Is this the best I can expect from D800?

Started 6 months ago | Discussions thread
Ray Ritchie
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,781
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Re: Is this the best I can expect from D800?
In reply to LesGoodey, 6 months ago

You haven't said exactly what you're looking for as to "the best I can expect," so everyone is guessing you're talking about sharpness/ resolution. In that regard, I'd say that it isn't. My first guess would be that the lens isn't quite sharp enough to get the most from the camera; I get a bit more resolution across the frame from my D800 with my best lenses, which are a Sigma 35mm f/1.4 and a Nikon 85mm f/1.4G. But I always shoot raw NEF's, usually processing in Lightroom and Photoshop, where I can do a better job of sharpening and controlling the sharpening artifacts, so my second guess would be that you should try shooting raw and see what difference that makes.

A third suggestion would be that you experiment with the aperture. For most of my lenses, I notice that f/8 is slightly less sharp than f/7.1 on the D800. For some lenses, maximum sharpness come as soon as f/5.6, but for this type of shot, I'd say that would give too little DOF to have both the boat and the buildings in sharp detail.

Finally, you should try shooting on a tripod with a remote release and mirror lockup and/ or delayed shutter release, as the D800 seems to have a bit more vibration from the mirror action than some other bodies, and the 36 MP resolution will show all kinds of small technique issues at 100% view; it may not make a noticeable difference at 1/400 sec., but you should probably be aware of the shutter speed at which you can see a difference. When I'm shooting handheld and think I may be close to a shutter speed at which the mirror vibration could impact the sharpness, I'll sometimes turn on the mirror delay mode. It does black out the viewfinder for one or more seconds, but you can get used to it for critical shots.

I disagree with one of the earlier comments saying that the image is over sharpened. Assuming you'd be targeting this image for print, I'd say you could sharpen it quite a bit more, as there is always some softening of the image in print due to the ink spreading on the paper. But you can control the sharpening halos, etc., better if you shoot raw.

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