V8 Beast - since you already shoot and merge multiple exposures i am interested to hear how you think that the theoretical greater DR of the D800 is going to impact your workflow (I like how you provide specific examples illustrating your arguments)
I can see where the additional MP might benefit you and more likely to a greater extent the Nikkor 14-24 will give you some serious benfits that well outweigh the D800 benefits (I assume you are going for the E version)
I can see where there will be some marginal real world difference in a single exposure with pushed shdows but in this scenario its really subjective and up to the tolerance to noise of the individual. however as soon as you are merging multiple exposures then the theoretical DR of a single exposure goes out the window as rather than struggling pushing shadows you just take the cleaner data from the relevent exposure
I will reference this tutorial again as a way to blend exposures (I am not sure of your method)
Great point. For images that are captured on a tripod, or with the camera rigged to the car, there isn't much benefit of 1-2 extra stops of DR when you're merging multiple exposures. In shots that are hand-held, or that capture real action opposed to staged action, merging exposures isn't in option.
Here, I'm sticking my head out the top of an SUV. Even if I tried to keep the camera in the same spot and the composition identical from frame to frame in an effort to create a composite of multiple images, it's just not possible. The camera, the lead car, and the chase car move too much.
So, there's no other option but to make do with what you got, and try to expose the image in a way that will assist in maximizing DR in post production. As you can see, there's a tremendous difference in contrast between the highlights on the grille, and the shadow side of the car. You could always shoot the car front-lit, but that makes the subject flat and two-dimensional, which I hate. Although this approach with the Mustang is far more challenging, I find it far more rewarding.
The same goes for this shot, but the situation is slightly different.
Backlighting cars is tough, because they're not exactly translucent, but I love the results when it works. With the sun beating straight into the lens, there was very little detail left in the background, shadows, and midtones. This is another shot where multiple exposures can't be merged effectively, since I'm hand-holding the camera while hanging out the side of my minivan. Again, you have to make do with what you've got, and try to extend the DR as much as possible in a single exposure.
That said, I'm honestly not that concerned with the DR in the 5DIII. It's 22 mp are more than enough for the editorial work that I do, but there are instances for product or PR photography where extra resolution would come in handy. Extra pixels also give art directors to turn vertical shots in to horizontals, and horizontals into verticals.