Sunday, October 28, 2012

Well and truly delighted.

Nikon D300, Nikkor 24-70mm @70mm, ISO1600, 1/80sec, f2.8
At last I've had a chance to try a D800 in the field under the types of conditions that have frustrated me with my D300.  I had a couple of lenses to use, a Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 on the D300 and a Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8 on the D800.  The event was the Gospel Summit at Takapuna, Auckland at the Harbourside Conference Centre. A really lovely venue, but as is usually the case, the lights are more set for a stage show and aren't that intense.  This means high ISO and slow shutter speeds.

Using the D300 I try to keep ISO 2500 as an upper limit wherever possible as things soon start to look a little noisy and gritty.  Problem then, however, is that performer movements or camera shake cause blur.  It's been a challenge and I've often wished I could use higher ISOs and get the colours I wanted.  Last night was a chance to see what the D800 would do!

I put the 24-70mm on the D300 as I thought I'd use this for wider shots that I wouldn't be cropping.  The 70-200mm would be used to capture closer images of the performers that may be cropped to get just that little bit tighter.

The first noticeable thing to me was the weight.  The D800 with the 70-200mm isn't the lightest of combinations and after a few hours working with this setup you begin to think weightlifting at the gym may not be such a bad idea after all.

So, what did I think of the D800?  Is it a keeper?  The short answer is yes.  Focus was snappy and precise.  Face detection works a treat and performance at higher ISOs was very good indeed.
Nikon D800, Nikkor 70-200mm @200mm, ISO2500, 1/125sec, f2.8

I took two shots at practice time of one of the performers with each camera as I tested out the light levels.  The difference is clarity between the two images is quite stark.  Granted there's some motion blur in the D300 shot and this will be due to the slower shutter speed.  The D800, however, with the 70-200mm with VR switched on was a gorgeous combination.

Colour rendition was good, noise levels were quite low and I was well and truly delighted by the way the camera behaved.  It's a dream.

I've attached a few more shots for you to consider taken with the D800 and 70-200mm lens. These images have been cropped yet still provide some lovely detail even though they were shot at a higher ISO (3200) to get a faster shutter speed (1/250sec).

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