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Blackpool Rollercoaster

Posted by
Ian Bramham (Manchester, United Kingdom) on 24 September 2012 in Landscape & Rural and Portfolio.

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Nikon D800:
This is the first photo I've shown here using a new camera that I've just got - it's a D800 which is Nikon's new 36mp DSLR.

I needed some real-life practice with it and a recent dawn visit to Blackpool was a great opportunity. I didn't have very long on the beach at all so only took a few photos. This one of the town's famous roller coaster was probably the best of a very mixed bunch.

It was photographed using a 10 stop ND filter (Lee) on a full size carbon fibre tripod using a cable release and 'mirror-up'. From the point of view of technical image quality the RAW image file is really great and far better than any of the handheld shots I took as none of those were as sharp as they should have been. It's clear that I'm going to have to re-learn the handholding technique that I've used for the last 5 years with my old D40 and D700 which were far more forgiving cameras - probably increasing my minimum shutter speeds will do it.

If any of you have been considering getting one of these new high megapixel cameras for yourselves then, I'll be happy, if I can, to answer any specific questions you may have about it.

The Nikon NEF Raw format image files that the sensor on this new camera produces are on a completely different league from all previous cameras that I've used but I guess it's going to take me a while before I learn how to get the best from them. The D800 feels like it's much more of a specialist landscape camera than my previous Nikon D700 and I suspect I'll be using my tripod a lot more than usual over the coming months in order to get the best out of it.

For landscape photography the two big areas of improvement that this new camera has over the D700 are:
(1) it's huge dynamic range and the ability to cleanly lift deep shadows in post processing if required, and....
(2) the very large 36mp images mean that these square format crops that I love doing so much are still 24mp instead of the 8mp of the ones from the D700.

NIKON D800 303/5 seconds F/8.0 ISO 100 32 mm (35mm equiv.)

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Aubélia from Kortrijk, Belgium

Great composition - wonderful tones. Have a nice day.

24 Sep 2012 5:39am

@Aubélia: Thanks Aubélia!

Gérard Beullac from Paris, France

Thanks for these indications which are recouping what I understood regarding the technical conditions this camera is requiring for getting files with the best quality.
Using a tripod and the mirror up technique are familiar to me and I'm considering seriously getting this camera for the landscape shots but I'll keep the D700 for a day to day practice.
I'm just stressing about how the 3 years old iMac will welcome these big files, especially the TIFF ones ....
The picture is great.

24 Sep 2012 6:09am

@Gérard Beullac: Hi Gérard. I think what you've suggested is the best solution and in an ideal world I'd have kept my D700 too but it's been sold to part fund the new D800. Although the bodies of the two cameras are similar, in use they are not at all alike with different strengths and weaknesses.

Re computers - I suspect this issue has been exaggerated a little as my laptop is nothing special - it's a 2 year old 1.9Ghz dual core CPU with 3 GB Ram (no graphics card) and, although the 200mb 16bit Tiff files slow it down noticeably it still handles them without too much trouble.

Stefan from Thiersee, Austria


24 Sep 2012 6:13am

@Stefan: Thanks Stefan!

Richard from Ellemford, United Kingdom

Sparse and beautiful.

24 Sep 2012 6:45am

@Richard: Thanks Richard!

Mehdi Monadi from Tehran, Iran

fantastic shot.

24 Sep 2012 6:56am

@Mehdi Monadi: Thanks Monadi!

Andrew Atkinson from Hartlepool, United Kingdom

Ian, Fantastic first shot with the new camera. How did you find the colour cast on the shots that you used the big stopper? I found very little cast at all compared to the D700.

24 Sep 2012 7:18am

@Andrew Atkinson: Hi Andrew. To be truthful I hadn't noticed a big difference compared to my D700 and the original NEF file for this image still has a pronounced blue tone to it (as always, it's easy to correct in post processing). I've always used auto white balance on my cameras but I notice that with the new camera there's an option to dial in any specific colour temperature - have you tried that option yet with your D800?

Andrew Atkinson from Hartlepool, United Kingdom

Ian, I did try setting the WB manually once when I was using a Hitech 10 stop nd as the colour cast was horrendous. However, I now just use the Big Stopper which I find much better.

24 Sep 2012 7:32am

@Andrew Atkinson: I know what you mean about the Hi-tech!
The best I've used so far is when combining a 6 stop B W filter with the Lee 10 stop as the brown and blue tints cancel each other out to some extent.
The worst is the one I currently use which combines a Hitech 6 stop (in their Lee holder fit) with a Lee 10 stop but the advantages of simplicity and speed of use far outweigh the poor white balance.

Veronique from France, Switzerland

I'm impressed by the quality of the picture. All of your pictures any way :-)

24 Sep 2012 7:41am

@Veronique: Thanks Veronique - normally I don't really talk about image quality as I'm usually far more interested in things like image content, composition, light and artistic interpretation but the new camera is such a big step up from anything that I've used previously that I though it needed mentioning.

JacklineG from Béarn, France

Somptueux !

24 Sep 2012 8:01am

@JacklineG: Thanks JacklineG!

Ted from South Wales, United Kingdom

Ian - is this not the camera for hand-held-heroes then? You have me worried!):-

24 Sep 2012 8:29am

@Ted: Hi Ted, the D800 is not as forgiving as the D700 or D40 for low light handheld shots using low shutter speeds. The best advice I've seen on-line regarding using the D800 handheld is that to get the same degree of sharpness that you are used to seeing from a 12mp DSLR at 100% viewing on a PC monitor, you'll need to use a shutter speed that is 1 stop faster.

As an example when I used the D700 with my 16-35vr lens my minimum shutter speed for normal handheld shots was 1/15th second - following the above advice you'd need 1/30th second.
If, however, all you are doing is small size prints then you wouldn't notice the small lack of sharpness in a 36mp D800 photo and you can use your normal shutter speeds - the above advice only applies if you want images that look completely sharp when viewed at 100% or printed to a large size.

Ana Lúcia from Leiria, Portugal

The contrast in your B&W images is simply vibrant.

24 Sep 2012 8:53am

@Ana Lúcia: Thanks Ana!

Lluís from Canet de Mar, Spain

excellent long exposure!

24 Sep 2012 10:37am

@Lluís: Thanks Lluis!

hugo poon from hong kong, Hong Kong

Just another classic Ian! Love how the smooth water and sky are making the rollercoaster even more impressive! Congrats on the new tool!:-) Happy happy shooting my friend!

24 Sep 2012 2:37pm

Eric C. from Ivry sur Seine, France

Superb ! Enjoy your D800, so lucky yu are ...

24 Sep 2012 3:58pm

omid from mashhad, Iran

very nice!
very nice & amazing!
so beautiful lights & reflections!

24 Sep 2012 4:36pm

digitalCG from Manchester, United Kingdom

Congrats on the purchase and a typically strong image to kick things off. I dare say you'll adapt and calibrate to shooting it in no time and I look forward to seeing some more.

24 Sep 2012 7:03pm

Ralf Kesper from Fröndenberg, Germany

Fantastic !

24 Sep 2012 7:54pm

Enzo from Lausanne, Switzerland

Tout simplement parfaite, je suis admiratif!

24 Sep 2012 9:08pm

john4jack from Corvallis, Oregon, United States

stunning. i appreciate your commentary on the D800

24 Sep 2012 11:29pm

VISU...ELLE PHOTOGRAPHY from Entre montagnes et Bretagne, France


25 Sep 2012 7:39am

Lydia.Dd from Paris, France

Wonderful picture !

28 Sep 2012 1:06am

Jerry from Aberdeen, United States

Beautiful, another intriguing photo.

29 Sep 2012 5:46am

Ainsley from Derbyshire, United Kingdom

Your work is fantastic, and inspirational

8 Oct 2012 10:52am

303/5 seconds
ISO 100
32 mm (35mm equiv.)