Adele – D800

July 31, 2012

Last week I had a shoot with Adele from Willow Model Management. This was a great opportunity to break in the D800 and see how it performs. In this entry I go over the pro & cons of the D800, include a lighting diagram as well as a short behind the scenes video.

Check out this short but dreamy behind the scenes of this shoot:

As well as using the D800 for the first time, I used the white Paul Buff / Alien Bee beauty dish (I also have the silver high output one). During the shoot I don’t think I was as impressed with the white BD as I hoped to be, but once I was going over the images on the computer I was quickly won over.

This was a simple one light setup with the beauty dish boomed over the center. Some of you my have noticed that there is an octabox in the video. Towards the end of that look, I swapped in the octabox, but did not use any of those images.

Nikon D800
Whats my inital thought? WOWEE-WOW-WOW

+ As you can see from the crop below…the MEGAPIXELS! MP are not overrated. I think people see 36MP and their knee jerk reaction is “thats more than I need”. Look at it this way, 5D Mark II 21mp = 5616 x 3744 vs Nikon 36mp – 7360 x 4912. It’s not as crazy as a jump as one would think. That said, I was using a 12MP d3, so the extra resolution was the main reason I choose the D800 over the d4.

+ ISO Performance. While technically not improved, it’s is on par with the D3. Factor in the resolution and it surpases the D3. Remember, at full res you can run noise reduction and then downsize the image to say 20mp which produces a clean image.


– Body: I miss the pro body. For the most part I never really used the verticle grip on the D3, but now that I am shooting more portraits I see how nice it would be. Also I miss the buttons a long the bottom. Also, what is with the green backlight on the D800 display…its a throw back to when I owned a 1979 Mercury Capri.

– NON Dual CF slots: For me I rather have dual CF slots. I noticed when it rolled over to the SD images took a lot longer to process. Several times I had to wait for 20-30 seconds for it to finish buffering. I ended up swapping in a new CF card.

Overall, I am more than happy with the performance of the D800. I love the all the detail. After a couple more shoots with it, I will revist and post and update. Feel free to ask me if you have any specific questions.

  • Flash Parker

    Nicely done sir! I am going on third week with the D800, and I have to agree with what you’ve said above. The dual card slots are great, but two different types of cards is silly. I actually don’t mind the smaller body though – the bigger body kills my back when I’m wandering around doing travel work for 12 hours a day.

    I love the look in these pix with the beauty dish. I’m wondering right now whether I should buy some Alien Bees and a few pieces of kit, or stick with the speedlights I’ve come to know and love so well. Portability is of course a big issue, but I’d only be using the ABs here in North America, and not for my travel work. What are your thoughts and impressions on going from one to the other, and back and forth? 

  • isayx3

    Although I do have a vagobond and vagobond mini, I tend to use my speedlights more, because of what you mentioned..Portability. The AB are nice to have and not very expensive, but if you have speedlights already you might look into dual or triple mounts. Check out a couple post back, where I use 3 speedlights outdoors. It’s different if you have an assistant carting it around for you, but if you are on your own, its hard to wrestle a battery pack.

  • Gio Arteaga

    Hey Ed, I had to refresh the page twice for the video box to show….Weird…. Awesome work!  Thanks for sharing.

  • Anonymous

    I’d love to see what you can produce with some medium format film :-)

  • isayx3

    I actually had my RB67 sitting out, but it had a polaroid back. And we were moving so quickly I forgot to use it.

  • Anonymous

    Dang. Next time! I have a sliding Polaroid back for my RB that gives me two vertical shots on the print as a diptych. Very cool.

    There are some examples on my blog:

  • Lisa

    Really like this video. There’s a feeling to it – it’s not just about seeing what’s behind the finished photos, but also I think it shows how much you enjoy doing this.  

    Strange thing… just two hours ago I bought a boom online (2 meters, I hope it’s not too short…). Cant’t wait to try it out :)

  • Oliur Rahman

    She has a beautiful set of legs!

  • Webmaster (

    Great work my friend, chomping at the bit to get my d800. 

  • Sofia Villeneuve

    Incredible Ed! Love your work!!!

  • Guitarmint

    Great job! Thanks for posting this!
    May i ask what type of background are You using?
    Thanks in advance and God bless!

  • Mic Ty

    Hi Ed.  Have you had to change your shooting methods and/or lenses to take advantage of the D800’s resolution?  For example, have you had to be more careful with how you hold the camera or squeeze the shutter?  Or perhaps have you had to pay more attention to diffraction?  Also, do you find postprocessing to be significantly slower or more tedious compared to the D3?  Thanks in advance.

  • isayx3

    No, not real change, other than I had no verticle grip. When shooting lifestyle stuff later, I did have to slow down as it switched over to the SD card and it was really slow. Waste of a slot if you ask me.

    Post process was a little slower, but I was so blown away by the details, i didnt mind. I have since upgrade ram and will be installing an SSD harddrive.

  • Aaron Burns

    Regarding the dual slots, here is what I would try with it: Eye-Fi in the SD slot, for “Basic” JPG, paired with an Android tablet for review.  So far this is working well for me (different setup, but conceptually the same) so I can leave the laptop and usb tether behind.

  • Arrow

    Dude..that isn’t beatuty dish (00:56) ..seems looks like an octabank, right?

  • isayx3

    read the post :)

    I switch out to an octobox towards the end, but never posted any of the shots from it. All the shots above was with a beauty dish

  • Brad

    Which do you prefer the BD or the Octobox with you shooting style.

  • will

    what program did u edit video with, and how did u get it to ‘ook like the pictures?

  • Aaron Kim

    Adobe Premiere and After Effects ~ Aaron

  • Troy Brown

    Hey man what background are you using? Definitely have to pick one of those up!

  • canvas prints

    the photos here are so great. i love them.

  • Sabine

    Hello, Very nice video – you know how to make nice moves :) I am looking for a long time after such a background you use here, I like the texture. I know I could do it by myself but maybe I can buy it somewhere?

    Best Wishes,