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Nikon D800 test

Discussion in 'Nikon Chat' started by Tim Coleman, Apr 6, 2012.

  1. Tim Coleman

    Tim Coleman AP Deputy Technical Editor

    I have had the Nikon D800 for the last few days and have it up with me in the Lake District this weekend. I've already shot some Portraits, action sequences, a bit of low light and now for some landscapes - praying for some sun up here but it doesn't look good!!! Ruddy north ;-)

    As usual, is there anything you are particularly interested in to read in my review? Comment in the next couple of days or forever hold your peace!
  2. Tim Coleman

    Tim Coleman AP Deputy Technical Editor

    ...oh and the resolution charts are very good indeed!
  3. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    Just to wind you up, plenty of sun down here. :D

    DxOMark scored it their number 1 in terms of sensor performance. :)

    I look forward to reading you article on the test.

    Admit it you don't want to give it back. :rolleyes: :p
  4. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

  5. Jacqui Jay

    Jacqui Jay Grasshopper's Sage

    Macro shots, if at all possible, please.
  6. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    Sun is for tourist board snaps.
    The lake district is about ethereal mist at a tarn with a backdrop of hills receding into ever increasing gloom. Dark dramatic storm clouds over the fells. The lake district is never sunny or garish at its best; it is subtle, it is mysterious. Don't complain and just get into the mood.
    If the weather is really bad then get a few images at somewhere like Aira force and then do the tour round the brewery at Cockermouth. Take a driver so you can drink her share of the product as well as your own.
    If you are sure on your feet and a good navigator then a scramble round the southern traverse of Gable is a good expedition for a wet day. It is a wonderful chance for the adventurous walker to get into the sort of scenary usually only seen by mountaineers. (It is in Wainright so it is more or less safe, although it is more polished than when he did it, and has since been neglected so has a modicum of slippy slime to contend with. It is always dramatic, especially with swirling mist and the occasional glimpse down Wasdale.)
    If you are not confident about Gable then a wander round the Loughrigg, Grasmere, Rydal area is also very beautiful in mist; just get away from the nasty tourist ridden village of Grasmere.
    Test the D800 weatherproofing. That is probably un-needed advice.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2012
  7. taxor

    taxor Well-Known Member

    I agree; this is a dramatic plod but it isn't a walk I'd recommend unless it was sunny or, at the very least, dry underfoot. I did this a some years back on a misty day (threading the needle) and the rock everywhere was greasy as flip. There's also a nasty, greasy ledge which requires a bit of nifty footwork with a not inconsiderable drop to boot. Smooth greasy rock and vibram soles do not get on well together. Apologies for getting off topic
  8. Tim Coleman

    Tim Coleman AP Deputy Technical Editor

    But its cold! ;-)

    I may end up going to Gable actually, but I am starting from Derwentwater so may not end up getting too far!
  9. ChrisNewman

    ChrisNewman Well-Known Member

    I would like your report to cover two issues which I think will be of general interest, and one which may be of more limited appeal, but is very important to me.


    I have read that the high resolution of the D800 means that phase detection AF may not give fully sharp images. Do you agree with that? If so, do you think the problem is that:

    the resolution of the D800 runs up against the limits of what’s currently possible from phase detection AF? or;

    Nikon took their eye off the ball, and used a mediocre AF system in a camera with class-leading resolution? (I read that the Canon EOS-1D X has some AF elements that are active with F2.8-and-faster lenses - is this something that would have improved the D800, and will probably appear in its successor), or;

    is it just that human intelligence is better than a mechanical system (for instance, if the contours around a subject’s eye and socket are relevant to DOF, and fall within the same AF element, it might not know whether to concentrate on the eyebrow or pupil).

    Lens resolution:

    Which lenses, in which part of their ranges, are able to complement 36MPx resolution? And which restrict performance, so that a 36MPx sensor gives little more detail than 24MPx, 16MPx or even 12MPx?

    Use with DX lenses:

    With a DX lens, the D800 should deliver better image quality than a D300S. But is using the D800 with DX lenses a satisfactory experience (except for cropping off more than half of the photosites)? Or are there awkward compromises, perhaps in the viewfinder, etc?

    (I take the majority of my photos with a D90 and DX 17-55mm. Substituting a D800 and Nikon 24-70mm should be a superb upgrade. But I also bring DX VR 55-200mm, Sigma 8-16mm and DX VR 85mm macro with me. Replacing those with full frame equivalents would make my outfit too heavy to carry in comfort for long periods.

    I lost confidence in focusing manually through the viewfinder when I replaced my manual focus Pentax Super A, with its split screen and microprism focusing aids, with the D90 which has no focusing aids. I dislike taking my eye from the viewfinder and putting on reading glasses to focus using the monitor, and also find it easier to make fine manual focusing adjustments when hand-holding if the camera is tight against my face rather than held in front of me.)
  10. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    I did not mean to suggest threading the needle; most people miss the way up anyway and the descent into needle gully is disconcerting to some people although the holds are good. The rest of the route is ok for competant walkers. I think I know the greasy ledge to which you refer if its the one near sphinx rock.
    In the bad old days before elf and safety the traverse was often made by school parties and I am not aware of fatalities. At least I was not so irresponsible as to suggest Jack's Rake on Pavy Arc. That's also in the walking guides and walkers have died falling from that.
  11. taxor

    taxor Well-Known Member

    Yep! That's the one.
  12. Barney

    Barney Well-Known Member

    Tim, I'm late coming to this, so no doubt I've missed the boat for the review, but I'd be interested in your views on the below nonetheless.

    I'm seriously considering upgrading my D300 to a D800. My one doubt is whether I'd be better placed upgrading to a used D3s instead, simply to maintain uniformity across batteries and accessories with my current D3. Though the high ISO performance of the D800 will be a marked improvement over the D300, is it a match for the D3s?
  13. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    All I need to know is:
    1. That in producing the D800 they haven't messed up on things as left in the D700, that it's essentially the same kit just better + extra facilities,
    2. When it's going to be on a stonking offer at a sub-£2K price bundled with a 50mm f1.4! :p:D;)

    [Or the 24-120mm f4! :)]
  14. Tim Coleman

    Tim Coleman AP Deputy Technical Editor

    I have finished writing my review now, although I haven't finished using the camera!

    ChrisNewman - good questions and I have commented on your questions in the review.

    Barney - as you suggest with a new camera, the accessories dont match from last generation models to the D800. the battery grip is new and so are the batteries. There have been some interesting tests floating around on the Nikon Rumours site http://nikonrumors.com/2012/04/10/nikon-d800-vs-d3s-and-d7000-comparison-by-cary-jordan.aspx/ which will give you a good idea. Of course I could not go into this sort of detail in my 6 page review but I have commented on it.

    Olybacker - Ha! I dont think it'll be under £2k any time soon - though an error may find it over £3k though ;-) The camera is a great upgrade from the D700 - if bigger prints are your thing. As far as I can see from testing the D800, there are no compromises from the D700. For me video capture is a bonus too.
  15. P_Stoddart

    P_Stoddart Well-Known Member

    Yeah, you keep saying it and the office will believe you I am sure. :D :D
  16. Atavar

    Atavar Well-Known Member

    Hi there, its probably too late, but i've read that the pixel pitch is about the same as the D7000. Megapixels and image quality out of the equation, are the diffraction ceiling and effects i'd find in a D7000 the same, or different, in the full frame D800 for the same lens at the same focal length?
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2012
  17. AlexMonro

    AlexMonro Old Grand Part Deux

    I think, if I've got my understanding of diffraction right, that the size of the Airy disc is governed solely by the f/stop. So if the photosites are the same size, diffraction will start to become visible at the same aperture when viewed at 100%, but will have a smaller visible impact on the whole image. You might find the Cambridge in Colour article on diffraction helpful.
  18. Atavar

    Atavar Well-Known Member

    Aye indeed, i would have expected as much but there is nothing like real-world confirmation. :)

    I've always been a whinger about diffraction, but lately I've had to eat my words and admit i'm a pixel peeper... Its the extinction limit (page 2 of the informative site you linked me to) which has always had me wondering: why have more pixels for fine details, if the extinction limit is going to destroy the detail you're hunting for? But of course the 24mp Sony APS-C sensor has taught me that lowering diffraction ceiling isn't that much of an issue, consumers who were demanding more pixels for cropping in aren't encountering the extinction point as an issue. Look at THIS sample comparison, of the Canon 5Dmk2 at 21mp with a large pitch, vs the Sony A77 at 24mp with a small pitch, the difference at f10 here shows the different between the two sensors, the fine detail destroyed. BUT as i said, its not an issue for most (read: all) people. You know you've been at this too long when the size of something measured in microns gives you the heebiejeebies. :eek:
  19. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin

    Yes, except the size of the diffraction pattern is also proportional to the wavelength of the light used ... so it's bigger in red than it is in blue. Not much of an issue for normal photography but when working in extreme wavelengths it certainly can be.

    As you say, it's the pixel pitch that's critical.

    Fact remains that few camera lenses actually resolve to the diffraction limit until they're stopped down pretty well.
  20. AlexMonro

    AlexMonro Old Grand Part Deux

    Yes, bad use of the word "solely". I was making the assumption that Atavar was wanting to compare the D800 and D7000 when shooting the same thing (and therefore same wavelengths), but as I was trying to be precise, I should've stated my assumptions. As usual, to assume is to make an ass out of u and me! :)

    I guess you can get higher resolution landscapes on cloudy days rather than at sunset / sunrise... :)

    Thanks for the clarification. I've been trying to get a deeper understanding of diffraction for a while now, and got as far as looking at Bessel functions, but even talking to a physicist mate hasn't got me much further. I think, though, that for most general photographic purposes, diffraction limiting depends on f/stop and pixel pitch is close enough.

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