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Nikon Announces A Serious Competitor To The 5DMKII

February 10th, 2012

By now this is old news. As all you Nikon shooters are aware by now, Nikon announced several new bodies a few days ago. The one with the broadest appeal and most likely to be of intrest to real estate photographers is the D800. Pretty impressive specs by anyone’s standards and priced at under $3,000.

If there is any confusion in your mind about exactly which Canon body the D800 is intended to compete with all you have to do is notice that Nikon chose a production company Cap Gun Collective of Chicago to create Joy Ride, a promo video for the D800 release. If you recall this is the similar approach that accidentally happened to Canon when Vincent Laforet borrowed a 5DMk2 from Canon for a day and a half to shoot Reverie which turned out to be a huge promotion for the 5DMK2.

If you already have  Nikon glass, the D800 looks like a knock out body for real estate shooting if you are considering including video in your products.

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16 Responses to “Nikon Announces A Serious Competitor To The 5DMKII”

  • I can’t wait! I placed my order the day it was announced.

  • I ordered one the night it was released but I can’t imagine using it for general real estate photography. I think a lot of people who are excited about the 36 megapixels just don’t realize how large a cumbersome such a file is to work with. The video will be great though.

    An interesting aside worth mentioning: Canon did not hire Vincent LaForet to shoot Reverie. He funded the project himself and begged Canon to let him borrow the 5DmkII over a weekend because he saw what a groundbreaking product it was. At the time Canon had no clue as to the potential of what they had made…

    http://blog.vincentlaforet.com/2008/09/20/something-very-interesting-is-comingboth-to-this-blog-and-to-our-industry/

  • There are some cool things about it, i don’t know if would use the video anyways, but the idea of 36 meg files for shooting re photos.. I know 5D shooters are close to that now.. but that is a whole lot of files to download and store… maybe wait for good prices on a gently used D700 instead

  • @Anne- Yes, I immediately thought of that too! I find 21 megapixels from my 5DM2 a bit of a nuisance… can’t imagine 36.

    Thank’s for pointing out my error on Reverie… now that you point it out I recall Vincent’s comments.

  • Dynamic Range… Anyone know what the impact or meaning of the “91,000-pixel RGB sensor” is… I know in medium format cameras the dynamic range is wider… on my D3X I think it’s a 1,005-pixel sensor… so on the D800 will the dynamic range be better?

  • Uneducated real estate agents will be impressed with you telling them you can shoot their homes with 36 mega pixel shots – though it is overkill for most situations. Looks like an upgrade to the D800 or a similar camera that Canon will release will require a upgrade to my hardware as well.

  • for me it’s the perfect camera – I’m planning on using it in crop mode with DX lenses for real estate for manageable 15 mb files, and for studio work I’m going to use an FX kit for higher resolution. Actually planning on getting the d800e, but will have to read some reviews regarding the moire effect first. Drool.

  • I was going to order a D4 until this was announced for half the price. I would prefer the 16MP D4 sensor for more manageable files, but I am hoping the D800 will allow compressed RAW as an option to full res? I only shoot in RAW, never JPEG… Does anyone have more info on this subject? I really love the video addition, but have no need for 36MP files…

  • @Jason, speaking of uneducated Real Estate agents, last week had a call from a prospect that liked my work but was less than impressed when I told him I used a D90…with his thinking I should use a D700. While I indicated full sensor not required for RE work and I rent one for weddings, etc, Further stalled by telling him delaying upgrade with nikons pending introduction of the F700 replacement in a week. The irony was – I marketed him as he was using a run-n-gunner that did sloppy work. He did surprise me with his camera “knowledge.”

    I am looking at upgrading to both video (improved over the D90) and full frame, so the D800 is an obvious choice. My initial plan was to sell my backup D40 and D90 which would pay for a D7000 body – out of stock everywhere – which would gain me the video, then get the D800 with the D7000 as “backup”. Alternates would be to sell the D40 and then have a D90/D800 combo, or skimp and get a D7000/D700 combo.

    The funny part would be, As Daniel mentioned, impress the agent with the D800…but not tell them shooting in DX mode as the 14-24 is the only FF lens I don’t have for RE work with normal, primes, macro, and tele all FF.

  • @ Daniel, I don’t really fully understand using DX lenses on a full frame body. I thought this was done mainly to increase the effective focal length of a DX telephoto…
    I use a Nikkor 14-24 on D700 now. What would effective FF focal equivalent be with ultrawide Nikkor DX lens? I like the idea of 15mb files! What Nikkor lens would you recommend?
    Thanks!

  • I get lots of agents that ask “How many mega-pixels does your camera shoot?” When I tell them they seem to think that my camera isn’t as good because their point and shoot has a larger mega-pixel rating. When I go into telling them about the sensor size, quality of sensor, ect… it comes off as me “scrambling” to get their business. It usually ends up with them not being that interested, even though my images I think speak for themselves.

  • @ Cal, I’m certainly no expert but this is my understanding of the crop feature, perhaps others more qualified could offer a better explanation but here goes. The d800 has an auto detect feature for dx lenses which will automatically crop the resolution of the image sensor to adjust for the smaller image cast. I don’t have a D700 but I’ve read that this feature has been out a while, with the effective focal length being 1.5x I think with the DX crop feature in the D800, just like with any Nikon DX DSLR. Right now I’m using a D300 with a Sigma 10-20mm, for 15-30mm effective (crop factor of 1.5x). From what I have read, the crop will be to the standard DX size for focal length convenience (15.6 MP resolution I think), still making my 10-20 an effective 15-30mm. The best part is that movies recorded on the D800 will also have this feature, meaning that one will not have to make a large initial investment in lenses to make the transition to full frame, you can still use your DX lenses and make great vids. Sounds like a very flexible camera. The issue with using a DX lens like the one I have, with a full frame body is that you will get vignetting of varying severity, but it’s usually pretty bad. The sigma 10-20 on a full frame camera has totally black corners and very dark edges at 10mm, which you would then have to manually crop by roughly 50% to bring to acceptable levels. You get an image at true 10mm, it’s just no good for real estate pics on a ff body. As far as lenses go, there are some good threads on here regarding that issue, but some common choices for Nikon seem to be the Sigma 10-20mm (15-30mm in cropped mode), the Nikon 12-24mm (18-36mm in cropped mode), Tokina 11-16mm (16.5-24mm), and Tamron 10-24mm (15-36mm) lens. Your D700 is an FX camera, meaning that you are getting true 14-24mm, so on a cropped sensor camera, that would be 21-36mm. The crop factor is why companies make such crazy ultrawide DX lenses. The effective focal length magnification that you are referring to is when you take a lens and put it on a DX “cropped sensor” camera, which is why wildlife photographers love DX cameras – they can put a 400mm 2.8 lens on it and it suddenly becomes 600mm, which they then can use a TC 2x on to make a 1200mm f5.6 lens to take pictures of a hyena’s nose hair. booya! I’m not sure how much variance there is between different lens manufacturers regarding the actual image cast and the precise cropped focal length, I just assume it’s pretty much the same and apply the 1.5x Nikon standard to any lens I put on my DX body.

    I hope I have offered a reasonable explanation – again, I’m no expert, far from it, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn last week.

  • @ Daniel, the one thing I would add is that crop conversion impacts Field of View (FOV) ONLY! It is still physically a 10mm lens with the characteristics of a 10mm lens. Using the telephoto example where the differences are more noticable, while the 400 2.8 would have the FOV of a 600 2.8, it would retain the DOF characteristics of the 400…not assume what a 600 would be on a FF, and the 2x converter magnifies the characteristics and adjusts the f-stop of the 400 lens including the 600 FOV, thus the 1200 FOV and 5.6.

    A more “affordable” example than the 400mm 2.8. A 50mm on a crop will give portrait level 75mm FOV for H&S shots, but a true 75 on FF will have far better DOF and bokeh.

  • Thanks for the detailed explanations!

  • This is NOT a serious competitor to the 5D mk II(2).

    It’s a serious competitor for the 5D mk III (3).

  • I just got mine and it’s astonishing.
    An oft overlooked DSLR specification is dynamic range. In the case of the D800, having two stops more dynamic range than most competitively priced cameras means being able to do in one shot what would have taken a three stop bracket to do otherwise.
    As to file size, the jpegs produced by this camera are better than the raw files from most, so in many cases you could just shoot jpegs if the file size really bothers you all that much. I shoot raw and don’t find it burdensome. When I come in from a job I plug the card into the CF slot on my computer, which opens my import program. I create a new directory and click the ‘Start’ button. I then unpack my equipment and check my phone messages and email. By the time I’m done with that all of my work is up on the screen in Adobe Bridge ready for post processing. No problem at all.
    I haven’t been able to do all of the shooting / testing I’d like to have done because I’m in the midst of treatment for prostate cancer, but as soon as all of that’s done I’ll post some samples.

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