second body??

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by brian_mchattie, Nov 19, 2013.

  1. hello people... I mainly shoot sport and have a passion for ice hockey... I bought a d800 as a second body and after one year and much experimenting, the time has come for me to say the d800 is absolutely not the camera for my speciality (sorry elliot, but i really gave it a shot, (excuse the pun)).
    I can get a good price for trading in my d800.... sooo, my question to the forum is.. What should I consider as a backup body?
    a second d4 is not in the loop, but here in norway, my local dealer has a stock of df m!!
    such a body is not out of my budget, bearing in mind i will be trading in my d800. however, i cannot find any reviews for this camera.
    any comments or recommendations are most welcome, especially from shun and/or elliot..
  2. I'd consider a used D3s. As far as shooting goes, it's as close as you can get to being a D4 without it being an actual D4.
    The Df, it seems to me, will suffer in several ways in comparison. At least for my style of sports shooting, I'd really miss the ability to have a grip for shooting in portrait orientation. Plus, of course, its frame rate is slower than the D4/D3S, and its AF system is a step back as well.
    I'm not sure what about the D800 you found unsatisfactory, so it's hard to say what other bodies would also not work out for you.
  3. I wish I could speak from experience, but I'd still recommend a D3s if you mostly want back-up, with the proviso that the switched +/- buttons will probably drive you nuts. If you want something complementary to your D4, that's probably the D800 (what it does best are the things the D4 does worst), but I guess that's not what you're after. A D700 + grip would give you near-D3 functionality and speed with an option of going lighter, but the low light performance is way behind the latest bodies (though it's not been long since it was the best choice!) If you elaborate on the D800 objections, we might be able to advise better. For some cases, a D7100 or a V2 might be best!

    I would be extremely surprised if the Df is what you need. The handling is very different from the D4, it has worse AF than the D800 and it's slower than a D610 (and barely faster than a D800 in 24MP crop mode).

    I didn't know the Df had actually shipped yet. I'm sure reviews will come shortly - it is very new.

    Edit: Are you sure they're in stock? All the places I can find only have them on preorder. I doubt that's because they're so popular they're selling out - they'd normally be listed differently if that were the case. If they're in, there's another thread where we'd like you to drop by your store and answer some questions!
  4. Simulate a 5.5 FPS Df on your D4 and you know the answer.
  5. Simulate a 5.5 FPS Df on your D4 and you know the answer.​
    And don't use the top or bottom row of AF points. And take a guess about some of the handling...
  6. In order: A D4, a D3S, and then last and least of all a D3.

    I use a D4 and a D800 (and used D3S and D3 models before those), and agree that for fast action sports such as hockey and basketball, the D800 is not the best choice. It isn't so much the slower frame rate as it is the slower recovery from a full buffer. The D3S and the D3 don't compete with the D4 in that area either, but at least they're close enough to be useful.

    On the other hand, for most other purposes, I use the D800 about three times as much as the D4. If I could only have one body, the D4 would be it. But for 3/4ths of what I do the D800 has the edge. The problem is that it isn't even close to the D4 in some very necessary ways!
  7. For that kind of work, the D3.
    Rick H.
  8. couple of points people..
    1. yes.. the Df is in stock (priced at 4,150 dollars which includes 25% tax)
    2. issues with the d800 begins with fps.
    3. I shoot manual but i still seem to have much work to bring the photographs to a satisfacory level where i feel comfortable to give to people.
    4. I will set my d4 with an iso of 2500 (or more (lens.. 70 -200 f 2,8)), a shutter speed of 640 and I can shoot away until my heart is content. when finished, just a little bit of tweaking may be necessary.
  9. I can understand why D800 doesn't cut it for sports. I mean common, 4 fps!
    Even the first digital sports dslr was better than that in 1999 (Nikon D1, 4.5 fps).
    Heck, even the motordrive on film cameras from 1980 was better (Nikon F3 + MD-4 = 5.5 fps)!
    PS. I now see that Brian's posted while I was writing. And fps was indeed the primary problem.
  10. great and valuable comments which are really appreciated.
    One question though!! will the d3s go the same way as the d700, which was the body i used until the d4 came on the market??
  11. Pete: Well, I'll point out that the D800 gets to 5fps if you crop to 24MP and 6fps (faster than a Df) if you use a battery grip and match the D4's resolution by shooting DX... but you won't get the low light performance. At full frame the D800 actually keeps the D4 pretty honest at ISO 2500 so long as you resize the results - it's much higher where the D4 wins. But no arguments about the frame rate compared with a D3 or D4. The V1 and V2 can do better still on frame rate, but not at ISO 2500, and you'll need several to switch between as the buffers fill up (Floyd's issue). The only real reason to consider a D700 is for the ability to run it without the grip for lightness, but it sounds as though that's not an issue.

    The Df allegedly has a big buffer, but whether that's "big" in the "suitable for pro sports shooting" sense or "big" in the "won't run out like a D7100" sense is another matter.

    Given your budget, so long as 12MP suffices, D3s. ISO 2500 is about the point where the D3s and D4 merge in noise handling. There's a considerable improvement over the D3, though that would be the obvious choice if your budget doesn't extend to a D3s.

    Thanks for confirming about the Df stocks. I'm pleasantly surprised, and waiting for reviews!

    What way did your D700 go?
  12. hi again... my d700 did not "go".. it was a super camera and I gifted it to my sister (with a couple of lenses) when I got the d4... I am not sorry that I upgraded to the d4 as i am sure you can appreciate.
    Needless to say, my sister is delighted with the d700 and her interest in hobby photography has grown.
  13. 2. issues with the d800 begins with fps.
    3. I shoot manual but i still seem to have much work to bring the photographs to a satisfacory level where i feel comfortable to give to people.
    4. I will set my d4 with an iso of 2500 (or more (lens.. 70 -200 f 2,8)), a shutter speed of 640 and I can shoot away until my heart is content. when finished, just a little bit of tweaking may be necessary.​
    The only real issues should be the ability to shoot long, fast, bursts. The D800 isn't as fast and cannot sustain a long enough burst without locking up for many seconds while it dumps the buffer to the card. That is a real killer of a difference from the D4 that can just bang away for dozens of shots without so much as a hickup.
    I don't understand what you hint at in items 3 and 4. The character of the D800 images is virtually the same as those from the D4, and the only real difference is the D800 images have twice as many pixels. That means more disk space and more time for processing, but it also means that larger prints or smaller crops can be used too.
    Ummm, I'm assuming you are shooting RAW, and not trying to use straight out of the camera JPEG's! But even if you are, any difference you're seeing is a matter of configuration of the JPEG engine.
  14. not sure what you mean by "configuration of the JPEG engine".
    Yes. I shoot 95% raw and process with lightroom. for any further processing or manipulation, i use photoshop. Perhaps it's just inexperience but i do seem to have to work more with photographs from the d800 than with the d4...
    off to bed now and look forward to comments coming in during the night.
    thanks folks
  15. The obvious choice is another D4. As it seems that is out of your budget, a D3S would be the next best thing. If that is still out of your budget, the D3 which does pretty well even by today's standards for the settings you use (ISO 2500 cleans up nicely). A lot depends on your final print size.
    All other Nikon bodies will not have the frame rate you seem to need. Keep in mind that shooting the D800 in DX mode gives you 6fps (with the appropriate battery).

    Frankly, since you are shooting with the D4 as your main body, pretty much all other lesser bodies (except perhaps the D3S) may seem inadequate. Good luck!
  16. Shooting an FX camera in DX mode is not a realistic way to work, it's more like an emergency solution. If you want to shoot DX, simply buy a DX camera.
    The D600 might be a better solution since it already has 5.5 fps (6 fps for the new D610).
    Many people seems to think that AF on the D600 is the same as the D7000 was. According to the link below it seems like that D600 AF is actually much improved over the D7000 even if both have 39 focus points.
    "LOW LIGHT AF: It's just not as good as the D3s. If you can dink around with manual or play with it a bit, it will make you a gorgeous low noise file but in extreme low light, it hunts a bit. It's 100% better than the D7000 so they are tweaking all the time." from
  17. the D3 which does pretty well even by today's standards for the settings you use (ISO 2500 cleans up nicely).​
    Since the OP had a D700 before... shouldn't be too hard to decide what is an acceptable noise level with a D3, as it's in that sense identical to the D700. For me, ISO3200 on the D700 with good exposure and a good RAW converter should be better than "cleans up nicely" and print large without any real problem - but a bit of personal preference comes in, some people worry more about noise than others.
    Second hand D3 can be found for really attractive prices, but they're probably pretty seriously used. The D3s is very likely to be a lot newer (cost a lot more, but be in a generally much better state too). It also depends how confident you feel getting something 2nd hand.
    Are DX cameras out of the question? Apart from the shallow buffer, the D7100 ticks a lot of the right boxes for what you're looking for, for a lot less money.
  18. I have and use both a D600 and D3 for sports in terrible lighting, have used a D3s and D800 in those venues.
    The D800 does feel slow at 4FPS compared to the others, but the AF system is probably 2nd only to the D4.
    I think I get more keepers with the D600 vs the D3. At ISO 6400 with stadium lighting, the D600 files do look a lot better out of the camera than those from the D3. Really, I should sell the D3 and get another D600 or a D610. The D3s I had access to was notably better than the D3 with high ISO, AWB, and maybe AF operation. The D3s significantly outperformed the D700 I had at the same time for sports.
    It will be interesting to compare a D610 sensor vs the Df in bad lighting. The Df should be a little better in poor lighting, but the D610 is less expensive and offers some other advantages.
  19. Why not just get a D7100 body for shooting hockey? I see a lot of sports photographers using the D7000/D7100.
  20. for fast-action sports which require burst shooting, the d3, d3s, and d4 are the best nikon bodies. a Df looks nice, but isnt really going to cut it. in my experience, the larger bodies do make a difference in terms of handling while shooting.
    a (gripped) d7100 might be just passable at 2500 ISO, but it could be problematic to switch formats in terms of lens selection, if you're frequently swapping lenses in the midst of shooting .
    if a d4 is out of the budget, the clear choice is a d3s.
  21. Seems like a D700 with grip and AA batteries would be worth considering on a budget.
  22. +1 Dan. It seems the number of 2nd hand D700s is beginning to increase on eBay and you can get a D700 + MB-D10 + a couple of EnEl4s with charger for well under £1000.
    Maybe the early effect of Df pre-orders?
  23. Shooting an FX camera in DX mode is not a realistic way to work, it's more like an emergency solution. If you want to shoot DX, simply buy a DX camera.​
    Yes, that well-known 16MP 6fps DX Nikon with a multicam 3500 and a big buffer. :) Seriously, I agree - DX is an emergency, although it's an emergency that I've used (though not with a grip) for a slight frame rate advantage and - more importantly - smaller files. I was limited in lens size by the venue at the London Olympics, and knew I needed a tighter crop than I could achieve with the lens length I was allowed to bring in, so DX mode was harmless (for some shots). On the D800, 16MP is still a useful size in DX; on the D700, 5MP of DX crop is less useful.

    However, bear in mind that the 16MP of the DX crop from a D800 is still roughly the same resolution as the D4 running full frame (and the AF sensors cover the whole image area). 5fps when matching the 24MP of a D610 is pretty competitive too, though in both cases you lose some sensor area and therefore the low light handling. I'm not about to push a D800 as a sports camera - especially next to a D4, and especially to Brian who has obviously tried it - but I'd also suggest that thinking of it solely as a 4fps camera is doing it a slight disservice.

    Re. the D700 + grip, I went that route - but I already had the D700 (I got the - third-party - grip to justify keeping it alongside the D800). I've generally seen D700 and D3 bodies going for similar prices, though possibly with very different activation counts. Purely as back-up to the D4, the D3 might be a better choice (it does have a few tricks that the D700 + grip doesn't, especially 11fps and the DoF preview behaviour). However, if a Df is an option, I'd suggest a D3s would be worth the price premium over a plain D3. But I'm speaking only as someone with a D700 who has lusted over D3s images, not as an owner.
  24. " bear in mind that the 16MP of the DX crop from a D800 is still roughly the same resolution as the D4 running full frame"

    While that is true, the sensors are not the same and probably the only thing the two have in common is the number of megapixels the image contains. Not all megapixels are created equal.
    A D3 is generally more cost effective than a D700 + grip + battery charger + battery.
  25. ..........but that D3 sensor doesn't clean itself!
  26. Elliot: Yes, a D800e has better per-pixel sharpness than a D4. :) Less facetiously, you are, of course, right - the 16MP DX crop from a D800 behaves very similarly to the whole image from a D7000. That's pretty darned good by the standards of not so long ago, but it's no D4; using a slower, faster lens to compensate for the crop factor gets you back to the ISO difference between a D800 and a D4, but as I'm fond of pointing out, Nikon aren't rushing to make a DX 135mm f/1.3 to substitute for my 200 f/2, and I get the impression that it's easier to make a longer lens with good coverage than a shorter one that's faster. And it doesn't help much as a direct drop-in replacement for the D4. The 1.2x (24MP, 5fps) crop is a bit more worthy of consideration, I suspect.

    Still, I'm not saying a D800 is a substitute D4, just that it can do more than shoot 36MP slowly - and what it can do is switch between 16MP at 6fps, 24MP at 5fps and 36MP at 4fps, which is a trick that no other camera can do. This clearly wasn't good enough for the original poster (fair enough), but it might be for others reading this thread and prematurely dismissing the D800. It's not the "budget D4" in the way that a 5D3 makes (I suspect) a pretty good back-up for a 1Dx, but it's not without options. I just wish there was an interpolated "small raw" on the list, or at least that the camera could hit 6fps with smaller full-frame JPEG sizes.

    Mike: Oh yes, I'd forgotten that (probably because I've had my D700 cleaned several times) - though the D3s does as well, and it does sound as though paying for the extra stop of performance is within Brian's budget, and useful. You also have to pay for something to trigger external flash guns (the main use I have for my on-camera flash), there's no AF assist, and there's no virtual horizon (unless that got added by a later firmware update - I believe the D3s has that one, at least). Oh, and my third-party D700 grip has an infrared trigger receiver on it. Myself, I'd take the integrated grip, solidity, separate DoF control, dual card slots and 11fps mode over the D700 combo unless I wanted a lightweight option (which I do, hence keeping my D700 for more than nostalgic reasons). And I'm told the microphone is really handy, too. I'm sure the D3 handles more like the D4 than the D700 does (give or take the +/- switch, which was really annoying in going between a D700 and D800).

    If nothing else, both the D3 and D4 have the tongue-operated ISO switch (at a push, you could get at it in portrait grip by dislocating your thumb), rather than the eyebrow-operated one on the D700/D800. (Yup, still bitter about that, but growing stronger white eyebrow hairs especially.)
  27. Briefly, I'd suggest that if you want a second body (where both are used interchangeably) you probably should get an identical camera to your first body. If you are looking for a backup (used only when needed) however, a D700 or D3S would fit the bill for what you are doing. Since you are using a D4 right now, a used D3S seems to make the most sense.
  28. This whole thread has another "Nikon, please give us an updated d700". Instead, we got a D7100 and now a Df.
    I used both my D600 and D3(not s) last night for shooting a game under the lights. I am sure that I could spend a lot of time with software to fix on the D3 files, but the D600 results out of the camera are simply better than the D3 files (and what a D700 would have delivered). A D3s would have delivered better results than the D3, also.
    Is the D600 (610) perfect? No, I would like to be able to buy a D7XX camera with the D600 sensor (or the D4), D7100 AF module, 6FPF with maybe a higher rate with big battery in something like a D800 chassis. Nikon, maybe next year?
    On the other hand, I have learned to work with the D600 setup. I probably will sell the D3 and get a cheap used D600 as a second body. So, no money to Nikon.
    For the OP, a D3s probably makes the most sense, if his D800 just does not work for him. The price for a D3s is relatively close to that of a used D4, though.
  29. Jeremy: Yes, mostly. Some of the D4 changes (where AF is set, the +/- buttons) are mirrored on the other recent Nikons but not on the D700/D3 generation, which could be annoying. But I'd agree that a D3s is probably closer to a D4 than a D800 is. Besides, if the D800 is out...

    Robert: Really? I've seen used a D3s go for appreciably less than a new Df, but I though they mostly went for a significant chunk less than an equivalent mileage D4. Have you found a new D3s somewhere? I was only looking at used ones...

    Nikon, without quite doing a "5D3 is a 5D2 improved everywhere", have come very close to providing a D700 replacement:
    • The D800 is better (depending on what you make of the handling changes) in every way except that you have to drop to 24MP and a 1.2x crop to get 5fps.
    • The D600 and D610 ar better in most ways, except for the downgraded autofocus.
    • The Df is better in the same ways as the D600, with a bigger buffer (probably) but lower resolution.
    Nikon could solve half their complaints from hesitant D700 upgraders if they implemented a "small raw" binned mode. The other half may only be happy if the camera can hit 8fps with a grip - something that none of the above cameras can do, obviously. The problem there is that the D700 took sales from the D3, which Nikon could solve by releasing the (appreciably better, in low light) D3s sensor. I'm not so sure that the performance gap is large enough that an 8fps D800 wouldn't do a lot of poaching of D4 sales. I don't really expect 8fps from a prosumer FX body while the pro version can only do 10fps; maybe if the "D5" is appreciably faster... (Well, I didn't expect a Df either, but at least I can theorize why Nikon might not be matching the D700's 8fps trick.) Not that this helps Brian much!
  30. Andrew, thank you for the reminder. I had forgotten about the D800 1.2 crop setting. Might try that with the D800 I am able to borrow for the next game.
    I looked on Ebay, seems like the D3s-D4 average spread has increased somewhat. I have not used a D4, but I think the AF performance improvement vs D3s for sports would be enough better to justify the additional $, based on my (limited) experience using the D800. Guess I am an AF performance junkie. I have to shoot with very limited DOF due to poor lighting. It is frustrating to get a good shot, but find that it is a little out of focus later.
  31. Robert: Well, 5fps isn't going to trouble a D4 much, but it balances out the arguments a bit in comparison with a Df and a D600/D610! Good luck with your experiment.

    As for AF accuracy, speaking as someone who really needs to have another go at AF tuning my lens collection and as someone who needs to use my Sigma dock before my 35 f/1.4 becomes usable in anything but live view, I feel the pain (although I'm glad someone's D800 behaved!)
  32. Hi people.... I most certainly did not anticipate the reaction which my original question would receive.
    I have read all your comments with great interest and really appreciate the time you have taken to respond.
    The consequence of your comments and advice is that I have decided to double up on the d4.
    I only hope that Nikon will not come out with a d4s or d5 within the next year or so....
    Thank you all for your input.
  33. I only hope that Nikon will not come out with a d4s or d5 within the next year or so....​
    Did you really say YEAR or SO....dream on...very bad bet. I'll give it 6 that Easter 2014.
  34. Who knows what Nikon will do?
    Have a look at the timeline for when Nikon introduced different cameras.
    If they have some tweaks it's not unlikely that a D4s will be announced some time next year but it seems unlikely that a D5 will be around that soon.
    However, it took a year or so from the D700 was introduced to the D3s came out. If Nikon want people to buy the Df for the D4 sensor they should probably wait a year before releasing the D4s.
  35. Well, a lot of good advices here.
    I shoot sports as well and definitely the D800 does not cut it. It cannot compare with my D4, even if downsampled, upsampled, middlesampled, or whatever you want to do to it. Neither AF nor speed not even DR above ISO 600 cannot be compared with it. It is just the D800 is in another league for sports and when I say that I mean certainly below.
    I reached the conclusion that it is an overrated body and my backup one, that is a D3, does a better job.
    So a D3s or a D610 might be a backup option you would like to consider.
    Hope it helps.
  36. Obviously nobody at liberty to discuss Nikon's release schedule is going to post here, but Nikon (and Canon) do have a history of releasing high-end sports cameras shortly before major sporting events - such as the D4 and 1Dx (just) for the 2012 Olympics. If something isn't released by 2014 I'd be surprised, but I have to observe that the 1Dx has a number of specification advantages, at least on page, over a D4. Canon had a lot of trouble getting it shipped, but at this stage the extra AF points and their distribution, the bigger screen, the slight resolution advantage and the frame rate difference (12-14fps vs 10-11fps) all make the 1Dx look slightly more tempting, just as the D600/D610 are slightly better than the 6D in a lot of different ways. Plus Canon have been updating (or releasing, in the case of the 200-400) their pro sports/journalist glass (24-70, 70-200, 200-400, big telephotos) more recently than Nikon, generally with a performance edge. I would not be overly surprised if Nikon feel the need to do something about this, and refresh the D4 sooner, though I've no idea what the relative sales figures are and whether a D5 would help.

    There have been a few cries for a D4x (a D800 or higher-res sensor in a D4 body), but I'm a bit dubious about the sales potential of a D3x/1Ds successor. I really doubt there's a "better low light performance" D4s sensor to come (if we're interpreting the naming convention that way), though Nikon could certainly update the video capabilities.

    Whatever (and whenever), I think we can be prepared for the D5 to be reassuringly expensive, unless Nikon become convinced that all newspapers are sacking their photojournalist staff. :) Given the D3s pricing, I doubt the D4 prices will exactly plummet.
  37. Oops, meant to say: Janos, I can believe that the D800 doesn't quite match the D4 at high ISO (although I'd claim probably higher than 600) when resampled. Compared with a D3, it's obviously slower, but the same image quality argument doesn't apply - the D800 is better in low light, resampled to the same crop. At least, unless the D3 is a lot more different from my D700 than I believe. What the D800 does offer, beyond the alternatives, is the ability to crop, and image quality for the staged money shot when you have good light. Entirely as a back-up to a D4, it's not in the running; as a complement to one, it most certainly is. Brian's not in that category, but I wouldn't suggest that all sports shooters looking for a second body (though probably not a first one!) should dismiss the merits of the D800 out of hand.

Share This Page