Having trouble picking 2nd camera. Considering D800. Need advice.
I have a regular day job as engineer, but have managed to start-up and maintain a now thriving side business doing mostly portraits. I sold a D7000 and two D700s to fund the purchase of a D4. The intent was to follow up with a D800 and maybe something very simple/small for travel/personal use. It has been now 1-1/2 years with only the D4. Love it, but I do not use it for personal - it is just too big to lug around - especially when flying overseas. I was thinking an EM1 and even bought one, but returned it unopened cause I had second thoughts. I am now back to thinking of a D800. It will for sure be a great addition to the portrait business, there is that, but, also, maybe with a Tamron 24-70 2.8 VC (their version of VR), and a Nikon 70-200 4.0 it would make a relatively small and manageable travel setup that would yield fantastic results. I assume there are a fair number of people out there that use the D800 for casual/personal use and not just as a pro tool. Not sure why am even posting othearticulate hash out my thoughts.
What were your second thoughts on the EM1? I ask because I think the EM1 or the X-T1 would be perfect, compact, travel cameras with a lot of versatility.
I am a D4 owner as well and my current travel camera is an x100s. No complaints other than there are some occasions where I want a little more lens versatility when I travel with the x100s, so I am considering replacing it or adding the X-T1 to my arsenal.
My initial thoughts were the EM1 with a 12-40 2.8, and when it came out a 40-150 2.8. It would be smaller/lighter than a D800 with 24-70 2.8 and 70-200 4.0. The thing is - when you add a flash, a camera bag to both, and a 25 and 45 to the EM1 (to get the dof for w some portraits here and there - you would have decent dof control with the D800 and zooms so do not need the extra lenses), you still have to carry a bag and the weight/size difference just not that significant. Also, I am so use to the SB 900 (and like the little snap on color correction filters). also have the lenses and flashes so only need the body for Nikon.
Everyones opinion of what it light and easy to travel with is different but for me a D800 with a 24-70/f2.8 and a 70-200/f4 isn't exactly a light setup. To me, DX format with a single lens (18-200 etc..) is much better in that arena. The camera and lens would weigh about the same as the D800 body.
The image quality is excellent in the current DX cameras, the only downside is handling. To me the handling issue isn't much of a concern in low pressure situations like family photos and travel shots.
I use a D800e as my primary camera, with both a V1 and a V2 as secondary cameras when traveling.
Personally, I don't mind the size of cameras with grips as I really like shooting with a grip. I do a lot of verticals, and it's certainly easier with a grip and second shutter release.
My 'travel kit' has been evolving since I went FX, and again since the d800e. Whatever I choose, it has to fit in my waist bag, which is admittedly large (Thinktank Speed Racer). For a recent 3-week trip to Europe, I used a 16-35vr, 24-70 and 80-400. The more I carry around this kit, the more I realize I hardly ever shoot wider than 24mm, so it's entirely conceivable to me that I might reduce to the 24-70 and 80-400. (I also have the 70-200F2.8, but the added range of the 80-400 makes it more flexible and they're about the same size.)
I took a backpack to Europe as well (most of the travel was on a cruise ship) with a D700 as a backup. I never turned it on. Carried other lenses as well, and used a 35f1.4 and 85F1.8 prime a bit, but really only needed the zooms.
To complement the D800e, I used a V2 with 10-100vr zoom as my complementary camera. If I had a wide lens on the D800e, I could shoot long with the 10-100. If I had the 80-400 mounted on the D800e, I could shoot wide with the 10-100. I had a choice between IQ and convenience pretty much at all times.
I've traveled before with a superzoom (D200 and 18-200vr), and while convenient, it just didn't have the IQ I wanted. The equivalent now would be a 28-300, and I saw several of those on D800's in Europe. I prefer the 24-70 & 80-400.
If I really wanted a DSLR and further size reduction, I'd probably go for a 24-120vr. Very useful focal range there.
That is the problem. Going with an 800 gets me one to also use in my portrait business. I could just go ahead and get one for the business and only the business, then get a seperate kit for personal, but I have developed into a bit of a tightwad in my old age. Also, while manageable with the 2.8 and 4.0 zooms, it is Kind of obtrusive. Maybe an RX100 II along with an EM1 with 25, 45, and 75 would make a really nice travel/family kit. Or an RX100 II along with a D7100 and 35 1.8DX, 70-200 4.0.
Or RX100 II and a D610 with 28 1.8, 50 1.4, and 70-200 4.0
But I keep coming back to convenience with the D800. With the Tamron 24-70 2.8 VC and DX crop up can use it like a 24-105 F2.8-4.0 VR zoom. It could stay on the camera almost all the time. Only have to wip out the other zoom on occasion. Again, once you add flash, a bag, etc., the difference becomes 8 lbs vs. 5lbs or something like that. If it was same ratio and 16lbs vs 10lbs, it would probably be very significant cause you went over the max tolerable weight. Or think 8oz vs. 5oz. - you would for sure not feel difference. The heavier it gets, the more a small difference matters.
Here's my story. I have had a d4 for over a year and a half and bought a d7100 several months ago to be used for traveling and lighter camera.
Well to make a long story short, when I went to Hawaii a couple months ago, guess what I took? I took the d4 plus a Nikon 20mm, Zeiss 25mm, Nikon 50mm and Nikon 70-200 f4.0 lens.
You can't beat the d4 for your portrait work, just a better operational camera for quicker setting changes, less mp's for faster post processing and actually less post processing compared to the d800.
The d4 weight really doesn't bother me as much as I thought it would compared to the d7100!!!!
I would rent the d800 as I did before I decided to buy the d4 instead. I do a lot of wildlife photography which requires some of the attributes that it has for this type of photography.
For personal use don't discount the d7100 because it is the best cropped sensor camera with an excellent af system and the 24 mp sensor's size is great.
Said D4 was too big/heavy for personal use. What I really meant was too big/heavy if I was going to add second body to the bag. AND I do want to add a second body. When I am with family and friends, my focus is much more on them, so I do not want to stop to change lenses. Also travel on business to some places that I am OK taking camera in and out of bag, but not so OK standing on street changing lenses. Would like to have two bodies with a zoom on both and one or two other lenses max along with a flash or two. The two lenses that are on need to be able to handle a variety of things including reasonable ability to throw the background out of focus when I want (not the crazy full frame 1.4 creamy background, but some...). The other thing is there are times when the bag will bake in the car and times when it will be somewhat at risk (not alone on a park bench, but in a conference room at an industrial plant or in a hotel room). I do not want to risk the 4 and most of my fx lenses in these ways.
I may have found a solution. I just learned about the Sigma 18-35 constant 1.8 zoom for APS C (Nikon DX). So it is a 28-50 equivilant with enough dof control for this kit. could put it on one D7100 body and the 70-200 4.0 on the other. Then maybe add a 50 1.4 and 8 am set.
Personally for that use, I'd flick the D4 and buy the D800.
I'd say the D800 was a better camera for portraits which are not a fast paced activity requiring 10fps nor done in the dark nor usually an activity that beats up your camera!
I disagree. The d4 is a better portrait camera than the d800. 16 mp's is plenty for this type work since a photographer is not cropping most the time or very little. Have you used a d4?
A lot of people think d800 when they think portraits, but I agree with Larry. Most of the time, you just do not need the extra MP at all. I very regularly print 16x24s after a small crop cot perfect composition. the Dfleshless are amazing. The ergonomics on the d4 are fantastic. I sometimes shoot motocross dirt mountain bike stuff as well as various sports, so the D4 is the ticket there. My focus here is more a finding a second body or two for persosonal use. I was trying to make the d800 work, cause I do think it would make a nice addition for the business. i typically tell them before the shoot that I am very comfortable generating 16x24 prints and if everything goes right, possibly much larger, but no gaurentee. Almost always that is no problem every once in a while sme people say they for sure will want bigger....
dont rule out milc cameras !!
I am a D4 user too and when I go light I use Fuji Xe1 and Sony Nex 6 and 7 with Zeiss
and Sony Alpha 7 depending on the lenses that I use and what I shoot....
all of them a joy to use and much much much much (are there enough muches now .... lighter !!
Df would be a good choice because its output is matched to your D4 and so would serve as a good portrait backup in case your D4 ever needs servicing. If you don't necessarily value that then I would recommend a used/refurb'd D600 as the best value for ~$1300. Both are quite smaller/lighter vs your D4.
You have a surplus of money and a deficit of business experience. A D700 is all that is needed for studio portrait photography and even the D610 is overkill in every respect.
Pro photographers have been selling gallery prints at sizes of 20x30 inches and larger that were taken with the D1h and the D1x cameras. The D700 increase the resolution of the D1x by 50% and the D610 increases the resolution over the D3/D700 cameras by another 50%.
Resolution is overrated unless you are doing landscape photographs and making the kind of prints that formerly were done with 4x5 cameras. Then the D800 is a good choice.
With the D4 your gained 10fps which is worthless for studio portrait photography or any kind of people photography. Same applies to the heavy duty build and weatherproofing. It is like getting a 2-ton truck to haul your 80 lb. Labrador retriever around town.
People that actually have to earn a living with portrait photography do not waste money on cameras and lenses. One camera and one or two lenses is all that is needed. The focus should be on lighting equipment and backgrounds and on technique and especially on how to operate and market the business service you plan to provide. For the later the best source for information is the Professional Photographer Association or PPA that is oriented toward portrait and wedding photographers with most of the emphasis on the portrait photographer earning a living with individual, family, and seniors photography.
At this time you do not know what you do not know and that is where you should start and forget about the cameras which are only a tool and a means to an end.
I use a D800E and an OMD EM1 and an EM5. The latter two with lenses - I mainly use the 12-35mm f/2.8 Panny and 60mm f/2.8 Zuiko macro - are both lighter and easier to handle (that is, both at once) than my Nikon and the 17-35mm Nikkor I typically use.
For many purposes so-called dof control (real control requires movements) should be more, not less dof - for landscapes, macro, documentary, sports, wildlife, so I actually prefer the mFT gear for more magnified views. Also, it is WAY more unobtrusive, even together, and much quieter.
The D800E is an awesome beast, and I love it. But the only downside I see to using both systems is the different ergonomics (even between my two OMDs for heaven's sake).
Of course if what you want is shallow depth of field...
W Alex Stewart
Do you feel better. Are you mad that I was an engineer for 30 years, so I do have enough money for a D4 and a second body. how do you know if I have lighting and backgrounds or not. I think you are just someone who has poop in their cornflakes.