Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Next Step: How to equip your new camera. Part I

As our current culture seems obsessed with the creation of cheap mass-produced gadgets. They all seem to be "buy one today and throw it away tomorrow" because we will sell you one that is just a bit or a byte better. It is hard to find what to buy.

For the conscious buyer (you and me), that is not rich and works hard for his money. We do not want to go to the bank to beg for some money that is non-existent except in hard drives, we want "bang for our buck" as they say in the U.S.A.

So we bought ourselves a Nikon D800. (read more why)

Now what?

You have a great camera but:
Do you have good glass?

Nikon glass is great and cheap. Specialy the AI prime lenses are easy to find in good shape. You can get a used 50mm T1.4 for less than 150€ if you dedicate a little time in the internet. That lens is a jewel, take my word for it.

Now you might be thinking:
"But it's not VR or auto focus!"

Answer: Use the tripod. That is why God put it there, it will become your best friend or foe, depending on how you relate to it. Practice manual focus and you will become more confident in yourself. If you have some money for a zoom, then go for the VR and auto focus. I recommend the Nikkor Zoom 28-300 VRII G T3.5-5.6 as you can see in my equipment list. It is an all round work horse and it will make your "run and gun" projects faster and smoother.

The Lensbaby 3G is a great and fun lens, to be used wisely and it's also cheap in the second hand market. You could even use Leica R mount lenses on your camera if you dedicate the time and money to it.

Now you have glass.
Good glass, unlike Canon, that has great electronics but not so good definition.
(I am sorry Canonists, I feel so and I know I might get some comments on this. I don't take anything professional as personal).

On the next post, we will continue with our tripod and rigs.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

III: Why having a D800 feels like having a Mac in the 90's

Part III

Read Part I

Read Part II

My mother bought our first computer, a HP Windows system PC, it was awful, unstable and prompt to all kind of errors, it took longer to get the computer ready to work than the time you took to write your essay. Two weeks after, we returned it and exchanged it for a Mac, like the one on the picture. It was not a popular computer and had less software options than the Windows, but it did what you asked it to and almost never froze. My friends made fun of me and my odd computer but I had more time to play and I was happy. Since then I have been a Mac fan and never regretted it, even tough now every "cool" person has to have one, even if its just to send mail and work with MS Office.

 Now days I feel the same way about my Nikon D800. Everyone is so used to the Canon 5D Mark II that they ask for it or the Mk. III as a camera type. They don't say " do you have a HD DSLR for this project" they say "do you have a Mark II or III for this project" and then comes the long explanation of why the Nikon D800 is better in my opinion and after the project is done, they seem really surprised and happy, because they never thought that the D800 would be such a great camera to work with. I think D800 to them sounds worse than 60D.

So I decide to make this blog, to bring this unknown camera out to everyone. We will discuss, I mean and hope "DISCUSS" is a lot of feedback and opinions, all the ways we can use this great camera, mine is called Lumen, and the pros and cons, advice for and from Professional Videographers and technical details.

My objective for this blog is to help people consolidate information about this camera.
On the next post we will start to discuss technical details about the camera.

Have a great day.

Monday, March 4, 2013

II: Why having a D800 feels like having a Mac in the 90's...

· Part II : 5D Mk. III  vs. D800


Read Part I

They both came out "almost" at the same time. It gave me some months to see if my gut was right and the Nikon would turn the table on Canon.

So I made a list of Pros and Cons:

Canon 5D Mk. III


  • Magic Lantern type software. (Better video options and menus)
  • More lenses to be adapted. (Nikkor included, with limited options)
  • 4:2:0 8bit internal recording with a great codec. (no huge files)
  • Great high ISO performance. Up to 64000 ISO.
  • 3.2" screen (bigger is better).
  • Myriad of Canon and Mk. II fans accessory's.
  • Incredible Photographic camera (2 in 1 body). 


  • No 4:2:2 10bit external CLEAN HDMI output (now available).
  • No internal Image Stabilizer (bad for handheld) 
  • No PL mount lenses allowed.
  • Bad low and normal ISO performance.
  • External time lapse option.
  • Bad Sound controls (worse internal sound) .
  • Moire (most non over €10,000 cameras have it).
  • No RAW output option.
  • DSLR (not user friendly for video).
  • 30 min recording barrier (due to a dumb tax law in Europe).
  • More expensive than the D800. 

Nikon D800 



  • Nikkor glass fits without any converter and all functions remain.
  • 36,6mpx Sensor.
  • FX 1x, 1,2x, DX 1,5x video formats, which means all prime lenses x3.
  • Integrated time lapse option.
  • Great low and normal ISO performance. Up to 1600 ISO.
  • 14 DR stops if properly used at 100 ISO.
  • SD & CF cards compatible.
  • 4:2:0 8bit internal recording with a great codec. (no huge files)
  • 4:2:2 10bit external CLEAN HDMI output (external recorder allowed)
  • 3,2" screen. (bigger is better)
  • Very good original firmware "Movie" controls.
  • Sound input levels can be arranged to become neutral. ( better internal sound)
  • Myriad of Nikon accessory's.
  • Incredible Photographic camera (2 in 1 body). 
  • Cheaper than the 5D Mk. III


  • Less lenses to be adapted, no PL (no Canon glass, not a great loss)
  • Moire (most non over €10,000 cameras have it)
  • No RAW output option
  • DSLR (not user friendly for video)
  • 30 min recording barrier (due to a dumb tax law in Europe)
  • No Internal Image Stabilizer (bad for handheld)
  • No Magic Lantern type software. (new to the video-hacker)

That is as far as the comparison went before the "gut feeling" became obviously right .

Here are some links that speak well of both cameras (make up your mind):

So I bought the D800 and I have never regretted it, except for the fact that I feel with the D800 the same way I felt back in the 90's with my Mac.

On Part III  I will explain why.