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Archive 2012 · D800 for Birds ?
  
 
Frogfish
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p.1 #1 · D800 for Birds ?


Background : I am on the verge of going for a D800 and Sigma 500mm (I can't afford the Nikon 500mm) as an upgrade from my Pentax K5 (excellent camera) and DA*300 (also an excellent, very sharp, lens) + x1.7 TC. I have a few threads over on the Nature forum with this combination.

I can not afford a D4 or other cameras in that price bracket. The D800 is still stretching it for me and will no doubt cost me months of 'forced abstention' as the wife makes her feelings known ! We do what we must though

Studying the D800 for shooting birds with the 500mm, I made the supposition that those closer shots can be best managed with FF (with the Sigma 500mm that's ca. 335mm equiv on APS-C), a bird appears in the middle distance and a flick of a switch later and I am at x1.2 crop (24mp and ca. 400m APS-C / 600mm 35mm equiv. ) and then spotting a small bird 40 yds away and another flick the switch and I am now at x1.5 (APS-C) for 750mm (35mm equiv.) all with latest and greatest version of Nikon's AF. All that without having yet added a TC.

Of course people also use the Sigma 500/4.5 on K5s (to great effect indeed) however the D800 seems to give far greater flexibility, better FF files and IQ and it loses nothing over the K5 in mm or mp in crop mode whilst still retaining all the advanced features and benefits of the D800 and Nikon's AF and a larger, brighter 100% VF that will make it even easier to obtain critical focus when in MF.

Are my theories correct here ? Am I missing something ? Is there the major step up in IQ and performance from the Pentax K5 I'm assuming there will be ? Or am I just better off buying the same Sigma 500mm for the K5 - with it's inbuilt SR (vibration control) ? The DR range is a wash with the D800 so there's no advantage there, though I'm assuming the files from the D800, even in x1.5 crop mode, will still be more advanced ?

I'd really appreciate any insights / options / advice ! Thank you. Kevin.



Jul 27, 2012 at 04:26 AM
runamuck
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p.1 #2 · D800 for Birds ?


2 schools of thought here. Go FF (D800) and crop. Go DX and don't crop. 6 of one, half a dozen of the other. If you're gonna get cut off, don't do it. If you ever, heaven forbid, find yourself in divorce court, that 3G's for a new camera will come back to haunt you big time. Sometimes it's best to let Momma win.


Jul 27, 2012 at 05:15 AM
TimMunsey
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p.1 #3 · D800 for Birds ?


Wait for the D400 or try the D7000.

Tim



Jul 27, 2012 at 05:22 AM
colincarter46
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p.1 #4 · D800 for Birds ?


the D800 is a great camera for birds, it currently has the fastest and most accurate autofocus of all Nikon cameras (along with the D4), it is streets ahead of the old D3/d3s which really surprised me.

If you can manage the cost, don't hesitate.

the improved metering, dynamic range and great iso performance make it a game changing camera for Nikon and photographers



Jul 27, 2012 at 07:52 AM
Frogfish
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p.1 #5 · D800 for Birds ?


runamuck wrote:
2 schools of thought here. Go FF (D800) and crop. Go DX and don't crop. 6 of one, half a dozen of the other. If you're gonna get cut off, don't do it. If you ever, heaven forbid, find yourself in divorce court, that 3G's for a new camera will come back to haunt you big time. Sometimes it's best to let Momma win.


Ha ha - thanks for your comments R. I was only jesting (well mostly) - the wife is great about my photographic expenditure since a) it is a lot less than I spent on my previous Golfing habit and b) unlike Golf I can always get most of it back if I were to sell it off !



Jul 27, 2012 at 08:36 AM
Frogfish
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p.1 #6 · D800 for Birds ?


TimMunsey wrote:
Wait for the D400 or try the D7000.

Tim


Maybe by the time I have sold off enough lenses and cameras (I am selling 10+ lenses, a K5 and a Q and keeping a K5 and about another 10 lenses) to pay for the D800 & Sigma, the D400 will be out. But I don't think a camera designed to offer people a low cost entry into FF will have all of the crop modes, AF module etc. of the D800 that makes it seem a great option ? Am I'm wrong ? I have to admit I have not investigated the D400.

The D7000 would offer me nothing over the K5 and the Sigma since they have 95% identical features and performance and the D800's x1.5 crop mode offers the same megapixels and reach as the D7000 - I believe ?

Thanks for commenting Tim !


Edited on Jul 27, 2012 at 08:51 AM · View previous versions



Jul 27, 2012 at 08:40 AM
Frogfish
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p.1 #7 · D800 for Birds ?


colincarter46 wrote:
the D800 is a great camera for birds, it currently has the fastest and most accurate autofocus of all Nikon cameras (along with the D4), it is streets ahead of the old D3/d3s which really surprised me.

If you can manage the cost, don't hesitate.

the improved metering, dynamic range and great iso performance make it a game changing camera for Nikon and photographers


The AF is a major plus point, Pentax's AF is usually very accurate but not the fastest around and Nikon's is supposedly streets ahead in that regard and in tracking, so your observations there are particularly relevant.

I've also been very impressed with the high ISO files I've seen - very important when needing to keep the SS up (and Nikon also has their own version of what is called TAv in Pentaxland - Auto ISO - another great birding feature that Canon doesn't implement quite as well). The K5 is excellent in that regard (similar to the D7000) but we are hopefully talking about another level altogether where the D800 is concerned.

Cost - well as mentioned above I have to sell off some lenses but it (or she) won't kill me

Thanks for your comments Colin !



Jul 27, 2012 at 08:50 AM
TimMunsey
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p.1 #8 · D800 for Birds ?


I think you're maybe confusing the rumoured D400 with D600? If the D400 exists it will have the same AF module as the D4/D800, probably the 24 megapixel DX sensor seen in the D3200, but significantly over the D800 it will be 8fps, so fast frame rate and greater resolution, both attributes sort after by wildlife photographers.
I think the D800 is a great bird camera, but I do miss a high frame rate.

D800 shot








Jul 27, 2012 at 09:26 AM
Chris Dees
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p.1 #9 · D800 for Birds ?


TimMunsey wrote:
........
I think the D800 is a great bird camera, but I do miss a high frame rate.
......



That's my opinion as well.
Only 4fps in FF, 5fps in 1.2 and 1.5 crop (DX), 6fps in 1.5 crop with grip (penlights or D4 battery).
The details are great.

Great shot!!!



Jul 27, 2012 at 10:35 AM
VinnieJ
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p.1 #10 · D800 for Birds ?


Couple more D800 BIF shots.












If you get use to the tool you are using you should be able to get the shot you want with almost any body.

The one question I have is, do you shoot raw?...or at the very least do some post processing? If the answer is yes then you can save yourself the effort of making on the fly changes in camera when trying to get "the shot" by cropping in post. There's no real advantage to doing it in camera unless you don't want to touch the file afterward.



Jul 27, 2012 at 11:27 AM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



Frogfish
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p.1 #11 · D800 for Birds ?


TimMunsey wrote:
I think you're maybe confusing the rumoured D400 with D600? If the D400 exists it will have the same AF module as the D4/D800, probably the 24 megapixel DX sensor seen in the D3200, but significantly over the D800 it will be 8fps, so fast frame rate and greater resolution, both attributes sort after by wildlife photographers.
I think the D800 is a great bird camera, but I do miss a high frame rate.


I'm sure you are right - I've confused the rumoured D400 with the D600 !

Yes the fps is the only downside I've found to the D800 so far (the K5 does 7 fps in RAW).

That's a gorgeous shot of one of my favourite birds ... the Hoopoe.



Jul 27, 2012 at 11:59 AM
Frogfish
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p.1 #12 · D800 for Birds ?


Chris Dees wrote:
That's my opinion as well.
Only 4fps in FF, 5fps in 1.2 and 1.5 crop (DX), 6fps in 1.5 crop with grip (penlights or D4 battery).
The details are great.


Well at least with the grip we can get it up to 6fps and in all honesty for birding that will probably be just enough as I've never found my current 7fps lacking.



Jul 27, 2012 at 12:01 PM
Frogfish
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p.1 #13 · D800 for Birds ?


VinnieJ wrote
If you get use to the tool you are using you should be able to get the shot you want with almost any body.

The one question I have is, do you shoot raw?...or at the very least do some post processing? If the answer is yes then you can save yourself the effort of making on the fly changes in camera when trying to get "the shot" by cropping in post. There's no real advantage to doing it in camera unless you don't want to touch the file afterward.


Very nice shots Vinnie.

Yes, when birding I shoot RAW all the time unless I know I need the maximum fps and then switch to the highest quality jpgs.

The advantage for me of shooting in crop mode, for distant subjects, is focus. Rather than having a small dot in the frame the bird can be rather larger and help with critical focus (on the eyes) or with MFing the lens.

Thanks for your comments Vinnie !





Jul 27, 2012 at 12:05 PM
Diavolo
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p.1 #14 · D800 for Birds ?


TimMunsey wrote:
I think you're maybe confusing the rumoured D400 with D600? If the D400 exists it will have the same AF module as the D4/D800, probably the 24 megapixel DX sensor seen in the D3200, but significantly over the D800 it will be 8fps, so fast frame rate and greater resolution, both attributes sort after by wildlife photographers.
I think the D800 is a great bird camera, but I do miss a high frame rate.

D800 shot

http://www.wildphotolife.co.uk/Spain/images/Hoopoe%202012.jpg

OMG, 100% crops of this shot please!



Jul 27, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Steve Perry
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p.1 #15 · D800 for Birds ?


For static bird shots, the D800 is great - and you're 100% right on the crop flexibility.

For birds in flight, the D800 is good - but not great - the slower frame rate doesn't give you the options like a faster FPS camera does. Sometimes 8-10 FPS is just what's needed to get the perfect wingbeat. The D800 is sometimes just too slow.

The other D800 problem is the buffer. Let's say you have a bird flying parallel to you across a pond or something. With a larger buffer you can really just let it rip for the whole sequence, with the D800 buffer, not so much. Buffer size also comes into play when you've shoot a quick sequence of one bird then quickly turn to shoot a sequence of another.

All that said, in Nikon's current line-up and your budget, a D800 is probably still the best bet. I think the rumored D400 would be a perfect fit, but who knows when / if on that one?

Me, I'd probably buy the D800 and if the D400 comes out you can always sell. I have a feeling D800 bodies will hold their value for awhile.



Jul 27, 2012 at 01:10 PM
BrianJarvis
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p.1 #16 · D800 for Birds ?


Agreed D800 is great for birds. Here is a post I have of BIF with the 70-200VRII and 2X TC

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1133545/0#10828492



Jul 27, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Gary Irwin
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p.1 #17 · D800 for Birds ?


I don't have a D800 and have never used one (though several of my buddies do and like it a lot), so take this with a grain of salt. If your primary interest is birding and funds are a little tight I'd suggest picking up a used D7000 and putting the extra cash towards a 500VR -- you won't be happy cropping the D800 heavy on less than premium glass. Maybe next year you can decide whether to upgrade to the D400 (which should be out by then) or a used D800 -- they will be available.


Jul 27, 2012 at 05:14 PM
VinnieJ
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p.1 #18 · D800 for Birds ?


Frogfish wrote:
The advantage for me of shooting in crop mode, for distant subjects, is focus. Rather than having a small dot in the frame the bird can be rather larger and help with critical focus (on the eyes) or with MFing the lens.



In the view finder you just get a box to show your frame. With the live view (I'm assuming for manual focusing but not birding) it is framed more accurately but you can also zoom in if you want to when in FX mode and crop to frame.

You can try it and see if it's helpful, for me I don't see any advantage.



Jul 27, 2012 at 11:27 PM
VinnieJ
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p.1 #19 · D800 for Birds ?


Gary Irwin wrote:
I don't have a D800 and have never used one (though several of my buddies do and like it a lot), so take this with a grain of salt. If your primary interest is birding and funds are a little tight I'd suggest picking up a used D7000 and putting the extra cash towards a 500VR -- you won't be happy cropping the D800 heavy on less than premium glass. Maybe next year you can decide whether to upgrade to the D400 (which should be out by then) or a used D800 -- they will be available.


Best suggestion yet. Listen to Gary!

D5100 + 300/2.8 VR II


Red-Tailed Hawk by Mandrake Photography, on Flickr



Jul 27, 2012 at 11:30 PM
derry1
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p.1 #20 · D800 for Birds ?


does this way over 100% crop count,,

Derry



D800E
Nikon 105 VR hand held



Jul 28, 2012 at 01:37 AM
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