Nice DP2 Merrill shot (Flickr)

Started Jul 30, 2012 | Discussions thread
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In reply to PrebenR, Aug 3, 2012

Tell him he needs a tripod and a good photo book too

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/nikon_d800__e_initial_impressions.shtml

– Focusing Accuracy: Calibrate your camera and lenses using a device like LensAlign. Even then, when possible preferentially us Live View's contrast detection autofocus. It's always more accurate. And to really be sure, use Live View's magnification and a focusing loup on the rear LCD to visually confirm focus.

– Use MLU or Release Delay. Mirror lock-up and a wireless remote works well, or use the new release delay feature set at 3 seconds, which locks the mirror up first. Except with the longest lenses, where a longer delay will allow vibration to dampen down, this will work very well.

– Use the Best Lenses at the Best Aperture: Glass matters. Really good lenses aren't cheap, but they're worth it if you're after maximum image quality. Also, be aware that each lens has an optimum aperture. This is usually between one and three stops down from maximum aperture. Try to avoid shooting at f/11 or smaller, because lens diffraction will reduce resolution.

– Use a large tripod and solid head. Don't skimp on your tripod and head. These aren't sexy, but they'll produce dividends in terms of improved image quality for decades to come. Carbon fiber is preferable because of its freedom from "ringing". These are also lighter weight and more rigid than aluminum. Don't use a center column, it turns your tripod into a monopod.

– Use a high enough shutter speed: When shooting hand-held (yes, this is allowed) use at least a shutter speed that is twice the old rule of 1/focal length, and preferably three times. In other words, if you're shooting with a 125mm focal length, use at least 1/250 sec, and preferably 1/500 sec. Better yet, use auto ISO with the second or third fastest auto setting. This is really handy when shooting with zooms, because it automatically tracks the focal length being used and adjusts itself accordingly.

– Use the lowest possible ISO: Low ISO isn't just about the best quality signal to noise ratio. It also produces better dynamic range.

Ironically that advice means that in order to get the best image quality from the D800, you have to lug around a heavy tripod (in addition to the heavy D800 and lens), forget high ISO, forget moving objects, allow for 3 secs miniumum delay before pressing the shutter and avoid slow shutter speeds.

You can still shoot hand-held - but in that case you will get fairly average Image Quality with the D800.

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