D4 or D800E for birds?

Started May 7, 2014 | Discussions
Reilly Diefenbach
Reilly Diefenbach Forum Pro • Posts: 11,838
Re: Might be a lot to expect for $1069

Well, gents, I'm not expecting the corners to be as sharp as the big primes, but I don't care about the corners that much, especially in 1.2 crop mode.  In the center to mid, I would expect the Tamron item to be very sharp indeed, as Roger Cicala has said.  And as as I say, looking at the Canon samples.

TDP crops  look very good indeed at 500 f8.

I'll be testing this thing as soon as Lensrentals gets theirs and ships it to me, and posting about it too:^)

Lance B Forum Pro • Posts: 30,477
Re: Might be a lot to expect for $1069

Reilly Diefenbach wrote:

Well, gents, I'm not expecting the corners to be as sharp as the big primes, but I don't care about the corners that much, especially in 1.2 crop mode. In the center to mid, I would expect the Tamron item to be very sharp indeed, as Roger Cicala has said. And as as I say, looking at the Canon samples.

TDP crops look very good indeed at 500 f8.

Ah, the old test chart. Yes, I guess if you shoot test charts then you'll be happy.

I'll be testing this thing as soon as Lensrentals gets theirs and ships it to me, and posting about it too:^)

 Lance B's gear list:Lance B's gear list
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OP jamesg28 Junior Member • Posts: 31
Re: Might be a lot to expect for $1069

Well, gents, I'm not expecting the corners to be as sharp as the big primes, but I don't care about the corners that much, especially in 1.2 crop mode.  In the center to mid, I would expect the Tamron item to be very sharp indeed, as Roger Cicala has said.  And as as I say, looking at the Canon samples.

TDP crops  look very good indeed at 500 f8.

I'll be testing this thing as soon as Lensrentals gets theirs and ships it to me, and posting about it too:^)

I am not one to argue about equipment or come across as arrogant. I have "been there done that" with cheaper glass in the past. Eventually most serious photographers will realize the compromises and wonder why they didn't invest in superior glass to start with (eg 300 f4 if on a budget).

It is one thing to have to shoot 500/600mm at f8 and beyond with the tamron and sigmas. That is the other thing you pay for with the telephoto primes. I like to shoot early morning and late afternoon. Nothing can match 500mm at f4 in low light. Or even 700mm at f5.6 because it is sharp wide open. Stopping down is the order of the day with consumer zooms. They are not for use in the "best light of the day". Yes we can use higher ISOs these days. However there are many compromises there too.

T O Shooter Veteran Member • Posts: 7,260
Re: D4 or D800E for birds?

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.

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Photography - It's a passion No other reason required.

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Reilly Diefenbach
Reilly Diefenbach Forum Pro • Posts: 11,838
Re: Might be a lot to expect for $1069

I have 100% faith in the Digital Picture crops at the chart distance at least, it's never let me down choosing a lens or misled me in any way.  Does anyone have any hard evidence to demonstrate softness with this Tamron lens?  Pictures?  At the very minimum I would provisionally consider it well within the necessary parameters to produce a very sharp bird pic, which is a lot less revealing target than a test chart.

Having used the 500VR with the 1.4 t.c., my bird shots show a notch worse sharpness than the 80-400VR at 400mm, and it's an easy call.   I'll just have to see with the Tamron.

Even if it is merely 95% as sharp as the 500VR at f8, which appears to be more or less the case, I would consider it a godsend not to have to carry around the leaden weight and bulk of the big primes, to say nothing of paying for them, which I will never do.

Reilly Diefenbach
Reilly Diefenbach Forum Pro • Posts: 11,838
Re: Might be a lot to expect for $1069

jamesg28 wrote:

Well, gents, I'm not expecting the corners to be as sharp as the big primes, but I don't care about the corners that much, especially in 1.2 crop mode. In the center to mid, I would expect the Tamron item to be very sharp indeed, as Roger Cicala has said. And as as I say, looking at the Canon samples.

TDP crops look very good indeed at 500 f8.

I'll be testing this thing as soon as Lensrentals gets theirs and ships it to me, and posting about it too:^)

I am not one to argue about equipment or come across as arrogant. I have "been there done that" with cheaper glass in the past. Eventually most serious photographers will realize the compromises and wonder why they didn't invest in superior glass to start with (eg 300 f4 if on a budget).

It is one thing to have to shoot 500/600mm at f8 and beyond with the tamron and sigmas. That is the other thing you pay for with the telephoto primes. I like to shoot early morning and late afternoon. Nothing can match 500mm at f4 in low light. Or even 700mm at f5.6 because it is sharp wide open. Stopping down is the order of the day with consumer zooms. They are not for use in the "best light of the day". Yes we can use higher ISOs these days. However there are many compromises there too.

It's no problem to shoot with the D800e at f6.7-f8 and let the auto ISO go to 1600, especially if you're good with Denoise.

I have never had any interest in the Sigma zooms, because they are soft at 500, as is clearly shown here.  Tamron seems to have made a breakthrough in this regard at 5-600mm, as did Nikon's 80-400VR at its extremities.

I take a backseat to few with regards to being picky about sharpness, so if the Tamron isn't up to snuff, I'll be one of the first to talk about it.

Lance B Forum Pro • Posts: 30,477
Re: Might be a lot to expect for $1069

jamesg28 wrote:

Well, gents, I'm not expecting the corners to be as sharp as the big primes, but I don't care about the corners that much, especially in 1.2 crop mode. In the center to mid, I would expect the Tamron item to be very sharp indeed, as Roger Cicala has said. And as as I say, looking at the Canon samples.

TDP crops look very good indeed at 500 f8.

I'll be testing this thing as soon as Lensrentals gets theirs and ships it to me, and posting about it too:^)

I am not one to argue about equipment or come across as arrogant. I have "been there done that" with cheaper glass in the past. Eventually most serious photographers will realize the compromises and wonder why they didn't invest in superior glass to start with (eg 300 f4 if on a budget).

It is one thing to have to shoot 500/600mm at f8 and beyond with the tamron and sigmas. That is the other thing you pay for with the telephoto primes. I like to shoot early morning and late afternoon. Nothing can match 500mm at f4 in low light. Or even 700mm at f5.6 because it is sharp wide open. Stopping down is the order of the day with consumer zooms. They are not for use in the "best light of the day". Yes we can use higher ISOs these days. However there are many compromises there too.

Agreed. In good light most lenses will perform, as will most cameras. However, when the light gets low, or the going gets tough, then the "real" (;-)) lenses are the ones to reach for. The fact of the matter is, it is rare that you will have good light or enough light for the ISO/shutter/aperture combo for these long lenses to perform at their peak. Even on a bright day at f8 and needing a minimum of 1/1000sec shutter speeds to freeze action of a bird you will still be pushing ISO high and compromising quality. It's rare that I shoot at ISO100 with birds with my 500, in fact I doubt I could find an image in my collection with my 500 at ISO100!

I have the 80-400 f4.5-5.6 and in good light it "matches" my 300 f2.8 VRII, like the Tamron 150-600 is supposed to be going to match the 500 f4, but in all reality, no lens touches the 300 f2.8 VRII 'cept probably the 200 f2G. That's just the way it is and no amount of wishing or tilting of facts will change that. As others have stated, you get what you pay for and to think a $2,000 consumer zoom will touch a $11,000 prime is a little fanciful.

 Lance B's gear list:Lance B's gear list
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OP jamesg28 Junior Member • Posts: 31
Re: Might be a lot to expect for $1069

Thanks Lance for your opinion. Your friend must have high standards to have been unhappy with a D4

Lance B Forum Pro • Posts: 30,477
Re: Might be a lot to expect for $1069

Reilly Diefenbach wrote:

I have 100% faith in the Digital Picture crops at the chart distance at least, it's never let me down choosing a lens or misled me in any way. Does anyone have any hard evidence to demonstrate softness with this Tamron lens? Pictures? At the very minimum I would provisionally consider it well within the necessary parameters to produce a very sharp bird pic, which is a lot less revealing target than a test chart.

Having used the 500VR with the 1.4 t.c., my bird shots show a notch worse sharpness than the 80-400VR at 400mm, and it's an easy call. I'll just have to see with the Tamron.

I have both the 500 and the 80-400 f4.5-5.6G and the 500+1.4xTC is definitely a better bet than the 80-400. I don't know what is wrong with your 500+1.4xTC combo.

Even if it is merely 95% as sharp as the 500VR at f8, which appears to be more or less the case, I would consider it a godsend not to have to carry around the leaden weight and bulk of the big primes, to say nothing of paying for them, which I will never do.

Well, that's a different call. I am prepared to do that for ultimate IQ.

 Lance B's gear list:Lance B's gear list
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Reilly Diefenbach
Reilly Diefenbach Forum Pro • Posts: 11,838
Re: Might be a lot to expect for $1069

I have the 80-400 f4.5-5.6 and in good light it "matches" my 300 f2.8 VRII, like the Tamron 150-600 is supposed to be going to match the 500 f4, but in all reality, no lens touches the 300 f2.8 VRII 'cept probably the 200 f2G. That's just the way it is and no amount of wishing or tilting of facts will change that. As others have stated, you get what you pay for and to think a $2,000 consumer zoom will touch a $11,000 prime is a little fanciful.

Oh, I would put up some of my 80-400VR D800e/f8 shots against anything ever shot by me or anyone else with a 5 or 600mm lens.  Got a bunch of them in my gallery.  Nothing fanciful about it.  After you get to maximum pixels clearly displayed, you're just making the rubble bounce in terms of detail.

I know you guys love your great big, expensive lenses, and they are excellent, but they can't make more than 36 MP no matter the price.

Reilly Diefenbach
Reilly Diefenbach Forum Pro • Posts: 11,838
Re: Might be a lot to expect for $1069

I have both the 500 and the 80-400 f4.5-5.6G and the 500+1.4xTC is definitely a better bet than the 80-400.

No way, Lance.  The 80-400VR is sharper on my screen without a doubt, magnification aside.

I don't know what is wrong with your 500+1.4xTC combo.

Nothing, it looks fine to most people, but it is well off what is possible without the t.c.

Lance B Forum Pro • Posts: 30,477
Re: Might be a lot to expect for $1069

jamesg28 wrote:

Thanks Lance for your opinion.

Glad to help.

Your friend must have high standards to have been unhappy with a D4

He rented the D4 for a specific task. He went to far north Queensland (Australia) to shoot the kingfishers that inhabit the (very dark ) rainforests there and wanted something with better low light ability (specifically over ISO6400) than the D800. Yes, the low light ability was a stop better but the AF was not really any better under those circumstances. Even the fact that the D4 had higher FPS was not a benefit as the keeper rate was no better, ie the AF didn't snag any more focused shots in a burst than his D800 did even though the D800 was only 4fps compared to the D4's 10(?) or whatever. He tested and compared the D4 to his D800 under good lighting conditions as well and was a little underwhelmed.

However, after the release of the D4s and doing some testing with that camera, he found it to be what the D4 should have been. AF was unbelievably fast and accurate and after trying it myself, I have to agree, quite an amazing camera to say the least. Not only that, but the high ISO ability is far superior to the D4 and therefore the D800. What I would shoot at ISO6400 you can do with the D4s at ISO25600 and maybe more but the fall off in IQ over that ISO is a tad less than the fall off from the D800.

The whole functionality of the D4s is blindingly fast and as solid as a house brick, but then you'd expect it to be at twice the price!

However, even though the D4s is such a brilliant camera, I would still stay with my D800E for birds.

 Lance B's gear list:Lance B's gear list
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Lance B Forum Pro • Posts: 30,477
Re: Might be a lot to expect for $1069

Reilly Diefenbach wrote:

I have both the 500 and the 80-400 f4.5-5.6G and the 500+1.4xTC is definitely a better bet than the 80-400.

No way, Lance. The 80-400VR is sharper on my screen without a doubt, magnification aside.

I don't know what is wrong with your 500+1.4xTC combo.

Nothing, it looks fine to most people, but it is well off what is possible without the t.c.

Well, as I say, there must be something wrong with your 500 + 1.4x TC as my 500 + 1.4x TC is a tad better than my 80-400 and my 80-400 is a good version as it is sharp as a tack.

 Lance B's gear list:Lance B's gear list
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Reilly Diefenbach
Reilly Diefenbach Forum Pro • Posts: 11,838
Re: Might be a lot to expect for $1069

Lance B wrote:

Reilly Diefenbach wrote:

I have both the 500 and the 80-400 f4.5-5.6G and the 500+1.4xTC is definitely a better bet than the 80-400.

No way, Lance. The 80-400VR is sharper on my screen without a doubt, magnification aside.

I don't know what is wrong with your 500+1.4xTC combo.

Nothing, it looks fine to most people, but it is well off what is possible without the t.c.

Well, as I say, there must be something wrong with your 500 + 1.4x TC as my 500 + 1.4x TC is a tad better than my 80-400 and my 80-400 is a good version as it is sharp as a tack.

As a card carrying pixel peeper and nonrecovering perfectionist, Lance, I would simply say that no one could tell what lens you were using, be it an 80-400VR or a 500mm by looking at any picture you've got at equal framing at any magnification.  There is a limit of available resolution and both lenses are there at f8.  The Tamron maybe not, we'll see soon enough.

Lance B Forum Pro • Posts: 30,477
Re: Might be a lot to expect for $1069

Reilly Diefenbach wrote:

I have the 80-400 f4.5-5.6 and in good light it "matches" my 300 f2.8 VRII, like the Tamron 150-600 is supposed to be going to match the 500 f4, but in all reality, no lens touches the 300 f2.8 VRII 'cept probably the 200 f2G. That's just the way it is and no amount of wishing or tilting of facts will change that. As others have stated, you get what you pay for and to think a $2,000 consumer zoom will touch a $11,000 prime is a little fanciful.

Oh, I would put up some of my 80-400VR D800e/f8 shots against anything ever shot by me or anyone else with a 5 or 600mm lens. Got a bunch of them in my gallery. Nothing fanciful about it. After you get to maximum pixels clearly displayed, you're just making the rubble bounce in terms of detail.

I know you guys love your great big, expensive lenses, and they are excellent, but they can't make more than 36 MP no matter the price.

Here is a shot from the 500 + 1.4x TCII. This is a crop of the original which was 7360pixels wide and was cropped to 4700 pixels width. This is the resultant image I was after and what I have posted up on my website. Best viewed at 100%.

D800E + 500 f4 VR + 1.4x TCII, f10, 1/1667sec, ISO640

This is a crop from the original of 7360pixels down to 2300pixels width. That's a massive almost 70% crop!

 Lance B's gear list:Lance B's gear list
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Lance B Forum Pro • Posts: 30,477
Re: Might be a lot to expect for $1069

Reilly Diefenbach wrote:

Lance B wrote:

Reilly Diefenbach wrote:

I have both the 500 and the 80-400 f4.5-5.6G and the 500+1.4xTC is definitely a better bet than the 80-400.

No way, Lance. The 80-400VR is sharper on my screen without a doubt, magnification aside.

I don't know what is wrong with your 500+1.4xTC combo.

Nothing, it looks fine to most people, but it is well off what is possible without the t.c.

Well, as I say, there must be something wrong with your 500 + 1.4x TC as my 500 + 1.4x TC is a tad better than my 80-400 and my 80-400 is a good version as it is sharp as a tack.

As a card carrying pixel peeper and nonrecovering perfectionist, Lance,

LOL. I am a bit that way as well.

I would simply say that no one could tell what lens you were using, be it an 80-400VR or a 500mm by looking at any picture you've got at equal framing at any magnification.

I would agree to a point. It comes down to things like micro contrast and loss of overall contrast for these lenses. I see less contrast with the 80-400.

There is a limit of available resolution and both lenses are there at f8. The Tamron maybe not, we'll see soon enough.

I think the differences will be more noticeable in the number of keepers you obtain from a 500 f4 compared to these "lesser" lenses. This comes down to AF speed and accuracy and VR for that matter, especially in low light. Yes, you will see great results from a Tamron, but not the "just throw the lens up and get a great result almost every time" that you would from a fast prime like a 300, 400, 500 or 600.

 Lance B's gear list:Lance B's gear list
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A Owens Veteran Member • Posts: 3,145
Re: BIF with D800e and 28-300AF-S VR

Reilly Diefenbach wrote:

Some of you obviously haven't bothered to have actually looked at the Tamron 150-600 Canon samples on Flickr which are tack sharp at 600mm taken with the five year old 7D, to say nothing of the 5D3. The mind reels as to what the D800e will produce. Shooting at f8 for birds levels the playing field considerably. When backed up with that many pixels, a good zoom will hold its own without any problem compared to the monster primes. I would be very surprised if the 500VR with t.c. could keep up, either for detail or focusing.

We'll see, or at least I will.

I hope it is good enough a lens to bring a flood of VR super-zoom bargains onto the market.

Reilly Diefenbach
Reilly Diefenbach Forum Pro • Posts: 11,838
Re: Might be a lot to expect for $1069

Lance B wrote:

Reilly Diefenbach wrote:

Lance B wrote:

Reilly Diefenbach wrote:

I have both the 500 and the 80-400 f4.5-5.6G and the 500+1.4xTC is definitely a better bet than the 80-400.

No way, Lance. The 80-400VR is sharper on my screen without a doubt, magnification aside.

I don't know what is wrong with your 500+1.4xTC combo.

Nothing, it looks fine to most people, but it is well off what is possible without the t.c.

Well, as I say, there must be something wrong with your 500 + 1.4x TC as my 500 + 1.4x TC is a tad better than my 80-400 and my 80-400 is a good version as it is sharp as a tack.

As a card carrying pixel peeper and nonrecovering perfectionist, Lance,

LOL. I am a bit that way as well.

I would simply say that no one could tell what lens you were using, be it an 80-400VR or a 500mm by looking at any picture you've got at equal framing at any magnification.

I would agree to a point. It comes down to things like micro contrast and loss of overall contrast for these lenses. I see less contrast with the 80-400.

There is a limit of available resolution and both lenses are there at f8. The Tamron maybe not, we'll see soon enough.

I think the differences will be more noticeable in the number of keepers you obtain from a 500 f4 compared to these "lesser" lenses. This comes down to AF speed and accuracy and VR for that matter, especially in low light. Yes, you will see great results from a Tamron, but not the "just throw the lens up and get a great result almost every time" that you would from a fast prime like a 300, 400, 500 or 600.

I spent a whole day shooting ducks with a brand new 500VR plus 1.4 t.c. and got some good fairly sharp pics, but I also got a great many pics like this:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/h4wc1dl2xvmcs07/DSC_5336.nef

Now, I think you will agree, this is not up to what the D800e can produce by a long chalk.  If the Tamron doesn't outperform this, I will send it back and let everyone know why :^)

Reilly Diefenbach
Reilly Diefenbach Forum Pro • Posts: 11,838
Re: Might be a lot to expect for $1069

I will say that is better than anything I've seen from any t.c. shot.  Nice work.

OP jamesg28 Junior Member • Posts: 31
Re: Might be a lot to expect for $1069

Lance B wrote:

Reilly Diefenbach wrote:

Lance B wrote:

Reilly Diefenbach wrote:

I have both the 500 and the 80-400 f4.5-5.6G and the 500+1.4xTC is definitely a better bet than the 80-400.

No way, Lance. The 80-400VR is sharper on my screen without a doubt, magnification aside.

I don't know what is wrong with your 500+1.4xTC combo.

Nothing, it looks fine to most people, but it is well off what is possible without the t.c.

Well, as I say, there must be something wrong with your 500 + 1.4x TC as my 500 + 1.4x TC is a tad better than my 80-400 and my 80-400 is a good version as it is sharp as a tack.

As a card carrying pixel peeper and nonrecovering perfectionist, Lance,

LOL. I am a bit that way as well.

I would simply say that no one could tell what lens you were using, be it an 80-400VR or a 500mm by looking at any picture you've got at equal framing at any magnification.

I would agree to a point. It comes down to things like micro contrast and loss of overall contrast for these lenses. I see less contrast with the 80-400.

There is a limit of available resolution and both lenses are there at f8. The Tamron maybe not, we'll see soon enough.

I think the differences will be more noticeable in the number of keepers you obtain from a 500 f4 compared to these "lesser" lenses. This comes down to AF speed and accuracy and VR for that matter, especially in low light. Yes, you will see great results from a Tamron, but not the "just throw the lens up and get a great result almost every time" that you would from a fast prime like a 300, 400, 500 or 600.

I spent a whole day shooting ducks with a brand new 500VR plus 1.4 t.c. and got some good fairly sharp pics, but I also got a great many pics like this:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/h4wc1dl2xvmcs07/DSC_5336.nef

Now, I think you will agree, this is not up to what the D800e can produce by a long chalk.  If the Tamron doesn't outperform this, I will send it back and let everyone know why :^)

I can't see your photo.
But all I will say is. One cannot expect to just pick up a supertele and expect to come away with brilliant results. Technique and particularly long lens technique takes time. A camera or a lens does not take a photo...... a person does

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