"One Word - WOW!"5.0 starson by GPHector
Pros: + Picture is more crisp and better details
+ Video quality is amazing, recording up to 30 mins
+ Camera is feel very solid and the shutter sound is nice
+ Support both CF and SD UHS-1 (95MB/sce)
+ Nice lens, looks very sharp and focuses very quickly
Cons: - Zoom in and zoom out buttons are reversed from the old models
- Very expensive Battery pack
Summary: The first concern - having splashed out quite significant amounts of money - is was it worth it?
There have been times when having bought a new and supposedly "amazing" lens I find in reality the difference is too small to be worth mentioning!
I'm pleased to say so far the new D800 excels over the D700. I've taken a number of test shots with both and converted the RAW image to JPG using Nikon Capture NX2.
I've made sure ALL settings are identical - not just aperture, shutter and ISO but also amount of noise reduction applied, white balance, etc.
Comparing the D700 vs D800 at low ISOs the D800 is a clear winner. Increased detail and resolution are obvious. I also downsided the D800 images to the same size of the D700 and they look even better - slightly more details but sharper. The D700 looks very slightly soft in comparison - even when I applied sharpening in Photoshop. Its like a lens upgrade - and not one of those upgrades you really have to stare hard at 100% on screen to notice a difference ( which is often only in extreme corners! ). This difference will be obvious even in 10 inch * 8 inch prints.
I'm not sure why other reviewers are not seeing a difference. Maybe I had a duff D700 and I just never noticed! But either way the D800 is superb.
The other worry was of course high ISO images. The highest I generally used on the D700 was 6,400. So I did test shots indoors in a darkened room at ISO 6,400.
Now at 100% there is no doubt the D700 is a little smoother. Less detail captured by the D700 and colours not as accurate but definitely marginally smoother. I should mention I had Nikon Capture's noise reduction applied equally to both ( 32% intensity setting with sharpness set to 5).
The difference is small enough to really not be an issue.
However I then downsized the D800 image to the same size as the D700 - this smoothed things out as well as sharpened things. At the same image size the D800 beats the D700 hands down. Images are just as smooth but more detailed on the D800. Colour reproduction is also more accurate in particularly dark areas on the D800. On the D700 dark blues came out black - on the D800 its come out a very dark blue.
Although I've only had the new camera a few hours I've noticed the D800 images seems to be lighter at the same settings ( aperture, shutter, ISO ). I suspect in normal use perhaps 1/3 of a stop less exposure might be good.
The sun is starting to go down - as it does where I live it hits the neighbours house's slate roof and on sunny days like today the roof is blindingly bright even to the naked eye! A good test of dynamic range as the neighbours house is heavily shaded in some areas. I did 2 shots - one with the D700 on ISO 200 and the other with the D800 on ISO 100 ( its "native" bottom end ). I'm pleased to say the blindingly bright roof was a little less blown out on the D800 vs the D700. And the shaded parts of the house were visibly brighter on the D800 vs the D700. Its perhaps not a massive difference but its clearly visible.
Auto HDR: A new feature of the D800. I'd expected it to work similar to the Auto HDR on say the Sony NEX-5N - in that it works whilst hand holding the camera. However after a few test shots outdoors I found even on a very bright sunny day with shutter speeds of 1/250 second its still blurry - and that was with me resting my arms on a wall. Perhaps its me but I sense the Auto HDR requires use of a very sturdy tripod. Given the Sony NEX 5N does not need a tripod for Auto HDR this is a little disappointing if you are not keen on tripods like myself!
Video: I'm mostly a still shooter but there are times when its nice to take a video. Carrying the hefty D700 AND my camcorder was often too much like hard work - so I'm pleased to take just the one device. Carry two devices in my bag - not me I want to snap and go!
Video quality is amazing - at least as good if not better than my $1,500 Sony camcorder. Sound from the inbuilt mic was surprisingly good too.
The downside is focussing. There is an option for continual focus while videoing but focussing can be clearly heard on the sound track. Also the D800 movie mode focussing is something of a perfectionist - never happy with the focus and forever making micro adjustments - adjustments which are clearly heard and spoil the sound. I did a test filming a lamb and mum walking slowly across a field about 50m from me - and the focus just kept on re-adjusting.
The only answer is to use non-continuous focus mode and focus first before shooting the video. This works fine - so long as whatever you are filming doesn't move out of range of the initial focus. Or you use a lens/f-stop combination with very large depth of field. I'd planned to use the video mode for shooting dolphins on a sea Safari trip in May. But past experience tells me dolphins move fast and rarely stay still for a second - I'm not sure how well the video mode will work for this if continuous AF is not used.
My Sony NEX 5N's video mode may not produce the same quality but continuous focusing is much better and quieter.
Its still early days but so far I'm not at all disappointed in the D800 vs D700. There's nothing I can find that the D700 does significantly better than the D800. But I can find lots that he D800 does better.
NOTE: If you're will buy the Nikon D800, I suggest you have to check for best deal before you decide at: Digitalslrcamerabestdeals.blogspot.com/p/nikon-d800.html
However my wallet sure feels less happy about the purchase!
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