It’s been a heck of a day or so. The interest in the Nikon D800 has been overwhelming, to say the least. I had confirmed with my webhost, Network Solutions on multiple occasions to confirm they’d be able to handle the traffic. They could not. The result was frustration on the part of those attempting to satisfy their curiosity by logging onto my blog, and agony on my part knowing that this was happening. Not to mention the most important thing… potential brides could not access my site!
Many, many questions have been asked about the camera, and I’ll do my best to answer them. I’ll save my full review of the camera for when I have a bit more time to compose one that’s well thought out. In the meantime, I want to say thanks to everyone for their kind words, and thanks to the .5 percent for the not so kind, ridiculous comments… at least you took the time to look. The most ridiculous of the comments was from people angry that I didn’t post full resolution images. The site couldn’t handle the traffic as it was, and yet they expected full res. Pretty funny. Some were also upset that I retouched the files. That’s what I would do for my clients, so that’s how I want people to see them. Full resolution- UNRETOUCHED images can be viewed http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/dslr/d800/sample01.htm Also, those that were concerned that the images were “overcooked”- when going from 7300 to 980 pixels, the images MUST be sharpened to a degree. Otherwise, the files will look soft, and out of focus.
To attempt to judge a file from a blog post is kinda silly. I also don’t hide the fact that MY images here on this blog were absolutely retouched. They are similar in nature to how I’d present them to my clients. Also, as my studio manager, Noelle Andrews points out, “The resolution and detail in these files are so high that when being retouched at a100% it doesn’t look like there is as much retouching, so when it is sized down the retouching looks exaggerated.” I absolutely agree.
There will always be couch photographers who are kind of like Monday morning quarterbacks. They’ll download someone else’s file and then pick it apart. Go ahead, take the full rez, unretouched file, and look closely. This, of course, is only part of the story of this camera. For me, a camera’s responsiveness is equally important to the image quality. The focusing in this camera- like it’s D4 sibling- has been improved from the last generation. Yes, I said improved. I didn’t think it was possible for Nikon to improve the focus in the D3S, but somehow they did. The low light capabilities were targeted, and it’s more responsive in low light. The dynamic range in the D800 is also something people may overlook. With my style of shooting- sometimes in very harsh light- by choice- I’ll be able to hold more detail than ever before. File size alone wont do that. However, the file size accompanied by the increased dynamic range will make for some stunning files in dramatic light.
ISO. In my opinion, from the results I achieved, the ISO performance is about equal to a D3. It is in no way a D4, and wasn’t intended to be. It’s not a D3S either. You should expect it to perform close to the D700 and D3 with respect to ISO.
As I mentioned, in the next few days, I’ll post a comprehensive review, and I’ll also post a little about the actual assignment- which was an incredible honor. What goes into producing a brochure for a new imaging tool is quite daunting, to say the least. Lets just say I lost some sleep as the shoot approached. Ok. Below are some other images that depict a few other features.
PLEASE understand that these images have been reduced in file sized, and then sharpened back up. When a file is reduced from 7300 pixels, down to 980 pixels, they soften up. They need to be sharpened back up. So, please note that. These blog images are to give people an idea of what my experience was with the camera. They’re not intended for people to download and scrutinize. They’re only 980 pixels, and they’ve been sharpened back up. I can only hope that people understand that these are my honest observations and that they’re informative so people may make a decision on whether this camera is for them.
Lastly, I would like to state that the D800 will be a part of my wedding day workflow. When I buy one, which I will, the D4 will be my main workhorse. With my style of shooting, the D4 suits me well. However, the D800 will absolutely be used for all portraits, and a few other parts of the day as well. The right tool for the right application. The two combined will be a killer combination.
For this image, I used the first of 2 Auto white balance settings. Auto 1, with the 91K-pixel RGB sensor and the image sensor working together, the camera renders white as white with supreme accuracy. This is the Pierre Hotel in New York City at an actual wedding.
D800 with the Nikkor 14-24mm 2.8
Here, Auto 2 white balance was used. This allows some of the warmth from the room to be maintained. I really do like this setting.
Auto focus. Another area not really being highlighted much. I can tell you first hand that the autofocus has been improved… even from the D3S- which I didn’t think was possible. Here, the 3D tracking maintains focus throughout the series of images. The focus point continues to move reliably allowing me to maintain focus. I used my 70-200 VRII for these images. Model Rachel Johnston and Luca Taormina were fantastic to work with.
Ok, ISO performance. I was really surprised that it performed just about as well as a D3 with regard to ISO. This seems to be one of the biggest concerns. It’s not a concern to me. Now, I won’t be using the D800 in the most extreme low light conditions. That’s where the D4 will be utilized. But as you can see, it’s not much of an issue.
D800, Nikkor 85mm 1.4G @ ISO 800. 980 pixels cropped out from a 100% view of the image
D800, Nikkor 85mm 1.4G @ ISO 3200
D800, Nikkor 85mm 1.4G @ ISO 3200. 980 pixels cropped out from a 100% view of the image
D800, Nikkor 85mm 1.4G @ ISO 6400
D800, Nikkor 85mm 1.4G @ ISO 6400. 980 pixels cropped out from a 100% view of the image
Finally, for those pixel geeks who complained that I retouch my images(forgive me if I want my clients to look their best) This is an unretouched, straight out of camera jpg. NO retouching whatsoever. The file size is dropped, so a slight unsharp mask had to be used.
AND, this is 980 pixels cropped from a 100% view of the image. UNretouched, of course. Yes, its 100%.