The landmark D800

Started Jul 17, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Eff Stawp
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The landmark D800
Jul 17, 2012

The D800 is a seminal camera. Not simply because of its 36 meg sensor but because of how it's been received and by whom.

It's obvious that the camera is irresistible to those with more than just a passing interest in doing photography. The overwhelming number of those seduced by its promise are simple snapshooters that are willing to hand over $3,000 for a camera body.

Expensive cameras have always been with us but they seemed too complicated to the average cat photographer. Hassleblads, with all those dials and buttons mystified.

There was the bewildering choice of film types and sizes. 120, 220, 6x6, 6x7, 6x9 and so on. Processing was another complexity.

Joe photographer saw Ansel's photos and drooled. But when confronted by the technical aspects, he balked. Forget it.

All that was solved by the D800. Crystal clear images taken with the D800 abound on the internet. The camera is automatic everything. You point, press the shutter button and take a few thousand photos a day. You rival medium format !!!

I've had a D800 for several weeks. It's no different than other digital cameras I've used except for the sensor which IS impressive. The rest of the camera is pedestrian if somewhat cheaply constructed.

The video feature is strictly amateur. If you use autofocus, you'll hear the constant grinding of the focus system on your video soundtrack. It's laughable really. Constantly focusing by hand produces a video that goes in and out of focus as your subject or you move. Just awful.

Camera manufacturers have noted the "D800 phenomenon." They see that amateurs have serious money to spend if they can be convinced that they will be made into National Geographic level photographers at the push of a button.

There is a problem with this pot of gold though. It has manifested itself in the "left AF issue," and the "fine tune" fiasco. Nikon is likely receiving many many "defective" D800's that have nothing wrong with them. Nothing other than the fact that the owner is unable to rival Ansel Adams. Of course there ARE some defective D800's

Nikon is bearing the burden of the paranoid amateur. The weekend photographer that is obsessed by the notion that there's something wrong with the camera, not its use.

I don't feel bad for Nikon. They're carting tons of money off to the bank. I don't feel bad for the consumer either: caveat emptor.

I've been a photographer for a very long time. I enjoy my D800 but it's just another camera. It has to be handled carefully and used wisely to produce impressive photographs. I'm learning how to do that with it. Just like I had to with every other camera I've ever used.

You can't learn calculus before you master addition.

Nikon D800
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