My first experience with a Nikon D800 - Sunrise Photos & BIF

Started Apr 15, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Michael Kaplan
Michael Kaplan Veteran Member • Posts: 4,232
My first experience with a Nikon D800 - Sunrise Photos & BIF

Sunrise Photoshoot at the Lake & Bird Photography; My first experience with a Nikon D800.

Thought I'd write a bit on my first real shooting with the Nikon D800.

I went out shooting yesterday with a local Photography Meet Up Group. We went to Grimsby Ontario by Lake Ontario and shoot the broken piers at Fifty Point Conservation area for some long exposure then sunrise photography. After there we made our way to the inner harbour and shoot the terns and cormorants on the manmade islands in Hamilton Harbour.

A bit about me... I came from a lifelong love with Canon starting with the A-1 in the mid 70's and starting digital actually with a freeze frame from a Canon Elura Camcorder in Progressive mode. That was when I got bitten by the digital bug and boy is it contagious. I then acquired a Fuji S602 just to make sure I really loved it (and I did). That then led me to the Canon 10D, 20D, 40D, 50D and finally the 7D. Each camera better than the last, offering some really great features, better performance and some refinements. I loved each more than the last.

The one thing I always wanted though I couldn't get. I wanted a full frame camera. Price was too costly for one and also my love for zooms more than wide angle. Also I could have bought a used 5D for example but really did not want to carry 2 bodies. One was enough with all the equipment and weight. Then comes the D800 which gave me the best of both worlds. A high resolution FF camera that I can either crop to hell or use DX mode and get my beloved zoom range. Certainly not an easy move to leave any manufacturers system that you have shot with for so many years and start a new yet I was actually looking forward to it and was not let down.

The D800 is a massive camera compared to the 7D. I have always used a grip so I am used to that. It is not so much the size or weight I am talking about. Just the number of buttons, dials and their placement which alone can be a daunting task to learn all the differences. Took me a while to figure out how to change the focus grouping. The only setting in the menus were whether or not you wanted 11 of 51 points and the jog dial let you choose which 1 point or re-center to that point but where was all the other choices? Well after reading the manual (which I am still doing, a massive 472 pages) I found that the little thing in the middle of the AF/M switch on the front of the camera is actually a button. Low and behold I found the way to change the focus groups. Other things were easier but even so, I had no problem shooting with it. There were very few times I had to enter the menus (which is good) as almost anything I needed was a button and a knob/wheel away. So... I RTFM'd and practiced of course with the things I had around to try with because practice makes perfect.

So here are the obligatory cat photos.

Thanks to my girls for posing as they are hard to capture, they don't seem to like being on that side of the camera.

And then the obligatory shot out my windows at night.

And now to the trip.

Here are the shots from Grimsby Ontario over looking Lake Ontario, starting at 5:30 in the morning.

I had to experiment with an in camera HDR so here is the result. Really in this case not much different from the next shot I had taken in RAW (not shown) but it works.

These were all shot with my D800 with a Nikkor AF-S 24-70mm f2.8G ED (FX) shot mostly at f16 on a tripod with various exposures using a Phottix remotecamera replease. Exif information is available on my photosite (below).

We then moved on to Hamilton Harbour to shoot the birds. I used my D800 with a Nikkor AF 80-400mm f 4.5-5.6 D ED VR (FX). All hand held, shot mostly at around 1/1600th at ISO 1600 or a bit better when there was a bit brighter sky.

Conclusion: I love the D800. It is just what I needed... ok, wanted. I do some sports (haven't done any yet but am sure it will suffice) and some BIF but also portraits and macros and and... well a bit of all types. What I did yesterday it managed perfectly that is no buffer fills, no main problems at all. It was a great experience for me to get more familiar with my new tool and get some great photos out of an interesting adventure. BTW my friend asked me if it was worth it, getting up at 3AM to leave for 4 to get there for 5:30 and the truthful answer is (Yawn...) yes, it was worth every tiring minute.

Thanks to the other photographers with that group; some from the U.S. (Buffalo) and others from different parts of Ontario.
If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask
Here is the link to my Photo site.
Michael Kaplan
See my profile for equipment list

 Michael Kaplan's gear list:Michael Kaplan's gear list
Sony RX100 III Nikon D810 Nikon D500 Nikon D850 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED +19 more
Canon EOS 10D Canon EOS 20D Canon EOS 40D Canon EOS 50D Canon EOS 5D Canon EOS 7D Nikon Coolpix S60 Nikon D800
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