North American Nature Photography Association

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Old 03-09-2012, 03:53 PM
ericbowles ericbowles is offline
NANPA Member
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Posts: 59
Default Nikon D800 or 800E

I'm looking for feedback and comments on the new Nikon cameras. Nikon has recently announced the D4, D800, and D800E. I've got a D800E on order and wanted to share my thought process.

My primary subject area is landscape, macro and wildlife - typical nature photography. Within wildlife, my main subject is birds with large mammals behind that. I've got a full kit of lenses.

The D800/D800E camera has 36 mp - plenty for all the detail you can want in a DSLR. The pixels are a little smaller than earlier models, but based on performance of the D7000 the pixels are engineered for about 1-1.5 stops better performance than the prior generation. Based on the D7000, dynamic range, tonal range, and color are all better in this newest generation.

The D800E reduces and neutralizes the effect of the anti-aliasing filter. This is intended to create slightly sharper images, but comes at the possible addition of moire in some finely patterned areas. This is a worry for fabrics and architecture. I worried about moire in bird feathers, but have concluded that it should not be a problem. The way you prevent moire is to change the camera angle and distance to the subject. With birds, the feathers are typically at slightly different angles, so moire on one feather by definition should mean the rest of the bird probably has no moire. For landscape photography, moire should be rare.

High ISO noise performance of the D800 should be equal to the D700 or D3 - and slightly behind the D3s. The big factors are improved performance squeezed out of the processor, and a large sensor that makes noise essentially disappear when images are downsized to a normal print equivalent to earlier camera. So while there may be noise - you won't see it. At low ISO levels the D800 is expected by DxOMark to be the best DSLR camera sensor ever tested.
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