Am I thinking myself out of a D4?

Started Jan 31, 2012 | Discussions thread
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MrSkelter Contributing Member • Posts: 700
Am I thinking myself out of a D4?

Reading and commenting here on other threads has made me begin to rethink my wait for a D4. I have a pre-order and will hopefully have the body soon. What's causing me to pause is the D800.

While the D4's amazing, it's an evolution. The most innovative features, and by that I mean those which change the way I can shoot, are things like backlit buttons, the built in server, and ethernet. I love this camera and am set to buy it. I just can't call it a revolution.

The D800, assuming it meets rumored specs, is a different beast. The resolution means that used traditionally any use-case can be accommodated. What's most exciting is what that resolution means going forward.

1. I can see being able to frame far more loosely and still produce an un-compromised crop for print at normal sizes. That means being able to use wider lenses as tele's in many cases. If you're only going to print at double-page spread size you're being given a crop factor which turns your 85 into a 1XX at 300dpi. Think about it. Nikon have just given us a 170mm 1.4 for free and a nano-coated, fully pro 48mm if we shoot the 24g.

2. Lower cost. If the first point is true, I can buy half the glass I would have and achieve very similar results.

3. I, though not everyone, can also ditch the ultra-wide zoom in normal use as a 2 image panorama will have plenty of resolution for quick wide shots. My stitching software makes handheld pano's very easy indeed and handles shifting perspectives and rotation points. Unless I'm doing something really epic I don't need support.

4. Ultra-high ISO capability. Bear with me here but I can imagine the D800 producing D4 rivaling, or exceeding, quality in the dark. Why? Well the detail it captures will exceed that of the D4 at every ISO. Noise will likely be higher but if you shoot RAW noise decreases over time because it's all in the noise canceling algorithm you apply. As detail can't be synthesized you could argue that higher-noise, higher detail RAW files are more flexible than lower-detail, lower-noise RAW files. You can never get the detail back but you can kill the noise. That's aside from the benefits of having more pixels when it comes to noise and dynamic range.

So that leaves the only major compromises being fit and finish, detailing (I bet the buttons aren't illuminated on the D800), speed (a big one for me, though a battery grip may close the gap), and convenience factors like Ethernet.

The D4 will probably last me longer as a body as it's so complete but I am starting to think the D800s files will be the ones that hold-up best over time.

I'd love to be persuaded either way. I still have time to switch bodies, but I don't have justification to buy both.

Steve Bingham - your input especially welcome as you've seen the thing and that must mean you've looked at the output.

Canon EOS 300D (EOS Digital Rebel / EOS Kiss Digital) Nikon D4 Nikon D800
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