Upload & Sell: Off
Officially, I just purchased my first Nikon camera ever. The only other time I have used one was at PMA/CES when I tried out the D700, D4, D3x briefly. The AF system was the main thing I was interested in, because I am a long-time frustrated Canon AF user.
So now I bought a D800 (pictureline, arrived in 2 days) and 85 f/1.8g. People say Nikon doesn't focus as fast as Canon...my experience between this and my 5d2 is that the 85 f/1.8g seems to focus about at the pace of the 50L. It's not slow, it's not lightning fast.
I wanted accuracy. I was doubtful, I am still a little doubtful of certain points on the outside, I will probably try to research or test them further. After many shots in bright, medium and dim light from various sources, I would say that the center point is more accurate than my 5d2. The outer points are also generally quite accurate so far, though I have fooled them with certain subjects...the front of a microwave, for example.
It focuses in the dark, pretty much complete darkness, as long as the af assist lamp can reach and throw some light on the subject. Obviously this was impossible without a flash on-camera, and there was more delay on my 5d2, 5d, 40d, 1ds II, etc...always that trademark Canon pause while it "switched" into dim-light mode or something. I wonder if the 5d3 has removed that.
Viewfinder isn't significantly different for me. I like the dot confirming focus with arrows pointing to either side, telling which direction it thinks it's off. I wonder if it's right.
I like that when the AF does miss something, it seems to behave in a specific way that I can identify as it "not being confident." By this, it makes it easier for me to tell when to expect an OOF image so I can try the focus again before taking the shot.
Auto ISO is wonderful...really, really nice...I mean REALLY nice, coming from having a worthless version on the 5d2. I hear the 5d3 has it but lacks EV adjustment with auto ISO. Such a convenience, it would/will perform similarly to having Av or Tv only without having to expect either of them to change when I don't want.
The metering system seems very good, I have limited comparison for this since I rarely used any auto modes that involved in-camera metering judgment actually changing exposures for me.
I liked the focus point re-centering button and selected-point-spot-metering features on the 1ds ii, nice to have them on the d800.
I don't see anything wrong with the preview/playback, seems to be fine for analyzing focus and doesn't seem to have any unnatural tints - although I wouldn't know from comparing with other Nikons. I like that sideways/vertical scrolling within a zoomed image is much faster than the 5d2, wonder if that is different with newer Canons.
Live view's issue for me is the much slower frame rate when zoomed in, which is unpleasant but tolerable.
LCD cover is nice, always liked that idea.
I am looking at an ISO12800 image with LR's default noise reduction, and I don't see any color noise or banding. The detail is noisy, but it's definitely usable as a last resort for weddings with limited light available...25600 actually makes a very workable b&w, though color noise confuses LR noise reduction in fine detail areas. BW ISO25600 here (15 luminance noise reduction LR, 400/0.2 unsharp mask PS):
Detail resized to 4368x2912, 12.8 megapixels, what I typically give clients:
Pretty happy with it overall, I think I might end up keeping it...it seems to outperform my 5d2s in every way I can see, except that I have many more lenses for my 5d2s. I haven't really tested "dynamic range" yet...