There is a new gear in my arsenal.
I made a huge decision that will probably change my shooting style in the future.
This is Nikon's new DSLR, D800. Traded my trusty old D3s for it. Now, will this D800 hold well with shooting weddings?
Most wedding photographers I saw online are saying with its low light capability and speed, D3s is like ultimate camera for wedding photography. I have to agree. Plus, the focusing is sharp and accurate, and the camera body itself is quite balanced. Most of all, there is nothing like the feeling when you are holding a high class flagship camera. You just feel right. Yeah, it's heavy. But it just feels right.
But lately, I've been thinking. The market is changing. the quality of the photos are changing. I used to be rather speedy shooter than quality shooter. I wanted to challenge. To pull out a high quality over speed that would capture moments with ease. And, yeah, my shoulders were suffering from heavy cameras, too.
Now, I'm holding D800 instead of D3s. I get 36mp instead of 12mp. I get 4fps instead of 9fps. I get 1080P video recording, but I rarely use anyway...
D800 is very prone to shake. Even at 1/100s on 50mm lens, I was getting shaken images when zoomed in to 100%. It required me to be steadier than ever.
Do I love my new camera? Of course.
It requires me to be careful. I have to hold my breath and check my posture to have a sharp image. I have to carefully measure the light than ever to get the correct exposure. I have to try using lower ISO settings than before and I have to worry about getting the right moment because I don't have the fast frame late like D3s.
But it gives me unbelievable images. The picture quality is beyond of what I was getting from D3s. Colour depth of one image is comparable to HDR image created with 3 images of D3s. I'm getting more detail than ever. I can worry less about not having proper lens on when sudden things happen unexpectedly because I can crop more than half the image and still get bigger image than D3s.
Will it suit for wedding photography? for me, yes.
They say because the image size is so big, it will eat up the hard disk so quickly. That is actually true. Although, I can't understand why wedding photographers are shooting so many photos. I once heard a photographer from my friend's friend's wedding. She shot from the preparation to the reception and ended up with 3,500 photos! I can shoot for the whole day with D3s on one side and D700 on another, and I would still end up with less than 2,000 images per wedding. Not because I don't shoot enough, but because I've already got enough frames I needed. Not that I have D800 as my main body, I'm actually getting much less photos. but that doesn't mean I'm not covering enough grounds than I used to. I'm getting just enough to process quicker and choose easier.
They say the image size is so big, it takes forever to post process and it's bad for workflow. Well, yes it takes longer than D3s' 12mp images. But I'm getting less shots too. And you know what? I'm actually getting more 'usable' shots than I used to get with D3s. Because I don't burst frames to get that one moment. I am now shooting few frames per chance to get it just right. And because I'm getting less images, although it takes longer to process, it actually takes about as much time as before.
However, I have to say, with D800, I've only done 2 jobs. It is probably too early to say that "D800 is a perfect camera for me and my needs". It is getting close but it's just too early to say! Overall, I'm very happy. But the time will tell if I'll be as happy as I was when I got D3s 4 years ago.