Great and lucky captures! All of these are wonderful.
Mr Physics: I never really had a use for the "Qual" or WB" buttons. If they just had a 2-button thing for metering and ISO, I might get one of these. O.K., I'm not telling the truth. I'll still get one of these, despite too many buttons. :)
The last sentence should imply that I lust the D810 and I'm trying to rationalize the expenditure despite already having very good light writing machines (D700 and D90).
I'm a D700 and RAW recording guy so it makes sense for me to be in 14 bit compressed NEF always. I've always tweaked the WB in post processing and generally leave the WB in auto.
I've been wondering if the quality and range of actual light data captured would be better if I'd simply select an appropriate WB at capture time but never had the ambition to study this question in detail. I wouldn't know where to start. We have the options of direct sunlight, shade and cloudy but there doesn't seem to be an in camera compensation to accommodate the difference in the Sun's light from bright mid-afternoon to the red-ish orange of dusk. When I find myself with mixed source lighting indoors (often a combination incandescent and florescent lighting) I don't have a clue what option to pick at capture time. I usually choose "Auto" and sort it out in post processing. So I haven't ever used the WB and QUAL buttons.
I never really had a use for the "Qual" or WB" buttons. If they just had a 2-button thing for metering and ISO, I might get one of these. O.K., I'm not telling the truth. I'll still get one of these, despite too many buttons. :)
chbde: Very good article. It is however slightly incorrect on the topic of diffraction:"This is because, like depth-of-field, softening from diffraction depends on the actual size of the aperture, not the F-number."
As "Cambridge in Color" (http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/diffraction-photography.htm) explains it very nicely, the size of the diffraction pattern on the sensor depends only on the f-number. This is also the reason why diffraction softening is independent of focal length. But one can see the effect of diffraction if the size of the diffraction patterns exceeds the dimensions of a pixel, so it is dependent on pixel density.
"This means diffraction will have the same impact on two images shot at equivalent apertures"
That sentence remains correct, however, for sensors with equal number of pixels.
As a consequence of this, by the way, on a 16MP 2.3" compact the resolution is already diffraction limited at f2.8!
The Airy disk analysis is good to use as a first approximation.But we are only talking about space in between the aperture and the sensor at that point. The focus distance or focal length becomes irrelevant.
Diffraction occurs because of a fundamental uncertainty ( a blurring, if you will) when a packet of light waves pass through an opening of a given dimension. Physic can't explain WHY this happens but can calculate the magnitude to great accuracy. When we observe this packet of light, we are always on the sensor side of the aperture. Thus the same small angle between two blade of grass through a 35mm lens experience the same diffraction as a pair of galaxies through a 1000mm lens (at the same absolute aperture). It might be interesting for me to go through the derivations from first principals to arrive at this conclusion (and it would take forever) but it would be boring to try and share the results with most anybody else. That why I admire DPR's empirical exposition. :)
For a given wavelength (color), diffraction effects can be completely determined by the actual aperture i.e. FL/f-number. DPR has exposed and illustrated this fact very well. They have created the ultimate FF vs crop vs smaller exposition article. It's the best, clearest and most concise explanation I have ever seen. Kudos to the team that wrote it. It should an excellent reference for years to come to us all. I'm sure there may be some small mistake(s) in it, but if corrected, this one article WILL stand as an authoritative reference.
mirkoc: I like:new 'highlight-weighted' metering option (to preserve highlight detail in contrasty scenes)
I'm thinking that it adjusts the exposure independent of the recording mode. But I could use a feature that leverages the great DR of these modern cameras to protect highlights of BIFs when I don't have the time to chimp and adjust exposure compensation.
Dang. I've been a 12MP guy for quite a while now. It is my fundamental belief that if you can't say it with 12MP then you have a speech impediment. But this light writing machine has me drooling for a number of reasons: they've expanded the range of available (useable?) ISO by 2 stops over the D800 and 4 stops over the D700. If that translates to something noticeable in DR @ base ISO, then that is very big. They have that highlight preserving metering option which is potentially big (for me). I've blown too many highlights from white water fowl to not want this. And what if I'm wrong about 12MP being sufficient to completely record the light from a capture? This machine has me interested in moving beyond the D700 for the first time. Hmmm. I think Nikon hit it out of the ballpark on this one (maybe).
A very strong collection of beautiful images. Not many of us on this planet get the opportunity and you have made the best of yours.
This gives some weight to your axioms: get out there and stay out there AND treat each sunset like it's your last. These are 2 most important things I learned from reading this that apply to me. Thanks.
sosmix: I still can't get my head around someone going out looking for wildlife with a gun in one hand and a camera in the other.
Photograph them or kill them, it must be quite a dilemma.
Yes, I can't grasp it either. But I don't own a gun but I own more cameras than I like to admit. And my cameras have these HUGE memory disks/cards. HUGE, I tell you HUGE. I'm liable to go out and take pictures of innocent 1st graders at any moment....wait a second, that doesn't sound right. I should just point my big 85mm f/1.4 at my head and end it all. Oops. Wrong format.
If I was a hunter, I would try to "capture the moment" and do both very quickly in sequence. So, it might be both.
Thinking out loud: Trophy hunters are serial killers who get great pleasure out of destroying living creatures - the "trophy" is just a convenient excuse for their blood lust. If you doubt this, watch videos of the "hunt". They stalking their prey from a distance (the animals do not sense them) using telescopic sights on their rifles,they slaughter them with a high velocity bullet. The interesting bit is just how excited they get - orgasmic in fact, they rush over to the kill and marvel at just how magnificent the dead animal is. It does not occur to them that it was magnificent until they brutally end its life!Perhaps the only good thing about this is that these morons are killing animals and not humans - as far as we know.
Every living human would not exist but for the hunters in their ancestry. Hunting is the rule set forth by the Higher Power (whatever your name for him/her) of everyone.
Funduro: Journalist have been busted as plagiarist more often now, thanks to Google. Heck even two consecutive German heads of education have resigned because of plagiarist Doctoral thesis & the like. So it's not surprising this photographer staged this photo and gave false narrative about it.
No. He's simply honoring a photographer of significance.
Yes, this is one of those "Wow" images. Well done, sir.
Dyun27: After looking at the RAWs, frankly I think all these cameras are way too close to call and in the end it's the photographer who will make the biggest difference to the images taken. I gotta say though, the D600 is really holding it's ground among these $3,000.00 + cameras, maybe even surpassing some by a tiny margin! I never dreamed it would come so close to the noise quality of the D3s, at least at ISO 6400 and below. The D3s starts pulling away from the rest at ISO 12,800. They all have some positives and some negatives, but having this kind of noise handling for $2,000.00 is firggin' awesome.
Penelope Crux IS hot. Who is Scarlett Johansson?
Wow. I like this image on many different levels.
Simple. Powerful. Beautiful. Wow, I'm in awe.
Very good. Good eye.
Good article. It forces me to realize that I don't take advantage of the succulent images that present themselves to me on a (almost) daily basis.
You are a master of PP and a good capture to start with.
Beautiful shot. Shoulda won.