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Why I sometimes shoot with a big ugly DSLR

Discussion in 'Nikon DSLR Forum' started by Boid, Aug 27, 2014.

  1. Boid

    Boid SC All-Pro

    Dec 15, 2011
    Bangalore, India
    Rajiv
    I did some design work for a friend and didn't feel like charging him money, so he gifted me a D800e, which I was looking to get anyways.

    I started shooting seriously with smaller cameras, the X100, the RX100 and nowadays carry only the Ricoh GR around everywhere.

    A couple of things that interest me, is taking head shots and shooting architecture. I was hiring professional photographers to document my projects (I work as an architect), till I got called out by my office and had to start documenting my own work. The larger sensor on the DSLR (full frame in this case) helps hugely in both shooting situations. Once I started shooting with the D800e is when I understood the limitations of my smaller cameras (duh!). I still refuse to cart around a big heavy and frankly nasty DSLR when I'm out and about, but when I'm shooting under lights or out on a tripod the Nikon serves my purposes very well, giving me large files sizes to work with and tonnes of detail and resolution.

    I know we've been discussing whether it's a good idea to post images from large chunky cameras in here, and I thought a lot about it before making this post. We all know they're pretty much out there, these nasty DSLRs, and they're always an option if one's willing to put up with the inconvenience of lugging around large and heavy gear. And then I thought that it might be a good idea to post images from these cameras, if only to form a more educated opinion as to what's the right gear to consider, and DSLRs are an option and they're good at a few things in ways smaller compact cameras are not (at least in comparison to the ones I've used, I haven't yet shot with the A7 or a M240 or the Sigma DP Merrills or other full frame compacts). I did seriously consider the Sony A7R, but I bought into the Nikon system to use their rather fabulous 14-24mm lens for my architecture work, and it didn't make any sense for me, to stick that big lens via an adapter on the A7R.

    But mostly I wanted to make this post, because I wanted to share my images on a nice friendly forum without having to put up with the nonsense that one does elsewhere. The internet is a scary place and one tends to stick to places where one is comfortable. Sorry for the long rambling post, but here are some images.

    Head shot -

    Gi0iSSn.

    Documenting my project (architecture) -

    F4oi63Z.

    I shot the next image at Angkor Wat from a hot air balloon and I hated every second of having to carry that big DSLR and 5 kilos of gear throughout a warm and humid Cambodia. I don't care enough about photography to ever put myself through that again! my Ricoh GR to the rescue!

    LJoxXt1.
     
    • Like Like x 11
  2. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    that portrait is beautiful
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. john m flores

    john m flores SC All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2012
    True, but I wanna hear about the building (second photo)!
     
    • Like Like x 2
  4. ReD

    ReD SC Hall of Famer

    Mar 27, 2013
    Yeah me too - beautiful shot too
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Boid

    Boid SC All-Pro

    Dec 15, 2011
    Bangalore, India
    Rajiv
    John, that's a rooftop cafeteria at the World Trade Center in Bangalore. Mostly feeding a very large contingent of software developers working at Amazon. Seats about 2000 people
     
  6. kyteflyer

    kyteflyer ~@¿@~

    Jan 31, 2011
    Newcastle, Australia
    Sue
    Beautiful shots, Rajiv. And I hear what you're saying about FF... I'd love to have one but sadly they are all way too heavy for me. I love the output from the Nikon D700 and on, I don't know why, I've just noticed some really stunning stuff. I love your headshot, and like John, would like to know more about the building. That is an even more beautiful shot, IMO. Can't help wondering what the D800E would have done with the Angkor Wat shot.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    So that building (or buildings) is actually on a roof?

    More photos please. I'm a big fan of buildings ON roofs.
     
  8. Boid

    Boid SC All-Pro

    Dec 15, 2011
    Bangalore, India
    Rajiv
    Thanks Sue. That Ankor Wat shot was shot with the D800e, but there was way too much haze to get off a clear shot. I used to have a D700 as well, it was a little easier to shoot with while the D800 is too demanding and expects you to nail the focus with very little leeway and use really good glass to get it right. I agree with you that the cameras are just too heavy to use daily, it's just not as fun to use as smaller cameras.
     
  9. kyteflyer

    kyteflyer ~@¿@~

    Jan 31, 2011
    Newcastle, Australia
    Sue
    REALLY? I thought you were saying that you'd shot it with the GR. My mistake :)
     
  10. Boid

    Boid SC All-Pro

    Dec 15, 2011
    Bangalore, India
    Rajiv
    It is the rooftop of a parking lot. I'll try and drum up more pictures.
     
  11. serhan

    serhan SC All-Pro

    May 7, 2011
    NYC
    Beautiful shots...

    14-24mm is a very good lens, but I think A7R w/ Canon TSE lenses are also a good option esp for architectural photography. Fred Miranda uses them even for landscape. I am more into small lenses w/ low distortion like CV 12mm 5.6 or OM 21mm 3.5 lenses...
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I like all three of the shots Rajiv, particularly the Cambodia aerial. And I recognize that a D800e with a 14-24 is getting into the "big ugly" DSLR area. But I feel the need to re-mention that DSLRs don't always have to be big and ugly. Or at least not THAT big. Shooting with a Df with smaller prime lenses is really not a terribly different experience (in terms of size and weight at least) from shooting with a Fuji X-Pro or XT1 with any but a few of Fuji's prime lenses. The body is bigger (and more expensive), but far from huge, and the lenses are similar and, in many cases, smalle (and notably LESS expensive)r. This limits the lenses to those that don't give you as much of an advantage over the best of Fuji's primes, but you still get the benefit of those amazing full frame files. To get the best out of the D800 series, you really do need pretty high end glass and that results in "big ugly" (and wicked expensive). But for the D610 and, particularly, the Df, you don't - the smaller and not quite as fast D and G lenses work brilliantly on those bodies.

    It's definitely possible for DSLRs to be big and ugly! And expensive! But it's also very possible for them to be only slightly larger than their mirrorless counterparts and not really more expensive. And, I'd contend at least, in the case of the black Df, not even particularly ugly! I don't really consider cameras objects of beauty anyway - sometimes of nostalgia, but not really beauty. I don't think the X100 or EP5 or Df are particularly gorgeous objects - I think we just conflate how they look with our memories of other cameras that looked sort of like them...

    -Ray
     
    • Like Like x 2
  13. Boid

    Boid SC All-Pro

    Dec 15, 2011
    Bangalore, India
    Rajiv
    Spot on Ray. I think if one steers clears of the demands on the D800s of using big fat lenses, it's possible to have a reasonably portable DSLR for all purposes. Though I have to mention that Nikon's cheapest lens, the 50mm 1.8D works really well on my D800e.
     
  14. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    In case anyone doubts, I have used a "big ugly DSLR", although my last was the D700 I sold to fund my X-E1. I was a big SLR user with film, but apart from the aforementioned D700, which took my old Nikon lenses and a dalliance with 4/3 I have largely left the big stuff behind. The final straw was when I realised that I had not used the D700 for nearly six months because it was just too damn heavy to lug about. The only SLR I have today is my Olympus OM2 SP which I have mentioned elsewhere is smaller and lighter than my X-T1 with grip.

    Anyway, these are some of my last shots with a digital slappy mirror thing:

    26615599.10a8098d.1024.
    There's this wedding app... par Lightmancer, on ipernity

    26615623.7f2be011.1024.
    Romina par Lightmancer, on ipernity

    26615711.212fa56f.1024.
    Alfred par Lightmancer, on ipernity

    26615751.8cffcc3e.1024.
    And so it begins... par Lightmancer, on ipernity

    26615771.db15c544.1024.
    So Ibon par Lightmancer, on ipernity

    26615823.9e34a6cb.1024.
    Cascada de flores par Lightmancer, on ipernity

    26616199.fb0c7fc5.1024.
    Rubias y morenas par Lightmancer, on ipernity

    26616475.906491f3.1024.
    Fatema par Lightmancer, on ipernity

    ...the key point being I don't think that there is a single shot here I couldn't have nailed with my current kit.

    Just sayin'...
     
    • Like Like x 2
  15. Biro

    Biro SC All-Pro

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Steve
    Agreed. If I use my Pentax K-5 or K-5IIs with primes (particularly my DA Limiteds) or any of my zooms other than the big, heavy DA* 16-60 f/2.8 or DA* 50-135 f/2.8, the shooting experience isn't much different than with a Fuji XT1, Panasonic GH3/GH4 or Olympus E-M1. That's one reason why I haven't sold off all my Pentax gear yet and haven't purchased any of the aforementioned mirrorless cameras or their expensive f/2.8 zooms.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  16. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I know that many of the "lesser" Nikon lenses work very very well with the D800 family, but to really get the absolute maximum out of that 36mp sensor, I think you need to go higher end. That said, at 50mm, it's relatively easy to make really nice lenses that are still pretty small. I have that same 50 1.8 D and it's a wonderful lens and smaller than almost anything I ever shot on my Fuji gear (other than the nice but soft 18mm), not to mention being a $120 lens NEW, with used ones easily found for about $75-80.... Just for the heck of it, here's a side by sde comparison of the X-Pro 1 with the 23mm f1.4 lens next to the Df with the 50 f1.8 G, which is a bit longer and heavier than the 35mm f2.0 or 50 f1.8 D (not available on the camera-size site).

    http://j.mp/1teVM89

    As is, the cameras are not all that different in terms of size and the Df combination is only about 200 grams heavier, less with the D lenses. The 24, 28, 35, and 50mm D lenses are all quite small and quite inexpensive. The 20mm and 85mm are only slightly larger and more expensive. There are plenty of good reasons to prefer shooting with a Fuji setup, but size and weight (and cost) really aren't among them...

    -Ray
     
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Isoterica

    Isoterica SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 6, 2011
    Those are amazing shots. Why would you ever apologize for using whatever tool you required to achieve them? Ugly dslr, bah.. you use it well.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Boid

    Boid SC All-Pro

    Dec 15, 2011
    Bangalore, India
    Rajiv
    The images I posted, I don't think I would have been able to shoot with my compact cameras. For one, they all have fixed lenses, and tend to be wides. For shooting street or candid, the Ricoh GR is the go to tool for me. People react differently to it. I even tried shooting the GR with lights, and it was interesting, and quite good for environmental portraits.

    Love the image of the hair. That looks like a lot of work.

    I also picked up a D700 and shot with it for a while. It's a really nice camera. But it just didn't have the sheer data (detail?) that the D800e throws out, even after downsampling the image to share online. So I sold the D700. Though it was easier to shoot with, especially when shooting skin. The D800 shows too much, and people aren't generally pleased with having every blemish on display.
     
  19. Boid

    Boid SC All-Pro

    Dec 15, 2011
    Bangalore, India
    Rajiv
    Thanks.
     
  20. Boid

    Boid SC All-Pro

    Dec 15, 2011
    Bangalore, India
    Rajiv
    Luke, I dug up a couple more pictures that show the context a bit better. As you can see, when I shot these, the structure was very much a work in progress. The cafeteria is located on the 7th floor of a parking lot directly connected to the WTC next to it.

    aoWr988.

    eJczozr.
     
    • Like Like x 4