Close up of Maximo the 15 foot 3 inch 1,250-pound saltwater crocodile at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park in Florida. Nikon D800E with Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 EX OS APO HSM @ 195mm, 1/60 sec, f/8.0 ISO 400 in Manual mode, SB-800 flash, handheld.
This weekend I took delivery of a Nikon D800E and I was even able to make a few images even though Sunday was the last day of my photography workshop at the St Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park in Florida. Big thanks to Eric Arnold at Hunt's Photo for getting to camera to me via FedEx on Saturday.
Even though I have had only a limited amount of time with the camera I am very impressed. Sharpness and resolution are really amazing and high ISO noise performance seems to be very very good. So far with limited use I prefer the D800E files over my D4. The D4 was only a small upgrade in resolution over D3S but the D800E is a huge upgrade. I am looking forward to using the D800E in low light photography to see how the files compare to my high ISO D4, D3S and D700 files.
Handling and Ergonomics
The viewfinder is large and bright. Ergonomics seem to be okay other than I really miss the old AF area switch. I am really disappointed that Nikon went with the AF area switch from the D7000 on the D4 and D800/D800E. One big handling improvement with the D800E (also on the D4) is the new Auto-ISO shortcut, hold the ISO button and rotate the command dial with your index finger. This is much faster than anything on previous bodies.
Set Up Notes
The camera was very easy to set up without any major surprises but you should know that you have to use the MB-D12 Multi Power Battery Pack with AAs or the EN-EL18 (from the D4) Rechargeable Li-ion Battery and then only in DX mode to get the maximum 6 frames per second (FPS) rate. Otherwise you are in 5 FPS in DX mode no matter the battery source (this is disappointing since you can achieve 6FPS on the D7000 with the standard battery).
To manually set DX mode go to Menu>Shooting Menu>Image area>Manual Setting>DX Mode.
These are the accessories you need for 6 FPS shooting in DX mode.
MB-D12 Multi Power Battery Pack
This unit is very expensive ($499) and is only out there in very limited supplies (I was told this item is available for much less in Canada but I don't have any confirmation on this). You can use AAs or the camera battery EN-EL15 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery or even better the EN-EL18 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery from the D4.
To use the D4 EN-EL18 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery you will need:
EN-EL18 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery. The EN-EL 18 is a rechargeable Li-ion battery that is used to power the D4 Nikon D-SLR camera.
BL-5 Battery Chamber Cover. This item is needed when using the EN-EL 18 with the D800/D800E D-SLR with the MB-D12 Battery Pack.
AF Fine Tune Make sure you check and fine tune AF for accuracy. My D800E definitely needed it as did my D4 (all 3 D4s that I have used needed some AF fine tune).
I will soon post a more in depth D800E review once I am able to spend more time with the camera.
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