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Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Comments

So which lens did you get to put on the front of your new toy?

Having just made the switch from my old Canon 5D to a D800E this weekend, I must agree with your comments on what Nikon has done here and where digital photography has come. I feel kind of like the country bumpkin come to the big city. Boy, this thing has a lot of buttons, but even with just the 24-120 zoom, I'm loving the superb dynamic range and high ISO capabilities, not to mention all that resolution.

Enjoy, Mike!

" I realized I was wasting a whole lot of emotional energy on the idea that I'm still going to be a B&W film photographer."

Thanks Mike, how well put, the scales have at last fallen from my eyes.

Simon, Norfolk UK

PS. If Lulu don't scare em wait till they see the monster Nikon!

"I realized I was wasting a whole lot of emotional energy on the idea that I'm still going to be a B&W film photographer. Realistically, I have to give that idea up."

Like many others, I've been following your decision making process with enormous interest. I think I've reached the same point, if I stop kidding myself.

I love the look of Tri-x shot with the Pentax 67 standard lens shot wide open, I've had one for 25 years, I just don't use it, even if I take it along to a shoot.

I bought the 5D3 two weeks ago, put my 35mm/1.4L lens on, and immediately fell in love with it. Had the 5D1 and 5D2; never fell for them, just liked them for their ability to take good fotos.

Seriously considering selling everything except the 135/2.0L and the 35/1.4L lenses, and all the other camera bodies.

Excellent. Use it well, use it in good health, use it a lot.

What lens? 35/1.4?

It's been some trip for your readers.

Mike,
As much as your 'announcement' is interesting is this the famous Lulu that had that major operation awhile back?

Congratulations. You need to look no more. This camera should last you at least a decade and might very well take you to the grave (in the good sense). Now we have High ISO, high density sensors, excellent auto-focus. There is no longer any reason to keep up-grading. Hope you enjoy yourself.

Keith,
Yes. It's called a "TPLO, " for tibial-plateau-leveling osteotomy. It repaired a blown ACL in her left hind leg. The right hind might need the same at some point. A TPLO is more expensive than the new camera!!

Mike

Let's have some fun with this.

"Mike Johnston finally consummates his Nikon love affair."

"Johnston declares D800 camera of the decade."

"TOP in the tank for Nikon."

"Mike Johnston - Canon hater or just misinformed?"

"TOP's Johnston declares D800 better than large format"

"So which lens did you get to put on the front of your new toy?"

Chris,
For the time being, the 28mm ƒ/1.8G. Not as much a thoroughbred as the 35mm, but cheaper and lighter. I thought I'd try to learn to give myself a little "air" for modest cropping and convergence correction in post.

Don't know if this lens choice will last, but I'll give it a fair try.

Mike

So, as they say, you're done for now.
Frankly, I wouldn't know a difference between this camera, or a Sony A900, they both look like plastic bricks, and are both more than adequate for most photographic requirements. The challenge, is not in the pixels or DR, but, as always, in creating the magic of interesting images.
Good luck and good light.
Marek

Dear Mike,

I eagerly await the howls of outrage from certain quarters (g). No doubt accompanied by demands you rename this "The Online Digital Photographer" so as not to "mislead" anyone about your dark perversions.

I think you chose wisely, going for the higher model. No camera's going to be without warts, but you have a better idea of what this model's warts are. Also, once the honeymoon is over and you start to find the weaknesses that mildly vex you (happens with every camera), the extra sheer raw image quality will help you work around a lot of them better.

Plus, it's nice to be able to crop with impunity when you so desire.

pax / Ctein

re: you comment about new generation of sensors, I have been saying something derivative of that in the past few days: there does seem to be a genuine leap with the latest sensor such that even the tiny 4/3 sensor seems to compare favorably with the best that are/were available from current and last generation.

Or to put it this way: if you were happy with last generation's full frame sensor performance, you can now get similar performance even on smaller sensors.

Yes this means that if you are chasing "the best," the best new full frame sensors (and that could be the Nikon D800/E, or the Leica M/T240, or...) will be even better, but it's no longer necessary. If you consider other factors, smaller cameras should be considered, even if you want really good image quality.

Hi Mike,

Don't know if you're going to sell your OM-D but maybe reconsider if you're thinking of it: looks like Olympus is developing a 17/2 to replace their 17/2.8.

--Dave

Mike,

I've followed your 5-day journey and must say congratulations. It had me swaying back and forth as I contemplated using it to justify my own D800 purchase which may (or may not) materialize. One of my concerns is needing to upgrade my computer hardware; what thoughts do you have about this now that the camera is yours?

Dan

But Mike, but Mike . . .

Don't you have a basement darkroom conversion underway? I can't recall a post with that project coming to completion. Are you still going to print in the darkroom or have you gone all Ctein on us?

:-)

Nice camera, btw. Your test images were very interesting and make me want to try a really good digital camera sometime, but I do hope you will complete the darkroom and share some of that experience too.

"Realistically, I have to give that idea up."

[Cue Rossini's William Tell Overture]

Hi ho Silver, and away !

Phew!! thank goodness for that Mike now I can get back to things more mundane like getting on with life.
Hope you get lots of enjoyment from you purchase and I look forward to some stunning b/w shots which I hope you'll share with your loyal fans at TOP.

Also hope you will share your insights and tips on post processing and how to get the best possible b/w results.
Michael.

Congratulations Mike. I really enjoy your enthusiastic explorations of new gear. Any new gear. As used by a photographer as opposed to a test machine guru.

And I applaud your choice of focal length too. After you use the 28 f/1.8 for a while I'd be interested to hear your reflections on how it compares to the 35mm f/1.4. And any regrets or second thoughts.

The only f/1.4 lens I ever owned in 35 years was a good one- a 35mm Summilux for the M4P I had at the time. It was my standard lens for nearly everything but I couldn't distinguish any superior "thoroughbred" optical properties in the Summilux compared to the much less expensive 50mm f/2 Summicron I also had.

Mike,

If you are actually going to sell off the balance of your camera collection, will you do that here on TOP, or will they be heading to the *Bay for some auctions?

Not that I should even consider another camera, lens or other photo related purchase, but I'm sure a number of us are interested in finding out what will be available and where...

Have fun with your new D800!

Mike,

I'd be curious to read some day why you have apparently never taken to the K-5.

(I'm assuming it was the other unwise purchase you made recently.)

Bob

[Bob, no, the unwise purchases were the Sony A900 and the Chamonix Whole Plate. Both are very good cameras though--the first I simply overpaid for considering where it was in its lifecycle, and the second just isn't a fit for me. --MJ

I have followed this series with great interest - mostly because I believe my Dragoon buying days are over and I didn't fear you would influence me into buying one. I only hope there's no buyer's remorse when you get your hands on that Sony RX1.

Congrats! Getting a new camera is always exciting.

Congratulations! Refocusing on a single exceptionally capable device will surely enable you to realize more of what you really want to see in your work.

>(The next breakthrough—currently still hull down on the horizon—will be when we're able to comfortably keep our digital cameras for seven to ten years instead of two to five. But that's a post for another day.)

I think we're there; for most serious but generalist photographers we've been there for a while now. The last big question for me is: can the D600 replace my $3.00/shot MF film cameras for the occasional killer landscape? I'm going to enjoy looking for the perfect sky to test out that idea.

Mike, you will love the camera. I have had mine since spring and have approximately 5000 clicks on it so far. I generally shoot with a 24-120 or the 28-300 and like them both. The camera makes the whole process easy and you will love the images. Please post your progress with the camera as well as images, as you move along. Good luck. Eric

Always interesting, great reasoning, and have a blast, Mike! You/Nikon have me seriously considering jettisoning these 3 wonderful MF systems I've been hanging on to since the early 2000s, hoping/until MF backs no longer cost as much as new cars...
Joe

I sure would have lost that bet. I never doubted the Nikon's ability; when the D800 came out I thought that digital had now reached a level that would satisfy very nearly anybody.

But I must have been projecting on to you my desire for something in a size/weight I'm more likely to actually have with me when I need it. That amount of camera has gotten progressively smaller for me each year; it hovers right around the M4-2 w/35 level at the moment (max).

I hope the camera is everything you are wanting and inspires you to get out and do lots of good work.

You'l love/hate it......I've had one for 4 months now and still finding my way. That sensor show EVERYTHING...but thats the fun...too bad you might will be selling it in a year or two to get any return out of it...I don't want it to become a doorstop like my Kodak/Nikon NC2000....Cameras are really computers now and not the tools of art like in the film days of a Lieca M's or Nikon F's...now its all about the sensor. And the D800 is the top of the heap in 35mm format....Now if I could find printer to show off that tonal range of the sensor and the know how to get the results....I do love working with the B/W Google/Nik software Silver Efex Pro 2. close to working in the darkroom without the smell of fixer...nothing will replace that experience.

Mike,
Congratulations! 28mm crops very nicely to a wide-ish square, btw.

Will

Another potential headline: "Johnston Finds Fondling Newest Nikon Optically and Ergonomically Pleasing"

So when is the garage sale?

Watching from a distance (not just you, but everyone else too), I get the feeling the D600 is designed at a lower level of solidity / professionalism than the D800. I haven't handled either one myself, though, so that's entirely second-hand opinion. So you quite probably made the right choice for you.

Besides, it's only a few hundred dollars cheaper. (Sheesh, did I really say that?)

Mike:

Enjoy it! Eat dessert first! Life is uncertain!

With best regards.

Stephen

PS: I have the D7000, and I'm as happy as a rat in liverwurst with it. But is it really a FF (full-frame) camera?

Let me summarize things here ...

- Nikon D800/D800E: 97%, TOP Platinum Award.

Closely follwed by:
- OM-D 92%, TOP Gold Award,
- Sony A900 79% TOP Highly Recommended Award,
and uh...
- Chamonix View Camera Thingy 60% TOP Don Quixote Award

...(and of course I'm kidding! I really enjoyed the review process actually!!)

Pak

My findings are similar to yours. I've had a D800 since May of this year. It is by far and away the best camera I have ever used. I've been a Nikon user since the D3 and have lenses from 16mm all the way to a 200-400/f4. It's amazingly sharp on all.

One issue I didn't see covered in your evaluation involves point light sources. I do a fair amount of landscape/nature photography and I've noticed the D800 has a tendency to have an odd artifacting in the lens flare...looks like something to do with the Bayer filter. You can kind of see an example of it in this image:
http://david-harpe.artistwebsites.com/featured/autumn-in-the-rockies-david-harpe.html

Notice the odd regular shaped red/green pattern in the flare? This is using a Nikon 20mm/2.8 probably at around f/16. This one shows it a little better (in the sky in the right corner):
http://david-harpe.artistwebsites.com/featured/colorado-aspen-trees-4-david-harpe.html

I'm shooting with the straight D800 and not the "E" model, so it would be interesting to see if the E model minimizes it. It's not hard to work around...just surprising is all.

You've made an excellent choice. For you. Which is all that matters.

Were I a single man or one with a spouse who understood GAS, I would have one, too. But I am neither, so I won't. Having said that, I am not sure that I am one bit less content (for now) with my Sony NEX 7.

Happy shooting to us all. That's what it is all about anyway.

"PS: I have the D7000, and I'm as happy as a rat in liverwurst with it. But is it really a FF (full-frame) camera?"

Stephen,
That's a semi-colon there, not a colon. A colon says "as follows"; a semi-colon is like a period but a little less so.

Mike

Congratulations on your new purchase. May this camera prove to be a very inspiring tool with which you will manage to create a new body of work which leave you proud and satisfied.
BTW lovely dog, there's nothing like pitbull blood in a dog to create the most loving and faithful companion.

Congratulations. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and journey to purchase.

Now get out there and enjoy.

I've found this quite an interesting series of articles. Reading about your thought process through your rental period, plus your impressions on how the camera seemed to work for what you were testing for was much more interesting to me than another feature-centric review.

Can't wait to see some of the fruits of your new tool.

Mike, I'm a bit surprised that you were surprised at the surprising capabilities of the Sony sensor. Way, way back, 2 years ago, I showed how impressive the new generation of Sony sensors were with their apparent lack of shadow noise and gobs of dynamic range. I did so with the Pentax K-5...which you own!

I'm curious to know why you weren't impressed by the Pentax K-5 in that respect the way you were with the Nikon D800e.

"...I don't usually see why it should be interesting to others what I actually do"

Perhaps it shouldn't be, but I, for one, am reassured that my purchase of the D800 was a good choice.

It was a bit odd witnessing someone else's romance-in-progress on a blog, but I enjoyed following your process and I'm glad you're pleased. Happy shooting!

Did you ever finish your darkroom? Just curious.

....Congratulations. You need to look no more. This camera should last you at least a decade and might very well take you to the grave (in the good sense). Now we have High ISO, high density sensors, excellent auto-focus. There is no longer any reason to keep up-grading...
"chuckle" ;-)

So what are you selling?

Glad you found something, also that it's a sizeable change. Happy image-making - good start with Lulu. :)

Good choice, Michael. May you two be very happy.

Have fun with the new camera Mike. I don't think you made a bad choice here, because it will be a hard camera to replace - even for Nikon. For that reason it's performance may still be looking good for a while yet. If you measure the cost over the amount of use something gets and its useful lifespan, buying the best sometimes works out to be more economical.

Check out the new Sigma "A" 35 F1.4 some time. It's a relative snip compared to the Nikon version and the specs bode well.

As I've said before I love my D700. I will probably die before I buy another DSLR. The D800 is certainly a better camera but for me the D700 does everything I want or need a digital camera to do. If I were at the same point now as I was a couple of years ago I would buy the D800 today. Mike, I think the D800 will probably do you well into your senior years. Sure new stuff will come out but in the end will it be the same leap forward as the D700/800 is compared to DSLR's made 5 years ago. In five years I think the improvements will be important but marginally beneficial.

hey there Mike, one thing I know is that you have great experience with cameras, and printing. I have enjoyed reading your posts about this Nikon, as it seemed to me that you were discovering new enthusiasm and joy in making pictures. You just want to use the damned thing. The concept of "being a black- and-white film photographer" is something we cling on to...but we move on. (It took 3 spinal surgeries to move me on!) So, enjoy your camera!! Photography, it's an emotional thing.

"And I'm happy.

So that's it."

Indeed it is.

I am glad you were able to try and then buy with confidence.

A week or so ago you took exception to my remark that mid/high range cameras have reached a point where nearly any of them are technically more than adequate for the vast majority of snaps that the vast majority of owners will ever take with them. I stand by this opinion firmly, having purchased / tried more cameras (film and digital) than most sane photographers. The differences lie mainly in ergonomics and fetishes.

But that opinion aside, a camera --any camera-- is only as good as its user. No use, no good. I look forward to you giving that new "dragoon" plenty to look at this fall and winter, Mike!

"I realized I was wasting a whole lot of emotional energy on the idea that I'm still going to be a B&W film photographer."

Perhaps in the next 2 or 3 years, top-end digital will be able to re-produce film almost perfectly (after digital post-processing). Whether you want to do that is another story, but the capability might be there. Then people can create images with whatever look they like -- from a film look through to a digital illustration.

BTW: For digital with a film look, check out Mark Hobson's work. For digital with a pleasing digital look, check out Ming Thein's work.

Well, a coupla three things....

First, that A900 of yours was NOT a bad purchase, and I think you'll find a good market for it among the Sony faithful who are skeptical about SLT and want that lovely viewfinder. Don't know about your lenses, but if they were decent they'll have held some value.

Second, once again about that A900: if you'll recall, that camera started the dynamic range "revolution", imo. Sony specifically went after dynamic range over high iso performance, and it had the best DR (sorry Ctein) of any camera for several years I think, along with the A850 (which I have).

And third----call me a skeptic about this B+W thing of yours. I've just bought a complete Pentax 645N film kit---body, two holders, 3 lenses, flash, release, and even a pola back!----for less than $900. This will backstop my Fuji 6x9 nicely. Easy to scan, manageable file sizes, print as big as you wanna, and some great tonality.

You'll be back....

So, a Nikon D800 and an Olympus OM-D? living the good life, huh? well, congrats on your purchase, I hope you find it as enjoyable as you did your rental.

Anyways, I'm curious: has this recent experience with Nikon's mammoth affected your view on results vs other factors when choosing a camera, in either direction?

Again, enjoy your new camera & lens :)

Mike,

How much is your Sony A900 worth used? :-)

Best Regards,

ACG

[Aaron, the top of the market seems to be about $1,600-$1,800, roughly $1000 less than I paid. Mine's in very good condition, though, with relatively few shutter actuations, so it should at least sell for a price on the decent end of the range. BTW the only reason it was a bad choice was because of the time in the lifecycle I bought it and the depreciation it has suffered as a consequence--it was and still is a very fine camera and very pleasant to use. --MJ]

I'm also currently culling my gear after buying a 5D3.

On the list is an antique 8x10 kodak that i said i'd shoot Christmas family portraits on until i couldn't buy or develop the film - 2 years later the shutter is broken and the project will come to an abrupt end - turns out to be the most expensive happy dumbass decision of my photographic career so far

if only i'd listened to my wife :(

"One of my concerns is needing to upgrade my computer hardware; what thoughts do you have about this now that the camera is yours?"

Dan,
I have a pretty good computer already...a 27" i5 mid-2010 iMac with 16GB of RAM and a 2TB hard drive. I use a 2TB external drive for backup. The limits of storage are not currently threatened....

Mike

" Don't you have a basement darkroom conversion underway?...Are you still going to print in the darkroom or have you gone all Ctein on us?"

Jeff,
Ctein is inimitable. But to answer your question, the darkroom has been mostly finished for some time. I'm using it to print a portfolio of the best of my B&W 35mm work from 1980 to 2000.

Mike

prints? prints? prints??????

While I watch your footsteps along this path carefully, I must admit it's with some irony. As you shed your attachment to B&W film, I find myself recommitting to it. Your sale of your whole plate camera is putting me on the course of moving to a 5x7 with the intent to try and sell contact prints.

The most important difference though is that I have never done this work professionally and, should I fail at selling prints, we will be no worse off than we were before. There is a gentle freedom in that detail...

Mike, you've never really shared with us your reflections on some of your previous purchases. Perhaps as you get rid of them you could give us a report on what you liked and didn't like?

"will be when we're able to comfortably keep our digital cameras for seven to ten years instead of two to five. "

Haaaaa! Mike, it's a computer now, that is just never gonna happen other than it already does. The D10 or even Nikon 990's I had would still work for most clients I have today since it's almost all internet use, but if I shown up with either...I probably would not even start the shoot before the client said WTF? And asked me to leave. In the commercial world we upgrade just to stay even or a bit ahead of the clients camera :)

Robert

Mike, You've got to try NX2 if you haven't yet. I still have the "old" D3 that is now 6? years old.

Nothing, I mean nothing does the math with a NEF to deliver an image as well as NX2. This is especially true at hi-iso.

Sure for a wedding shooter it seems slow and doggy. That isn't you. Try it..Please.

Neil

I apologize for not reading most of the comments. I usually do. This sure has engendered a lot of comments.

Number 1, too bad the rental cost doesn't go toward the purchase.

Number 2, but really should be number 1, why on earth did you go to your local camera shop, buy brand new, and pay tax, when you could have saved gobs of dough (okay, perhaps at least $300 or so) on a perfectly good used one that I see pop up for sale on the forums all the time, even on the Canon forum?

At one time, I never, ever bought used anything. Always viewed it as someone else's headache, whether it be a car or what have you. I finally conquered that irrational fear and have gotten great deals on used camera equipment more times than I can count and have probably saved thousands of dollars in the process. Just a thought.

The D800 is a great pro camera, works fabulously in the studio and on location but every time I took it out to have some fun I ran into the 'oh wow' factor (oh wow that's a big camera...).

So I bought a D7000 for fun and stay under the radar. And yes it's imaging capability is right up there.

Mike,

Enjoyed the posts on the 800E and hope you thoroughly enjoy the camera too. I sometimes think that coveting new gear is a sickness, but you like what you like and new gear IS nifty. I bought two new cameras this year, well three if you count the used Nikon 35TI film camera, which is a jewel of an old semi-compact film camera, but by golly is it slow in operation to today's gear.. And as I tell my wife I sold two cameras this year too, so all-in-all not to bad. Heck I even sold the old Yashica T4 for more than I paid for ages ago. And now I can't stop thinking of the Fuji X-E1 and that wonderful little Sony RX1. I guess it never ends, does it. But really do we want it to? Jeff Smith

Give Lulu a nice scratch between the ears for me. She looks good in black and white. Congrats on the new camera. I hope it serves you well for at least the next seven years.

You might do okay selling the A900 and lenses. A lot of folks aren't thrilled with the A99. The A900 is a nice low-ISO studio camera. The viewfinder is first-rate.

I'm glad you mentioned the D600. I could never justify the D800 and I felt the D600 IQ would be pretty comparable. DPReview seem to have confirmed that today.

Not that I'm thinking of switching. I'm still very happy with Pentax. The K-5 still compares pretty well and I'm still hoping for a FF soon. Knowing Pentax, they'll do a good job.

I can't help wondering - you bought a K-5, then said not another word about it, even now. What happened?

[I've said many words about it, actually. Mainly to explain (repeatedly) that the reason I never shot much with it is that I never had a lens I really got along with for it. A mark against me, not the K-5. --MJ]

cannot tell from your post if you know that a Nex7 has an aps-c sized sensor not a micro 4/3's. good luck with your new camera. joanlvh

PS, yeah, on Tex's point above. I had a Fuji 6x9 at one time and took the attitude that cropping that huge neg or transparency scanned at 4800dpi was as good as having a zoom. I have a few 100MB+ scans that I can just zoom and zoom into.

You had to be dedicated to carry it around, though. I used to pull it out of my shopping bag and say, "That's not a camera, son, THIS is a camera." In my best Mick Dundee drawl.

Mike, does this mean we can hope for the occasional article about _your_ photography? It's make a nice change to get a peek of your own work, and some insight into your own style every now and then.

You might find that with the new machine and the new outlook you can get back to digital black and white later on after acclimating to the new machines. I had a hard time black and white in my digital cameras for a long time until I finally managed to loosen up enough to be able to see the black and white picture through the possibly color digital representation. It's an extra mental step, but I find black and white with my D700 (and iPhone for that matter) to be pretty satisfying.

I guess I have stopped printing. But darkroom printing was never good for me anyway (I mean physically. I liked doing it, except for the rashes and the wheezing).

Good luck with the new machine. Consider the 24-85 zoom lenses. They are nice.

Congrats Mike---

As a D800 owner as well, I've had a lot of fun with it. You should be well served with your iMac, I'm running 12 GB of Ram and had no problems.

Hard to move on, but move on we must (or should). I had to let a decade of serious mountain biking go when photography entered my life. Interestingly, fifteen years of photography is now in the same spot as mountain biking, although its replacement is unclear. Fun times!

You may or may not find this funny..
http://youtu.be/LApO_BDRE8M

Given your initial "___" triple underscore post I thought you were getting the RX1, which I hope you can compare for us one day.

@ Dave Harpe: Notice the odd regular shaped red/green pattern in the flare?

The second example shows an almost regular array of dots. It's probably reflections back from the microlenses that are then reflected back from the last element of the lens.

Other cameras have suffered from this (an Olympus E-PL2 and others Pens) with the infamous "red dots".

http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2012/07/ufos-in-the-sunset.html

It's difficult to deal with when shooting directly into the sun if the backmost element doesn't have a great AR coating. Even then there is a lot of light to be reflected. That coating was not needed in film days as the film didn't reflect that much light. So older lenses tend to be worse than new ones.

Frankly, it is strange that there is still so much attention to "image quality", "sharpness", etc. Can you raise the dead with a high IQ?

I shoot film and it has too much resolution for me - when I get a good one.

For the DSLR, the D600 would have been a more sensible choice

Let's face it. For all the pretence of a thorough and reasoned approach, the choices we make are basically personal and irrational. If you believe the D800 will give you better results, it will. It certainly looks like a great camera.

(I'll probably swap my Sigma 30mm f/2.8 with the upcoming Zeiss 32mm f/1.8 on my NEX-7 next year for the same reason. Not because the Sigma is bad ... in fact it's a great performer, especially given its price ... but pride of ownership and a belief that all my shots with the replacement will be so much better).

Have fun with your new toy!

"Have fun with your new toy!"

Thanks Stephen, I am!

Mike

Congrats Mike, I'm sure you'll be happy with the new camera. Or, I mean happy with the photos you make with it, to more precise. Having great tools is one of the things that can make photography such a rewarding pursuit.

It still seems to me, when I think back on it, looking at the prints I'm most proud of, it's hard for me to think or remember anymore which camera I used.

I'm sure for at least a while you'll be 'inspired' and motivated to go out and shoot, thus increasing the potential for getting the shots that result in the prints you're happy with. if it takes getting a whole new camera (or indeed, going digital altogether) to fire your imagination enough to get out there and do it, then it's all worth it in the end.

I sincerely hope this satisfies your soul, at least for a good long while.

Congratulations on the camera, Mike. I hope this ends up being a good purchase for you. The camera is amazingly good, and has a great layout, but it is also somewhat intimidating for me. I feel pressure to do great work every time I pick it up :)

I am interested why you chose the D800 over the E?

A good short tele you might want to consider is the Micro Nikkor 60mm f/2.8G. Very neutral, sharp and pleasing, although not so fast, of course. Macro is a bonus, and the lens is very cheap.

fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, we are all different. Our likes and dislikes, needs and wants are different. While I own the D800 twins, it is my OMD that comes with me every day. And I am still into that black and white film thing ... just got to get off my fat butt and start thinking again.

I bought a D800 and find my tranquility back, stop questioning about digital qualities or aiming at other new releases.

Also got an V1 set for half price. You still need a pocket camera though :)
Ups sorry, you guys call it mirrorless. Anyway.

I don't always "get" the hoopla about street photography, but I do "get" the Lulu thinking on her street shot. Smart and pretty looking Lulu. Congrats on finding yourself with the D800. I know how important the connection can be. Me, I use an Alpa Max + P45 and a Nex-7. I love them both and they speak to me.

If I stay in photography as a commercial enterprise, looking at my buddy's Nikon D800, it seems to be a category killer, not only in it's ability to match some very expensive large chip 120 based cameras, but of course, in the usual high-end Nikon ability to shoot tiff files. This camera seems reasonably priced in that almost anything you would shoot with it would be unlikely to be visually super-ceded by any new digital developments, i.e. any more megapixels, etc. would be unlikely to be noticed in any reasonably sized print or reproduction needed in any commercial aspect. In the possibility that you might be able to actually hold on to this camera as a usable item for the next 10 years, and at just 2900, it seems like a bargain against having to replace cameras to meet client requirements every 3-4 years, as was normal.

If I finally give up on the mayhem of commercial photography for good, I would shoot 120 or sheet film for myself, and be more interested in digital as a adjunct to what I'm doing, for documentation or other things that necessitate instant decent images. Another buddy's NEX7 (or6) seems perfect for that use: small, light, APS-C performance for excellent output in most print and reproduction needs, no mirror box moving parts for long term breakage, a third of the size of my current APS-C Nikon; lot's to recommend that mentality as well.

But you are correct, somewhere recently we've gone over a hump, like the first cheap Canon Digital Rebel, and it's changed going forward. The D800 may foster in an era where we see even less of the high-priced, and ill-affordable for most working pros, 120 based digital in the professional market.

darr,
Actually I think that would be a classic "environmental portrait." [g]

Mike

"I'm sure you'll be happy with the new camera. Or, I mean happy with the photos you make with it, to more precise."

Phil,
Your "more precise" clause is the key. Of course, I still have to get over the printing hurdle.

Mike

Congratulations !!!! You bought local, too!

"You bought local, too!"

Well, I do a lot of tire-kicking at that shop, and they showed me the camera. They deserve it. In the same way that I hope people who get a lot of enjoyment from this site will buy through my links.

If I knew I was going to buy the D800 online, I wouldn't have gone in and asked to see it. You can't keep everybody completely happy, from either side, but it's nice to try to be fair.

Mike

"But I don't usually see why it should be interesting to others what I actually do."

Well, I do.

I will in all probability never buy a D800 or any DSLR for that matter - my G1 was my last attempt at using multiple lenses, now all I'm hoping for is that Sony will send me the RX1 before going bust - but I read every single of your D800 posts with attention, just because they were, well, interesting. (I'm a fan of your OTs, as well.)

Oh, and just curious: you spoke very highly of the 800E, so (besides the all-too-understandable "because it's there now" syndrome), why did you go with the "normal" 800?

(NB: Next time - there will be one, you know that - you buy a camera, buying it through one of your affiliate programs means you'll get money back and so will have to sell fewer lenses, jus' sayin' :))

Mike, I wholeheartedly agree with your comments about advances in sensor technology that produce increased dynamic range. I have recently been using a Pentax K-5, which reputedly can deliver 14 stops of DR at ISO 80, and I can tell you that it has opened up a new range possibilities for image capture. The shadows are just amazingly clean. For my preferred printing size (never greater than 17x22 inches), 16MP is more than enough. So given the choice, I will take greater DR over more MPs any day of the week, and I'm sure that there are many others would would agree with me on this.

Hi Mike, looking at your D800 and A900 purchases, maybe there is something in the way you appreciate photographs that is emphasized by high pixel counts.

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