D4 & D800E in use at The Wimbledon Tennis Championships..

Started Jul 15, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Deegee Regular Member • Posts: 322
D4 & D800E in use at The Wimbledon Tennis Championships..

Just in case anyone is remotely interested, my Wimbledon 2012 images can be seen at http://www.duncangrove.com/2012-wimbledon-tennis . They were shot with two D4s and one D800E. Lenses used were mainly 300mm f/2.8, 70-200mm f/2.8, and 85mm f/1.4 lenses, with the occasional use of 24-70mm f/2.8 and 14-24 f/2.8 and 16mm fisheye (the 85mm was used exclusively with the D800E). I have invested in all of this gear. They were not “loaners”, although Nikon did kindly loan me a 400mm f/2.8 for the occasional long-shot positions that you will see.

I had used one of the D4s “in anger” previously and was already very familiar with shooting using D3S AND D3X bodies. The D800 was pretty new to me apart from a few prior test shots. The rest of the lenses I have owned for at least a year so am very familiar with them.

Both the iffy weather and using three brand-new bodies (probably a mistake, I am not so sure I will be an early adopter next time) proved challenging. I captured some competent shots (difficult not to if you sit in the pit on Centre Court grasping Nikon’s latest and greatest!) but I fear the front cover of Sports Illustrated eludes me for yet another year.

Frankly, I had no great expectations of the upgrade from D3S to D4. I already had a D3X and D3S. The D3X is a great camera but was not useable for some of my sport shoots where I needed two bodies. I wanted to have two bodies exactly the same to avoid preferring one over the other and being confused over button locations etc. I sold my D3S and D3X for near what I paid for them and bought two D4s. I then panicked about not having a high resolution camera such as the D3X, which I used to love. I thought to D800E was good value in comparison, so bought one of these also.

In the event, I have found that the D4 seems to have better dynamic range than the D3S – I always used to shoot Wimbledon (white clothes) with at least -1/3 compensation in order to protect highlights. Even when the sun was shining this year I found that this was unnecessary. The increase from 12 Mp to 16 Mp is not in theory that great but in practice I have found that is very useful. Tight crops that I know would have been marginal quality-wise with the D3S are more than acceptable with the D4.

If you want negative comments, there are massive pains regarding the accessory compatibility of the D4 and D800E, which I feel are inexcusable since the models were launched within a month of each other. I am well invested in several big (32Gb) CF cards. The D4 has one XQD slot and one CF slot. The D800E has one CF slot and one SD slot. I have never owned an SD card and to invest now would seem to be a backward investment. Batteries, and their chargers, are also different. I have overcome this huge issue by investing in a battery pack and accessory that will allow me to use D4 type batteries in the D800E; I resent the need to have to spend this money.

The D4 works with the new and dinky WT-5 wireless transmitter, which seems to be a worthwhile investment for studio work (my level of accreditation would never allow me use of this for sports work). However, the later-released D800E will not work with this and needs the older and far inferior WT-4. It is the D800E that I would choose to use for studio work – frustrating!

Using the D800E for sport was interesting. As a sports camera it will never replace the D4 but in many ways it was very competent at shooting tennis. Two years ago I was (possible correctly) laughed at for experimenting at using a Hasselblad at Wimbledon. Hasselblad has a great system albeit not designed for action shots and of course its limitations in this area became very obvious. For some twilight GV shots though, it far excelled my D3X.

I found the similar-resolution D800E much more responsive than the Hasselblad in terms of shutter-lag etc and although the frame rate is far lower than the D4’s, in some respects this is strangely an advantage.

Using the D800E I could not indulge in the lazy machine gun approach – I had to concentrate more to time my one (or perhaps two) shots carefully. It was actually quite easy to acquire a reasonably high rate of “ball-on-racquet” captures with just one shot and it made “culling the wheat from the chaff” much quicker in editing – there were far fewer images to trawl through! Once I found a good capture, it was such a luxury to be able to crop aggressively and produce an impactful image that was sellable resolution-wise. The agency I was uploading to actually complained that my file sizes were too large, normally they moan that I have cropped too much and file sizes are too small!

Just my personal experience and views to date in case anyone is interested.
Deegee FRPS
Q:- What's the difference between artists and photographers?
A:- Two artists can have a conversation without discussing their paintbrushes!

 Deegee's gear list:Deegee's gear list
Nikon D4 Nikon D800E Nikon D4S Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED +4 more
Nikon D3S Nikon D3X Nikon D4 Nikon D800 Nikon D800E
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