Selling gear dilemma...(in anticipation of D850)

Discussion in 'Nikon FX DSLR' started by RickW, Sep 7, 2017.

  1. I was unable to control my lust, so I ordered a D850 today through NPS and I am told it will arrive in a couple of weeks. I currently own a D3S, a D810 and a D500. I shoot a lot of sports and wildlife and for those applications I used to use 2 D3S's. I intentionally skipped over the D4 and D5 since I love the hi ISO ability and fast f/p/s of the D3S.

    When the 810 came out, I bought one because of the additional mp's and the unbelievable resolution and used that for portraits, landscapes and other general photography. Never used it for moving subjects since the f/p/s couldn't keep up. When the D500 came out with its uncanny AF module and its even faster f/p/s rate, I sold one of the D3S's to buy the 500 and use D500 with the other D3S for moving subjects or when I want a physically smaller body.

    So here I am lusting after the 850 since it has the same remarkable AF as the D500 (and D5), advertised to have greater resolution and a whole slew of other modernizations over the D3S. I expect that the 850 will work both as a sports/wildlife camera (using the grip) and as an everyday body for other subjects.

    Originally planned to sell the D500 (which I do love for the above reasons, but is weaker at higher ISO than the D3S and the D810). My plan was to use the 850 and the D3S for moving subjects and the 850/810 combo for every day bodies.

    Now I am second guessing myself. The D3s is a terrific low light performer and despite having a slower AF than the 500, has provided me with thousands of sports/critter shots with its still not too shabby AF module. So now I am trying to decide whether to sell the D3S or the D500 to fund my new 850. The current D3S has a relatively low # of clicks on the shutter (it was my backup body when I had 2) and the D500 has very few clicks since it is pretty new and I did not use it much. I recognize that with the new 850, there is going to be a glut of D3S's and 500's out there and neither body is likely to yield what it might have a couple of months ago before the 850 hit.

    Am I missing anything in my thinking that might sway me one way or the other? Would prefer to hear from folks who have used the D3S and the D500.

    I was perfectly happy with my current gear and never really missed not having the 4 or the 5. Damn you Nikon for complicating my life.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2017
  2. Hey Rick,

    I can't uncomplicate your decision, but I do have a question.

    At high ISO, in your opinion, how much worse is the D500 than the D3s? I have a D3s, and I shoot an awful lot at Hi-1 and Hi-2 (night sports).

    Thanks for your help. Hope you come to a decision you'll be happy with.

  3. Randy


    May 11, 2006
    At least 1 stop and the D3s noise is not so rough looking as the d500
  4. Randy


    May 11, 2006
    Rick, it's only money
    The D850, 200-500 and 300pf (last 3 weeks) are the last thing I needed
    When I get bored spending money is therapy:)
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Well, you are down in Sedona, just go sit under a crystal pyramid, or whatever it is they do down there, and you will be all good :happy:
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Randy


    May 11, 2006
    I don't do that, I'm a non believer, and non believers drink beer to be good
  7. I'm drinking to that right now buddy! (y)
  8. Randy


    May 11, 2006
    It's 3:41pm here so I got over an hour
  9. Didn't stop me--same time zone :)
    • Funny Funny x 1
  10. Butlerkid

    Butlerkid Cafe Ambassador Moderator

    Apr 8, 2008
    Rutledge, Tennessee
    FWIW - I find the ISO of the D500 marginal. Heresy, I know. But that is my experience. Using the D500, ISO 1600 is tops. My D810 is far better at high ISO's. I have a D5 and LOVE it!
  11. I see that Randy beat me to the punch on this one. I never actually did a "bench test" or anything formal comparing the 2 cameras - as I mentioned I have not had the 500 very long and haven't done a whole lot of shooting with it. Nevertheless, my seat of the pants feeling is that the D3S is even better than the 1 stop Randy mentioned. I shoot the D3S all day at 6400 and often a stop or 2 higher and find that I can consistently get great usable images requiring only minor noise reductions using Nik Dfine. The shots I took with the D500 did not fare nearly as well, but I have a caveat to throw out here. I took the D500 with an 80-400 lens (the new one) on a vacation this summer and used it one day while on a small boat off the Atlantic coast of Norway shooting puffins. It was pouring rain and the boat was bouncing like a cork. I got some shots that I loved (thanks to the uncanny AF speed) and since the birds are tiny and far off and flitting around like crazy, the 20mp allowed me to reach in pretty deep to extract the subject. I was working at trying to keep the ISO as low as possible, the shutter speed as high as possible in storm conditions. It was my first serious time out with the 500 and the combination of my underexposure together with a pretty severe crop created some ugly noise. I love the composition and the focus, but I never printed the images due to the noise. Bottom line is that had I shot at a way higher ISO to allow for more "exposing to the right", I might very well have gotten a more satisfactory image. Long winded way of saying that the D3S is at least 1 stop faster and I think might even be more and I too agree that noise that is generated with the D3S seems less objectionable than with the 500. Wish I had tried the D3S off that boat along side the 500, but more importantly I wish I nailed the exposures more accurately. Maybe the D3S is just more tolerant of some under exposure than the D500 is.

    I suspect that the first thing I should do this weekend is to mount my 400/2.8 on my gitzo, frame a shot at twilight and try both bodies on the same subject. Of course there is the inherent question about the DX vs FX crop and any effect that has on the noise. Might have to adjust the test to where I move the D500 1/2 again further back to mimic the image circle. I like your question - it is making me think about it more "scientifically" than "gut" feeling.

    By the way - I have never shot the D3S at any of the settings north of 12,800. How do you find it at the "hi" marks? Might have to give that a whirl too.
  12. Randy


    May 11, 2006
    Most of us agree, and it's ugly noise
    1600 is also my limit
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Randy - I know you are crazy about the 200-500 and the new 300. but have you actually shot with the 850 yet? I always fear that the gear may not live up to the hype. I guess I will soon find out. Photography dollars sure are easy to spend lately - especially when Nikon prices the grip for the 850 at $400. That is 20% of the cost of a D500. How can a grip cost that much? I guess it does because Nikon can ask anything it wants if someone is going to need the 9 fps on the 850.

    Oh well.....

    By the way - anyone interested in obtaining a fine copy of either a D3s or a 500? I know a guy.....
  14. Randy


    May 11, 2006
    I agree, the D3s was the 1st great high ISO body
    The D500 is a dispointment but at 200 the D500 is amazing
    Now the D500s AF crushes the d3,D3s and the D4
    I never **** a d4s
  15. Randy


    May 11, 2006
    Mine is sitting at my dealer paid for and waiting to ship
    We're in Sedona for a week
  16. Pretty much sums up my reaction. I just went back to some of the Norway shots that I mentioned above. Here are a couple of shots from the series that displayed some challenging exposures. In the bird shots, I was using matrix and the meter was clearly influenced by the lack of main subject (bird was far away) and metered the water on which the lighting was continually changing as the boat was moving. so underexposed - my bad for not noticing. You can really get a sense of the noise in the 2nd bird pic. These were shot at ISO 2000 at 1/2000. I love the focus, but the noise is pretty bad.

    i-cH395Cg-X2  2. i-2GNpb2h-X2 - Copy.
    Challenge in this landscape was that sun brightly lit the white and red houses in foreground, but this was during a rain squall. Couldn't expose more without blowing highlights, but look at cloudy sky in upper right. Noisy. This was at ISO 400. No way should there be that much noise at 400, but agiain, this was a challenging shot exposure wise.


    Just to compare - this was shot in great light using ISO 100. No complaints at all with the 500 @ 100. i-PF2kV92-X2.
  17. Moe's? I know you favor that store. I was there once when I visited a buddy who lives in Leesburg. Probably the last of the old time camera stores.

    Enjoy Sedona. Taking the Pink Jeep tour?
  18. Randy


    May 11, 2006
    District camera (was photo craft). Eldar is our salesman, I've never done business with anyone as good, as nuclear Rick
    Pink jeep tour tomorrow at 7am, taking the old man tour this time...a short ride on schnebly road and it was too bumpy
  19. Randy


    May 11, 2006
    When I was at your peli spot (and ft Desoto and Bunche beach) the birds were close enough that the D4 + 500 was long enough. The D850 would have crushed the D4, in AF and IQ. Florida was made for the D850

    When I shoot Santa Clara everyone shoots 500fx because the blinds are measured at 500, another great place for the D850

    Almost 3x the MPs will be amazing, that's a huge jump
  20. I can almost feel your pain. I did it about 15 years ago and I was way more spry.

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