Testing the Kit!

We did about 5+ miles of walking today along the Embarcadero so I thought I would do a bit of street photography. This was a good time for me to try to carry my entire kit. My Think Tank Shape Shifter Backpack was loaded with my D4, trinity zoom lenses, and 50mm. We made the trek from the Ferry Building, to Fisherman’s Wharf, and back. Here are some shots I took…

Now that I’ve fired off a few hundred shots, I can make some legitimate comparisons to the D800. I’m finding the D4 fits my hands better. With the D800, I would suffer hand fatigue after shooting for a few hours. With the D4, I could go much further. This is probably because the D800+Grip seems to be much heavier than the D4. I’m getting WAY more keepers on the D4 than the D800. Bad technique or bad D800? I’m thinking I had a bad D800…but I’ll leave that for another blog post. It’s easy for anyone to say it was the camera – but in my case, I truly think that the AF system was not calibrated at the factory (and at factory repair) correctly. If you read any of my previous blog posts, I shared a few excerpts that the AF system on my D800 was way off. Nikon verified that I had an issue after sending in test shots. I sent it in for repair, (I didn’t have the camera for a whole month) and the camera came back improved, but nowhere near where I thought it should be. Since I am an amateur, I didn’t make too much of a fuss and, naturally, I thought it was just poor technique, so I tried to work through it to no avail. After months of struggling with it, I finally succumbed to accepting the fact that the AF on my D800 was defective. And now that I have the D4, it truly verifies that it really wasn’t me. The proof is in the pudding and my shots are now tack sharp (because my AF is actually hitting the targets!) Wait, I thought I was going to leave the rant for another blog post! I’ll still put up a post on the whole fiasco – it really left a sour taste in my mouth – so much that it made me spend the additional $3000 for the D4! LOL Nevertheless…it’s all behind me now and my current setup is giving me the confidence I had lost when I owned the D800.

Oh, so back to the quick D800 comparison. The D4 viewfinder is much brighter and less invasive. Hard to explain unless you have seen both. Low light AF is a lot more accurate and quick to acquire focus on the D4. The poor low light AF on the D800 could have been my defective body, however. The LCD is much brighter on the D4. You can actually read it in full daylight. The D800 was hardly readable in full daylight. The D4 is much quieter than the D800. Every time I released the shutter on the D800 it sounded like an axe chopping wood! The D4 is pretty loud as well, but the D800 was much louder.

The D800 is no slouch. But I can see a big difference in overall ergonomics, build quality, capability, and performance. Is it worth the $3000 premium over the $3000 D800? Certainly not in my situation, but if you are working professional I think the D800 is a PERFECT studio camera while the D4 is a PERFECT all-around camera.

More reviews, comparisons, and details to come!

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3 thoughts on “Testing the Kit!

  1. I’m having the same issue with my D800 — a lot of pictures just don’t turn out. I compare them to what I see from others and get depressed…

    • Sorry about your issues. I know EXACTLY what you are going through. I can only suggest going through the same process I went through:
      1. Open a ticket with Nikon explaining your issues. They will likely ask you to take sample pictures showing the problem. Send them whatever they want.
      2. From there they will tell you whether you have a problem or not. If they say you have a problem, send it in for repair. If they say you don’t have a problem, then great.
      3. Either way, you have documentation that there is no problem with your body, whether or not it required repair. This is the most important step in selling your body.
      4. Sell it while it’s under manufacturer warranty and while it’s worth something. You may take a $300-$400 hit but at least you won’t be questioning your camera the next 3-4 years of ownership. That would be awful.

      Good luck!

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