Nikon D800, First Impressions, Good & Bad

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by allan_jamieson|2, Apr 29, 2012.

  1. Well, finally received it last week, played around with it a few evenings using different lenses and settings. Managed to get out with it early yesterday morning, trying a few landscapes and macro shots locally.
    The resolution is stunning, if you get your focus right that is. I haven't adjusted the camera yet for any of my lenses to fine tune the focus. Most images were pin sharp with small tweaks from Live View to check the camera was focusing where I wanted it to. Some shots were a bit soft using a Nikon 24-85mm AFS, which was very sharp on DX. But same lens was extremely sharp after checking the focus manually with Live View. Macro shots with my Sigma 105mm were pin sharp focused manually, virtually pictures within pictures as you zoom into the image on the camera screen.
    Probably taken only around 200 images since getting the camera, was surprised to have the battery fail whilst looking through some of the images on it last night. Okay, I've used Live View quite a lot yesterday but really, I would have expected a lot longer than that from one battery charge. Luckily I have a spare battery already but anyone taking this camera out on a long trip is going to need quite a few spare batteries to make sure they don't run out somewhere remote. I reckon I'll need at least one extra spare battery, maybe two to be on the safe side. The battery is not up to the demands on it in this camera and is going to annoy people using it professionally.
    I read a few reports online mentioning people noticing that D800 mirrors were scratched, sure enough so is mine, roughly in the lower middle of it looking straight in. I didn't notice that when I got it, not very impressive for such a new camera. The sensor also seems to have a few marks on it, after zooming into a shot of blue sky, not sure if that is dust, oil or bits of mirror rubbing off! I'm a bit reluctant to try cleaning the sensor already, I hardly ever needed to clean the sensor on my D90. I even took the precaution of cleaning all of my lenses very carefully before using them on the D800 to cut down the chance of any dust or dirt getting in there.
    Overall it is a very good camera, but not happy about the scratched mirror...
  2. Before you jump to any conclusions, Allan, partially discharge and recharge that battery a few times. Every lithium-ion
    battery I've used as improved dramatically after a few cycles. Regardless, buy a spare $40 battery for that $3,000
    camera. If you're going to do a lot of live view shooting and chimping, especially in colder weather, you'll be glad to have
    one in your bag.

    As for a hairline scratch on your mirror, are you sure you're not seeing an aspect of its actual design? I'm able to find but
    one report of a scratch, followed by a comment that one one talking to Nikon about it was told that it's part of the design,
    and o ignore it. Are you seeing it in the viewfinder?

    And about sensor cleaning .... It's perfectly safe if you take anything like reasonable care while doing it. If a puff from a
    rocket blower and/or the built-in dust removal process don't take care of it, just clean it. You'll be using the thing for years,
    so you might as well get comfortable doing that basic chore which only takes a minute.

    200 images in ... Keep shooting!
  3. Hi Matt, you could be right about the battery, but I've barely noticed the battery draining with previous cameras. Even if the battery improves a bit after a few charges, using the screen a lot to check images and/or using Live View is going to drain the battery fairly quickly. I already have one spare, prudence would suggest at least one extra spare battery if not more. It would be more than a little upsetting to be out somewhere with great scenery and a dead battery...
    As for the mirror, the "mark" doesn't look like a design feature, it does look like something rubbed across the mirror. I don't recall any mention from Nikon about having a mark or scratch on the mirror. I've used many, many cameras and never seen anything like it on any other camera. I've got a rocket blower somewhere about, must try to find it, just haven't had to use it in a while!
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    Under normal uages, you should be able to capture close to 1000 images on the D800 with a fully charges EN-EL15. I tend to review my images a lot and therefore drain the battery faster. The other day I attached the GP-1 GPS unit and also left the back LCD on for a long time for video capture, and the battery drained quickly.
    Another thing to keep in mind is that some recently sold D800 come with EN-EL15 batteries that are being recalled. You want to double check that.
    Concerning the mirror, since Nikon's (phase detect) AF system is at the bottom of the camera, there is a secondary mirror behind the main mirror to reflect light down to the bottom AF module. Therefore, the center part of the main mirror is semi transparent and if you look carefully, you can see the outline of the semi transparent area, which is a rectangle inside the main mirror, and that area is smaller than the DX frame. That could be the "scratch" some people are referring to. See the attached image below. Of course, I have no idea exactly what the OP is observing.
    I just went back to check the mirror on my D800 test unit, and it is fine.
  5. Matt, make that a £40 battery for a £2600 camera.....$60 and nearly $4000! However, I think it might still be worth it! :)
    I assume the D800 has the normal ultrasonic sensor cleaning thingy? I've set my D700 for clean on start up and shut down and have never had to mechanically clean it. My colleague's D4 is forever spotty! We shoot the same muddy horse events.
  6. I hardly ever needed to clean the sensor on my D90​
    The larger the sensor the more dust it will gather, that's just common sense. You'll always need to watch for dust more on a full frame camera.
  7. .....Or maybe, assuming the same amount of dust coming through the body-lens mount, it's the standard Nikon F mount 'hole' on both, is attracted to the static of the CCD, the amount settling on the sensor will be higher per unit area on the smaller sensor...... maybe..:)
  8. I can see how that line on the mirror would be taken for a scratch ! If I didn't just read Shun's post, I would have thought so, as well.
  9. Yes, I have checked the slot outline shown by Shun. It is not a straigh, perfectly rounded and finished line, but a bit "rough" one. It it works, who cares? Is it really an issue? (???)
    I`d not mind so much about the "finish" of the inner parts of the camera... actually.
    The battery I`m using is a "D"; it works perfectly.
    My first impression is that the D800 is a -wonder- of camera, way more refined than the D700; all is better (I was so skeptical about this). Looks like all has been improved; ergonomics, function, metering, colors, lightness, controls`feel, shutter, etc., etc., etc. (I want it with a D3s sensor... !)
    To be sincere, the only thing I find a bit "awkward" is the sensor. Actually, too much resolution for other than proffessional use.
  10. This whole thing about the sensor and HUGE file size etc in kinda missing the point. It gives you the option of Xtra High Res, when you need it. Otherwise down-sizing in camera (if you must) will probably help with noise reduction, save memory card space and speed up processing time if you don't have a mainframe yet.
    But the word is OPTION, I'd love the choice....when I need it!
    For that 'Need It Now' resolution, I might throw a few ££s at a D3200 for long lens on DX reach....and it's under 1/4 the price.
  11. It gives you the option of Xtra High Res, when you need it.
    Downsizing in the camera will mean the results are stored in 8-bit per color files, which means you won't get the D800's excellent base ISO dynamic range. Also when altering e.g. color balance in artificial light in-post-processing I doubt the quality will be the same as when using raw files, as e.g. in tungsten light the blue channel will have to be amplified, and since the file was stored as 8-bit per color, important data for successful color adjustment is lost. I just don't see myself using anything but (compressed) NEF format irrespective of the camera's resolution. And once that decision is made the burden of the high resolution is present until the file is downsized for further processing on the computer; at this point it's possible to use 16-bit per color files (TIFFs) but those are rather huge (216MB I think). Even with the D3X it only takes weeks for me to fill my hard drives after through cleanup of bad pics. It's a constant problem for me - when I edit D700 files it's like I'm flying through them. I really have to figure out a way to alter the way I shoot and edit images to solve this issue.
    Looks like all has been improved; ergonomics,
    I guess it's all quite subjective - I would like to have a camera with that sensor but do not like the D800's viewfinder ergonomics. I mean the viewfinder itself is excellent (best in any digital camera I've used) but I rhave to press my nose hard to see all of the image.
  12. Ah, I kinda assumed that you could still have a downsized 14-bit NEF. I hadn't thought it would need processing before's just a simple operation. Still, I see exactly what you mean about quality.... :-(
    Sometimes I think sensor size v storage is like the age old projectile v armour battles. You just wait for the next development to re-address the imbalance...until the next change etc etc...
  13. Ilkka, do you use that rubber cups in the eyepiece?
    I also found myself pressing my face to the camera, but I thought I was missing the one I have on my D700. I`ll check it later. I`m quite uncomfortable without them.
  14. Shun, that picture is the same as I am seeing on my mirror, for a design feature it is more than a bit rough looking! The battery that came with the camera isn't one of those on the recall list, I'll try to monitor it in future in comparison to the spare one that I bought to see if there is any real difference in using it. The camera itself is extraordinary, just need to sell off some surplus camera gear to get myself lenses that will make the most of the resolution that the camera is capable of.
    I had a look at my Nikon 12-24mm lens on the D800 set to FX, quite interesting to see 12mm on full frame, even with rounded edges. It looks like it should be possible to use this lens from around 17/18mm to 24mm on FX. I'll experiment a bit and test it out at those focal lengths, not sure how good the corners will be though. Still would like a Zeiss 21mm though...
  15. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    Shun, that picture is the same as I am seeing on my mirror, for a design feature it is more than a bit rough looking!​
    Every Nikon DSLR is going to have that "scratch" on the mirror since they all have a secondary mirror behind the main mirror. It is not limited to the D800. Gently use a finger to lift the mirror half way up and then look behind it; you'll see the secondary mirror. It is the same on your D90 as well. And that "scratch" is not just a line; it is a rectangle since the semi-transparent area is a rectangle to match the area of the secondary mirror.
    As I have pointed out many times before, I would not use a 12-24mm/f4 DX lens for something similar on an FX body. The image circle may appear to be big enough to cover the entire FX frame, but the quality of the image circle is very poor outside of the DX area until you reach 24mm. I haven't tried the 12-24 on the D800, but on the D700, it is only good at 24mm if you are using the entire FX frame. The D800 is only more demanding on lenses.
  16. Shun, the Nikon 12-24mm will be sold fairly soon, towards some better glass. But, I did try it out this morning from 18-24mm indoors taking images of my antiques business display cabinets etc and the images actually look pretty good zooming into the corners. I'll have a look at them tonight on my 27 inch LCD screen and see how bad the corners actually are compared to the centre parts of the image. I could have bought the Nikon 16-35mm lens to replace the 12-24mm but just prefer the feel of prime lenses manually focused, which is where a camera like the D800 is really going to excel.
  17. Had a look at the images from the 12-24mm lens, better than I would have thought to be honest. Centre DX area very sharp no issues plus another large area around this area also sharp too. Doen't focus very well manually though, ring is stiff and hard to focus precisely. Tried the lens at 16mm to 24mm, 16mm tiny bit vignetting, noticably soft in the corners which you would expect. By 20mm things were a lot better and better still at 24mm. Definitely not an FX lens but capable of covering a larger image area than DX reasonably well if you crop the image all round.
    The wider angle images had a very noticable area around the edges where detail suddenly became very poor but just next to that there was still good detail well beyond what the lens is intended to cover, where I could read the writing on tiny price labels inside glass cabinets. The images taken will be good enough for updating my website soon.

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