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walkerr

Colorado Springs, US
16975 posts

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walkerr Administrator Awarded for his con tributed articles published at the Resources Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in multiple areas Master Ribbon awarded as a member who has gone beyond technical knowledge to show mastery of the art and science of photography   Donor Ribbon awarded for his most generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 05th May 2002
Sat 28-Apr-12 06:09 PM

If you're contemplating a D800 and reading some of internet angst regarding it, I'll offer up a few thoughts based on shooting with it for a while:

- The image quality is really something else. It's not just the resolution, but also the dynamic range. Especially when combined with LR4, raw files are very flexible. You can stretch shadow detail, recover highlights and end up with a quality that's remarkable. You can avoid having to merge images in Photoshop or use HDR in some situations. It's like the same jump in flexibility and quality that I saw when I first got a D3, but maybe more so. Don't fixate on the resolution. There's much more to this camera than resolution (although it's mind boggling at times).

- You're not likely to see what it can really do with in-camera sharpening. It's too coarse. Try smaller radius sharpening or preferably a sharpener that can do deconvolution sharpening (Photoshop's Smart Sharpne, Lightroom/ACR, or Topaz InFocus).
- Autofocus works great in my limited experience, but doesn't seem dramatically different than before. Just because I knew people might ask, I tried the far left, center, and far right AF sensors with my 85mm 1.4 wide open. No errors.

- The construction quality is comparable to the D700 - very high quality.

- D700 users will immediately take to the camera and will barely notice they're shooting with a different body. It's that similar as a whole. The minor differences are just that - minor differences.

- Matrix metering is improved over previous Nikons and isn't "hot" like the D700.

- Auto white balance yields more neutral results in flourescent and incandescent lighting than before unless you use the "preserve warm tones" option.

- It's great having an accurate (100%) viewfinder.

- The LCD might have a very, very mild greenish tint, but it's miniscule and nothing I would ever worry about.

- The reversed exposure controls initially threw me, but I've come to prefer them and now have my other Nikons set that way.
- All of my lenses seem to function well with it. No unexpected behaviors. Good ones remain good. Great ones remain great.

- I get nice images at ISO 6400 when processed in LR4 with a minor amount (15-20) of luminance noise reduction and effective use of the masking slider. It's not just a low ISO camera. The colors remain vivid at that ISO setting.

- No special problems handholding it. My past guideline of 1/2*focal length for lenses without VR remains good.

- It's very easy to focus manually on the LCD in Live View mode, and the function works better than it did on the D700 (more like the D3s or D3x, but better). For optimal manual focus, open up the aperture to its widest setting and then stop back down.

- The revised auto ISO function is super. Having it automatically vary based on the focal length, coupled with individual overrides for steadiness (or lack thereof) is a great feature. Being able to switch between fixed ISOs and auto ISO via the front sub-command dial is brilliant.

- There are many thoughtful enhancements. Take time to explore the user's manual.

- If your computer is getting a bit old or is low on RAM, either be patient or plan on upgrading.

All in all, I love it. It may be the most satisfying Nikon I've ever owned, and I look forward to greater use of it. It's definitely not a one-trick pony by any means. I'm not certain I need its sister D800E model that's still on order, but we'll see. I gave my D700 to my son, so my past plan of using it as a backup has changed.

BTW, I got mine at Mike's Camera in Boulder, Colorado. Great staff, and it's nice to support a local business.

Hope this helps!





Rick Walker

My photos:

GeoVista Photography

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