D200 Guy seeks input from D800 Owners...

Started Nov 10, 2012 | Discussions
Old Ed
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D200 Guy seeks input from D800 Owners...
Nov 10, 2012

Hello,

I want to go FX soon. The question is: D600 or D800.

The D600 price advantage matters to me. So does the D600 weight advantage. And I am scared spitless of those 36mp file sizes. So the D600 would seem a no-brainer.

But wait, not so fast. DX lenses look ugly through the D600 finder. I heard somewhere that the D800 finder masks down to DX when using those lenses. True or False?

Also, I know that the D800 can shoot lower mp images. But I don't know whether the D800 is just throwing away pixels in those modes, or making good use of all pixels through some kind of averaging or binning. Could someone please tell me? I wouldn't feel at all bad shooting lower-mp-but-lower-noise images while saving up for my 100 TB supercomputer.

I also see the 4:5 aspect ratio choices as a huge advantage. (3:2 is nasty to my eye, and losing the 3:2 "shoulders" would be a perfect way to lose some unwanted mp.)  Can anyone comment on whether 4:5 works well? And does it mask the finder in some way?

Lastly, I wasn't too happy with the recently published D600 "teardown." It's construction seems more unserviceable/disposable than I'd like. I'd like to believe that the D800 is more serviceable, not just heavier. Does anyone know? Has anyone seen a D800 "teardown?"

Other D800 pluses include more/better controls, USB3, and maybe a few more. So the D800 is definitely in the hunt.

Yes, I'm aware of the whole left-AF issue, and Nikon's poor response. But I don't know whether there is any hard evidence that this problem is resolved in current production. Do any of you know? (Guessing won't help me.)

Many thanks for any tips you can provide, and happy shooting,

Ed

Nikon D200 Nikon D600 Nikon D800
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Pradipta Dutta
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Re: D200 Guy seeks input from D800 Owners...
In reply to Old Ed, Nov 10, 2012

Old Ed wrote:

Hello,

I want to go FX soon. The question is: D600 or D800.

It is something only you can decide. You need to get what is best for you as opposed to what is better for someone else.

The D600 price advantage matters to me. So does the D600 weight advantage. And I am scared spitless of those 36mp file sizes. So the D600 would seem a no-brainer.

Why? Disk space? That is cheap. Post processing? Based on my experience from having used the D800 since June, my 2 year old i7 870 based PC handles it fine. I don't see a perceptible difference in speed between processing my D3 files and D800 files. Of course, D800 files take a little longer. But not annoyingly longer.

But wait, not so fast. DX lenses look ugly through the D600 finder. I heard somewhere that the D800 finder masks down to DX when using those lenses. True or False?

Can't comment on that as I have never tried using a DX lens on D600. But, generally speaking, if you are planning on getting an FX camera, you really need to have a plan to procure FX lenses as well. If your budget does not allow you to get the lenses now, you can wait to get the camera when you are ready to get lenses as well. Why would you want to move to FX without any FX lenses to use on it?

Also, I know that the D800 can shoot lower mp images. But I don't know whether the D800 is just throwing away pixels in those modes, or making good use of all pixels through some kind of averaging or binning. Could someone please tell me? I wouldn't feel at all bad shooting lower-mp-but-lower-noise images while saving up for my 100 TB supercomputer.

Yes, when you shoot in crop mode, you are just throwing away pixels. It is literally same as shooting in full frame and then cropping in post processing.

I also see the 4:5 aspect ratio choices as a huge advantage. (3:2 is nasty to my eye, and losing the 3:2 "shoulders" would be a perfect way to lose some unwanted mp.) Can anyone comment on whether 4:5 works well? And does it mask the finder in some way?

4:5 crop mode is very useful for shooting group (family) portraits. But 35mm film photographers have used their 2x3 aspect ratio to shoot such photographs for ages. If they could do it then, why can't they do it now. No such crop modes were ever available in 35mm film.

Lastly, I wasn't too happy with the recently published D600 "teardown." It's construction seems more unserviceable/disposable than I'd like. I'd like to believe that the D800 is more serviceable, not just heavier. Does anyone know? Has anyone seen a D800 "teardown?"

The tear down is a complete gimmick. First of all, the Nikon DSLR's have a very solid history of reliability (otherwise, you wouldn't be shooting Nikon, would you?). And even if you need service, you are going to send it to an authorized service center. The iFixit guys are not going to repair your camera anyways. So, why worry about it?

Other D800 pluses include more/better controls, USB3, and maybe a few more. So the D800 is definitely in the hunt.

Good luck with your research and hope you make the best decision for you. Not a decision based on "needs" of someone else.

Yes, I'm aware of the whole left-AF issue, and Nikon's poor response. But I don't know whether there is any hard evidence that this problem is resolved in current production. Do any of you know? (Guessing won't help me.)

I have owned a D800 since June (Sr # 3021xxx) from early production batch and never had any left AF sensor issue. What I am saying is while some may have had this issue (I don't know) but not all cameras, even from early production cycle, had this problem.

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SeanU
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Crop Modes
In reply to Old Ed, Nov 10, 2012

The DX, 4:5 and 1.2 Crop Modes show a line box around the crop area. Nothing is blocked off. Some people like this because you can see the action outside of the active area.

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painterdude
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Re: Crop Modes
In reply to SeanU, Nov 10, 2012

just got a D800E ..coming from a D90. File sizes are not an issue - at all if you have a decent puter..with 4 or more gigs of ram. I have 8 and notice little slowing.

Personally I would get the D800/E. Better built and those extra pixels are not to be sneezed at. The cropping capability of the D800 is truly amazing. Its a Cadillac of a camera and easy to operate.

all the best
g

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hariseldon2007
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Re: D200 Guy seeks input from D800 Owners...
In reply to Pradipta Dutta, Nov 10, 2012

I still have my D200. The results from the D800 are much better, significantly better IQ , 3 to 4 stops better ISO response.

The ergonomics are much better , a significant step forward which I did not expect.

The AF and metering are much better.

The 36mp files have not been a significant problem on my 2 year old MacBook Pro .

Whats not to like?

I am sure the D600 is also very good but the D800  is better and a leap forward from the D200.

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Re: D200 Guy seeks input from D800 Owners...
In reply to Old Ed, Nov 10, 2012

Once you have a pro body like the D200/300, not having those physical controls will feel like a step backwards.

Secondly, the 900g D800 isn't that much heavier than your 830g D200, so frankly I'd not worry about it. In fact, the D800 weighs less than the D300s so count yourself lucky!

In some respects, I found going from a D80 to be a bigger leap when going to a D300s than moving from the D300s to the D800E. Why? Again, the pro body and its infinitely customizable controls and instant access to key features rather than spending all my time looking at the screen and fiddling with menus.

As far as files go, my ancient Mac Pro eats them up with no issue. Of course, it helps to have a decent graphics card so the memory can tile nicely.

Best of luck.

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FrankG
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Re: D200 Guy seeks input from D800 Owners...
In reply to Old Ed, Nov 10, 2012

Old Ed wrote:

Hello,

I want to go FX soon. The question is: D600 or D800.

The D600 price advantage matters to me. So does the D600 weight advantage. And I am scared spitless of those 36mp file sizes. So the D600 would seem a no-brainer.

The file size worried me also at first - you certainly notice the increased file upload time to the computer.  Processing with Capture NX2 hasn't been a problem though even on my, now relatively old, quad core 32bit Windows XP machine.  One thing I do notice though is that the D800 is such a precision machine that I need to take fewer shots - the camera just gets a very high percentage of shots technically right first time so I find that I get a low wastage rate.

But wait, not so fast. DX lenses look ugly through the D600 finder. I heard somewhere that the D800 finder masks down to DX when using those lenses. True or False

True only in the sense that a black rectangular outline of the DX area is displayed.  The rest of the image is still shown and is not greyed out.

Also, I know that the D800 can shoot lower mp images. But I don't know whether the D800 is just throwing away pixels in those modes, or making good use of all pixels through some kind of averaging or binning. Could someone please tell me? I wouldn't feel at all bad shooting lower-mp-but-lower-noise images while saving up for my 100 TB supercomputer.

Sorry - I don't know the answer to this one either (I assume you are talking about the "basic" and "normal" jpeg modes which so far I have never used - I generally always shoot in RAW).  I would expect that binning probably is used, as many cameras do, but I don't specifically know in this case - one to throw open to the forum.

I also see the 4:5 aspect ratio choices as a huge advantage. (3:2 is nasty to my eye, and losing the 3:2 "shoulders" would be a perfect way to lose some unwanted mp.) Can anyone comment on whether 4:5 works well? And does it mask the finder in some way?

In any of the crop modes the viewfinder displays a rectangular black outline of the actual crop area.  The whole "FX" area image is still fully visible though.

Lastly, I wasn't too happy with the recently published D600 "teardown." It's construction seems more unserviceable/disposable than I'd like. I'd like to believe that the D800 is more serviceable, not just heavier. Does anyone know? Has anyone seen a D800 "teardown?"

Haven't seen such a "teardown" for the D800 but there are published photos on the web of some views of internals such as the magnesium alloy shell of the D800.  It's a very solidly built camera (Nikon classify it as professional grade) and likely to be very reliable.  By inference it therefore ought to be very serviceable (most pros like to keep their kit well serviced!).

Other D800 pluses include more/better controls, USB3, and maybe a few more. So the D800 is definitely in the hunt.

Yes, I'm aware of the whole left-AF issue, and Nikon's poor response. But I don't know whether there is any hard evidence that this problem is resolved in current production. Do any of you know? (Guessing won't help me.)

Plenty of users of the D800 (including myself) report no such auto-focus issue. I'm sure it exists in a few cameras but you can get a biassed impression from reading these forums as it tends to be the small % of people with problems who come here not the rest who don't have problems (probably the vast majority).  Do a search on this forum though becasue there are threads recently discussing this issue and quite a few people have responded to say that their sample D800/D800e is fine.

I received my D800 in late August and FWIW I have checked all the focus points on it with several different lenses and I cannot find any sign of this problem - all the AF points appear to work just fine.

Frank

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Old Ed
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Re: Mid-Course Correction...
In reply to Old Ed, Nov 11, 2012

Hi,

I would first like to thank those that have responded for trying to help out. I appreciate it!

That said, I was not looking for advice on which body to buy, or reasons why people like their D800s. I was trying to get answers to specific questions that could influence my decision. So far, only the viewfinder questions have been answered.

I have inserted comments under my original questions (quoted below), in hopes of clarifying them.

Thanks, Ed

Old Ed wrote:

Hello,

I want to go FX soon. The question is: D600 or D800.

That's a question for me. I wasn't asking for suggestions.

The D600 price advantage matters to me. So does the D600 weight advantage. And I am scared spitless of those 36mp file sizes. So the D600 would seem a no-brainer.

But wait, not so fast. DX lenses look ugly through the D600 finder. I heard somewhere that the D800 finder masks down to DX when using those lenses. True or False?

The answer here is that the D800 turns on viewfinder lines to indicate the FOV in use, but does not mask out-of-frame areas.

Also, I know that the D800 can shoot lower mp images. But I don't know whether the D800 is just throwing away pixels in those modes, or making good use of all pixels through some kind of averaging or binning. Could someone please tell me? I wouldn't feel at all bad shooting lower-mp-but-lower-noise images while saving up for my 100 TB supercomputer.

I am surprised that no one (so far) seems to understand this question. I am not referring to pixels cropped out in the 5:4, "1.2," or DX modes. I think everyone understands they get dumped. Neither was I referring to the amount of JPEG compression.

I was asking what happens to the "extra" pixels in the "M" and "S" modes. For example, the FX "M" mode is 5520 X 3680 pixels, or about 20 mp. The FOV is the same as the full resolution ("L") FX mode, so it is not a "crop" in the ordinary sense.

My question is, are those "extra" 16 mp used for something, or just dumped? They could be binned or averaged, for example. That would reduce per-pixel noise.

I also see the 4:5 aspect ratio choices as a huge advantage. (3:2 is nasty to my eye, and losing the 3:2 "shoulders" would be a perfect way to lose some unwanted mp.) Can anyone comment on whether 4:5 works well? And does it mask the finder in some way?

Finder question is answered above.

Lastly, I wasn't too happy with the recently published D600 "teardown." It's construction seems more unserviceable/disposable than I'd like. I'd like to believe that the D800 is more serviceable, not just heavier. Does anyone know? Has anyone seen a D800 "teardown?"

Nothing yet...

Other D800 pluses include more/better controls, USB3, and maybe a few more. So the D800 is definitely in the hunt.

Yes, I'm aware of the whole left-AF issue, and Nikon's poor response. But I don't know whether there is any hard evidence that this problem is resolved in current production. Do any of you know? (Guessing won't help me.)

Nothing yet... (Having read a lot of credible sources on this, I'm convinced this problem is real. That's not the same thing as saying every camera produced exhibits the problem.)

Many thanks for any tips you can provide, and happy shooting,

Ed

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BrunoS
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Several people gave you wrong answers...
In reply to Old Ed, Nov 11, 2012
But wait, not so fast. DX lenses look ugly through the D600 finder. I heard somewhere that the D800 finder masks down to DX when using those lenses. True or False?

You have the option of solid black lines or grayed / masked areas. Use AF Ilumination ON for lines, OFF for masked areas.

Also, I know that the D800 can shoot lower mp images. But I don't know whether the D800 is just throwing away pixels in those modes, or making good use of all pixels through some kind of averaging or binning. Could someone please tell me? I wouldn't feel at all bad shooting lower-mp-but-lower-noise images while saving up for my 100 TB supercomputer.

Just a resize like in photoshop or any other PP software. Visible noise will be reduced in the smaller MP files but the camera doesn't use any tricks like binning to improve the sensor efficiency.

I also see the 4:5 aspect ratio choices as a huge advantage. (3:2 is nasty to my eye, and losing the 3:2 "shoulders" would be a perfect way to lose some unwanted mp.) Can anyone comment on whether 4:5 works well? And does it mask the finder in some way?

Works welll. Yes, option to mask the viewfinder on all crop modes. DX and 1.2 crop mode increase FPS to 5.

Lastly, I wasn't too happy with the recently published D600 "teardown." It's construction seems more unserviceable/disposable than I'd like. I'd like to believe that the D800 is more serviceable, not just heavier. Does anyone know? Has anyone seen a D800 "teardown?"

I am sure that both cameras allow access to the components that need service. I haven't seen any D800 teardown. The D600 has more plastic but it doesn't mean it will not last.

Other D800 pluses include more/better controls, USB3, and maybe a few more. So the D800 is definitely in the hunt.

Yes, I'm aware of the whole left-AF issue, and Nikon's poor response. But I don't know whether there is any hard evidence that this problem is resolved in current production. Do any of you know? (Guessing won't help me.)

Thom Hogan claims the issue has been resolved.

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aperturegeorge
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Re: D200 Guy seeks input from D800 Owners...
In reply to Old Ed, Nov 11, 2012

I purchased a D800 which has had no issues.Yes the files are large and had to upgrade ram and also purchased a couple of 3TB external drives.There is a bit of an ajustment period. When you download your files from the D800, do your post processing and then produce a 24x36 gigcle print .Place it on your wall and this what you will be amazed by the image quality and you will than forget all about a D600, save up the extra money for the D800.You will never be disapointed and see yourself progress to become a better photographic artist that will amaze all the people who see your beautiful 24x36 prints and just say wow.When the D600 came out I was thinking of selling my D800 and purchasing two D600 body's so I don't have to deal with dust issues by having to change lenses all the time.I know that I will not have to upgrade for a long time with the D800. I feel a real rush when I shoot with it, being able to concentrate on making the best image in front of me, knowing what the results will be when I enlarge to 24x36.Nikon D800, no regrets because it sets the bar high which makes me a better photographic digital artist.

George from London Ontario.

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chlamchowder
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In reply to Old Ed, Nov 11, 2012

I want to go FX soon. The question is: D600 or D800.

I suspect you'll be happy with either. Both offer excellent image quality. The D600 doesn't have as much resolution, but is faster when shooting in full FX mode. I personally have a D600.

But wait, not so fast. DX lenses look ugly through the D600 finder. I heard somewhere that the D800 finder masks down to DX when using those lenses. True or False?

Both the D800 and D600 will mask out the unused part of the finder in crop mode, but only if you turn off AF point illumination.

Also, I know that the D800 can shoot lower mp images. But I don't know whether the D800 is just throwing away pixels in those modes, or making good use of all pixels through some kind of averaging or binning. Could someone please tell me? I wouldn't feel at all bad shooting lower-mp-but-lower-noise images while saving up for my 100 TB supercomputer.

If you're shooting JPG, I believe the camera does use binning or averaging. But if you're using a crop mode to bring down the pixel count, you're just using fewer pixels.

I also see the 4:5 aspect ratio choices as a huge advantage. (3:2 is nasty to my eye, and losing the 3:2 "shoulders" would be a perfect way to lose some unwanted mp.) Can anyone comment on whether 4:5 works well? And does it mask the finder in some way?

On the Nikon D3, it does mask. I'm positive that it'll also mask on the D800, as long as you turn off AF point illumination.

Lastly, I wasn't too happy with the recently published D600 "teardown." It's construction seems more unserviceable/disposable than I'd like. I'd like to believe that the D800 is more serviceable, not just heavier. Does anyone know? Has anyone seen a D800 "teardown?"

Other D800 pluses include more/better controls, USB3, and maybe a few more. So the D800 is definitely in the hunt.

Yes, I'm aware of the whole left-AF issue, and Nikon's poor response. But I don't know whether there is any hard evidence that this problem is resolved in current production. Do any of you know? (Guessing won't help me.)

Can't answer these questions.

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Robin Casady
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Re: Mid-Course Correction...
In reply to Old Ed, Nov 11, 2012

Old Ed wrote:

Old Ed wrote:

Hello,

I want to go FX soon. The question is: D600 or D800.

That's a question for me. I wasn't asking for suggestions.

Very confusing when you post a question and it isn't meant to be answered by forum members. I suppose you meant something like, "I'm still debating D600 vs. D800, but I'll sort that part out. What I really want to know is..."

The D600 price advantage matters to me. So does the D600 weight advantage. And I am scared spitless of those 36mp file sizes. So the D600 would seem a no-brainer.

But wait, not so fast. DX lenses look ugly through the D600 finder. I heard somewhere that the D800 finder masks down to DX when using those lenses. True or False?

The answer here is that the D800 turns on viewfinder lines to indicate the FOV in use, but does not mask out-of-frame areas.

Also, I know that the D800 can shoot lower mp images. But I don't know whether the D800 is just throwing away pixels in those modes, or making good use of all pixels through some kind of averaging or binning. Could someone please tell me? I wouldn't feel at all bad shooting lower-mp-but-lower-noise images while saving up for my 100 TB supercomputer.

I am surprised that no one (so far) seems to understand this question. I am not referring to pixels cropped out in the 5:4, "1.2," or DX modes. I think everyone understands they get dumped. Neither was I referring to the amount of JPEG compression.

I was asking what happens to the "extra" pixels in the "M" and "S" modes. For example, the FX "M" mode is 5520 X 3680 pixels, or about 20 mp. The FOV is the same as the full resolution ("L") FX mode, so it is not a "crop" in the ordinary sense.

My question is, are those "extra" 16 mp used for something, or just dumped? They could be binned or averaged, for example. That would reduce per-pixel noise.

I believe the smaller JPEG sizes S&M are created by downsizing the image similar to the way Photoshop downsizes.

To add an editorial comment, it seems to me that buying either an D600 or a D800 for small or medium JPEGs is like buying a 10 ton truck for picking up two bags of groceries at the local market. If you aren't planning to shoot RAW, I think you don't really need FX.

I also see the 4:5 aspect ratio choices as a huge advantage. (3:2 is nasty to my eye, and losing the 3:2 "shoulders" would be a perfect way to lose some unwanted mp.) Can anyone comment on whether 4:5 works well? And does it mask the finder in some way?

Finder question is answered above.

Also a good way to deal with lenses that are not sharp in the corners.

Lastly, I wasn't too happy with the recently published D600 "teardown." It's construction seems more unserviceable/disposable than I'd like. I'd like to believe that the D800 is more serviceable, not just heavier. Does anyone know? Has anyone seen a D800 "teardown?"

Nothing yet...

Not sure what you want here. Pretty much nothing is user-serviceable when replacing parts. NikonUSA wont sell you parts. They wont even sell them to independent repair shopts. New policy; probably aimed at cutting down grey market sales.

Perhaps you are asking if the D600 has a lower threshold to where it becomes irreparable. I don't know, but doubt there is much difference.

Or, perhaps you are asking if the D600 is built of larger modules and therefore is more expensive to repair. I don't know, but doubt there is much difference. On the D800, scratching the AA filter on the sensor (not easy to do, it is made of very hard material) requires complete replacement of the sensor.

Build differences in the consumer, prosumer, and pro level bodies generally come down to durability and possibly precision. The D800 has a magnesium mirror box. The D600 has a plastic (composite?) mirror box. I would guess that magnesium provides a more rigid and more rugged box. Otherwise, their wouldn't be any point in going to the extra expense for magnesium.

Other D800 pluses include more/better controls, USB3, and maybe a few more. So the D800 is definitely in the hunt.

Yes, I'm aware of the whole left-AF issue, and Nikon's poor response. But I don't know whether there is any hard evidence that this problem is resolved in current production. Do any of you know? (Guessing won't help me.)

Nothing yet... (Having read a lot of credible sources on this, I'm convinced this problem is real. That's not the same thing as saying every camera produced exhibits the problem.)

The only thing you will be able to find is anecdotal and hearsay evidence. A few people have reported that Nikon Service centers have returned cameras with the problem fixed. Others are still complaining. There have been some statements that current production cameras do not have this problem. However, who could say if the pipline has been cleared yet?

I bought my D800E in May and it did not have the left AF problem.

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Leonard Shepherd
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Re: When making a major investment
In reply to Old Ed, Nov 11, 2012

When making a major investment it can be worth it to make a train or car journey to handle the equipment you have in mind.

I did not rate the D200 as quite the equal of 100 ISO film, and the D300 as better at 400 ISO than 100 ISO film, plus much improved AF.

Whether DX to FX is right for you is another topic - and a bit of a conundrum. Right now Nikon have no direct 24 MP D200 DX upgrade - but may well have in 6 months.

As money is a concern short term going DX upgrade next year (assume more new DX bodies) is an option as you do not have to buy any FX glass to get the best out of a new DX body.

The D7000 (now somewhat dated) is a big resolution, AF and dynamic range step up from your D200, though in terms of build quality and AF not as good as a D300s.

The D800 is a significant resolution and AF step up from a D7000 with a D600 somewhere in between.

Whether you upgrade to D600/800 or wait for a "D7100/D400" you will gain a significant increase in performance compared to a D200.

A possible downside if you have an old compute is a possible need for a new computer, but most do this every 4-5 years (or sooner) anyway.

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b2martin_a
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Re: When making a major investment
In reply to Leonard Shepherd, Nov 11, 2012

You can download the user manual for both the D600 and D800.  This will answer a lot of your questions.

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ruleofthirds3
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Re: D200 Guy seeks input from D800 Owners...
In reply to Old Ed, Nov 11, 2012

With no pc sync terminal and a 1/200 flash sync the d600 would be out of the running for me!

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Old Ed
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Re: D200 Guy seeks input from D800 Owners...
In reply to Pradipta Dutta, Nov 11, 2012

Hi,

First let me thank you for taking the time to write a detailed response. Alas, there were a number of misunderstandings.

Some follow ups below...

Happy shooting, Ed

Pradipta Dutta wrote:

Old Ed wrote:

Hello,

I want to go FX soon. The question is: D600 or D800.

It is something only you can decide. You need to get what is best for you as opposed to what is better for someone else.

I was surprised that more than one person misunderstood my second sentence; so I will rephrase: "The question FOR ME is: D600 or D800."

The D600 price advantage matters to me. So does the D600 weight advantage. And I am scared spitless of those 36mp file sizes. So the D600 would seem a no-brainer.

Why? Disk space? That is cheap. Post processing? Based on my experience from having used the D800 since June, my 2 year old i7 870 based PC handles it fine. I don't see a perceptible difference in speed between processing my D3 files and D800 files. Of course, D800 files take a little longer. But not annoyingly longer.

But wait, not so fast. DX lenses look ugly through the D600 finder. I heard somewhere that the D800 finder masks down to DX when using those lenses. True or False?

Can't comment on that as I have never tried using a DX lens on D600. But, generally speaking, if you are planning on getting an FX camera, you really need to have a plan to procure FX lenses as well. If your budget does not allow you to get the lenses now, you can wait to get the camera when you are ready to get lenses as well. Why would you want to move to FX without any FX lenses to use on it?

It's not directly relevant to my question; but since you ask, I currently have around 15 FX Nikkors. Most are MF (long-time user), and 3 are AF. (I could have one more new one for the price difference between D600 and D800, which is a consideration.)

BTW, others did answer my question on this. But I'm not clear on the described connection between AF Illumination and masking. I'll need to try it in the camera shop.

Also, I know that the D800 can shoot lower mp images. But I don't know whether the D800 is just throwing away pixels in those modes, or making good use of all pixels through some kind of averaging or binning. Could someone please tell me? I wouldn't feel at all bad shooting lower-mp-but-lower-noise images while saving up for my 100 TB supercomputer.

Yes, when you shoot in crop mode, you are just throwing away pixels. It is literally same as shooting in full frame and then cropping in post processing.

Please see clarification on this point under my "Mid-Course Correction" post.

I also see the 4:5 aspect ratio choices as a huge advantage. (3:2 is nasty to my eye, and losing the 3:2 "shoulders" would be a perfect way to lose some unwanted mp.) Can anyone comment on whether 4:5 works well? And does it mask the finder in some way?

4:5 crop mode is very useful for shooting group (family) portraits. But 35mm film photographers have used their 2x3 aspect ratio to shoot such photographs for ages. If they could do it then, why can't they do it now. No such crop modes were ever available in 35mm film.

With around 55 years of shooting in 2:3, I am well aware of its history (including its origin as two 3:4 movie frames put together). I am also well aware that manual cropping is possible, since I crop most of my images. But it letting the camera do some of this work is attractive to me. YMMV.

Lastly, I wasn't too happy with the recently published D600 "teardown." It's construction seems more unserviceable/disposable than I'd like. I'd like to believe that the D800 is more serviceable, not just heavier. Does anyone know? Has anyone seen a D800 "teardown?"

The tear down is a complete gimmick. First of all, the Nikon DSLR's have a very solid history of reliability (otherwise, you wouldn't be shooting Nikon, would you?). And even if you need service, you are going to send it to an authorized service center. The iFixit guys are not going to repair your camera anyways. So, why worry about it?

Actually, my Nikon DSLRs have not been trouble free. But I am pretty well locked into the Nikon system at this point, at least for DSLRs. Regarding worry, I'm not a follower of Alfred E. Neuman.

Other D800 pluses include more/better controls, USB3, and maybe a few more. So the D800 is definitely in the hunt.

Good luck with your research and hope you make the best decision for you. Not a decision based on "needs" of someone else.

At no point did I say or suggest that I would base my decision on the needs of others. But thanks for your good wishes.

Yes, I'm aware of the whole left-AF issue, and Nikon's poor response. But I don't know whether there is any hard evidence that this problem is resolved in current production. Do any of you know? (Guessing won't help me.)

I have owned a D800 since June (Sr # 3021xxx) from early production batch and never had any left AF sensor issue. What I am saying is while some may have had this issue (I don't know) but not all cameras, even from early production cycle, had this problem.

Please see clarification on this point under my "Mid-Course Correction" post.

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Old Ed
Senior MemberPosts: 1,754
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Re: Let's talk NEFs for a bit...
In reply to Old Ed, Nov 11, 2012

Some responses suggest that the M and S downsize modes affect only in-camera JPEGs, and not the NEFs. That would be important to me.

So does anyone know which of these descriptions is correct:

1. NEFs are always FX, the full 37mp, OR

2. Cropped NEFs are always the full resolution within the crop area, but smaller than FX NEFs, OR

3. Description 2 applies, AND M and S downsize modes make the NEFs smaller still.

BTW, have any of you esteemed D800 users seen significant differences in NEFs, based on bit depth? (I think 14b is the biggest, but I didn't look it up just now.) Or are the big NEFs just for obsessive landscapers and pixel peepers?

Thanks again for your experience and expertise,

Ed

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Old Ed
Senior MemberPosts: 1,754
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Re: Thanks, BrunoS!
In reply to BrunoS, Nov 11, 2012

Hi Bruno (?),

Thank you very much for the most on-target reply I have received to date. I very much appreciate your time and consideration.

I would also appreciate any comments you might have on my "Let's talk NEFs..." post, below.

Happy shooting, Ed

BrunoS wrote:

But wait, not so fast. DX lenses look ugly through the D600 finder. I heard somewhere that the D800 finder masks down to DX when using those lenses. True or False?

You have the option of solid black lines or grayed / masked areas. Use AF Ilumination ON for lines, OFF for masked areas.

Also, I know that the D800 can shoot lower mp images. But I don't know whether the D800 is just throwing away pixels in those modes, or making good use of all pixels through some kind of averaging or binning. Could someone please tell me? I wouldn't feel at all bad shooting lower-mp-but-lower-noise images while saving up for my 100 TB supercomputer.

Just a resize like in photoshop or any other PP software. Visible noise will be reduced in the smaller MP files but the camera doesn't use any tricks like binning to improve the sensor efficiency.

I also see the 4:5 aspect ratio choices as a huge advantage. (3:2 is nasty to my eye, and losing the 3:2 "shoulders" would be a perfect way to lose some unwanted mp.) Can anyone comment on whether 4:5 works well? And does it mask the finder in some way?

Works welll. Yes, option to mask the viewfinder on all crop modes. DX and 1.2 crop mode increase FPS to 5.

Lastly, I wasn't too happy with the recently published D600 "teardown." It's construction seems more unserviceable/disposable than I'd like. I'd like to believe that the D800 is more serviceable, not just heavier. Does anyone know? Has anyone seen a D800 "teardown?"

I am sure that both cameras allow access to the components that need service. I haven't seen any D800 teardown. The D600 has more plastic but it doesn't mean it will not last.

Other D800 pluses include more/better controls, USB3, and maybe a few more. So the D800 is definitely in the hunt.

Yes, I'm aware of the whole left-AF issue, and Nikon's poor response. But I don't know whether there is any hard evidence that this problem is resolved in current production. Do any of you know? (Guessing won't help me.)

Thom Hogan claims the issue has been resolved.

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Ray Ritchie
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,800
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Re: Let's talk NEFs for a bit...
In reply to Old Ed, Nov 11, 2012

Your no. 2 above is correct. Crop-mode NEF's are smaller than the FX NEF's, not just an FX NEF with a crop-mode flag indication. The M and S sizes are applicable only to JPEG's, however, and are not applicable when shooting NEF.

Ray
My blog: http://www.rritchie.com/wordpress

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tnielsen
Regular MemberPosts: 348Gear list
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Re: Let's talk NEFs for a bit...
In reply to Old Ed, Nov 11, 2012

Old Ed wrote:

Some responses suggest that the M and S downsize modes affect only in-camera JPEGs, and not the NEFs. That would be important to me.

So does anyone know which of these descriptions is correct:

1. NEFs are always FX, the full 37mp, OR

2. Cropped NEFs are always the full resolution within the crop area, but smaller than FX NEFs, OR

3. Description 2 applies, AND M and S downsize modes make the NEFs smaller still.

BTW, have any of you esteemed D800 users seen significant differences in NEFs, based on bit depth? (I think 14b is the biggest, but I didn't look it up just now.) Or are the big NEFs just for obsessive landscapers and pixel peepers?

Thanks again for your experience and expertise,

Ed

No. 2 applies

in fx mode, nefs are always 36 MP. There is no medium or small option in raw mode.

In crop mode, all pixels within the cropped area are used. The D800 never bins pixels in raw mode and the only way to get low MP files are either by cropping or by going jpeg.

I haven't made any comparison between 12 and 14 bit mode. In theory the difference could be important when smooth graduations are present in an image - AND you do heavy post processing.

As a side note, I went from D200 to D800 my self and couldn't be happier. The new camera feels so familiar.

Best regards Thomas

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Nikon D200 Nikon D800 Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM +9 more
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