Monday, July 27, 2015

Well, I'm Going For It - Nikon D810

I have long said that my Nikon D700 is the single best-performing camera I've ever owned. Not the highest fun-factor (as I love my rangefinders and old film cameras), but best at getting the shot, and in the most high quality way. So, I have not upgraded it, even after several years. I did add the Nikon Df, which is just a different beast, and brings the fun factor up considerably with its retro design, ability to take non-AI lenses, and smaller size.
What I did upgrade was my telephoto lens choice. Selling the spectacular 500mm f4 AiP manual focus lens, I invested in the first version AF-S 200-400mm f4 VR lens. Having fast autofocus significantly improves my chances of capturing great nature photographs. On the D700, the 200-400 really sings.
So why upgrade to the D810? Well, really for one reason, and one reason only - resolution. I will be able to shoot the D810 in DX crop mode and still produce 15.4 megapixel images. That is higher than the D700 at full frame, and turns my 200-400 telephoto into the equivalent of 300-600mm, without the 1.4X tele-extender! That's powerful. Or, I can shoot in full-frame (36 megapixel) mode, and crop in post-processing. That's really going to increase the number of bird-in-flight images that will be useful and printable at large sizes.
Resolution is the only reason that I know now. I have a feeling I'll find other reasons to love the D810.
I bought mine refurbished by Nikon. The cost savings was significant - I paid $2,550 at Adorama, including a third party "drops and spills" 3 year extended warranty. The camera lists for almost $3,300.
I don't expect the D810 to become my most-used camera; I love the Df and know the D810 won't replace it. I do expect the D810 to be my go-to nature and wildlife camera.