D800 is a game changer for macro photography

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D800 is a game changer for macro photography

Postby Stany Buyle » Sat 31 Mar 2012 11:45

Often with the appearance of one camera model' successor you might think long if it's worth the upgrade. If you consider D800 as an upgrade for D700 there is no need to think, it's a camera that has -with exception of appearance, size and PUFlash- barely something common with D700. The thing that makes D800 to be a game changer against the whole former (and actual...) Nikon line is its resolution, especially for macro shooting. Next to that the significantly improved AF system is a very remarkable achievement even though D700 was already very good on that territory... The D800' incredible AF system not only makes AF a pleasure to use even in situations where most macro shooters would choose for MF, but it also raises the "keepers rate" in a way that I feel no need for a camera with more fsp.

TMHO D800 is a game changing tool for macro photography for following reasons:

  • Shooting distance. You don't have to go close to the subject anymore to capture huge detail.

    A sample:
    :!: Please notic that: The underneath pictures were all taken handhold. If I would have been able to use a tripod, IQ and sharpness would even have been significantly better.

    The scene:
    Image taken handhold with D800 and nikkor 105 AF-S at iso 640, 1/1600 sec, F5.6, AF-C
    In this sample I chose a rather big aperture with relative small DOF as a result for 1) The picture itself, 2) For AF-accuracy check and 3) because I needed a fast shutter speed on behalf of sharpness because there was quite a lot of wind...
    Image

    And a 55% crop of the above image. :!: Take care, the full size 55% crop is much bigger than this but I have to resize to 1024px longest size to fit on this forum.
    Image

    And a "real" 100% crop:

    Image

    And one more sample:
    The scene:
    Image

    And a 55% crop of the above image. :!: Take care, the full size 50% crop is much bigger than this but I have to resize to 1024px longest size to fit on this forum.
    Image
    x
    x
  • Macro at higher iso. In case you shoot macro at high iso for reasons like not enough light to make the combination of shutter speed and a small aperture to get decent DOF, the impossibility to use a flash or because you hate the reflections a flash gives on the eyes of the insects, the D800' enormous resolution masks noise while you need less magnification. A 45% crop of a D800 file shows a bigger image than a 100% crop of a D3 or D700 file taken at the same distance...

    Here below I posted some samples of the same scene shot at resp. iso 1600, iso3200, iso 6400, iso 12800, iso25600

    :!: Please notice that:
    • All these image have been taken handhold with D800 and 105AF-S VR
    • These images have been captured while using spot metering on the white flower, which is basically the same as underexposing at least 1 stop.
      For this kind of shots I like to separate the subject from the background with exposure.
      While shooting low iso there would be no necessity to use spot metering while the D800 has a fantastic DR at low iso which enables correction of highlights and shadows in post processing. Shooting high iso obliges much more care about exposure in the way you want the final image to look like.
    • All images have been captured in NEF with picture control set to vivid and saturation a little pushed while I like that.
    • The images are resized without additional sharpening or post processing.
      x
    • Depending on the shooting circumstances and lighting conditions I always try to use the lowest iso possible and I would prefer using a macro flash system rather than to raise sensivity. With D700 and D3 I got good results for macro until iso 1600, with D800 -for macro- I probably might go up to iso 3200...

    Iso 1600
    Image

    and a 33% crop resized to 1024 px longest side to fit on this forum
    Image

    iso 3200
    Image

    and a 33% crop resized to 1024 px longest side to fit on this forum
    Image

    iso 6400
    Image

    and a 33% crop resized to 1024 px longest side to fit on this forum
    Image

    iso 12800
    Image

    and a 33% crop resized to 1024 px longest side to fit on this forum
    Image

    iso 25600
    Image

    and a 33% crop resized to 1024 px longest side to fit on this forum
    Image

    x
    x
  • Using AF for macro shooting. For quite long time I am using AF for 80-90% of my pictures because -since D700-, the camera simply does AF mostly better and much faster than what I can do with manual focusing.

    About AF precision, AF speed and AF with a lens TC/combo or lens/extention tube combo D800(and D4) even work significantly better than their repectiverly predecessors D700 and D3s.
    During the D4 and D800 demo days at Art & Craft back in February I tested D4 AF precision with an extreme application:

    I mounted my 3 kenko extension rings between the D4 and my 105AF-S and of course with a very limited DOF but handhold the D4 was autofocusing without problems.
    The setup of that I describe here above:
    Image
    And a result in a picture:
    Take care: F14 handhold and iso 12800!!!
    Image

    Since D700 and 105 AF-S VR exists I changed manual focusing for macro to AF for about 80%-90 of my macro shots. With my D800 this will probably go to 100%...

Thanks for your attention and kindest regards,
Stany
http://www.nikonuser.info

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Re: D800 is a game changer for macro photography

Postby GregoryS » Sun 1 Apr 2012 19:51

Good article. Thanks, Stany.

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Re: D800 is a game changer for macro photography

Postby CDW » Sun 1 Apr 2012 20:26

Hallo Stany and Rita,

thank you for sharing your insights and experience.
Do you think that your ideas are also applicable to bird telephotography (I have the combination of D3x and AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f-4G VR sometimes with TC 1.4 II) ?

Best regards,
Carlos
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Re: D800 is a game changer for macro photography

Postby Stany Buyle » Mon 2 Apr 2012 18:44

CDW wrote:Hallo Stany and Rita,
thank you for sharing your insights and experience.
Do you think that your ideas are also applicable to bird telephotography (I have the combination of D3x and AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f-4G VR sometimes with TC 1.4 II) ?
Best regards,
Carlos


Dear Mr. De Wagter,
Yes, whereas D3, D3s and D3x AF module were optimised for lenses and lens/TC combinations until F5.6, D4 and D800 AF module is optimised for lens and lens/TC combos upto F8, which makes F4 lenses with the 2xTCIIIe work.
This D3/D3s/D3x/D700 to D4/D800 AF-module "upgrade" from F5.6 to F8 only works in the center AF points.

From the Nikon website:
Image

I did the test with a D4 and a 300 AF-S F4 with 2xTCIIIe in relative lowlight and it was working flawless.
Here below a picture of my daugther with D4 + 300 AF-S and TCIIIe at iso 25.600, handhold.

Image

Related topics on this forum:
:arrow: Handhold-autofocus macro with D800 and 105VR+ TCIIIe
:arrow: D800 is a game changer for macro photography
:arrow: D800 (and D4)' astonishing AF module.
:arrow: nikon 2x TCIII is simply an optical miracle.
:arrow: D800 : handhold macro picture

Kindest regards,
Stany
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Re: D800 is a game changer for macro photography

Postby CDW » Wed 13 Jun 2012 14:51

Dear all, I am puzzled about the cutoff in terms of apertures (F5.6 vs F8 in the discussion on D3/D3s/D3x vs D4). I would expect that the amount of light would also play whether a camera can handle F8 lenses.

Thanks for your attention and reactions. Best regards,
Carlos
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Re: D800 is a game changer for macro photography

Postby Stany Buyle » Thu 14 Jun 2012 19:48

CDW wrote:Dear all, I am puzzled about the cutoff in terms of apertures (F5.6 vs F8 in the discussion on D3/D3s/D3x vs D4). I would expect that the amount of light would also play whether a camera can handle F8 lenses.
Thanks for your attention and reactions. Best regards,
Carlos

Dear Carlos,
Even though there are some people on this forum who can much better answer to your question(Marianne Oelund, Thom Hogan, Dodi and some others), after my experience, following answer to your question:
Of course the amount of light plays an important role but I believe the benchmark Nikon handles to quote a certain lens/TC combination as "working" is the ability to achieve focus in any lighting situation. As you can see from the sample picture where my daugther was standing in a relative dark corner in the shop and the 300mm F4 + 2xTCIII (F8) was autofocusing flawless. In the initial list of lenses compatible with the 2xTCIIIe Nikon did mention the 105AF-S VR as "no autofocus" even though after my own tests and use the 105 AF-S VR does autofocus with the 2xTCIII "if" there is enough light but struggles badly in lowlight.
If you want to test the D800' F8 capability with your 600 F4 VR + 2xTCIIIe I'm willing to do a testshoot with you in the Warandeputten-Moerbrugge-Oostklamp anytime... ;) You can find some kingfishers over there where I would appreciate the occasional use of your super-lens with 2xTCIII on my D800... :D
Kindest regards,
Stany
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Re: D800 is a game changer for macro photography

Postby CDW » Wed 20 Jun 2012 20:55

Dear Stany,

thank you for the clarification. I will come back to your interesting "project" in August (too busy now).

Best regards,
Carlos
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D800 is a game changer for macro ph.: Another sample..

Postby Stany Buyle » Sat 30 Jun 2012 14:03

D800 is a game changer for macro photography, another sample...
...taken handhold with D800 and 105AF-S VR with 2xTCIIIe

From this:
Image

to this:
Image

Related topics on this forum:
:arrow: Too many "keepers" with D800...
:arrow: Handhold-autofocus macro with D800 and 105VR+ TCIIIe
:arrow: D800 is a game changer for macro photography
:arrow: D800 (and D4)' astonishing AF module.
:arrow: nikon 2x TCIII is simply an optical miracle.
:arrow: D800 : handhold macro picture
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Re: D800 is a game changer for macro photography

Postby sandor » Sat 30 Jun 2012 22:28

Pretty stunning really. Good to see the D800 doesnt cause that much moire.

I had my shot on a D800 of my own today. Picked it up this morning, brought it back in the afternoon. The whole AF module was off. From left to right, the correction of +20 did not fix it. I'm lucky I 've got a dealer who knows what is going on....
The bad thing is he's not going to get more D800's within a month or so! His advice was to try a German retailer. They do get more cameras.
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Re: D800 is a game changer for macro photography

Postby Stany Buyle » Thu 13 Sep 2012 21:42

One more handhold macro snapshot with D800E and 105AF-S VR...

The scene:
Image

and a 100% crop...
Image
kindest regards,

Stany
I like better one good shot in a day than 10 bad ones in a second...
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