Is this the best I can expect from D800?

Started Apr 18, 2014 | Discussions thread
digital ed
digital ed Veteran Member • Posts: 3,540
Re: I don't buy this..................

T O Shooter wrote:

munro harrap wrote:

Use the older lenses, and cherry-pick. I bought two 24-70mm f2.8 lenses, both returned due to great field curvature (see the photozone de. APS-C review- its a LOT worse on full-frame.

I discovered that with a person, a building or a clump of trees that at ANY aperture only the central ninth was sharp, and the radiating all round is a greater and greater degree of departure from reality, added to which fringing just gets horrible. Yes, it can be corrected, but you simply cannot use this lens on film, and many recent lenses are also bad for fringing.

Also the focus IS critical, and worth checking . It may vary with distances in accuracy, and again some lenses vary a lot (the 35mm/f1.4 AI/AIS comes to mind.

The 24-85mm old and new are not worth buying at all, but the newest is the worst.

The older 28-85mm f3.5-4.5 and 28-105mm f3.5-4.5 are fine, if you get a good one, as is the old 24-50mm f3.3-4.5 which is a handy little thing that overall is much better than the 24-70mm f2.8 nano at the wide end. Except its duff in the extreme corners, where you and I dont put stuff anyway.

You can get very sharp pics on the 36MP sensor, but the problem is (check out the DXO mark tests) that even the most expensive nikkors (and yes I purchased and had to return a 14-24mm Nano as well) rarely get anywhere near the sensors resolution, so you end up with what are in fact merely 10-20 MP images blown up, and, of course you see this at 100% straightaway.

Wide-angles are especially bad in this way, as of course their 10 Megapixels worth of resolution gets spread over a much wider area.

Its staggering how bad some lenses are. The old 17-55MP that still retails at over £1000 in the UK new has, according to the DXO mark tests, mostly less than 6MP resolution, and there are full-frame lenses as bad.

The Tamron they rate very highly-its better than the Nikkors-all of them, but it can still only manage 17MP like the very good Samyang 14MM f2.8 I have.

BUT, and its a big but resolution is also reduced by the AA filter, and in two ways.

1, the filter introduces blur.

2.You then sharpen to increase acuity, but

3.This increases noise, so, you then reduce noise and wave bye bye to resolution!!

The idea that you can retain all of these sensors resolution vanishes with even a tiny bit of noise reduction, but I limit sharpening in shots like that one to a max of 0.3 pixels at 255% in photoshop elements, as Lightroom, great for noise reduction, still refuses anything finer than 0.5 pixels, which makes everything look unreal IMHO. For people shots I use only 0.2% @400 in Elements (Photoshops the same) and it works- I got that from Luminous Lightroom.

All one can do is keep the ISO as low as possible and sharpen pretty much as I do.

And try to avoid going to f11, since in fact the sensor prefers f5.6.

Hope this helps,


I'll direct my comments to the above and I'll include the following comment from Digital ed

"it took me at least a year to become comfortable with shooting and focusing with my D800. There was more for me to learn using this amazing camera."

The D800 is not a pro body. I doubt if Nikon intended that you not only had to select just the perfect lens as well as become a tester of lenses to be able to pick out the "cream" of that particular lens to get a decent image. Neither did Nikon figure that you needed a full year of training to get to the point where you could get a decent image from one. I had one of the first D800s in Toronto. I paid a $200 premium to a fellow who had an inside connection with one of the major chains to get it. So, point being, very, very early body.

In June of 2012 my wife wanted to photography a reasonable size party. Set the aperature, auto iso, wb for fluorescent, and all she had to do was focus, compose and zoom ( 24-70 ) Excellent results and she rarely ever uses a camera let alone a DSLR.

My only problem with the 800 was inconsistent focus which latest firmware allieviated. And that was on BIF with probably second tier lenses ( 150-500 Sigma, 300 f4 AF-s with TC-1.4II ) where in reality I didn't have enough pixels on the bird ( over too much distance ) And it's probably too much to expect $6000 D4 AF in $3000 D800

My thoughts are that the issue with some people getting poor results or taking a year to learn to work with the D800 is due to sample variation resulting from Nikon's recent bout with poor quality control. The D800 owner is left with too many variables - is it me?, is there something wrong with the body?, are my lenses good enough?, do I have a bad copy of my lens?, do I need to micro adjust my lenses?, and on and on. And that leads to threads like this one. Good luck with it.

Because I was referenced I will respond. Yes, my D800 initially had some focusing problems and it took me some time to find the optimum fine focus for all my lenses. Also, I never used the left-most auto focus points because of the focus error. A trip for the camera to Nikon Service in Los Angeles seems to have fixed those issues. All my lenses now focus with zero fine focus evaluated on test charts as well as real life photos using CDAF, PDAF and manual focus. The left-most focus sensor now focuses optimally.

However, I do disagree that there is nothing to learn or re-learn to use the D800 optimally. For optimum image quality the camera must be held or mounted securely, mirror delay helps and higher than normal shutter speeds should be used. Without delayed shutter it was obvious to me in the studio that I obtained sharper images using studio strobes as opposed to without, and this was on a reasonably secure tripod. Attention to using small apertures must also be taken into account to prevent diffraction from blurring the image.

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