D4 or D800E for birds?

Started May 7, 2014 | Discussions thread
Lance B Forum Pro • Posts: 30,452
Re: D4 or D800E for birds?

T O Shooter wrote:

Lance B wrote:

jamesg28 wrote:

Hi all

A question for the bird photographers amongst us.
If money is no object and you needed/wanted a second body for birding (primarily), would the D4 ot D800 be your choice? And why?
I have and continue to heavily weigh up the obvious pros and cons of each.y conclusion is that both are awesome in their own way, and both require compromises in some areas.

As background: I currently shoot D7100 and 500vr. I love this body for its pixels on subject.
But I've always wanted a FX body to use side by side. The D800 appeals with its resolution. less of a compromise compared to dropping back to 16mp on fx with a D4. But the speed of the D4 is obviously highly appealing. Approx 50-70% of my shooting is BIF.

The D4 fps and buffer would be sensational (especially as the d7100 is also limited there).
The D800(e) resolution etc is also very appealing on the other hand. IQ is very important for me.

Is the D4 worth an extra $3000?

What would you do? All opinions gratefully received

I am mainly a birder have a D800E and from my experience, reach is very important and this is where the D800 has it over the D4 as you can crop down to 16Mp and essentially have 1.5x the reach of the D4.

My longest lens is the 500 f4 VR and even using a 1.4x TC, many a times I still need to crop. The D800E is lightning fast with AF and very accurate. A friend of mine also has the the D800 and had rented the D4 to try but found it not any better than his D800 for birding and stayed with his D800. However, the new D4s is another story, he found that so good he bought it as the AF is superb - faster and accurate than the D4, especially for fast moving subject matter. However, I still think he uses the D800 where he needs reach and only uses the D4s for extremely low light and very fasy subject matter.

There's got to be a big quality variance from body to body. Because with my D4 a hawk or a duck can pop up in front of me and the D4,will lock on and fire off a string of in focus shots that because of the quickness of the action I don't get a chance to compose and barely even get a chance to see them in the viewfinder. My 800e and my previous 800 might as well be a D50 for what good they are / were in that type of situation. I wish Nikon would get their act together and close the gap in their QC. Actually I find the D4 so good that I couldn't see wanting a D4s. I just wish my 800e had as good AF as you say yours has.

You may very well be correct. I do think my D800E is better than my previous (1st generation) D800 but could still be better, after having tried the new D4s. Having said that, I would love my D800E to have the same AF as the new D4s and I'd happily pay a premium for it. In fact, I don't see why we can't opt to pay for performance upgrades like a modular system because apparently, the AF module is the same for all of them, just that they use different algorithms. I'd be happy yo ay for an algorithm upgrade.

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 Lance B's gear list:Lance B's gear list
Nikon D810 Nikon D500 Nikon D850 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm F4G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24mm f/1.4G ED +13 more
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