D200 Guy seeks input from D800 Owners...

Started Nov 10, 2012 | Discussions thread
Old Ed
Senior MemberPosts: 1,749
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Re: Mid-Course Correction...
In reply to Robin Casady, Nov 11, 2012

Hi Robin,

Let me start by thanking you for taking the time and effort to reply; I appreciate it!

I have inserted some clarifications and follow-ups below...

Happy shooting, Ed

Robin Casady wrote:

Old Ed wrote:

Old Ed wrote:

Hello,

I want to go FX soon. The question is: D600 or D800.

That's a question for me. I wasn't asking for suggestions.

Very confusing when you post a question and it isn't meant to be answered by forum members. I suppose you meant something like, "I'm still debating D600 vs. D800, but I'll sort that part out. What I really want to know is..."

I'm sorry that you and one other poster found my wording confusing on this. My intended meaning was: "The question FOR ME is: D600 or D800."

The D600 price advantage matters to me. So does the D600 weight advantage. And I am scared spitless of those 36mp file sizes. So the D600 would seem a no-brainer.

But wait, not so fast. DX lenses look ugly through the D600 finder. I heard somewhere that the D800 finder masks down to DX when using those lenses. True or False?

The answer here is that the D800 turns on viewfinder lines to indicate the FOV in use, but does not mask out-of-frame areas.

Also, I know that the D800 can shoot lower mp images. But I don't know whether the D800 is just throwing away pixels in those modes, or making good use of all pixels through some kind of averaging or binning. Could someone please tell me? I wouldn't feel at all bad shooting lower-mp-but-lower-noise images while saving up for my 100 TB supercomputer.

I am surprised that no one (so far) seems to understand this question. I am not referring to pixels cropped out in the 5:4, "1.2," or DX modes. I think everyone understands they get dumped. Neither was I referring to the amount of JPEG compression.

I was asking what happens to the "extra" pixels in the "M" and "S" modes. For example, the FX "M" mode is 5520 X 3680 pixels, or about 20 mp. The FOV is the same as the full resolution ("L") FX mode, so it is not a "crop" in the ordinary sense.

My question is, are those "extra" 16 mp used for something, or just dumped? They could be binned or averaged, for example. That would reduce per-pixel noise.

I believe the smaller JPEG sizes S&M are created by downsizing the image similar to the way Photoshop downsizes.

In this thread, that is the leading theory.

To add an editorial comment, it seems to me that buying either an D600 or a D800 for small or medium JPEGs is like buying a 10 ton truck for picking up two bags of groceries at the local market. If you aren't planning to shoot RAW, I think you don't really need FX.

I would have to disagree here. I find RAW very useful, even on my little LX-7 sensor. And I know "pro's" who always shoot JPEGs, because they consistently get them right without the margin for error that RAW provides.

Also, it's not clear (to me) that the downsized modes affect only JPEG files. I have asked a question about that in a new post, below ("Let's talk NEFs...").

I also see the 4:5 aspect ratio choices as a huge advantage. (3:2 is nasty to my eye, and losing the 3:2 "shoulders" would be a perfect way to lose some unwanted mp.) Can anyone comment on whether 4:5 works well? And does it mask the finder in some way?

Finder question is answered above.

Also a good way to deal with lenses that are not sharp in the corners.

Lastly, I wasn't too happy with the recently published D600 "teardown." It's construction seems more unserviceable/disposable than I'd like. I'd like to believe that the D800 is more serviceable, not just heavier. Does anyone know? Has anyone seen a D800 "teardown?"

Nothing yet...

Not sure what you want here. Pretty much nothing is user-serviceable when replacing parts. NikonUSA wont sell you parts. They wont even sell them to independent repair shopts. New policy; probably aimed at cutting down grey market sales.

I was not planning DIY parts replacements. But products designed to be difficult or impossible to service cost more when repairs are needed, no matter who does it. That's relevant to us low-budget folks.

Perhaps you are asking if the D600 has a lower threshold to where it becomes irreparable. I don't know, but doubt there is much difference.

Or, perhaps you are asking if the D600 is built of larger modules and therefore is more expensive to repair. I don't know, but doubt there is much difference. On the D800, scratching the AA filter on the sensor (not easy to do, it is made of very hard material) requires complete replacement of the sensor.

Uh, no need to speculate on what I was asking. I'll repeat: (1) "I'd like to believe that the D800 is more serviceable, not just heavier <than D600>. Does anyone know?" (2) "Has anyone seen a D800 'teardown?'"

Build differences in the consumer, prosumer, and pro level bodies generally come down to durability and possibly precision. The D800 has a magnesium mirror box. The D600 has a plastic (composite?) mirror box. I would guess that magnesium provides a more rigid and more rugged box. Otherwise, their wouldn't be any point in going to the extra expense for magnesium.

Other D800 pluses include more/better controls, USB3, and maybe a few more. So the D800 is definitely in the hunt.

Yes, I'm aware of the whole left-AF issue, and Nikon's poor response. But I don't know whether there is any hard evidence that this problem is resolved in current production. Do any of you know? (Guessing won't help me.)

Nothing yet... (Having read a lot of credible sources on this, I'm convinced this problem is real. That's not the same thing as saying every camera produced exhibits the problem.)

The only thing you will be able to find is anecdotal and hearsay evidence. A few people have reported that Nikon Service centers have returned cameras with the problem fixed. Others are still complaining. There have been some statements that current production cameras do not have this problem. However, who could say if the pipline has been cleared yet?

There are well-known and published Nikon "guru's" out there who have spent some time investigating this problem. I consider their findings to be more than "anecdotal and hearsay evidence." YMMV.

I bought my D800E in May and it did not have the left AF problem.

That is good to hear. So far as I know, no one is claiming that every unit is affected.

I have no dog in this fight (yet); but I would like to know if production improvements have been made in this area. Another poster reports that Hogan says such improvements have indeed been made. I'll check out his remarks when I get a little time to do so.

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