Nikon D800 or Oly OM-D?

Started Jan 9, 2013 | Discussions thread
RicksAstro
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Re: Nikon D800 or Oly OM-D?
In reply to xador, Jan 9, 2013

xador wrote:

I ordered a Nikon D800 and it had the left focus issue. Returned that for another one and that one had the issue also, it was actually worse than the first one I received. Now I’m thinking of getting the Oly OM-D E-M5. I was giving permission from the boss to be able to get my dream camera once she became pregnant with our first kids. My dream camera for years was a D700 but since they discontinued that and come out with the D800, I decided to buy that. I own a Pan GF1 and it served me well when I traveled to other countries, the size was good for traveling. Now I want a good camera to take pictures of my new kids once they arrive. I know the D800 would produce better pictures (better IQ, more bokeh, better low light, etc.) and the OM-D is smaller and has IBIS. But I’m just wondering if the OM-D can hold its own compared to the D800 when used with good lenses. Can it:

  1. Produce nice bokeh?
  2. Low noise at ISO 3200?
  3. Will the IBIS noise be heard when recording video?
  4. Should I get the 12-35 f/2.8 or 45 f1.8 as a first lens for taking baby pics?

I’ve never had kid so my expectations of the kind of pictures I would take at least for a few years would be static subjects with flapping arms and legs. The D800 would be a lot to carry around if we take the kids out but not sure how often that would be. I say that I would just bring the D800 wherever I take my kids but not sure how true that would be. Cost is not that big an issue because I have more Nikon lenses than m4/3. I’m going to try one more time to get a good D800. If I don’t I may opt for the OM-D depending on the feedback I get from the community. To think, if Nikon would have had better QC on the D800 then I would not have even thought about getting the OM-D.

I had the D800 and GH3 (previously an OM-D).    To give an absolute answer on #3, no, the IBIS is not really heard during video capture.

For #1&2, both cameras can produce images with nice bokeh and low enough noise up to ISO 3200 to not be objectionable even for fairly large prints.   The D800 of course will give you more DOF control options, and a lens like the 85 1.8G will produce a little more dramatic thin DOF shots than the Oly 45 1.8 if that's your thing.   That said, the IBIS of the OMD would be quite beneficial for that lens and the liveview waist level shooting with fast AF will likely make it easier to give you more natural shots without a camera smashed in front of your face.

The D800 will certainly allow you to go up to ISO 6400 allowing it to have faster shutter speeds to stop movement, but I bet you'll find you take the OMD with you more often than you would the D800, and that it a pretty big deal.

For #4, it's a difficult question.    It may be better to get the kit lens for outdoor shots and a few primes (including the 45), which will total similar cost to the 12-35 and give you better results but be a little more inconvenient.    The D800 with cheap kit lens (24-85) will give you thinner DOF and better noise control than the OMD w/ 12-35 and I found it at least equal in sharpness at equivalent f-stops (5.6 on D800 vs. 2.8 on the OMD).    If you want to go that route, you may be better off going with the D800.    But the small, high quality primes is where the OMD with the IBIS really stands out.

The 45 will also allow you to be a little farther away from the baby without getting in its face, which would be good.

Hard to go wrong either way...the D800 will do about anything besides offer IBIS with primes and do it with about as good of quality as any camera out there.    The OMD will still give great results and likely integrate better with a family lifestyle.

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