Markw's D800 Review Thread.

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Markw, Mar 26, 2012.

  1. Markw
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    Markw Well-Known Member

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    Hello everyone! As some of you know, my Nikon D800 came in the mail today. Instead of making a few threads on the different aspects of the camera as I find them out and get to learn it better, I figured it would probably be better to make one thread and continue to update as I go. As a bit of backstory info, I'm coming from a D300s. So..here goes nothing:

    First Impressions

    Ergonomics:

    Buttons and Dials:
    Well, honestly, it's a beast of a camera in all its glory, but it's a tad small for my liking. I don't have very large hands by any stretch of the imagination, but it really feels like I'm continually searching for a bit more grip. The front part where your fingers wrap around doesn't come out far enough for my liking. A similar problem is found in the back. The thumb grip usually found directly under the rear command dial seems to be...well..insignificant, to say the least. It's not a major problem, but I can see it becoming a problem in colder conditions where you cant always judge the best via the sense of touch. Make sure the strap is wrapped around your wrist a couple times just in case. It seems pretty easy to slip off.

    Speaking of the command dials, they seem to have gotten an improvement as well. They're nice and rubbery; almost robust feeling. There's nothing loose about them, either. They seem to be dampened in the way they move and click into place, which I personally really like. The clicks while turning don't seem to be so much like clicks, but moreso like dampened stern stops, with very little noise or play, if that makes any sense. There's absolutely nothing plasticky or playable about them. They really do feel great.

    The Fn and Aperture Preview buttons are greatly improved. I'm not sure how they are on the D7000 or any newer DSLRs (aside from the D300s), but both buttons are no longer rounded! They've got a nice plateau-like flat top on them now, which makes them very easy to discern from one another, and very easy to press, should you choose to. This is a big plus for me, as I really hated the round feel to the ones on the D300s (they're still circular, but no longer globular).

    The movie record button being on the top by the MODE button is nice. I'd much prefer it being there instead of on the back. Also, like some are saying, the button's small. It's about 1/2 the diameter as the MODE buttn. Although, contrary to the other gripes, I really don't see how it's hard to reach at all. The MODE button is further away than the record button, and it's not in an awkward place at all. I don't see any problem with the placement, size, or functionality of the button.

    The buttons on the back have all gotten a change as well. They're no longer globular in style either. They now have a nice, less rounded top to them as well. Whereas they felt a bit like they sank into a pocket, or into the camera a bit, the buttons on the back of this bad boy are more like click-style buttons. They move very little when you press them, and come to a hard stop shortly after pressing down. I'm not sure if I care too much for this just yet, but I can't see it becoming too much of a problem. The buttons on the left side of the newly large 3.2" screen seem to have gotten smaller as well. This isn't something I've measured, but they definitely feel smaller to the touch. A good thing, though, is that they're much more distinguished now. The space in which they sit now gradually falls down below the level of the button from the outside in. That is, the body of the camera dips down around the edges of the buttons. This leaves a VERY little bit of space around each button that emphasizes them just enough to really notice a difference as to how pronounced they are. I think this is a great improvement.

    The mode wheel (S, CL, CH, etc) has been greatly improved as well. It's not raised so you can see the letters for each mode from the back of the camera. You no longer have to look downward to see them. It's much more rubberized now instead of metally/plasticky and has the same damped, almost insulated-like stop-click motion between modes as the command dials do between clicks. Huge improvement. Very welcomed improvement indeed.

    The screen is now 3.2" instead of 3" and really is big, bright, and beautiful. 'Nuff said.

    The viewfinder is big, bright, and beautiful as well. The addition of the leveler is nice. Other than that, I don't see much of a difference.

    Functionality:

    All I can really say so far is that the AF is incredibly fast and responsive. I haven't tested the continuous focus in video mode, but it's great in the photos. Dead on each and every time, and has no problem tracking fast objects. But, that's to be expected in a camera with a flagship AF system.

    More to come including test photos and videos tomorrow! Stay tuned! :thumbsup:

    Mark
  2. tirediron
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    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member

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    Nice! Looking forward to seeing some images.
  3. Trever1t
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    Trever1t Well-Known Member

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    Cool Mark, lucky dog! I'm in limbo without knowing when mine will ship...May perhaps. Keep the observations and impressions coming!
  4. 480sparky
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    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator

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    Are you going to start a D800 Across America thread? [​IMG]
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  5. IgsEMT
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    IgsEMT Well-Known Member

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    THANK YOU SIR!
    LOOK fwd to more :)
  6. Markw
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    Markw Well-Known Member

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    Well, like the title says, I've had one full day now to fiddle about with the D800.

    I've taken some photos, of course. None of which I feel are really up to par to show you guys. They're incredibly bland, to be completely honest. This is to no fault of the camera, however. The camera's an incredible performer! The resolution is incredible. The focus is untouchable. Color rendering and dynamic range are impeccable as was to be expected. I'm utterly amazed by the performance of this beast of a piece of kit.





    I do, however have some HDR examples to show you. Other than resizing these to 2500 pixels on their long side, there have been no post processing of the photos. They're straight from the camera. All photos were taken with the Nikon D800 and Sigma 24-70mm F/2.8 EX DG HSM IF II @24mm.

    Example 1:
    [​IMG]


    This is the NON-HDR shot that the camera metered of the scene. With the camera set to matrix metering, this is the shot as it came straight from the camera, by the camera.

    [​IMG]


    This is the HDR shot that the camera spit out. Again, the camera was on matrix metering, JPG FINE. For this shot, the HDR mode was set to Auto. As you can tell, some of the shadows on the water and the trees have been brightened up. The building on camera left has also got a bit more detail to it. On the downside, though, the sky is toned down a bit from the already hazy sky. It's a bit more grey and dulled down because of the processing. Also, you can see that the merging of the two photos has gotten some of the bits, well, a bit confused. As you can tell, the specular highlights on the water from the sun are smoothed out and lost in the middle of the frame. You get a bit of smaller highlights on the top, and some on the bottom, but they're completely smoothed over in the middle.


    As you know, both shots used in the HDR are taken during the same flap of the shutter, so the water wasn't moved too much in the 1/8000s between exposures. It really will be a shame if the HDR function continues to be unintelligent. If you lose parts of trees in the forest, grass patches in the meadows, or something of the sort, this could become unfortunate.

    Example 2:
    [​IMG]


    This is the NON-HDR shot that the camera metered of the scene. With the camera set to matrix metering, this is the shot as it came straight from the camera, by the camera.


    [​IMG]


    This is the HDR shot that the camera spit out. Again, the camera was on matrix metering, JPG FINE. For this shot, however, the HDR mode was set manually to 3EV. Now, it's not quite clear to me how this is accomplished. Only two frames are taken in the HDR. The camera gives you the option of Auto, 1EV, 2EV, and 3EV. Since only two frames are taken, if you need highlights, shadows, and midtones, that would theoretically take 3 photos, minimum. Hence why bracketing is generally done in multiples of 3: so at least 1 frame is correctly exposed for the scene as a whole. With only two frames being taken, if you set an exposure differential of 3EV, is this accomplished by takin one photo 1.5EV above, and one 1.5EV below the meter? Hmm...


    In this photo as well, though, you can tell that everything has a slight grey cast over it. The sky is dulled, the tree colors are a bit washed out, the darker tones in the deck are lost. It looks alot like the HDRs spit out directly from Photoshop CS5.5's HDR function.


    [​IMG]


    This is the HDR from above, as I would edit it. If for nothing else, the HDR function is nice to have as the file spit out is ALOT easier to edit than the first photo. As you will see, this edit has alot more detail in the trees on the left and such than in the file below, which was the firs non-hdr shot, edited in the same manner. The vibrance had to be upped to 100, midtones pulled up in levels, and the blacks deepened. It was actually quite lovely to edit the HDR file. Since there is so much inherent detail, not too much has to be done.


    [​IMG]


    This is the Non-HDR file, run through photoshop.

    VIDEOS:


    I haven't had too much time to really have fun with the video on this baby, but I did get some nice test shots of the 720p 60FPS video. Here are some quick test videos done, run back in both 24FPS and 60FPS. Enjoy!

    As a short disclaimer, I understand these aren't the most professional videos in existence. Like I said, they were just quick tests. Many more to come in the future.


    Nikon D800 + Sigma 24-70mm F/2.8 EX DG HSM IF II
    PS. ISO for this video was set at ISO3200!



    Nikon D800 + Nikon 300mm F/4.0 ED IF AF-S


    As for the video functionality, coming from a D300s, it's incredible (coming from anything, it's incredible, really)! The manual controls are spot-on, and incredibly nice to have control over. The dynamic range are something to be rivaled. As mentioned in the previous post, the record button being on the top is really nice as well.

    In order to shoot in DX mode during video, you must select the mode before entering into video mode. Nothing too shocking.


    Thanks alot for stopping by, again! Much more to come in the next few days. So, feel free to stick around a while!
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2014
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  7. spacefuzz
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    spacefuzz Well-Known Member

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    Cool thank you

    Can't wait till I get one....
  8. 2WheelPhoto
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    2WheelPhoto New Member

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    Nice, congrats!
  9. BlairWright
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    BlairWright New Member

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    Mark, Did you buy at Service Photo or on the net?
  10. Markw
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    Markw Well-Known Member

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    I got mine through Amazon. Thanks everyone!

    Mark
  11. KmH
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    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish

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    Sounds like Nikon can fire all their DX camera engineers.

  12. Markw
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    Markw Well-Known Member

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    Speaking of...

    I assigned the Fn button to change the crop factor. Previously, this was bracketing for me. It's incredibly convenient to be able to change, in the matter of a click or two, to gain an additional 1.5x crop factor, and still maintain the pixel density, etc of the D800's sensor and get a file size of roughly 15mp! Very convenient!

    Mark
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  13. IgsEMT
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    IgsEMT Well-Known Member

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  14. mjhoward
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    mjhoward New Member

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    You're not really gaining a crop factor in the same way that you would be if going from an FX to DX of the same resolution. The comparison is much different when comparing something like the D700 and a D90. They are both around 12MP, but the D90 packs them in a smaller area. With the D800 shooting in DX mode, it is no different than if you took a FF photo and center cropped to the DX size... no extra 'reach' there since, as you said, the pixel density is the same.
  15. Markw
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    Markw Well-Known Member

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    I've noticed the color cast of the LCD being a bit off. Again with the green cast as shown. But, it's not too bad at all. Obviously, it needs fixed and I'm sure this will happen with the first firmware update. No issues with flash or memory cards thus far.

    Mark

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