Nikon D800 impressions – part 2

Nikon D800 impressions.

The Nikon D800 is an awesome camera. I am super happy with it so far. It is a major step up from my prior Nikon D300s. Picture quality is unbelievable. Here are some additional impressions after photo number 1500:

  • Photo quality is amazing. Colors look beautiful. When you pull up the photos on a large screen you can immediately tell the difference between the D300s and the D800.
  • Working with the files is totally ok. Even my MacAir 2011 can handle the RAW files ok. Aperture is a bit slower. No big deal.
  • Noise is extremely well controlled. It is difficult to tell a difference between ISO 400 and 1600. Basic noise reduction in Aperture or NIK Define makes photos up to 6400 very useable.
  • The Auto-ISO mode is therefore extremely valuable. I have set it to the 100-1600 range. Shutter speed is automatically set to the slowest advisable for any given focal-length. Quite convenient.
  • The time-lapse mode is quite cool and convenient. You just pick the interval and shooting time. The camera will do the rest. What you get is a high quality Quicktime movie. This is a lot more convenient than the good-old iMovie import/ export process.
  • The enormous amount of resolution actually provides a ton of flexibility in post-production. You can crop until you drop….just kidding. In all seriousness, you have a lot of resolution to work with. Finding the perfect crop later on is not as punishing as it used to be on a 12MP camera.

D800 Advice

Here are a few lessons-learned in regards to the D800:

  • You definitely have to put a bit more effort into each photo as compared to the Nikon D300s (or similar). Slight focus differences will immediately become obvious. Also, you need to up your shutter speed by about 1-2 stops.
  • I have some lenses with VRII and some standard ones. VR definitely pays off on this camera – especially when you want to use AUTO-ISO. Using that feature with my 50mm f1.4 I often get slightly blurred photos. 1/50th of a second is often not fast enough to capture a super sharp photo. Contrast that with my 24-120mm f4 lens – never seen a blurred photo in AUTO-ISO. You definitely need that extra f-stop in many cases.
  • Spending time with the AF is a good investment. I never really liked the automatic mode of D300s. But that is different for the D800. The auto-mode works extremely well when you want to photograph people, for example. Tracking also works really well. Wow. But I had to spend some time figuring out how and when to best use the different options. Remember: slight mistakes do show up on the screen.
  • Aperture does not really like the D800 images. Highlight recovery often creates ugly halos. Lightroom does MUCH better for some reason. I am not ready to switch, yet. I need to play with this a bit more. If I have time, I will post some examples later this week.
Overall, this is an amazing camera. Below are some examples from this week.


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