D4 or D800E for birds?

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Lance B
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Re: D4 or D800E for birds?
In reply to Jabs767, 2 months ago

Jabs767 wrote:

T O Shooter wrote:

Lance B wrote:

jamesg28 wrote:

Hi all

A question for the bird photographers amongst us.
If money is no object and you needed/wanted a second body for birding (primarily), would the D4 ot D800 be your choice? And why?
I have and continue to heavily weigh up the obvious pros and cons of each.y conclusion is that both are awesome in their own way, and both require compromises in some areas.

As background: I currently shoot D7100 and 500vr. I love this body for its pixels on subject.
But I've always wanted a FX body to use side by side. The D800 appeals with its resolution. less of a compromise compared to dropping back to 16mp on fx with a D4. But the speed of the D4 is obviously highly appealing. Approx 50-70% of my shooting is BIF.

The D4 fps and buffer would be sensational (especially as the d7100 is also limited there).
The D800(e) resolution etc is also very appealing on the other hand. IQ is very important for me.

Is the D4 worth an extra $3000?

What would you do? All opinions gratefully received

I am mainly a birder have a D800E and from my experience, reach is very important and this is where the D800 has it over the D4 as you can crop down to 16Mp and essentially have 1.5x the reach of the D4.

My longest lens is the 500 f4 VR and even using a 1.4x TC, many a times I still need to crop. The D800E is lightning fast with AF and very accurate. A friend of mine also has the the D800 and had rented the D4 to try but found it not any better than his D800 for birding and stayed with his D800. However, the new D4s is another story, he found that so good he bought it as the AF is superb - faster and accurate than the D4, especially for fast moving subject matter. However, I still think he uses the D800 where he needs reach and only uses the D4s for extremely low light and very fasy subject matter.

There's got to be a big quality variance from body to body. Because with my D4 a hawk or a duck can pop up in front of me and the D4,will lock on and fire off a string of in focus shots that because of the quickness of the action I don't get a chance to compose and barely even get a chance to see them in the viewfinder. My 800e and my previous 800 might as well be a D50 for what good they are / were in that type of situation. I wish Nikon would get their act together and close the gap in their QC. Actually I find the D4 so good that I couldn't see wanting a D4s. I just wish my 800e had as good AF as you say yours has.

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Photography - It's a passion No other reason required.

I have both now, but my backup body for airshow work is the D800E. 1.2 crop is still 25mp and higher fps when the MD battery grip is fitted!

I agree with Lance, my D800 exhibits the same AF performance as my D4 and I have been amazed by the IQ at HI ISO. My D3X has seldom been pulled out of the cupboard since I got the D800E.

With the grip and same battery as the D4, the only thing that lets it down now is fps. I have shot it with the 400VR, 500VR and 600VR and TC14/17 with great results. I just wish the D800 had the same AF capability as the D4 in maintaining AF point selection when in portrait or landscape. It is very annoying when you have to keep changing it when you quickly rotate the camera orientation.

That would be a good idea. I am rerally hoping the rumour of a D800s with the same AF as the new D4s.

John, I would suggest you try the mew D4s, it really is an AF speed machine.

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 Lance B's gear list:Lance B's gear list
Nikon D800E Nikon D810 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED +13 more
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