My Thoughts on the D800
I love the files from the D800! I just had delivered one big ass print from the D800 out of an Epson 11880 and it is spectacular! I know this, I sure don’t want my portrait taken with a D800, I don’t want to see that much detail! With that said, I still prefer the D4 and when given the choice, I will pick up the D600 over the D800. And when folks ask me, I will recommend the D4 first and D600 second and D800 last. With that said, many have pinged me and asked me, “Why don’t you like the D800?”
Scott Kelby wrote a marvelous piece, which, in many ways mirror much of what I think. First, I like the D800, I don’t dislike it. I use it rarely but when I do, it does exactly what it is meant to do, deliver beautiful big ass files. What I have against the D800 is not the camera but the mentality behind why many think they must own the camera.
I was with a D800e owner, helping them at the camera shooting. They had traded up from the D800 to the D800e because they wanted the extra megapixel umph! I didn’t ask why for a couple of days but I sure was curious. Then we were working some files and I watched them struggle getting them uploaded in their computer (took forever), a rather new machine that struggled to create previews and then just doing some simple steps in Photoshop. I finally asked the question I had been biting my tongue about. “What are you going to do with these images” I asked? They looked me square in the eye and said, “They are for the web.” I said really, what are you going to do with the images. “I’m serious.”
I’ve encountered a whole lot of D800 owners who, while they love their files are simply not having fun. Seriously, you do one thing to the file in Photoshop and you nearly have a half gigabyte file on your hands! Focus issues, DOF problems, dust spots, the list goes on and on that are magnified by that big, gorgeous file the D800 produces. You have to be a craftsman when you take the photo with the D800 that will show every goof in all its megapixel glory! This is a camera who’s smallest prints should be 24×30 (hell, that’s almost the native size of the file) yet how many who own the D800 make that size prints?
That brings up the D600, why do I like it so much? It makes gorgeous images as well even if it only has 24mp. Only! It costs less, fits the hand better, has the essential CSe4 (missing in the D800) and seems to go forever on a battery charge. The only gripe I have about the D600 is it only has a 3 frame bracketing and not 5, 7 and 9 frame. And I’m not alone. Just to see if I’m nuts or not (and I am nuts), I’ve put the D600 in a lot of D800 owner’s hands and asked them to shoot it for a day. Almost all have said they liked the camera and even more, liked the increased “speed” in dealing with files in post. I asked if they saw a difference in the image quality. Only looking at the images on their monitor, they 100% said no.
It’s not that I don’t like the D800, I do like it, own it and use it when the job requires it. I don’t like the mentality that more megapixels is better and that just owning it will improve one’s photography. It, like the D4 and D600 and other bodies are tools and in the hand of a craftsman will perform and produce as they should. But just like I said of the D3x for years, the D800 isn’t for everyone. I’m not after changing any body’s minds, don’t even want to convince someone who owns a D800 they made the wrong decision. I just wanted to put it out there my simple thoughts on this wonderful camera. It’s a great camera for the job it was built to do!