Nikon D800 Photo Exhibit


START (click here)

GALLERY (click here)

PANORAMAS (click here) A page just for extremely wide panoramas

Photos by Michael Gordon. Permission granted to use these photos as wallpaper, screen savers, and other non-commercial uses.


Nikon D800

Nikon D200

The degree of amazement you experience depends on the lens. This photo of Cache Valley was made with a Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8 telephoto zoom and shows astonishing detail. Usually you won't get this much detail particularly of landscapes because of heat waves but this day was cold and clear.

On the other hand, a super-zoom such as the Nikkor 28-300mm show enough fuzziness that you'd never actually use it at the full 36 megapixel. Brand-X lenses can sometimes be pretty good and sometimes not so good. This camera will definitely test your lenses.

Even if you decide rarely to use the full 36 megapixels, you can and ought to shoot at full resolution so that you can make adjustments and rotations THEN reduce the image to the size you intend to use.

Initial impressions. Try out your new camera. Then read the book. Then try your camera again. Read the book. As compared to the Nikon D700, some functions that could only be accessed through menus now have top buttons and are more quickly chosen. One of the first things I noticed was an absence of the "continuous" autofocus switch. Now it's just manual or automatic. What isn't obvious is that the lever is ALSO a pushbutton! Pushing in on the lever activates a "command wheel" menu of many more auto-focus choices than just two and you can see these choices on the top LCD.

Excellent in-camera JPEG images sometimes eliminate the need to process RAW. I usually shoot raw and JPEG. If the JPEG is good enough then I skip processing the raw, which in this camera is 75 megabytes per shot uncompressed and about 36 megabytes compressed. A thing called "picture control" tells the camera your intentions -- a "landscape" for instance boosts color, contrast and the "S" curve to more closely resemble a high contrast film such as Kodachrome. "Neutral" on the other hand does very little to the photo and is ideal for re-photographing your slides or transparencies that already have high contrast and color.

Special features for in-camera JPEG images: The camera offers "Active D-Lighting" which is a mild form of HDR (High Dynamic Range) processing. Highlights are protected and shadows enhanced without at the same time merely reducing the overall contrast. In other words, large dark areas are brightened a bit without affecting the nearby image. Edge contrast is enhanced while overall contrast is reduced slightly. It works very well and is somewhat subtle, no obvious HDR artifacts. This camera does have a built-in actual HDR mechanism, two shots only, but can be up to 2 stops difference in exposure, and automatically fused. The camera makes no attempt to align the two images so you'd better be amazingly steady or on a tripod. It is perfect for situations such as shooting inside a house with windows that are in the photo. The outside parts will be exposed 2 stops less than the inside, salvaging what is otherwise an impossible situation. There is now a "Bracket" button right on top that you can dial in HDR sequences very easily and also choose the f-stop increment.

The files are big. You'll want a 64 bit operating system and 64 bit tools. My old Photoshop Essentials 6 can sometimes process just one image at a time. Corel Photo Paint X6 has no problem with the size, but it's slower than molasses on a cold winter day since all adjustments are applied to the full size image before it updates the preview. Maybe there's an option to test changes on a smaller size copy of the image for faster adjustments.

You'll probably need to update your raw (NEF) handlers. I downloaded a new Adobe DNG Converter and it works fine. Obviously it takes longer on files that are 3 times larger than they were using the Nikon D700. Corel Photo Paint X6 seems able to handle the NEF directly but it is just too slow. Pixmantec's Raw Shooter was my favorite -- select a whole string of photos to batch process with the same corrections, and it worked on smaller "proxy" images that could be quickly adjusted, and then the adjustments applied to the original raw files to produce a stack of JPEG outputs.

I purchased Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 to replace Elements 6 which could not process the NEF (raw) files at all and choked on the DNG (Digital Negatives) from the DNG Converter. Sometimes Elements 6 could process just one, but often gave an "out of memory" error. I was surprised and dismayed that advancing 6 full version numbers changed almost nothing -- still 32 bit, still only 3.2 gigabyte maximum working space even though I have 12 gigabytes of memory installed. No obviously new features but really all I want is to optimize the raw for export and saving as JPEG. So, it works, but isn't impressive.

Nikon View is excruciatingly slow *but* it does have "D-Lighting" which functions somewhat like HDR. ViewNX2 actually writes back changes appended to the original NEF which kicks them from 36 megabytes each to 52 megabytes each and takes an amazingly long time to save, about 30 seconds to 2 minutes (2 GHz dual core Xeon processor) for each picture.

The following pages constitute a slide show and photo selector.

The slide show itself is intended for sequential viewing of a collection of photographs.

Each page includes in its title bar, and underneath, the file name of the photo. This is useful when corresponding to someone about the photo.

To advance to the next photo: Clicking on the photo advances you to the next photo unless you are on a thumbnail or zoomed photo, in which case clicking it takes you to the 'normal' size.

Below each photo is a set of links (buttons) to advance, return, or exit the slide show.