Saturday, April 28, 2012

Some test images from my new Nikon D800E

This blog is mostly about shooting film, but even so I do shoot a lot of digital images, usually when I'm doing event photography or portraiture. The new Nikon D800E is an exciting development in camera design, which I decided to invest in to have two cameras for gigs.

I had just enough time to snap a few shots around the Azalea Trail near VSU yesterday. I shot an event last night but haven't really worked on those images. Here are just a couple photos to illustrate the excellent quality of the D800E. All were taken with either a 55mm Micro or 17-35mm zoom. You can open these up as full 3000px files if you want to really look at the captured detail. Of course the original files are over 7000px long but I didn't really want full-rez copies on here.

My first impressions on the D800E are excellent. The dynamic range on this camera is indeed phenomenal as many tests have alluded. The ISO performance bests my D700 at the same magnification ratio, with more detail. The high-ISO performance over 3200 can get noisy at 100% but so can any camera. It's a feat of engineering that it looks as good as it does at 36mp. Color accuracy outdoors was fantastic.

At the event I shot last night I did notice some strange green-tinting on some shots. Some folks have claimed the LCD is tinted green. From my experiences outdoors, I saw absolutely no problem. In doors, under ugly fluorescent lights, there was definitely a green tint. The question was whether it was the white-balance being wrong or the LCD looking wrong. From my examination of the files on my color-corrected monitor, it's about an even split between the two. It seems that the camera does default to a slightly green WB (even with flashes), and the LCD under those fluorescent bulbs looks even greener. So I set the WB 2 clicks towards magenta and it was fine. I will have to do more checking though. Regardless, the auto WB seemed much better than my D700, which I always felt was a little weak.

As predicted, deficiencies in lenses and shooting technique show up easily in 36mp. The mirror seems to be well dampened in this camera but even so it caused movement sometimes.  Handheld at 1/60 or lower is harder than on my D700, but I'm not used to the feeling of that mirror so it might change.

There are many little additions and improvements that are really nice, #1 on my list being the 2-axis level built in to the camera. What a joy to be able to level both horizontally and vertically! My only gripe is that the Mode button was replaced with the movie record button, and the Mode button moved to slightly left of that. It is just barely in easy reach with my long fingers. I wish they would have put the movie record button in the new spot instead. But that's not too big of a deal.

Overall I'm very pleased!

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