Weekly Nikon news flash #156

  • Sigma finally announced the price and availability of their new 50-150mm f/2.8 APO EX DC OS HSM lens: $1,099; shipping will start in early May. See the full press release here.
  • New Nikon cashback program in the UK includes the D3100, D5100, D7000 and Nikon 1 (up to £100).
  • Voigtländer APO-Lanthar 90mm f/3.5 SL II lens is now discontinued (yes, Voigtländer does make lenses for Nikon DSLR cameras).
  • Nikon D800 vs. Hasselblad HD4-40 vs. Leica S2 vs. Sigma SD1 image comparison at different ISO (click on images to see the samples).
  • Nikon D3100/D5100/D7000 video time limit has been located in the firmware. A new update is now available to extend the video recording time limit. If you have a Nikon D3100/D5100 camera and are willing to beta test it, see this post. Please note that this is not an official firmware update from Nikon.
  • The Nikon WT-5 manual is now online. See also this WT-5 alternative that costs $30.
  • This image was captured with a Nikon D2Xs camera (read the story here, credit: ESA/NASA, click on image for larger view):

  • The Nikkor 24mm PC-E lens works without any problems on the D800 - it just clears the prism housing, to use the camera in portrait mode however, you have to rotate the lens the "wrong" way (clockwise) so the adjustment knob is on the right-hand side of the camera as you operate it. If you rotate the lens to the counter-clockwise the shift adjustment knob fouls the prism housing. It's not a major issue, more a different way of working, for me at least (thanks Paul Harmer):

See also this related video:

Shooting wirelessly with the Nikon D4 and WT-5 video:

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  • Hamuga


    “Nikon D3100/D5100/D700 video time limit”

    I think you meant D7000.

    If not I am looking forward to D700 video.
    Thanks for all of your amazing work!

    • isn’t the sigma just so lol pathetic?

      • MacManX

        Why on Earth would it be pathetic?
        I have used the old non-OS version of the Sigma 50-150 for martial arts photo for years and it has never, ever, failed me. Not once. Recently I have added the Sigma 70-200 (also non-OS) to by camera bag – and I get crisp results with that lens attached to my D7000 as well…

      • MacManX

        Oh, maybe you meant the SD1…..? Pathetic…? Erm… *cough*… well… I might agree…. *lol*

    • yes, thanks

  • The D800 holds up impressively well against the medium format competition.

    • Especially above ISO 3200.

      • Michael

        According to DxOMark,
        D800 exceeds the IQ180 in everything starting from ISO200.

        • Fishnose

          DxOMark do not claim this. They do not claim that the D800 has higher resolution that the IQ180. Nor do they claim that the color depth is greater. They do however conclude that the dynamic range is greater, as is the ISO range.
          Since DxOMark Sensor score is an average of color/dynamics/ISO, the D800 beats the IQ180.
          Read the test again and do it properly.

      • timon

        in the medium format do not need a talking about the high ISO, the focuses are in ISO 100 – 400, especially the imaging quality in ISO 50 – 200.

        looking at the imaging definition the HD4-40 is still better (ISO100), but it is very expensive, the price is unbearable with most people, and is bigger, heavier, etc…

        for the more people would be rather to choose the d800.

        Also, Sigma SD1 is just a joke.

        • Greg

          Foveon is the rotary engine of image sensors… It’s such a great idea on the face of it, but it just never delivers in the real world.

          How I wish they could pull it off though… Bye, bye Bayer!

        • My comment was *also* a joke… since they don’t even go to 3200. 😉

  • Xander

    With regards to the video limit being found in the D3100 and D5100 – that’s pretty cool! Looking forward for more updates on the firmware. Hopefully, they will get to a point to making video more usable in these cameras.

    • The video recording limit is set because of European tax laws. To have a longer recording time, the cameras would be subject to the same tax as camcorders, which I’m told is higher. That’s really the main reason why the recording time is set below 30 minutes.

      • Calibrator

        Wrong wording on your side 😉
        The recording limit is set to avoid higher taxes BECAUSE the manufacturer wants more customers.
        Nobody prevents Nikon but themselves to enable longer movie recordings.

  • Nau

    re: WT-5
    wifi is great but its sooooooooooo slow… i would never use it unless i have too 🙁

    good video tho

    • Wi-Fi is slow? That’s funny, because my Wi-Fi connection can handle a 50mbps broadband connection without breaking a sweat.

      • Nau

        please see example video above before you take your pants down to show off your speeds …

        • Firstly, your comment only referenced Wi-Fi in general, so I responded generally.

          Secondly, I did watch the video and aside from the wake-up time, that’s really not bad at all considering it is sending full RAW files and Lightroom has to auto-import from another location. In practical usage, it’s plenty fast.

          And methinks it would be faster adhoc. I feel like having the middle-man of a wireless network could slow things down a bit.

  • gamma

    My comment is related to Nikon D800 vs. Hasselblad HD4-40 vs. Leica S2 vs. Sigma SD1 comparison:
    What makes me wondering is that in all the samples the quality of the Nikon D800 photos processed with Lightroom 4.0 is significantly worse than of those obtained from the camera (JPG fine). Does anybody have more information/links related to this?

    • WoutK89

      The Nikon processing engine works different than the ACR processing engine, mainly because the NEF files are a closed RAW format and so ACR can not process all the camera parameters (mainly White Balance is processed incorrectly by ACR).
      How I know, my pictures shot in Daylight white balance preset have a pink cast in ACR, but in CNX2 show correct colors.
      (CR = camera raw of PhotoShop CS6 beta)

    • use capture one and it is even better then when processed with capture NX2

    • timon

      the d800 imaging definition is in ACR better, magnifying the image with 300% to be obviously the more details in ACR side.

      however, the contrast-curve is some differences in between ACR and camera JPG. The default camera JPG and ACR are not same curve, but in ACR is able to select a Profile among several Nikon CameraProfiles, if you did not select the Nikon CameraProfiles there would be a default ACR curve, not a CameraProfiles.

  • Discontinued

    D800E is what I would like to see in both, a comparison and in my hands. I hope to get it this month and I am pretty sure it will keep up even better with S2 or HD4-40.

  • photdog

    Since the launch of the D800 I’ve reviewed a whole lot of test images, tests and comparisons. It appears to me, that none gives you the whole picture. One rather have to pick bits and pieces out of every test offer.
    Resuming this one (D800, HD40, Sigma SD1, Leica S2) I tend to say:

    -the original price of the SD1 was shooting for the stars and come down. The SD1 may have some advantages in color reproduction (which did not become obvious at this test) but still, after correcting the price, imho is the worst choice among these four.
    -I’m not quiet sure about the S2. Maybe if updating the camera to the present state of technology would change the game somewhat, but as of now, to me it seems rank three would be appropriate.
    Now, there comes a tough one: rank one and two. And I believe, one can’t make this choice leaving the application out of the equation. As for me, most of my images are shot where I have carried my equipment to before, my personal choice is clear: the D800. Though there are naturally also some trade offs, it can keep up with the best in image quality and offers a higher (system-)versatility at a lower price point.

    Bottom line: the D800 appears to be the best the market has to offer for my needs. At the same time I would not neglect, that the D800, though being versatile, is a specialized tool and thus won’t be the only camera body in my equipment case. However, I congratulate Nikon for this product.

  • Fishnose

    Concerning the MF comparisons: A very important issue here is the optics. The small differences between Hasselblad/Leica on the one hand and D800 on the other are more due to the superior optics attached to the MF cameras than to the sensors. Lenses for those MF cameras are extreme, a Nikon lens just isn’t in the same class. Nikon glass is very, very good. But the MF guys are no-holds-barred good. Consider the price differences….
    So in fact the D800 is even better than it appears to be in this test. Which is truly remarkable!

    • PHB

      That was true a while back. But Nikon has far more cash to throw at design than the MF people and it shows. The Nikon and Canon super teles have always been close to perfect.

      At the normal to wide end the biggest constraint on design comes from the need to use a retrofocus design on a DSLR. And that is the same on the MF and 35mm frame cameras.

      If you want to do better than a D800 with better glass you should probably look to a Leica, not a MF body.

      The physics of optics is (almost) entirely Newtonian. Quantum mechanics set some hard limits on resolution that can be achieved but those are still comfortably far off. Newtonian optics are scale invariant. Making the whole system bigger or smaller has no effect whatsoever on the performance of the optical design.

      The only advantage of scale is that you collect more light, you can see fainter images. That is why radio telescopes are the size they are. The Nikon sensors are so much more efficient than the MF sensors that if you compare f/1.4 lenses of the same angle of view, the Nikon sensor will have a higher ISO rating for the same resolution or higher.

      • Fishnose

        Partly true.
        However, it appears the D800 was tested wearing a zoom and zooms have far more glass in them, inevitably losing light on the way in. With a high quality prime (say 50 or 85mm) it would have fared better.
        As a rule, extreme top-end lenses such as those used in MF, have fewer elements and collect light better as a consequence.
        About very large apertures: As DxOMark points out, it’s no good believing that a very big aperture gives the amount of extra light promised by theory. It just won’t happen, as the bigger aperture leads to more light getting lost on the way to the sensor as it becomes more and more difficult to control the trajectory of all light when the lens is opened way up to say F1.4. There’s a reasonable limit of about F/2, after that you get less benefit than you think.
        It’s no surprise that most lenses give the very best results when stopped down one or two stops.

    • zoran

      I agree with this comment. The MF cameras do not have the low-pass filter in front of the sensor, while D800 does. It would be interesting to use Zeiss lenses on D800E and repeat this comparison. I think, in this case, we would not see this much difference (if any) between the Nikon samples and the MF ones. Also, it seems to me that the Nikon samples are a bit over exposed which reduces the saturation of colors. Still, D800 samples look impressive.

  • T.I.M

    The guy using the 24mm PC-E have a band-aid around his thumb, did he get hurt adjusting the lens tilt and shift movements ?

    • Calibrator

      LOL – my thoughts exactly!

  • Bob Agens

    The D800 x MF link has one flaw: They don’t say wich lenses were used. Since the D800 was photographed with a 24-70mm and both MFs with primes, let’s consider those were used. I suspect that given the right optics that difference would be even smaller. I know from experience that although 24-70mm 2.8 is a great zoom lens, on the D3X it is noticeable worse than good primes such as 50mm and 85mm 1.4.

  • Some interesting links up there. I suppose one may compare a D800 to MF, but the bottom line most of have the Nikon glass and don’t have the MF budget.

  • T.I.M

    I just got B&H on the phone:

    D800 all gones (next batch end of May)
    D800E ship on the 16th April but very limited quantity.


  • burgerman

    Not a problem. I have mine a week already. The thing is amazing. It continues to amaze every time I go home and look at the results. Even my 70 200 VR2 is now a microscope, and at 12mp crop about a 350mm lens!

    And its SHARP! This lens is even sharper for some reaon on this camara, even at 100 percent, than on the D700.

    • Anton

      It’s sharper because of a different (it passed more high frequencies) low-pass filter.

  • burgerman

    For those that still believe that more pixels = more noise, or are worried about detail at high ISO here is a picture of my dog… 6,400 ISO and lots of detail… And no noise.

    Exif intact, and this is from a jpg, resized to 12mp. Now just 3mb.

    • burgerman

      Added, I cant afford the bandwidth to show the D700 one taken 2 mins later. But its noisy and lacks detail. No comparison. This camera is a much better low light wonder than the original…

    • preston

      Nice dog! My german shepherd passed a couple years ago – now I want another one.

    • Fishnose

      Seeing the incredible detail in the fur reminds me, who would have thought just 5 or 6 years ago that this would be possible with a 35mm DSLR, sold at a price many people can even afford? Amazing.

      • burgerman

        You should see the detail in the full sized 36mp one… 3x the pixels. Its so sharp even with in camera JPG sharpening set to the lowest setting, that it desnt really need any sharpening adding. But its 20mb and my bandwidth goes mental and then they cut me off!

  • T.I.M

    If you live in states of Florida, Virginia, or Washington, don’t buy the 2 years extended warranty for the D800/E. (by laws i’s illegal to sell it).

    B&H will sell it to you but Nikon will not cover the camera.
    I had to cancel my pre-order (the 2 years Nikon extended warranty is not in stock yet).

  • Bryan

    I must say, I’m a bit disappointed in the lack of an April Fools post this year.

  • Spy Black

    Can anyone figure out what lenses are those cameras on the Nikon/Leica/Hasselblad/Sigma comparison? Seems to me they’re using primes on the Leica and Hasselblad, but zooms on the Nikon and Sigma. If so, not exactly a fair test.

  • trialcritic

    I got my D800 from BB on friday. I special ordered it on monday when they assured me that I would have mine on 30th. I will cancel my order on B&H (I had ordered on 7th), very disappointed with them. The camera is superb, I tried it out for the whole day with a 14-24 and the images look unrealistic. The image sensor is fantastic. Having tried in indoors, outdoors, bright day and night time, the images are superb. This can be a great walk around camera if you have a good lens and have good hands (do not shake etc). The camera grip is very good, you can easily hold on to it. It does not feel heavy compared to some of the plastic Nikon bodies I have used in the past. All the controls are well placed. Unfortunately, I did not use the camera for video yet.

    Now the negatives, these are important to ponder over. The cost of the camera may be low, but you have to do a lot of upgrades to get the full bang for the buck. I had to upgrade few of my lenses. I now have the Nikon Trinity, 14-24, 24-70 and 70-200. I tried some prime lenses and they are right for it. I do not like changing lenses too much and stuck to the zoom lenses. I would not recommend people using DX or non-pro lenses. However, if you use the incomparable Nikon 14-24 f2.8 lens, you see the magic. When I use my macbook pro to download the images, the Aperture software takes considerable time to process the images. I shoot RAW and each image is 75mb, implying that I have to upgrade my computer and disk storage. You need more than a quad core if you love playing with the images, tuning them to you hearts content etc. You also need a lot of disk for the backups. If you love cropping as I do, you need to get tripods. The smallest shake in your hands and the cropped images come out blurred if you zoom in too much. Sorry if my review sounds negative, it is not, I love my camera and am glad I purchased it.

    • looon

      Ya mean the iMac quad core i7 3.4 ghz 16GB with 2gb graphics card that I just plunked down $2900 for, is going to be insufficient?! I use topaz suite with ps, so will be putting it to the test.

      • trialcritic

        It might work, cannot say. I use a 2.5Ghz, quad core, 8GB ram, 1GB graphics 17″ MBP. The software is pushing it to its limits. Of course, your iMac is much better. Let us know how it goes.

      • imac

        your computer will run everything fine

    • burgerman

      1 year old Win7 PC here, i7 quad core (8 threads) and triple channel 12gb ram and a hi end graphics card. 8 one terrabyte drives. These are so cheap now its stupid not to.

      And USB 3 (10 x as fast) works great for transfers.

      30 inch Del ultrasharp 2560 x 1600 monitor, (with extended gamut and amazing colours)

      I can tell you I can barely detect any difference loading, running noise reduction, editing, saving and opening tiff files at 200mb etc.

      The only thing that does take longer (about 4 to 5 seconds extra compared to d700) is running a noise reduction in Topaz DeNoise. No idea why that alone seems to be lots slower. But seriously nothing else much changed.

      So dont be scared of bigger images… Just use a computer that is as up to date as the D800 is. And seriously get a DELL 30 inch monitor! The difference over all the 24 inch cheap offerings is huge! Not just size but colour depth, etc.

  • dbltax

    Glad to hear the 24mm PC-E works fine! Any news if the Sigma 20mm f/1.8 works ok on the D800? Or does it require a send off to Sigma in Japan for a firmware update like it needed for the D7000.

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