Tagged: D700

Nikon D4

Nikon’s D4 Full Frame DSLR

Always wanted to know the differences between various Full Frame DSLR’s, be they Nikon, Canon or Sony? (To my knowledge Sigma, Pentax and Olympus have no FF models but I’ll keep checking) Thanks to the excellent coders and programmers over at DP Review you can do a side by side comparison of any DSLR camera system. Nikon: D700, D3, Ds, D3x, D600, D800, D4 Canon: 1DS, 5D, 6D, 1DX Sony: A900, A850, A99

Nikon Press Centre. Feb 6, 2012: Expectations Surpassed: The 36.3-Megapixel Nikon D800 Is The Multimedia HD-SLR That Shatters Conventional Resolution Barriers For Maximum Fidelity

The New Nikon D800 Offers Unrivaled Resolution and Features Designed for a Variety of Demanding Professional Photographic and Multimedia Disciplines, Videographers and Filmmakers

Nikon's new FX DSLR, the D800 (and D800E)

Nikon D800/D800E

Exciting news indeed. After months of watching and wondering, and 3.5 years after the D700, it’s here! I’ll be brief. After my debate of “Are more Megapixels better?” the D800 now sports a 36.3Mp CMOS sensor in Full Frame (FX) 35mm (35.9 x 24.0 mm). That is rivalling Medium Format…but with the choice of f/1.4 lenses where nearly all MF lenses start at f/2.8! The sensor is also completely redesigned and engineered by Nikon, and with Nikon’s legendary FX Format Low Light Low Noise characteristics, this is a leap forward in the evolution of the digital camera, especially in this format. Not just a small Mp progression…It allows unedited A1 size pictures without needing Fractal Software and amazing cropping options without degradation of pixel/image quality.

That’s a pixel density of 42,131 pixels per mm² and to all appearances it’s not at the cost of IQ, sharpness or noise, keeping in line with the high ISO, low noise tradition of all Nikon full frame DSLR’s from the D700 on up, and specifically the D3s.

(Owners of the remarkable Sigma SD1 Digital SLR Camera with the FOVEON  X3 – 46Mp will no doubt be wondering what all the hype is about…except maybe the price tag, however the SD1 has an APS-C 24 x 16mm small frame sensor and thus a pixel density of 119,791! Yes I know it has 3 stacked sensors (layers), each 4800 x 3200px but thus needs no AA filter (such as the D800E) and no coloured jaggies but with a slight increase in colour noise in low-light.)

As a reminder here are the current FX per mm² pixel densities (from my 2009 500mm Vivitar mirror-reflex-lens report):

Nikon D800/E 36,3Mp CMOS

Nikon D800/E 36,3Mp CMOS

All of the FX DSLR’s use a Nikon designed and built CMOS

D700—14,063 pixels/mm² (12.1 Mp FX 36.0 x 23.9mm)
D3 -–- 14,063 pixels/mm² (12.1 Mp FX 36.0 x 23.9mm)
D3s –- 14,063 pixels/mm² (12.1 Mp FX 36.0 x 23.9mm)
D3x –- 30,113 pixels/mm² (24.5 Mp FX 35.9 x 24.0mm)
D4 -–- 18,850 pixels/mm² (16.2 Mp FX 36.0 x 23.9mm)
D800—42,131 pixels/mm² (36.3 Mp FX 35.9 x 24.0mm)

I won’t add more tech gumf, as no doubt thousands of other blogs and websites have done so already however you can download the PDF brochure here (3.6MB) / Full D800/D800E Specifications here.

Despite all it’s new bells and whistles, this is the most intriguing and interesting aspect to me:

What is the difference between the D800 and the D800E or the D800 vs D800E? (Note: Both have the SAME resolution and SAME sensor at 36.3 Mp)


Nikon D4Rumours have been flying around for a while. Thom Hogan’s logic about the life cycle of Nikon models and their launch times makes sense as is his question as to who will buy the D4 is also pertinent as it means that delivery will not be in the 100’s of thousands. The D800 (D700 replacement) and a successor to the D300s would be more important to Nikon. The only curve ball has been the Tsunami in Japan and the flooding in Malaysia which has set them back a few months. Expect an announcement at the PMA show in Las Vegas (January 10-13, 2012).

Here are a few specs gleaned from the web (scary right?) from sources that are generally on the ball. The D4 would be competing with the Canon EOS 1Dx.

16.2 MP (18Mp?)
11 fps
Shutter durability up from 150,000 to 300,000 (A real guess)
100 to 102,400 native ISO range, expandable to 50 and 204,800
Face detection/recognition function that will work in the viewfinder (Nikon has submitted several viewfinder patents)
Improved video, possibly 1080p/30/25/24 fps and  720p/60/30/25/24 fps similar to the expected Nikon D800
Uncompressed video out through an HDMI port
Ability to assign the two front body buttons to smooth aperture control during video recording
Compatible with a new Nikon WT-5 wireless transmitter to replace the 2007 WT-4a
Ethernet integrated in camera (wired tethered shooting?)
Expeed 3
USB 3.0
Improved 51 AF points
AF detection range will go down to EV-2.0 (the D3s went to EV -1)
Autofocus system: 9 cross-type sensors operational up to f/8
Compact Flash + XQD memory card slots.

Gear I use: Bodies: Nikon D-SLR’s / Lenses: Nikon, Sigma, Tokina, Vivitar /
Filters: Hoya UV & Polarizing / Flash: Nikon Speed-lights / Bag: Lowe Pro /
Tripods & Heads: Manfrotto / Grips, Triggers, Timers, Batteries: Phottix /
Editing Plug-in: Topaz Labs for Noise Reduction, HDR.

I’ve been asked that dreaded question again:
Q: More Mega-pixels is better, right?
A: Sure, if you can afford an H4d-200MS or 645DF & IQ180 Medium Format…with a lens or two.
Q: What’s Medium Format?
A: * Sigh * :)

Nikon Canon Nikon Canon …

Has aggressive marketing and consumerism made potential DSLR buyers really believe that N is better than C or C better than N thanks to the Mega-pixel count of the latest release? Are Mega-pixels the be all and end all buying factor of the perceived quality of a digital camera and thus the only basis for a purchasing decision? It’s as bad a question as the “What camera is better? Nikon or Canon?” Define “better”?

What about Sony, Sigma, Pentax, Kodak, Olympus, Fuji, Samsung, Panasonic, Leica, Hasselblad, Phase One, Mamiya, Zeiss etc. Are they no good? Never heard of them? Won’t consider them?

Sensor Sizes (Not to scale) Image courtesy Wikipedia. Click on the image to go their comprehensive sensor article.

What about the actual sensor dimensions used in various iterations of all these brands and cameras?
What about the TYPE of sensor, the design and the technology of the actual sensors that record the image? There are many different types of sensors each with their own unique design and improvements over the years. How does the manufacturers in-camera image processing software algorithms shape up? Do you need to shoot low light without flash? Are you only shooting in natural light. Wildlife, events, PJ? How about studio work?
Are lenses/glass quality also not part of this equation? Do you want one lens that goes from wide angle for landscapes to 600x zoom for spotting the tick on a Warthog’s butt at 200 meters? It’s ok, it’s got anti-shake! Will it still be as sharp on a P&S 600mm 12Mp with 1/1.8″ sensor (24.7mm²) as on a full frame 24Mp with 600mm f/4? with a 35mm (370 mm²) sensor? What about the signal-noise ratio? The larger sensor also has less clipping.

Based on ones need, I can make a purchasing suggestion wrt body, make, model, lens and sensor type/mega-pixel choice. It’s about the intended use, not only the Mp. Get a FF DSLR and the 4 or 5 lenses you will need to go from Ultra Wide Angle to Super Zoom at 800mm. Now try sneak it on as hand luggage on your way to the Serengeti.

There is not one definitive answer unless money is no object. Note that these two cameras are used in mostly studio and product photography and may not be ideal or practical for wildlife, astronomy, your next fishing trip (or event work?) due lens selection and body size, practicality and even weather resistance:

Who here has seen (drooled over) the Hasselblad H4D-200MS yet?

Hasselblad H4D-200MS – CCD based back.









Or the Phase One 645DF with IQ180 Digital Back?

Phase One 645DF – CCD based back.









In order to answer the More Mp is better question:

What is your intended use of the camera? (Holiday snaps to billboard advertisements of supercars/models).
What print size do you want? (Postcard or a wall mounted A1 Canvas?)
What is your budget!? (How deep are your pockets?)
Have you got old AF or MF lenses from the film days and what brand? (Saving money on glass allows you to spend more on new body technology)
How big are your hands and how strong is your back? (Good glass weighs a tonne)

You can see where I am going with this… (more…)

Despite 4 hours of standing outdoors in the freezing Highveld winter near Jo’burg, it was fun! What photography isn’t? Thanks to my friend Wayne for letting me shoot on his plot and keeping the coffee, red wine and conversation flowing! I eventually lost the feeling in my feet, it was so cold. The joys of outdoor photography :)

Lunar Eclipse 2011 06 15 © HarveyG Photography











How was it shot? See my technique here: