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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Two New Superstars For Still & Motion

The Canon EOS 5D Mark III and the Nikon D800 may be the perfect pro multimedia cameras for their combination of performance, price and features. See their similarities and the surprising differences.

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Nikon D800 As Still Camera

The new D800 features three times the pixel count of the Nikon D700. Originally anticipated to replace the D700, the D800, in fact, fits in the Nikon DSLR lineup between the D700 (which remains in the line) and the new flagship D4.
Exposure Compensation. The D800 provides +/-5 stops of exposure compensation, with auto-exposure bracketing of up to 9 frames in 1⁄3-, 1⁄2- or full-stop steps.

Auto HDR. An Auto HDR mode automatically shoots two bracketed frames (+/-3 stops), then combines them in-camera to expand shadow and highlight detail. Nikon's effective Active D-Lighting is also available to deal with high-contrast scenes.

Quick Shooting. Despite the huge file sizes, the D800 can shoot at 4 fps (5 fps in cropped DX format, 6 fps with the optional MB-D12 Multi Battery Pack), not sports-camera numbers, but plenty fast for a surprisingly large array of shooting situations. The camera is ready to shoot 0.12 seconds after being switched on, also extremely quick.
Rugged Body. Featuring a rugged, yet light body, the D800 has a chassis of magnesium alloy, with seals and gaskets to keep out dirt and moisture. The shutter has been tested to 200,000 cycles and features a very brief 42-millisecond lag time. Built-in sensor cleaning keeps your shots free of dust.

Autofocus. Like the new D4 DSLR, the D800 features a 51-point AF system with 15 cross-type sensors (9 of which function with lens/converter combos as slow as ƒ/8; one cross-type when the TC-20E 2X converter is used). The AF system operates in light levels as dim as EV -1 and works with the metering system in Nikon's Advanced Scene Recognition System to enhance both AF and metering performance.

Built-In Flash. Unusual for a DSLR in this category, the D800 has a built-in flash unit (ISO 100, GN 39, in feet). It and the dedicated hot-shoe provide i-TTL flash using the 91,000-pixel RGB metering sensor (with the SB-910, SB-900, SB-700 and SB-400 Speedlights). There's also a C terminal for studio flash systems. Maximum flash-sync shutter speed is 1⁄250 sec. (up to 1⁄8000 sec. in high-speed sync mode with compatible flash units).

New Sensor And Processor. At the heart of the D800 is the highest-pixel-count sensor in a 35mm-form-factor DSLR, an all-new 36.3-megapixel full-frame CMOS unit. This gives you the pixels to make really big prints, crop into an image and render very fine detail. Yet despite the high pixel count, the sensor and new EXPEED 3 processing provide a normal ISO range of 100-6400, expandable to 50-25,600.

Viewing. The eye-level SLR finder shows 100% of the actual image area in FX (full-frame) mode and 97% in the cropped formats. The 3.2-inch, 921,000-dot LCD monitor provides excellent live viewing (and image playback), with up to 46X zooming to check focus. You can call up gridlines or an electronic virtual horizon in the viewfinder on the LCD monitor.
Battery. Utilizing the same EN-EL15 lithium-ion battery as the D7000 (not the EN-EL3e of the D700), the D800 can get about 900 shots on a full charge (per CIPA test criteria). The optional MB-D12 Multi Battery Pack adds controls for more comfortable vertical-format shooting and more capacity. It can take the EN-EL18 battery used in the pro D4 or 8 AAs.

Metering. The D800 features the same new 91,000-pixel 3D Color Matrix III metering system with Advanced Scene recognition as the new flagship D4 DSLR. The system uses brightness, color, subject placement data from the AF system and an onboard database of 30,000 actual images to optimize exposures. The face-detection feature functions even with the optical eye-level viewfinder, not just in Live View mode. Besides the 91,000-pixel 3D Color Matrix III system, you can select centerweighted (75% of the emphasis is on the central 8mm of the image area) or 1.5% spot metering (centered on the selected AF point).
Flexible Formats. Besides 36.3-megapixel, full-frame images, the D800 can record 30.2-megapixel images in a cropped 5:4 format, 25.1-megapixel images in a cropped 1.2X format and 15.4-megapixel images in a cropped DX (APS-C) format—and the DX-format images have more megapixels than the D700's full images. When you mount a DX Nikkor lens on the camera, it automatically switches to cropped DX format, but you can choose any of the formats with non-DX lenses.
>> D800E. The D800E is identical to the D800 except for the filter over the image sensor and a $300 higher price. The D800 has an anti-aliasing optical low-pass filter, as do nearly all other DSLRs. In the D800E, the anti-aliasing properties of the filter have been removed. The purpose of the low-pass filter is to slightly blur the image at the pixel level, which minimizes the moiré and color artifacts that can occur with certain subject matter with Bayer filter image sensors. But this blurring also slightly reduces image sharpness. The D800E thus produces slightly sharper images than the D800, but in postproduction the photographer may have to deal with any moiré and color artifacts. The D800E comes with Nikon Capture NX 2 software, which has tools for dealing with this.


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