D4 or D800E for birds?

Started May 7, 2014 | Discussions thread
Ferguson Senior Member • Posts: 1,304
Re: D4 or D800E for birds?

jamesg28 wrote:

Is the D4 worth an extra $3000?

What would you do? All opinions gratefully received

Ignore the cost, you started off saying money was no object, right?  

So get one of each!

On a more serious note, I DO have one of each, I used to do a fair amount of birding and now sports. If I'm headed to any kind of sports, the D800 is my backup camera, the D4 by no question is the primary.  Same with very low light work (e.g. concerts).

If I'm going on vacation and want to take general photos, landscape, architecture, people - the D800 is my camera.  Also no question (and I've gone on two since having both, took both along, and the D4 didn't take one shot on either trip). The D800 just plain takes better photos - better dynamic range, more detail.  And don't minimize the popup flash for being handy in unexpected situations (ok, not for birding).

If I were heading out to the swamp for birding I'd also take the D800, for all the same reasons.  If I were going after very challanging birds in flight, say swallows, or trying to catch fishing raptors just at the right moment, yeah, I might take the D4 for the frame rate. I remain unconvinced the focus is all that much better on the D4, but maybe also for a bit of focus speed. And I can't think of when I've shot birds at the kind of high ISO where the D4 is better than the D800 (say above 3200 -- at low ISO the D800 is better).

But really that's it -- larger birds in flight, like Spoonbills, absolutely the D800.  The feature detail you get, and ability to raise shadows under the wings, is just better.

So if I had to pick one - D800.

PS. I have not tried a D4s, but I already know it doesn't have the resolution.

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