Which is better? A Nikon D600 or D800? Mostly using it HANDHELD & with low light.

Started Oct 7, 2012 | Questions thread
macadphotos New Member • Posts: 5
Re: Which is better? A Nikon D600 or D800? Mostly using it HANDHELD & with low light.

Upgraded from a D700. I played with both D600 and D800 for a while, chose the D800 in the end. One problem i noticed was that both camera seemed to have more AF misfocus. If you zoom in at 100%, the pictures are more likely to looks soft compared to the D700. I was baffled for a while, until i realized that part of that is due to difference in resolution. Whatever flaw and detail the D700 could not resolve, the D600 and D800 resolved very well -_-" But of course, if you magnify by the same amount (2x, 3x etc) and not to 100%**, they will all look the same. (Sadly, mine did not show the same clarity.sharpness, which meant that my D600 and D800 bodies have some focusing precision, not accuracy, problem. Certainly something to take note of! There are some articles talking about af precision vs accuracy, please read them!)

**Kindly ping me if you need more explanations regarding the difference between 1x, 2x vs 50%,100% magnification. Its the crux of almost all the arguments made here. (For noise, you can google for tests. Its something that is at least easy to benchmark imo, thankfully.)

So, like most people have pointed out, if you zoom to 100% all the time, D800 will obviously show you flaws in lens softness, motion blur, hand shake, and every other little things that make a photo less sharp. Of course, if you apply the same motion, hand shake, lens flaws to both D600 and D800, you should not see any differences if you 'magnify' them by the same amount.

Having said that, do note that part of the reason for getting a D800 is for the 36mp. If your technique is not good, you will not want to blow up the images at 100%. Do that often enough and you might as well get a D600. If the D600 is also capturing the flaws, a D700. And if the D700 is also catching your flaws due to soft lens, camera shake or what not, you may want to get a cam with even lower mp. Ideally, at 1 pixel, it would not really matter how much softness or shake there is (WHEE), because 1 pixel cannot actually resolve anything, let alone minute shakes and lens flaws.

Ok, back to your question. I would get the D800 because shooting with a DSLR is all about having the most control, the best Options for the budget you can afford. Assuming you are not tight on $$$, the D800 gives you more features, such as

1) Menu, options, buttons etc. Yes, you may not use all of them, but the fact that they are there means you can learn to use them and discover how those features may increase your hit rates. Ultimately, they will help you grow if you are willing to explore the new options. However, if you are already comfortable with your shooting style, then this may not be as valuable for you. To each his own. I learnt so much (not just how to use the camera, but also techniques) when i jumped from D50 to D300. So, having as many Options is definitely useful*

*until the point where law of diminishing return kicks in for you.

2) D800 also offers more af points. If you do not like to recompose your shots, you will definitely want a camera with more af coverage. This is especially useful for f/1.4 lenses. More af points means you have the Option to choose your shooting style for the occasion.

3a) D800 has more mp. I agree that with anything less than impeccable technique, you are better off with a lower resolution cam. But what if my technique is perfect 20% of the time. or 40, 60... For those shots, I would actually benefit from the increase in mp. For the other imperfect shots, I would not blow them up as much. With 36mp, what I have is the Optionto blow up my photos to 100%/max resolution when the need arises. How likely I am to exercise that option will depend on (the probability of attaining perfect sharpness)  x  (probability of need to blow up 100%), assuming they are independent events

3b) Since D800 exaggerates my flaws, I will know how much I need to improve my technique, which in my case, is alot. Ok, time to practice breathing technique.

Ultimately, your decision will boil down to whether the hassles of a D800 (price, 36mp file size, weight and etc.) is worth the extra Options it gives you. For me, the answer is an unequivocal YES!

PS. Its important to know how to weigh your pros and cons correctly in ways that apply to you. Understand that no one can ever give you an ultimatum; they can only give you opinions, which you have to weigh according to your needs.

PSsss. These are just my opinions. If I've made any mistakes, nikon fanboys, please forgive me!

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