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The Accidental Camera


The Pine Plantation (Nikon D800E, Nikkor 50mm f1.8G)

Well, it’s happened. I finally acquired the camera I said I wouldn’t buy. In fact almost exactly two years ago, I wrote a whole article about why I wouldn’t buy it.

But things change. So now I find myself the proud owner of a Nikon D800E… sort of by accident.

Now don’t get me wrong, I still love my D600. I’ve had none of the oil spatter issues reported by others.

The image quality is first rate. It has the wonderful build quality, and ergonomics of mid and upper level Nikon DSLRs.

But as a self-appointed “serious photographer”, I admit at times, to coveting the camera; what some would say was the finest 35 mm format Digital SLR on the planet. But then I would get rational, and take my own words from November 2012 to heart, and go back to shooting with what I have.

My interest in the D800/E piqued again recently with the announcement of the D800 successor, the D810. This camera replaced both the plain D800 and the E model, and featured upgrades that for me would not be that useful (with the possible exception of the mirror modification). A check of the comparative image quality on several websites, particularly DPreview, revealed that there was at best, modest improvement in the newer model. Most times a new model is introduced, people want to upgrade; I anticipated that there would be a lot of D800s and D800Es available on EBay, and at reduced prices. So I started to “sniff around”. I approached this with certain ambivalence, realizing in my heart that didn’t really need this camera as the D600 is perfectly adequate for my needs.

Sure it is.

Checking prices, I saw a lot  D800/E s at around $2100-2300, not  much of a price drop from last time I looked 2 years ago. Hmm. Then I came upon a D800E with low shutter clicks, seemingly in excellent condition, in an auction with 24 hours to go.

The price was currently around $1700US, and I decided to take a chance, but only so much of a chance, by setting my top bid around $1900. If I got it then I had a bargain, if not, c’est la vie.

I counted on the usual flurry of bids in the last minutes of the auction to steal the prize, which after all, I didn’t need anyway. I posted the bid, and kinda half forgot about it, until 24 hours later when my phone issued the little cash register sound that announces an EBay purchase.

I checked the listing…

No one else bid.


This is the same thing that happened when I bought my X Pro 1, another camera I didn’t need (but subsequently grew to love).

I took delivery of the camera today. It was meticulously packed in the original box almost like it was new. There were a few blemishes on the plastic LCD cover, otherwise the camera was flawless.

So I have begun to use this camera. It will likely be for me a dedicated tripod camera given the need for careful shooting technique I understand  is demanded by this very high resolution imager. I do want to try it in other roles. If it proves to be too fussy to use, then I’ll resell it. If not (and I think this will be the case) then there will be a lightly-used, non-oily D600 for sale on EBay.

Then, let the bidding begin…Please.