Observations on my first week of shooting with the D800

Started Oct 4, 2012 | Discussions thread
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tomnorth
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Observations on my first week of shooting with the D800
Oct 4, 2012

I had heard the warnings about needing to use a tripod and shoot with smaller apertures with the D800, so I was a bit anxious about what my results would be during my first week of shooting with the D800. Here is what I have found. I don't need to use a tripod and I can use wider apertures. I do need to be somewhat careful with shutter speeds though. The image below is a 100% crop of a photograph from a recent match of my daughter's volleyball team. It was shot at 1/250 of a second with an aperture of f/2.8. The ISO was 3200 and the focal length 185mm. You can clearly see the weave pattern in this player's jersey and the hairs on her arm. I may not be getting a theoretical max 36mp of resolution by shooting handheld, but I am getting crisp, clean images. I have also included the full image for reference.

I do think that the D800 requires that you be a more thoughtful shooter. The dynamic range is definitely wider than on my D700, so you'll see more in the shadows and highlights. It may just be me, but how a photo looks on my D800 LCD is highly influenced by how well I've exposed it. I'm not quite sure why that would be, but it definitely is a perception I've gained. If I expose too far to the right, not even necessarily overexposed, the images look somewhat garish on the camera LCD. I'm not sure what to attribute that to, but it is a perception I've taken on after one week of shooting with the D800. One thing I've noticed is that the AF is lightening fast...much more so than my D700, which is no slouch in that category.

So overall, I am definitely happy with my D800 purchase and somewhat relieved that I don't need to start carrying a darned tripod around with me wherever I shoot. To be frank, I hate shooting with tripods. Perhaps that's why I avoid landscapes. For those of you that have been lusting after the D800 but had been put off by the warnings about having to shoot with a tripod and with narrow apertures, I wouldn't let that hold you back. With good handholding technique and smart shutter speed choices, I think you can get crisp, clear images with the D800 without the use of a tripod or narrow apertures.

 tomnorth's gear list:tomnorth's gear list
Nikon D800 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G +9 more
Nikon D700 Nikon D800
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