The more time I spend in my photography pursuits, the more I appreciate cameras that capture and photos that exploit their maximum dynamic range potential. Digital cameras have undergone dramatic improvements over the last 12+ years, but they still don’t come close to the human eye’s dynamic range capabilities. By some estimates, the human eye can distinguish up to 24 f-stops of dynamic range. Higher end DSLRs such as the Nikon D800 by comparison, can capture up to a theoretical max of 14.4 f-stops of dynamic range. The usable dynamic range of most DSLRs, however, is closer to 5-9 f-stops, considering the impact of noise, which can render some of the DSLRs’ f-stop range impractical to exploit. Thus your eyes – at least for now – are still far more capable than the best DSLR relative to recognizing various tonal gradations. As I will demonstrate via my new model, “Doris” (shown below) of the Pittsburgh Zoo, even photos taken with high quality DSLRs sometimes need a bit of extra processing to match what your eyes can see. The photo below is the result of a processing technique I often employ to boost dynamic range when it is apparent that my camera’s sensor failed to capture what I remember seeing.
Nikon has released new firmware update version 1.01 for the Nikon D4, D800 and D800E camera bodies. The major issue resolved is the reported lockup problem.
To start out on a positive note, let me say that I think the story of Pinterest is inspiring. It is tempting to believe that many of the simpler ideas associated with innovation have been thought of, and only very complex, time consuming, expensive initiatives can break new ground. Along comes Pinterest, offering an extremely simple idea – providing the electronic paradigm of a corkboard with photos, recipes, and other notes that people want to keep handy and visible, and giving them the opportunity to link to those of others. If anyone doubts that there is always a simple, yet powerful idea lurking around the corner, look no further than Pinterest.
As 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.
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!
I have been super busy working on a couple of big projects lately and this weekend I helped out Lola with her bridal work. While setting up the lights, I decided to try out and shoot with three different cameras – the Nikon D800 (see the recently published review of the Nikon D800), the Canon 5D Mark III (a full review is coming up in a couple of weeks) and the Fuji X-Pro 1 (also coming up for a review soon).
I decided to post a couple of iPad 3 (a.k.a. the “New iPad” or just “the iPad”) wallpapers taken by the Nikon D800 while I am working on the upcoming Nikon 85mm f/1.8G lens review. I am hoping to publish it within the next few days, so that I could start working on reviewing the Canon 5D Mark III and some high-end Canon lenses. These images were requested by our readers in higher resolution and since the new iPad has a whopping 2048×1536 pixel retina display, I thought it would be better to extract them in a bigger size. They should also work as wallpapers for the original iPad and iPad 2, but obviously the images are not going to be as detailed…
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:
While the Nikon D4 is the proper tool for sports and wildlife photography due to its faster speed and extreme ISO capabilities, many photographers are also looking at the Nikon D800 for action photography. First, the high-resolution sensor could give some “reach” opportunities with plenty of options to crop in-camera (DX mode) or in post (I highly recommend to do it in post instead of in-camera). Second, the AF system on the D800 is identical to the one on the D4 (Advanced Multi-CAM 3500FX). And lastly, noise characteristics of the D800 are very similar to the D4 when images are down-sampled to 16 MP (down-sampling can also result in increased sharpness). The biggest disadvantage is the slow 4 FPS speed of the D800.
I just came back from a trip and wanted to share some of the images that were taken with the Nikon D800. Since I did not have a chance to shoot much with the D800 before the trip, my Nikon D800 Review had very few sample images, some of which were pretty bad for my taste. But as I have already pointed out, I had to publish the review before my trip, because our readers kept on sending me emails on a daily basis, asking when the review will be available. It is still a work in progress, so I will be updating it with more information this week. Check back the review occasionally and you will find more valuable information with plenty of details. Some readers requested me to provide more image samples and comparisons with the 5D Mark III and the D700, so I will do that later this week as well.