A Little Comfort as You Anxiously Await Your D800 or D4 or 5D MK III arrival

Passage of timeAs I, like many of you, have been waiting for a new Nikon camera body to arrive, a recurring thought has come to my mind. It comes from the words of my father and it might hold a cure for what ails you if you, like me, suffer from common Diseases that Plague Photographers. Whenever I wanted something badly, but couldn’t seem to get it fast enough, he would say, “Anticipation is greater than realization”. To a young, impatient boy then and to an older, impatient man now, those words never seemed to comfort me as my father might have liked. Although never very comforting, they were very true.

We have all been there. Maybe it was that new bike that seemed to take forever to save for. Perhaps it was your dream car that required you spend all of your free time working that extra job. Whatever you were hoping for, the anticipation and build up prior to acquiring it was likely much more exciting than actually getting the item. Who can’t identify with the new car owner that seems less excited about his/her new car after the first car payment comes due? And golfers are notorious for claiming to experience longer drives, straighter iron shots, and more holed putts after changing clubs. Interestingly, their new clubs lose their “magic” after a month and start behaving very similar to their old clubs.

I am sure my father was trying to get me to enjoy the wait and learn a bit of patience. Perhaps he was always hoping that if enough time would pass, my insatiable need to spend my money on some new flashy item would dissipate. Although very wise, dad’s tactics in this area often had less than the desired effects on his not so bright son. You may experience better luck with your kids or yourself. So I pass the lesson on to you. As for me [doorbell chime], I gotta go see what is in the B&H box that just arrived. Maybe if I am lucky, it was me that got Bob’s D800 this time. Enjoy the anticipation as you wait!

Nikon D3200 vs D3100

The Nikon D3200 and the D3100 are entry-level DSLRs targeted at those who are just starting out in photography. The Nikon D3200 is a third iteration of the original D3000 that came out in 2009. While it has not gone through drastic changes, having a very similar layout as the D3100, the same 11 point autofocus system, the same metering sensor and a similar build, it has slightly improved over its predecessor. The camera now sports a very high resolution 24 MP sensor developed by Nikon, faster continuous speed of 4 fps, a much better LCD screen, superior video recording capabilities and other improvements such as WiFi capability through an optional accessory. In this Nikon D3200 vs D3100 comparison, I will go over the features of each camera and compare specifications differences between the two cameras.

Nikon D3200 vs D3100

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Greta Got My Nikon D800…

A little more than a week ago, I realized why I had not received my Nikon D800. Through sources that cannot be named, I was informed that Greta Van Susteren, the well-known commentator at the Fox News Network, received the camera originally assigned to my order. I was further surprised to find this unique note (below) from the delivery service. Today’s GretaWire confirmed that my D800 was already being used!

D800 Delivery Notice

Am I upset? Absolutely not. I have no issue with Greta “jumping line” at B&H to get my camera. “Why not?”, you ask? The injustice of it all! Someone must pay for having my D800 rerouted to Greta! Surely someone must be “guilty” of… well… uh… something! Or so the popular thinking goes…

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Nikon D800 vs D700 FPS and Buffer Comparison

Many of our readers have been asking me to provide some information on how the new Nikon D800 (see our review) compares to the Nikon D700 (see our review) in terms of speed (“fps” or “frames per second”) and camera buffer. In the below video, I show the performance of both cameras side by side when shooting 14-bit Lossless Compressed RAW images with very fast SanDisk Extreme Pro 16GB compact flash memory:

As you can see, the Nikon D800 is slower than the Nikon D700 with its 4 fps speed versus 5 fps on the D700. It also lasts about half a second shorter than the D700 before its buffer gets full at around the 4 second mark. Nikon’s estimates for the D800 and D700 are 17 images for the D800 and 20 images for the D700 before memory buffer gets full and fps slows down. My tests are a little off, because the D800 should be a little faster according to Nikon – 17 / 4 fps is 4.25 and 20 / 5 fps is 4. Interestingly, the same thing happens when both cameras are set to 12-bit RAW – the D700 still lasts longer. Note how much longer it takes for the D800 to complete its write from the camera buffer into the memory card – now that’s one huge buffer! I bet it is at least 4 times larger than the one on the D700. Lastly, note that the D800 shutter sounds very different than the one on the D700.

Some people have been reporting memory compatibility issues with the D800. I have not seen any issues so far with any of the SanDisk & Lexar cards I have (I have been using SanDisk and Lexar cards for my cameras exclusively), so I believe memory card issues are happening with cheap third party memory cards only. Hopefully we will see a firmware update from Nikon soon – the D800 seems to have occasional slowdowns when writing to and reading from CF and SD memory cards, as reported in my Nikon D800 Review.

Is Nikon D700 Obsolete?

36 megapixel Full Frame camera sounds great, doesn’t it? What you get in a D800 is, basically, exceptional high ISO performance, as demonstrated by Nasim in his review, and resolution that, heretics say, can rival some of Medium Format digital backs. One of the best cameras currently on offer, surely. One of the best for several years to come, it is almost a revolution, both in camera market as well as your pocket, as creatively described by Bob Vishneski. Extremely tempting, completely justified again and again in your mind. People would understand, wouldn’t they? Even your wife, with some persuasion, could see reason. And yet something is not quite right, not quite settled. Is it the old-ish D700 poking you at the shoulder? Never too far away, the brother. Always haunting, always showing off its huge sensor, its lower than ever price tag. The D800 shines above it day and night, yes, you see it in your dreams, you see it in the hands of other photographers – calling out to you, always bright, but the older brother is persistent. After all these years, after almost decades it seems now, D700 is still trying to drop a shadow on your face, still trying to be noticed and loved just as it was before the new kid came to town. A desperate pensioner.

But as it happens, pensioners are hardly desperate. John Ronald Reuel Tolkien wrote “The Lord of the Rings” when he was 62. What can we expect of D700, then?

Plenty, actually.

D700 at Weddings [Read more...]

Canon is Winning the Camera War?

I received an email today with the title “Canon is Winning the Camera War”. I opened the email immediately to see what it was about, because it had such a bold subject line. Canon winning the camera war… I have not seen any market share reports lately, so this was an interesting read. Apparently, a company called “Sortable” has recently conducted a massive survey with over 275,000 people over a period of 6 months, which showed that more than 33% of consumers favor Canon over other brands when making a camera purchase, including Nikon. Check out this interesting graph:

Popular Camera Brands

Here is some more information from this announcement:

In a brand war traditionally fought between Nikon and Canon, it appears that Canon now has the upper hand, with 33 percent of consumers indicating it as their preferred camera choice according to online consumer buying trends drawn from Sortable’s partner, Snapsort, a web site that allows people to analyze, compare, and recommend digital camera options. Nikon falls to second place with 26 percent, followed by Sony at 15 percent, Panasonic with 7 percent, Fujifilm at 5 percent, Olympus at 4 percent and Pentax at 3 percent. Other manufactures make up the final 7 percent.

With a range of camera options available, survey data shows consumers remain split in their preference between Point and Shoot and DSLR cameras. Data shows 36 percent of consumers are searching for both. Most surprising in the survey was the rising popularity of Mirrorless cameras, a relatively new technology in the camera market. Mirrorless cameras stuff a DSLR size sensor into a small portable package, with interchangeable lenses for greater flexibility. Sortable’s survey identified that 22 percent of consumers are searching for Mirrorless camera options, leaving the leading brands in a bit of a deficit position. Canon has yet to enter the Mirrorless market, and Nikon has just entered. Sortable believes this emerging trend gives Sony, Panasonic and Olympus the opportunity to take brand share.

That’s an interesting analysis, given the large number of respondents. Mirrorless is on the rise, and we know it. Canon historically has been dominating the DSLR market, so no surprises here, although Nikon has been catching up pretty quickly ever since the Nikon D3 came out.

I say that folks at Sortable are just trying to bring attention to their websites with such a headline. Canon winning camera war? I did not know there was one. With so many new innovative and wonderful products from all manufacturers, there is room for everyone. What do you say?

Check out our new DSLR Camera Purchase Guide

Being a photography website that frequently publishes gear reviews, we get asked a lot of questions on a daily basis from our visitors on all kinds of camera gear, from DSLRs and lenses to tripods and camera bags. To make it easier for our readers to see our recommendations, I have been actively working on the “Gear Guide” during the last two plus weeks. While the section is far from being complete, I wanted to share some news regarding the new “DSLR Camera Purchase Guide” that is now live in the Gear Guide section. It is an interactive camera purchase guide that displays a list of recommended cameras by Mansurovs based on what you like shooting, your budget and the brand of camera or lenses you might already own.

DSLR Purchase Guide

Please check it out and let us know what you think! I could really use some feedback. The purchase guide has not been fully completed yet and I am still working on adding more information under each camera, but the functionality should be more or less complete at this point. I will be adding interactive guides like this for lenses and other accessories as well, so stay tuned!

Nikon D700 price drops $500, now $2,199

As expected, the Nikon D700 price went down $500 to $2,199 (from $2,699), after the Nikon D800 was announced. A lot of people have been sending me emails and leaving comments on our site about the Nikon D700 availability and if it will still be offered in the future. As of now, Nikon is planning to continue to manufacture the Nikon D700, because there is still demand for it. This is great news for many of us that cannot afford the new Nikon D800, want to upgrade from DX to FX, or simply do not feel the need for a high-resolution 36 MP camera.

Nikon D700

The bad news is, the Nikon D700 is currently out of stock pretty much everywhere. Partly this has to do with the flood in Thailand that severely affected Nikon’s ability to manufacture DSLRs and DSLR parts, but it is also related to a high demand on the D700, which has been selling really well since it was announced back in 2008.

If you want to get the Nikon D700 at its new low price of $2,199, you can wait until it is available at stores like B&H and Adorama, or you can use the “Notify when in stock” feature at B&H and you will receive an email as soon as the Nikon D700 is available for purchase. Here are the links for both B&H and Adorama, with the new reflected price of $2,199:

  1. Nikon D700 for $2,199 at B&H Photo Video
  2. Nikon D700 for $2,199 at Adorama

If you do not know much about the Nikon D700, I recommend checking out my Nikon D700 Review.

Lens Stabilization vs In-camera Stabilization

While I am currently working on a couple of Sony camera and lens reviews, I decided to write a quick article on differences between in-camera and lens stabilization. As you may already know, Nikon and Canon are both big on lens stabilization, while other camera manufacturers like Sony and Pentax have been pushing for in-camera stabilization technology (also known as body stabilization). I have had a few people ask about differences between the two and I thought that a quick article explaining the pros and cons of each stabilization technology would be beneficial for our readers.

Lens Stabilization vs Sensor Stabilization

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Nikon D800E will ship with Capture NX 2

The Nikon D800E is generating a lot of interest among many landscape and macro photographers and one question that has been popping up a lot, is why the Nikon D800E is $300 more expensive than the Nikon D800? I received a number of comments like “why is Nikon charging extra for something the D800 does not have?” (meaning why Nikon charges extra money for a camera without an anti-aliasing / low-pass filter). In fact, both the Nikon D800 and the D800E have anti-aliasing filters (see the illustration below), it is just that the Nikon D800E has two of the filters reversed that cancel each other out. So some of the extra charge is coming from the required change in the manufacturing process. Additionally, according to DPReview’s “Nikon D800 Preview” they posted today, the Nikon D800E version will ship with the Nikon Capture NX 2 software, which costs around $129.95 retail.

Now about that low-pass filter on the Nikon D800E – both the D800 and the D800E have low-pass filters, but they behave differently. Typical Nikon low-pass filters actually contain of 3 different layers, as shown on the top illustration below:

Nikon D800 vs D800E Low-Pass Filter

As light rays reach the first “horizontal low-pass filter”, they get split in two, horizontally. Next, they go through an infrared absorption filter (illustrated in green color). After that, the light rays go through the “second vertical low-pass filter”, which further splits the light rays vertically. This light ray conversion process essentially causes blurring of the details.

Now with the Nikon D800E model, Nikon took an interesting approach. We know that the full low-pass filter cannot be completely removed, because it would cause the focal plane to move as well; plus, the camera still needs to be able to reflect infrared light rays. Instead of making a single filter with one layer, Nikon decided to still use three layers, but with two layers canceling each other out. As light rays get split into two with a vertical low-pass filter, then through the IR absorption filter, those same light rays get converged back when passing through a reversed vertical low-pass filter. Hence, instead of getting blurred details as in the first illustration, we get the full resolution.

I am not sure if the above method is the best way to deal with the issue, but I suspect that Nikon decided to take this route for cost reasons. It would probably be more expensive to produce a single IR absorption filter layer coated on both sides, than continue to use the same layers, but in a different configuration.

The above information will be added to my Nikon D800 vs D800E article I posted last night.