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I'm looking for a full-frame replacement for my (very) old workhorse D3 which I find a bit of a brute to lug around these days. Since I have the lenses I shall stick with Nikon. Should I be looking at a secondhand D800 / D800E, or something more recent? I don't need video, as I already have an X-T2 which does that very well. Advice welcome.

 

Alex

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Firstly what is your budget? Secondly, what is your intended usage? 

 

The D800, D800E and D810 are all fantastic cameras except for fast action. If you are intending to do any action photography then the D850 is unbeatable - it does everything - near-medium format quality images and can handle just about anything in the way of action.  You could also consider the D750 which is an excellent 24MP camera.

 

A word of caution: all of these Nikon high MP cameras (D8xx) series produce amazing images but you need to consider if your existing lenses will do the job going from 12MP to 36MP or more. I found that some of older Nikkor lenses were not up to the task as these high MP cameras are extremely demanding. There is also the issue of computing power. 

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Following on from MDM's post.

 

I used to have the D750 camera and can highly recommend it.

 

Allan

 

 

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1 hour ago, MDM said:

Firstly what is your budget? Secondly, what is your intended usage? 

 

The D800, D800E and D810 are all fantastic cameras except for fast action. If you are intending to do any action photography then the D850 is unbeatable - it does everything - near-medium format quality images and can handle just about anything in the way of action.  You could also consider the D750 which is an excellent 24MP camera.

 

A word of caution: all of these Nikon high MP cameras (D8xx) series produce amazing images but you need to consider if your existing lenses will do the job going from 12MP to 36MP or more. I found that some of older Nikkor lenses were not up to the task as these high MP cameras are extremely demanding. There is also the issue of computing power. 

Under £1000, certainly - and it's mainly for architecture and landscape

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I think that you will be really happy with a D800E if the main use would be landscape and architecture. 

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D750, I love it. Best camera I have ever owned. I know the D850 is better but as I don't do any action photography really I can't justify dropping another $4k. The amount of detail retained in the RAW files is amazing. I have shots on Alamy taken at 9000 ISO.  Even the 12800 is pretty good (not for here though), only the boosted 25600 and 51200ISO are pretty worthless. As its a bit out of date now I am starting to see some pretty good prices on the D750 body, here in Quebec it is at $550 off at $1900 body only.

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Alex, I use the Nikon D700, it is full frame.  I bought it back in it's hey day for $2900.00 I think.  You can get them used at Adorama and B&H Photo for around $500.00 or so.  I've bought used through them before and I consider them respectable.  KEH will buy your D3 as will the others mentioned.

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I think you need to weigh up the extra spend that would likely be involved in going up to a D800(E) as lens quality is critical and you will need to use lenses that are sharp across the frame for landscapes and architecture. If you don't have adequate lenses, then you are looking at more investment or you will end up downsizing to 24MP or less which defeats the purpose of the high MP camera. And as I mentioned above, high MP cameras do put strain on computers. If you are willing and can afford to invest in the extras if you need to, then I think the D8xx series cameras are unbeatable as DSLRs for landscape and architecture. The extra 12MP over the D750 does make a difference in terms of the detail captured.

 

However, given your budget, I would be inclined to go for the D750 which is currently available new at the amazing pre-Brexit referendum price of £1345 from Grays of Westminster (the best place to buy Nikon new or used in Britain now in my opinion) with a further £275 cashback so that makes £1070 new which is a really excellent price. WEX have the same deal but they are more expensive by around £90. I paid £1375 for mine on the 22nd June 2016 but the price went up massively after the drop in the £. I traded mine in last year and am a bit sorry I did in fact. The build quality is not anywhere like the D8xx series but the image quality is excellent.

 

If you decide on secondhand do check out Grays of Westminster again as they have some very good deals in low usage D800s. I traded some of my gear with them last year and they take extreme care in examining the kit.  Again WEX are very good for secondhand gear but it is worth comparing prices with Grays.

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22 minutes ago, Bear said:

Alex, I use the Nikon D700, it is full frame.  I bought it back in it's hey day for $2900.00 I think.  You can get them used at Adorama and B&H Photo for around $500.00 or so.  I've bought used through them before and I consider them respectable.  KEH will buy your D3 as will the others mentioned.

 

He is in Wales I am guessing from his portfolio.

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I too would recommend the D750, I use two. My Tamron 24-70 2.8 G2 lives on one, a great combination, no regrets. My D7100 and D7200 are now kept for backup.

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I'd agree with all that recommend the D800.  I'm looking add a third 800.  The D700 was a fine

12MP body, but it is the same sensor as the D3, or very close.  The 800's can be had pretty cheap

these days.

 

Also: you all are mistaken about the older glass on the 800.  If you know what you are doing and

know your glass, the high-end ED NIKKOR's work just fine on the 800's

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9 hours ago, Chuck Nacke said:

I'd agree with all that recommend the D800.  I'm looking add a third 800.  The D700 was a fine

12MP body, but it is the same sensor as the D3, or very close.  The 800's can be had pretty cheap

these days.

 

Also: you all are mistaken about the older glass on the 800.  If you know what you are doing and

know your glass, the high-end ED NIKKOR's work just fine on the 800's

 

Thanks Chuck - most of my glass is pretty good, apart from some really old items from the early '70s. Is there any significant advantage in using an 800E over an 800, in your experience?

 

Alex

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14 hours ago, Bear said:

Alex, I use the Nikon D700, it is full frame.  I bought it back in it's hey day for $2900.00 I think.  You can get them used at Adorama and B&H Photo for around $500.00 or so.  I've bought used through them before and I consider them respectable.  KEH will buy your D3 as will the others mentioned.

Thanks Bear - I'm in the UK, though. I won't be selling my D3 as I do a certain amount of band photography, and it is brilliant in low light.

Cheers,

Alex

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6 minutes ago, Alex Ramsay said:

 

Thanks Chuck - most of my glass is pretty good, apart from some really old items from the early '70s. Is there any significant advantage in using an 800E over an 800, in your experience?

 

Alex

If I can try to answer that Alex since I have used both.

 

For landscape/architecture I think the 800E does have an advantage, it is just that bit sharper and delivers a bit more detail. Not a huge difference but if you have the option to choose I would select the E.

 

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14 hours ago, Chuck Nacke said:

I'd agree with all that recommend the D800.  I'm looking add a third 800.  The D700 was a fine

12MP body, but it is the same sensor as the D3, or very close.  The 800's can be had pretty cheap

these days.

 

Also: you all are mistaken about the older glass on the 800.  If you know what you are doing and

know your glass, the high-end ED NIKKOR's work just fine on the 800's

 

Chuck - I didn't say older glass wouldn't do the business on any of these D8xx series cameras including the D850 and it doesn't have to be high end either - my 50mm 1.4 ED Nikkor is sharp corner to corner at optimum aperture and was only a few hundred £ new. However, this is not the case for all older lenses, even reasonably high end ones. For example, the relatively expensive 24mm AIS 2.8 Nikkor which I no longer have showed significant fall off towards the edges as does the very similar 24mm 2.8 ED Nikkor. Both lenses were fine on my D700s with no noticeable fall off in the corners.

 

It is important to note that I am talking about sharpness across the field, not centre sharpness. This may not be  noticeable or even important if all one is doing is portraiture and general news which is what I see in your portfolio but if one is doing landscapes and architecture then it becomes very important. I did some serious testing of my lenses when I got my first D800 and I test every new lens that I buy for edge as well as centre sharpness at various apertures so I am in control of my equipment - in other words direct experience rather than online lens tests which are not always accurate.

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5 hours ago, Alex Ramsay said:

 

Thanks Chuck - most of my glass is pretty good, apart from some really old items from the early '70s. Is there any significant advantage in using an 800E over an 800, in your experience?

 

Alex

 

I'm not sure Chuck has ever had a D800E as he always advocates the D800. I've used all of these cameras, done a lot of testing and analysed the results carefully for what that is worth. For most practical purposes there is not a lot of difference but the difference in sharpness is certainly noticeable viewed at 100% on a good monitor. To paraphrase the venerable David Kilpatrick on this forum, the D800E is "eyewateringly sharp". I bought one on that basis and my eyes have never stopped watering since.

Edited by MDM

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1 hour ago, MDM said:

 

I'm not sure Chuck has ever had a D800E as he always advocates the D800. I've used all of these cameras, done a lot of testing and analysed the results carefully for what that is worth. For most practical purposes there is not a lot of difference but the difference in sharpness is certainly noticeable viewed at 100% on a good monitor. To paraphrase the venerable David Kilpatrick on this forum, the D800E is "eyewateringly sharp". I bought one on that basis and my eyes have never stopped watering since.

 

Sorry about this one but I just had to do it.

 

Since getting the D800E you haven't stopped crying over the cost.;):)

 

Allan

 

 

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53 minutes ago, Allan Bell said:

 

Sorry about this one but I just had to do it.

 

Since getting the D800E you haven't stopped crying over the cost.;):)

 

Allan

 

 

Why do you think I wear 😎😎😎😎. Actually I have made a profit from it and I would be 😢 😢 a lot more if I hadn’t had it. Not a profit from my Alamy sales unfortunately I should add. 

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1 minute ago, MDM said:

Why do you think I wear 😎😎😎😎. Actually I have made a profit from it and I would be 😢 😢 a lot more if I hadn’t had it. Not a profit from my Alamy sales unfortunately I should add. 

 

:D:D:D  Great reply.

 

Thanks for making me laugh. (Not about the Alamy sales though).

 

Allan

 

 

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51 minutes ago, Allan Bell said:

 

:D:D:D  Great reply.

 

Thanks for making me laugh. (Not about the Alamy sales though).

 

Allan

 

 

 

Great Allan. Glad to make you laugh :D. As for the Alamy sales or lack thereof I can blame only myself - not putting the effort in to produce saleable images. But life is good :D.

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To answer all,

 

My 800's are way over kill for most of the corporate work that I do and can be a pain for fast editorial.

I have tested the 800 and the 800e and the 800 works just fine for me.  I do a lot of corporate portraits

and I have yet to have a client want a full sized 7360 X image.  I did have a movie art director want me

to shoot and produce 14400 by files at 300DPI,  I just said thanks, but no thanks because he and the

movie did not have the budget for the post it would take.

 

In any event I have a lot of older NIKKOR ED Glass and except for my old 35-70 f2.8 it works well on

the 800's.  I did have a 80-200 AF-ED f2.8 that I replaced with the new 70-200 AF-ED f4 and that has

become a real money making lens for me.  It is a lot smaller and lighter than the 2.8 and is

wonderfully sharp.

 

I only shot in RAW and convert to TIFF, often 16bit (over 200MB file),  before I go down to JPEG.

 

My main problem is that photographing senior executives with the D800 is that it is too sharp and I

have to spend too much time softening the portraits.  It is also great to have such a large file to crop

from.

 

I am also running out of space to store all the external drives I've had to buy...................

Edited by Chuck Nacke
Miss typed

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I have the D3 and D700 and they're both great cameras, why would you want to stop using the D3?  It's a beast!  My next upgrade is a D4s, subsidised by NPS.  However, if I wasn't into the pro bodies, I'd go D750 (with a grip, of course!).

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14 hours ago, Colblimp said:

 It's a beast!

 

That's exactly why! I won't stop using it though, it just won't travel with me so much

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I would go with the D750 - I had a D800, showed soft edges with the high-rated 14-24. Well shot pics e.g. with a 50 mm lens show amazing details, but for stock its overkill - I agree its fun to zoom & smile. 

- If you buy a used D800, test for left-focus-issues (my was out for 3  & another 5 weeks to get it fixed).

- check DXO lens test, the perceived MP rating gives a good hint how your glass will perform.

 

I went mirrorless completely (Olympus)  - if you already own a Fuji, why not extend this system  ? I enjoy the reduced weight and size of mirrorless, and quality of A3+ print is really good.

 

 

 

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