This was the first paid photoshoot with the new Nikon D800 and it was a fun one.
I like doing individual portraits though I don’t advertize them half enough… probably because I’m more used to weddings paying the bills and sending me to fun locations.
For those interested in my thoughts about my first paid photoshoot with the D800 go to the end of the blog post
Jennie Litster is an Opera Singer
I met her at a wedding about 1.5yrs ago and we’ve been great friends ever since. The last time she had headshots was about 4yrs ago so she decided it was time to get new ones.
She uses the headshots heavily and says she’ll probably send out several hundred and I’m not sure what amount of time. But every year she travels around auditioning for different parts usually New York and California and sometimes Europe. This year she had a full time job working with the Utah Opera so she was here for a while.
The light in the house was so nice that we just did most of the headshots there… specially helpful because there was no wind… except for when we stood next to the door.
There are a bunch of looks for her to choose from as I know she’ll be very selective about which one she uses. I have about 90 pictures in the full gallery
Doing the pictures of the gowns though more fun was a secondary need for her. But we were able to get three different gowns
NIKON D800 Early Review
I new I’d be getting a very high MegaPixel count and that now my pictures could be blown up to cover the side of a large building.
Sharpness. What I didn’t realize was that because of this (and probably other factors) is that my pictures would be much much sharper.
In fact I’m still blown away at how much sharper my images are and I hope that this was not just the circumstances of this one photoshoot and a few other pictures I’ve taken.
Blown out highlights (bright spots) … well simply put: There are fewer. The camera really does have a much higher range. I guess it makes sense that it was rated the highest camera in this department by DxOMark.
Auto Focus – I still need more interaction specially in adverse situations like backlight or low light. But so far so good. The best compliment I can give is that I have yet to stress or work hard to focus on anything.
Battery Life - So far so good. I think I shot about 1400 pictures on the last battery. But I’ll keep double checking to make sure i was correct. The real test will come when I plug in my GPS and see how fast that depletes the battery. I don’t think I’ll be getting the grip very soon because it’s crazy expensive for a battery grip. But it’ll be wierd to re-adjust to not having one and not being able to use AA batteries to power the camera
File Size – Yep they’re big. 40-50MBs … and this has changed my workflow a bit. Meaning I am now starting to delete pictures from my computer that are blurry and out of focus. In fact I’m starting to chimp straight from the camera as well. The center button zoom is a life saver and I couldn’t live without it. But more than that when you are zoomed in you can scroll around in the picture much faster than any previous camera i’ve had and that does make a difference for me. I used to say storage is so cheap I don’t need to delete… but when your pictures are 3 times the size and you’re bringing home 15GB for a small shoot and 60+GB sometimes for a wedding then you start calculating numbers and realizing you could have about 4-5TBs of pictures a year when you’re used to 1-1.5 … Yeah so I’m changing my mind on the deleting thing. Good thing for me that I’ve already selected tens of thousands of blurry pictures over the years that I could easily, with one click of the button, delete.
ISO – I know people are more interested in High ISO performance but I think I’m most excited about having a lower ISO setting of ISO50 that will be awesome for night shots or even shooting at f/1.4 in the middle of the day. There is indeed noise at higher ISOs and since there are a lot more megapixels you can really zoom in and see it. But when you zoom out and just see the picture online and stuff I don’t think it’s a big issue. What I’m trying to say is that I just assume it’s better than the D700 but will try shooting some more HighISO stuff and get back to you on that.
COLOR – I’m still getting used to turning the pictures I take into the bright colorful images i’m used to. Using the Vivid profile in LR4 is good but not quite as punchy as I’m used to. Also I’ve found myself tweaking the WB in post a bit more than I was ever used to and I’m hoping it was just for this shoot. I think my picture color will be different than in the past… but I’m sure I’ll find a good method and be happy about it. With a short amount of experience one thing I could say is that the colors look more real.
BUTTONS - My muscle memory says that the AF-L button, the Mode button and the Front scroll wheel are all just slightly in the wrong place. It’s been awkward for me to adjust to.
Happy surprise – Changing Image size on the fly. Yep I’ve programmed the Fn button to change between full frame, 1.2x, 1.5x and 5:4 image sizes… it’s been pretty fun actually and only time will tell if I’ll continue to do that when the newness wears off… but something tells me I will if only because it saves so much space on the hard drive. Well to be fair it does help me previsualize the correct cropping when I can’t get any closer to my subject.
ONE TEST - You can’t really take anything I write to seriously because I’ve only shot 1400 pictures with the camera. But in this next week I’ll have done 2 weddings and this time next week I’ll be in Japan to do an engagement shoot and taking lots of travel pictures. So that’s when I’ll get a really good idea.
I thought I’d be happier with a D4 than a D800 but I really am warming up to the idea of a D800 the image quality is spectacular and that’s a pretty big deal. I think I’ll just stay away from a D4 so that I don’t know any better and my wallet is happier that way.
To get a better feel for the images why don’t you go to the gallery on SmugMug where you can view the images pretty large