Today I went down to Lihou to try out a new camera, the 36 megapixel monster Nikon D800. I’ll update this post over the next few days with more shots but first impressions are very good, excellent dynamic range and the typical Nikon user friendly design and of course a great price from Guernsey Photographics (they forced me to un-box it in the shop
It’s not often I get excited about equipment, it is after all just tools to do a job but this is truly an amazing piece of kit, the file sizes are huge so it’s really not worth buying unless you have some fairly heavy duty processing power. 70MB in uncompressed RAW, pushing the 12GB of ram I have. Definitely a specialist use camera.
The out of focus area seems much smoother than on an equivalent lens compared to the 12 megapixel D3’s I’ve been using for the last three years. It could be that this camera is getting close to the medium format quality. I’d heard plenty of rumors of the quality and was taking some with a pinch of salt but after a few days shooting I can honestly say it has surprised me.
The cycling picture is interesting, the auto focus seems to be very good at tracking, I decided to shoot the cyclists head on as it is a sterner test than panning. The out of focus area is amazing, the extra pixels give it a more medium format look. The autofocus delivered a very good rate of keepers when set up, probably 7 out of 10 which is more than enough for a camera not aimed at sports use.
The portrait is an outdoor one taken today with my 70/200, just using natural light and a reflector. Again the out of focus area is very high quality, this was f/4, iso 400 and 1/200th of a second. The crop of the eye shows the full 36mp off well!
I’ve had no problem with sharpness as you can see hand held on the portrait, many folk talk of problems getting sharp shots but I was using a normal shutter speed on the portrait and had no problems at all.
I’ve not done any high iso shots because to be honest that is not the way I shoot. No cat pictures either, sorry :0) I’ll continue the test over the next week and update here in a couple of days with more thoughts.
A natural light portrait again, just a reflector. I’d intended to do a more detailed ocf test but sadly the wind she blew!!!
March 28th update
The first few pictures from my March 28th update were to test light fall off into the shadow area, something that my contrasty style has suffered from due to the noise in the dark areas. The 800 is a huge improvement on my D3 in this aspect with a very smooth and far less noisy transition.
The last three shots here were testing the dynamic range of the camera, I shot into the sun and used my off camera flash to light my subject (Bee). Once I’d got the pictures home and run them through LR4 I was very impressed. The recovery slider has been greatly improved and as you can see even the strands of hair have been brought back where as they would have been blown out and un recoverable.
Processing in LR4 is quick, I’ve not noticed much difference from my D3 files and it seems to use 2-3GB of ram when processing (I have 12).
I use both card slots in RAW, writing to one and backing up to the other mainly due to my wedding work. I’ve purchased some 32GB cards and get a total of 400 pictures on each card! If anyone remembers the old 256MB cards I’d get 3 pictures out of one I’ll be shooting some studio pictures this weekend so hopefully will be able to post an update on Saturday.
This morning I tried some more landscapes, normally I’m gone before the sun has risen this high as I’m more of a dark and moody sort on the landscape front. There has been a fair bit of mist around lately though and this allowed me to shoot into the sun long after it had risen. The detail in the full size file is pretty good, I’m waiting for a clear morning so I can really see the sharpness and depth of field the 800 is capable of.
I used the 24-70 for this shot, I have a 14-24 which is super sharp but I haven’t got the filter adapter for it yet. I’ll look into that for this coming winter as I think that is the best landscape lens currently available.
Look out for more tests this weekend as I am shooting in the studio and also out and about with more ocf.