Friday Image No. 050

This is North Wales. Nikon D800. Processing in Lightroom and Topaz Detail.
This is North Wales. Nikon D800. Processing in Lightroom and Topaz Detail.

Regular readers of this blog may well remember my experiment with the Nikon D800 which I eventually sold. At the time I had a number of outings where I struggled to get the best out of the camera. Isn’t it interesting how time and distance from an event help change your perception.

Don’t worry, I am not about to reverse my decision but some of the images that I shot now appeal to me. I did post an image very similar to this one when I was trying to compare the D800 to the EM5. At the time I didn’t spend a great deal of time looking through the images but now I have almost 6 months distance to the shoot, I managed to see this one. The D800 RAW file is pretty dull and lifeless but when you start processing it the image comes to life.

I really like this shot now and think it has a rather painterly feel to it.

Hmm! Did I act too quickly?

16 thoughts on “Friday Image No. 050

  1. Sad to say, but I think you traded quality for convenience. I can appreciate a lightweight camera for travel, much as a small tripod is also necessary for travel. But when it comes to generating fine-art prints the D800 (D800E, D810) is tough to beat.

    1. If I were printing above A2 then I would agree with you. But up to A2 and especially on Matte Papers I found that I couldnt see any difference between the prints from each camera. What I think I really like about the D800 and the Canon 5D MKII that I used to have is that you can manipulate the RAW files a lot. Much more than you can with the EM5 and RX10. The D800 RAW files just don’t break down on processing in the same way as the smaller sensors. I just wish I found the camera easier to use.

  2. Beautiful image, Robin, and wonderful colours! Thanks for sharing. May I ask you whether you think that you could have obtained a similar one with the om5, or the colour rendition of the Nikon is somewhat special?

    1. Thank you. I’m now kicking myself for not shooting the same image with the EM5 although it would have been difficult. I did shoot a hand held shot with the EM5 which I posted some months back but the comparison is very different. With the D800 I had to shoot on a tripod whilst with the EM5 I could hand hold. What I was trying to achieve is the movement in the water which was very easy with the D800 and I could easily adjust the ISO to get the shutter speed just right. With the EM5 I couldn’t slow the shutter sufficiently to achieve the speed I wanted. I only had a 10 stop filter with me for the EM5 which gave too long an exposure. This is why it wasn’t possible for me to shoot a comparible image. I do now have a 3 stop (currently on oreder) and 6 stop ND which give me the control over shutter speeds that I need. Achieving the longer exposures is something of a weakness in the Micro 43 system.

  3. It’s certainly a superb image and one well-worthy of the adjective ‘painterly’. But as to the more general and philosophical question of did you ‘act too quickly’, the answer really can only depend on a lot of personal and subjective factors that are impossible to truly quantify. Yes, the D800 has a very good sensor and fine capabilities for landscape photography. But, honestly, so do many smaller cameras, including but not limited to micro 4/3, APS-C, and even some of the new generation of high quality 1″ sensor digicams. And further compounding the complexity of the question is the equally complex reality that many good and great photographers will produce superb results….no matter what equipment they are or may be using.

    I’m guessing you probably didn’t act too quickly. But if you miss the capabilities of a full-frame large sensor Nikon (or its equivalent), you can always dive back in. Personally, having seen (and appreciated) some of your other, post D800 images, I don’t think you did act too quickly.

    But damn this is a beautiful image.

    1. Thank you. I think I was suffering from finding a good image and nolonger having access to the equipment. The niggle of self doubt creeps in. What I missed about my other cameras when I was using the D800 was their usability and flexibility. I felt constrained by the D800 but this is down to personal shooting style. I am sure lightweight photography is not for everyone but I’m equally sure a lot of people write it off without trying. My approach to photography is to experiment and keep on experimenting. It’s what keeps it interesting.

  4. I like it, very Turner-esque, I found with both my D200 and D700 that the first look at the raw file was a bit flat but they respond so well to a little tweaking. I miss both those cameras and, to be honest, some of my favourite landscapes came from the D200 with sigma 10-20 combo at base iso (unfortunately for anything else which required higher iso it was a pain). now using a e-m5 (mk1) and loving the portability, IQ at base is plenty good enough for my humble needs.

    1. Thank you. I have been looking at other D800 RAW files and they all look a bit flat until you push them. Push them hard with a lot of processing and the start to come alive. What I like about these RAW files is that they seem to stand up to harsh processing much better than the Micro 43 RAW files. But then Micro 43 don’t require as much processing. Pleased to hear your enjoying the EM5 – great camera.

  5. I’m curious about why your GAS has not led you to Fufi or Sony, both use a larger sensor and both are highly regarded.
    But any choice of camera brings compromises and the best reviewers help would-be purchasers to avoid the wisdom of hindsight.
    Exceptionally talented photographers can capture exceptional images with any camera. If you want to see the proof of this, study your Friday posts!

    1. I bought the D800 because it seemed like a bargain at the time and I was curious. If I were to repeat the experiment I would probably try Sony. The thing that puts me off the Sony is the lack of lens choice without usig an adapter. I have always found adapters to be a bit of a compromise. Thanks for the positive feedback. And for the record, I like the colours from my RX10 best and this is closely followed by the EM5.

  6. Hello Robin.
    Yes I think that you may have reacted to quickly dismissing the D800, the image you have posted is superb I have had quite a few Nikon cameras going back to film days and moving on to digital. last year I traded in my D800 for the new D810 . I take a few landscapes they are mostly of old ruins, my main interest are of steam railway locomotives, and traction engines agriculture, and road locomotives, and the 1940’s reenactments.
    I am viewing an image at 100% to see if I have got the image sharp, and extracted the most detail before the image is printed. As you know a raw file will always appear to be not as good as say a jpg because the jpg has already had some processing. I did find find moving up to a 36 mega pixal camera, I had to stop and think a little more, but once I had sorted that out , I am very satisfied with the image quality.
    I do enjoy looking at your images and postings.
    Have a nice weekend John.

    1. Hi John, I think the problem is that I judge my images based purely on quality criteria. Here the D800 scored highly for me. But when I take pictures I judge the camera on usability which is where the EM5 scored much higher. I think I need to combine the two. I just don’t want any quips from anyone about that being the Sony A7r.

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