Trial and error (lots) as I learn the Nikon D800. At this point it definitely requires a lot more concentration to get good results. I imagine I’ll end up shooting (and trashing) hundreds of pictures until I get to the point where everything sinks into my subconscious and I can just shoot.
After having shot with the D700 for more than two years, the seemingly minor ergonomic changes will take some getting used to. The biggest one to learn is the selection of the focus mode. There’s no more dedicated switch on the back of the camera and the little front switch that had 3 positions now has only two plus a button. Press the button, spin the two command dials to select autofocus (single or constant), manual focus, and how many focus points you want. More importantly, I think the 36 megapixel sensor is a lot less forgiving of small errors. (All of today’s photos have gone through my “normal” workflow – meaning I will have done various adjustments to exposure, tone, sharpness, etc.)
Case in point:
This is the plaza in Hang Hau just outside the MTR station. I stopped there to take a few test shots before getting on the train to go to work. I had the camera set at ISO 400 and in aperture priority mode, F8, so I’d have some reasonable depth of field. I saw this bird land on the railing nearby and quickly framed and shot. The camera set the shutter speed at 1/100th of a second. A close-up on the bird reveals amazing details on the body and legs and also reveals that 1/100th of a second wasn’t fast enough to get sharp focus on its constantly moving head.
Then again, bet you didn’t notice the sticker on the wall next to the bird.
At lunch time, I took a little walk around Sheung Wan. There was a bit of culture to be seen and heard at Grand Millennium Plaza. (Still ISO 400, aperture priority F8.)
In this mode, the results straight out of the camera are somewhat under-exposed. In the above shot I ended up bumping up the exposure and highlights a bit. Ditto below.
The “big picture” seems nicely detailed though when I zoom in on it, it’s not quite as sharp as I think it could have been.
In one of those things that I’m not entirely sure that I can explain, when I shot the below shot from that angle at F8, focus was a bit soft. Then I switched to F2.8 and it all came out quite nicely. (Only showing the F2.8 shot below, slightly cropped.)
The above shot, cropped a bit more.
This shot’s at F5.6:
I feel like I’m starting to get used to using the camera now.
Probably worth noting that these musicians didn’t attract much of a crowd.
Walking on a bit further, this guy, doing a cooking demo, seemed to draw a bigger crowd than the musicians.
Walking around a bit more.
A detail from the above shot.
Actually I haven’t hit the sharpening slider for most of these photos. And I find I’m adjusting the clarity slider much less aggressively than I normally do.
Random shot of Wing On (slightly cropped and straightened).
Not a great shot but shared because of this crop below:
Point being that while there is a learning curve, this is clearly an amazing camera.
Another random shot, uncropped:
Crop from the above (I cheated, I did a bit of sharpening and then noise reduction on the crop):
Shooting at F2.8:
Detail of the above:
And then it was time to get back to the office, and then it started raining ….
I think given a week or two of learning the camera, I’m going to be ready to really use it. I know these aren’t the world’s greatest photos but I’m guessing that at least some readers will enjoy seeing the learning process I’m going through here. Maybe tomorrow night I’ll try bringing the camera to a bar and shooting a band and seeing what I can get.