Luminous Landscape Forum

Equipment & Techniques => Cameras, Lenses and Shooting gear => Topic started by: hasselbladfan on July 31, 2012, 01:03:49 pm

Title: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: hasselbladfan on July 31, 2012, 01:03:49 pm

I know it is a controversial question (Nikon or Canon), but nearly all my old R gear is out of the door and now I am in front of the question :

Do I go D4 or 1D X for my action shots?

Main use for this camera will be nature photography (I live in a forest) and I am considereing a 400mm/2.8 or a 500mm/4 with 1.4x / 2.0x extenders. I have a real zoo around me, so why not take advantage of it.

Feel free to comment also on the lens quality. Both systems seem very close to me considering the specs.
Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: Ellis Vener on July 31, 2012, 03:53:05 pm
The D4 is excellent. I haven't had a chance to shoot with a 1D X yet so I can't comment on it. The prime long teles in both lines are superb. if you focus manually you'll probably like the Canon more as the near to infinity focus rotation direction goes in the same direction as your old Leica lenses.
With either  the Nikon or Canon system  get the long ruler version of the Lens Align Mark II so you can tune the camera's phase based ( i.e focusing through the viewfinder) autofocus system to your specific individual lenses.
Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: telyt on July 31, 2012, 04:14:50 pm
Do I go D4 or 1D X for my action shots?

be careful what you wish for:
http://leica-users.org/v29/msg06594.html
Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: Ellis Vener on July 31, 2012, 04:44:24 pm
be careful what you wish for:
http://leica-users.org/v29/msg06594.html
How exactly does 7 year old experience with  mid 1990's  film camera and lens AF technology relate to  2012 experience with a D4 or 1 D X?  AF technology in both lenses and bodies is at least a quantum level or three beyond that.
Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: telyt on July 31, 2012, 04:57:11 pm
How exactly does 7 year old experience with  mid 1990's  film camera and lens AF technology relate to  2012 experience with a D4 or 1 D X?  AF technology in both lenses and bodies is at least a quantum level or three beyond that.

Touched a nerve?

Except for speed and the ability to fine-tune the system (or, put a band-aid on the technology) PDAF still has PDAF's weaknesses especially being limited to focus "points".
Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: lfeagan on July 31, 2012, 05:31:11 pm
Both cameras are stellar. For action shooting they are similar enough that other constraints should be introduced to determine which best meets your needs. Given how excellent both are, I would consider ease of use, handling, and similar non-specification factors primarily. When wandering about taking static nature photos, on occasion wildlife wanders (or darts) by me. Being able to quickly change drive, focus mode, etc can be critical. What works best for you may not be what works best for me, so I am not going to give any advice other than try them out or read the manual and see how easy (or annoying and hard) it is to change the settings you care about most on both models.

As far a personal opinion, I prefer the Nikon layout to Canon, but the 1D X is a kickass camera. You really should see how each feels in your hands.

My gripe with the Canon layout was and still is the 4-button in a row layout on the top-right. The light button is waaaayyy over there to the left and the ISO button is a bit cramped in. Still, this may just be my personal preferences and you may love this layout.

(http://www.dpreview.com/news/1110/canon/EOS-1D_X_5.jpg)

The 400/2.8 from both is also kickass.

P.S. Don't feed the troll. ;D
Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: hasselbladfan on July 31, 2012, 05:43:09 pm
Good idea.

I fiddled with both on a Calumet demonstration, but probably not long enough to acquire a real preference. Maybe I should rent them both for a day.

Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: hasselbladfan on July 31, 2012, 05:46:52 pm
Thanks, Ellis.

I am not sure yet what it means (long ruler), but I will certainly ask for. It is going to be a nice learning curve (after 40 years manual focus).
Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: telyt on July 31, 2012, 06:27:58 pm
The 400/2.8 from both is also kickass.

Quality of equipment aside, I found that for wildlife especially in a forest environment a 400mm f/2.8 was more trouble than it was worth.  The DOF at f/2.8 is so slim that I had to choose what part of a deer's eyeball was in focus, the huge front element alarmed the animals so that it was much more difficult to get close enough for photos or extenders were mandatory, and the dense understory meant than clear views were possible only at shorter distance.  I find a 300mm f/4 more useful.
Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: lfeagan on July 31, 2012, 06:28:20 pm
I am not sure yet what it means (long ruler), but I will certainly ask for.

Ellis is referring to this: http://michaeltapesdesign.com/lensalign.html (http://michaeltapesdesign.com/lensalign.html)
Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: lfeagan on July 31, 2012, 06:43:26 pm
Quality of equipment aside, I found that for wildlife especially in a forest environment a 400mm f/2.8 was more trouble than it was worth.  The DOF at f/2.8 is so slim that I had to choose what part of a deer's eyeball was in focus, the huge front element alarmed the animals so that it was much more difficult to get close enough for photos or extenders were mandatory, and the dense understory meant than clear views were possible only at shorter distance.  I find a 300mm f/4 more useful.

Good points. And the lens is ridiculously heavy if you intend to do any serious trekking. A 300/4.0 is *way* more pleasant to carry around for an extended period. (approximately 3 lbs vs 10 lbs)
Also, I strongly prefer to use the 400/2.8 with a gimbal and find it awkward to use with any ball head. This adds even more weight to what you would carry around with you.

Another thought. Thanks to software-based lens correction and high-ISO capabilities, a zoom lens is a much more acceptable choice for a lens than they were 40 years ago (Nikon has a 28-300 and an 80-400). While I haven't yet taken my own advice on lenses, I am sure this will change as I get older. When people see what I carry in my pack they think I have gone mad. I just consider it a good workout. ;D
Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: Tony Jay on July 31, 2012, 07:13:16 pm
Both are very fine bodies with excellent focusing capablities.

A couple of posts have questioned the choice of 400mm or 500mm f4.0 lenses in the context of shooting in forests.
This is a valid concern.
Depending on how thick and close the vegetation is, and depending on your skills as a "hunter" much smaller lenses such as a 70-200mm f2.8 or a 200mm f2.0 in conjunction with a 1.4X telextender may be a much better bet. Shooting handheld is possible with excellent mobility.
300mm f.2.8 and larger are lenses that for practical purposes require at least a monopod and preferably a tripod and gymbal head for usable images.

Of course most photogaphers are inverterate travellers; in six months you may be shooting cheetahs in Namibia or penguins in Antarctica or Komodo dragons in Indonesia so in reality you may really need a range of lens.

Once you have decided on a body I would highly recommend renting lenses to work out what really works for you and only then purchasing.

My humble contribution

Tony Jay
Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: NancyP on July 31, 2012, 08:20:30 pm
Isn't speedy AF what wildlife and bird shooters want? H, yes, particularly for birds in flight! Anyway, speedy AF is a major consideration in your lens/camera setup. Teleconverters are said to reduce AF speed. I wouldn't know from personal experience, as I shoot BIF with a bare 400mm f/5.6 lens and consumer Canon body (60D). Using the 1.4x TC means I lose autofocus, so the TC comes out only when I am focusing on nests, relatively quiet perched birds, etc..
Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: Tony Jay on July 31, 2012, 08:32:36 pm
Nancy you are correct in principle.
With your lens (f5.6) adding any teleconverter converts it to a f6.3 and beyond and as pointed out autofocus is lost.
None of the lenses I shoot with for the purposes of birds and wildlife, even using a teleconverter, put me beyond f5.6.
The Canon L series extreme telephoto lenses matched with an appropriate body give very rapid and accurate focus.
Even with a 5D mark II, not exactly renowned as an action camera, focus speed and accuracy is actually pretty good.

Regards

Tony Jay
Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: Ellis Vener on July 31, 2012, 08:50:33 pm
Touched a nerve?

Except for speed and the ability to fine-tune the system (or, put a band-aid on the technology) PDAF still has PDAF's weaknesses especially being limited to focus "points".

I certainly seemed to have touched one of yours!   But you are right: except for speed, accuracy, a massive increase in the number of AF points - including a multiplication of the number of cross -sensor AF points spread over a wider area, along with integration of  information from the RGB pixels in the metering system to aid in more accurate predictions of  subject direction and speed , and greatly increased light sensitivity , and the ability of a photographer to fine tune AF performance of specific individual lenses with a specific body there have been no real changes to speak of between 1990s state of the art autofocus technology and 2012 state of the art  autofocus technology. None at all.  ;)

Being able to fine tune a lenses AF performance to a specific body is hardly putting a "band aid on the technology". Cinematographers and camera crews  have been able to fine tune individual  cine lens to specific camera bodies to get optimal performance out of those pairings for decades. And in practice this is no different than tuning a guitar , violin or piano
Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: telyt on July 31, 2012, 08:58:57 pm
I certainly seemed to have touched one of yours!

Nope.  Just offering an alternative to conventional wisdom.

Isn't speedy AF what wildlife and bird shooters want?

That's the conventional approach, but we're not all the same.

manual focus for all of these photos:
(http://www.wildlightphoto.com/birds/falconidae/webster02.jpg)

(http://www.wildlightphoto.com/birds/threskiornithidae/wfibis03.jpg)

(http://www.wildlightphoto.com/birds/threskiornithidae/wfib01.jpg)

(http://www.wildlightphoto.com/birds/sulidae/rfbo03.jpg)

I like being able to focus anywhere on the viewscreen no matter what the lens aperture is.  Often the bird is in a part of the image area that isn't covered by focussing points (or ones that will function at the lens' aperture).

Being able to fine tune a lenses AF performance to a specific body is hardly putting a "band aid on the technology".

Speed improvements in CDAF will eventually make people wonder why we ever tolerated PDAF and the micro-adjust band-aid.
Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: Colorado David on August 01, 2012, 12:20:09 am
The Nikon 200-400 f4 VR is a truly wonderful wildlife lens.
Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: ErikKaffehr on August 01, 2012, 12:59:54 am
Hi,

I would just add that a professional level APS-C crop camera like the 7D may also be an option. It will have a tighter crop or better angular resolution for a given lens.

Best regards
Erik

Isn't speedy AF what wildlife and bird shooters want? H, yes, particularly for birds in flight! Anyway, speedy AF is a major consideration in your lens/camera setup. Teleconverters are said to reduce AF speed. I wouldn't know from personal experience, as I shoot BIF with a bare 400mm f/5.6 lens and consumer Canon body (60D). Using the 1.4x TC means I lose autofocus, so the TC comes out only when I am focusing on nests, relatively quiet perched birds, etc..
Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: ErikKaffehr on August 01, 2012, 01:03:31 am
Hi,


Well yes, but not everyone is capable of focusing on birds in flight by hand. It is well possible that the technique can be learned, though.

Another factor is that AF systems are getting better. The third factor is that AF lenses may not be the easiest ones to focus manually.

Best regards
Erik

be careful what you wish for:
http://leica-users.org/v29/msg06594.html
Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: lfeagan on August 01, 2012, 01:10:08 am
The Nikon 200-400 f4 VR is a truly wonderful wildlife lens.

True. For reference, this lens weighs 7.4 lbs (3.3 kg). Not particularly light.

One thing that you might want to include in your decision matrix is the alternatives for a second, less-expensive full-frame body from each company. With Canon it would be the 5D Mark III. With Nikon it would be the D800E. While both are great bodies, they have different strengths and weaknesses. I would assume that in addition to spectacular wildlife, the scenery is pretty wonderful. I believe that a D4+D800E combo yields a more diverse set of capabilities than 1D X + 5D Mark III. Hopefully no one flames me for that statement. Please note that I didn't say "better".  ::)
Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: BernardLanguillier on August 01, 2012, 01:21:59 am
Looking at the 2012 Olympics vs the 2008 Olympics shows a clear shift towards Nikon among action shooters.

The same trend was already visible between 2004 and 2008, but I tend to see more black lenses overall now.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: lfeagan on August 01, 2012, 01:31:02 am
Quite true Bernard.

The Asahi Shimbun: Olympics will see high-stakes duel between Canon, Nikon (http://ajw.asahi.com/article/economy/business/AJ201207260015)
Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: Keith Reeder on August 01, 2012, 01:51:26 am
Or not...

Depends where you look and what you want to see, I guess (and as an aside, isn't it sad that this sort of thing actually seems to matter to some people?):

http://www.canonrumors.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/olympics01.jpg
Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: lfeagan on August 01, 2012, 02:39:24 am
Or not...

Depends where you look and what you want to see, I guess (and as an aside, isn't it sad that this sort of thing actually seems to matter to some people?):

http://www.canonrumors.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/olympics01.jpg

Following in the footsteps of someone respected/knowledgeable in a field when you are not able to gather enough information on your own is generally a pretty good strategy. Humans use this all the time to simplify and expedite the decision making process. Of course, this shortcut to in-depth analysis is what got so many folks invested with Berndard Madoff. While choosing based on what the majority use may not result in an optimal solution, it is also not particularly likely that it will result in a vastly sub-optimal solution. Obviously Madoff is a notable instance of this not working, but greed was also involved, in addition to mental laziness, which can skew thinking in general pretty dramatically.

The number of people shooting N and C appear to be equal in that photo (maybe off by one). And using a sample of a dozen or so photographers as representative of the whole isn't a very solid analysis technique. I didn't post that article because of the photo. I linked to it because of this statement, "Canon managed to retain its lead among sports photographers by a margin of about six to four, however, according to media reports and assessments by the two companies."
Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: ErikKaffehr on August 01, 2012, 02:49:12 am
Bernard,

The original posting was about shooting birds, not athletes, a very different thing.

Why? Shooting at the olympics is about getting the picture and publishing it, fast. Bird photography is more about getting the picture.

I'd suggest Nikon has an advantage where image quaility is at premium. But that is the D800/D800E. AF, hihh ISO? I don't have the slightest idea.

Best regards
Erik
Looking at the 2012 Olympics vs the 2008 Olympics shows a clear shift towards Nikon among action shooters.

The same trend was already visible between 2004 and 2008, but I tend to see more black lenses overall now.

Cheers,
Bernard

Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: hasselbladfan on August 01, 2012, 04:04:08 am
Dough,

I surely don't have your skills. Great shots.

Is there a noticeable difference in AF between both cameras?

Is any of them better in color delivery?
Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: BernardLanguillier on August 01, 2012, 04:30:54 am
The original posting was about shooting birds, not athletes, a very different thing.

Why? Shooting at the olympics is about getting the picture and publishing it, fast. Bird photography is more about getting the picture.

I'd suggest Nikon has an advantage where image quaility is at premium. But that is the D800/D800E. AF, hihh ISO? I don't have the slightest idea.

Hum... why comment if you don't have the slightest idea?  ;)

There are in fact many things in common between shooting athletes and shooting birds:

- you are severely constrained in terms of position relative to your subject which forces you to use long lenses,
- you have very few opportunities to get a shot, success rate is key which points to AF accuracy, speed and reliability, accurate metering,...
- movement is often fast which imposes high speed AF,
- it is difficult to time exactly the positions of the wing of a bird in flight, just like it is difficult to time accurately the positions of the arms of an athelte running or diving, which means that very high frame rates do help increase the chance to get keepers,
- light levels are often pretty low which requires good high ISO image quality,
- the environment in which you shoot is not controlled, which requires ruggedness.

I agree that the need to publish images fast is not there for bird photography, but that's it. The photography part of the equation is extremely similar.

There are of course other differences, like the possibility to add light in sport in some cases,...

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: Petrus on August 01, 2012, 04:38:50 am
Looking at the 2012 Olympics vs the 2008 Olympics shows a clear shift towards Nikon among action shooters.

The same trend was already visible between 2004 and 2008, but I tend to see more black lenses overall now.

Cheers,
Bernard


One reason is that Nikon gave huge discounts to Olympic photographers who traded in their Canon gear for Nikon equivalents. Like 10000 and more.

While the new top Nikon and Canon are quite equal in everything, Nikon seems to have better sensor, 1.5 stops more dynamic range to start with. The 200-400mm zoom already mentioned is also a really useful piece of glass. With new so much faster sensors carrying a f:2.8 lens is not necessary anymore, if not for shallow DOF effect only or shooting at night. I have been shooting with D4 for some time now and really like it a lot, also the auto ISO feature I felt was a gimmick, but it is not. It is a Great Camera, and Canon 1DX is a also a great camera, but maybe not with capital letters...

Disclamer: I have been shooting with Canons for 10 years, but now switched to Nikon D4/D800 combo. Nikon seems to have gained an edge with D3 and D700 and is keeping the lead.
Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: BernardLanguillier on August 01, 2012, 04:54:43 am
One reason is that Nikon gave huge discounts to Olympic photographers who traded in their Canon gear for Nikon equivalents. Like 10000 and more.

I am sure they do, just like Canon used to do the same from what I hear, but none of the top pros would accept even free equipment if they had concerns about their ability to capture the images they need.

For those guys, their Olympic images simply define who they are in the profession.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: DaveCurtis on August 01, 2012, 05:31:43 am
Early reports and comparisons show that the 1DX is truely impressive when it comes to AF:

http://xerodigital.ca/canon-1dx-nikon-d4/
Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: ErikKaffehr on August 01, 2012, 06:03:42 am
Hi Bernard,

I was mostly thinking that the cameras with the black lenses at the olympics are neither D800E or D3X. On the other hand I actually feel that a small sensor pitch is advantageous when shooting birds. In my experience I would mostly use my APS-C camera with 24MP rather than my full frame camera with an 1.4 extender. Having good AF is of course essential as I lack the focusing skills of the "Birdman of Sacramento".

So I really think that a D800/D800E may be preferable to a D4 and I also would suggest that a 7D (Canon) may be preferable to an 1DX, as the 7D is said to have very good AF.

I don't know much about the D7000 regarding focusing speed.

I'm not really in favour of shooting high ISO, but that is an area where the pro cameras (D1X and D4) may have an advantage. From the DxO data I have seen that advantage may be less significant.

Another factor I would point out that it is quite possible that sports shooters shoot JPEG, in that case in camera processing plays a major role, especially regarding high ISO noise reduction, but if you shoot "raw" in camera processing matters little.

Best regards
Erik


Hum... why comment if you don't have the slightest idea?  ;)

There are in fact many things in common between shooting athletes and shooting birds:

- you are severely constrained in terms of position relative to your subject which forces you to use long lenses,
- you have very few opportunities to get a shot, success rate is key which points to AF accuracy, speed and reliability, accurate metering,...
- movement is often fast which imposes high speed AF,
- it is difficult to time exactly the positions of the wing of a bird in flight, just like it is difficult to time accurately the positions of the arms of an athelte running or diving, which means that very high frame rates do help increase the chance to get keepers,
- light levels are often pretty low which requires good high ISO image quality,
- the environment in which you shoot is not controlled, which requires ruggedness.

I agree that the need to publish images fast is not there for bird photography, but that's it. The photography part of the equation is extremely similar.

There are of course other differences, like the possibility to add light in sport in some cases,...

Cheers,
Bernard

Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: BernardLanguillier on August 01, 2012, 06:44:49 am
On the other hand I actually feel that a small sensor pitch is advantageous when shooting birds. In my experience I would mostly use my APS-C camera with 24MP rather than my full frame camera with an 1.4 extender. Having good AF is of course essential as I lack the focusing skills of the "Birdman of Sacramento".

So I really think that a D800/D800E may be preferable to a D4 and I also would suggest that a 7D (Canon) may be preferable to an 1DX, as the 7D is said to have very good AF.

So by "The original posting was about shooting birds, not athletes, a very different thing." you meant to tell the OP that the 2 cameras he is hesitating between are not the right ones? Sorry I didn't get it.  :)

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: BernardLanguillier on August 01, 2012, 07:14:09 am
I linked to it because of this statement, "Canon managed to retain its lead among sports photographers by a margin of about six to four, however, according to media reports and assessments by the two companies."

If I read the article correctly, that comment is about the Beijing Olympics in 2008, isn't it?

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: ErikKaffehr on August 01, 2012, 07:20:59 am
Hi,

That is really for the OP to decide. But I would say that it is pretty obvious that a top of the line camera is not always the best choice. For landscape I would clearly prefer the D800 over the D4, would not you? Twice the pixels and better DR at low ISO.

Best regards
Erik

So by "The original posting was about shooting birds, not athletes, a very different thing." you meant to tell the OP that the 2 cameras he is hesitating between are not the right ones? Sorry I didn't get it.  :)

Cheers,
Bernard

Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: BernardLanguillier on August 01, 2012, 07:42:45 am
That is really for the OP to decide. But I would say that it is pretty obvious that a top of the line camera is not always the best choice. For landscape I would clearly prefer the D800 over the D4, would not you? Twice the pixels and better DR at low ISO.

I am not disagreeing that an APS-C camera might be better in some birding situations.

I had just assumed that the OP, being apparently a bird photographer, had a clear view on what type of camera was suitable for his applications.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: hasselbladfan on August 01, 2012, 08:19:51 am
I would miss too much my wide-angles by going APS-C.

I saw the article on AF. Seems Canon has an edge there, not sure if everyone agrees.

Anybody encountering also the greenish lcd they complain about, or is it a one-off?

Anything else I need to consider?
Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: BernardLanguillier on August 01, 2012, 08:38:42 am
I would miss too much my wide-angles by going APS-C.

I saw the article on AF. Seems Canon has an edge there, not sure if everyone agrees.

You may want to visit the DPreview Nikon forums. It seems that some D4 shooters have very different experiences and question the relevance of the settings used with the D4.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: ErikKaffehr on August 01, 2012, 08:40:10 am
Hi,

The way I do it I use my Sony Alpha 900 (fullframe) for normal photography and the Alpha 77 (APS-C) for telephoto work. Both are 24 MP. But I don't photograph a lot of birds.

Best regards
Erik
Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: Paul2660 on August 01, 2012, 09:08:15 am
I used both a 5D MKII and iD mkIV for birds of all sizes and large wildlife for many years.  After my move back to Nikon earlier this year, at first I found I missed my 1d MKIV.  I looked to a D4 briefly, but then found myself coming back to the D800 (not an E).  The D800 with the DX crop mode is for me a great asset.  With most wildlife shots, I am cropping into the frame anyway.  Cropping in to a 5D MKII full frame shot started to cut down pretty quick on total available resolution.  The Canon 1D MKIV with it's 1.3 crop was better, but I had sell it  in my move to Nikon.

My logic for the D4 was use in early morning, late evening (both great times in Arkansas for wildlife), low light, higher iso.  Sure the D4 is great, but when I compared it to the D800 I was pretty surprised.  The D800 hold it's own against the D4 up to 3200, and in many cases 6400.  I was surprised enough by this, to test it again and found the same.  The issue is do you down res the D800 file to  the size of the D4 to compare or do you up rez the D4.  If you down rez the D800 file it just gets better imo and if you up rez the D4, then the noise in the image gets worse. 

The big advantage I found with the D800 for wildlife was the DX crop mode.  You are still left with 15 mp of image.  If you do this on the D4, you are down to 7mp and for birds and fine feathers, I have always liked more not less resolution. 

I find myself often using the D800 at iso's over 2000 and getting very good results.  Again something that I was not able to do with the 5d MKII.  The Canon 1D MKIV would go there, but I was never that fond of the images from the camera as if it had too harsh a anti aliasing filter. 

I guess my point is, before you make the decision, try a D800 if you can.  I don't see the advantage many seem to on the e model.  This personal preference.  Take the D800 up to 6400 in mixed light and see if you don't like the results.  For 1/2 the price point of the D4 it may be the right choice unless of course you need the 10 fps speed and  sure for some wild life shooting this could be important.

Paul
Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: lfeagan on August 01, 2012, 09:34:51 am
To clarify, the reason I suggested the D800E and not the D800 was I thought that hasselbladfan probably also shoots landscapes (I don't know what would possibly give me the idea that someone at LuLa would be interested in landscape ;) ) and that the D800E would make an excellent second body giving markedly different characteristics in speed and resolution than the D4 (diversity).

To hasselbladfan, I am sorry that things have gotten off track from your question. I was just trying to throw some more ideas into the mix to help you with your decision. I personally believe that if you can only have one camera for high-speed action, you should not be getting a D800/D800E. While I do use my D800E for some sports, it is as a secondary/tertiary body for shots to the other end of the field, where I still crop quite heavily from the 400/2.8. For close up I use the D4 or D700+Grip. The 8-10 fps vs 4 and gigantic buffer of the D4 really does make a difference in getting key facial expressions right after the big score.
Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: Paul2660 on August 01, 2012, 10:03:53 am
Lance, I didn't mean any negatives to your comments on the 800E.  For my work which is much more weighted towards landscape, I find the 800 is plenty, plus I have followed posts on other forums where 800 and 800E images have been compared and it seems that the gap  can be closed with sharpening.  But that is a very personnal decision. 

Your points made on frame rate and action are good ones.  Here the D4 is a true leader.  I have found the buffer issue not that bad on the D800 but I am in DX mode when shooting wildlife so the load on the buffer is much less.

Paul










Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: telyt on August 01, 2012, 10:31:07 am
There are in fact many things in common between shooting athletes and shooting birds:

This is an over-simplification.  There are many ways to photograph either athletes or wildlife.  Action photos have similarities but there's more to athletes and wildlife (birds in particular) than action.

What hasselbladfan hasn't mentioned is whether he wants to stay comfortably inside the box or if he wants to make unique photos.  Nick Brandt's african wildlife photos comes to mind: http://www.nickbrandt.com/  He's using equipment that is so far outside the box that it's never been on anyone else's radar screen... and his photos are uniquely fabulous.
Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: hasselbladfan on August 01, 2012, 04:46:22 pm
Great suggestions, guys.

I should indeed also consider the D800 due to its cropfactor mode. With the 200-400mm someone suggested, I could go a long way.
Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: hasselbladfan on August 01, 2012, 04:47:41 pm
Fully agree, Doug.

It doesn't need to be the latest equipment to get great nature shots. It is amazing what you and Nick are able to do.
Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: DaveCurtis on August 10, 2012, 04:55:14 pm
I think both 1DX and the D4 would be excellent options and you couldnt go wrong.

Personally I think the 1DX combined with the new II series super teles would be hard to beat and would be my pick for a wildlife combo. The new 200-400mm f4 and the 500mm f4II or 600mm f4II  would be a nice set for wildlife
Title: Re: Which one is better for large bird / animal photography? A D4 or a 1D X
Post by: Keith Reeder on August 10, 2012, 05:21:09 pm
What DaveDn said...

I must admit that the idea of 200-400mm with the built-in 1.4x appeals immensely to this bird photographer.

The probable price, not so much...