A backup to the D4: D4 vs D800 vs Df vs D610
So here's where I'm at. 90% of my work is wedding work. I was using my D4 and my D700 as a second body but decided on selling the D700. I was finding that the photos from the 700 just looked like garbage compared to my work from the D4, and needed much more work in post. So that leaves me needing a second camera. I want to get a second body that's going to get me pretty close to what photos my D4 takes in an effort to streamline my post production and work a little smarter.
I was debating on getting a 2nd D4, because that would make the most sense, but I'm wondering if 2 D4's are overkill. I like the Df and what it can do, especially since I only shoot primes, but the lack of a grip concerns me. I'm almost 6'5" and having a smaller camera with no grip isn't always comfortable. However, I could see myself bonding with that camera and being a little more creative with it. I'm not worried about the lack of an AF assist beam, but the whole SD card thing is a bit of a bummer. Also, a single card slot doesn't bother me.
The D610 felt too cheap in my hands, but it's a great camera and it's a great price point.
The D800 is another great camera, but I think that shooting with the D800's file sizes isn't realistic for weddings.
Any thoughts on the matter? It's not that I can't afford to get another D4, it's that since I already have that camera, I'd rather be able to save a few bucks on a second and third camera body if the quality can get me close.
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#1. "RE: A backup to the D4: D4 vs D800 vs Df vs D610" | In response to Reply # 0Ferguson Nikonian since 19th Aug 2004Wed 09-Apr-14 03:55 PM | edited Wed 09-Apr-14 03:59 PM by Ferguson
I don't do weddings, but I have a D4 and use a D800 as a backup.
The big advantage of this combination is that they complement each other quite well. The D800 in good light takes better photos, not just resolution but dynamic range. The extra resolution is also great for shots where you might have either lots of detail (big group shots), or need to crop a lot (can't get enough telephoto for some reason).
It also shares a CF card slot for (one) common media, and if you buy the grip and appropriate parts it can use the D4 batteries, which is a big advantage if you think of it before buying a bunch of D800 batteries (as I did, sigh). A bit pricey, but very handy, especially since you can charge two on the charger (not at once, but at least you don't have to remember to go back and swap them). I'm also a fan of it having a calibrate mode.
The downside is that the D800 is not quite as good in low light (but I'd wager is as good as the other non-D4 alternatives, at least the D610). But it's maybe a stop, and it's complicated by all those pixels which help high ISO. And it's slower frame rate is not as nice in action shots. For me that's a real drawback for sports, but I'd wager as a second body (not so much backup body) for weddings it's a non-issue. The occasional fast action just use the D4.
Personally I'd do the D800 before the D610 not because the D610 is a bad choice, but if you are going to invest that much in a second body, why not have one with the added resolution for when you do want it. And really -- are the larger images that much of a burden on most computers? It's certainly not a drag while shooting, it's just post processing.
Incidentally, I think of it as a second body, not a backup body. If I were doing weddings (or other once-in-a-lifetime events), I'd want to make sure I could use it solely if the D4 went south, and I was waiting weeks for repair. I never shoot anything that important; if I did, I'd have to get another D4. There are times when I don't think I could do nearly was well with just the D800. But I don't do any life-changing events, if I don't get shots, usually no one notices. You live in a whole different world.
I think any of these would be adequate as backup (well, not sure about Df -- I just know nothing about its utility, all those knobs... ). But 99% of the time you'll be using it as a second body, not a backup body, which is why it's nice to see if you can get one that fills niches the D4 doesn't do well.
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#2. "RE: A backup to the D4: D4 vs D800 vs Df vs D610" | In response to Reply # 1Amblin_xi Registered since 05th Apr 2014Wed 09-Apr-14 05:11 PM
The Df is probably not a very good choice, the grip is too small and not very comfortable especially with large fast lenses. Plus if you plan to get a secondary/back up body you'd expect the controls remain as close as possible, the 'classic' knobs and lay-outs on the Df are sure fun to use and functional but won't fit the job very well.
I'd say the more cost-efficient way is to try find a decent deal on a USED D4 body.
#3. "RE: A backup to the D4: D4 vs D800 vs Df vs D610" | In response to Reply # 0
I bought my Df November 27th, the day it was released. At the time I also had the D3X, D700 and D800. I sold the D700 but still have the D800 and D3X. I find I prefer the images from the Df over the other two bodies and find I have been gradually using only the Df. I use the Df not only with my primes but also handhold the AFS 500mm f4 and the new AFS 80-400mm. I never give the size of the grip a second thought. I'm not 6'5" but I am 6'1" and of average build. My only complaint is where they put the SD card. It's awkward when changing cards when mounted on a tripod or with a flash mounted.
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#4. "RE: A backup to the D4: D4 vs D800 vs Df vs D610" | In response to Reply # 0
I'm primarily a wildlife-theatre (low light)-event-street photographer, but I have shot two weddings with a D3s and a D800. I've since replaced the D3s with a Df. For me, in every way it it was great move.
• I gained a better sensor. You'd have matching sensors.
• I saved weight. For me, event shoots (usually 2-3 hours) with the D3s and flash on bracket left my elbows locked.
• The 24-70mm f/2.8 or similar on the Df, to me, feels fine. Even 80-400 is good — the weight is on the left hand which finds a “new” balance point. It doesn't matter what body hangs off the back.
Drawbacks: one card slot makes me a bit uneasy — but it’s really no different than when we shot film. The grip issue is not what it’s been cranked up to be — holding the flat-front lighter body is fine. Unless, perhaps, you have large hands.
You might rent one…
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#6. "RE: A backup to the D4: D4 vs D800 vs Df vs D610" | In response to Reply # 4IrishFritz Registered since 25th Apr 2013Thu 10-Apr-14 12:19 AM
A D4 is not overkill, or now a D4S. There is nothing out there that can equal the FPS, the buffer capacity, the up load rate and now the download rate and the AF.
The build quality is un- surpassed and the shutter longevity is legendary. As you well know, the D4-D4s are perhaps the most universally competent cameras in the Nikon line. Since you are a professional, you already understand the justification for another used D4 or new D4s. And of course, your controls, batteries, and cards are identical. The D800 is a superb studio camera that certainly would excel at the formal portraits section of your commission but I don't think it would be well suited to candids. The Df has a reputation as a fine camera as well but then you would be having to switch to different controls and both the memory and the battery life are limited in comparison to your D4 and the frame rate is significantly slower. In addition to my D4, I recently purchased a 610 to replace a D700 that was stolen from me last summer. I am afraid that I'm not warming up to the 610 as I had hoped. It is a fine camera but it's Af, low light capacity, and frame rate are inferior to the D4. My thought would be to find a low click D4 and have both bodies identical.
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#5. "RE: A backup to the D4: D4 vs D800 vs Df vs D610" | In response to Reply # 0
I would go with the D800. The D610's small AF area coverage would cause you some grief, and the Df's single card setup is a serious risk for once-in-a-lifetime event recording. I know you've said you're not bothered by that, but some people on Nikonians have reported breaking the little SD cards, and the only card that ever failed me was an SD card that hadn't really been used very much. I couldn't get the camera or the computer to read it, nor could I reformat and reuse it. I think that the Df is way cool, but as soon as I saw that it had only one card--and an SD card to boot--I dismissed it altogether.
The D800 is a great camera. The file sizes shouldn't be a problem since buying bigger cards, and perhaps more hard disk space, will cost a lot less than the price differential between the D4s and D800. (I don't think that you can get D4 bodies now, just the more expensive D4s.)
#7. "RE: A backup to the D4: D4 vs D800 vs Df vs D610" | In response to Reply # 0
I'll chime in, thinking out loud about a few things, I am a D4/D800E shooter. Mostly concert/theatre and wildlife as well as family travel. Have a lot of respect for you wedding guys!
- I'm such a huge fan of the D4 sensor that would likely steer me towards the Df. I like how this sensor output is so malleable, it makes up for my exposure errors in post, and it's got enough resolution that it can support some cropping too. Not too long ago 16mp was considered decently if not high resolution. I notice that I have become a tight shooter with my D4, I rarely have to crop a lot, usually just for artistic reasons. So aside from birding I don't have to crop it much.
- A used D4 was listed here locally for $5,000. I see it sold quickly, it is gone now. I can put you in touch with a couple local Canadian retailers if a brand-new $5500 D4 with 2-year warranty makes sense.
- I would give serious consideration to a D4S, expensive currently (here in Canada it is $7,000), but nice images and features. I would love to have one of these!
- Timeline won't work for you but a D800S with improved high ISO management (let's say a 2/3-stop improvement in high ISO noise) would be a heckuva camera.
- I do like my D800E. It's just not the high ISO beast that my D4 is. It takes PP to do selective NR and in my case for concert/theatre with the spotlights dynamic range is an issue (highlights can blow on me). So it doesn't handle the toughest lighting as easily as the D4. Great camera though and yes could make a good 1-2 duo for weddings! It looks like I will be selling a lightly used D800 for my good friends widow, it doesn't make sense for her to keep a camera of this magnitude.
- I was also a D700 user and looking back on it from a perspective of the D4 and D800E, I like the newer cameras output better.
Best regards, SteveK
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#8. "RE: A backup to the D4: D4 vs D800 vs Df vs D610" | In response to Reply # 0
Ron, while I try to avoid weddings "like the plague," because I find them the most stressful genre of photography in existence, especially when the bride is saddled with a controlling mother, I still do some wedding by request of long time clients.
While I don't think adding a D4, or D4S to your arsenal is overkill, (I have 2-D4's.), according to how you work weddings, I think the D800 would likely be a better choice (I have a D800 too.)
I wouldn't let the D800 file size put you off, but if low light is really critical, on the other hand, the D800 isn't quite as good as the D4/D4S.
A moment for background. I primarily look at the D800 as a specialty camera, especially compared to the D4/D4S. It is great at landscapes, macro, and portraits. It is the latter use, portraits, which makes it a great addition for a wedding camera. At weddings you definitely have a group of mandatory posed portraits you take of particular situations, and of particular people and groups of people.
So, here's my thinking. If this other camera you're considering is a 2nd camera, a camera which you'll be using back and forth with the D4, then I'd likely get a D800 to complement your D4, primarily for all those portraits made during the wedding, plus, if difficultly arises, it could pinch-hit for the D4, though in low light, you'll have to remember it's performance isn't quite what you get with the D4, though it's quite good.
If for your work, low light is really critical, though I doubt it is, and the camera is to be a backup, see if you can pick up a used/reconditioned D4, as I'll bet there are some who are dumping theirs to change to a D4S. That will keep the price down to an extent.
If you use assistants often, then another D4 also makes sense, for the assistant to use.
All that said, I think the D800 is most likely the way to go for you, with a grip of course. I'd upgrade the D800's grip's battery door too, so you can use the same EN-EL18/EN-EL18a in both cameras.
Let us know what you decide and why, if you could, as that would likely help others down the road make similar decisions.
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#9. "RE: A backup to the D4: D4 vs D800 vs Df vs D610" | In response to Reply # 0
You know what you are wanting. You want to buy a second D4 "used". Do it and be happy while shooting weddings. Right choice
#10. "RE: A backup to the D4: D4 vs D800 vs Df vs D610" | In response to Reply # 9Cowleystjames Nikonian since 02nd Mar 2013Fri 11-Apr-14 04:45 AM
I have a D4s with a D800e, not as a back up, but as a second camera.
Generally, I have the 70-200 on the D4s and 24-70 on the D800e. File sizes to me, aren't an issue but I've had a couple of people asking for a A2 print and the D800e just delivers at that image size. Okay, some computers may struggle with those raw file sizes, but that's a sign that your system needs upgrading.
Tried the Df, and as good as it is, and it was, I just didn't feel comfortable holding it.
I'm six foot four with big hands, and it felt too small and I wasn't comfortable holding it. Sadly, with the 70-200, it didn't balance in my hands.
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