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Author Topic: An Embarrassment of Riches  (Read 10624 times)
JohnBrew
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« on: May 01, 2012, 06:26:34 AM »
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Mark's new article doesn't really shed any new light on either camera, but is interesting anyway as the hype for the new Nikon grows. Mark, can you tell us what lenses or lens you used on the Sony? Getting a good wide angle has been a problem with the crop sensor. I have a Zeiss 21 coming which I will use with a Nikon adapter but after the crop factor isn't all that wide anymore. Of course I will also use it on my D700 (or D800 once Nikon quits holding them for ransom). I'm in total agreement this is a terrific year for photography. This month Leica is making an announcement and several of the big boys will probably rock us back on our heels at Photokina. Lots of choices.
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Ray
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« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2012, 09:02:54 AM »
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Another very positive review for the D800. Looks as though I should have put in a pre-order immediately the camera was announced.  Grin

I agree with Mark that the 35mm format has always fundamentally been a miniature format that is a compromise on the image quality available from larger formats, in the interests of portability.

But I'm curious about the truth of Mark's comment in relation to the need of a sturdy tripod, and his dismissal of the effectiveness of VR.

This what he writes:
Quote
This is a camera that requires a heavy solid tripod. .....
I have also noticed a similar effect when shooting handheld. Shooting at the reciprocal of the focal length of the lens is not good enough-even with a VRII lens. I would recommend multiplying the focal length of the lens times 3X and using the reciprocal of this number as the minimum shutter speed for maximum handheld quality.

Is Mark claiming that optical Image Stabilisation, or VR, is over-rated? I'd be willing to reduce the manufacturers'claims by one stop. For example, the older versions of VR might claim up to 3 stops; call it 2 stops. VRII claims up to 4 stop improvement. Call it 3 stops.

Let's look at the basic maths that everyone should be able to understand. A 1/100th sec exposure with a 100mm lens, without IS or VR, is not going to pass muster. However, the 2 stop advantage of a basic, old-fashioned IS or VR is equivalent to a 1/400th sec exposure. The 3-stop advantage of VRII is equivalent to 1/800th sec.

Is Mark really claiming that a 1/800th sec exposure with a 100mm lens, hand-held and without VRII, is not sufficient for optimal results with a stationary subject?

I've never found this to be the case with my two cropped versions of a 38.4mp and 36mp full-frame cameras, ie. the 15mp Canon 50D and 16mp D7000.

Perhaps I'm just an unusually calm and steady person.  Grin
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Quentin
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« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2012, 10:37:52 AM »
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Mark says that the the D800/800e is "a game changer", but I have to disagree.  It is a good camera, no doubt about it, but a game changer?  We have been here before, but these cameras do not represent a new technology, more like a jump in processing power for a computer. Useful, yes, desirable, yes but to call it a game changer smacks of overworked hyperbole.
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Quentin Bargate, ARPS, Author, photographer entrepreneur and senior partner of Bargate Murray, Law Firm of the Year 2013
Isaac
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« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2012, 10:51:48 AM »
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Mark says that the the D800/800e is "a game changer", but I have to disagree.

"... For me the Nikon D800/D800E is a game changer."

"The D800/D800E ... is definitely a game changer.  At least for me it is."

I hope we can find the humility to admit that Mark is in a better position than any of us to see whether the D800/D800E is going to change his game ;-)
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Quentin
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« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2012, 11:09:58 AM »
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I think we all tend to throw around the phrase "game changer" too readily in the excitement of the moment when what we really mean is something a tad less radical.  Mark was taking great shots before the D800, they are now just higher resolution great shots  Grin 

Or maybe its all just humbug  because he has a D800 and I don't  Roll Eyes

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Quentin Bargate, ARPS, Author, photographer entrepreneur and senior partner of Bargate Murray, Law Firm of the Year 2013
Ray
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« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2012, 12:08:10 PM »
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I think it's a marketing game changer. Nikon have produced a relatively affordable leap in performance that one would normally expect only from a top-of-the-line model.

Canon did a similar thing with the introduction of the original 5D, which resulted in people like me buying a full-frame DSLR for the first time.
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dreed
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« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2012, 12:21:35 PM »
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But I'm curious about the truth of Mark's comment in relation to the need of a sturdy tripod, and his dismissal of the effectiveness of VR.

This what he writes:
Quote
This is a camera that requires a heavy solid tripod. .....
I have also noticed a similar effect when shooting handheld. Shooting at the reciprocal of the focal length of the lens is not good enough-even with a VRII lens. I would recommend multiplying the focal length of the lens times 3X and using the reciprocal of this number as the minimum shutter speed for maximum handheld quality.
Is Mark claiming that optical Image Stabilisation, or VR, is over-rated? I'd be willing to reduce the manufacturers'claims by one stop. For example, the older versions of VR might claim up to 3 stops; call it 2 stops. VRII claims up to 4 stop improvement. Call it 3 stops.

Let's look at the basic maths that everyone should be able to understand. A 1/100th sec exposure with a 100mm lens, without IS or VR, is not going to pass muster. However, the 2 stop advantage of a basic, old-fashioned IS or VR is equivalent to a 1/400th sec exposure. The 3-stop advantage of VRII is equivalent to 1/800th sec.

Is Mark really claiming that a 1/800th sec exposure with a 100mm lens, hand-held and without VRII, is not sufficient for optimal results with a stationary subject?

I wonder if there is an element of him erring on the side of safety because he doesn't want people to come back to him and say "I did what you recommended and it didn't work for me!"

But in this area, his comments aren't in alignment with Michael's and for what it's worth, I trust Michael's more.

Quote
First of all, the tripod.  Most 35 mm shooters I see in the field use tripods that are already marginal in terms of being too small and flimsy for their cameras.  People seem to think about what is small, convenient and looks cool, instead of thinking about what they really need.

Here's a challenge for you Mark: come up with a kit that revolves around the D800 that you are happy to put on your back and hike up to the top of Half Dome (at Yosemite) and back in a day. Or to put it in more recent terms, how would you design a pack list if you want to take the D800 and hike the Machu Pichu trail? I'm curious to know how he'll balance the "what's needed" in terms of carrying lbs of water vs carrying lbs of gear.


As a side note, for an article that was about the D800, I would have liked to have seen more D800 pictures and less pictures from his South American trip with the NEX-7. I've seen enough NEX-7 work already and the happy snaps add no value...
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Alan Goldhammer
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« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2012, 01:24:11 PM »
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Given the price point of the 800/800e and the accompanying lenses (unless you are already a Nikonian), it does change things for the better.  As we have now heard from several reputable photographers, this is a camera capable of capturing images that can be printed big; a critical thing for landscape photographers.  I can put an 800/800e body and five lenses into my backpack and trek around all day without being weighted down much at all.  One can come up with extremely flexible systems that will work well in the field for a reasonable cost.

Alan
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BJL
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« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2012, 02:47:42 PM »
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By the pure numbers, the D800(E) is, like almost any new DSLR, incremental progress: more resolution, more DR, less noise at high exposure index, etc. But "game" implies competition and comparisons to rivals, and the D800 moves 36x24mm format past some important thresholds, like offering both better DR and equal or better resolution (on top of a vastly lower price and wider lens selection) than a number of options in larger formats. In a competitive sense, going from behind on the score to ahead can change the result of the game, especially with all signs being that the formats up to 36x24mm are accelerating while the larger ones are not, so that new if small lead is likely to grow, rather than be relinquished. So in this sense, the D800(E) is a game changer.
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John Camp
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« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2012, 03:38:58 PM »
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Given the price point of the 800/800e and the accompanying lenses (unless you are already a Nikonian), it does change things for the better.  As we have now heard from several reputable photographers, this is a camera capable of capturing images that can be printed big; a critical thing for landscape photographers.  I can put an 800/800e body and five lenses into my backpack and trek around all day without being weighted down much at all.  One can come up with extremely flexible systems that will work well in the field for a reasonable cost.

Alan

+1. For me, anyway, it'll be a game-changer.

I disagree with Mark on ergonomics. I think Nikon has the best ergonomics of any camera system, bar none (and that includes the high-priced spreads.) Much of that, of course, is due to the fact that I've used Nikons for forty years now. I can quite literally walk around almost unaware that I have one in my hand, my finger on the shutter release. I can pick up virtually any Nikon, high-end or low-end, and be comfortable with it in a matter of a couple of minutes. I think it is difficult to say anything serious about ergonomics without working with a camera for quite a while (maybe weeks.) Canon SLRs and DSLRs have always seemed awkward to me, but Canon people tell me the ergonomics are better than Nikons, and I'll buy that...for them, anyway.

It's impossible to disagree with somebody about the quality of a viewfinder, because if he thinks a viewfinder is small and dim, it probably is, for him. But that always struck me as a problem for somebody who likes to look through viewfinders. I don't, especially. I use the viewfinder to frame things. I look at the subject, and look, and look, and then I put the viewfinder to my face and frame and shoot, all in a half-second, and then take the camera down and I start looking again. That's even true when I occasionally use a tripod. So, for me, anyway, a viewfinder has to be good enough, but that's about all -- and the Nikons are easily good enough. (But some viewfinders aren't - I'm still occasionally annoyed with the EVFs  on my Panasonics.)

IMHO, the thing I'll miss the most on the D800 is an articulated LCD...
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BJL
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« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2012, 03:56:54 PM »
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I use the viewfinder to frame things. I look at the subject, and look, and look, and then I put the viewfinder to my face and frame and shoot, all in a half-second, and then take the camera down and I start looking again.
I thought I might be the only one who is not bothered by smaller viewfinders, like that of the Olympus E-1 compared to 35mm SLRs. I found that one perfect: sharp and bright and 100% coverage ... and a better size than the larger VF images of my 35mm (film) SLRs for seeing the whole composition and checking the framing without needing eye-ball gymnastics to search the corners. The typical 0.7x of an AF SLR requires too much eye movement for my tastes. As to the even higher magnification of manual focus SLRs, like even my humble Pentax K-1000: I do not know now how I ever worked with that! I suppose I mostly looked in the middle, where I was focusing.

And of course, an EVF with magnification during manual focusing changes the debate again.
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marcmccalmont
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« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2012, 04:09:26 PM »
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Mark says that the the D800/800e is "a game changer", but I have to disagree.  It is a good camera, no doubt about it, but a game changer?  We have been here before, but these cameras do not represent a new technology, more like a jump in processing power for a computer. Useful, yes, desirable, yes but to call it a game changer smacks of overworked hyperbole.
Name one camera in the history of photography that was so well balanced, high performance and non-compromised? I agree it is a pivotal point in photography, I no longer need to  make a choice of compromises when making a purchase!
Marc

It's not the evolutionary progress its the well balanced sum of the whole
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Marc McCalmont
MarkL
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« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2012, 06:01:51 PM »
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Mark says that the the D800/800e is "a game changer", but I have to disagree.  It is a good camera, no doubt about it, but a game changer?  We have been here before, but these cameras do not represent a new technology, more like a jump in processing power for a computer. Useful, yes, desirable, yes but to call it a game changer smacks of overworked hyperbole.

I agree, no doubt I will find it excellent once I finally manage to get hold of one but it follows the path of evolutionary rather than revolutionary: some more pixels, some more DR, even the AF system and body are mostly the same after 4 years. There is little here to change the game, it won't really change how we shoot or open up new photographic possibilities.
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MatthewCromer
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« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2012, 08:19:54 PM »
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It's not the evolutionary progress its the well balanced sum of the whole

It's a 2012 F100 with an updated AF module, a very nice digital sensor and a pretty nice (although fixed) LCD.

Don't really see anything game-changing about that.

It doesn't do anything to:

1) Address the new possibilities raised by digital.  It's an SLR with an imaging chip.
2) Let you compose using the LCD with useful autofocus for any subject moving faster than a drunk slug.
3) Shoot video with the EVF or real autofocus in video or liveview mode
4) Eliminate the problem of shutter shake or mirror slap
5) Stabilize the camera against shake (you have to buy special built, sometimes compromised glass for this).

It's a really nice refinement of the SLR design, for sure.  But it doesn't do anything particularly INNOVATIVE at all.  I suppose if I felt the SLR design were the pinnacle of photographic evolution I might be more impressed.  But I don't, and I'm not.

I guess the removal of the anti-moire filter in the "E" model is a bit of an innovation -albeit one that I personally believe is a mistake (just perform a bit more capture sharpening and you're there).  I am not one who feels the idea of false colors along sharp edges is an innovation worth having (although admittedly this is a CHOICE -- you can't really fault Nikon for offering that, can you!)

I blame the customer for all this.  Buyers of $3000 cameras and $20,000 worth of lenses are, in the main, men in their 40s, 50s and 60s who have been using SLRs for 10, 20, 30 or more years.  They don't want "breakthrough" and "innovative".  So Nikon and Canon continue offering up familiar, improved rehashes of the products they have been shipping for 30+ years with occasional improvements "dropped in".

Meanwhile, Sony, Olympus and Panasonic continue to innovate and remain stuck in a distant third, fourth or fifth place.  It's depressing.  But not a surprise given who buys expensive system cameras.  You can't blame Canon and Nikon for building what their customers want.

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JohnBrew
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« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2012, 09:01:38 PM »
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I blame the customer for all this.  Buyers of $3000 cameras and $20,000 worth of lenses are, in the main, men in their 40s, 50s and 60s who have been using SLRs for 10, 20, 30 or more years

Damn, you nailed me, Matthew.
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #15 on: May 01, 2012, 11:28:58 PM »
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I blame the customer for all this.  Buyers of $3000 cameras and $20,000 worth of lenses are, in the main, men in their 40s, 50s and 60s who have been using SLRs for 10, 20, 30 or more years. 
Interesting statement - I assume you are applying some type of deducting reasoning.

 Speaking as one who sells cameras and has delivered a great many d800s and 5D Mark 3's (not even close to filling the waiting list) I think the numbers show a different story.   All ages  are buying the camera but I would guess that about 60% of those we've sold or on the waiting list are under 40, perhaps even under 35.
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MatthewCromer
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« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2012, 01:10:29 AM »
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The real embarrassment:

That CaNikon dSLRs force you to do stuff like this in order to get compelling portraits of dogs, small wildlife, and toddlers (or crawl around on the floor with them!)

I've been beating this drum for ten years.  Only Sony (and one discontinued Olympus 4/3 model) has provided a solution that works with SLR glass.  This was DIRT OBVIOUS ten years ago, the first time I picked up a Sony DSC-F707.  TEN YEARS.  That's about eight replacement cycles for their prosumer dSLRs -- Canon D30, D60, 60D, 20D, 30D, 40D, 50D, 60D.  Why, ten years on, are Canon and Nikon selling cameras that can't autofocus worth beans in liveview mode?  Why do so many of their cameras have fixed LCDs?  Why can't you use the viewfinders to shoot video, if video is "so important" to their plans?  WTF?!?!?!

Yeah, the Nikon D800 has a really nice top-notch sensor (almost certainly made by Sony).  It has an admittedly excellent autofocus system.  Why doesn't the LCD articulate (makes liveview work on the tripod much more pleasant)?  Why do you have to use Darwin's "shooting blind" technique to get toddler or dog portraits that aren't looking down on the top of their head?  Why don't photo professionals INSIST on the manufacturers providing solutions for these SLR limitations?  Why don't professional wedding and event photographers DEMAND cameras that can be used "off the face" and actually focus on people walking around when in liveview mode?  I am truly, utterly, and completely mind-boggled.

It's not like Leica and TLR users haven't been saying FOR YEARS and even DECADES how liberating and useful it is to use a camera for social photography that isn't grafted to your face and eyeball like a fracking Borg appendage.  You know, THEY'RE RIGHT!!!

« Last Edit: May 02, 2012, 01:14:16 AM by MatthewCromer » Logged
OldRoy
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« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2012, 04:46:05 AM »
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Anyone care to estimate what proportion of "keeper" shots by the totality of both serious enthusiastic amateurs and professionals end up as "exhibition prints"? Where "exhibition" is taken to mean no less than 40-50 inches wide?
Roy
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billmac
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« Reply #18 on: May 02, 2012, 07:38:50 AM »
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And in that same vein, anyone care to estimate the number of people who have the requisite skills and equipment Mark says are essential to use the D800/E to its capabilities? I suspect Nikon believes (hopes) that number is quite a bit larger than does Mark. Smiley

I'm not sure I know what an "exhibition" print is, but over the course of 50+ years in photography, I have see stunning large scale prints from all sorts of equipment, most recently grainy, dark, but stunning large prints of the young Elvis taken with a 35mm in 1956. Limited "IQ" and "DR"...but riveting.
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PierreVandevenne
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« Reply #19 on: May 02, 2012, 09:41:05 AM »
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But in this area, his comments aren't in alignment with Michael's and for what it's worth, I trust Michael's more.

The simple fact that Mark writes a positive article about a DSLR is, in itself, quite significant.



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