D800 Upgrade Feedback Needed
Good day folks.
It has been a while since I posted here at Nikonians. Life had me really busy. I've been shooting with my D300 ever since its release but only recently have I decided that I can afford an upgrade as my D300 is really beaten up.
Can anyone here help guide me in the right direction? Is the 800 a viable upgrade from the D300 or shall I keep holding my breath for an actual update to the D300 (the oft rumoured D400).
I hear many complaints of focus issues with the D800 and is it simply because of the resolution? I'm quite pleased with 12MP .. I can just imagine the rendering, processing, editing times associated with full resolution images from the D800. I imagine the D800 has the ability to dumb down the jpeg sizes but what about the RAW files? Can these be dumbed down to lower res for those events where full res isn't needed?
Also, do focus issues improve with lower res? Does anyone have any experience with this?
I've asked my local camera shops and those guys aren't really schooled in the actual camera choosing only instead to continually give the typical sales pitches about the resolution....we all know that higher resolution is not the primary selling point of any camera.
Any information you guys can shoot back including your own views, experience, likes, dislikes etc. would be appreciated. Dropping 3k on a body is not something I want to do without being as informed as I can.
Any reply is greatly apprecaited.
#1. "RE: D800 Upgrade Feedback Needed" | In response to Reply # 0andrewwx Nikonian since 15th Aug 2008Fri 17-Aug-12 01:28 PM
I upgraded to the D800 from a D200.
My D800 had some focusing issues but I had it repaired at El Segundo and now it is fine. I have read the D800's coming off the line are free of the problem.
Coming in from the D200 it had quite a learning curve and I admit I am still getting used to it. I have Hogan's guide and look forward to getting digital darrel's guide as well. You need to know the camera and likely improve your technique some to get the best from the camera.
I am quite happy with the D800, but like you it was not a slam dunk decision. I was really hoping for a camera that was 92 percent of a D4 like the D700 was to the D3. Since I shoot motor-sports and soccer I sort of liked the idea of a D400 but I felt like that might be a mirage. So I have a D800. First question is your glass - do you have all the FX glass you need? If not it will be expensive. The only lens I had to upgrade was my full frame fisheye so it was not too bad. Do you like the extra reach afforded by shooting DX? It took a little time for me to get used to my 200-400 F4 not reaching as far as it did on the D200.
So far I love the focus tracking and the dynamic range. I think it shoots cleanly up to ISO 6400 (I don't pixel peep but the prints look great) I have not seen the low FPS as a problem but coming from a D200 might explain that. Things happen so fast at a racetrack or a soccer match that an extra 3FPS will not ensure you get the shot. (although the D4 11FPS...)
I have not noticed any real problems on the computer side of things I shoot 14 bit Raw lossless compressed to the CF card and .jpeg fine to the SD card. I have a Mac Book Pro Retina for my computer, but I did not notice a huge slow down on my older MacBook Pro either. Just be ready to buy bigger hard drives.
Don't skimp on the cards I use Lexar 1000x CF cards and it makes a difference.
Hope this helps a little.
#2. "RE: D800 Upgrade Feedback Needed" | In response to Reply # 0Jhoytde Registered since 25th Jul 2012Fri 17-Aug-12 01:57 PM
I also have a D300 and I did buy a D800 a few weeks ago. My D800 has no focus issues that I can detect, and I did test for it. I felt that the D400 may never come and that the resolution of the D800 would work for my photography (nature, mostly with telephotos - 70-200 f/2.8; 200-400 f/4; and 500 f/4 with and with out TC's). The D4 was more than I wanted to spend on a body.
The D800 focuses much faster than my D300 with all of my telephoto lenses. Tomorrow I'm headed out for a birding trip and will post some pics when I return. I have a few photos on this forum under "Early D800 photos". The tern is at close to a 100% crop.
As I'm an engineer in the IT field, the file sizes from the D800 have not been a issue for my equipment (Mac Pro with lots of storage and memory). However, a D800 may require some to upgrade their computers and software.
In short, I'm very happy with my D800 and can finally send my D300 to Nikon, as its lens mount has worn to where it may need replacement.
#3. "RE: D800 Upgrade Feedback Needed" | In response to Reply # 2Fri 17-Aug-12 02:25 PM | edited Fri 17-Aug-12 02:47 PM by FEvans
Thank you for the replies .... if I have one more question, it is,
Is it really worth paying more fo for the "E" ?
I shoot landscape, portraits, still life, sports and occassional nature.
A lot of handheld photography.
Current lenses included:
105mm Macro VR
All DX lenses.
I also really need to know if file sizes can be reduced ... that is, CAn I shoot jpegs in 12mp or 16 vs. the 36mp which can be a real hog on computer and storage. If the abilit to shoot smaller images is indeed available, does this also apply to the RAW setting or is all RAW shot at 36MP?
#4. "RE: D800 Upgrade Feedback Needed" | In response to Reply # 3Hawk Eyes Registered since 09th Jun 2012Fri 17-Aug-12 03:11 PM | edited Fri 17-Aug-12 03:12 PM by Hawk Eyes
This might help here is some of my work ... I would rent one first though before you make your choice. Look at D800/D800E photos on the web there are lots of good ones in many different styles. Talk is cheap try one you might love it like I do !
#6. "RE: D800 Upgrade Feedback Needed" | In response to Reply # 3PerroneFord Nikonian since 07th Apr 2011Fri 17-Aug-12 03:35 PM
>Thank you for the replies .... if I have one more question,
>Is it really worth paying more fo for the "E" ?
Not in my opinion...
>I also really need to know if file sizes can be reduced ...
>that is, CAn I shoot jpegs in 12mp or 16 vs. the 36mp which
>can be a real hog on computer and storage.
Yes. You can shoot JPG at smaller than 36Mp, or you can shoot it at 36MP but with more compression. Your choice.
>If the ability to
>shoot smaller images is indeed available, does this also apply
>to the RAW setting or is all RAW shot at 36MP?
You can shoot RAW at smaller frame sizes, all the way down to ~16MP if you are willing to shoot with a smaller frame (aka, crop factor increases all the way down to a DX equivalent)
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#5. "RE: D800 Upgrade Feedback Needed" | In response to Reply # 0
I went from D300 to D800. Plan to use the D300 as my second body so I am keeping it. I find now I want to shoot EVERYTHING with the D800. At the last wedding I had no assistant so a "volunteer" offered her help. I easily handed off the D300 with a $1,500 lens on it to her. One of my main reasons for wanting a D800 was in seeing my daughter's photography with a D700. The dynamic range over the D300 was amazing. Now that I have the D800 I am even more amazed every time I shoot with it. Stunning quality, incredible dynamic range, just all around fantastic. I have had no malfunctions or focus issues. I have a couple oil spots but those will be taken care of when my Sensor Swabs arrive.
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#7. "RE: D800 Upgrade Feedback Needed" | In response to Reply # 0
I upgraded from a D300 to a D800E. I can't see much point in buying a 36mp camera if you want to use it at a lower resolution all the time. Better, I think, to stick with a DX body. I did wind up buying a new computer to handle the larger files. My old computer had only 3GB of memory and it often wasn't enough, especially when I was trying some stacking.
I do a lot of macro work with a 180mm macro and to tell the truth, I can't see a whole lot of difference between the two bodies (other than the way Live View works). One thing I have determined is that I am not at all happy with out-of-camera JPGs. I can not find a setting that produces images that come close to what I can get using raw files. I find the in-camera sharpening really bad - it's either too soft or overly harsh. With my D300, I was quite often happy with JPGs but I have pretty much stopped even shooting them any more with the D800E. The other factor to consider is that DOF is shallower on an FX body than on a DX body.
I didn't own a mid-range, full-frame zoom. I was using the 16-85 on my D300. I decided to buy a 24-70 for the D800E. While it's a great lens, it is quite heavy and I find it pretty tiring to use as a walk-around, general purpose lens. I have also found that I can not hand-hold that lens and get sharp images at less than 1/125 sec. I'll be 63 next month, so that may be a factor. I considered the 24-120 VR, but came to the conclusion from a lot of research that the image quality wasn't quite as good. I figured if I was spending that much money on a camera, I wanted the best lens I could afford.
On the other hand, I've started using my 50mm 1.8D for general purpose, walkaround shooting and really like it. That was a lens I didn't use much on my D300, but it's great on the D800. I do a lot of event photography for work, and while I could use the 16-85 on the D800, I probably won't but will, instead, use the D300 for most events. I don't need huge files and, as I mentioned above, I usually find the JPGs of event photos out of the D300 perfectly acceptable. Converting several hundred raw files to JPGs can be time consuming. I am also worried that I will forget about the crop area in the view-finder when using a DX lens on the D800 and, in the heat of the moment, wind up with cut-off heads.
One thing that is markedly better with the D800 is high-ISO performance. I shot an event a couple weeks ago with the 24-70 using auto ISO up to 6400 with no flash and got fantastic results. I simply couldn't have done that with my D300. I rarely shot at ISO 800 with that body unless I absolutely had to. Never above that. Noise is simply not a problem on the D800, especially when the images are reduced to size for viewing on the web or for printing an 8x10.
Of course, the other advantage to the D800 is the cropping ability, which far exceeds that of the D300. I find that I still tend to frame in camera rather than relying on cropping, but it's nice to know the feature is available if, for example, the lens I have on the camera is a bit too short.
My D800E has none of the focus issues others have reported. I got mine in July, so perhaps the manufacturing bugs were worked out by that time or I just got lucky.
I mentioned Live View above. It is far more useable on the D800E because you can take a shot while in LV without having the mirror move. That's not the case on the D300. The two bodies are very similar otherwise and I felt right at home using the D800. None of the huge learning curve I had when I moved from a D40X to the D300.
All in all, making the move to the D800E and 24-70 was quite expensive. $5K for the camera and lens and another $1K+ for the new computer. Plus new, higher-capacity memory cards and a new right-angle finder. And, I don't begin to imagine that the 24-70 is the last lens I'll buy. I don't make a living with my photography, so I don't have to justify the cost of the equipment and I don't even have a wife who would question my hobby expenses, so I don't regret spending the money. But it is something to go into with your eyes wide open. I spent several months thinking it over before I decided it was the right move for me. Hope this info helps you with your decision.
My Flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dancingtuna
#9. "RE: D800 Upgrade Feedback Needed" | In response to Reply # 7Snappo Nikonian since 09th Apr 2004Sat 18-Aug-12 05:54 PM
John, I viewed your macro's on Flickr and I ended up very envious of the composition skill you exhibit with your macro images. Not sure how they can get much better with the D800.
a retired old duffer with the time to have fun,
#12. "RE: D800 Upgrade Feedback Needed" | In response to Reply # 9jhearl Registered since 16th Apr 2007Tue 21-Aug-12 10:36 AM
Thanks for the nice compliment. I think that with any new camera, there's a learning curve to extract the very best from it. I'm not fully there yet since I usually only shoot on weekends and I've only had the camera a couple months, but I'm enjoying the challenge. I have no regrets in buying the D800E.
My Flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dancingtuna
#10. "RE: D800 Upgrade Feedback Needed" | In response to Reply # 7
Thank you for the very detailed reply John and for taking the time to provide it.
I am getting glose to my decision...thankfully, I have a wife that works just as hard as I do who doesn't mind when I treat myself. (I am an advanced hobbyist and don't rely on photography to make any money but I like spoiling myself with good gear)
All of you have been really helpful. Thanks.
#11. "RE: D800 Upgrade Feedback Needed" | In response to Reply # 0
Until recently I had a D3s and a D300s. I sold the D300s and bought a D800e. And I am quite happy with it. To me the primary benefit was the ability to crop. I think the color and sharpness is spectacular. The file size is not an issue — Photo Mechanic and Lightroom do quite well with the big files. After editing a shoot and then exporting, say, a hundred images for a client, the export takes a few minutes longer than it used to, as LR has a bit more work to do on each (larger) image.
All that said, bear in mind that I do have the ability to reach for the D3s when I really don't need the extra pixels and may want the really high FPS.
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