So there I was with the 600VR set up at the end of the T Hangars at PRS shooting away. I started off with the D4 and all was well. Then I switched to the D800 and the struggles set in. I kept looking a the LCD and I wasn’t capturing sharp images. I would get one here, one there but I wasn’t getting whole series and it was driving me nut so I looked at what was going on. Everything was normal, 600 on Wimberley on the Gitzo, the only thing that was different was the D800. Becoming really conscious of it all, I realized my pan wasn’t as smooth. It seemed to be “hesitant” at times before continuing. It was driving me nuts so I really bared down on my technique but results didn’t get any better.
I knew the problem was me, but what was it? I switched by to the D4 and instantly my keeper rate went flying back up to normal. I switched back to the D800 and it instantly dropped again. What the hell was it. Then in the process of going back and forth with bodies on the 600, it dawned on me. Mass! The mass on the end of the 600 that I was swinging was less with the D800. The problem was simple physics and muscle memory! The problem wasn’t the camera, the lens the rig or technique, it was me! Us humans get so set in our ways that at times, it gets in our way. Being a creature of habit, I decided to add some mass to the D800 and test. I rented a MB-D12 from BorrowLenses.com and bang, the mass was back and muscle memory was happy again. I’ve heard from a number of D800 owners stating they’ve not been getting the image quality out of the camera that they think they should be getting and wondering what’s wrong with their camera because God forbid, they could be the problem. As I learned, if you get just one sharp image, the odds are, you’re the problem and not the gear. Such was the case for me so now that I have the mass, all is happy again! BTW…the D800 with the MB-D12 feels soooo much better in my hands!
Photos captured with D800 / 600VR
This highly specialized piece of gear makes a world of difference in recording sound with the D4/ D800. The DXA-SLR Pro is a phantom power source needed with a number of different mics. You have the same two options I had when delving into this thing, you can either go and learn all your can on the subject or just trust someone and dive in. I trusted my good friend Scott and dove in. Darn if he wasn’t right, this thing rocks!
Protection of your images, especially when on the road is essential. I’ve gone through my fair number of external hard drives in my search for the right one. ioSafe produces a series of hard drives that are the ultimate hard drive protection! The ones I have latched on to and really, really love are the ioSafe 500GB Rugged Portable. Just how rugged are they? How about you can drive your vehicle on them, being able to withstand 5000lbs? Or being dropped from 20′ or being immersed up to 30′ up to 3days? What about data recovery service up to $5000 included in the price even if the damage is your fault? I saved the best part for last. They are sexy!
A couple of the nice things about the ioSafe is it is USB3 and comes with a nice, thick, long cable not going to break in the first month. I have two, one my primary and the other my backup for my digital files while I travel. And if you’re looking for other secure storage, check out their IoSafe 2TB Solo which is fire and waterproof. I do not have them yet but they are on my bucket list. That fire and waterproof feature for someone who lives in a forest is mighty attractive! With the speed and security the Portables are providing me, I’m excited by the possibility!
Yeap, I’m so hooked on the ease, professionalism and most important, accountablility, I keep going back now to BorrowLenses.com. We needed another D4 body last week at PRS (so glad we had it, man) so simply clicked on the link, filled out the info and in a heartbeat had a confirmation email and like clock work on the day the D4 was due, Mr FedEx rang the doorbell and handed it to me. Strictly speaking from a business point of view, this flexibility and reliability simply puts money in the pocket. Thanks BorrowLenses.com…you guys still rock!
The difference between these two photographs are clouds and a breeze and that’s all. But that’s enough to make the top image sharp and the bottom image soft. Why? The bottom image was taken around highnoon when the heat was at it’s highest and the afternoon breeze was yet to kick in. Even though this little RV was above the runway, the heat shimmer was enough to cause the bottom photo to not be tack sharp. Both of these photos along with the video was captured by the D800 attached to 600VR w/TC-14e. The biggest challenge is seeing heat shimmer when you’re shooting. For many, they simply don’t know what it looks like. I hope the video helps you recognize it. You see it the most when using long glass but it can appear with any focal length.
I’ve been pinged by a lot of photographers asking me about the quality of the files I’m getting out of the D800. So far, all claims from the users is that it’s the camera and not the photographer that is at fault. I have not seen one photo from one of these problem bodies but after asking a few questions, I highly suspect it’s what I like to call pilot error. Just as I warned with the D3x, the image quality of the D800 will show up every single wart in your photography and the first one will be your ability to get a sharp image. Talking with a dear friend who is getting along in years, he told me he will always shoot his D800 on a tripod because he knows he can’t handhold and get a sharp image. I’ll have more on this as time goes on but as I was told long ago, if you have just one sharp image then more than likely the problem is not the camera/lens but the pilot.
As you watch the video, you’ll see two segments. The first, as the sport taxis, you’ll see it taxi right into the heat shimmer and become out of focus until the rpms crank up and I pan with it minimizing a little the heat shimmer but detail in the fuselage is blurred. The end of the segment shows how heat shimmer can make the image dance and if shooting a still, causing the image not to be tack sharp.
There are perks being married to someone volunteering to work the Media Ops at Reno Air Races. One is having our trailer right on the field giving us access to aircraft 24/7. Another is getting to come in early and watch the planes coming in for the events of the day. But one of the best is walking the line at sunset when things quiet down and the light just plays off shapes and aircraft. This is of course our dear friend Dennis’ T-6 that won the Gold. His trailer has my photograph plastered on it this year which was fun to see today for the first time. We just went for a walk and I had the D800 & 70-200VR2 along just in case. At the same time, wanted to play more with its amazing files.
This is another insane zoom in on a small portion of the image, the pitot tube in the middle, far left of the frame. I wanted you to see the silly finger puppet that Dennis has on the pitot but the wind was blowing too much to see its detail. But you can easily read the information and no matter how you slice it, that’s amazing. Many have asked, but like the majority of my photography, this image along with the one yesterday was shot hand held. Some guessed that and asked if it would have been sharper shot on a tripod. Technically, I guess, maybe, perhaps. Since most of my work is done handheld and I can see this detail, I will have to suffer with whatever detail is being lost.
A forecasted small meteor shower got my attention so I decided to set up The Box with the D4 and give it a go. This was the first Time Lapse (old fashion way with Jpegs & Photoshop) I had done with the D4, 24f1.4AFS and The Box and the new EP-6 AC adapter. I used all the same settings as before and while the Milky Away doesn’t appear until late at night, I like the results very much. This is a 1680, 8.5hr time lapse captured from our deck. Enjoy!
Here are my settings for the D800, top link is a PDF is for D800, bottom is D4 in case you want to compare them. Now these settings will change with time and when I think about it, I will update these settings and date the file accordingly. Now, External settings that can be set are as follows:
D4 / D800 body Settings
- Metering – Matrix
- AF-C / d21
- Firing mode – CH
- Flash – Slow
Hope this helps you, I know I’ve got more to learn with the D4 / D800 but to say I’m impressed with the D800 file is an understatement!
I’ve been jumping through hoops so not be able to do a side by side comparison yet, but I have to admit this image gets my attention. This is a simple D800 click with the light being from a SB-900 and the file processed in ACR. If you look at the tip of the arrow, the space between the two nuts is what you see below. Now that’s amazing detail from a file! I have no idea what insane magnification that works out to be but we’re looking at less then 1% of the image enlarged. That’s what I term as a … holly crap!
Here’s a simple video on cleaning your sensor using the Copperhill Sensor Swabs
The SmallHD DP-6 is a monitor made for video work. On any camera with a HDMI out, it connects and displays whatever the LCD is displaying. As I’ve already mentioned, it works great for this and we pound it here at WRP for video production work. Well, I found another use for it and it saved my butt!
I started a new project with an bomber that’s being restored. A series of photographs I needed to take were from the top of the fuselage where I physically could not get because it was being restored. Some of it wasn’t physically in place. I needed to get the camera in the dead center of the fuselage and then frame up the fuselage dead center in the frame. Complicating it further was the need to do HDR. Not being able to look through the viewfinder or see the LCD panel was a major problem. I at first tired the old “eyeballing” it trick but that was going nowhere fast and the clock was ticking. Then I remembered the SmallHD DP-6 so I got it out of my Logistics Manager along with a 2′ HDMI cable. I plugged it into the D4 HDMI and turned on the LiveView. And there on the DP-6 appeared the photograph. Now turning the camera the right way at first was a little bit of a challenge but I was able to take the series of photographs perfectly even though I couldn’t see through the viewfinder. I was so glad I had the DP-6 in the bag!
Yesserie…the D800 has landed in the office finally thanks to my good friends at B&H Photo & Video (now I know and appreciate the Video part of their name)! I’ve charged up the battery (took 3hrs), loaded the new firmware and then loaded in my initial settings into the camera. My initial settings were taken from the D4 and I did this for two reasons. The first is because I know what’s working in the D4 so I can quickly become familiar with the D800 (and discover any operational differences). The second is because I quickly learn what the D800 does not have included in its features the D4 does. Lots of little interesting things popped up doing this. One that has me still scratching my head is why the Exp Comp on the D800 is opposite of the D4? I quickly changed that with a Custom Setting but that one has me still wondering.
Other then taking the traditional first photo of my big toe (have to read Captured to understand that), I’ve not shot a single still with the D800 yet. As you read this though, I’m fixing that. I have shot though a number of videos, the ones posted this week for example, and it did a gorgeous job with those. I have read all the warnings, problems and issues folks are finding so I’m looking for those as I shoot. I’m thinking about comparisons between the D4 and D800 images as well since I’m being asked for those. So in all good time, I’ll get more info posted. It’s time to run from the office and get back to shootin!
I just can’t say enough great things about the Logistic Manager. Watch the video, you’ll see what I mean!
Interestingly since I posted a month ago I was doing sound recording tests, I’ve been asked numerous times what’s the best mic I found. This is it, the Rode NTG-3-B, it simply does a great job recording. Now in that previous blog posting, I said I was going to have a sound test for folks in the upcoming (being released Thursday I’m told) iPad version of the BT Journal. Well, like anything photographic, nothing was as simple as I first thought. It was quite a learning curve and luckily I have friends like Gabe & Scott who helped me through the process. So what I’m doing here is cutting to the chase and telling you what I found was the best mic, the Rode NTG-3-B. Now how I got there, well you’ll have to just download the Journal when it’s out and find out
Here’s a side by side comparison of two video go cameras, the GoPro Hero (on the left) and Wingman HD (on the right). Both were in there housings attached to the hoods of our rental cars as we cruised Custer State Park. You can make up you own mind which does the better job. I didn’t have the Contour at the time to add it to the comparison but I’m still liking its results and operation the best. You might notice the time stamp, that is accurate
As for creating the actual side by side, that was done in Photoshop CS6. Enjoy!
The D4 & the D800/D800e have a new Time Lapse feature that taps the video portion of the cameras. It’s one HUGE advantage to me compared to the old method is, once your turn it off, you have a finished time lapse, there is nothing else to do but watch and enjoy! What you have here is a 6hr, 1 click every 30sec time lapse from my deck of a brewing thunderstorm.I’m having a ton of fun doing these on the spur of the moment.
The process is really pretty simple and you can see the “old” method all on video by heading to my Romancing the Landscape series on Kelby Training. Both methods start the same way. In a nutshell it starts by taking a click and looking at the exposure and making any adjustments you think are needed. The “new” way though begins when you turn on the Time Lapse feature and set the intervals and duration and let ‘er go. When you turn off the Time Lapse, the D4 / D800 create a video final video you can instantly play on your camera. You’re all done!
Just so you understand how cool this is, in the “old” days you would have to capture your time lapse as Jepgs (the D4 / D800 does it with Raw), place all those Jpegs in a folder on your computer (time and space consuming), launch Photoshop and have it compile and then export the time lapse a video. Having all of this done in camera is just to way cool! And if you’re wondering about battery consumption, this 6hr time lapse took the D4 down to it’s last bar. Give it a try, it’s really fun!
You might not be aware, but Photoshop CS6 now edits video as well (you don’t need Extended for this). I dropped in the titles and the rest for this video right in Photoshop. It’s not only faster and easier then Premiere, but the final folder of “stuff” you save is much smaller. For creating simple, fun videos, this rocks!