Friday, September 21, 2012

The new kid on the block – Nikon D800

For most people who aren't pro photographers or tech nerds, the more megapixels a camera has the better the camera is. That's one of the major reasons the new Nikon D800 is so popular.

But that school of thought isn't true. Not even a little bit.

Take my trusty Nikon D3s. Up until recently(the new Nikon D4 and Canon 1Dx are slight improvements) it was considered by many to be the one of the best cameras ever produced. Some Publications called it the best.

How many megapixels is it? A measly 12. The new iPhone, which costs approximately $600 to the D3s' $5000, is 8 megapixels. Not far behind.

What makes the D3s so amazing? Up to 11 frames per second and it can see better in the dark than I can with amazingly low noise(digital equivalent to film grain) for starters. It is a camera built for speed. A journalist's camera.

The Nikon D800 is the exact opposite. At 36 megapixels it is the highest resolution dslr to date. It's remarkably slow, getting 4 frames per second. Want to shoot in a poorly lit room? You better have a tripod ready because the low ISO range won't allow you to hand hold. Not a good camera for on-the-go photojournalists.

In short, it's built for a completely different purpose than the D3s.

Why did i get the D800 then? Mostly the HD video.

But that isn't to say it's not an amazing stills camera. It is. Phenomenal even. It does things my D3s can only dream of doing.

It is the perfect art photography camera. Great for landscapes, still life, portraits, macro, wildlife. All things I want to get back into as a hobby.

I haven't had a chance to really put the D800 to the test yet but I have shot a few samples. The first shot shows how much detail the camera can pick up. It's called a 100% crop. A peice of a photo shown at true 1:1 size to show quality. Pixel peeping. First up is the D800.

Click to enlarge

And for comparison, the D3s:

Click to enlarge
Both images shot with a Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G with the same settings. As you can see in the cutout, the D800 is considerably sharper and shows finer detail.

What does this mean? Larger prints with greater detail. For work it means I can shoot something like a crime scene from very far away, crop the image down a lot and still have a printable photo.

What I'm really looking forward to is shooting an interesting multimedia piece for work. The quality of the video is outstanding. Here are a couple basic videos shot with it so far.

Is the D800 better than other lower resolution cameras? In some respects, yes. But it also fails where lower resolution camera excel. Is it a great camera? Absolutely.

I can't wait to really put it to good use.

*this blog has a whole lot of text.

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