is made of rock, I have very little interest in shooting it.

And hair and fur are not the same thing!

Bill

ericbowles

Atlanta, US
10524 posts

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#28. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 0

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
Thu 07-Jun-12 12:17 PM

Just a few comments on using the D800E. I have more than 2500 frames of birds and another 2500 of events, macro, and landscape. I've used it with a flash and in natural light, with everything from a 16-35 to a 600 f/4 with a teleconverter, and in all types of light conditions including low light and bright light with high contrast.

My initial worry was with birds - specifically moire on the feathers. I still need to do some testing of birds with iridescent feathers - like a grackle in full sun. But with all the bird images so far, there is no sign or moire even in fine detail.

The event images were the best candidates for moire - clothing with fine detail, silk fabrics, and another event with American flags. I have not seen a single frame with any moire.

My sense of moire is that it seems to turn up within the area of apparent focus but not at the focus point. Moire is often created by downsizing - and may not exist in the full image. I have seen this both with embedded JPEG's from the camera and in prints from TIFF's created in Lightroom.

For me, the added "reach" from a DX field of view was useful with the D300/D7000 because of the ability to tightly frame an image. But once you have enough reach, the depth of field and subject isolation is much more important. The critical moment for me was standing next to another photographer who was using the same lens - a Nikon 200-400 - and a D700. His images had much better subject isolation than mine from a D300. My images were okay - his were ready to be published. I find using a longer lens near wide open produces much better backgrounds than I could get with a DX camera.

The D800E is a fantastic camera. Image quality is better with every lens compared to my D300 and D7000.

One thing to keep in mind is that at the wide end, FX has a lot more distortion than DX. Again that crop factor is at work. 16mm on an FX camera can result in a lot of keystoning so I pay a good bit more attention to the plan of the camera vs. the subject.

The D800/D800E is spectacularly sharp for the area that is in focus. But that means the areas out of focus are noticeably soft. So you do need to pay attention to depth of field and be a bit more precise than with DX. If part of your composition is soft, it really shows up.

Hope this helps. There is definitely a learning curve but I have not run into any issues that cause any real concern.

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ljordan316

Inverness, US
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#29. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 28

ljordan316 Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2010
Thu 07-Jun-12 09:23 PM

I have taken may shots now of birds with my D800. The only issues I had was a shorter DOF than I am accustomed to with a D300 and a wish for a larger image buffer. Using 21 points of auto focus and continuous focus, I missed many bird shots last week. My 200-400mm is usually dead on and fast with the D300. For some reason I was focusing on about everything except the bird's head with the D800. With the short DOF, many images were throw aways.

I also had to turn off my SD card as backup because I kept running out of buffer space and missing shots.

Larry Jordan

D800E, D500, 14-24, 16-35, 24-70, 70-180 Micro, 80-400mm AF-S, 500mm AF-S II

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lifewings

Santa Fe, US
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#30. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 29

lifewings Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Jun 2008
Thu 07-Jun-12 09:56 PM

That's a bit disturbing to hear ... what f/stop were you using?

Is it possible to set the cards to be sequential versus functioning as a back-up like you can on the D7000?

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ljordan316

Inverness, US
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#31. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 30

ljordan316 Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2010
Fri 08-Jun-12 02:49 AM

Most of the time I was shooting at f7.1 and 1/2500s to 1/6000s at ISO 1600. I probably should have removed the polarizer, but it is internal to the 200-400mm and I did not have with me the plain glass version that comes with the lens. That was costing about one f-stop.

Larry Jordan

D800E, D500, 14-24, 16-35, 24-70, 70-180 Micro, 80-400mm AF-S, 500mm AF-S II

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steveZ

Englewood, US
441 posts

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#32. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 1

steveZ Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Apr 2007
Fri 08-Jun-12 05:17 AM

"Some of the images on the link below where taken with a D800 such as the Great Heron with a fish. "


i'm dying to know what af setting work for scenes like these please?
also do these pictures come from mostly one region? thanks!
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ljordan316

Inverness, US
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#33. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 30

ljordan316 Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2010
Fri 08-Jun-12 04:40 PM | edited Fri 08-Jun-12 05:53 PM by ljordan316

I have used Dynamic-Area AF with 21-point as my selected focus type with the D800 so far. It worked fine when shooting HDR from a tripod, but not for shooting birds flying. That mode always worked well for me for the D300 regardless the subject. Especially for shots of birds at a distance, the D800 seems to randomly decide where within or near the focus point to actually focus.

As soon as my D800 comes back from Melville, I intend to go shoot at 51-point, 3D-tracking and Auto-area AF to see if I get more images in focus.

I am using Nikon View NX2 to look at where the camera actually focused for each bird shot. I understand there is a way to see the focus point with CS6 or ACR. Do any of you have that script?

Update: After using View NX2 to look at where I was focused on each frame, I can see that it was a combination of DOF and where I focused that caused the problems. A higher f-stop would have helped some, but I have get better and keeping the focus point on the bird and keeping the AF-On button pushed. I thought I kept it pushed while shooting multiple frames, but it is obvious that I did not. Bummer!

Larry Jordan

D800E, D500, 14-24, 16-35, 24-70, 70-180 Micro, 80-400mm AF-S, 500mm AF-S II

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ljordan316

Inverness, US
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#34. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 30

ljordan316 Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2010
Sat 09-Jun-12 11:41 PM

I just read a Nikonians post series about D800 wedding images. The guys are all saying they do not use the D800 for indoor, available light shots because it requires an ISO at or above 1000. They go on to say that their images at ISO above 1000 appear soft...and look out of focus.

I am starting to think that my bird images last week all appeared out of focus for that same reason. I get tack sharp images at low ISO, but the images I took at ISO 1600 all look soft.

I think I believed the D800 hype about low noise at high ISO and got carried away. On my next bird shoot, I plan to stay at 800 or lower with the ISO. I will have to take the circular polarizer out of my 200-400mm and not use the 1.4x teleconverter in order to keep the shutter speed up high enough to stop the wings.

I will leave the high ISO shooting to folks who have no issue with soft images.

Larry Jordan

D800E, D500, 14-24, 16-35, 24-70, 70-180 Micro, 80-400mm AF-S, 500mm AF-S II

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ericbowles

Atlanta, US
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#35. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 34

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
Sat 09-Jun-12 11:55 PM

I have some test images at ISO 6400 that are very sharp. You do get more contrast and better color at lower ISO levels, but I don't think it should completely drive your ISO selection. My guess is that ISO is not the culprit in your problem images.

Now I have seen variation by lens. My images with a teleconverter were not as sharp as those with the bare lens. They were still very acceptable uncropped, but if a crop was required I might have chosen differently. The 200-400 is a very good lens, but distant targets with a teleconverter are problematic at any ISO. My 600 f/4 is much sharper with the D800 than it was with my D7000.

I would try to stay at ISO 800 and lower even if it is not required. Lower ISO levels will generally produce better images. Faster shutter speeds are a creative dicision. The one thing I saw in your other post was that VR was engaged. VR does not help at fast shutter speeds (above 1/500 sec) and can contribute to softness.


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ljordan316

Inverness, US
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#36. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 35

ljordan316 Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2010
Sun 10-Jun-12 12:43 AM

Good point Eric re VR. By the way, the 200-400mm is my favorite lens. It is an amazing piece of hardware. I got some great images with it in Africa last year.

Larry Jordan

D800E, D500, 14-24, 16-35, 24-70, 70-180 Micro, 80-400mm AF-S, 500mm AF-S II

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ljordan316

Inverness, US
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#37. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 35

ljordan316 Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2010
Sun 10-Jun-12 03:07 PM

OK, I am getting inundated with notes from friends who have read my post saying I should never use VR on the 200-400mm f4 if my shutter speed is...well, pick a number. One guy says 1/60s, Eric says 1/500s.

I guess I have not been keeping up with posts re the 200-400mm because this is the first time I have heard this. I read the 200-400 manual when the lens arrived, and it never said anything about turning VR off above certain shutter speeds. In fact, the manual specifically says to have VR on when panning using a tripod.

You guys have really made my day. I don't have my D800 to test at the moment because it is off in Melville for left side AF fix. However, I am leaving in a few minutes to go back and shoot black skimmers on the beach with my D300 and the 200-400mm. I will compare these results with what I get when the D800 comes back.

I wish I had known this VR issue earlier...but I guess it is never too late to learn. I hope that was the only cause for my soft images with the D800 and 200-400mm.

Thanks guys!

Larry Jordan

D800E, D500, 14-24, 16-35, 24-70, 70-180 Micro, 80-400mm AF-S, 500mm AF-S II

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ljordan316

Inverness, US
830 posts

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#38. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 37

ljordan316 Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2010
Mon 11-Jun-12 01:15 AM

I went back to the beach today and shot black skimmers all afternoon with the D300 and the 200-400mm. I had the VR turned off and shot at ISO 640. The images are superb. As soon as the D800 gets back from Melville, I will go back to the beach and see if the D800 can beat the D300. Keep your fingers crossed!

Larry Jordan

D800E, D500, 14-24, 16-35, 24-70, 70-180 Micro, 80-400mm AF-S, 500mm AF-S II

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ljordan316

Inverness, US
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#39. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 35

ljordan316 Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2010
Mon 11-Jun-12 01:59 PM

I just found a great reference for the use of Nikon VR at:
http://bythom.com/nikon-vr.htm

Larry Jordan

D800E, D500, 14-24, 16-35, 24-70, 70-180 Micro, 80-400mm AF-S, 500mm AF-S II

Website:
http://larryjordan.smugmug.com/

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celine1640

BE
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#40. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 39

celine1640 Registered since 19th Jan 2013
Sun 03-Mar-13 06:38 PM

hi,
I am making investigation to upgrade my D300. would like to reactivate that post to ask a few questions on D800 and birds / wildlife.

1) is this buffer issue serious? i saw video from D Dugdale http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NuozUxh_tOU at 11:00 how serious is he guy?

2) can the MB12 grip increase the FPS or is increasing the FPS just due to FX to DX mode shift?

3) If using DX crop mode, how does the viewfinder behave? can you make proper framing or do you have to imagine where picture frame is?

Thank you for your advice.

ljordan316

Inverness, US
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#41. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 40

ljordan316 Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2010
Sun 03-Mar-13 11:53 PM

I shoot birds all the time, and I have never had a buffer issue. I only use 90 MB/s CF cards and no SD card. The guy in the video uses old SD cards for his demo/test, and he shoots 16 shots at full CH speed. I don't know anyone who shoots that many frames without pause. I shoot bursts of 3-4 frames at a time.

I do not use an MB12, so I cannot answer that question.

I did use DX mode for a while because I had a DX Tokina 11-16mm. It was a bit confusing until understood what the viewfinder crop diagram was all about.

The video reviewer is using the D800 as a point and shoot camera. It is always amazing to me when someone tries to use a $3,000 camera the way he tests it. He should be using a 5000 series or lower Nikon body.

By the way, I never worry about WB because I leave mine on 5250K all the time and correct WB in post. When you shoot in RAW, WB is a moot point. If you shoot JPEGs, then you would need to get WB right at the scene.

The tester is obviously biased towards Canon because he brushes past the incredible dynamic range of the D800 with no comment about what you get with that large 14 EV DR. Canon bird shooters regularly go to manual mode and spot metering to keep from blowing out light colored birds. D800 shooters can put the body in Aperture mode and Matrix metering and shoot away. You almost never get a blown out white bird body...only under extreme conditions.

I shot the last 24 images you see at the following link with no blown out bird bodies while shooting A mode and matrix metering and hand held. Try that with a 5D MkIII. Bet you can't get those results.

http://larryjordan.smugmug.com/Animals/Florida-Wildlife/13940239_x8VjnW#!i=2380466811&k=QT84Mqj

Larry Jordan

D800E, D500, 14-24, 16-35, 24-70, 70-180 Micro, 80-400mm AF-S, 500mm AF-S II

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celine1640

BE
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#42. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 41

celine1640 Registered since 19th Jan 2013
Mon 04-Mar-13 04:55 PM

Thank you Larry. How does viewfinder behave in DX crop mode? does it shade/darken the cropped areas? i am a bit hesitating on this as the benefit of FX is the full frame and using DX crop seems a bit contradictory with the purpose of FX.

ljordan316

Inverness, US
830 posts

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#43. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 42

ljordan316 Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2010
Mon 04-Mar-13 10:13 PM

The camera shows you the crop frame as a rectangle in the viewfinder.

By the way, I was photographing birds today at Gatorland near Orlando. I tried to fill the buffer as I was shooting BIF, and it never happened. If you have a fast CF card, you will be in fine shape.

Larry Jordan

D800E, D500, 14-24, 16-35, 24-70, 70-180 Micro, 80-400mm AF-S, 500mm AF-S II

Website:
http://larryjordan.smugmug.com/

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ericbowles

Atlanta, US
10524 posts

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#44. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 43

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
Wed 06-Mar-13 01:34 PM

I was in the same situation at St. Augustine Alligator Farm. I could easily fire 10 frames without filling the buffer. I think I filled it once out of 5 days - a tricolored heron was making multiple passes for food.



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steveZ

Englewood, US
441 posts

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#45. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 35

steveZ Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Apr 2007
Wed 06-Mar-13 05:02 PM

My tedious testing with everything reveals the 70-200 VRII focuses nearer at mid range than the ends, all cameras. This is before & after Nikon service. Of course, more obvious w/ D800.
So at 2.8, it's a problem. That Focal guy (http://www.reikan.co.uk/focalweb/) suggests this is simply a limit of optical physics in such a lens. Now what? BTW I have not seen the same degree of error with the 70-200 F4 yet. more later

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Montereyman

prunedale, US
464 posts

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#46. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 0

Montereyman Silver Member Nikonian since 18th Feb 2013
Wed 06-Mar-13 05:28 PM

I have found that many opinions are based on second hand information and conjecture which is crazy when with digital cameras it is so easy to do your own testing. I have professionally photographed weddings with DSLR's starting with the D1x and using the D2x, D3, and Canon 1d cameras. The D3 and Canon 1d were the first cameras to produce usable image of people with good skin tonality at ISO 3200. The D3 was usable up to ISO 6400 in many circumstances - it depends a great deal on both the color output temperature of the available light sources and the color of the individuals skin and clothing. A white blond in a white dress can be shot at much higher ISO settings without noise than an Indian lady in red bridal garb.

The D800 is as good in terms of noise as the D3 at every ISO setting. This is remarkable for a 36MP FX sensor. This includes shots with fluorescent and tungsten and flash mixed lighting situations where ISO 3200 is usable 100% of the time. Often noise is the result of underexposure from using two small an aperture or too fast a shutter speed by people who do not know how to properly use their equipment under what are the most demanding situations any photographer will ever encounter. Think of focusing and shooting with only votive candles on tables with an outdoor reception at night and using just enough fill flash to provide catchlights and show colors properly. Very few cameras and very few photographers can do this to good effect. The D2x was a complete failure in these situations which is why I sold mine and moved to the Canon 1d which was superior in every way.

The buffer on the D800 shooting RAW is 15 shots and then it takes about 15 seconds to completely clear the buffer and be able to shoot even single frames again. This is the one area that is a bad design. Even when half the buffered data has been written to the CF card one cannot use the camera to take a single shot so it is important not to depend upon the buffer but use a fps speed or burst length that does not require the buffer unless it is absolutely necessary.

When you review 3000-4000 images after a weeding a few times you start to think about taking fewer shots so you have less to edit. With the better AF accuracy of the D3 cameras and the Nikon 24-70mm lens I needed fewer "insurance" shots. Same is true for bird photography where I can trust the AF of the D800 to get the subject in sharp focus even with a teleconverter.

My first experience with BIF was with the 200-400mm lens and using a 2x TC. I was pleasantly surprised to find that even at the effective aperture of f8 the D800 had no problem focusing on the birds in flight on overcast days. This would only be possible with one other Nikon camera, the D4.

Comments made on the Web by Nikon engineers and pro wildlife photographers have been in favor of the D800E for these subjects and counter intuitively the D800 is not a good choice. With regard to Moire I have only seen it with fabrics (bridal veils, in stripe shirts, stripped ties) with a repetitive pattern. Might see it when photographing zebras but I have not tested this as of yet.

The exposure meter of the D800 is no better than it was with my D3. I get mediocre results with matrix metering in most situations and find that center weighted is going to be much more accurate. With matrix and a bright sky in the frame the camera will underexpose the foreground and any subjects that are not white. I tried it with some sandhill cranes on an overcast day and with matrix metering the cranes feathers were blown out 100% of the time.

I do not bother with using the second slot's card as a "backup". I pre-test all my new cards by filling them completely with image files and then copy the data back to a folder on the PC and then open the files in Bridge or ViewNX2 so that the images are recreated and not simply the attached thumbnails extracted. Any bad sectors on the CF card are quite obvious and I then send the card back to the manufacturer for a new one. It has happened once with a Lexar and once with a Sandisk card. I lost a total of 3 images once before starting to do this new card testing and have not lost any since.

I use the SDHC exclusively for video and this means that I do not have to worry about a video taking away space I might need for a sequence of RAW image files and it also makes it easy to separate the image files from the video clips at the end of the day when uploading them to a computer. The one thing I changed with going to the D800 was to upgrade my laptops to ones with USB 3.0 ports and to get a couple USB 3.0 card readers and USB PCI cards for my workstations.

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Montereyman

prunedale, US
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#47. "More than just the megapixels" | In response to Reply # 0

Montereyman Silver Member Nikonian since 18th Feb 2013
Wed 06-Mar-13 05:33 PM

Short addendum

I did a test with the Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VR II lens photographing wildlife with both a D300 and a D3 and using RAW. Both are 12MP cameras. Reviewing the images on my monitor I found much more detail in terms of tonal range with the D3 than the D300. Nothing to do with the DR of the cameras but rather the ability of the cameras sensors to sense minute changes in color reflected from the subject and capture and process it for maximum fidelity.

Anyone examining prints made with the two cameras would assume that I had shot the D300 in JPEG mode and compressed the colors as a result. Shooting the D800 in DX mode I would not be at all surprised if it provided better image quality than those from a D7000/7001 camera.

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steveZ

Englewood, US
441 posts

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#48. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 46

steveZ Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Apr 2007
Wed 06-Mar-13 05:46 PM


>My first experience with BIF was with the 200-400mm lens and
>using a 2x TC. I was pleasantly surprised to find that even at
>the effective aperture of f8 the D800 had no problem focusing
>on the birds in flight on overcast days. This would only be
>possible with one other Nikon camera, the D4.
>

What BIF af setting work for you please?

Steve Z
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ljordan316

Inverness, US
830 posts

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#49. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 44

ljordan316 Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2010
Wed 06-Mar-13 06:28 PM

I finally filled the buffer today while shooting osprey doing battle...then I realized my buffer was full because I ran out space on my CF card! Bummer. Lost a few frames.

Larry Jordan

D800E, D500, 14-24, 16-35, 24-70, 70-180 Micro, 80-400mm AF-S, 500mm AF-S II

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steveZ

Englewood, US
441 posts

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#50. "RE: More than just the megapixels" | In response to Reply # 47

steveZ Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Apr 2007
Wed 06-Mar-13 06:32 PM

What AF settings work for you BIF? Thanks
Steve Z
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ericbowles

Atlanta, US
10524 posts

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#51. "RE: More than just the megapixels" | In response to Reply # 50

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
Wed 06-Mar-13 07:28 PM

AFC
Release priority
9 points
I use the center or one of the adjoining AF sensors

Even the best photographers won't get sharp images every time. 50-60% is very good.

Either aperture priority or manual exposure mode depending on lighting I use center weighted metering and if light is consistent but scenes change, Manual mode works better. I normally use Aperture priority for static subjects and moving subjects with major changes in light - shade to sun or clouds and full sun.

BIF takes practice. It's also better when you have some ability to track the bird.

Smaller lighter lenses work well handheld and provide mobility. Bigger lenses need to be on a tripod with a gimbal head. The 70-200 and 300 f/4 are easy to hand hold while the 200-400 is about the upper end of what can be held.



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steveZ

Englewood, US
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#52. "RE: More than just the megapixels" | In response to Reply # 51

steveZ Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Apr 2007
Wed 06-Mar-13 07:33 PM

what about dynamic area af and those?


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ericbowles

Atlanta, US
10524 posts

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#53. "RE: More than just the megapixels" | In response to Reply # 52

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
Wed 06-Mar-13 07:41 PM

I'm using the 9 point dynamic. This approach uses the 9 points around the one highlighted and selects the best one.

I think you are referring to the number of focus points. I use the 11 points rather than 51. That way I can move more quickly around the frame.

I also use AF-On for focus since I Focus and recompose a lot.

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richardd300

Dyserth, UK
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#54. "RE: More than just the megapixels" | In response to Reply # 53

richardd300 Silver Member Nikonian since 19th Apr 2009
Sat 09-Mar-13 03:49 PM

I use 11 points 3D-tracking AF mode and utilise the AF-ON button. On Eric's recommendation I use the AE-L/AF-L button and control dial set to change the image area (f6) between FX and DX crop mode. This has been very successful as I find keeping the target subject within the black border in DX mode helps hone my shooting skills for capturing birds in flight. It is easy then to change between FX and DX crop.

Richard

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RRRoger

Monterey Bay, US
3373 posts

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#55. "RE: More than just the megapixels" | In response to Reply # 54

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
Sat 09-Mar-13 11:36 PM

I have a lot of trouble shooting little birds in flight with my D800.
A D4 is a lot better, but

I am thinking that the new D7100 might become the best birding body.
Light weight for easy hand holding.
Should have fast and accurate focus and tracking.
1.5x crop built in.
Lots of pixels on the target.

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richardd300

Dyserth, UK
4502 posts

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#56. "RE: More than just the megapixels" | In response to Reply # 55

richardd300 Silver Member Nikonian since 19th Apr 2009
Sun 10-Mar-13 06:00 AM | edited Sun 10-Mar-13 06:04 AM by richardd300

<<I am thinking that the new D7100 might become the best birding body.
Light weight for easy hand holding.
Should have fast and accurate focus and tracking.
1.5x crop built in.
Lots of pixels on the target.>>

I never thought I would say this, but I am coming around to your way of thinking. I have been extremely resistant to considering the D7100, mostly because my D800 does so well for birding. However, I could have been persuaded towards the elusive D400 if ever such a camera arrives.

Despite its annoying lack of semi-pro attributes, like the AF-ON button, 10 pin connector etc, it has the potential to deliver 90% of what a semi-pro body could achieve at a very affordable price. The extra crop mode should give a stop free bonus and the 51 point focusing all helps it to achieve semi-pro credentials.

So, yes I'm with you on this and if it will do 90% of whatever a D400 will do, then it's an absolute bargain One UK dealer is even offering it already with a £120 ($180) discount!

Richard

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paustin

Palm Bay, US
60 posts

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#57. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 49

paustin Silver Member Nikonian since 01st Mar 2009
Tue 12-Mar-13 01:20 AM

I've been using my D800 all spring at the Merritt Island Wildlife Sanctuary and at the Viera Wetlands, shooting wading birds mostly. The images are superb but the frame rate is substantially less than my D300S, even in DX mode. I added an aftermarket battery grip, hoping for a significant increase in frame rate but was somewhat disappointed. I will keep my D300S for shooting fast-movers in flight, e.g. ducks and small shore birds.

Should this be a concern? For slow movers, not so much but for fast birds, a slow frame rate and rapidly flapping wings can result in a pseudo-synchrony between the shutter and the wing action, so that in a burst, you may get only two or three wing positions. I've noticed that's the case even with Great Blue Herons, a relatively slow-flapping bird.

The limitation seems to be the focal plane readout electronics. Even when operating in DX mode (many fewer pixels), the frame rate doesn't increase noticeably. I've never had a buffer overflow problem using a 20MB/s UDMA CF (Sandisk if it matters).

That said, like others, I've been delighted with the noise performance and dynamic range of the sensor. I'm a happy camper, with much better images in early morning light. As I made a trip to Washington State in December where my D300S's sensor was quite challenged by low light with eagles, I'm looking forward to taking the D800 next winter.

Paul F Austin
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richardd300

Dyserth, UK
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#58. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 57

richardd300 Silver Member Nikonian since 19th Apr 2009
Tue 12-Mar-13 06:09 AM | edited Tue 12-Mar-13 06:16 AM by richardd300

Due to extremely poor light this winter in the UK, I haven't been able to flex the my D800 for wildlife/birds as much as I would have liked. Regarding frame rates I have the same issue, especially for birds in flight, although I have missed a few shots I am hoping to increase my hit rate. I do use the MB-D12 grip which ups the frame rate to 6 fps.

For more rapid shooting with improved buffering I use my D7000.

Richard

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ljordan316

Inverness, US
830 posts

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#59. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 57

ljordan316 Silver Member Nikonian since 10th Feb 2010
Tue 12-Mar-13 09:17 AM

After the NANPA Summit last week in Jacksonville, a D4 shooter named Walt and I were side by side shooting birds in flight as well as birds standing on two different shoots. We were both using the same model of Nikon 200-400mm f/4 VR lens. During the shooting, Walt said his frame rate was between 8-10. Mine was under 5, and I would often shoot bursts of 3-6 shots and pause to be sure I had proper focus.

When we compared images after shooting together for several hours, Walt said I had better images than he.

Frame rate is over rated IMHO. Dynamic range and MP give D800 shooters a distinct advantage when all is said and done.

By the way, my total shots in four days last week was 7,600. At double the frame rate, I would been reviewing over 15,000 frames to pick the best. I believe 7,600 was enough.

UI had to order a new HyperDrive Colorspace for backup. My old 160 GB model did not cut it.

Larry Jordan

D800E, D500, 14-24, 16-35, 24-70, 70-180 Micro, 80-400mm AF-S, 500mm AF-S II

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richardd300

Dyserth, UK
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#60. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 59

richardd300 Silver Member Nikonian since 19th Apr 2009
Tue 12-Mar-13 10:49 AM | edited Tue 12-Mar-13 10:56 AM by richardd300

<<Frame rate is over rated IMHO. Dynamic range and MP give D800 shooters a distinct advantage when all is said and done.>>

Well said Larry and this is what I was eluding to. Before I bought it I didn't for minute think that the D800 would be up to the job frame rate wise. However, one learns to use the tools they have and the results I've had so far with the D800 have amazed me. One thing I do find useful is to switch to DX mode, as this concentrates the subject within a tighter area and helps hone my birds in flight skills. Just need to get some half decent weather here and I can get back to my practicing.

In short, I believe there are times when the D800 "may" not do the job frame rate wise, but the more I practice, the better it gets. Attached, the first ever bird in flight I took with the D800 and Nikon 300mm f4

Richard

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Attachment#1 (jpg file)

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ericbowles

Atlanta, US
10524 posts

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#61. "RE: Is anyone using D800 or 800E for birds and wildlife?" | In response to Reply # 60

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
Tue 12-Mar-13 05:24 PM

While I generally agree that frame rate is overrated, a high frame rate is useful for some subjects.

For example, for birds in flight there are two instances where frame rate matters. One is a simple in flight image. The ideal pose has wings at full extension up or down. You may only have a 1-2 second burst, but an extra 2-4 frames per second significantly increases the odds of having an image with an ideal pose. Even the most experienced bird photographers can't time that precisely.

The second situation is a landing bird, where a burst of 1 second captures many different wing and head positions. Again - a high frame rate provides more good choices.

On the other extreme, many sports are all about timing for a single frame. I've been with sports pros shooting a golf tournament. The generalist with a D4 fires a blast and gets a bunch of images - maybe a good one. The golf photographer is getting 1-2 specific frames and is looking for a facial expression or some other specific item. Baseball, volleyball, and many other sports are about a specific moment and the pros that cover those sports know how to consistently capture it with a single frame.

Overall, I do think frame rate is not that important. I've seen people using frame rate to bracket exposure for close ups of flowers - instead of using a tripod and getting one sharp image. I'm not a fan of spray and pray.

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