Mon 24-Dec-12 10:45 AM | edited Mon 24-Dec-12 10:54 AM by jamesvoortman
Great pic Stan - as usual!
This forum is full of posts asking the same thing in different ways. I also come from years of D300 experience (D200, D70 before that) and have had to make some adjustments.
The D800 has the highest pixel resolution currently available in 35mm format. This means you can look deeper into the images when viewing on your computer - and you are thus more likely to see imperfections that would not appear in a print of normal size, or when viewed normally on a monitor. Try downsizing your D800 images to 12 Mp and compare them with images shot on your D300. I'm betting the differences will be less apparent but you will see a lot less noise and better shadow detail with the D800 pics.
Depth of field : Using the same lens and same aperture on D300 and D800 you will find the actual depth field is the same in that the in-focus region starts and ends at the same distances from the camera but since the D300 shoots a DX crop its images will appear to have relatively MORE depth of field because of the narrower field of view.
Putting it another way : Shoot an image at about 80mm with your D800. When using your D300, you'll need a 50mm focal length to give about the same field of view. Shot with same settings in the same light, the D300 image will have relatively more depth of field.
Adjsutments you can make : 1) Shoot your D800 in DX crop mode - the viewfinder image may appear smaller but the results should be better than your D300 because of the superior sensor in D800. 2) Be prepared to go smaller than f11. People over-rate the diffraction issue. It is better to have your focus (theoretically) slightly degraded by diffraction at small f-stops than to have large portions of a landscape photo in soft focus because you wanted to avoid diffraction issues! I had my first good mountain scenery session with my D800 recently and in spite of the new 24-120VR being vastly better than my old 18-200, I was caught by the aperture thing in the same way. I used mostly f10 to f13 which would have been good enough with the D300 - but my shots show me that I should have used f16 to f22
Focus/Sharpness issue : The D300, like all DX cameras, takes the sweet-spot out of FX lenses so you can expect better corner to corner focus but you need wider lenses with more distortion to get the same field of view. The smaller pixel pitch of D800 also means that a small amount of camera movement during exposure will be more visible. I have also noticed that I can feel the movement of the relatively bigger (heavier) mirror when activating the shutter. Adjustments you can make : 1) use higher shutter speed when handholding. Typically I am finding that I need to use shutter speeds of 2x 1/focal length. e.g. 1/125 with a 50mm lens and 1/250 with a 105mm 2) brace the camera more securely when shooting by using your body, knees, face to stiffen the hold. Use VR if available on your lenses. 3) use Mup release mode or set a mirror/shutter delay time in custom settings when using the camera on a tripod. This helps to reduce mirror induced vibration 4) read the D800 technical guide Here (select your D800 with the "Select Product" button and then select "User Manuals").
I am getting some wickedly sharp and extraordinarily detailed images from my D800 - so when it does not deliver I know that the reason was poor technique on my part.