Nikon D800 Review
Active D-Lighting (ADL) has been featured on Nikon's DSLRs for some time now, and is designed for use in high-contrast scenes to maintain shadow and highlight detail in a single exposure. The camera does this by purposefully underexposing the image to maintain highlight detail, then using a tone curve to open up the shadows in its JPEG processing. You can also apply D-Lighting after the fact when processing a raw file, either in-camera or in View NX2 (note that it is no longer called 'Active' D-Lighting though, as it obviously can't adjust the exposure after the event).
The more obvious downside of adjusting exposure to protect highlights is that the shadows must then be brightened post-capture (via a localized tone curve adjustment) which can potentially make noise more visible. Like other current-generation DSLRs, though, the D800's noise floor is low enough that there is little discernible penalty in terms of shadow noise. As such we see little reason why you shouldn't keep ADL turned on throughout a day of shooting.
In the samples below (shot on a tripod but on a very windy day!) you can see the effects of four different strengths of ADL, and compare them to the result with the function turned off. The difference is most visible in in the highlights, which gain additional detail as the ADL setting is increased. An additional mode, 'Auto' applies what the camera considers is an appropriate level of tonal adjustment depending on the scene. All images were shot at ISO 100.
1/200sec. @ f/10
1/250sec. @ f/10
1/200sec. @ f/10
1/320sec. @ f/10
|ADL Extra High
1/400sec. @ f/10
HDR modeThe D800 offers a multiple exposure HDR mode to create images with a dynamic range that exceeds what is possible to capture in a single exposure. With HDR enabled, a press of the shutter generates two separate image captures, each at a different exposure. These are then merged into a single file that combines the highlights from the 'underexposed' image with the shadows from the 'overexposed' image. Because two separate exposures are taken, you will see 'ghosting' alongside objects that are in motion.
There is a delay of several seconds after pressing the shutter while the camera processes the HDR file. Thankfully, when setting the camera to HDR mode you have the option to configure it as a 'one-shot' option. Doing so means that after a single instance of HDR mode, the camera reverts back to normal shooting mode.
While there are obvious benefits to using HDR with a tripod, the D800 does an admirable job of aligning handheld shots, with a composite image that look pleasing even at a 100% screen view. Fast shutter speeds that minimize camera movement deliver the best results. In instances where there is noticeable camera movement, the result is two offset images placed atop one another.
While an 'Auto' option is available, we've had more consistent success by manually selecting the EV difference (either 1, 2 or 3EV) between the two exposures. You can compare their results in the samples below; increasing the HDR amount progressively deepens the blue of the sky, but at the expense of visible haloing around the trees.
|HDR Off||HDR 1EV|
|HDR 2EV||HDR 3EV|
One thing to be aware of is that selecting HDR mode automatically enables the D800's Auto Distortion Control, even if you have this feature explicitly set to 'off' in the menu. This automated lens correction is often accompanied by a slight cropping of the image edges. You can see the effect of both the lens correction and the cropping when comparing the 'HDR Off' image above with any of the HDR-enabled shots.
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Specifications
- 3 D800E
- 4 Body & Design
- 5 Body Elements
- 6 Viewfinder
- 7 Operation & Controls
- 8 Displays
- 9 Live View
- 10 Menus: Playback & Shooting
- 11 Menus: Custom Settings
- 12 Menus: Setup, Retouch & 'My'
- 13 Handling
- 14 Performance (Speed)
- 15 Performance (Autofocus)
- 16 Features
- 17 ADL & HDR modes
- 18 Noise & Noise Reduction
- 19 Dynamic Range
- 20 Resolution (D800)
- 21 Resolution (D800E)
- 22 Raw Resolution (D800 v D800E)
- 23 Raw Mode
- 24 High ISO noise comparisons
- 25 Image Quality Tests
- 26 Image Quality Tests
- 27 Image Quality Tests (D800 v D800E)
- 28 Image Quality Tests (D800 v D800E)
- 29 Image Quality Tests (D800 v D800E)
- 30 Movie Mode
- 31 Image Q. Compared (JPEG)
- 32 Image Q. Compared (Hi ISO)
- 33 Image Q. Compared (RAW)
- 34 Conclusion
- 35 Samples Galleries
Jun 3, 2015
Apr 25, 2015
Jun 8, 2015
Jun 5, 2015
|Owens Valley Milky Way by ed rader|
from Sign, sign, everywhere a sign..
|Break by Hank3152|
from Motion blur
|Camp by T bird|
from A Big Year - birds
|The Maasai Shepherd by cgravel|
from - African Man - (Portrait in Black and White + A Border)
No mic socket? No problem. In this video, Daniel Peters at Photo Gear News shows you how to make a lapel microphone using just a smartphone and a pair of earbuds.
How does the iPhone 7 Plus stack up against the Arri Alexa cinema camera? Watch this short video to find out.
Canon Australia's video series "The Lab" is designed to make photographers experiment and think outside the box. In the latest video a group of photographers create images based on their sense of taste.
The GH5 is expected to get a firmware update this summer to support 400Mbps internal recording. NewsShooter explores what memory cards you'll need to make it work.
Microsoft's new Surface Pro offers Intel's latest processor generation and improved battery life.
Riding a mountain bike downhill is dangerous enough in daylight, but potentially lethal at night. Which is where drones come in.
Rumors abound that Canon (and maybe Nikon) may produce a mirrorless camera based using their existing DSLR mount. Does this guarantee immediate great lens choice or a perpetually second-rate experience? Read more
According to rumors, the next camera from Nest will be able to capture 4K video, though that resolution will be only used for 'virtual' pan and tilt functions.
Boundary's Prima 'fully modular' backpack is expandable to 30L and has a removable camera case and tablet sleeve. Early Kickstarter backers can get one for $189.
Stanley Greene captured 'brutally honest' photographs in the war zones of the Middle East, Chechnya and Georgia. He was also one of the few African-American photographers working internationally.
Owners of Leica M cameras that suffer from peeling CCDs will be able to claim a free repair in the future so long as the camera was purchased within five years of the fault becoming apparent, the company has announced. Read more
The Carl Zeiss Jena BIOTAR 75mm F1.5 Red T lens is very rare and priced accordingly. It can be yours today for the low, low price of $15,000.
The MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has developed a drone that does not require any human control for recording tracking shots. Read more
In this terrifying video, Iraqi journalist Ammar Alwaely narrowly misses a sniper's bullet, which takes out his chest-mounted GoPro. Warning: strong language. Watch the video
A new report expects action camera growth to increase about 15% by 2021, with Ultra HD cameras driving demand. Read more
Profiles for Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom have been released for Irix's ultra-wide 11mm and 15mm primes. Like all profiles, these correct for distortion and vignetting.
An upcoming firmware update from DJI will cripple its drones unless they are 'activated' on the company's website. Live streaming will be turned off and flight radius/altitude will be limited.
Brent from ShareGrid rounds up the 10 most common products filmmakers are renting from one another for productions; chances are good you own one or more of them.
DaVinci Resolve is making strong moves to compete with Premiere and Final Cut Pro, including affordable control panels for colorists. According to Premium Beat, they're really good.
If you are not planning to fly your drone commercially you are not required to register it with the FAA anymore. This decision was handed down by a federal court in Washington, D.C.
Whether you're syncing a flash, wondering why banding is appearing in your image or getting strange images from your camera's silent shutter mode, the way your shutter works has a role to play. Here's what happens when you press the shutter button. Read more
William Vazquez travels all over the world documenting humanitarian work. He spoke to us about the challenges of his work, the importance of research and why a multitool and duct tape are your best friends in the field. Read more
These ten film cameras stand the test of time. They are easy to find, affordable and capable of excellent results. Read more
Photographer Aydın Büyüktaş uses a drone, 3-D rendering and Photoshop to create mind-bending landscapes.
They're offering tips for composing selfies and converting to black and white.
Whether you're seeking ultra-high resolution, first-rate autofocus or 4K video capture, there are some supremely capable 'semi-pro' cameras available. Find out which models we liked best in our updated semi-pro camera roundup. Read more
With composition specified by the director, drones may one day be able to navigate a movie set on their own.
Canon has made the previous version, 1.1.0 available for download again.
Impossible? Not if you have a fast lens and 5 stops of stabilization.
This 'strictly limited edition' is a refurbished original Polaroid 600 redesigned with a custom two-tone paint job.