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06/16/12 Popular Photography May have Missed the Key Point in their D800 Review

I have always enjoyed reading Popular Photography’s lab reviews on new cameras.  Over the years I have always found their reviews to be very accurate and straight to the point.  In fact many purchasing decisions I have made have been influenced by reading a review of the product in Popular Photography, so I was surprised after reading the reviews of both the Canon 5D MKIII and Nikon D800 in the July 2012 magazine.   I should also preface this by stating that I have been a 100% satisfied Canon shooter since 1999, and have used their Digital solutions since 2003.  However with the release of the Nikon D800, I have begun a long process of moving back to Nikon.

In the review of the Nikon D800, I felt that Popular Photography missed one key point, and this is very key, the Dynamic Range of the sensor.  The D800 scored 95 in the Dxomark tests, which is the highest score of any Digital Camera ever produced, including the highly placed Phase One IQ180.  The fact that you can underexposed the D800 by as much as 4 stops and still pull up the shadows is an amazing feat.  Where as if you try this with a Canon %D MKIII, you will just get an extreme amount of noise in those same shadows.  To me this capability means that you have so much more leeway when shooting,  You can go ahead and expose for your highlights, (which if you blowout will be always gone) and then pull up your shadows for amazing details.   Again try this with the Canon 5D MKIII, I have and the results are terrible.   The Dxomark score of the Canon 5D MKIII is 81, basically the same as the 5D MKII.  This is very telling in regards to the dynamic range you can expect from the 5D MKIII

Popular Photography seems to be more focused on two aspects of the Canon 5D MKIII which are:

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05/31/12 Nikon MB-D12 to grip or not to Grip

I spent sometime today at my local dealer, and got to look/feel the Nikon MB-D12 grip. Strange design IMO coming from Canon.  I just find it strange, that such a well designed grip doesn’t allow the user to have (2) EL-EN15 batteries running in the grip at the same time, instead to have (2) installed, you have to keep one in the camera and to get that battery out to charge/change everything has to come back off.


Well made, good feel. When added to the camera it gives you a very nice addition in both balance and weight. However:


1. You can only add (1) EN-EL15 within the grip. This struck me as a bit strange as the conventional design of most vertical grips is that you remove the battery from the camera body, and then double them up in the grip. (At least the Canon grips I have used in the past). Here you can leave one battery in the camera body, and then have your 2nd battery in the grip. Which means of course each time you need to charge the battery in the camera body, off comes the grip. 😡

2. Even if you don’t mind taking it off, I use an L bracket. Currently RRS is not shipping the L bracket for the D800 and has no pics gets on their site, however I am hoping that it will allow you to slide out the tray that holds the batteries. I am using an older RRS generic L bracket and the only way it mounts is to block the battery tray from opening. Long term not where I want to go.

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