If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you know by now that I am a devoted Nikon user. Often asked WHY am I so devoted to Nikon over Canon, it’s really a matter of the way the camera has always felt in my hands when I’m shooting. It’s felt more solid, I guess. Even when I’ve played around with Canon’s in the past, Canon has just felt more lightweight, a little flimsier. They’re equally great cameras, I can’t say that one is better than the other. It’s just a feeling thing, baby. Nothing else. Last February when Nikon announced their newest Pro DSLR, the Nikon D800, I was excited to get my hands on it. I pre-ordered the camera from B + H and then waited. And waited. shoots came and went and I even traveled to Europe to shoot and still, no D800. Finally I wrote B + H and told them that I had waited over 6 months for my camera. 2 days later, my new camera arrived!
The D800 features a brand new 36 Megapixel full-frame FX-format sensor, which makes it the highest resolution camera outside of the medium format world. Offering 36 megapixels, critics argue that too many pixels on a small sensor can introduce grain when shooting in low light or at higher ISO speeds. Wait, is that a problem? My main disappointment with the digital format has always been the loss of grain and grittiness that I used to love about film. So that was not a negative aspect of getting the Nikon D800. Depending on the quality of lenses, this “grain” can be quite lovely, actually. At least to someone like myself that likes to shoot in low light situations. And the D800 has a full frame sensor so that means it’s a match for a 35mm film camera. With shortcut buttons on top of the camera, I can get to my ISO controls and WB modes instantly without having to go into the menu. There’s even a LV button which pops the camera’s mirror back to preview what I’m shooting when I’m shooting video. Fantastic!
Even though it’s lighter than other NIkon’s I’ve owned, it’s still retains the same durable, workhorse build that I’ve relied on with Nikon for over 25 years of shooting professionally. The last Nikon I shot with had over 1/2 million actualizations before I burned the shutter motor out. My Nikons take a beating, I’ve shot in freezing cold climates and in the rain and I’ve never had one fail on me. It’s usually me just shooting the hell out of them before they finally say, okay that’s enough. Time for a new one!
Must Have Nikkor Lenses:
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G – Good normal lens for capturing straight shots
Nikon Telephoto AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D IF Autofocus – Best Lens in the World
If you’re using DX lenses, it does cut your pixels down to 15.4, which to me, is still high in pixels. This whole craze with photographers thinking that “more pixels, better camera” is kind of lost on me. I shot many a shoot on lower pixels and unless I had a job where I was going to shoot for a billboard, the pixels did just fine. Most of my work is editorial and print advertising. I don’t need 64 pixels for this type of work. But if you have the money and think that adding pixels to your images will make them better images, go right ahead and buy that expensive gear. For me, I would rather see you invest in better quality glass for your DSLR’s. I can’t tell you how many times I hear about someone scrimping on the glass but buying a very expensive camera. Just my two cents, feel free to argue away!
One of the biggest pluses on my new camera is the video feature. The Nikon D800 offers 1920 X 1080 pixels full HD video with an eloquent 30fps. I just came off a 2 day video shoot and I used my Nikon for the whole shoot while my collaborator, video director Dimitrios Papagiannis shot with a Lumix. After looking at my footage, Dimitrios was impressed with the quality of the footage I shot. I was too, although I’m not a pro yet at video. I was just impressed I could capture motion because I have been thinking in “still” mode my whole life. If I could be so humble to say that I think my strong suit as a photographer is my ability to capture a moment, or at least, that is what I strive for, in video you need to capture the MOMENTS! It’s a whole way of seeing/visualizing. Thank God I’ve had a camera plastered to my face for over 33 years. That kinda’ helps with the whole “seeing” part. : )
Still Outtake from the D800 Video
If you got the cash, I highly recommend this camera. Will it make you a better photographer. Quite plainly, no. You shooting all. the. time. will make you a better photographer. But the Nikon D800 will capture a beautiful image as you trudge the road to shooting all. the time.