D800 vs D700

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by acm, Feb 20, 2012.

  1. acm

    acm

    I am a D90 owner. Have been waiting for D700 successor for over a year. Now that it is announced, I feel like getting a D700 while its still available. Major turn off for D800 for me is it possibly requiring tripods all the time?
     
  2. 'possibly requiring tripods all the time?'
    Why do you think so? I was thinking the other way around....
     
  3. It 100% depends on what you are shooting.
    From what I've seen and read - the D800 is not a camera for everyone, nor every type of shooting.
    Sports, some weddings, Candids, Photojournalism - probably not a camera for you.
    Some weddings, Studio Portrait, Landscape, Catalog - maybe a camera for you.
    Personally I'm not lining up to buy one - because:
    1) I don't need 36 megapixels.
    2) The high ISO isn't there
    3) the frame rate is only 4 fps
    4) I shoot mostly weddings, a lot in darker churches, etc.. Seniors (location) and sports... So nothing in that would make me scream for 36 mp.
    My reasoning is based only on what I have read - both here and from nikon about the body. The tech document Nikon released didn't help their case to me any stating something to the effect that in order to achieve best quality shoot iso 400 or lower and on tripod.
    Question for you - Is there a reason you're considering full frame vs going to a D7000? The D7000 is leaps ahead of the D90 and doesn't have the limits on ISO or FPS that the D800 does.
    Dave
     
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Hi Apurva, we already have quite a few threads on the D800 lately. None other than Nikon USA has recently published a technical guide for the D800: http://www.nikonusa.com/en_US/o/Y6wrkA9OU_z04IreazIXl_22UII/PDF/D800_TechnicalGuide_En.pdf
    As many people have pointed out, what it takes to get the most out of a high-pixel DSLR (as described in Nikon's technical guide) should already be common sense for anybody who may be intersted in such cameras.
    If you feel that the D700 may be more suitable for you, by all means get one. I still use my D700 very frequently. At this point buying a D700 used may be more cost effective, but I also understand that lots of people prefer new.
    Do you have a question?
     
  5. Ummm, you really needed a tripod way back in the 1960's and earlier to get the best out of the extremely high resolution sensors sold back then, Panatomic-X and Kodachrome. Nothing much on that side has changed really, except the optics are better and the ASA ratings have changed to ISO and gone up a few stops. :)
     
  6. 1960's and earlier to get the best out of the extremely high resolution sensors sold back then,, Panatomic-X and Kodachrome.​
    Sensors ? .... ah Films !! :- )
     
  7. Nice thing about the D700, which I have, is shooting in low light. The larger cells do better in low light, as per D4. I have
    some night shots in Flickr.com/photos/hankster123. They were done with a D700, 24-120f4VR and no tripod at high ISO
    like 2000.
     
  8. Tripod needed only if your shutter speed is too slow for the situation. No different in principle. Just "up-the-ante" , and shoot at higher shutter speeds, especially when using longer lenses. This is especially true for the AAfilter-less E model.
     
  9. The camera isn't even available yet, but everyone knows exactly what the IQ is.
    My educated guess - images will look the same with the D800, just as they do with any Nikon DSLR. And with a bit of extra care and Nikon's best lenses, you will likely be able to do a bit better with the D800 over other cameras.
    All the tips listed in the technical document released will improve the picture quality using ANY body regardless of their image sensor.
    The D800 has basically the same pixel density and the D7000. The D7000 seems to do pretty well. It has excellent high ISO ability, about the same as the D3. Is there any reason to suspect that the D800 won't do equally as well? Am I missing something?
     
  10. If you could handhold the shot on a D700, you can handhold the same shot on a D800. Print both images at a modest size and they
    should look about the same. If you enlarge them, you might begin to see problems unless you used a VR lens. With VR you should be
    able to shoot handheld with excellent results in many cases.

    One of my favorite images from the past year was a shot of a marina at dusk. I had to handhold a 5D mark II at ISO 3200 to get the shot,
    because tripods are strongly discouraged at this location. And the lens that I was using did NOT have IS (VR). I would take the same shot with a D800 if that's what I had in my hands at the time. No hesitation. Do what you need to do to capture your images, and stop listening to people who tell you what you can't do.

    That 16-35f/4 VR lens is looking like a good investment.
     
  11. Addendum: If you'll download and read Nikon's Technical Guide for the D800/e, you'll notice a photo of Cliff Mautner shooting his bride model with a handheld D800. This clearly indicates that a tripod is not "required" to operate this camera. Will a tripod help in some instances? Sure! But that doesn't negate the ability to handhold this camera.
     
  12. Well, actually, it's always been taught that if you want the highest possible image quality in terms of sharpness, than shoot on a tripod, especially a SLR. Locking up the mirror, and shooting at your lenses sweet spot. This has been true since SLR's came out and has been taught in photography departments over 50 years. It only makes sense that mirror shake and hand shake always mitigate against the highest possible sharpness. But in real life, that's not how a lot of people shoot, no matter whether its film, or DSLR so it really depends on what you shoot and what is "acceptable" quality and what makes an effective photograph, a concept that often seems to get lost in equipment forums. For some, it seems that getting the most out of using the camera is shooting lens targets for others its shooting birds. For me, who might be interested in the new camera, the question how does it perform the way I would use it. Either on the street, or at a wedding or at a photo shoot. D700 has been good. I would imagine this would be better, but I'll have to wait till people actually get it in their hand, right now it seems to be a bit of speculation.
     
  13. I rather make things easy...
    Do you need HD recording?
    Yes -> D800
    No -> D700
    ====
    Unless you are planning to print large size photos, 12MP vs 36MP wont make a difference.
    Two card slots vs one card slot I dont think is huge problem here...
    and that is about it... everything else is very minor unless you are looking at the HD video recording.
     
  14. A little too easy maybe Anthony.. bigger better for cropping, but yes its a lot of MPs for most needs. The video is a whole different thing.
     
  15. acm

    acm

    Thanks all of you for taking time.
    Shun, I did read the Nikon Technical Guide and that led me to think would 36 MP be too big to handle for a non pro like me!
     
  16. acm

    acm

    Dave, ,I have always wanted a full frame, period. I have collected lenses accordingly too like 105 f/2.8, 85 f/1.4D, 50 f/1.8D, not to mention 70-300 and 28-80 from film days.
     
  17. Look at it this way, when new finer grain colour films are announced, most uses jump ship and start using the new products. Hey guess what, they resolve the CA, soft corners, etc., better that the previous version. But hardly anyone goes back to a lower resolution, lower dynamic range film if they can avoid it.
    I'd guess 7-10 years down the road, 36MP sensors are going to be pretty limited compared to "full frame" 60MP ones and 16-18 bit AD conversion.
     
  18. I ordered the D800, but just for one reason: landscape and portraits, both on a tripod. For most of my shooting the D700 would have been more than enough, I even thought of getting a used D3s (high ISO is important for part of my work). I still am not entirely convinced that this will be the perfect body for me, but since Nikon will have difficulties delivering the ordered bodies in the months to come, I suppose I will always be able to sell it without a great loss and get a D3s or whatever instead.
    The tripod thing is common sense: want perfect sharpness out of my D300? Tripod, lmu, self timer or cable release. Want perfect street shots? Don't pixel peep, there is no way to get 100% sharpness in that situation in low light, and I don't even care that much, the goal simply is different in this case.
    Sure, 100% of the D800 shows more detail than 100% of a D300 pic, so motion blurr will be larger in comparison to pixel size on the D800. But that's for pixel peepers only, and for perfectionists shooting stills and windless landscapes. For the rest of us, with the D800 you can have both: near-MF-quality, if you work as described, or just as good as a DSLR can be within normal handling and lens issues.
     
  19. This is only an issue if you'd rather pixel peep than actually show your photos off in some reasonable fashion.
     
  20. My understanding, based on bythom.com:

    1. D700 is still in production, and

    2. D800 is not its replacement.
     
  21. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    if you work as described, or just as good as a DSLR can be within normal handling and lens issues.
    This is only an issue if you'd rather pixel peep than actually show your photos off in some reasonable fashion.​
    Holger and Peter, while that is true, but if you only need to "show your photos off in some reasonable fashion," you don't need 36MP. That is the point a lot of us have made over and over.
    People need to keep in mind that 36MP does not come for free; there are compromises that come with it. You can argue that memory card, computer power, and disk drives are cheap in these days (in the case of disk drives, as soon as production gets back to the normal level after the effect of the Thai flood is over) so that the much larger image files is not a big issue. I think that is a reasonable position.
    However, the D800 maxes out at 4 fps while the D700 can doube that with the right batteries. I think it is also quite clear that the D800's high-ISO is not at the same level as the D3S and D4.
    In reality, I don't care what the model number may suggest, the D800 is ineed not the D700's replacement. It is the D3X's replacement. So will there be a "true" replacement for the D700? I hope so.
    Finally, to the OP, if the D800 does not meet your needs, you can still buy a D700 or wait. I don't see what the big problem is.
     
  22. I was at the WPPI convention this week and saw a few shots from the D800. Resolution is really good and shots taken at ISO 10,000 looked usable, It seems to be aimed at wedding, portrait, general photography market. Priced at $3000 dollars it looks to be worth every penny. I guess the only drawbacks would be the huge file size and the 4 frames per second. You would also have to consider a new computer if the one you have now is not up to snuff. The lecturer said you have a choice of two smaller file sizes. Unfortunately those options don't increase your frames per second.
     
  23. Shun said: "it is also quite clear that the D800's high-ISO is not at the same level as the D3S and D4"
    Have a look at these sensor studies from Bill Claff:
    http://home.comcast.net/~NikonD70/Charts/PDR.htm
    http://home.comcast.net/~NikonD70/Charts/PDR_65.htm
    These D4 and D800 measurements (also duplicated independently by Marianne Oelund), suggest that the D800 is as good as the D3s /per unit area of the sensor/ and only about 1/3 stop from the D4. [The D3s and D4 receive a slight bump above ISO12800 due to artificial noise reduction.] I'm not surprised by this. The two sensor types are about equal in light gathering ability. The DR of the D4 design is limited by read noise at low ISO though.
     
  24. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    the D800 is as good as the D3s /per unit area of the sensor/ and only about 1/3 stop from the D4​
    Luke, as soon as you say "per unit area of the sensor," it immediately raises a red flag. When you are comparing a D800 image against a D4 image or D3S image per unit area of the sensor, are you down-sampling the D800 image to 16MP (D4) or 12MP (D3S) and then compare?
    If I use a D800, I have no intention to down sample to half or even less than half of 36MP. Otherwise, I might as well start with a D3S or even D700 to begin with. When I use a D800, I pay a heavy price for getting limited to 4 frames/sec. A lot of people also dislike the large file sizes that come with 36MP. Therefore, to me, any comparison "per unit area of the sensor" is meaningless.
    Incidentally, neither the D4 nor the D800/D800E is available on the market yet. I wonder where Bill Claff and Marianne Oelung got those cameras for testing. How much time did they have those cameras for proper testing and whether those cameras have the final, verion 1.0 of production firmware.
     
  25. Yes, you downsample the D800 image to compare performance with D3s/D4. Otherwise, you are comparing incommensurable quantities.
    There are many good reasons to use a high MP camera even when you are not printing at full resolution, which you almost never do anyway unless you print everything at over 30x40.
    First of all, there is a level of high frequency detail that is preserved in a downsampled high MP capture that is not present in a native low MP capture. The total MTF in each system is different. Remember that we are talking about Bayer areas, and that the 12MP is not really 12M RGB points, but 12M total points of R+G+B. Up near the Nyquist limit, aided considerably by a severe AA filter, the MTF drops off considerably. You are much better starting with a higher pixel count and downsampling if you want to preserve detail. See below a test that I refer to often.
    http://diglloyd.com/blog/2009/20090109_1-NikonD3x.html
    I don't otherwise know what you mean about your intentions to never downsample. The D4 gets its low light performance because of the way it apportions out the total response across the entire sensor surface in relatively large chunks. There just aren't that many photons at ISO51200 to go around. The pixels on the D800 are within a fraction just as good as the pixels on the D4, but in virtue of being smaller, you can expect correspondingly fewer photons to reach each pixel in equal flux and exposure settings. I hope you don't think that a D4 with 36MP D4-pixels would yield a brilliant camera that would perform at 36MP the way the D4 does at 16MP?
    There may be other practical issues involving in choosing or not choosing the D800 as you indicate. None of those have to do with its low light capabilities. At base ISO, however, I would expect the D800 to be far ahead since it is not limited by read noise the way the D3/4 sensors are.
    I don't know if you've ever read Emil's papers, giving detailed reasons why comparing per unit area of the sensor is the proper way to go, so I'm putting in the link here.
    http://theory.uchicago.edu/~ejm/pix/20d/tests/noise/noise-p3.html#pixelsiz
    As for the tests, they are measurements made from published NEFs. All might want to wait and see if the production firmware actually performs worse than the beta.
     
  26. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Yes, you downsample the D800 image to compare performance with D3s/D4.​
    Luke, thanks for the confirmation.
    I have already made my points in the previous post at 9:21am.
     
  27. What did that have to do with the proposition in question? You said: "it is also quite clear that the D800's high-ISO is not at the same level as the D3S and D4"
    Don't the theory, measurements, and research cited call into question this claim?
     
  28. If you were merely trying to say that the D800, at the pixel level, did not have as good low light response, then I apologize. In my mind, the low light camera is the one that aggregates photons into a relatively small number of pixels in order to provide maximum signal. So the only way a D800 would be a candidate for a low light camera is where the sensor pixels are aggregated into a relatively small number of pixels. On this measure, the D800 is on a par with the D3s, and within 1/3 stop of the D4, both of which collect photons at low pixel density. But we will see what other qualitative factors might intercede when the production cameras arrive, hopefully without further delay.
     
  29. There isn't a camera in existence, other than a view camera, that needs a tripod all the time. Also, whats wrong with tripods?
     
  30. When downsampling the d800 images, assuming that the images have the same iso performance as that of a lower mp camera's outcomes such as the d3s, then in my opinion, the two cameras have their own characteristics.
    Having a low mp on an fx format has the advantages of being faster, ease on post processing (due to small file sizes) etc.. On the other hand, high mp gives the option that more details can be obtained from the images. This may be important when printing in larger sizes or cropping in small sizes.
    Hence, I think the preference of high or low mp cameras is dependent on the photographic needs. Personally, I would rather have a high mp camera such as the d800, because the 36 mp is just an extra detail that the others can never provide even though they all can produce the same iso performances . But this is just my preference, for someone else other factors such as speed may be more important.
     
  31. I really don't see what's so new. When Nikon went from 12 megapixels to 24 megapixels with the D3x, did everyone have to "start using tripods" to shoot every photo? NO. Does the D3x produce better quality images than the D3 at low ISO settings? YES.
    Quit with the BS people! Gong from the 24 megapixel D3x to the 36 megapixel D800 is very little. It's only 50% more pixels. It's like going from 12 megapixels to 18 megapixels, and as a photographer who has shot with cameras that produce both of those numbers of megapixels, I can attest to the fact that there is not that much difference! In fact, if YOU look at the numbers, you'll see that the horizontal resolution has not increased very much from the D3x to the D800.
    D3x = 6048 x 4032
    D800 = 7360 x 4912
    Shooting with a D800 will not produce worse images than shooting with a D3x or a D700. If anything, it will produce BETTER images, but they just may look about the same, if they are blurry, because you moved. Of course, you can produce very good blurry images with a D200 or a D50 too! No need for a D700, if your purpose is to produce blurry images.
    ;)
     
  32. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Scott, no, I did not "start using tripods" when I used the D3X. The key word is "start." I started using tripods as much as possible for serious work way before the D3X or even 12MP digital. I started using tripods with film SLRs. But every image I used in photo.net's D3X review was indeed captured with the D3X on a tripod, namely the Gitzo 1325: http://www.photo.net/equipment/nikon/D3X/review/
    One thing that really surprised me (and perhaps surprised a lot of others also) is that when I switched from the 12MP D300 to the 16MP D7000, I thought it was merely a very modest pixel increase. It turns out that the D7000 is far more demanding on the quality of lenses and technique. I would imagine that the same is true when we go from 24MP FX to 36MP FX; the jump from 12MP FX (D3/D3S/D700) is clearly much bigger.
     
  33. Yes, it definitely is Shun, but good technique, as you know, from the film days, shows through, even though your image resolution may not be very high. As you know, a good scan from 35mm film is around 6 megapixels. Yes, you can get 15 megapixel scans, and they are very expensive, but for printing at 11x14 or 11x17, most digital scans from 35mm film tend to be about 6 megapixels. A landscape shot that was done well, with good technique (probably with a tripod), normally looks sharper than a hand-held shot, even at those small print sizes, and even with a 6 megapixel scan from film. 12 megapixel raw shots from a D700 will certainly show good technique vs. bad, as will just about any shot. Can you capture finer detail with a D800 than with a D700? Sure! Of course. To say that a camera is more demanding though, I think is a misconception. It has always been demanding to capture the finest detail in your images, whether it was with film, a 6 megapixel camera, a 12 megapixel camera, or whatever.
    Just for comparison, you might find the detail in these screen captures interesting. I created a gallery of images from raw samples I found at Imaging Resource. The gallery compares images from a D800 (at ISO 100 and ISO 800) with almost identical images from a Sigma SD1 (the previous king of detail capture at a reasonable price range), also shot at ISO 100 and ISO 800. I found it surprising that the Sigma produces less noise at ISO 100 and even at ISO 800 too. The original screen captures are all downloadable. There is also a button in the gallery that allows you to view full-screen, though the images viewed are not full size (they are about 70%, and unfortunately have been compressed). It would be best do download the full-size screen captures, though even that will not tell the full story. The best way is to download View NX 2.3 from the Nikon Web site, Sigma Photo Pro 5.2 from the Sigma Web site, and the raw files from Imaging Resource, and then view the raw files for yourself.
    Shun, I suspect you have probably already done this, so that was not directed to you.
     

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