So here’s the review of the Nikon D800! Well, I got my hands on a d800, today when I did, I immediately was curious about the 70 megabyte file size that it comes with while shooting raw. With all of that it has, a whopping 36.2, nearly 3x the d4. What does that mean though? I have shot with Nikon d700′s and in the past, and as well with Canon’s 5dmkii. So the first thing I did was shoot them side-by size so to speak. I took the first set of photos with a SD card in the slot. I was not impressed how the write speed was, but with the Compact flash cards in it was up to par with the other cameras I have shot with. The feel and ergonomics was like my D700, but a fuller feel. Looking through the viewfinder it feels very familiar to that of all full frame cameras and the full viewfinder of the d4. Which jumping back to the cropped sensors, its a whole new world. About a week ago I accidentally got into cropped mode viewfinder and I was absolutely lost, but some are a cropped sensor shooters (wildlife and other’s who need a 1.4x crop factor without having to use telecoverters love it. However, Shooting with the Nikon D4, I had a familiar feel between the d800 and d4′s controls, and functions. The D4′s joystick is a nice easy access, and fast selection tool that really gives navigation and selecting focus point a quicker movement. The shooting speed dial is a little bigger on the d800 but it was the same function to get it to rotate. I am not sure why these were different. But a cool feature was the Q – Quiet mode on both the cameras. With jumping from the d700, using the 5dii part time for macro and landscapes, to d4, I have a wide varying range of use in all of the cameras and I once was sold on the high megapixels for the macro shots and ability to crop. (yes those are nice if you have a couple of scenes that you might split up into one photo. However, to-date I have not seen a life saving urge to have 20mpx, 30mpx.
Here’s my issue, with high megapixel cameras.I shoot approximately 5-6 weddings per month, sometimes more, answer emails, meet with clients, talk to people, be social, and market myself for continued work, like blogs, and all that. Well I did forget to mention post process, and create albums. We all know there’s a lot of back side work to weddings. So with the limited amount of time to edit. I have files sitting on computers for a moderate period of time. So this is why the size of the files have always pondered me. “What am I going to do for space?! Currently I have 3 computers, all around 4tb of space in each, a Server, 10tb, and online JPG storage, for a total of 18tb. (Remember when they said you will never need anymore space with this 100gb hard drive). Oh were they wrong! Well I use lightroom to edit all of my photos in, if you haven’t transitioned, you should IMMEDIATELY. Learn it, and get fast. Currently my Nikon D4′s at weddings chew up around 36gb at raw uncompressed. I then preload all of my 1:1 previews after the wedding, and send all those files to my backup process, so it’s a lot of space. I had a photographer ask me to shoot their wedding one time, and they said to just shoot jpg vs raw and he’ll do all the processing. Well no way jose. The quality, saturation, and all that information in that photograph is like going on vacation with a duffle bag instead of a suitcase, so thats why I need the space.
My determination after only shooting 4 shots. I really like the d800 a lot. And I mean I do. It felt nice and really had a good solid feel, unlike the canon I shot with, feeling plastic, and like a toy product. (don’t kill me canon users, I still have two lenses here and they are for-sale. 180 macro L, and 85mm 1.2L. Ok back to the review.I did shoot the d4 and d800 at the same settings all the way through. The images look almos identical. focal length 200 @ i800, s800, f2.8 and burst or high speed mode. After the download I brought them into compare mode in LR4, where they appeared almost identical. Upon zoom at 4:1 I noticed a finer, smoother grain in the d4′s sensor, and the clarity was not any different between the two however at 1:1. If I weren’t with the d4, I would have upgraded to the d800 from my d700′s it seems like transitioning would have been seemless. The d4 has a few extra buttons on the back panel that are functional and easy access like ISO and Qual (which I never change anyway) I think that should be a menu item or non essential function for easy access.
Well it is a nikon, they are built well, very strong feeling and fits the hands really well Below the images may not be to scale, but it gives a little refernce to how size difference is, the larger D4 does not bother me carrying it all day. In-fact I have two I shoot with and notice nothing too different over the 2 d700′s I had previous.
Screen: The D800 has an amazing ability to be a competitor with the d4, Almost identical, if not identical, the 3.2″ screen is bright, vivid, and accurate. While I have my preview turned off when I shoot, its’ nice, and important to be able to see everything crisp and clear. It really looks like a small version of my monitors at home. Both cameras do have live view that work the same. They will come in handy every so often, including shooting that video.
Sensor: Both cameras have a great sensor on them, when I get back files from my assistant’s that do not have low light capabilities like either my d700, or d4′s I kind of get down that there’s not a camera that offers best of both worlds. But that’s where the d800 comes into play.
Flash: Oh this will get me. I do wish the d4 had a built in flash, just because, but most of the time I don’t need it at all because I can bump that iso up to 6400. But I recently started shooting my d700′s with a pinhole, and that flash on top was a great addition. I guess if you are going to ‘lug’ around a larger camera, a flash wouldn’t be that big of an issue. But the d800 has that flash ontop, just so that “every-so-often” time you need it. it’s there.
Handling: It really feels good in my hands. BOTH! I have actually formed two calluses on my hands from using the d4′s on my thumb and middle finger from use, some might say thats’s not good but it was not a blister. Just a spot where the rubber contacts my hand for extended period of time.
Shooting Speed: This is where I am lacking, say’s the d800, The test shot I did was done with rain falling down off the porch fascia. Adeel, who was here at the time said, wow after I shot with the d800, He didn’t realize the speed of it on High settings. (maybe the battery pack grip will offer a little faster too). When I did the d4′s fast shooting it was about 3x faster, with a 4 shot burst in about a half push. So I do like that on certain occasions. But the d800 is not a slow slow shooter, just ranking in at around 4fps. That’s pretty good considering it has to write the bible over and over again when it takes a shot. (bad joke but it is a lot of information being written)
Low light: Both have amazing low light capiblities, and in fact I think a few comparisons online do show the d800 a better saturated low light. While slightly lower noise on the d4 My review was just hands on experience with the file size and feel.
The oh not so great:
Cards: Nikon should have… YES should have either put a CF only x2, or SD x2, or xqd x2. The flipping back between cards is dangerous, and not a good feeling. It seems both cameras have two different types of cards. Just curious to why.
File Size: I am sold on the file size increase. Yes I wish I had a little more in the d4, but not so much in the d800. but side by side, I didn’t see a crazy oh man I should have got the d3x. Most of my couples, get wall prints, and albums, but not prints that need to be on billboards, even though there are plenty of advertisements with d4s already out there and you’ll never know the difference. being nearly 3x the file size, and 3x the Megapixel size. I didn’t see that difference below.
Battery Life: The d4 does beat out the d800 by almost 3x the battery life. But that comes with a cost. The d4′s batteries currently are $169.95 while the $74.95 price tag of each 900 shot battery life. (why did they change batteries once again) d7000, d800 d800e are the only who support this new battery, and the EN-EL18 is for d4 only. The charger is 319.00 for the d4. WHAT??!! Ok it does balance, and charge two batteries, but NOT at the same time.
Comparison: I’d have to say the d800 is to the d4, as the d700 is to the d3′s. It’s a great almost full body pro camera with out the double the cost to the wallet. If you are a shooter for hire, get the d800 immediately and you will be happy you did. I was happy to shoot what I did with the d800. If I didn’t have my d700′s I would buy these as backup’s to my two primaries.
But hand’s down I love my d4′s because of the low light, shooting speed 11fps, and the ergonomics of that side shutter for portraits. Here’s a few samples below.
Check out my gear here on the blog. I have everything in there that we have in the officer or on my person at a wedding. Go check it out! You can get purchase the d4, or d800 by clicking the links.
Here’s the sample images
Hover over the image to see which camera shot which:)
Here’s a few from the d4 with no photoshopping, lightroom adjustments only (unless specified)
Rain Drops Nikon d4 pushed to 6400 iso. I love the ability to capture such amazing detail especially at night!
The scene lit by a 1939 business coup, I pushed the d4 to the limits.
This was another limit pusher with the d4. Focusing was a little hard during turtle nesting season and a nice moon lit night.
G. Love and Special Sauce, shot at 6400 with a 35mm 1.4 lens.
Another one using the max light sensitivity of the d4, there is no noise reduction on this and the lens flair was by toyota.
Macro with d4, and you might be able to see me int he photo ut oh:)
This might be confusing. The big circle of light is the moon. The subjects are lit via iPhone flashlight.
The lights and darks have a nice balance, the right side was darkened with a gradient filter or brush
This was another amazing detail of specks of rain during Tropical Storm Beryl backlit with flash. Got a question? Leave it below I will respond in the comments! Visit me on Facebook and become a fan! check out our next review. www.facebook.com/markdickinsonphoto