I do candid people photos, some architecture, landscapes, and close-ups of nature.
jmmgarza: Head shots at 50 yards?
At 50 yards you would get a full body vertical portrait of an adult with 800mm on a DX camera; on FX you would have a looser composition. For a head shot at that distance, a focal length of 3000mm would be good.
Rick Knepper: Nikon can run off 20 copies and that should cover everyone on earth who could afford one of these things.
The 800/5.6 should be about the same weight or a bit lighter than the 600/4, but the new lens is likely to be longer.
According to Roland Vink's Nikon lens serial number database, at least 2972 manual focus Ai-S 800/5.6's were sold from 1986 to 2005. Given that the old lens has no AF or VR, and the slow speed of high quality color film, the users of that lens had quite a challenge in getting good results. Today, Nikon sells somewhere between 5x and 10x as many DSLRs as they ever sold film SLRs (per year) and ISO 6400 is entirely realistic to use (maybe limit the ISO to max 1600 for cover of a high quality magazine?). The new lens combined with modern cameras will be much easier to use than the old lens was using cameras of that time. However, because people can crop images more with reasonable results today, the actual need for such a long lens may be less pressing. I would guess sales to be between 5000 and 10000 units in the lifetime of the product (20 years?).
Robert Soderlund: I shoot DX format Nikon and have not experienced what it is to shoot lenses with this great focal length, however, would not these lenses be the one where you shoot with a remote instead of hitting the camera shutter button?
Even still, the VR is probably handy especially as we are looking at 800mm here. But shooting with pressing the camera trigger is bound to produce at least some sort of shake. Does the VR really sort it out at these extremes?
Airplanes, small birds, spacecraft, the moon, racing cars, large field sports etc. Anything that moves and you can't get close to, or things that are very small yet some distance away.
If you follow a moving subject with an 800mm lens on tripod, you will normally have to turn the lens to keep the composition acceptable and subject under the focus point while taking the shots. In this situation, VR does significantly reduce the shake visible in the viewfinder and I would assume also during the exposure. The actual pressing of the button shouldn't cause much additional shake which isn't present just by having your one hand on the lens and the other on the camera. If you shoot a static subject then you can do it with hands off the camera and use a remote release and LV but you can expect wind to cause problems unless precautions are taken to prevent or reduce the effect of the wind on the lens.
Epitaph_pmr: Any bets on what it will cost?14k?
The original VR 300/2.8 doesn't have VR II; they specify 3 stops of improvement for this lens in the press release. The Nikon USA web site for this lens has a mistake. The second version has VR II and some autofocus switch changes. They both have nano-coating.
Mk I press release:http://www.nikon.com/news/2004/0916_06.htm
Mk II press releasehttp://www.nikon.com/news/2009/1210_nikkor_01.htm
The price hikes are of course normally related to inflation and currency changes. The cost of photographic equipment has gradually decreased over the years relative to the cost of living in the western countries. However, the fantastically increased pricing of the new Canon supertele primes is not fully explained by currency changes or inflation but something else. Perhaps the lower weight comes with much-increased manufacturing costs and/or lower yield. Or they simply think the reduced weight means it is that much more attractive to the customer and so they charge more because they can.
RBudding: VR? Who would want to hand hold that thing? It belongs on a gimbal head.
An 800mm lens, even on a strong tripod and head will shake quite a bit. VR takes care of a lot of this shake, leading to improved viewfinder stability and sharpness of the final picture. I would expect the VR of the 800mm lens to be optimized for tripod use since it would be difficult to hand-hold such a long and heavy lens.
Jose Rocha: So, where's the 70-200mm f/4 VR II?
The "II" or "III" in a lens name refers to lens version, not VR version. The VR version is never designated physically on the lens, nor in its name.
Walter Rowe: When will they offer the 24-70/f2.8 with VR? This has been missing from the lineup for a very long time. I own the AF-S 28-70/f2.8G ED. I see no reason to upgrade unless a VR edition comes out. In fact I just had it repaired in Melville. It works great with the D800.
In this class of lens, optical quality and robustness of construction are higher priorities than VR. If anything, Nikon should try to improve the construction quality and longer distance 24mm performance, and try to make the lens smaller and lighter. The introduction of VR elements would 1) reduce optical quality (reducing corner sharpness and increasing distortion most likely), 2) make the lens longer and heavier, 3) make it more vulnerable to impacts, and possibly 4) increase the cost. VR is not very useful in this focal length range because usually it is used for events and portraits, and those subjects require reasonably high shutter speeds (1/200s would be good) rather than VR. For travel snapshots, VR would be useful, but the 24-70 is not designed for that really. For serious architectural and landscape photography, a tripod is normally used, not VR.
Absolutic: I have the old 24-85G (also used to own 24-85D before that) and this lens is tiny. It is decent and very small. Other than VR what is truly new in optical design in comparison to the old 24-85G I have?
The new 24-85 seems to offer more consistent quality across its range than the 24-120/4 but with a much lower price. So it may be better value.
3systermuser: well, the 24-120f4VR was a bad lens , it was not as sharp as I expected it to be and it was huge , it was not very well built.so, I just sold it after using it for a few weeks in 2010.
the 24-70 is a good lens but it is also heavy and bulky , and more importantly it lacks the VR2 , so I still have it but seldom use it now.I think this AFS24-85VR is a good lens for 580USD and it is so light and small , also this really confimed that the rumored the D600 is for real.any way, when we need really good lenses for landscape ,studio and as such , we still need a set of Zeiss or expensive f1.4G Nikkors, so I think this is a compromised optics but it can be a great walk around light lens for the D800E.
The 24-120/4 isn't similar in image quality to the 24-70/2.8 - at f/4 the difference in favour of the f/2.8 zoom is considerable. The 24-70 has less CA, less distortion, and less vignetting, aperture for aperture, and more consistent sharpness across the range.
I hope the new 24-85 VR will have fewer optical compromises than the 24-120/4. It is more reasonably priced, for sure, so some compromises may be accepted. The 24-85G AF-S (no VR) is very good at 85mm but a bit on the soft side and with distortion at 24mm. The new lens, if it shows improved quality at 24mm will surely be attractive to those who use primes for low light and wide apertures and want a zoom for stopped down work but do not want to pay the premium for the 24-120/4 for something that they use as an essentially convenience lens. I personally will continue to use the 24-70/2.8 as it gives good quality consistently and primes for speed and when I need a smaller lens.
CameraLabTester: Perhaps DPR could do some tests on:FabricsRoof TilesInsects (eyes of a housefly)Fencing patternsFlyscreensBarcodesHatch drawingsCurrency bill macros...The local neighborhood view just don't cut it...
The camera isn't "aimed for" landscape photographers only. In practice since the D800 is the affordable FX camera of this generation of bodies, most professionals and serious amateurs who shoot Nikon will end up with one (or several), irrespective of their field of application. It will be universally adopted.
Richt2000: So, as repeated when the 'e' was announced, for landcape shooters, Its not a few hundred £/$ more, its a few thousand as Tilt-Shift Lenses are a MUST to make the 'e' version worth-while for landscapers...
The sensor (or technique) would have to be poor indeed if the f/5.6 image were not obviously much sharper than the f/16 image. All cameras show this difference; in fact the D800E should show a difference between f/4 and f/8 images too (in favour of the f4), if the lens is something decent and reasonably fast (i.e. 85/1.4 AF-S, 35/1.4 AF-S, 200/2 etc.) and live view manual focus is used.
Real-world images would be preferable to poorly composed postcard shots of ugly urban scenes. At least I get so much more from the reviews written by people who put the cameras to field work of a high level so that every aspect of the image (composition, subject, light and the message) is good. Such images give information about how the rendering characteristics of the cameras affect the impact of the image in high quality real-world photography. Technical rendering characteristics by themselves are utterly uninteresting if the image itself is not good. It also sends the wrong message regarding who these cameras are intended/designed for. I think the flood of people wanting to buy D800's is mostly because of this 100% crop centric view to photography, which is quite misguided IMO.
fastlass: Re: the "Should I buy a D800E?" section. "So if you're a portrait photographer working between F4-5.6 then yes - in your day-to-day photography you'll see the benefit of the D800E's special sensor design." Isn't the thing about portrait photography that in general you don't aim for images that are at the extreme of sharpness b/c they begin to look clinical which isn't the most desirable. Obviously giving the buyer the highest baseline IQ could be one goal, and then let the user alter things in PP or in-camera settings, but as a practical matter it seems the advantage of the E is not necessarily an advantage in portraiture.
I think the false colour in textures makes the E a poor choice for portrait photography (of clothed people). I think the correct rendition of fabrics is an essential part of a high quality portrait. Also, as you also point out, pin-sharp rendition of details of the skin is usually not desired.
I don't mean this in bad way but it really doesn't feel the dpreview review writers have a good grip of what is important in photography. They seem to be interested in only analyzing the 100% crop rather than the big picture.
String: Moire doenst seem to be much of an issue in any review/test/real world photo that I've seen; wondering why Nikon didnt just stick with the "E" model as the only production one. Could have possibly reduced the backlog with only one model to produce...
Well, an "E" is sitting at my local photo gear store front window and there seem to be no takers. They have a long waiting list of standard D800's, which is understandable given that you cannot calculate the correct image from the one with aliasing artifacts - the information is lost at the point where the digitization is made without proper antialias filtering. It seems that dpreview forums have a lot of detail geeks who do not care whether the detail is manufactured by incorrect imaging or if it is actual scene detail - hey that looks sharp and colorful even when the subject is not colorful. To me _real-world_ D800E samples (I'm not talking about dpreview samples which are not at all typical subjects) simply look unclean and I do not want that camera. Nikon's samples show much better what is going on e.g. with fabrics. You need to have both texture and different colors in the original to use it as an example.
Marty4650: You just can't please everyone.
If Olympus had made this a cheap lens... made from plastic, with a maximum aperture of f/2.8, then everyone would be complaining saying "I would gladly pay more for a much better lens."
But instead they decided to build a high quality lens, so now they will complain that "it costs too much."
You simply cannot buy high quality optics at bargain basement prices.No one has them. Not Canon, not Nikon, nor Pentax or Sony.
Incidentally, Leica will be happy to sell you a 75mm f/2.0 lens for $3800, and it still won't autofocus.
12/2 gets better reviews than the 14/2.5.
topstuff: All very lovely, but this is'nt really an F2.8 lens is it, compared to APSC or FF?
What would be the equivalent APSC lens? A 17-50 I guess? And if my understanding is correct, would this 4/3 lens have to be a F1.4 to have the same light gathering as a F2.8 in larger sensors?
As said somewhere below, I don't think it is a simple as simply doubling the focal length to get a "FF equivalent" and keeping the max aperture the same.
I am not sure if this really a f2.8 as we know it. I am sure the people at DPR can clarify !
A lovely thing though I am sure, especially with an OMD EM5.
But it is exactly like that. An FX camera at f/5.6, 1/100s, ISO 400 gives approximately the same brightness, image quality and depth of field than a MFT camera at f/2.8, 1/100s, ISO 100. The FX camera (assuming a modern one like D800) will be still better in resolution but if we only are looking at tonal quality, color separation, SNR this kind of stuff, as well as depth of field then this equivalence holds. Thus you get more for your money by buying a Nikon 24-70/2.8 than this 12-35, greater resolving capability, more options for depth of field control, and more light => better image quality, but only pay about twice as much as this small lens. What you're doing essentially is paying extra for the small size of the 12-35. Which of course is a perfectly legitimate thing to do.
ogl: 24-70/f5.6 - 35 mm equivalent
The total amount of light recorded by the sensor determines how good the tonality and SNR of the resulting image are. So ogl is essentially correct.
But this is nevertheless a good development, allowing a moderately fast and serious zoom lens to be used on cameras of this format. They already have a comprehensive range of primes and slow zooms.
io_bg: Fantastic review, I've only one remark - I still can't grasp why is the D800 widely considered to be the D700's successor. It certainly isn't - even Nikon said that; if it was, it would have the D4's sensor and a comparatively fast continuous shooting (maybe around 7-8 fps). The D800 seems more like a D3x update (the latter was recently discontinued, too) at a much lower cost.
The sensor of the D800 and the image processing system, AF etc. are an upgrade to those of the D3X but the camera body (ergonomics, etc.) is not.
Gully Foyle: Having used a D800 for a week now, I'll post some cons that Nikon could have (and should have, IMHO) done better. Superb otherwise.- Record button not customizable. Record button redundant if g4 custom setting is set to Record Movies. Could at least double Mode button and reduce clutter- D7000/D3100 LV lever/record button combo much better. Record button placed on the back instead of top more logical since active only in LV- No ISO option set on any Fn buttons, except use first item from My Menu- No Color Space option set on any Fn buttons, except use first item from My Menu- Show ISO/Easy ISO feature (d7) hidden and irrelevant- Minor dial customization despite (yet another) increase of features- No small RAW options (MAJOR fault)- OVF Virtual Horizon useless in low light- Quiet mode not at all quiet- Not refined LV mode- LCD light sensor easy to cover, dropping brightness- AF switch/button combo a workaround in an obsolete design. SONY big knob implementation much better
A "raw" file which is not at the sensor resolution is not "raw" in any sense of the word. If I'm not mistaken, such formats contain just JPGs with a fancy (and misleading) name.
whtchocla7e: A $15k, high-tech video camera crippled by a reflex mirror..
I don't see anyone else laughing, so are we all buying into this non-sense?
They can't make a camera mirrorless camera with EVF work with EF lenses so that autofocus works well. No one can (ok, Nikon can, but only in bright light with the V1/J1; probably the tiny phase-detect sensor elements between pixels are too small and insensitive to work in low light). If you want to get rid of the mirrors you probably have to start with all new lenses that are designed for contrast detect AF (for AF to work properly). So buy a system which is like you want from the get go, i.e. MFT or NEX or Fuji instead of requiring Canon to try to do something that would not work well (without licensing Nikon 1 series autofocus which they'd probably never do out of pride). Canon and Nikon primarily make DSLRs, for people who want optical viewfinders.