D3s vs D800 storm braining

Started Jul 21, 2012 | Discussions
retrogal60s
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D3s vs D800 storm braining
Jul 21, 2012

I am really tempted to buy a D3s, used prices are at new D800 prices. Weighing pros and cons (just layman's analysis):

D3s
pro body
teething problems resolved (hopefully)
fast fps (not that I will use to earn my bread & butter but still nice to have)
Good rendition even at high ISO capture
Enough resolution for what I do
Can buy and of course use now (learning curve)
IQ
Reliable AF ?
DR ?
I know Dave Black makes gorgeous, gorgeous images with his D3s.

D800
semi pro body ? (please try to resfrain from cyberstoning me ;-))

seems like a lot of teething problems to be yet resolved. (see my comments in brackets above)
fps prolly faster than me
flexibility between FX and DX (I have enough assortment of lenses)
14.4 stops Dynamic Range !!!!!!
IQ

Way to go despite big files to process (because I will need to upgrade my computing equipment sometime down the road too)

What to do, what to do ?

retrogal60s
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Brainstorming I meant! LOL
In reply to retrogal60s, Jul 21, 2012

this is how you think when you stumble out of bed to sit infront of your PC

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IainD
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Re: Brainstorming I meant! LOL
In reply to retrogal60s, Jul 21, 2012

Hi! What you say is all true, but it is a concern that after you get the D3s the temptation of a new 36Mp sensor will be too much. I shoot birds as my main photography activity and the D3s is better for me than the D800. Or than the d7000 which I have just used today and ruined most of my shots, but that is a different story!

Don't fall into the trap of getting what you think you want just because you can have it now. The D3s is still expensive, and I LOVE mine, but if you really want the D800, wait and get it. D3s is much quicker I think.I don't have the D800 though, so I may be wrong.
Just my 2cents!
iainD

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mgblack74
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Re: D3s vs D800 storm braining
In reply to retrogal60s, Jul 21, 2012

I have both. I use them primarily for weddings. The D3s is my main body for the getting ready shots, church, reception & dancing. I use the D800 for detail stuff, and portrait time and for situations like speeches where I can get 'extra reach' in DX mode with a not so longish lens.

I love both and use them differently. If I didn't do what I do I would probably stick with a D800. The built in HDR and built in "time lapse capture -> 1080 p video clip" is worth it's weight in gold as it saves a lot of time not being in front of the computer. DR is stunning too, that goes without saying.

The D3s as often reported , is a camera just "gets out of your way". It's strength is speed and ease of use. I much prefer the D3s on along day of shooting for its deep grip. Its still thethe most comfortable body I've used. The D800's operational strength is ultimate resolution flexibility. I typically switch to 9mp JPEG (fine, small) for family snaps, have used the various crop modes at full resolution for different effective looks, and 36mp RAW for rediculous IQ.

One thing I have learned and am still getting used to with the D800 is how good it's DR is. To get crisp shots at slow shutter speeds i have found that I need to double my shutter speed at the risk of under exposure. But in post I bring the house lights up, so to speak, and voila, perfect exposure, nice and crisp.

Do you need 9fps? 5? 9 x12mp or 5 x 36mp is a lot of data and memory requirements either way so don't let that be a deciding factor.

I'm fortunate to have both, and in your shoes it would be a tough choice for sure. If I went one way I'd be wondering about the features of going the other way. That's just me. I will say this, if you hang on to cameras for a while, the D800 is a little more future proof. Computing and storage will catch up and make the D800 files a non issue. I sound very pro D800, sorry! The D3s is a remarkable camera in its own right. But the images you get with D800 make you sit down and say "gee-zus".

retrogal60s wrote:

I am really tempted to buy a D3s, used prices are at new D800 prices. Weighing pros and cons (just layman's analysis):

D3s
pro body
teething problems resolved (hopefully)
fast fps (not that I will use to earn my bread & butter but still nice to have)
Good rendition even at high ISO capture
Enough resolution for what I do
Can buy and of course use now (learning curve)
IQ
Reliable AF ?
DR ?
I know Dave Black makes gorgeous, gorgeous images with his D3s.

D800
semi pro body ? (please try to resfrain from cyberstoning me ;-))

seems like a lot of teething problems to be yet resolved. (see my comments in brackets above)
fps prolly faster than me
flexibility between FX and DX (I have enough assortment of lenses)
14.4 stops Dynamic Range !!!!!!
IQ

Way to go despite big files to process (because I will need to upgrade my computing equipment sometime down the road too)

What to do, what to do ?

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Joseph C Parisi  DVM
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Re: D3s vs D800 storm braining
In reply to mgblack74, Jul 21, 2012

hi
Any used D3s you get for the price of a D800. is going to be BEAT !!!!!
Used prices are still in the 4k range.

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nirvana0001
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Re: D3s vs D800 storm braining
In reply to retrogal60s, Jul 21, 2012

To make things more complicated for you, WB is greatly improved on the D800, also better metering and AF.

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retrogal60s
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Re: D3s vs D800 storm braining
In reply to nirvana0001, Jul 21, 2012

I thought the WB on the D800 was kind of green ? Just post I have read here.

nirvana0001 wrote:

To make things more complicated for you, WB is greatly improved on the D800, also better metering and AF.

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retrogal60s
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Re: D3s vs D800 storm braining
In reply to mgblack74, Jul 21, 2012

Oh you are so fortunate to have both. Yes I hang on to my cameras, still have a Fuji S2 Pro besides my D200. Didn't want the interim upgrade so waited. Now the D3s and the D800 are individually affordable thus my quandary.

Don't really need the high fps really but it is just so hmmm sexy ! HAHAHAHA. The high ISO rendition is so tempting for indoor wedding shots with crazy lighting.

Sigh. I am leaning towards buying the D3s because my learning curve with the camera will probably be much shorter. A year down the road the D800 where the initial teething problems are ironed out, maybe then the D800. That is kind of how I feel at the moment.

But as you may understand, human greed bigger is better, newer is better, etc ..... makes choosing so difficult.

thanks!

mgblack74 wrote:

I have both. I use them primarily for weddings. The D3s is my main body for the getting ready shots, church, reception & dancing. I use the D800 for detail stuff, and portrait time and for situations like speeches where I can get 'extra reach' in DX mode with a not so longish lens.

I love both and use them differently. If I didn't do what I do I would probably stick with a D800. The built in HDR and built in "time lapse capture -> 1080 p video clip" is worth it's weight in gold as it saves a lot of time not being in front of the computer. DR is stunning too, that goes without saying.

The D3s as often reported , is a camera just "gets out of your way". It's strength is speed and ease of use. I much prefer the D3s on along day of shooting for its deep grip. Its still thethe most comfortable body I've used. The D800's operational strength is ultimate resolution flexibility. I typically switch to 9mp JPEG (fine, small) for family snaps, have used the various crop modes at full resolution for different effective looks, and 36mp RAW for rediculous IQ.

One thing I have learned and am still getting used to with the D800 is how good it's DR is. To get crisp shots at slow shutter speeds i have found that I need to double my shutter speed at the risk of under exposure. But in post I bring the house lights up, so to speak, and voila, perfect exposure, nice and crisp.

Do you need 9fps? 5? 9 x12mp or 5 x 36mp is a lot of data and memory requirements either way so don't let that be a deciding factor.

I'm fortunate to have both, and in your shoes it would be a tough choice for sure. If I went one way I'd be wondering about the features of going the other way. That's just me. I will say this, if you hang on to cameras for a while, the D800 is a little more future proof. Computing and storage will catch up and make the D800 files a non issue. I sound very pro D800, sorry! The D3s is a remarkable camera in its own right. But the images you get with D800 make you sit down and say "gee-zus".

retrogal60s wrote:

I am really tempted to buy a D3s, used prices are at new D800 prices. Weighing pros and cons (just layman's analysis):

D3s
pro body
teething problems resolved (hopefully)
fast fps (not that I will use to earn my bread & butter but still nice to have)
Good rendition even at high ISO capture
Enough resolution for what I do
Can buy and of course use now (learning curve)
IQ
Reliable AF ?
DR ?
I know Dave Black makes gorgeous, gorgeous images with his D3s.

D800
semi pro body ? (please try to resfrain from cyberstoning me ;-))

seems like a lot of teething problems to be yet resolved. (see my comments in brackets above)
fps prolly faster than me
flexibility between FX and DX (I have enough assortment of lenses)
14.4 stops Dynamic Range !!!!!!
IQ

Way to go despite big files to process (because I will need to upgrade my computing equipment sometime down the road too)

What to do, what to do ?

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Guidenet
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Re: D3s vs D800 storm braining
In reply to retrogal60s, Jul 21, 2012

The White Balance is whatever you want it to be. I just find the D800 to be a little more consistent shot to shot, but the temperature and tint are adjustable to whatever you desire.
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Guidenet
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Re: D3s vs D800 storm braining
In reply to retrogal60s, Jul 21, 2012

retrogal60s wrote:

But as you may understand, human greed bigger is better, newer is better, etc ..... makes choosing so difficult.

mgblack74 wrote:

The D3s is a remarkable camera in its own right. But the images you get with D800 make you sit down and say "gee-zus".

I also have both and agree with that last remark. I think when you cut away all the semantics and verbiage you end up with your obvious choice.

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M Lammerse
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What is your need for these camera's?
In reply to retrogal60s, Jul 21, 2012

Hi Retrogal60s,

I use both a D3S and a D800, I also own a D700 and D300.

First thing you should ask yourself, what/where do I need my camera for: do I need it for sports/photojournalism or for reportage? Do I need it for portraiture/landscape, product? Do I need to deliver a lot of MP to my clients and or very high quality video under all kinds of (nasty) circumstances?

If you're not a professional photographer (by that I mean make your income out of photography, and don't really need the points I mentioned above) skip the D3S and D800 and see to get a D700. It will give you all the resolution you need, the camera is much more aimed with the general photographer in mind and gives you 90% of what the D3S has you to offer and it will give you enough room to buy one or two very nice lenses and or accessory

My advice, check for a D700, excellent camera.
Michel

retrogal60s wrote:

I am really tempted to buy a D3s, used prices are at new D800 prices. Weighing pros and cons (just layman's analysis):

D3s
pro body
teething problems resolved (hopefully)
fast fps (not that I will use to earn my bread & butter but still nice to have)
Good rendition even at high ISO capture
Enough resolution for what I do
Can buy and of course use now (learning curve)
IQ
Reliable AF ?
DR ?
I know Dave Black makes gorgeous, gorgeous images with his D3s.

D800
semi pro body ? (please try to resfrain from cyberstoning me ;-))

seems like a lot of teething problems to be yet resolved. (see my comments in brackets above)
fps prolly faster than me
flexibility between FX and DX (I have enough assortment of lenses)
14.4 stops Dynamic Range !!!!!!
IQ

Way to go despite big files to process (because I will need to upgrade my computing equipment sometime down the road too)

What to do, what to do ?

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Oscar Rico
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Re: D3s vs D800 storm braining
In reply to retrogal60s, Jul 21, 2012

I have both, the D3s is my prefer camera. Regards: Oscar

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David314
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D3S for $3K?
In reply to retrogal60s, Jul 21, 2012

retrogal60s wrote:

I am really tempted to buy a D3s, used prices are at new D800 prices.

if you can find a quality D3S for $3K and need high FPS and high iso and have the lenses,

absolutely

the D800 is really interesting and has so many layers I don't think the general population has it figured out yet - I keep finding new ways to use it

I think it is the most versatile camera in Nikon's lineup - it is pretty good DX sports camera and it is really cool you can shoot 1.2 or 5:4 with DX lenses but

if you are shooting FX sports, hands down, the D3S at $3K (you can really find that price?) would be my first choice

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larrywilson
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Re: D3S for $3K?
In reply to David314, Jul 21, 2012

I think to get a good low mileage d3s its going to cost you close to the $4,000 range. For fast moving sports or wildlife, I think the d3s is the better choice if money isn't a factor. If shooting landscapes for an example is your interest, then the d800 might be the camera of choice.

I use my d3s for all around photography with my main interest at this time BIF and the d3s does wonderful at this. I do like the built in grip and operation handling of the d3s so it would be hard to go back to a camera without the built in grip and good operational features.

Larry

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retrogal60s
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Re: D3s vs D800 storm braining
In reply to retrogal60s, Jul 21, 2012

In Germany the average cost of a used d3s even with low actuations is around Euros 2.8 to 3k if in mint condition it can go up to yes Euro 4k or over. The D800 is around Euro 2.7k to 2.8. This is why I am driving myself crazy deciding which I want to buy.

I do weddings, event photography, portraits commercially. I like to travel and do Landscapes for the pleasure of it. I have never succeeded in doing really good fast moving photography with my D200 and it would be nice to kind of round up my knowledge on the different aspects of photography.

That means, I am buying an pano head in the near future for panoramics (never tried this before but I want to do it right).

Sports and nature photography is another area I would like see myself doing it better.

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Guidenet
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Re: D3s vs D800 storm braining
In reply to retrogal60s, Jul 21, 2012

retrogal60s wrote:

I do weddings, event photography, portraits commercially. I like to travel and do Landscapes for the pleasure of it. I have never succeeded in doing really good fast moving photography with my D200 and it would be nice to

Ok, if I understand you correctly, you do weddings, event photography, portraits for a living. This is your occupation and you're using a D200 as your primary camera. I love that camera but it's way behind the curve for the purpose you're using it for. I think you need to take care of business before play. You need to upgrade your tools every so often. The megapixels and dynamic range of the D800 is what you need as an upgrade for weddings, events and maybe portraits to some degree.

Just helping to get the whites and blacks right on the couples clothing is so much easier with the D800. It does a bride's gown so much better than previous cameras and with less fiddling around. I no longer have to really worry about purposely underexposing and bringing it back in post. The total workflow is significantly reduced, and I'm not a pro wedding photographer. I just fill in as a floater for my daughter every now and then. She's the pro wedding photographer of the family. Last night we did a rehearsal together. Upon completion, I gave her my SD card and went home. The wedding is tonight and I'm not doing it, but she called me as was so surprised as to the quality of my shots as far as dynamic range was. For the first time she's been willing to consider heavier cameras than her four D90s for wedding work. That's right, Four D90 Nikons, for her and her assistant for a successful full time wedding business.

I'm seeing it in everything I do too. In all white birds for starters as well as all black ones. I just don't have to worry about all that preplanning I used to. Last week I took a landscape shot just for fun. I knew I'd have to use a little HDR to get the contrast where I wanted, so I fired off five shots in A mode. When I got to processing, I was amazed in that I didn't need to use a composite unless I wanted to. With a little tweaking and a little massaging it came out just right. This D800 is going to revolutionize some aspects of photography. I'm just barely beginning to see all the changes for me. I'm going to have to change the way I pre-visualize my scenes now that my camera is so much better at capturing so much more of it.

No, if you do do weddings, event photography, portraits as your profession, you need to first upgrade that D200 then worry about expanding into sports photography and whatever. Besides the D800 will have everything pretty much laid out where you're used to it already with regards to buttons and dials. You don't need a huge learning curve right before your next job. This is wedding season, after all. My daughter is cranking out one to two per week right now non-stop. She might be in Denver this week and Miami the next week. It's too hectic to spend time changing too much.

If you need a little faster frame rates, you can shoot in DX mode with the grip and AA batteries. It won't be D3S fast but it will be fast enough for most.

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retrogal60s
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Re: What is your need for these camera's?
In reply to M Lammerse, Jul 21, 2012

Hi Michel, I know that the D700 is a good camera but FX, I have yes an assortment of DX and non Dx lenses but I really don't want to commit only to FX that's the versality of the D800 makes it so tempting.

I do some commercial work, portraiture, events incl. weddings. I used to do Studio work at home but it has become very impractical so I now prefer location shootings.

I guess where it becomes a bit complicated for me is that the D3s produces also such excellent images at high ISOs. I mean I wouldn't at this point in time even consider the D4 because the price is not in my budget but a used D3s is thus the competition between it and the D800.

Thanks for your input. Appreciate it as I appreciate all the other inputs too.

M Lammerse wrote:
Hi Retrogal60s,

I use both a D3S and a D800, I also own a D700 and D300.

First thing you should ask yourself, what/where do I need my camera for: do I need it for sports/photojournalism or for reportage? Do I need it for portraiture/landscape, product? Do I need to deliver a lot of MP to my clients and or very high quality video under all kinds of (nasty) circumstances?

If you're not a professional photographer (by that I mean make your income out of photography, and don't really need the points I mentioned above) skip the D3S and D800 and see to get a D700. It will give you all the resolution you need, the camera is much more aimed with the general photographer in mind and gives you 90% of what the D3S has you to offer and it will give you enough room to buy one or two very nice lenses and or accessory

My advice, check for a D700, excellent camera.
Michel

retrogal60s wrote:

I am really tempted to buy a D3s, used prices are at new D800 prices. Weighing pros and cons (just layman's analysis):

D3s
pro body
teething problems resolved (hopefully)
fast fps (not that I will use to earn my bread & butter but still nice to have)
Good rendition even at high ISO capture
Enough resolution for what I do
Can buy and of course use now (learning curve)
IQ
Reliable AF ?
DR ?
I know Dave Black makes gorgeous, gorgeous images with his D3s.

D800
semi pro body ? (please try to resfrain from cyberstoning me ;-))

seems like a lot of teething problems to be yet resolved. (see my comments in brackets above)
fps prolly faster than me
flexibility between FX and DX (I have enough assortment of lenses)
14.4 stops Dynamic Range !!!!!!
IQ

Way to go despite big files to process (because I will need to upgrade my computing equipment sometime down the road too)

What to do, what to do ?

-- hide signature --

  • To observe without evaluation is the highest form of human intelligence -

http://www.fotopropaganda.com
http://www.fotopropaganda.com/blog
http://www.flickr.com/photos/9240992@N05/ (my pixel mess on flikr)

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chicagois2
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Re: What is your need for these camera's?
In reply to retrogal60s, Jul 21, 2012

I'm in the same boat. Looking to upgrade the D700. Currently considering the D800 and the D3s.

I would prefer both.
My wallet does not.

I like the pro build and fast FPS of the d3s.

I like the newness and video features of the D800.

Helpppppp

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anotherMike
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Re: D3s vs D800 storm braining
In reply to Guidenet, Jul 22, 2012

Good comments.

Personally, my thoughts on the D800E I'm shooting with now are twofold, with the second one tying into what it seems your finding.

In the "Expected" column, the resolution really makes a difference in my land scape work, but also my studio work, when I start to print big. But I knew that was going to happen.

In the "whoa / didn't expect this" column, I'm finding as well that I do LESS work in post than I ever had to before - the ability to pull shadows in the D800E files is nothing less than freakishly amazing, and the sense of life the files have is a breath of fresh air. Didn't expect this aspect of the camera at all, and thus, I'm a happy camper.

-m

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retrogal60s
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Re: D3s vs D800 Brainstorming Guidenet
In reply to Guidenet, Jul 22, 2012

Hi there, thankyou for your very extensive reply, appreciate it. True I have to upgrade my equipment every now and then, in this case, I chose to buy quality lenses instead of the camera body waiting for a huge upgrade instead of interim ones, more cost effective that way. I know the D200 by the back of my hand. Last Saturday, I shot about 300 images with the D200 of which 270 were so more than excellent, the 30 I dropped off were at my own discretion that they come up to my standards (I sound self inflated, am not, but very self critical). It was a long day but a small group of 35people (family). The couple has more than enough together shots, the formal group shots and each guest have more than 3 beautiful images of themselves alone or with their partner to take home.

I did my homework extensively as I usually do before the event because I am terrified (timewise) of post processing. The D200 SB900 70 - 200mm and a 30mm 1.4 combo were very good choices and delivered well.

Uploaded files to Capture, ever so small and sharpening adjustments, batched processed Tiff, converted later to Jpgs. DVD show, DVD with jpg files - delivered. Customer stunned at turn around time and even more stunned at the quality. Grin.

My success I attribute partly equipment(especially the 70- 200mm VR) definitely not to any superduper ability on my part, just hard work researching all their 4 different locations upfront and working on the bride (deportment) which in turn gave me clarity on where, how and when. I cannot cannot praise pre-prepartion work enough.

I am just sad I cannot post any images, I signed a privacy agreement - some customers are just like that.

Thank you for your very well thought out comments which just tipped the scales towards the D800. You are of course right (what was I thinking?).... the D800 should be the way to go. First the work, then the play

Best regards,

Guidenet wrote:

retrogal60s wrote:

I do weddings, event photography, portraits commercially. I like to travel and do Landscapes for the pleasure of it. I have never succeeded in doing really good fast moving photography with my D200 and it would be nice to

Ok, if I understand you correctly, you do weddings, event photography, portraits for a living. This is your occupation and you're using a D200 as your primary camera. I love that camera but it's way behind the curve for the purpose you're using it for. I think you need to take care of business before play. You need to upgrade your tools every so often. The megapixels and dynamic range of the D800 is what you need as an upgrade for weddings, events and maybe portraits to some degree.

Just helping to get the whites and blacks right on the couples clothing is so much easier with the D800. It does a bride's gown so much better than previous cameras and with less fiddling around. I no longer have to really worry about purposely underexposing and bringing it back in post. The total workflow is significantly reduced, and I'm not a pro wedding photographer. I just fill in as a floater for my daughter every now and then. She's the pro wedding photographer of the family. Last night we did a rehearsal together. Upon completion, I gave her my SD card and went home. The wedding is tonight and I'm not doing it, but she called me as was so surprised as to the quality of my shots as far as dynamic range was. For the first time she's been willing to consider heavier cameras than her four D90s for wedding work. That's right, Four D90 Nikons, for her and her assistant for a successful full time wedding business.

I'm seeing it in everything I do too. In all white birds for starters as well as all black ones. I just don't have to worry about all that preplanning I used to. Last week I took a landscape shot just for fun. I knew I'd have to use a little HDR to get the contrast where I wanted, so I fired off five shots in A mode. When I got to processing, I was amazed in that I didn't need to use a composite unless I wanted to. With a little tweaking and a little massaging it came out just right. This D800 is going to revolutionize some aspects of photography. I'm just barely beginning to see all the changes for me. I'm going to have to change the way I pre-visualize my scenes now that my camera is so much better at capturing so much more of it.

No, if you do do weddings, event photography, portraits as your profession, you need to first upgrade that D200 then worry about expanding into sports photography and whatever. Besides the D800 will have everything pretty much laid out where you're used to it already with regards to buttons and dials. You don't need a huge learning curve right before your next job. This is wedding season, after all. My daughter is cranking out one to two per week right now non-stop. She might be in Denver this week and Miami the next week. It's too hectic to spend time changing too much.

If you need a little faster frame rates, you can shoot in DX mode with the grip and AA batteries. It won't be D3S fast but it will be fast enough for most.

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Cheers, Craig

Follow me on Twitter @craighardingsr : Equipment in Profile

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