Interesting points that I have done quite a bit of thinking about!
>My comments/questions are about D800 and weddings. When I >think about the D800 in the context of landscapes, studio >work, and architecture might the camera makes sense. But I >keep reading and hearing people say that the D800 will be >great for wedding photographers, and, well, this one isn't so >clear to me. > >Maybe I'm missing something, but perhaps someone can explain >to me why this is so. > >My sense of weddings is that the light is often problematic, >i.e. not enough of it! (Just humor me and, for purposes of >this question, put aside any thoughts of being able to use >additional off-camera lighting.) So, for me, if a camera is a >"good camera for wedding photographers" then it >should have very good low-light ability. While I don't expect >the D800 to have the low-light ability of the D4 (or even >D3s), I wonder whether it will have the ability of even the >D700 at, say, between ISO 800/1000 and 3200 (and that would be >great if the D800 matched the D700 in this ISO range).
I'm a wedding photographer, and you are right that high ISO performance is critical. However, I believe that the D800 will be usable up to ISO 6400. Looking back through my last 100,000 or so wedding pics taken with my D3, only a tiny portion were at ISO 6400. Quite a few were at ISO 3200, so I believe a wedding camera MUST be clean(able) to ISO 3200. So, from a high ISO performance standpoint, I think the D800 is fine.
> One of the D800 beta testers >(http://weblog.robvanpetten.com/archive/nikon-d800) said >this: > >"The inherent file size can require some unusual >treatment. The large capture can make the camera sensitive to >vibration more than smaller cameras, requiring faster shutter >speeds or a tripod. Even in the studio with flash, I used a >tripod on shots done with a 200mm F/2 lens."
It is true that if you look at a 36MP image at 100% on your computer, you will be able to see the tiniest camera motion or focus inaccuracy, and that may cause the image to look blurry. However, if you look at them at the same maginification as another camera, they will be exactly the same sharpness. For instance to properly compare them to a D3, you will look at the D3 at 100% and the D800 at 58%. Then, you will likely see that they are exactly the same. This means that a print of the same size will look identical from both if you are indeed camera motion limited.
This also means that unless you improve something, the extra megapixels are wasted. In other words, you will get images of the same quality as with your D3. But you certainly won't get worse quality!
Medium format camera shooters have dealt with this for years. You have to use better tripods and faster shutter speeds in order to be able to benefit from the extra megapixels.
>This beta tester is more of studio/fashion photographer, but I >thought the comment very noteworthy in the context of >weddings.
In the wedding environment, shots of the ceremony don't need any improvement over my D3, so handholding will be fine.
However, for the formals and portraits, I want more detail than I can get with my D3, so I will have to use a good tripod to gain any improvement. Right now, I normally handhold, and with a D800 I probably wouldn't be able to do that.
>Additionally, yes, I have read that some say if you down >sample the 36mp image it might actually increase sharpness ... >and some say that down sampling improves ISO and results in a >better 12mp image than does a 12mp camera ... and that down >sampling is easily accomplished via Lightroom or PS
This is absolutely true, and this is how you can use the D800 for wedding ceremonies when you know you won't need 40x60 prints.
>... but >something about the idea of buying a 36mp camera to use it at >12mp just seems/feels odd. Of course, I wouldn't think that >any competent wedding photographer would shoot a wedding with >the expectation that down sampling is going to save >focus/movement/narrow depth of field errors.
The way I look at it is that the more advanced the machine, the more different ways it can be used. The D800, just like medium format cameras, will be used in many ways to make many different levels of image quality. The extra resolution from the 36MP will only be needed in certain situations, like studio portraits, wedding formals, and landscapes where you can never have enough resolution.
>I'm curious to know whether those who snap weddings with, say, >a digital Hasselblad, regularly down sample. Maybe they do; I >don't know.
Yes! They most certainly do!! The high ISO performance is not too good at full resolution on the medium format cameras. ISO 800 is usually max. Downsampling is the only way to get usable available light images in dark churches with a medium format.