Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Nikon D800E and Solid ND Filters

After a brief trial with a D800E, I was sold. The combination of usability, dynamic range, and megapixel count far surpassed the capability of my Canon 5DII. So I sold my Canon gear on eBay, and completely switched to Nikon. I currently use the D800E as my main body, and have a D800 for backup. I like to experiment with my Hoya 10-stop solid ND filter, for several-minute exposures uaually for cloud streaks or water scenes. Since I began shooting with the D800E, I noticed my shots with the solid ND were plagued by a purple streak across the center of the image (see below for the RAW file, click to enlarge). At first, I thought it was the filter. I looked at it carefully under bright light... no scratches. Then I thought it was the lens (I had only used the Nikkor 24-70)... but when I tried with the telephoto lens the same thing happened. Then I thought it was the fact that the D800E does not have an antialiasing filter. There probably is something to this; the antialiasing filter does shield infrared light which can produce strange artifact. But that did't make complete sense. After doing a little reading, I discovered the problem. The camera, at long exposures, is prone to light leak from the viewfinder. There is a little switch next to the viewfinder that allows you to close it. Problem solved. I'm posting this in case anyone runs into a similar problem. It's an easy fix, and hope to prevent someone from going out and buying new filters/lenses, etc., unnecessarily. Cheers!

See more on my website: Exploring Light Photography


John W. Wall said...

The old Nikon F3 had that viewfinder switch back in the 1970s. I was happy to finally have that again when I switched from D300 to D800. And thanks for a valuable tip!

Chris said...

Thanks, John. I also read that light leak is possible through the focal length ruler on the lens body. Some people cover that with black electrical tape.

Fred Hirschman said...

Thank you for the tip. I never noticed the switch on on d800 before.

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