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Archive 2012 · D800 Advice Needed
  
 
ragebot
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · D800 Advice Needed


I am a long time Canon shooter, but the d800 has peaked my interest. Currently I am mainly shooting with a Canon 1d4 and a 500/f4 for wildlife/birds/action shots.

From what I have read the d800 has options to reduce the resolution to 15mp (some peeps call that the dx crop mode) and to 24mp (not sure what this is called) by cropping the center of the image. This feature seems to be something some other Nikon bodies have.

Are any of you guys using this feature, and if so could you comment on how well you like it in the real world. When you switch to this mode what do you see in the viewfinder, the entire 34mp FOV or the cropped FOV? Do you get to keep the entire 51 AF points in the cropped mode or only those in the center?

I guess the bottom line question is along the lines of how viable an option these cropped options are in the real world.

My idea is to get a d800, a 14-24 for the close stuff and a 200-400 for my action shots at reduced resolution; with maybe an intermediate zoom as well. Does this seem like a reasonable option or am I expecting the d800 to wear too many hats?



Feb 09, 2012 at 06:52 PM
bikemore
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · D800 Advice Needed


I use the DX crop mode on a D3, mainly for quick extra reach without having to swap the lens out in certain situations: courtroom, baseball.

You still see the entire frame, but a grayed-out frame is superimposed in the viewfinder indicating what will be excluded.

Granted DX mode diminishes the resolution considerably but the result -for me- is useable.
It may not be for your purposes.

It does require toggling through the menus a bit.

An interesting combo for a birder:
V1 with FT-1 adaptor



Feb 09, 2012 at 07:56 PM
korthaj
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · D800 Advice Needed


When using the crop mode, af points used are the same but covers the entire cropped image.
Scroll down to see example images:
http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/dslr/d800/features03.htm



Feb 09, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Alan321
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · D800 Advice Needed


Why crop if you do not need to ? Storage is cheap enough that any decent, modern computer will cope ok with the bigger raw files. Those bigger FX (full frame) files give you at least two key advantages over the cropped versions:
- more room for looser framing without loss of pixels on the subject, in case the subject moves or changes shape by standing, stretching, whatever.
- if you're close enough or can use a longer focal length you can have more pixels on your subject.

Note that we are not considering an FX sensor with one pixel density vs a DX sensor with another pixel density - there is no "reach" advantage at all. Instead this is all about using exactly the same sensor with exactly the same pixel density and pixel performance, and simply discarding part of the image. I'd much rather crop afterwards in processing than at the time of shooting in case the scene / subject changes enough that I miss something.

The whole AF sensor grid system covers the DX area, which is a 1.5 FOVCF vs the "1.3" or 1.26 FOVCF that you're used to on a 1D4. It fills the cropped area considerably.

On my camera the viewfinder covers the original FX image area but the cropped area is darkened so that you can see it but it is not as prominent as the part of the image that will be kept.

Except for possible data processing advantages leading to a faster frame rate there is no shooting or IQ advantage to using the smaller crop. However, if you manage to fill the FX area with the subject then you have the potential for downsizing the final image and gaining some image quality improvements by reducing noise. Even so, that may or may not be as good as using a better sensor with fewer pixels, such as on the D4 or D3s. Too early to tell for sure.

I doubt that the frame rate advantage is good enough to risk losing some key action if you're caught out using the cropped mode.

You may or may not like using a 36Mpx image for everything. You might find that in poor light a sensor with fewer pixels and more dynamic range (less noise and better colour) could be more useful. At other times you will love the detail from the higher pixel count and/or higher pixel density. If you shoot at large apertures you win but if you want or need to shoot at smaller apertures for the DOF then you will find that diffraction robs you of some or all of that pixel density advantage compared with using a more optimal aperture. e.g. at f/16 or even f/11 you might be less impressed with the pixel density than at f/4. You won't be any worse off than using a sensor with fewer pixels but you'll be disproportionately worse off than you were at the larger apertures.


Also, read the reviews for yourself (e.g. at www.bythom.com) but you might find that the acuity of the 200-400 at long shooting distances is not as good as you'd be getting from your Canon 500 f/4 or from the same 200-400 at shorter distances. That might sound worse than it really is because at those longer distances the wildlife is probably too small to make a great photo anyway. The lens does not perform greatly with TCs and so the f/8 AF capability of the D800 or D4 is somewhat wasted on that lens. On the other hand, the high pixel density of the D800 is equivalent to having a TC on the lens without the loss of light or aperture.


My guess is that you'll like the D800 better than your 1D4 in terms of the AF system performance and the ability to use auto ISO plus exposure compensation in M mode, giving you full control of both DOF and subject blur but still having automatic exposure. I don't know what the DR will be like but I suspect the D4 will be better in that regard than the 1D4 or the D800, making it a better low-light camera (assuming it is as good as the D3s if not better).

A switch to Nikon is expensive and has pros and cons. Running both systems has other problems in terms of usability, accessories, etc. I'm sure that you should carefully consider the 1Dx before switching brands.

I got into Nikon at a time when Canon was giving me a hard time with camera defects and poor servicing. Had my cameras been ok I would not have any Nikon gear and would not be driven to throw a lot of money at it. The 14-24 and especially the 200-400 are expensive lenses.

[edit] I've not seen any reviews of how well the 200-400 works at high pixel density such as on the D800 or the older D7000. It's great at 12 Mpx.

- Alan



Feb 09, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Alan321
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · D800 Advice Needed


bikemore wrote:
I use the DX crop mode on a D3, mainly for quick extra reach without having to swap the lens out in certain situations: courtroom, baseball.


It depends on how you define "reach" but in this case there is no advantage in terms of having more pixels on your subject. For that you need a separate camera with a higher pixel density such as one with the same number of pixels on a smaller sensor.

- Alan



Feb 09, 2012 at 08:39 PM
Jan Brittenson
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · D800 Advice Needed


In-camera crops have some advantages:
- Framing aids, allowing a more precise preview of what ends up in the crop and what doesn't. Otherwise cropping is very prone to either something excluded jutting in, or some graphical element included getting cut off - leading to sub par framing.
- Metering limits itself to the cropped area. Bright lights or dark areas excluded from the crop are also excluded from the metering.
- AF point selection - ditto. You can't select points outside the crop, they wrap properly, and 3D doesn't track outside the crop.
- It allows use of a DX lens, so if you only rarely use say a fisheye you can toss the DX one in a bag. Put it on the camera and have it default to a reasonable behavior.

The main disadvantage of course is that an APS-C size crop gets pretty small in an FX VF. You can use an eyepiece magnifier, but then the in-finder metering, buffer, and other information may end up outside the view.

This said, I'd prefer if the camera behaved as if I were cropping, including a cropped JPEG. But for the raw file content I'd like it to optionally save the full FX frame so I can tweak it in post should I wish. Or save slightly more than the indicated crop, like an extra 10%. Maybe have the raw processor default to the corresponding crop as well.



Feb 09, 2012 at 09:38 PM
 

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Mishu01
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · D800 Advice Needed


bikemore wrote:
It does require toggling through the menus a bit.


At least in D700 one could program Fn button to switch from FX to DX - option I used in some situations and I hope I'll have it in D800 too.

I really consider that one important value of D800 is the possibility to use DX option with tele lenses or with glass with weak corners in order to use the sweet spot. With so many MP you get big images anyhow... but I do not think the DX crop is 24MP... if I remember right is somewhere between 16 to 18MP. For me is enough.



Feb 09, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Two23
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · D800 Advice Needed


For birds/wildlife, you might well be better off waiting for the D400. It should have about the same pixel density, maybe have even better high ISO performance, and will save you about $1,500 which could go towards a lens, flash, better tripod, or a trip to Iceland. I see no sense at all in buying a $3,000 camera and then shooting it in DX. Why not just buy a D7000 and save yourself $2,000? The res comes out about the same. BTW, I think you meant "piqued" instead of "peaked." They are homonyms but mean different things.


Kent in SD



Feb 10, 2012 at 04:46 AM
rirakuma
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · D800 Advice Needed


agreed, why buy the D800 for solely shooting in crop mode?


Feb 10, 2012 at 07:01 AM
ragebot
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · D800 Advice Needed


Two23 wrote:
For birds/wildlife, you might well be better off waiting for the D400. It should have about the same pixel density, maybe have even better high ISO performance, and will save you about $1,500 which could go towards a lens, flash, better tripod, or a trip to Iceland. I see no sense at all in buying a $3,000 camera and then shooting it in DX. Why not just buy a D7000 and save yourself $2,000? The res comes out about the same. BTW, I think you meant "piqued" instead of "peaked." They are homonyms but mean different things.

Kent in SD


A close read of my OP reveals not only a spelling/typo of little interest to most folks but also my desire to shoot the d800 in reduced resolution using a 200-400 but also my desire to shoot in full resolution mode using a 14-24 for close stuff; something the d400 or d7000 would not do as well as a FF 36mp d800.



Feb 10, 2012 at 04:13 PM
ragebot
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · D800 Advice Needed


rirakuma wrote:
agreed, why buy the D800 for solely shooting in crop mode?


The OP clearly stated I wanted to shoot in crop mode using the 200-400 and shoot in FF mode using the 14-24.



Feb 10, 2012 at 04:15 PM





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