Pixel Peeping with the Nikon D800
I had a three-year love affair with my Nikon D700 and had just about reached the point where I'd have to replace the shutter when the D800 came out, I was initially hesitant to 'upgrade' because Nikon had always been more about dynamic range and high ISO, versus googa-mega-pixels, but what finally sold me on it was this: I can use it in DX mode to shoot sporting events, getting 5fps, 15 megapixels, and a 1.6x crop factor - which just happens to be the perfect compliment to the 70-200mm f 2.8 zoom for most field sports. So I took the leap. It was a learning curve, for sure - my first impression was that the photos were not as 'sharp' as those taken with the D700, but that was because I was looking at the photos at 100% resolution, which is 3x "closer" than with the D700. Because most of my photography is hand-held, any blur will be magnified, if you magnify the photo to that extent. So I made a few adjustments. For sharpness-critical photos, I upped the shutter speeds or used a tripod. The result: amazing, high res photos that you could make a highway billboard from. The other impression I had was that the D800 does not suffer cheap lenses well; you really need good glass and even with that, it's a good idea to stop up if possible. So with my 70-200, I'll often shoot at f/3 as 'wide open' instead of f/2.8. Note: just after I purchased my D800, I saw the announcement for the less expensive D600, which is the smallest Full Frame digital camera around and which has the second highest pixel count of any FF camera. I almost traded in the D800 but, by the time I had spent a month with it, I was hooked. Here are some photos from the first few months with 'the monster'. The photos shown below are full-res; you can download them to 'pixel-peep.' Scroll down a bit more to see a gallery of recent photos.
Night Sports 1/200 at f/4.0, 300mm, hand-held without VR, ISO 6400 (lens: Nikon 300m f/4) This is a 60% jpg in original size; I had to use 60% to get it to fit into the 8mb limit here on Wordpress. Download full-res version here.
Low-light, Wide-angle Landscape 1/100 sec at f/7.1, 16mm, ISO 250 (lens: Nikon 16-35mm f/4). Download full-res version here.
Hand-held Telephoto Landscape 1/1000 sec at f/6.3, ISO 400, 200mm (lens: Nikon 70-200 f/2.8). Download full res version.
Hand-held Portrait with Glass Zoom 1/1600 sec at f/2.8, 190mm, ISO 500 (lens: Nikon 70-200 f/2.8). Full-res version.
These next three photos - including the stitched panorama - were taken with Nikon's "full frame kit zoom" which, I believe, is bundled with the D600. I've read some less-than-glowing reports about this lens but I bought it because of the zoom range and the small size of the lens, making it excellent for walking around. I'm pretty happy with it.
Snapshot with Kit Zoom 1/30 sec at f/4.5, 85mm, ISO 1600 (lens: Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5~4.5) Photo credit: Jon-Erik Jardine. Full-res version.
Snapshot with Kit Zoom 1/30 sec at f/4.2, 42mm, ISO 500 (lens: Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5~4.5). Full-res version.
Panorama 1/500 sec at f/8, 65mm, ISO 320, 13449 x 4811 pixels (lens: Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5~4.5; stitched using Photoshop Photomerge) Here's a zip file of the full-res version: DSC_8406-Edit-5.jpg
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