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Bird photographs with the D800E (1 Viewer)

ericbowles

Well-known member
I just got back from 4 days of bird photography using a new D800E. Out of nearly 1000 images I have not seen any sign of moire. The D800E is spectacularly sharp - much better than any camera I have ever seen. AF is fast and accurate. Frame rate is certainly a little slower than other cameras, but was not an issue for me as I rarely can squeeze off more than 3-4 frames at critical action.

Here are some sample images using the 600 f/4 AFS.
 

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Helios

Well-known member
Great news about the moire! I rarely shoot say 9 frames pre sec, but I do often fire regular bursts of 3 to 5 shots so what is the write time and buffer like.
 

ericbowles

Well-known member
I did not have a problem with bursts of 3-4 images. The buffer never was an issue. You could tell the camera continued to write and clear the buffer, but the only issue was you could not review images until they were written.
 

Dave Williams

Well-known member
The images are certainly very impressive Eric, the best I have seen as yet. Having just bought a 10 fps Canon I appreciate that it actually fires too fast most of the time and often needs to be at a slower speed.Still, it will be very useful on occasions even if it might not be the most important feature.
What does concern me though is ISO performance. I would love to see some of your examples in poor light as that would probably be the deal maker or breaker for me.cheers Dave
 

RMWD

Well-known member
Congratulations Eric, you must be very pleased with camera and it's i images. The ones posted are detailed and beautiful. Glad no moire.
 

Duke Leto

Without habitat, there is no wildlife. It's that s
very nice indeed, super detail considering web published, the originals must be superb
 

pe'rigin

Well-known member
Brilliant Eric,

Are you using a remote as well with the 600mm?

With this lens, I always think it's better to get the shot in focus than rattling off FPS in the hope of getting a sharp image.
 

ericbowles

Well-known member
Thanks everyone - just wanting to provide some first hand feedback.

As far as high ISO, I'll give that a try today and report back.

These are downsized for the web - typically 900 pixels on the long side and 50% quality. The resulting file ranges from 80kb to 170 kb. So you can imagine how good the full file looks. I would have no problem with very large prints. One of the things that surprised me is not only is there solid detail at 100%, but I am seeing excellent detail at 200% - a level of pixel peeping far beyond anything I used with earlier cameras. When it comes to web images, I think it's possible to post a 100% crop and the viewer would not see the difference from normal web quality.

As far as shooting technique is concerned, I have changed absolutely nothing from my normal approach. I am shooting the 600mm lens on a Gitzo 3 series tripod with a RRS gimbal head and triggering the shutter by hand. Focus is using the AF-On button. With the 70-200 and shorter lenses, I can easily shoot handheld.
 

ericbowles

Well-known member
Here is an image from yesterday at ISO 6400. I have also attached a 100% crop of the same image. The lens was the 600 f/4 VR, Exposure settings were 1/800 sec at f/5.6. High ISO noise reduction was On Low. There was no post processing - this is straight from the camera.

Because of resizing for the web, the noise is minimal. At 100% or higher I see color noise and a small amount of pixelation. The color noise is mainly in the little blue heron - a tough subject to begin with.

I would not normally shoot at ISO 6400, but for the web and small prints it is workable. It certainly is better than nothing.
 

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ericbowles

Well-known member
What's it like at 1600 and 3200 ?
cheers Dave

ISO 1600 to 2000 is just fine when you need light. Noise is very low. There is still noise at ISO 3200 so I will avoid that level to the extent possible but it is there if you need it.

I think the bigger issue is dynamic range and color. The D800/D800E is outstanding in terms of color and dynamic range. At ISO 800 and higher you give up a lot of that advantage - it's still good but not exceptional. I find the tough decision is exactly where to trade off between depth of field, shutter speed, and ISO. In marginal situations I find that I push the limits over the edge on all three. None of this is unique to the D800E - all cameras give up a lot to achieve high ISO performance.
 

Dave Williams

Well-known member
Thanks again Eric.
With typical light as it is here in the UK I have my D300s on ISO800 most of the time and usually try for f8 for DOF. It means that shutter speeds are regularly compromised and any movement ruins the shot. There is no doubt the D800 is a good camera but I'm still not sure it's ideal for me. cheers Dave
 

Neil

Well-known member
Excellent Eric. Looks a bit like the Gator Farm in St. Augustine.
I've found the AF and fps good enough for me , even after the D3s ( I think AF is faster) but the buffering is a bit slow to my mind. Also switching to LiveView after a shortish burst is slow and you have to wait a while before you can switch on video. I like to get a short video after the stills.
I'm using the D800 which I assume is the same for these functions.
Neil
 

seaspirit

Well-known member
These are downsized for the web - typically 900 pixels on the long side and 50% quality. The resulting file ranges from 80kb to 170 kb. So you can imagine how good the full file looks.

Are those downsized from RAW files (processed by you), or from in-camera generated jpg files (those would be processed to some degree internally by the camera software)?

Just curious ...

Ulli
 

ericbowles

Well-known member
Are those downsized from RAW files (processed by you), or from in-camera generated jpg files (those would be processed to some degree internally by the camera software)?

Just curious ...

Ulli

These were simply converted from RAW to JPEG in View NX2. The convert command was used. Noise reduction was turned off in camera.

Normally I would use a little Noise Reduction in post processing. Probably a bit more with no sharpening on the background and minimal NR on the bird.
 

stoop

Well-known member
Japan
I was gonna order my D800 last week but was stopped by a friend who told me I should go with the E. His Nikon Club studied pictures taken by the two. Since then I have been searching and reading as much advice as I can find and now find myself completely stumped. The 800 has a two month waiting list where I am and the E has 3 months. Every week I check and the wait becomes longer. Problem is I want to go on a serious tour in October and need to make a decision. I also need a month or two to get use to new gear. Don't want to get it the day before I go.
To E or not to E is the question.
 

ericbowles

Well-known member
Russell

If your interest is natural subjects, I see no reason to choose the D800 over the D800E. The one question are is moire, and I have more than 2500 frames of bird images with no sign of moire. Even if you do have moire, it generally can be handled in post processing with Capture, Lightroom, or CS5.

If your interests include manmade subjects such as architecture or fabrics, moire is potentially more of a concern and would probably drive me to the D800.

All cameras can demonstrate moire - I have a recent image with the V1 that showed moire on a fabric. I have had moire show up in shingles on a roof. And I have seen an image with moire created by downsizing an image in Lightroom. Both the D800 and D800E are spectacularly sharp - there is just a slight advantage in sharpness to the D800E. You can't go wrong.
 
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