Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Nikon D800 HDR and Video Samples (@ISO3200!) *UPDATED*

Well, like the title says, I've had one full day now to fiddle about with the D800.

I've taken some photos, of course.  None of which I feel are really up to par to show you guys.  They're incredibly bland, to be completely honest.  This is to no fault of the camera, however.  The camera's an incredible performer!  The resolution is incredible.  The focus is untouchable.  Color rendering and dynamic range are impeccable as was to be expected.  I'm utterly amazed by the performance of this beast of a piece of kit.

I do, however have some HDR examples to show you.  Other than resizing these to 2500 pixels on their long side, there have been no post processing of the photos.  They're straight from the camera.  All photos were taken with the Nikon D800 and Sigma 24-70mm F/2.8 EX DG HSM IF II @24mm.

Example 1:

This is the NON-HDR shot that the camera metered of the scene.  With the camera set to matrix metering, this is the shot as it came straight from the camera, by the camera.

This is the HDR shot that the camera spit out.  Again, the camera was on matrix metering, JPG FINE.  For this shot, the HDR mode was set to Auto.  As you can tell, some of the shadows on the water and the trees have been brightened up.  The building on camera left has also got a bit more detail to it.  On the downside, though, the sky is toned down a bit from the already hazy sky.  It's a bit more grey and dulled down because of the processing.  Also, you can see that the merging of the two photos has gotten some of the bits, well, a bit confused.  As you can tell, the specular highlights on the water from the sun are smoothed out and lost in the middle of the frame.  You get a bit of smaller highlights on the top, and some on the bottom, but they're completely smoothed over in the middle.  

As you know, both shots used in the HDR are taken during the same flap of the shutter, so the water wasn't moved too much in the 1/8000s between exposures.  It really will be a shame if the HDR function continues to be unintelligent.  If you lose parts of trees in the forest, grass patches in the meadows, or something of the sort, this could become unfortunate.

 Example 2:

This is the NON-HDR shot that the camera metered of the scene.  With the camera set to matrix metering, this is the shot as it came straight from the camera, by the camera.

This is the HDR shot that the camera spit out.  Again, the camera was on matrix metering, JPG FINE.  For this shot, however, the HDR mode was set manually to 3EV.  Now, it's not quite clear to me how this is accomplished.  Only two frames are taken in the HDR.  The camera gives you the option of Auto, 1EV, 2EV, and 3EV.  Since only two frames are taken, if you need highlights, shadows, and midtones, that would theoretically take 3 photos, minimum.  Hence why bracketing is generally done in multiples of 3: so at least 1 frame is correctly exposed for the scene as a whole.  With only two frames being taken, if you set an exposure differential of 3EV, is this accomplished by takin one photo 1.5EV above, and one 1.5EV below the meter?  Hmm...

In this photo as well, though, you can tell that everything has a slight grey cast over it.  The sky is dulled, the tree colors are a bit washed out, the darker tones in the deck are lost.  It looks alot like the HDRs spit out directly from Photoshop CS5.5's HDR function.  

This is the HDR from above, as I would edit it.  If for nothing else, the HDR function is nice to have as the file spit out is ALOT easier to edit than the first photo.  As you will see, this edit has alot more detail in the trees on the left and such than in the file below, which was the firs non-hdr shot, edited in the same manner.  The vibrance had to be upped to 100, midtones pulled up in levels, and the blacks deepened.  It was actually quite lovely to edit the HDR file.  Since there is so much inherent detail, not too much has to be done.

This is the Non-HDR file, run through photoshop.


I haven't had too much time to really have fun with the video on this baby, but I did get some nice test shots of the 720p 60FPS video.  Here are some quick test videos done, run back in both 24FPS and 60FPS.  Enjoy!

As a short disclaimer, I understand these aren't the most professional videos in existence.  Like I said, they were just quick tests.  Many more to come in the future.

Nikon D800 + Sigma 24-70mm F/2.8 EX DG HSM IF II
PS.  ISO for this video was set at ISO3200!

Nikon D800 + Nikon 300mm F/4.0 ED IF AF-S

As for the video functionality, coming from a D300s, it's incredible (coming from anything, it's incredible, really)!  The manual controls are spot-on, and incredibly nice to have control over.  The dynamic range are something to be rivaled.  As mentioned in the previous post, the record button being on the top is really nice as well.

In order to shoot in DX mode during video, you must select the mode before entering into video mode.  Nothing too shocking.

Thanks alot for stopping by, again!  Much more to come in the next few days.  So, feel free to stick around a while!



  1. Looks Great Mark... as Previously thought, the in-camera HDR would come out not necessarily the best, but a neat feature anyhow... but the video esp the one at 3200 iso is incredible... Who would have thought Noise on a 36.3 mp camera would be very smooth? I didn't, sure glad to be getting this beast in my hands very soon... thanks for the samples!

    1. Hey, thanks! I know! I was shocked at the quality of the ISO3200! I'm working on a feature short film as we speak. That's going to be a doozy, and I'm loving the D800 for every bit of it! Super excited!

      Thanks for tagging along!

  2. Hey Mark, great post.I was very interested in the video capabilities of the D800, and you have some great honest examples. Keep up the great blogging.

    1. I have a quite long feature-type video coming up shortly shot exclusively with the D800. So, stay tuned.

      Thanks for your support!