A D800E user revisits the D70

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Douglas Boyd
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A D800E user revisits the D70
3 weeks ago

I've been more or less satisfied with the D800E except when trying to get fill light outdoors in sunshine.  We have a lot of that in Las Vegas, and this results in dark shadows in the face which ruins many pictures.  I have tried using the High-Speed Sync mode of the Nikon 900 flash, but the power and range is usually insufficient.  Use of a neutral density filter helps but this is a pain when you have a lot of different size lenses.

Recently I have been jealous of all the raving going on by the Fuji x100s users who are showing great outdoor flash pictures in the sun using flash sync up to 1/4000 and f2 for shallow depth of field.  Sometimes they use the x100s built-in neutral density 3-stop filter.

But the x100s is basically a point-and-shoot camera with a fixed 35mm lens which can be modified to cover also 28mm and 50mm.  , a less than 2:1 range.   Also x100s is typically very slow to focus and has a long shutter lag.

Then I remembered the D70 that many of us were using back in 2004-2005.  This is a CCD 6-mp camera with an electronic shutter that sync flash at any speed up to 1/8000 sec.  We used to get excellent 12x18" enlargements from this camera.  6-mp seems kind of low-rez compared to 36-mp for normal size prints it is enough.  Especially since the Photoshop and Lightroom have advanced enormously since 2005 and we now have superb up-rezzing and deconvolution sharpening tools, as well as instant noise removal.

Here is the test/demo that I did today to verify the above theory:

The first picture is a simple shot of flowers with the D70 (from eBay) along with the Nikon 18-105mm lens and no flash.

For the next picture I added Metz-54 flash and lowered the background lighting by going to a faster shutter speed and stopping down.

I then dialed down the flash intensity to 1/128 power so that I could open the lens up to f5.6 and adjusted the shutter speed to 1/3200 to get the final picture which was balanced the way I wanted. I also applied resampled in Photoshop to 24-mp and applied both mid-frequency sharpening and deconvolution sharpening at 1 px radius to get the final picture which looks good on screen for printing at 20"x30".

What I conclude from this is that if I carry a D70 body in my bag along-side the D800E I will have the ability to use any of my Nikon lenses in bright sunlight and use simple portable flash to light up shadows and darken the sky when needed.

Hopefully I will not need to buy a Fuji x100s as advocated on the Strobist Forum, I can leave my big mono-bloc flash at home, and still have the best of both worlds.

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==Doug

 Douglas Boyd's gear list:Douglas Boyd's gear list
Canon PowerShot G10 Ricoh RDC-7 Nikon D70s Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 Sony Alpha NEX-3 +38 more
Nikon D70 Nikon D800E
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