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Author Topic: Did the Nikon D800 change the world?  (Read 12324 times)
ErikKaffehr
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« on: May 01, 2012, 10:31:21 AM »
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Hi,

This is really a question to those with real experience of the Nikon D800/D800E. In a sense the Nikon D800 changed the world as it is the first time Nikon has an "affordable" full frame camera with a high resolution sensor. Little doubt that the new sensor is the best of the full frame sensors of today.

My question is: Is the new Nikon sensor a giant leap forward or just a significant gradual improvement over it's predecessor and competitors.

My take is that the resolution advantage is about 21% a significant advantage, like printing 20.6" instead if 17". DR is improved about one EV at minimum ISO (that's a lot of improvement). But these are the numbers. What is the visual difference between a D3X and a D800, or a Sony Alpha 900 and a D800?

Best regards
Erik
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EgillBjarki
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« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2012, 10:42:30 AM »
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Nikon has impressed, that much is clear. I think that they have improved the world, but not changed it.

They are pushing the envelope, they have set a new bench mark for others to reach.

But there is nothing really changed. There can still be made stitches and multiple exposures. This is just a tool, but it is a very powerful tool, medium format becomes more difficult to justify in my book...
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2012, 10:50:04 AM »
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Hi,

Well, yes and no. I have seen a comparison between Leica S2 and Nikon D800 on Lloyd Chambers DAP site, and the Nikon came out on top in my view.

But there is MF and there is MF. I guess that an 80 MP MF back with an excellent lens will outperform the Nikon D800, if optimally used.

Best regards
Erik



... medium format becomes more difficult to justify in my book...
« Last Edit: May 01, 2012, 03:04:36 PM by ErikKaffehr » Logged

Guillermo Luijk
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« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2012, 10:50:23 AM »
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I think this movement was expected. It's natural and it's happening in all camera ranges.

As digital imaging technology improves (particularly digital sensors), having a compact camera is more difficult to justify if your smartphone produces decent enough pictures for your travel, family and friends shooting without the need to carry extra devices. Buying a low end DSLR is more difficult to justify if your mirrorless camera can produce high quality prints for the advanced amateur, without the need to carry such a heavy and bulky gear. Moving to medium format is more difficult to justify if you have more affordable, fast and light FF DSLR cameras like the D800 providing tons of good Mpx at a fraction of the cost.

It's a whole move upwards in the digital photography pyramid, as lower formats are reaching the quality standards that previously required moving to upper floors.

Regards
« Last Edit: May 01, 2012, 10:56:31 AM by Guillermo Luijk » Logged

Dustbak
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« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2012, 11:13:56 AM »
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Let me see..... I have picked up my copy of the D800e last weekend. Did it change the or my world? No, not really. It is just a tool!!! Nothing more or less. It does what it is supposed to do.
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KLaban
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« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2012, 11:25:15 AM »
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My question is: Is the new Nikon sensor a giant leap forward or just a significant gradual improvement over it's predecessor and competitors.

My take is that the resolution advantage is about 21% a significant advantage, like printing 20.6" instead if 17". DR is improved about one EV at minimum ISO (that's a lot of improvement). But these are the numbers. What is the visual difference between a D3X and a D800, or a Sony Alpha 900 and a D800?

Success as a photographer is not dependent on small increases in resolution and or dynamic range.
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Rob C
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« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2012, 12:07:49 PM »
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Success as a photographer is not dependent on small increases in resolution and or dynamic range.


Unless you mean in personal terms, of course!

When I was young I had tons of resolution and was the most dynamic person I wanted to know...

Effed up the eye-hospětal visit: got there to realise it was the wrong day... how's that for dynamic? I now resolve to get up at 7am again tomorrow and try again.

;-)

Rob C
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M.Piq
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« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2012, 12:23:04 PM »
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Success as a photographer is not dependent on small increases in resolution and or dynamic range.


That's it! :-))))
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M.Piq
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« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2012, 12:29:45 PM »
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Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends
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Dialing for dollars is trying to find me
I wait for delivery each day until 3
So oh lord won't you buy me a color TV
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Prove that you love me and buy the next round
Oh lord won't you buy me a night on the town
Oh lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz
My friends all drive porsches, I must make amends
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends
So oh lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz
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LKaven
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« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2012, 12:41:32 PM »
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My question is: Is the new Nikon sensor a giant leap forward or just a significant gradual improvement over it's predecessor and competitors.

My take is that the resolution advantage is about 21% a significant advantage, like printing 20.6" instead if 17". DR is improved about one EV at minimum ISO (that's a lot of improvement). But these are the numbers. What is the visual difference between a D3X and a D800, or a Sony Alpha 900 and a D800?

Erik, my take on the D800 is that it is an incremental step forward in technology that happens to have crossed a more significant psychological threshold, several in fact.  

1) It challenges widely held misconceptions about the utility of "small pixels" and the difference between 'per pixel' response, and response 'per unit area of the sensor,' and the implications for low light response.  The D800 smashed the faulty conventional wisdom.

2) It provides a sufficient amount of MTF at high frequencies, total MTF carried through to small print sizes, that one can clearly see enhanced rendering of fine textures and detail, including hair, fabric, and skin, as well as leaves and branches.  One is thereby also able to provide detailed portraits where the subject takes up only a minority of the frame.

3) It can make an exhibition-sized print without perceptible compromise.

On this second point, we can compare at 16MP and 24MP resolutions.  Considered in a standard headshot resolution, the 16MP cannot entirely render fine hair and skin textures.  The 24MP is at the threshold of fine hair and skin, with only very slight fragmenting.  At 36MP one can entirely cover hair and skin even when the subject does not fill the frame. At 36MP one also begins to excel with grass and twigs; architectural details appear detailed yet smooth.  
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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2012, 12:54:09 PM »
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It has changed the levels of expectation for what a 24x36mm format camera, film or digital, is technically capable of.
I suspect it is changing  the 2012  financial outlook for Canon, and both current and future  Phase One, Leaf, and Hasselblad finances.
People will start printing larger or having larger prints made.
Has it changed photography? not really.
If you are a professional photographer if you don't have one ( or something similar) you may be putting yourself at a disadvantage - it depends on your client's needs.
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Ellis Vener
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Fine_Art
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« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2012, 02:31:18 PM »
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I think this movement was expected. It's natural and it's happening in all camera ranges.

As digital imaging technology improves (particularly digital sensors), having a compact camera is more difficult to justify if your smartphone produces decent enough pictures for your travel, family and friends shooting without the need to carry extra devices. Buying a low end DSLR is more difficult to justify if your mirrorless camera can produce high quality prints for the advanced amateur, without the need to carry such a heavy and bulky gear. Moving to medium format is more difficult to justify if you have more affordable, fast and light FF DSLR cameras like the D800 providing tons of good Mpx at a fraction of the cost.

It's a whole move upwards in the digital photography pyramid, as lower formats are reaching the quality standards that previously required moving to upper floors.

Regards


Another way to look at it is that cameras are now good enough to remove the technical fretting for most people. The real limitation of getting good composition, at the right time, in good light is more obvious than ever.

Many photographers here show their sites where they have done exactly that. Some other sites not so much.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2012, 03:13:59 PM »
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The D800 has changed the perception of some photographers about DSLRs and about Nikon as a brand targeting the high end segment.

The D3x already could do a lot of what the D800 does. So this is pretty much 3 years old news that didn't make the headlines then. :-)

I feel that the most amazing feat pulled by Nikon with the D800 - and that is true marketing genius if I have ever seen some - is that many of us will end up buying 2 copies of it, only differing by a tiny piece of glass... and we will love Nikon for having given us the freedom of choice!

That is the part that must be pissing of a marketing monster like Canon 10 times more than DR or resolution. :-)

Cheers,
Bernard
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LKaven
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« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2012, 03:17:08 PM »
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The D800 has changed the perception of some photographers about DSLRs and about Nikon as a brand targeting the high end segment.

The D3x already could do a lot of what the D800 does. So this is pretty much 3 years old news that didn't make the headlines then. :-)

The D3x was something that if you owned it, you could really see what made it such a beautiful camera and so different from the D3s.  Unfortunately, only a few owned it.  I think its color response was amazing.  It always exceeded my expectations every time out.  You couldn't see that in the specs. 
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MatthewCromer
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« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2012, 03:21:16 PM »
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I feel that the most amazing feat pulled by Nikon with the D800 - and that is true marketing genius if I have ever seen some - is that many of us will end up buying 2 copies of it, only differing by a tiny piece of glass... and we will love Nikon for having given us the freedom of choice!


Ugh. 

I am convinced that the D800E is an inferior product to the D800.  I thought you were going to stick to your guns on this one, Bernard!

:-)

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Raw shooter
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« Reply #15 on: May 01, 2012, 04:17:26 PM »
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The D800 has changed the perception of some photographers about DSLRs and about Nikon as a brand targeting the high end segment.

The D3x already could do a lot of what the D800 does. So this is pretty much 3 years old news that didn't make the headlines then. :-)

I feel that the most amazing feat pulled by Nikon with the D800 - and that is true marketing genius if I have ever seen some - is that many of us will end up buying 2 copies of it, only differing by a tiny piece of glass... and we will love Nikon for having given us the freedom of choice!

That is the part that must be pissing of a marketing monster like Canon 10 times more than DR or resolution. :-)

Cheers,
Bernard


Interesting take, and I do agree.  I would guess Canon has a boardroom decision and the financial/talent and the ability to respond to the D800.  Most reviewers (good ones) are seeing the D800 and D800E as a deal changer for Nikon.  I would expect a 6D sooner than later.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #16 on: May 01, 2012, 04:24:26 PM »
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Ugh. 

I am convinced that the D800E is an inferior product to the D800.  I thought you were going to stick to your guns on this one, Bernard!

Did I write "us"? :-)

Cheers,
Bernars
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ckimmerle
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« Reply #17 on: May 01, 2012, 09:26:21 PM »
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Success as a photographer is not dependent on small increases in resolution and or dynamic range.

Success as a photographer is not dependent on small increases in resolution and or dynamic range.
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« Reply #18 on: May 01, 2012, 11:05:54 PM »
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Change the "world"?  Lot of interpretation there, but I assume you mean in the context of photographers. Smiley

Speaking as one who operates a small camera and printing store, this certainly is a game changer, much like the 5D Mark2 was.  This puts much higher quality captures in the hands of a great many people.  We have customers come in every day wanting a large image of a file that doesn't have enough resolution.  Then they want to crop it.  they can't afford a higher resolution camera.  They accept what they get because that's their only option.

these cameras are flying out the door, as are the 5D Mark III's.  we're a long way from filling our waiting list.  In the case of 5D3's and some of the d800's this means a large amount of used cameras available to others that now have a better capture device.  end result, thousands of photographers getting higher resolution capability.

Currently it is estimated that there are several hundred thousand "professional" shooters just in the US - these are shooters who take pictures for "money" and very often provide "professional" enlargements. (debating their "professional" standing is irrelevant, they exist, they shoot a lot, and collectively represent a pretty large part of the market now)

I also have a good share of customers who are avid amateurs that are very skilled and do very nice work that also print sizes larger than the file can really handle.

Bottom line, everyone eventually has an image they want printed and printed large.  You can talk all you want about never printing larger than A3 but almost everyone eventually gets an image they would just love a 30x40 of. A great many of those images are well exposed, just not enough resolution.  Some are not so good, and the lack of resolution makes them worse.   Hundreds of thousands of better capture devices moving into the market in an affordable price range means many of those prints will look better, some substantially better.

While it is true the skill lies in the person and not the gear, when making large prints you can't make up for poor resolution.

And to be honest this is probably just the beginning.  Within a year there is a strong possibility a 36mp camera will come along for under $2k, and then someone will go to 40 or 45 megapixel (also maybe within the next year)  and suddenly a 24mp full frame equivalent device will show up for $1400 ...  within a few years the great majority of shooters will suddenly have the potential of better prints.

(and then new technology will make prints obsolete, but then those devices may indeed be retina type displays of 240 or better ppi so the higher resolution cameras still offer something)

Now how 'significant' all of this is and whether it "changes the world" is certainly debatable and really doesn't have an answer since the concept is pretty subjective.  It's certainly changing my world ...

fun to speculate ... can't wait to see what's next ...

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KLaban
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« Reply #19 on: May 02, 2012, 03:17:39 AM »
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Success as a photographer is not dependent on small increases in resolution and or dynamic range.

Shh, they'll never believe you.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2012, 04:39:01 AM by KLaban » Logged

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