Late to the party, eight’s the lucky number

I’ve got legendary holidays to look forward to this and next year, so I got myself a full-frame Nikon DSLR to document them with, a D800. But results first:

4x5 inch proof plus A2 work print

4×5 inch proof plus A2 work print


This is what you get such a camera body for, to print big. So let’s go down the processing chain. The lenses to do justice to the D800’s 36 MPixel sensor I already had.
New body among my proven Nikkors

New body among my proven Nikkors


Chief among them being the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2,8G ED VR II. I can’t get enough of this lens. Use it with care and it will reward you with spectacular images.
Technique. Either put it on a  tripod, or use shutter speed = 1/4 x 1/focal length. Seriously. Use VR and chuck the 1/4.

Technique. Either put it on a tripod, or use shutter speed = 1/4 x 1/focal length. Seriously. Use VR and chuck the 1/4.


The D800 is a body in the image of all the other Nikon DSLRs I’ve had and even shares some characteristics with my F6. I like having a dedicated button for every purpose, almost all of them configurable in the menus.
Tidy rear of the camera. Must remember to use the eyepiece curtain when on the tripod.

Tidy rear of the camera. Must remember to use the eyepiece curtain when on the tripod.


But we’re not here to fondle and fiddle with the camera, let’s see some more results from the first days of using it:
Closed-up diner

Closed-up diner


Overcast on the Wasserkuppe, the birthplace of gliding.

Overcast on the Wasserkuppe, the birthplace of gliding.


A forest floor scene with the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2,8G ED VR II

A forest floor scene with the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2,8G ED VR II


That last one was the first one to get printed. And here comes the drawback of such a workflow. It’s obvious, really. If you want to represent this kind of detail so that it appeals, you need to print big. You can pixel-peep on your D800 files all day long, but that’s just measurebating. I photograph to show my pictures, perhaps at Arles, again. A2 (420 x 594 mm or 16.5 x 23.4 inches) is a paper size I can still put in a portfolio and it is also impressive matted into a 60 x 80 cm Halbe frame. That’s a whopper, but bigger is bigger. To print this with, I got an Epson Stylus Photo 3880.
The Epson Stylus Photo 3880 and the 80-ties Bang & Olufsen stereo  seem to be design cousins

The Epson Stylus Photo 3880 and the 80-ties Bang & Olufsen stereo seem to be design cousins


I couldn’t foresee how reliable printing was with this printer using Hahnemühle Photo Rag media.
Living room digital darkroom

Living room digital darkroom


Of course, you have to do your homework and calibrate your monitor and soft-proof with ICC profiles that Hahnemühle provides for their papers in this printer. Much to my surprise, that was all it took to produce the work print in the lead photo. I’m 90% satisfied with that.
So, even if the D800 gets replaced at this autumn’s Photokina (do we really want/need more pixels?), I have a workflow to hone and pictures to make. The instruments we can get today for these purposes are great.

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One Response to “Late to the party, eight’s the lucky number”

  1. JPEG Submarine | Mostly Black & White Says:

    […] It’s the Arts … « Late to the party, eight’s the lucky number […]

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