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So that’s the D800

Earl Moore Photography

Out of the woods - on the way back to the car

This photo was made as I came out of the main wooded area heading back to the car via the pathway you see in the distance. This is the end of my walk in the woods series, for now — of course there’s always future walks in the woods to consider.

Wow, interesting Nikon D800\D800E announcements. Not truly an upscale D700 or a derivative of the new D4 but something else, a class of its own and a bit narrower in it’s focus to my thinking. The numbering/naming would make you think it was an upgrade/update of the D700 but I don’t see it that way. Actually it leaves room for the D700 in Nikon’s FX series of cameras. The D700 is faster and should be far better in low light then the D800 and the D700 is far cheaper then the D4, if you can find one. I’ve got to believe with that many pixels and being full frame if there’s any weakness in your lens glass you’re going to see with this camera. Buy some more hard drives…talk about storage space for images.

I want to see the images and more of the D800 hands-on reviews before I would consider it. On my gear lust meter it’s running at about a 6.5 out of 10 at the moment. :-)

28 Comments on So that’s the D800

  1. Tell me about it, my Sony’s 25Mpixel images cuts into my hard drive like a caterpillar. It’s not just space, I need lots of RAM too, to through these images around between the Adobe tools I use. It’s crazy buying into this if it isn’t business critical, that is, you really need those pixels.

    • I like that simile, Ove: “…my Sony’s 25Mpixel images cuts into my hard drive like a caterpillar.” You can just hear those pixels munching away at the hard drive. At 36 MP, it would be a very large munching!

    • Some are comparing it more to the medium format, at least in pixel count, and perhaps that’s the target Nikon is going for…those professional who shoot studio or landscapes that could possible appreciate all those pixels. I would have been happy with a D700 that had a new sensor with perhaps 16mp, decent low light sensitivity and D700 fps speed.

    • Similar feelings like Ove’s here, except that I anticpated it and decided in favour of a tiny Panasonic G3 with just a 16 MP sensor and three primes – IQ-wise very good, weight-wise spectacular and in terms of postprocessing-chains not much more demanding than my 12 MP Sony is. The A77 would have been the natural upgrade for my DSLR, but I don’t even see the need for 24 MP, and much less so for Nikon’s 36 (which Sony will offer in an A900 replacement, too). Unless someone would offer me a big paycheque for wall-size images, I see no reason to upgrade to a purely theoretical better image quality, theoretical in the sense that I can not realize, materialize whatever better is there.

      • Markus, yes everything screams “too much” about this camera but often change is like that. I wonder if when the first 12mp digital cameras were announced if some of the same arguments were made. I’m reading and giving it some time before I decide for sure what would be the value and/or shortcomings in my own situation. I also am interested in the Olympus OM-D 16mp 4/3 camera that was recently announced.

        • To wait and let the dust settle is certainly a reasonable decision. I am all in for intelligent progress, but it has to fit the personal situation. With my commuting and/or a demanding family of 5, the big DSLR has disadvantages in terms of handling and demands for ressources. It surely would look very attractive in a different setup – and I admit that I have lusted for an A77 for quite some time, before deciding in favor of “small and light”.

  2. I had the D800 near the top of my list as a replacement for the D80, but after reconsidering, it’s at the bottom of the list. Even though there are few cameras on the planet that can match it’s image quality, it would be a bit overkill for my purposes and you bring up some good points as reasons not to buy it. Each new generation of cameras will make increased demands on every other component in a digital image system. This must be a difficult decision for professionals who need to keep on top of the competition.

    • Ken, I’m thinking overkill for my needs as well but I’m saving final judgement until a little more information is available. The only thing that makes the D800 a possibility in my case is I already have the glass for it. All my Nikon lens are full frame. Still, I’m happy it left some life in my D700. :-)

  3. I was going to tender my thoughts on the D800, too, but since you got to it, I won’t. :) It rather trips the meter as about a 4/10 for me. More pixels, albeit smaller pixels, lower ISO sensitivity than the D700, not quite what was expected, which was a smaller version of the D4. In looking at the D4, I didn’t see anything there that made me really want it. My only hope for the D800 is that it will cause a drop in the price D700 and I can get a good deal on one of those.

    I’m not interested in dropping 36 million pixels per picture. That’s 3x what my D300 does! Talk about T.M.I. :)

    • Paul, I couldn’t not comment on this one. :-)

      It’s a bit of a mystery to me what Nikon’s target was for this model. The D700 was/is such a popular camera and there seemed to be a ready upgrade market for a next generation of the camera…but this is beyond that. It’s not clear in my mind just who is the intended buyer of the D800 so I’m just going to read and listen for a while before deciding. Having all the full frame glass I’d need it comes down to the cost of the body.

      I think I read it does 15mp in DX mode. :-)

      • Well, if you do take the plunge, I know a guy who might be interested in your D700 :) The main thing that kept me from buying a D700 was that I’d have to buy more lenses. I have no full-frame glass at all.

        Now, why would I buy a full-frame camera and shoot it in DX mode all the time? LOL

        • Paul, I’ll keep that in mind, although I’m not sure I’d want to sell my D700 right away since the D700 would seem to have advantages in speed and low light. For future proofing I’ve made it a point of not purchasing any Nikon DX glass since FX glass is downward compatible. I’m not feeling a strong pull to the D800 at the moment. I’m more attracted to the Olympus OM-D that was announced last night. A strong 8 out of 10 on my equipment lust meter. :-)

  4. I’ve enjoyed the walk in the woods a lot and already look forward to your next series!

    The soft blue hues in the sky and the delicacy of the branches captured my attention in this photograph. I also like the gentle shadows on the path. What a beautiful place to go for long walks!

  5. I pretty much committed myself to the DX format 2-3 years ago. I have three DX lens and two FX lens in my bag. The FX lens are a small prime, 50mm f1.4 and the smaller 70-300mm VR lens. I like the smaller gear, it keeps my bag light which my back appreciates. As I do not print poster size images my DX sensor works for me. I also just purchased a second D300 as a backup. Using more disc space and RAM are not something I want to invest in. I’m also not one to quickly jump to the next upgrade but will wait for a generation or two. To improve my imagery requires I continue to learn how to efficiently and creatively use the gear I have, rather than go through another learning curve. After sharing all of that I must admit to lusting at the newer gear. What does draw my eye is the Fujifilm X-Pro1, but that will most likely be out of my price range. I would put my lust meter at 3-4 for the D800 and 7-8 for the Fujifilm.

    • Monte, my first two Nikon cameras were both DX (D200 & D300) but I only had three lens, two of which were FX capable, when I decided to purchase my D700. At that point it didn’t make any sense for me to ever purchase a DX lens again. The down side is often Nikon charges a premium for FX lens. The D800 seems a bit much for me…but I won’t rule it out at the moment. I’m more interested in the Olympus OM-D, also just announced….when it rains it pours I guess. :-)

  6. If I were 20 years younger, or strictly a studio shooter, the D800 would be very high on my list. But I’m not 20 years younger and even the D7000 weighs me down after a while. So, I’m more interested in smaller, lighter gear, than bigger. I’m still eyeing the Panasonic Lumix GX1 as a take anywhere camera, or the Nex-5, but now that the OM-D’s announced I’ll have to wait and see.

    • John, you bring up a good point. I hadn’t considered how my own age might be influencing my impression of the D800. Since last year when I picked up a used Olympus 4/3’s camera I’ve been enjoying shooting a smaller camera. I even took the 4/3’s to Europe with me as my primary camera and for the most part was very pleased with it’s performance. I still love my D700 and there are times only it will do, but there are also times I don’t want to lug it around. Thanks for your comment.

  7. I’d have to say my lust meter is probably hovering around 8/10. I think 36 is WAY more than I would need, but I do like the DX aspect of getting 15. I hardly ever use my D700 in DX mode just because I know I would be yearning for those files to be a bit larger. I continue to get client requests for very large prints, and the D700 really fills those quite nicely. Even though it does a really nice job, I know it could be just that much better with a bit more information. I

    The D700 has certainly spoiled me in low light performance, that’s for sure. So I was quite wary when reading the pixel pitch of the D800 (reduced by almost half). However, the D800 has a pixel pitch very close to the D7000, which gets favorable ratings on low light performance. Perhaps not a D700, but certainly not bad. If DxOMark’s comparison of the D700 to the D7000 are any indication of what the D800 will perform like, then it is some encouraging data.

    I do like having a backup camera on big trips, and to date that has been my D2X. However, the D2X is really showing its age in image quality compared to today’s cameras, and the ISO performance really gets in the way above ISO 400.

    I am still reading up on it, but I can definitely see this camera in my future – just not sure E or no E. :-)

    • Mark, there are occasions I’d like a little more information then the 12mp the D700 offers but certainly I’d never thought of 36mp, that’s almost crazy. As for low light, proof will be in the photo’s but I’ve got to believe the D800 will be noisier then the D700 in low light with the “E” model perhaps a little noisier still. But Nikon may prove me wrong and I’m sure they’ll sell a heap of them if performance and quality is decent.

      Bottom line…if the price was equal I’d rather have the D4 then the D800 which tells me those extra 20mp aren’t so high on my priority list and the D4 fits more of what I was hoping for in the next upgrade. But the price isn’t equal is it. :-)

      I don’t know what I’m going to do, if anything. I did put my name on a waiting list for the new Olympus OM-D, 16mp, 4/3’s camera today. I may stand pat for a while on the Nikon FX front.

  8. You know Earl, based on the many outstanding images you have posted over the past few years, I’m confident that you would still make great images using an old juice can and some string!

    • Steve, that’s mighty nice of you to say. Any new camera is not going to make a huge difference in my photography. It’s simply this gadget addiction I have. I’ve been unsuccessfully trying to kick it for years. I’ll be clean and sober for a while and then Nikon and Olympus release two really great cameras one day apart and I’m off the wagon. :-)

  9. I am sorry to come to the end of this delightful walk and grateful that you are talking about returning.

    Recently, my gadget lust has turned to items other than a new camera. That one comes and goes. I am relieved and enjoying the respite. It can be a terrible itch.

    • Anita, thank you and I’m glad you found it enjoyable. I’m sure there will be many more walks, delightful or otherwise. :-)

      It’s a terrible itch for sure and I can come up with all kinda reasons why a new camera(s) make sense, to me. However, there are much worst vices out there and I never buy anything I really can’t afford or pay off in a reasonable period of time, so it could be worst.

  10. A very nice shot in the woods. A great place to hike!

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