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22 April 2012

I've got a D800 (nur nur)

This is a completely camera related blog post. I apologise to anyone wanting to see some work.



Yesterday I picked up a D800. I realise it's quite a new camera and there's quite a long waiting list for them so I thought I'd try to write a little personal review of it.

I don't know much about camera tech or how they work, I only discovered this back focusing phenomenon 2 days ago when two completely separate people asked me if I knew anything about it. I didn't, but it got me worried so I just checked mine with the focusing sheet things you can get... I'm confident I'm fine and if I've ever missed focus before it has been my own stupid fault.

So, the Nikon D800. I took it as my main camera to two different shoots today and there's some really good stuff going on with it. You can tell it's a serious bit of kit when you hold it. It feels very similar to the D700, but a bit more angry.

I shoot a lot of weddings so I don't want all of my pics to be 36mpx nefs. Being smart cookies Nikon made a very cool decision to allow you to quickly change from fx to dx using just the preview button + dials. Awesome. Now, if I know a brilliant shot is coming up, such as a couple or group shot, I can flick it from dx and add a crisp 50mb to my card and then move back to shooting what I now proclaim are tiny photographs.

In theory that is excellent. In practice, Nikon have made it very easy to completely ruin someone's wedding.

A lot of my work comes from agencies or other photographers hiring me to take basic studio pics for them. It's all their equipment and the style that they choose (so don't judge me on them) and this was the first job today. I decided to give it a go shooting both full frame (fx) and crop frame (dx) so see what the difference was.



Here's a lovely little chappy. Nice and sharp, clean colours, lots of detail. What more could I want?

Taken full frame the picture above is exactly what I saw in the view finder. Brilliant.
However, if I had switched to dx, this is what I would have seen.



Ok, so I've drawn this on but the point I want to make is that when you switch to dx mode you are given a square inside the frame within which to take your picture. This is fine when you have your wits about you but I can imagine when I'm at a wedding, I have to be a bit more aware of other things, a bit more spontaneous, I might forget this little "rule of crop" (tm, C, MFM) and start cutting off some heads by accident. The worst part, I won't even notice I'm doing it until after the wedding (I have a wedding Saturday btw).

One thing I also noticed today is that the Nikon D800 has decided that less than 50% of my CF cards are not worthy enough to work inside it. It won't even allow me to format them. My first cost (in a list of costs) to be added to the price of the this camera... shall we say £150 in cards?

Very annoying.

My second test for the D800 was these guys.



I met up with Sworn to Oath to do them a bog standard group shot for a project they're working on.

It was important for me that this shot was simple enough to include all of the kit I regularly use, test how the D800 works with CLS, Full Frame @ 14mm, Full 36mpx, incorporating lens flare with the bg stopped down. It looks pretty good really.

A few issues. CLS is my life. When CLS came into my life it changed everything. What I don't want is for it to change and it has ever so slightly that could cause issues. The interface has change slightly from the D90 (my old camera) but it isn't all that big of a deal, it's just slower to use.

Someone needs to correct me here (I've only used it once with the D800) but have they got rid of pre flash? On the D300 you would set the commander mode to -- and it would fire at what I assumed was below 1/128 before the shutter opened. On the D800 the pop up flash would not fire without it being set to 1/128. The option to set it to -- is still there but if nothing fires why is the option there at all? I will re check this tonight but that seemed like a big issue to me.

Here's that pic at 100%



I have no idea what I'm looking at here but I'm sure someone will appreciate it. It has been edited, I see no reason looking at a pic pre-edit because it's not what the world will see.

It's been a bit of a moan fest so far. There's more.
It's a miracle I even managed to post these pics because this is what I was faced with when I opened bridge.



A quick google search pointed out that Camera raw cs5 does not currently support Nikon D800 nefs. With a further search I found the plug-in to fix the issue in camera RAW. It's a BETA plug-in with an expiry date... pretty sure it's the date CS6 comes out.

With this in mind and a wedding on Saturday I checked my wedding editing tool, Lightroom, and found a similar, less fixable issue exists. Turns out there isn't a plug in for LR3, you just have to buy LR4.... what!! (add $150 to extras costs).

Meh, I downloaded the demo of LR4, just to see what all the fuss was about and this message popped up.



In a word....



I use XP. It'll take a lot to change that.

To conclude.

I've had a terrible first day with the Nikon D800, it's basically made me completely change the way I shoot, added a new stress, is going to cost me more money and is going to drastically alter my workflow.

I don't know how I feel to be honest. I haven't said anything good about it. It feels great, the ISO performance is awesome. I'm going to have no problem pushing it to 1000-1250 at really dark weddings. Even though it doesn't, it feels like you're shooting at 8fps because of how smooth and quiet the shutter is (compared to quite a loud D300). The buttons are a little bit harder to reach, but that might be because I have tiny hands. That FX/DX switch is cool and what's really good is when I put my DX fish eye on it the camera decided I needed a 5/6 crop.. which is cool.

I've decided I'm going to shoot a small music video with it and use it for the wedding this weekend. If it doesn't impress me by then I'm going to get it refunded and buy two 700's.

Bring on the comments.

Paul
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