D800 by Nikon, The System Camera




Ah like the good ole days. Thru the time of photography being done with 120 cameras there were some differences. Camera’s were very modular and changeable. They could be adapted to whatever one needed for a particular job or shoot. Viewfinders could be changed to waist level or eye-level or 45 degree finders. Film backs could be for 6×7 cm film or 6×6 or 6×4.5. If you needed instant then the back could be replaced with a Polaroid back.  This is the way photos were tweaked and corrected before committing to film. Well that modular thing kinda disappeared during the earlier stages of digital. The effort was to get the most megapixel count out of the sensor as possible. When the resolution race passed about 10 megapixels we started to match film potential with a tool so much more portable and easy. Then came the D800 and that became the system camera.

Format choice is now available to trim the 2:3 format of full 35mm framing to the more square 4:5 format so for those who worked the massive 4×5 field and studio cameras thru the 90’s and before this can be your format. If you spent your film days with the 6x7cm format from Pentax or Mamiya then this 4:5 format is also for you. For me, when I’ve got an event or wedding to photograph I do not need the massive 36 megapixel file of the 7360 x 4912 pixels. I still have a 15 megapixel file with the DX cropping (4800×3200 pixels) and it’s plenty for albums, enlargements and all the necessary sizes.

For me that 36 megapixel full frame sensor is the most awesome way to make photos. But the main time I use it as an FX camera is for Commercial, some portraiture or large display prints.

So consider all the features of the D800 when you buy or rent your next. You can shoot all these formats. I have read of people having a Full Frame camera and a Cropped Sensor Camera. What a waist. The D800 is both, easily.

I’ve used the D800 for numerous jobs. It’s always a pleasure. If the grip is needed to comfortably shoot verticals and have double the battery life, it’s available. If your shooting is of major importance or work, add the SD card to back-up your CF card. When images are uploaded to your computer


and confirmed that all is good delete the SD. Or, preferably, keep as an additional back-up to be deleted when it’s next needed. If your wireless trigger seems to be having a problem, pop-up the built-in flash and let it trigger your flash set-up. Some of the “Pro” camera models don’t have flash.

Recently after using the D800 which is always SLR use. That is using the reflex system. I realized that using the camera mirrorless was much more than just leaving the TTL experience. In the Live View mode we add a number of features, one being the detection of faces in a scene. Wow, what a feature for the portraiture world or even the kids playing in the floor.

In work there are many times a situation arises and you have to move fast. Imagine at the front of the largest church in your town and your the photog of choice. All is good but you realize that your flash it not firing from your triggering device. OH MY. There is a major dose of stress on your shoulders and you need to sit down and reset some things in the camera. From the gallery of groomsmen comes the comment “ How much longer”. To the rescue- My Menu. Of all the dozens of settings found in the menus, place the most important ones in My Menu. The menu customized by you. Get there quick to make the needed changes. I try to keep it small. Five or so would be great but the norm for me is more commonly ten. You can make some major changes and be back to capturing quick.

Now set your buttons. This is yet another way to customize the camera. First stop for me is always to reset what was the depth of field preview. It becomes the adjustment to vary the size of the crop. This is where I change from full frame to cropped frame and more. The button below that is set to turn my flash off. At a wedding, when the bride steps outside or near a “perfect light” window, press the button and see how natural light only looks. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

The D800 camera Body is currently $2796.95.


COMING SOON:  The Focus Features of the D800


©Gary Culley

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