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Wednesday, 26 September 2007


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Dang, looks like I'm obsolete again. ;)

As an aside, I've never seen the point of posting photos online as representative of what a certain camera can produce. I'm looking at Cliff's outstanding professional images on a Samsung LCD. Not very flattering. I'd love to see some prints.

I'm sure there is a comment to be made here about the never-ending lust for the new. Still, it is hard to argue with the new capabilities that this machine seems to promise. Low-noise, high-ISO images? You know, there might just be a use for this during the long, dark Vermont nights . . . I'm sure we will be seeing more.

I have always been fascinated by each new top-of-the-line camera from Nikon and Canon (and whoever else has neat technology), if for no other reason than dreaming of the day some of that technology will trickle down to cameras that I can afford.

The photos you linked in this post, and the sketchy reviews I've read thus far on the Nikon D3 have me actually wanting a flagship camera, really wanting one, for the first time in my 30 years of photography.

I would love that kind of low-light performance, right now.

I guess I'll just keep dreaming. I don't have a hope in h**l of buying a $5000 camera body.

"The photos you linked in this post, and the sketchy reviews I've read thus far on the Nikon D3 have me actually wanting a flagship camera, really wanting one, for the first time in my 30 years of photography."

Me too, I must admit.


Quite apart from the equipment issue, and speaking as someone not particularly fond of wedding stuff, I must admit this guy is pretty damn good at what he does.

"Me too, I must admit".

But Mike, I didn't know that you're a wedding photographer.

I used to read articles discussing fast lenses, fast motor drives, long lenses and all the rest and found myself predictably wanting those very features. After several years I finally realised that the terms "pro photographer" and "photography" encompass styles of photography in which I have virtually zero interest. I'm not chasing politicians on the campaign trail, nor at the stadium sideline, nor stalking celebrities, or even admiring beautiful brides...so I don't need to envy the cameras suited for those pursuits. But I do have those cameras (Mamiya 7II and Pentax 6x7) befitting my own interests of travel, landscape and environmental portraiture. So I encourage you to look inside and ask yourself what sort of photographer lives there.

Nice wedding shots, by the way. I thought the second one (with the bride looking down) rather looks like she's doing the final-moment step-onto-the-scales routine to see whether she made her goal weight for the big day.

Regards, Rod

mee three :-)

I definitely appreciate the approach of limiting the number of megapixels in favour of low-light ability. 8-10 MP is more than enough for me. I hope we see more advances in this direction instead of the megapixels race.

Now please, for the love of God, shrink it to F100 size.

Mike, please enlighten me - what should I look out for on photos on Cliff's page? I am really a bummer and I really do not know how to distinguish and possibly appreciate them to tell much difference... : (

I meant... Cliff said a lot of good things about the camera but how should I discern / appreciate the pictures? Could you show me some examples of how those are better than others?

Thinking about this from a marketing perspective [the "hooking" process that is getting us all--I dare not mention my lust for this body to my wife ;-) ], I like the way Nikon is getting the word out by allowing photographers such as this to use the camera and post images. Very enticing, and the images are certainly more interesting that the shots on the Nikon site. I suppose other camera companies do this, too, but I have never really paid attention before.


P.S. I would love to try some of my older manual-focus lenses with this camera--just to see what I could do with them.

The pictures look great and having a FF sensor sounds very appealing to me, if only to be able to play a little more with selective focus.

However, for what I shoot the D3 is simply much too big and too heavy. In fact I think the D200s I'm using now are already too big. D3 performance (except the 8 fps (?) frame rate, which I don't need) in a D80-size package - that would be it...

So this is what big time wedding photographers look like now.
Go the moustache.

Hmm... $5000 for the body then $???? for lenses that can exploit the capabilities of that body. Grand Total $????? Think I'll buy the BMW instead. At least it shouldn't depreciate as fast as digital cameras.

Remove the Nikon references from the quote and substitute with any other new digital camera introduced since 1997 and you are setup for a perpetual deja-vu for life. Amusing.

"what should I look out for on photos on Cliff's page?"

Of particular interest are the high ISO settings. Apparently this camera has very good low-light performance.

"P.S. I would love to try some of my older manual-focus lenses with this camera--just to see what I could do with them."

This might help in figuring out which Nikon lenses will do what with this camera:

Could somebody help me out here? If a camera has such great high ISO performance, does this mean in-camera anti-shake is no longer necessary? Or am I missing something?

Paul McCann, I believe for the target market the equation works out to something like: $5,000 for the body, and then...profit!

I grossly simplify, but a pro like Cliff Mautner already has the lenses and will find the UI and handling familiar. With minimal adjustment, then, the improvements over his current bodies (even if half what is claimed) may, for example, give him more latitude/expanded shooting envelope, reduce his dependence on lighting gear and associated setup time and people-hours, reduce post-processing time, etc. In other words, the D3 to him promises less time and cost per job and per saleable print = more profit (and, it would seem, enjoyment, too), or, if you will, productivity and economy. Never mind depreciation--theoretically, a busy pro like Mautner could recoup the initial cost rather quickly.

For me, alas, the equation is much different.


Thanks for reply, but I know that all of my manual lenses will work with it. I was rather wondering about the potential photographic quality of some "classics" (the Ais 28mm f2, and Ai 35 f1.4 for example) with this sensor. While old, these items have a wonderful tactility to them that makes using them a joy, and they can product great images (provided, of course, that I can get the exposure, compostion, etc. rigth.)


"Remove the Nikon references from the quote and substitute with any other new digital camera introduced since 1997 and you are setup for a perpetual deja-vu for life. Amusing."

Very amusing, what does the average serious enthusiast or pro do with such an expensive oversize brick. no pun intended. Pros and tyros love this stuff, yum yum eat it up.

For the rest of "us" it is just entertaining or simply amusing. To get back to reality, if this is what it seems to be, lets have it in camera "us" can use and afford. I, like you love low light and available light photography, and we sweat through the noise and smearing and other "stuff" so we can enjoy... let"us" get on with enjoying, without breaking our backs and bank accounts.

Maybe a revolution instead of amusing?

I have no idea what Cliff M. charges for a wedding, but a top wedding guy I was talking to recently has a base rate of $6500, and I'd be quite surprised if Cliff charges less than the price of a D3 body for the average wedding. It could be considerably more--Scavullo used to charge $30k to do a wedding, although he never advertised that he did them. There's a certain price insensitivity for a real pro for the equipment--at least the top guys--because they make it back quickly, and they can depreciate the expenses.

What the manufacturer has to take into account is that half the sales for a top-end body will be to wealthy amateurs. That market is more price-sensitive, but in a non-linear and sometimes confusing way: part of the market will respond to lower prices and part of the market will respond to higher prices. There was an article in FORBES recently about the most desirable cars, and some of them are not available even to the very rich because of low production, which ensures exclusivity. Certainly a car that costs $1 million will be far more exclusive than a car that costs $100k, and that will appeal to certain buyers who actually have $1 million to spend on a car. The equation is surely different for cameras--I'm not sure how it works, and it's possible Nikon doesn't either, insofar as these matters are always somewhat mysterious.


hmmm... i think i see something there in the background of that 6400 shot... what's that... noise???? baaahhhhhh-humbug! send it back!

On a more serious note, very lovely pictures. If I could afford it I'd have him photograph my wedding! Now if only I could find a bride...

"Now if only I could find a bride..."

The recipe is actually quite simple. Just take one unmarried woman and add lots of love--voila, she turns into a bride.


"But Mike, I didn't know that you're a wedding photographer."

Ah, but I am. I've photographed two weddings in my time. And both of them turned out quite well, if I do say so myself.


for all you folks dissing this (and by implication other similarly priced digital cameras) because it is too expensive, i think you are missing a very big point: if you take photos, you can't afford *not* to get a camera like this. the i take around 1,000-5,000 photos a month (some professionally, most not). some wedding photographers average that every wedding. let's average that out to 1800 photos a month. that's 50 rolls; never mind that with digital i can get the look and fxnality of slides, color neg, and bw in one exposure, for our purposes we'll say that film plus developing is $15 a roll (assume you are scanning slides, say... d'oh! never mind the cost of a good film scanner). so that's... about $750 a month, more or less.

even if you upgrade after two years, a $5000 camera is saving you a lot of money. (yeah, 'kay, you need a computer and hard drives and stuff too, but these days you need that regardless, so it isn't that significant a factor... you're all reading this on a computer as it is.)

is suppose, if i had to, i could get by with half or a third of the number of frames i take currently, but then i wouldn't learn nearly as much, would miss some really good shots, and other good shots i made wouldn't have the exposure/dof etc really dialed in as well as they could have been. in addition, shooting in a film idiom you don't get the social exchange of chimping pics with people--something that can be very rewarding, especially while travelling.

i know this isn't a novel point i am making--it is the driving force that practically created the digital camera market--but it does seem worth bearing in mind. $5000 for a killer camera that comes with several years worth of film is actually a fantastic deal.

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