Going from D800 to D3s..... Am I Crazy??

Started Feb 7, 2013 | Discussions
ALBAS Photography
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Going from D800 to D3s..... Am I Crazy??
Feb 7, 2013

Hey folks, 
I've been using a D800 since last year April, but have always struggled a bit in my workflow with the huge files.  With the continuously falling memory prices of HDs it's really not too much of a problem, but rather just an inconvenience.  
Recently, I had the chance to play around with a friend's D3s.  Never really looked into the camera before, but I gotta say that I loved the handling, and the output.  So now I've been looking for a good, used D3s and am seriously considering "trading" my D800 for a D3s.  I shoot a lot of events (Weddings, Concerts, Festivals, etc.), so a fast workflow and good low-light ability is a major plus for me.  I loved the workflow I had with the D700.  I have to do a fair bit of traveling for photo gigs as well, so I like the physical size of the D800.  Ideally I'd like to have a lower Mpix camera with great low-light ability in a D800 body, but you can't have your cake and eat it too, right?  
So do you think it would be a good idea for me to trade in the D800 for a D3s?  Or am I just thinking too much?

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JacquesC
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Re: Going from D800 to D3s..... Am I Crazy??
In reply to ALBAS Photography, Feb 7, 2013

Crazy?

Not necessarily, the D3s is an excellent camera.

I see the following optiions :

1. Shoot in jpeg and select a medium or small jpeg size.

2. If you only shoot RAW then you can use DX mode which will give you 15mp.

3. Live with the default file size of the D800

4. Get the D3s or perhaps a D4

It would've been nice if Nikon had the same option as Canon to select smaller RAW sizes, I'm sure that would've solved your (and many others's) problem.

Good luck !

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Oscar Rico
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Re: Going from D800 to D3s..... Am I Crazy??
In reply to ALBAS Photography, Feb 7, 2013

No you are not. I have both, the D3s is a great camera and I not change it for the D800 . I always reach for the D3s, for me the D3s focus and low light performance is superior that the D800. The only advantage of the D800 is if you intent to print some billboards. The D800 resolution kills the close up portrait photography. Each camera is for different application but the D3s cover more ground for my way of take pictures in general. And that is why we have chocolate and vanilla ice cream, He, He. The D3s has a pro body the d800 feel like something is missing. Of course it is my opinion and I very happy with my D3s over the D800. More megapixels does not create a better photographer. Regards: Oscar

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apaflo
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Re: Going from D800 to D3s..... Am I Crazy??
In reply to ALBAS Photography, Feb 7, 2013

ALBAS Photography wrote:

So do you think it would be a good idea for me to trade in the D800 for a D3s? Or am I just thinking too much?

I don't see much point to it given what you've said.   I have a D3S, a D4 and a D800, and use the D800 most of the time.  The D3S is almost unused since acquiring the D4.

The D4 is more rugged and has a faster frame rate.  It gets the nod when those are important.  For most event work the D800 is better.  Compared to a D3S it has better AF.  It is almost as good in low light, and is close enough you'll be very hard pressed to see any difference.  The D800 has more dynamic range, so at anything lower than perhaps ISO 3200 it is better.

I just don't see the big files as much of a  problem, but  those 36MP are a pure delight!  I commonly make large prints, and the extra room to crop for effect is very significant.

How these issues affect your work might be different,  but those are the examples I've experienced.

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gl2k
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Re: Going from D800 to D3s..... Am I Crazy??
In reply to ALBAS Photography, Feb 7, 2013

ALBAS Photography wrote:

I shoot a lot of events (Weddings, Concerts, Festivals, etc.),

D800 was never designed with these applications in mind. You simply bought the wrong camera from the very beginning. You are in D4 territory.

Keep in mind that 12mp doesn't allow for much cropping which might influence your style of photography.

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Daniel Lauring
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Re: Going from D800 to D3s..... Am I Crazy??
In reply to ALBAS Photography, Feb 7, 2013

ALBAS Photography wrote:

Hey folks,
I've been using a D800 since last year April, but have always struggled a bit in my workflow with the huge files. With the continuously falling memory prices of HDs it's really not too much of a problem, but rather just an inconvenience.

What specifically is the "struggle" in the workflow?  If it is how slow they are to edit you could always batch process the D800 files down to the 12 megapixel resolution of the D3s, and then work with those files.  The downsampled D800 would still yield more detail than the D3s.

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patrick franqui
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Re: Going from D800 to D3s..... Am I Crazy??
In reply to apaflo, Feb 7, 2013

apaflo wrote:

ALBAS Photography wrote:

So do you think it would be a good idea for me to trade in the D800 for a D3s? Or am I just thinking too much?

I don't see much point to it given what you've said. I have a D3S, a D4 and a D800, and use the D800 most of the time. The D3S is almost unused since acquiring the D4.

The D4 is more rugged and has a faster frame rate. It gets the nod when those are important. For most event work the D800 is better. Compared to a D3S it has better AF. It is almost as good in low light, and is close enough you'll be very hard pressed to see any difference. The D800 has more dynamic range, so at anything lower than perhaps ISO 3200 it is better.

I just don't see the big files as much of a problem, but those 36MP are a pure delight! I commonly make large prints, and the extra room to crop for effect is very significant.

How these issues affect your work might be different, but those are the examples I've experienced.

Well put, exactly my feelings

If you compare d800(e) files to the ones of D3s I can not go back

Just sold my d3s and will be getting a secend d800//i'm only missing 9 frames per second but i can live with that

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apaflo
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Re: Going from D800 to D3s..... Am I Crazy??
In reply to gl2k, Feb 7, 2013

gl2k wrote:

ALBAS Photography wrote:

I shoot a lot of events (Weddings, Concerts, Festivals, etc.),

D800 was never designed with these applications in mind. You simply bought the wrong camera from the very beginning. You are in D4 territory.

I have the option of choosing to use either of those models, and 90% of the time will pick up the D800 for those events.

Where the D4 (or the D3S) shines would be sports, as an example, where the faster frame rate is hugely significant.  It isn't just the ability to rattle off a sequence of closely space images either, even one shot at a time it's what happens when the RAM buffer fills up!  With the D800 after about 15 shots when shooting RAW the camera slows to a crawl while the buffer is written to the memory card.  The D4 doesn't even hesitate until something like 50 shots, and then it barely burps.  Wonderful for shooting volleyball, basketball, etc etc.

But for weddings, concerts and festivals (or even school events in poorly lit up gyms) there isn't as much call for faster shooting, but there is a huge need to be able to blast away without excessive concern for perfect framing so that cropping can be done later. Likewise larger prints are much more likely to be an end product.  Makes the D800 a great tool.

Keep in mind that 12mp doesn't allow for much cropping which might influence your style of photography.

I go the other way, and let my style of photography influence which camera to use.

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cdubman
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Re: Going from D800 to D3s..... Am I Crazy??
In reply to gl2k, Feb 7, 2013

gl2k wrote:

ALBAS Photography wrote:

I shoot a lot of events (Weddings, Concerts, Festivals, etc.),

D800 was never designed with these applications in mind. You simply bought the wrong camera from the very beginning. You are in D4 territory.

Keep in mind that 12mp doesn't allow for much cropping which might influence your style of photography.

Is this the general consensus up here? For sure, the D800 is exceptional for landscape and studio work, particularly when printing very large.

But...does that mean many D800 owners struggling with less predictable people photography like weddings, family candids, festivals, street photography?

Are folks like Scott Kelby right when saying most people should really have purchased the D600 because of these situations above?

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Kerry Pierce
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Re: Going from D800 to D3s..... Am I Crazy??
In reply to ALBAS Photography, Feb 7, 2013

I can fully understand your delight with the d3.  I've had a d3s for a year, a d800 for just over a month. IMO, there's no contest as to which is my favorite camera, the d3s is it.  I like the d800 a great deal, but for low light action shooting, the d3s is a dream to shoot, especially at high ISOs. I spend a lot less time waiting on the camera, waiting on the files in post, with the d3s.

IMO, they are totally different cameras, made for different use. The d800, to me, is a studio, landscape type camera, where you don't take a lot of shots and have all the time you need to get them. The d3s is a high performance, high speed, very responsive camera that just gets out of your way and produces great photos, by the truckload.

If I had to choose between the 2, the d800 would be gone. Fortunately, I don't have to choose and I use the cameras where they perform the best.

Kerry

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antonoat
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Kerry Pierce...
In reply to ALBAS Photography, Feb 7, 2013

Has summed it up nicely, don't think anyone could argue with his logic!

If you can only own one of these cameras, you just need to decide which is more applicable to the type of work you do.

best regards

Tony

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gl2k
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Re: Going from D800 to D3s..... Am I Crazy??
In reply to cdubman, Feb 7, 2013

cdubman wrote:

gl2k wrote:

ALBAS Photography wrote:

I shoot a lot of events (Weddings, Concerts, Festivals, etc.),

D800 was never designed with these applications in mind. You simply bought the wrong camera from the very beginning. You are in D4 territory.

Keep in mind that 12mp doesn't allow for much cropping which might influence your style of photography.

Is this the general consensus up here? For sure, the D800 is exceptional for landscape and studio work, particularly when printing very large.

But...does that mean many D800 owners struggling with less predictable people photography like weddings, family candids, festivals, street photography?

Are folks like Scott Kelby right when saying most people should really have purchased the D600 because of these situations above?

There is nothing like a common consensus since everybody's demands are different. But all applications stated by the OP are much closer related to photo journalism than say landscape and studio photography. Therefore I suggested a lower but faster body.

The D600 is a completely different camera. It's definitely targeted to amateurs due to its somewhat limited feature set (some are deliberately crippled for no special reason which I consider as poor habit). For the average amateur tough I'd see the D600 as a perfect body.

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gl2k
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Re: Going from D800 to D3s..... Am I Crazy??
In reply to apaflo, Feb 7, 2013

apaflo wrote:

gl2k wrote:

ALBAS Photography wrote:

I shoot a lot of events (Weddings, Concerts, Festivals, etc.),

D800 was never designed with these applications in mind. You simply bought the wrong camera from the very beginning. You are in D4 territory.

I have the option of choosing to use either of those models, and 90% of the time will pick up the D800 for those events.

Where the D4 (or the D3S) shines would be sports, as an example, where the faster frame rate is hugely significant. It isn't just the ability to rattle off a sequence of closely space images either, even one shot at a time it's what happens when the RAM buffer fills up! With the D800 after about 15 shots when shooting RAW the camera slows to a crawl while the buffer is written to the memory card. The D4 doesn't even hesitate until something like 50 shots, and then it barely burps. Wonderful for shooting volleyball, basketball, etc etc.

But for weddings, concerts and festivals (or even school events in poorly lit up gyms) there isn't as much call for faster shooting, but there is a huge need to be able to blast away without excessive concern for perfect framing so that cropping can be done later. Likewise larger prints are much more likely to be an end product. Makes the D800 a great tool.

Keep in mind that 12mp doesn't allow for much cropping which might influence your style of photography.

I go the other way, and let my style of photography influence which camera to use.

Funny post of yours. You correctly describe the disadvantages of the D800 in terms of slow fps rates but still recommend it for photo journalism like photography.

The bride happily approaching the bridegroom is definitely not something where a slow camera shines. The same goes for all other scenes where there is one and only one moment to get it right.

I still use my D300 quite often when action is involved and light conditions are at least decent.

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RudivanS
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Re: Going from D800 to D3s..... Am I Crazy??
In reply to ALBAS Photography, Feb 7, 2013

D3s/D4 would be the way to go with what you shoot.

Explore, experiment and have fun..

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apaflo
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Re: Going from D800 to D3s..... Am I Crazy??
In reply to gl2k, Feb 7, 2013

gl2k wrote:

apaflo wrote:

gl2k wrote:

ALBAS Photography wrote:

I shoot a lot of events (Weddings, Concerts, Festivals, etc.),

D800 was never designed with these applications in mind. You simply bought the wrong camera from the very beginning. You are in D4 territory.

I have the option of choosing to use either of those models, and 90% of the time will pick up the D800 for those events.

Where the D4 (or the D3S) shines would be sports, as an example, where the faster frame rate is hugely significant. It isn't just the ability to rattle off a sequence of closely space images either, even one shot at a time it's what happens when the RAM buffer fills up! With the D800 after about 15 shots when shooting RAW the camera slows to a crawl while the buffer is written to the memory card. The D4 doesn't even hesitate until something like 50 shots, and then it barely burps. Wonderful for shooting volleyball, basketball, etc etc.

But for weddings, concerts and festivals (or even school events in poorly lit up gyms) there isn't as much call for faster shooting, but there is a huge need to be able to blast away without excessive concern for perfect framing so that cropping can be done later. Likewise larger prints are much more likely to be an end product. Makes the D800 a great tool.

Keep in mind that 12mp doesn't allow for much cropping which might influence your style of photography.

I go the other way, and let my style of photography influence which camera to use.

Funny post of yours. You correctly describe the disadvantages of the D800 in terms of slow fps rates but still recommend it for photo journalism like photography.

It is not "photo journalism" that makes the difference. Most PJ work would not benefit from the differences between a D800 and a D3S in frame rate.

The bride happily approaching the bridegroom is definitely not something where a slow camera shines. The same goes for all other scenes where there is one and only one moment to get it right.

However none of that is where a high sequence rate makes any real difference. Whether the camera is 5 fps for 10, it's about the same. What makes a really big difference is how many shots you can get off before the buffer is full and the camera slows to a crawl. The D800 and the D3S are just about the same in that respect, though the D3S will recover significantly faster. The camera that makes a difference there is the D4, which just keeps going.  (With a D3S it can actually help to set the frame rate down to something like only 4 or 5 fps.)

As I pointed out, sports photography is an example where a D3S will commonly provide a useful speed advantage over a D800. When action in a basketball game starts, it can be useful to shoot away at 8 to 10 fps for one or two seconds. The D800 just isn't as good. (And again, the D4 runs circles around the D3S.)

I still use my D300 quite often when action is involved and light conditions are at least decent.

Wonderful. A common reason to do that would be to have a wide to medium zoom on one body and a medium to long zoom on the other. I use the D4 and D800 together that way very often (and the frustrating part is deciding which body gets which lens).

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coudet
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Re: Going from D800 to D3s..... Am I Crazy??
In reply to cdubman, Feb 7, 2013

cdubman wrote:

But...does that mean many D800 owners struggling with less predictable people photography like weddings, family candids, festivals, street photography?

Are folks like Scott Kelby right when saying most people should really have purchased the D600 because of these situations above?

Why not think and make your own decision on this? Ask yourself what specifically would make D600 better for people photography? Let me know if you come up with anything.

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elise soussana
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Re: Going from D800 to D3s..... Am I Crazy??
In reply to JacquesC, Feb 7, 2013

I switched from D800 to D4 to D3s and I'm happy. I think the the D3s is the best camera,so far.

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cdubman
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Re: Going from D800 to D3s..... Am I Crazy??
In reply to coudet, Feb 7, 2013

coudet wrote:

cdubman wrote:

But...does that mean many D800 owners struggling with less predictable people photography like weddings, family candids, festivals, street photography?

Are folks like Scott Kelby right when saying most people should really have purchased the D600 because of these situations above?

Why not think and make your own decision on this? Ask yourself what specifically would make D600 better for people photography? Let me know if you come up with anything.

Coudet - last I checked this is a Forum. Why not solicit the collective feedback & knowledge from this group to understand real-world experiences, rather than just focus on tech specs and esoteric lab tests?

There are pros and cons to both cameras which is why there is a continuous discussion about D600 vs D800. I would love it if there was a simple checklist that makes it easy to choose, but with most decisions there are compromises. e.g., I wouldn't hesitate for a moment if the D600 had the same AF system as D800.

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ponderosabob
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Re: Going from D800 to D3s..... Am I Crazy??
In reply to Oscar Rico, Feb 8, 2013

Oscar Rico wrote:

No you are not. I have both, the D3s is a great camera and I not change it for the D800 . I always reach for the D3s, for me the D3s focus and low light performance is superior that the D800. The only advantage of the D800 is if you intent to print some billboards. The D800 resolution kills the close up portrait photography. Each camera is for different application but the D3s cover more ground for my way of take pictures in general. And that is why we have chocolate and vanilla ice cream, He, He. The D3s has a pro body the d800 feel like something is missing. Of course it is my opinion and I very happy with my D3s over the D800. More megapixels does not create a better photographer. Regards: Oscar

+1

Ditto for the D3

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ALBAS Photography
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Re: Going from D800 to D3s..... Am I Crazy??
In reply to ALBAS Photography, Feb 8, 2013

Thanks for all the great suggestions and insights.  Good to know I'm not the only one who has a love-hate relationship with the D800.  It is a wonderful camera for sure, no doubt about that, but it's not quite as diverse for the kinds of photography I do to handle everything with aplomb.  Cameras are tools and I think for my kind of gigs, the D3s would be better suited. 
Thanks again, guys!  Happy Shooting!

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