The Nikon D800 was the first professional grade camera we purchased, though we didn’t buy it with Jake and Dannie Studio in mind. At the time we had been married for half a year and we were getting ready for a trip to China. We had it in our heads to publish an E-book about our trip and we used that as the excuse we’d been looking for to upgrade our gear. It arrived while we were packing for the trip, and I read the instruction manual on the plane (I already had a pretty good idea how it works, but it’s always a good idea to read the manual).
We went with the D800 because I was into nature and wildlife photography, and the D800 has the pixel count you want for distant birds and epic landscapes. With a ridiculous 36 megapixels, you get a lot of wiggle room for cropping, and it’s sensor is far better than my old camera, especially when it comes to noise. I love it. It’s the camera I take to weddings and photo sessions while Dannie carries her Nikon D700, another top of the line camera, designed with portraits in mind. The D800 isn’t quite as good in low light as Dannie’s camera, but it can go as far as ISO 800 before you see any significant noise.
We also agonized over the choice between the D800 and the D800E. Apart from an extra $300 for the Nikon D800E, there is only one difference. The D800 has an extra filter in front of the sensor designed to add a small amount of blur. This sounds like a bad thing because it decreases the sharpness of the image. But the difference in sharpness is only noticeable if you compare identical images from the same camera side by side and zoom way, way in. And that extra sharpness from the D800E has a cost. With added sharpness comes an increased chance of moire effect, which shows up when photographing fabric or any other surface with a small, grid-like pattern. Not something you want for portraits.
The D800 performed admirably on our trip to China, and it has never failed us during a photo shoot. Since upgrading I have had no regrets. And now that we are shooting for clients instead of (just) for ourselves, it feels good to know that I’m using the right tools for the job.
Here are some images from previous blog posts that were taken using the D800 (click on the images to view the posts):