Upload & Sell: Off
You have a great sensor (D800) with lots of nice features (active point spot metering, very fast shutter lag, fun exposure blending in-camera feature, dk-17m eyepiece magnifier, exposure compensation with a very usable autoISO, one-button review zooming to the focused area, etc.)...but your lenses. Your lenses are just pfft.
First off, the 85 f/1.8g's background blur is just horrid...because it's perfect, it's uninteresting, it's blah. It doesn't produce that fisheye-oof-distorting background appearance that makes the whole image look 3d. Instead, it produces nearly perfect circles and the ones near the edges are so tiny that they are barely bokeh anymore. However, this is TOTALLY 100% subjective...I admittedly like my Canon 85L's background blur much better and it is much more flawed. I posted a bokeh comparison at identical apertures (f/1.8) and most people preferred the NIKON bokeh...but yet I still prefer the Canon bokeh. My tastes must be tainted. Plus when wide open it has very strong LoCAs that lead to a nasty fringe when the subject is just barely misfocused (as often happens with subjects about 15 feet away)...and that huge LoCA purple fringe is so big that lightroom can't remove it.
Then comes the 35 f/1.4g, my second (and final) Nikon lens. You just...don't focus fast enough. No, you miss more shots by not being fast enough to achieve focus. It's like, almost as slow as the Canon 85L. Bokeh is nice - pretty 3d looking if also a bit excessively perfect...but not fast enough focus. I need 35L-fast focusing, even with the added Canon hesitation-before-focusing in dim light, the lens focuses faster than the Nikon version. And in good light, the Canon 35L might as well be focusing instantantaneously...and so I'm spoiled.
And I notice that both lenses have two other very unpleasant traits: They both backfocus on backlit subjects (extremely consistent behavior) because the af system seems to lock on the brightest edge rather than the one within the focus point (af-c and af-s, 1 point focus and 9-point focus both have similar issues)...and they both misfocus on subjects that are close to the hyperfocal distance or at about 10-15 feet away.
The camera also has a few flaws, but most of them are related to the very sluggish and poor implementation of live view and taking photos in live view. Although, the camera locks focus quicker in live view than my 5d2s...but the sluggish framerate with live view magnification, the movement of the cursor, and the delays for taking photos are all very subpar. The other thing I don't like about the camera is that it takes TWO hands to change iso, white balance, and a few other settings...that only take ONE hand with my 5d2s. Then, the colors...I don't really love Nikon colors, something about the skin tones looks off to me...a little more like clay.
The lens upgrade path also needs considering. I have heard great things about Nikon's 14-24 and 24, and I have personally experienced very crappy things about Canon's 16-35 (the resolution plain sucks). However, Nikon doesn't really HAVE excellent 50 or 135mm...and Canon does. And you know, there's something else that Nikon does that I don't like...their lens bodies feel plasticky...not very encouraging to me. Originally I thought the circling arrows around the "10" on Nikon lenses meant it has a presumed MTBF of 10 years, but it was pointed out by someone else that it means the environmentally hazardous substances inside are not expected to seep through for at least 10 years...And, I also noticed that just about every Nikon 85mm-135mm prime lens seems to have the most incredible purple fringe bloom that seems to detract from image quality even when they may be as sharp or sharper than their Canon counterparts...
So...I tried a D800. I tried my most-used focal lengths (35, 85) for 6 months. And I acknowledged the superior sensor design in the D800 and the several advantages in features. But, when I ask myself if I could leave the Canon advantages of near-instant 35L autofocus, much more usable live view, more flexible tilt-shift lenses, very nice 50 and 135mm lenses, very imperfect (and therefore personality-filled) bokeh...I find that I could never completely abandon Canon unless Nikon had comparable lenses, especially the lenses I use most often (35, 85).
So...sorry Nikon, you didn't win me...I wanted you to win me, I had very high hopes for your sensor and autofocus (the two most critical reasons for my Nikon trial at the time), but your lenses and several autofocus quirks did me in...
**Edit** another point that has dissuaded me from keeping the Nikon is the stark contrast of reports in factory service quality. I have had many, many positive experiences sending things in to Canon, and I have heard mostly positive about Canon service...but Nikon, on the other hand, has a reputation for being spotty in the service department. This worries and unsettles me...to the point where I feel like I should get rid of the camera before something goes wrong and I have to send it in.
Edited on Feb 09, 2013 at 12:14 AM · View previous versions