D800 Tripod myth

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by cyrus_procter, Feb 26, 2012.

  1. Whats all the fuss that the D800 will be best on a tripod? Its ridiculous, all cameras are best on a tripod. They would probably also benefit if the world stopped turning to prevent vibration too. If you shoot your current camera handheld, you can shoot the D800 handheld with the same results.
    Why does everyone fret this point? What makes you think that the D800 will be different from any other DSLR produced?

    Why does everyone freak out about high MPs, and no one points out the benefits, like high dynamic range, better color rendition? These are the things that makes images, the highlights don't blow out as fast, the darks don't go black, isn't that worth having to buy bigger cards for? Even if you come home and immediately re-size everything to 12 MPs, that higher dynamic range and better color rendition is going to stay with the image (assuming you re-size to a RAW format).
    Come on people. Its a new camera, it means what you are going to shoot is going to look better, sure you pay an extra price for that, but haven't we payed that same price at almost every new camera generation? Aren't we used to the drill yet after 13 years of digital SLRs?
     
  2. They would probably also benefit if the world stopped turning to prevent vibration too.​
    The turning of the earth produces no vibration of interest for ordinary, earthbound photography. I think that the logic about the D800 requiring a tripod is (1) that it seems silly to use a camera capable of great detail and not make use of it and (2) that if you examine your D800 images at 100% , you'll see more pixels affected by not using a tripod than if you had used a D50.
    Of course the effect of the vibration will be the same with either camera.
     
  3. I understand the poster's points of view. By some accounts, we will all need to get the most expensive glass and just about ALWAYS have a tripod for this camera to be good. Does that mean only studio and landscape photographers should bother ? If 36Mp has hit the " don't hand hold it ! " wall, then maybe we've found the end of the pixel wars and can focus on better features in the cameras.
     
  4. I have learned to grip the earth solidly with my toes. That way I will not fly off just because the earth is spinning about. It's been working pretty good so far.
     
  5. I think the sensitivity to motion blur is proportional to the pixel ratio at any dimension of the sensor.

    The D800 is 7360x4912 compared to the D50 at 3000x2000, so its sensitivity at any axis of movement at a pixel level is 2.4 times greater than the D50, which means you'd want to be 2.4 times steadier, or use a VR lens with 2.4 times the correction speed in order not to affect blur at a pixel level.

    Given the same amount of camera movement, however, the resulting image blur would be the same regardless of pixel density - I think.
     
  6. I think the sensitivity to motion blur is proportional to the pixel ratio at any dimension of the sensor.​
    I think it's only proportional to the magnification of the image. If the larger pixel count allows you to print bigger then you might see a difference.
     
  7. The debates over the D800/800E have been fascinating. Surely Skyler is right - the improvements are exactly and simply that (though dynamic range surely remains an unknwon until serious testers get their hands on the camera). I fail to see (possibly because I'm dumb) how the image quality can possibly be worse even with handholding and 'old' lenses; it's easy to see how it can be better with big enlargement, good glass, and good technique. And there's the issue. It's made me think, is my technique good enough for a D800E? With landscapes, it's not just 'use a tripod and mirror up' - it's how well the tripod sits on the ground, wind, my ability to operate well in rain, wind and cold - so I'm the limit, not the camera. So maybe it's shoot less but better - and I'm going to work on my technique before I consider upgrading from my D700.
     
  8. As I see it, images from higher resolution sensors are never going to be worse. Maybe like using longer lenses, it starts showing 'bad technique', rather than bad tools?
    Regarding Pixel Blur, if increasing the pixel count makes Camera > Subject Blur worse (it doesn't), if I down sample my D800E files, are they less blury? No. Less Noisy, probably!
    I still like Focus Magic for fixing motion blur, finding a 'spot' pixel that has become a 'line' of 3 pixels @ 65 Deg and correcting it, should be so much more fun with the 800E's 'pixel perfect' images.
     
  9. The cost of using a high-resolution camera is in the post-processing time. If you don't make good use of those pixels your time (when you copy files, save changes etc.) or alternatively the money you spent on a massive RAID system will be wasted for nothing.
    In practice getting sharp files is not such a big deal if you know the basics and are careful, and shoot in bright light. As you get to dimmer light, and if your subjects move about, it becomes progressively more difficult to get pixel-level sharp images so a high MP camera will inevitably favour photography in bright light. Also photographers tend to obsess about technical quality and a D800 will lead to more obsession as no two shots of a person or another subject that will move will be equally sharp or equally in focus. People will do more insurance shots and duplicates to get one that is just right at the pixel level. They will shoot more at optimal apertures and studio lights. It all leads to more attention on fine technical quality and less on subject and content. This, IMO, is not a good thing, but it's inevitable.
    the benefits, like high dynamic range, better color rendition?

    Those are typically benefits of high resolution cameras at low to moderate ISO, while moderate MP cameras have been giving better DR, SNR and color at high ISO for some time. According to user reports (Cliff Mauntner) this continues with the D800 and D4 although probably not as big a difference as it was with D3X and D3s. Even though a D3s has a relatively low pixel count, to suggest that it doesn't yield excellent color and DR at base ISO is a bit silly. Anyway, once the cameras become available then people can assess them for themselves and there will be a lot more fact based discussion rather than stuff estimated or guessed from looking at someone else's images and comparing results between cameras based on measurements obtained on images of different scenes. It is much better to do this in controlled conditions with the cameras tested side by side. A lot of analysis errors will disappear in a differential comparison.
    In any case any discussion online is bound to focus on the negatives because when people are happy they will be out there shooting rather than gloat about it online (while some people do that, too). When there is a problem, forums can sometimes help. I don't see what is wrong with this - problems get solved for the most part, and people can move on with their work.
     
  10. I remember the same discussion was going when the D2X came with its 12 MP over the 4MP in D2H. You had to put the camera on a tripod and use only the best of lenses to really get the quality the camera could deliver. Seems we did all right continuing using our lenses and cameras like we used to, worrying more about the picture than absolute sharpness....
     
  11. One thing I don't understand : why does nobody complain about D7000 sensor (it has even bigger pixel density ) !?
     
  12. Michael said:
    The D800 is 7360x4912 compared to the D50 at 3000x2000, so its sensitivity at any axis of movement at a pixel level is 2.4 times greater than the D50, which means you'd want to be 2.4 times steadier, or use a VR lens with 2.4 times the correction speed in order not to affect blur at a pixel level.​
    Those are telling numbers. I've found that image blur, due either to camera or subject motion (or, a combination of both) had historically been my greatest "reject" culprit. Now, I employ VR and large-aperture lenses whenever possible, even though, as a handheld television camera operator, I feel that my handheld technique for stills is pretty good as well.
    On a related, but separate topic, a few months ago, I was shooting my first paid portraiture session (using an 85mm f/1.4 on a Nikon D3s), and I was surprised how high a shutter speed was required to eliminate motion-blur from my subjects' movement alone. Motion blur occurred even at speeds as high as 1/500th (the subjects were seated). It's amazing how fast eye movements can be.
    When shooting at extreme telephoto focal lengths for television, I hang a 15 lb. shotbag from the tripod's center column, and throw up a 4' x 4' solid to shield the camera from any wind. On critical shots, I'll bag each leg as well. Also, I'll hold the roll if a truck is going by. If I decide to buy a D800, I'll probably apply similar techniques for my tripod-ed cityscape shots.
     
  13. why does nobody complain about D7000 sensor (it has even bigger pixel density ) !?
    Well, I had that camera for some eight months and I didn't get to complain about the sensor (which I liked very much) because I was busy complaining about the AF which prevented me from utilizing the sensor properly when photographing potentially moving subjects at wide apertures. 36MP is not the same as 16MP in any case, it's not just about the pixel density. The FX mirror is much bigger for example and will generate more vibration. Nikon illustrates in their technical guide to D800 how even with a 14-24 and tripod you need to use mirror lockup to get a pixel-sharp result on the D800. And when you use a 36MP sensor and bigger prints you will see that the depth of field is extremely shallow at the pixel level. So if you take advantage of the high resolution and want your whole subject to be sharp at that level, you will need to stop down more than you're used to. You need to stop down more, you need to use a faster shutter speed (if the subject is moving), and you need to use a lower ISO all of this is required to get that best quality at the 36MP level. Notice how these requirements all are conflicting unless you can add a lot more light to the scene. While the picture quality is usually better than with lower resolution cameras, sometimes a lot better, the window of conditions for the best quality will be very narrow. And people will focus on that window leading to a narrowing of the breadth of photography, or at least that is what I expect to happen. Of course there will be other cameras more focused on low light and high speed photography, such as the D4, but for a lot of people 5500 EUR is too much coin.
    worrying more about the picture than absolute sharpness....

    12MP was just about the beginnings of good image quality, 36MP is a whole another matter. If you look at photography that is made with medium format cameras you will see it is focused on studio, landscape etc. subjects. It's not because you can't shoot candid portraits with MF, you can, but because of the extra expense people didn't use it for those applications. The extra expense with the D800 will be in terms of cost of storage (and high-speed storage, RAID, 10 Gigabit Ethernet, eSATA, not USB 2.0 which most now use for storage) and it will still be possible to use it for classic 35mm applications - no doubt about it, but I think people will focus their efforts on conditions which lead to the highest quality. It's human nature, to want more and more.
     
  14. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    One thing I don't understand : why does nobody complain about D7000 sensor (it has even bigger pixel density ) !?​
    "Complain" is probably not the most appropriate description, but a lot of us have noticed that the D7000 is very demanding on lenses. We have been discussing that since the D7000 first became available a little more than a year ago.
    However, the issue is more like total pixel count rather than just density. Otherwise, those small digicams (Coolpix and other brands) have far far higher pixel density than any Nikon DSLR since the digicams have much smaller sensors, in terms of sensor area. When you cramp 10MP, let alone 16MP, 18MP into a tiny area, they are extremely dense.
     
  15. I started taking yoga classes a few months ago in anticipation of the D800 unveiling. My balance, posture and steadiness has improved to the point where I don't think I will need a tripod, except maybe for some low light night shots etc. There is more than one way to skin the proverbial cat I say.
     
  16. Tim, next you'll be doing Tai Chi for that super smooth, Fluid Head night-time video pan..... :) Good Luck!
     
  17. One hes to wonder how the medium & large format photographers managed over the years. Use good technique & take pictures. Now as for processing those large files...
     
  18. Skyler, I'm not following the link you're making between a higher megapixel count and dynamic range. The D800 still "only" uses a 14 bit A/D converter, which limits its dynamic range to 14 stops theoretical maximum. The D700 already manages a measurable 12 stops in real life, so where's the big improvement coming from?
    If Nikon seriously wanted to improve dynamic range it could be done quite readily by: (1) Increasing the A/D bit depth to 16, and (2) applying a gamma curve in hardware before the A/D conversion stage.
    WRT resolution and handholding: The maximum resolution of the D800 will still only be approximately 100 line-pairs per millimetre, and users of fine grain B&W film used to regularly achieve that level of detail many years ago. Nobody ever complained that film had "too much" resolution or fretted that they had to bolt their cameras down onto concrete blocks to make the sharpest pictures. Of course a tripod will help, under some conditions, but other things beyond our control often conspire to rob us of the utmost image sharpness - like wind, atmospheric conditions and subject movement.
    There's no point in packing the camera and tripod away simply because we know that image sharpness might be compromised. Otherwise we'd all have to take pictures of totally static subjects on those few perfect (but boring) days when there's no wind, dust or mist in the air and when it's also cool enough to prevent heat turbulance. Then we set our (very expensive and cherry-picked) lenses to their boring optimum aperture of around f/5.6, adjust our compendium hood for optimum flare reduction, throw another sandbag on the near-impossible-to-carry tripod and shoot our totally boring pictures.
    Yawn!
    I think I might risk a handheld shot or two if nobody minds.
    BTW, large aperture lenses are no real substitute for a tripod. You'll simply be swapping fuzziness due to camera-shake for fuzziness due to lens aberrations.
     
  19. Well, we are used to read everyday on internet forums lots of complaints about lens/camera sharpness... most of them due to poor techniques.
    The tripod thing is adressed to that so common kind of user, that after buying this highest resolution product, have to know how to take what they are supposedly looking for... that maximum resolution.
    The Nikon tech guide just point out several aspects to take into account; it is the minimun knowledge for serious photographers. I`d say an extremely useful guide for many photographers, not only for D800 users.
    I don`t see myths anywhere; just misinformation, or miscommunication maybe.
    Those experienced photographers who "managed over the years", don`t need to know that to get the ultimate sharpness at pixel size not only the latest high resolution camera is needed; even so, I`m pretty sure there will be obvious severe cases of motion blur, camera shake or even badly focused shots in threads titled "My D800 is not right, should I return it?", or "DoF charts doesn`t work with my D800", etc...
     
  20. "Those experienced photographers who "managed over the years", don`t need to know... "
    I wanted to mean that they doesn`t need to be teached in that techniques because they already know them....
     
  21. The D800 still "only" uses a 14 bit A/D converter, which limits its dynamic range to 14 stops theoretical maximum.
    It comes from averaging those pixels. When you make a print of a given size, say 8x12 inches, from a 12 MP and a 36MP camera, three pixels of the latter will occupy the area of one pixel from the former. Thus the tonality, SNR, and dynamic range of that area will be obtained by averaging those three pixels.
    approximately 100 line-pairs per millimetre, and users of fine grain B&W film used to regularly achieve that level of detail many years ago.
    The D800 takes color images. While it can be used for black and white imaging, obviously, I think most photographers and users prefer a color image and even 12 MP FX is way better quality than any 35mm color film because of the high SNR of the digital image and the relatively visible grain of film. 24MP FX is better than 6x7 color film in overall print quality because of the cleanness of the image (tones may be richer in film but the details are so much affected by grain that overall I'd give the nod to FX). For black and white film I think 6x7 100 speed film scanned on an LS-9000 is better than 24 MP FX though. In practice details are resolved with incredible clarity with high resolution FX sensors of even three years ago (D3X). Because the SNR is so high and focusing with live view can be superbly accurate, and because the substantial quality loss in scanning is missing from the digital capture, compromised stability of the camera is more obviously seen in the final image.
    the near-impossible-to-carry tripod
    Life is hard. I went to Venice for a week with a 3kg tripod, a D3X, six lenses and walked with the camera every day at least 12 hours. I didn't carry the tripod when I was photographing people but for the architecture it gets used because it allows precise alignment, setting of the shift, and base ISO for better quality and especially greater dynamic range so the sky and the dark alleys can all be pulled in from a single file if needed. One of the nice things about the high pixel count cameras is that you can do a lot from a single exposure. And the tripod makes sure every frame is identical as there is no foul-up due to heart beat, focusing etc. And because of the tripod people give me room to work in and some respect.
    large aperture lenses are no real substitute for a tripod. You'll simply be swapping fuzziness due to camera-shake for fuzziness due to lens aberrations.
    I don't disagree that fast lenses substitute for a tripod - they're used in different situations. Fast lenses allow high shutter speeds to stop subject movement (a tripod does nothing to help with that) and to isolate the main subject from the visual clutter that often exists where large numbers of people gather. What I do disagree about is aberrations. The latest 35/1.4 and 85/1.4 give outstanding image quality on a D3X even at the widest apertures (particularly, the 85mm). So do the 14-24 and 70-200 II. Old fast glass (such as my 135/2 DC) do have lots of aberrations at wide apertures but these are gradually being phased out.
    Nikon is busy introducing new lenses that are more affordable and that meet the new demands. E.g. 50/1.8, 85/1.8 AF-S look like excellent performers at affordable prices.
     
  22. bms

    bms

    One thing I don't understand : why does nobody complain about D7000 sensor (it has even bigger pixel density ) !?​
    There you go: The D7000 sensor is terrible! In fact Nikon has ceased production, so that is why the D7000 is not available anywhere ;))))))
    Jokes aside, the D7000 benefits quite a bit from putting on a tripod, at least in my shaky hands. Luckily, razor sharpness is not always a requirement for a good image.... and now I'll wait until someone has actually handled a D800 and starts complaining....
     
  23. Looking over all the responses my general feeling is, there is the old rule, on FF your shutter speed should at least equal your focal length for sharp pictures. I don't see why this would change with the D800, and after speaking with someone who has shot the D800, he backed that up 100%.
    Many people point to Nikon's "D800 guide" that suggests you use a tripod. I note that in there tripod example the shutter is set to 1 second. I just don't see how you can argue Nikon suggests using a tripod when the example they give is at 1 second where no sane photographer would attempt hand held. If they were shooting on the 14-24mm with a 1/200th of a second shutter and suggesting you use a tripod, that would be different.
    The idea of great dynamic range comes at the pixel level, the higher the pixel density the greater the dynamic range and color space. According to DxO optics, the D3x has 1.7 stops greater dynamic range than the D3s. Judging from what Cliff Mautner says, it seems like the D800 has an extremely wide dynamic range.
    Storage. All you photographers are lucky, you only have store pictures. I work as DIT (Director of information Technology) where its not uncommon to shoot over a 100GBs of video in a single day, and we keep 3 separate backup copies at all times. No we don't use big expensive RAIDs on set, we use portable USB 2.0 hard drives. Yes when we get to the editing side we do use RAIDs, but we have to play uncompressed HD video and the sheer size of our projects; I literally have film projects that exceed 1.5 TBs on my video RAID. That's where a RAID is required, but for still photos? An internal drive should be fine to edit on and then store them on a USB 2.0 drive. I see from best buy you can get a WD 1TB external HD in USB 3.0 that includes a USB 3.0 card for your computer. Whats a $110 to a $3000 camera? Gosh the battery pack has an MSRP of $615 with B&H listing it for $450, that's over 4TBs of storage space just for the cost of the battery pack!
     
  24. "It comes from averaging those pixels." and "..the higher the pixel density the greater the dynamic range and color space."​
    How, exactly? Dynamic range is totally different from colour depth, which is what might possibly be improved by pixel averaging. Even so, the colour depth of each pixel will be limited to 14 bits in the RAW image and so an averaged colour depth will still be 14 bits. (N+N+N)/3 = N.
    Dynamic range is defined as that range of brightness that can be accommodated without saturation and is discernible above the noise floor. Averaging does nothing to increase that, except to lower the noise floor very slightly. Theoretically, we could get one extra stop by averaging four pixels to halve the noise, but in practise there simply aren't sufficient digital bits defining the lowest shadow levels for that to work. When you get down to pixel values of 3 or 4 it's all over - there simply isn't enough useful information to average. That's why 14 bit digital data can only yield around 12 stops dynamic range in reality. The only way to improve matters is to increase the A/D conversion depth, or to preferentially amplify the lower levels of analog signal before digitisation, or both.
    "The latest 35/1.4 and 85/1.4 give outstanding image quality on a D3X even at the widest apertures..."​
    Are you saying that those lenses are diffraction-limited wide open? And that there's no discernible improvement in image quality on stopping down? Because if you are, I simply don't believe you, since nothing I've seen from those lenses convinces me that their open aperture performance is anywhere near perfect.
     
  25. 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.
    The dynamic range speaks for itself&. Detail in the veil, detail in the gown, and her face is well exposed. In my eyes, there is absolutely improved dynamic range with this camera. I'll be able to maintain more detail in these conditions that ever before.​
    That's what Cliff Mautner had to say about the increased Dynamic range. I didn't make it up, here is what someone who used the camera had to say.
    How did the people over at Dxo Optics get 13.7 stops out of the D3x, which has a 14-bit A/D?
     
  26. Theoretically, we could get one extra stop by averaging four pixels to halve the noise, but in practise there simply aren't sufficient digital bits defining the lowest shadow levels for that to work.
    First, in the raw file you have 14 bits for each pixel and when you calculate the RGB image it will be 16 bits per color. The resampling occurs after that. In the RGB image there are 3*16 bits per pixel (originally 14 bits in the NEF); there would seem to be ample bit depth to show the improved dynamic range in the final resampled image. If you're making a large print, so that the image is not downsampled for printing, the averaging occurs visually in the human brain when the viewer looks at the print from a distance (unable to see the pixel level detail it gets averaged by the eye and brain). I recall DXO have written an article about why the DR is enhanced in high pixel count cameras - you might take a look if you don't trust my intuitive explanation.
    Are you saying that those lenses are diffraction-limited wide open? And that there's no discernible improvement in image quality on stopping down?
    No, obviously not diffraction limited but good enough for any conceivable practical application (ok, the 24 and 35 might need to be stopped down to f/2, but the 85 is good to go wide open). What limits use is the depth of field, not sharpness in the focused parts of the image. This is my personal view - of course an individual might be pickier than I am but then they'd have been using medium format digital for a long time if they aren't satisfied with approximately 3500 line widths per image height in the center of the image and 3100 in the extreme corners wide open (photozone MTF50 on D3X). There are other examples of this level of performance in the Nikon lineup as well. The 200/2 gives 3700 lwph in the centre and Mk II is supposed to be still better. Yes, the contrast is lower wide open than stopped down - this is a typical Nikkor characteristic and it fits well in the application of the lenses in low light photography where the lighting contrast can be extremely high (stage light, indoor available light), rendering people more gently than ultra high contrast Zeiss lens.
     
  27. Besides, dynamic range is not always defined by SNR = 1 or some really low value; it could be SNR = 100 in which case the bit depth would be far below affecting the DR.
    For visual averaging the DR might be meaningless if the printer makes it all black but using tonal mapping frequently used by landscape photographers to bring shadows into light and map the full tonal range onto the dynamic range of the paper, the shadows see the light so to speak, and often they are noisier than one would like (unless multiple images at different exposures are used, in which case the problem of inconsistent subject content (position of the subject may move, trees and water move with wind etc.) comes into play, so I don't much like this). Improvement in the sensor quality helps work with one exposure in more situations.
     
  28. Photographers will not have to follow the recommendations to get good results. But to get great results (the best the camera/lens combo is capable of producing), special care may be be needed. Implementation of those 'tips' will benefit many photographers regardless of the body they are using.
    It will be interesting to read user experiences once the d800 comes out and is actually used!
     
  29. Joe said:
    BTW, large aperture lenses are no real substitute for a tripod. You'll simply be swapping fuzziness due to camera-shake for fuzziness due to lens aberrations.​
    Not sure if you're referencing my post, but I never said they were. All I meant was that faster maxiumum-aperture lenses can afford higher shutter speeds, when desired, all caveats acknowledged. Any optical compromises shooting wide- or near-wide open on a quality lens will far outweigh a completely ruined shot due to motion-blur caused by camera shake.
     
  30. Skyler, kudos for your original points. Looks like a lot of people want to show off their academic acumen, with discussion about rotation of the earth and all... That was just a nice touch of sarcasm on your part and I got it. I hope a few people, like me, heard your excellent message. My D800 order stays active.
     
  31. There is an awful lot of pixel peeping talk here, but isn’t the end result for most photographers going to be how large is your print and what are the qualities of the print that you are trying to achieve? Back in the 70’s I routinely shot available light documentary portraits with my trusty Yashicamat twin lens reflex (120 format) wide open (f 3.5) and 1/30 sec using Plus-x film (iso 125). From this thread you would think I was wasting my time with such a combination and get nothing but worthless mushy images. In fact, this combination gave me very smooth, grainless, acceptably sharp prints with a total look and “feel” very different from what I would have achieved with 35mm and Tri-X. My 70’s folder here: http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=405901 is full of such images. My prints typically were 8x10 to 11x14 range. When I wanted the most detail I could get in a landscape I switched to a 4x5 camera, tripod, etc. It seems to me a 36 mp digital ff camera can be used for both purposes: hand held to get large, smooth prints, even using wide apertures and slow shutter speeds, and then on a tripod with low ISOs and optimal apertures for maximum depth of focus. Again, it’s all about the end result, the print, and the overall qualities of the print, and, how you like to work, your style, and so forth.
     
  32. I like your response Steve, well said. Your technique is much more important in relation to your final output than it is to your camera.
     
  33. Joe said:
    Otherwise we'd all have to take pictures of totally static subjects on those few perfect (but boring) days when there's no wind, dust or mist in the air and when it's also cool enough to prevent heat turbulance. Then we set our (very expensive and cherry-picked) lenses to their boring optimum aperture of around f/5.6, adjust our compendium hood for optimum flare reduction, throw another sandbag on the near-impossible-to-carry tripod and shoot our totally boring pictures.​
    Well, that's exactly what I'm planning to do with the D800, compendium hood and all (although I own two of 'em, I'm usually actually trying to introduce some lens flare). But that's precisely the kind of "boring" photography the D800 was made for. I have a pretty lightweight carbon-fiber tripod, but a 15-lb. shotbag hung from its center-column steadies that sucker up pretty good. A small, 18" x 24" solid would suffice to shield the camera from the wind.
    And, it's true, most of the images I would photograph with the D800 wouldn't benefit from either VR lenses or fast apertures. Most of these exposures I would iris anywhere from f/5.6-f/11 anyway. I would also love to pair the relatively slow, PC-E Nikkor 24mm f/3.5 tilt-shift lens with the D800 for some hot Scheimpflug action. At least for my purposes, the majority of my D800 photography would be on a tripod.
    Architecture, interiors, cityscapes . . . are all excellent candidates for careful, precision photography with the D800. The fast and furious photojournalism-oriented shots (or, slow and careful, high-ISO shots), I'll shoot with a D3s.
     
  34. Didn't Adobe recently demonstrate a possible addition to PS that will fix motion blur? On a 70MB RAW file, it may take a week unless you have IBM's Watson at your disposal; but,....... ;-)
     
  35. Ralph, although I've never shot photojournalism style professionally, my vast experience in shooting on location with film cameras tells me the biggest obstacle to over come on location is lighting. High dynamic range is critical in uncontrollable lighting scenarios, something the D800 is going to be head and shoulders over the D4, D3s and D3 cameras because its dynamic range is going to probably be at least 2 stops greater than those cameras (judging that the D3x is already 1.7 stops greater than the D3s). To me the dynamic range is reason enough to shoot the D800 over the D3s on location. Not to mention the D800 has a far superior matrix meter, critical for getting correctly exposed shots in challenging lighting, its AF system is 1 more stop sensitive in low light and has been considered to in general be better than the D3s's. My point is, these are compelling arguments of reasons to use the D800 over the D3s in a PJ scenario. Oh and don't forget that you can go into DX mode to nab that far-away-shot and still have a 15MP image.
    Why does everyone get this idea that high MPs equal tripod hugging super detail shots only? Does anyone think the D700 is a bad PJ camera? Does anyone treat the D700 like a tripod hugging detail only camera? The D800 is superior in every way than the D700, from the larger viewfinder, same High ISO performance (According to Cliff), lighter body, faster AF better in low light, better matrix meter, I think most people would agree better layout of buttons, multiple card options, useful DX crop (15MPs vs 5MPs) better dynamic range and color depth of and it just happens to have more Megapixels. But nobody looks at the first at the half a dozen features that have been improved, they go straight for the MPs and judge the camera on that alone.
     
  36. I wonder by how much the announcement of a new camera affects forum traffic? I wonder how that increase compares to when the previously announced camera is actually released?
     
  37. What a load of utter cobblers! If I can hand hold my Bronica SQ-A and 80mm at 1/30s then D800 owners have nothing to worry about. When my Bronica shutter fires it's like an explosion, more akin to a large rat trap triggering. If I can get sharp images at 1/30 then what's all the fuss about? All this nonsense is discussed every time a new megapixel barrier is broken. Move on people...
     
  38. But nobody looks at the first at the half a dozen features that have been improved, they go straight for the MPs and judge the camera on that alone.​
    I thinks it's more like they looked at the price first and went "gaaaack" I can't afford it and try and find a reason to justify not buying it. BTW, they are being preordered like there is no tomorrow. :)
     
  39. The D700 is $2700. The D800 rumors had pegged it at $4000. You mean to tell me that people didn't expect it to be that much? What did they think Nikon was going to release the D800 at a D7000 price?
     
  40. This has to be the most overblown and misunderstood issue of the year. I'm glad that people took the time to read what the Nikon manual had to say about tripods. However, if I recall correctly, they were talking more about focusing accuracy (using live view) than camera stability. Kudos to Nikon for adding 23x magnification in live view, an excellent feature. But apparently, no one noticed the photo of Cliff Mautner in the manual. Cliff was handholding his sample D800. Yes, go back and look at the brochure. And then go to Nikon's site and look at Cliff's super sharp handheld images. IMHO his handheld portraits look sharper than the library photo taken from the tripod. Oops! How can that be? I read on the Internet that cameras always performed better on tripods, and the Internet is always true, right? Try using a tripod on a windy day. Try using a tripod in a moving vehicle. Try shooting a wedding or a sports event from a tripod. Cameras and tripods are only tools, and we can use tools in a variety of ways. No matter what the prevailing Internet wisdom might suggest.
     
  41. The D800 is $2999.00 and the D800E is $3299.00 at BHPhoto. Tripods extra for those of you that are buying the fish story.
     
  42. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    But apparently, no one noticed the photo of Cliff Mautner in the manual. Cliff was handholding his sample D800. Yes, go back and look at the brochure. And then go to Nikon's site and look at Cliff's super sharp handheld images. IMHO his handheld portraits look sharper than the library photo taken from the tripod. Oops! How can that be? I read on the Internet that cameras always performed better on tripods, and the Internet is always true, right?​
    That reminds me a Nikon V1/J1 video demo a Nikon rep showed me about 2, 3 months ago. That video is quite short, maybe 15 to 20 seconds and the purpose was to deminstrate how good face detection AF on the V1 is. Of course I know it is very good since I got to test a J1 last year.
    In the video, a woman was dancing with two people standing far behind in the background. So when the dancer's back is towards the camera, the V1 would focus on the faces in the background. When the dancer turned around, the V1 immediately focuses on her with perfect AF. I recall it went back and forth a couple of times.
    The video demo is certainly impressive. What we don't know is how many takes they did before they got that perfect video. Nikon wants to leave you the impression that the V1's AF works so flawlessly every time. In reality, at least I don't know it works that well 50% of the time or it might be once out of 100 takes.
    Likewise, we only get to see Cliff Mautner's final product. We don't get to see all the rejects. That is the magic of advertising. Maybe his hand held shots were that sharp 100% of the time, maybe 50% of the time or perhaps 5% of the time. We simply don't know.
     
  43. High dynamic range is critical in uncontrollable lighting scenarios​
    Really? I shot slide film for years in "uncontrollable lighting scenarios." I managed to get some pretty nice shots with five stops of dynamic range.
    The D800 is going to be head and shoulders over the D4, D3s and D3 cameras because its dynamic range is going to probably be at least 2 stops greater than those cameras.​
    Do you have a link to back up that claim? I find it very difficult to believe that the D800 would exceed the dynamic range of the D4.
     
  44. While what you say is true Shun, I actually spoke in person with someone who has shot the D800 camera. When I told him what those here on photo.net had suggested, that a tripod was necessary to get the most out of the D800's sensor, he got a puzzled look on his face and then said he saw no evidence what so ever to support that. He shot the D800 hand held at low shutter speeds, then put the images on a 30" monitor and at 100% things were still razor sharp.
    Dan, why is it so hard to believe? According to DxO Mark the D3x has 1.7 more stop of latitude than the D3s and 1.5 more than the D3\D700. In this case I do believe its a result of a higher density sensor. The D7000 has almost 2 more stops than the D3s and 1.7 more stops than the D3\D700. On the contrary, I would be surprised indeed if the D4 has more dynamic range than the D800.
     
  45. I'm able to shoot medium format hand held sometimes in fairly low light with a normal lens. I suspect people will find that for those photos you've always needed tripods for you will still need them and for the rest you will hand hold just fine. Lens length to shutter speed along with the mitigation of VR will determine if you need a tripod much much more than the pixel count or density. Lets get some cameras in hand and take some photos before making unqualified statements about how the camera will perform in theory.
     
  46. Given that the larger the print size, the greater the distance at which a photo is comfortably viewed, I also wonder if a bit too much is being made about the resolution of the D800 when used without a tripod. Of course super fine detail becomes more important if one crops the image but then other issues, such as the depth of field and perspective, come into play.
    Obviously, the degree of fineness desired in the detail is an aesthetic choice. This has always been the case in art -- Jan van Eyck painted with great precision and detail while Rembrandt van der Rijan did not.

    In short, I agree with those who believe there are many reasons to own a D800 other than the 36 megapixels. I for one want a digital camera that is at the level of my lenses, which are all prime FX. For me, it's a replacement more for my F6 than for my D90.
     
  47. I've shot a D200 and D3x side by side now ever since the D3x came out. I would have to say that on average, yes, your slight errors in focus or stability do show up more on the 24MP image. I would think that 36MP would be the same.
    I shoot a lot of action where using a tripod is not practical.
     
  48. I shoot a lot of action where using a tripod is not practical.​
    If I understand correctly, that is pretty much the only type of photography that the D3X and D800 are explicitly not recommended for, even by Nikon. It shouldn't come as a surprise that the results may not be the best, although I think the D800's autofocus system will make it ahem... much less unsuitable for these type of shots than a lot of people imagine.
    I am quite excited about the D800, I think size matters. Yes, you need more attention to get fine detail on the pixel level, but I think for most people, the aim is a certain print size, in which case the higher pixel count can only have benefits on image quality.
    When I was shooting black and white film, I preferred medium format for all applications (I don't shoot action/sports). Even handheld in lower light, the results compared to 35mm were always obviously superior. And when I did have the time and conditions to slow down and use a tripod, I enjoyed putting a bit more thought into the shot. With medium format, I was taking less pictures, but a higher percentage turned out good. I was missing the "medium format experience" from digital, and I am expecting the D800 to somewhat bring that feeling back at an acceptable price.
     
  49. The D3X sensor was made by Sony, right? Maybe that explains the differences. Perhaps I'm not confused about the definition of dynamic range. I would think that a D3X would hit a noise floor sooner than a D3S.
     
  50. I actually think all of Nikon's sensors are made by Sony. Or at least as far as I know, but don't quote me on that.
    Dynamic range is basically the light range a camera can capture detail prior to blowing to white and crushing to black. So if your sky is X exposure and your subject is Y and there is a 10 stop difference, then a camera like the D3s which has 12 stops of range, will be able to capture 100% detail in the subject and the sky (in theory at least). but lets say the difference was 14 stops, either your subjects face will go to black or your sky will go to white and there should be no detail what so ever (in theory). So a camera with greater dynamic range can capture a greater range of light than a camera with less dynamic range. A similar principle applies to color, and usually goes hand and hand with dynamic range.
    What you are thinking of is signal to noise ratio, which means at higher ISOs the more noise that shows up in the image, and yes, the D4 will be superior than the D800 in this area.
     
  51. Well, I don't know if you can calculate a sensor's susceptibility to camera shake from a simple pixel-count (you probably have make some calculation based on pixel-site dimension, etc.), but if it's at least a gross measure, comparing a 12.1MP D3s to a 36.6MP D800, the D800's pixel-count is 173% greater, in each axis.
    I'm not saying you can't shoot the D800 handheld, I'm just saying what I plan to do with the camera. And, if in fact a higher-MP sensor is more sensitive to motion-induced, image-blur, then I plan to take extra care in minimizing camera shake, and one of the simplest ways to do that is to bag your center column. Most gallery stuff I see is shot either medium-format film, MFDB, or 4x5--many of which are tripod-ed. Yes, I know many here have shot medium-format film handheld, and so have I (with a Mamiys RB67, back in the film days). But with modern MFDBs costing in excess of $10K, the D800 at least gives me a fighting chance when competing against these larger formats. For these shots, I will be most-often shooting this camera on a tripod.
     
  52. Dan said:
    Perhaps I'm not confused about the definition of dynamic range. I would think that a D3X would hit a noise floor sooner than a D3S.​
    The D3s/D4 have sensor designs optimized for low-SNR, and have the lowest noise floor in the product line. The D3x/D800 are optimized for dynamic range at low- to moderate ISOs. Dynamic range is the measure of a recording process' ability to capture extremes in signal amplitude, or in photography, the measure of the sensor's ability to capture the highest-to-lowest luminance values in a scene.
     
  53. Skyler wrote:
    Ralph, although I've never shot photojournalism style professionally, my vast experience in shooting on location with film cameras tells me the biggest obstacle to over come on location is lighting.​
    Again, I'm referencing only my own experience. Motion-blur (both due to subject and/or camera movement), happens to be my most-common technical error. Just when I think I have a high-enough shutter speed, a quick head-turn, or fast eye-blink is easily enough to ruin the shot. Plus, handholding any tele lens, without the benefit of VR or a monopod, over 200mm on a DX body, or 300mm on FX, is doable, but remains a challenge at 1/250th (just under reciprocal-speed). Again, I think my handheld technique is rather accomplished, since I make handheld shots for television (which admiittedly is less-critical than for stills) with the equivalent of a 1,320mm lens on a daily basis (using a 22x7 broadcast ENG lens mounted on a 2/3" video camera, which has a 3.93x crop factor for a 35mm equivalent).
    As far as lighting being a challenge, when shooting stills under available-light, my problem is always just not having enough of it (that's where my D3s and f/1.4 lenses come in handy). As far as dynamic range, shooting video for my day job certainly forces me to accommodate contrast ratios far beyond what my camera can reproduce. Everyday, I'm choosing backgrounds that I can still expose for, given the tools I have available to me in our vans: FlexFills, silks, Westcott kits, Foamcore, Matthboards, Diva 200s, Joker 400/800s. When composing for stills, I'm always striving to frame scenes with contrast ratios already within the capabilities of my sensor (e.g., I almost never shoot stills for personal work when the sun is high in the sky). Having a body which has more of that recording capability will certainly be welcome.
     
  54. For me, my D3x does a great job at action photography...I do a lot of running horses and when the shot is perfect, the 24MP make it look really nice. I'm just saying that my technique has to be right on, I can't afford to be sloppy or you will be able to see it (when viewed at a large magnification).
     
  55. Ralph, thanks for the explanation. That confirms my understanding. My suspicion is that even though the D3X has greater actual DR, the shadow area would have more noise. But I could be wrong as I've never used that particular model.
     
  56. Dan said:
    Ralph, thanks for the explanation. That confirms my understanding. My suspicion is that even though the D3X has greater actual DR, the shadow area would have more noise.​
    You're welcome. Yes, I believe that's true (although, I've never actually compared a D3x with a D3s). I'm no expert, but other pro photographers have told me that even MFDBs tend to get noisy at even moderately high ISOs (since, I assume, they tend to be designed more for optimum dynamic range). I believe that's true with high-MP Nikon DLSRs as well--that the D3x exceeds the D3s' dynamic range at low- to moderate-ISOs, but that the D3s would be quieter at same ISOs. I'm assuming the similar case holds true for the D800 and D4 also.
     
  57. Quoting Thom Hogan on the subject:
    . . . Consider this: a 16mm lens on D7000 puts ~5000 pixels across 74 degrees, while a 24mm lens on a D800 puts ~7000 pixels across the same angle. Put another way, 1° of motion is 68 pixels on the D7000, 94 pixels on the D800. 1° on a D2h was just 33 pixels and 41 pixels on a D70, You've got to handle a D800 cleaner than a D7000 folks . . .​
    Using Thom's argument, a D800 is 38% more sensitive to camera shake than a D7000. Again, I'm not saying you can't shoot a D800 handheld, but I think these figures are at least good to be aware of, and probably means that for those planning on printing sizable enlargements, the nominal handheld shutter speed indicated by the reciprocal rule should be increased accordingly.
     
  58. Ralph, the D800 would be more susceptible to camera shake only if the image is blown up to the same pixels per inch size. If you printed a 12x18 from a D700 and a D800, for example, motion blur would appear to be about the same. But if you made a print with the D800 at the same pixel per inch spacing as a 12x18 print from a D700, it would be much larger, and you'd notice not only more motion blur but also more diffraction.
     
  59. On an advanced test of 35mm motion picture film, it was estimated that approximately 10K of resolution could be gotten off the sensor. That's well over 40 Megapixels. My point is, Film has always has more resolution than digital, the D800 isn't going to change to that. While I did not shoot in the film days, I do not recall any stories of a tripod being required for 35mm film.
    I'm not saying there isn't a time for tripods, even at normal shutter speeds. This morning I was shooting a close up shot of the mountains with my D7000 and a 300mm. Even on a monopod at @ 1/200th of a second I was having difficulty getting razor shots (I did eventually go to 1/400th and that fixed the problem). That happens when you shoot a subject several miles away on a super telephoto. My point about the myth was ultimately the D800 does have a super high pixel count, but in the long run, the times that will actually effect quality on the final print compared to other cameras of less resolution will be very, very rare in my humble opinion. I see people posting that they aren't going to buy a D800 because they will have to use a tripod, and there only logic for this is because Shun posted in his preview that to get the most out of a D800 you would have to have a tripod. Its not that I don't agree with Shun's assessment, I just don't see how it doesn't apply to every other camera made as well, and just like every other camera under most conditions the D800 will produce fantastic handheld images, provided of course the photographer is being realistic about his shutter speed\focal length\subject\final output relationships.
     
  60. No, tripods weren't required for film, but back in the early days of 10-25 ASA/ISO colour film, if you wanted a sharp negative, you used one. All that's happened is that affordable electronic image sensors have gotten better. :)
     
  61. Dan said:
    Ralph, the D800 would be more susceptible to camera shake only if the image is blown up to the same pixels per inch size.​
    Yes, that makes sense--thanks. I do plan to shoot images specifically for large printing when I get a D800, mainly tripod-ed, time-exposure cityscapes.
     
  62. Skyler said:
    This morning I was shooting a close up shot of the mountains with my D7000 and a 300mm. Even on a monopod at @ 1/200th of a second I was having difficulty getting razor shots (I did eventually go to 1/400th and that fixed the problem).​
    Since the reciprocal rule previously applied 35mm film cameras, i.e., "full-frame" cameras, the rule, as applied to the DX body in your example, would actually be 1/450th for a 450mm-equivalent lens, so your results seem in line with that logic.
     
  63. You are absolutely right Ralph, did you account for the monopod though? I thought those figures were for handheld, I would estimate the monopod compensated for a stop of vibration. However thinking maybe my monopod technique wasn't that good I pulled it off the monopod and then turned VR on (yes I know that if I have VR on the monopod it will actually add vibration), even with VR on at 1/200th of a second I got about the same results. One should be fine at 300mms with VR on at 1/200th, right?
     
  64. I'm a big fan of monopods, and yes, that should decrease your minimum usable shutter speed. You can use a monopod with VR turned on as well. I've gotten sharp images at a 600mm-equivalent length (80-400mm on a DX body) with as little as a 1/15th shutter speed, using a monopod and VR.
     

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