This is the last post for 2012 and it is time to look back. I am owning my D800 for about nine months now and, having had some time to reflect during the Christmas season, I have some thoughts I would like to share with you. The D800 is truly a great camera. The transition from DX to full format brought mainly three things for me. At first the full potential of the focal length can unfold. 24mm really means wide angle ! The focal lengths one is used to shoot with suddenly give you a new perspective. With a portrait or tele lens you can move closer to your subject, with a wide angle lens you can cover an image area unknown until now.
The second major upgrade which came with the transition is the ISO performance. Hell yes, I love it. Images which were rejects at ISO 6.400 with my D300s suddenly are usable ! Even a higher ISO is nothing I am afraid of anymore. There is much noise at ISO 12.800, yes. It’s ISO 12.800 after all. But the images are still in a usable quality. The enhancement of the usable ISO range also broadened the possibilities one has. Suddely you can take pictures in a situation were only dark gloomy light is predominant.
Third issue – storage requirements and processing power. Phew, that sure is kind of annoying. The 36 Megapixels produce raw files >50 Mb (20 images = 1 GB). On the trip to the new townhall Hannover I took around 80 photos, which is 4 GB of storage space. No wonder the 320 GB my Macbook Pro had when I purchased it did not suffice. Now I have a 1 TB harddrive in the notebook, which gives you enough space to work on and not being forced to archive photos every few weeks. But again – it’s only a 5.400 rpm harddrive and my four year old MacbookPro has a lot to chew on those raw files. It takes about 15-20 sec to load the full resolution when zooming into an image in Lightroom. Exporting also takes some time (also around 15-20 sec per image). I wonder how the performance would be affected if I upgraded to SSD drives.
I personally still do not need 36 Megapixels. My D300s has 12 Megapixels and I rarely needed that resolution since I do not make large prints. But with the current lineup the D800 is the camera which matches my personal requirements best. To be frank – only the large image files bother me. Take a D800 with the sensor of the D4 – I would buy it instantly ! And all hope is not lost. A photo magazine in Japan, Impress, has published predictions for 2013. Their bold forecast: A D800-style body with a 16MP-sensor. That is certainly possible but, in my humble opinion, wishful thinking. Such a camera would impact the sales of the D4 (it happened with the D700 and the D3, which shared the same sensor). But who knows what the marketing strategy of Nikon may be. Perhaps the market is saturated with D4s after a while and the release of a D4 sensor in another body would not impact the D4 sales at all. But that is pure speculation…