The Nikon D800 is a 36.3MP professional HDSLR that breaks new ground in resolution and metering technology. More than an upgrade to the just-discontinued 12MP D700, the D800 is a major overhaul. Unlike the D700, which was positioned as a "prosumer" camera, the Nikon D800 is definitely geared towards pro users especially studio, fashion, and wedding and portrait photographers. The D800 has a 91,000-pixel RGB Matrix Metering System, Advanced Scene Recognition, and what Nikon says is an improved 51-point AF system. It has a relatively small form factor for a pro camera, similar in size to the D700. For videographers, the camera can capture 1080p video at up to 30fps with manual control and uncompressed HDMI output.
Unlike the 16MP D4, Nikon's recently-announced new flagship camera that boasts an ISO range of 100-204-800, the D800's native ISO range is 100-6400, expandable to 50 and 25,600. However, Nikon says improvements in light transmission to the sensor photodiodes, changes in sensor design, an enhanced Optical Low Pass Filter (OLPF) and 14 bit A/D conversion with a high signal to noise ratio will translate into outstanding low-light, high-ISO performance. Also unlike the D4, the D800 delivers only 4fps burst rate at full resolution, 6fps in DX mode (see below).
Nikon users who have invested in DX-format lenses will be able to use them on the D800 by using the 15.4MP resolution setting. In this setting, only the pixels that cover a DX-sized portion of the sensor will be active, giving the camera a 1.5x crop.
Other features include Advanced Scene Recognition, which compares the scene with Nikon's 30,000 image database. Face recognition has been refined, with the Color Matrix Meter placing priority on exposures of detected faces. Nikon says it has also improved white balance to better recognize both natural and artificial light.
D800: Tool for serious cinematography
For videographers, the D800 is a serious tool. Able to record full HD 1080p at 30 or 25p and 720p at 60/30p, the D800 records H.264 or MPEG4 AVC format video using the B-Frame data compression method for up to 29:59-minute clips. Rolling shutter distortion a common problem for HDSLRs is said to be minimized thanks to fast data read rates at the sensor. High-ISO performance is said to allow filmmakers to capture footage where previously impossible.
The D800 is available both with and without a low-pass filter (the model without the low-pass filter is the D800E. The D800E cancels anti-aliasing properties and allows light to be delivered directly to the photodiodes. This is said to offer the highest possible color fidelity and dynamic range that, according to Nikon, delivers near-medium-format image quality. Color moire correction ise available within Capture NX2.
Both the D800 and D800E will use UMDA6 and UMDA7 Compact Flash cards as well as SD SDXC and UHS-1 cards in two card slots. The camera is protected from moisture and dust and is constructed of magnesium alloy. Nikon also claims up to 900 image captures and 60 minutes of HD video recording per battery charge.
The high resolution sensor, familiar controls, astonishing dynamic range and image quality make me a happy D800 user. In fact, the D800/e could have been the best DSLR that Nikon had ever made... if it weren't for the build quality and QA issues that have plagued this wonderful camera. If it had been as solid as the D700, I would give the camera 5 stars. However, the left-side autofocus problems, external flashes not being triggered in commander mode, the failing 10-pin connector, the body finish (to name the most common and well-known issues) have happened to too many users. After long discussions with the US support to get my 10-pin connector fixed out of warranty, I just hope that nothing else on my D800 will break. When buying a camera in this price range, I have higher expectations on both the build quality and service. Users deserve being taken serious by Nikon, and not for granted.
I've been doing photography for 30+ years and have always shot with a Nikon. I purchased a D70 when it 1st came out and it was a nice camera but the resolution was not up to par with 35mm film cameras. When the 36 Megapixel D800 came out I knew I had to have one and I was not disappointed! This is a solid camera built like a rock and packed full of features any enthusiast or professional would love! The resolution of the D800 is just astounding - images even with Nikon's kit lenses are stunningly sharp and the color is clean and accurate. I highly recommend the D800 to anyone who wants near medium format quality in a 35mm package. I've included 2 images from the Rolex Watch Technicum building in Lititz, PA with one image showing just a crop on the door - you can actually see the Christmas Tree inside! The lens used was the AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR shot at ISO 100 at F11 for 15 seconds at 24MM.
First of all, I would like to give this camera a rating of 4-1/2 stars. If you own and would like to use a lot of old manual focus AI and mirror lenses, this camera will do it. I have 50+ years of photography experience but am a very recent convert from manual film cameras. I still use my first Nikon F from 1967 and was extremely concerned about how well a digital camera would work with my extensive collection of manual focus Nikkor lenses. I am retired, on fixed income, and a whole new set of lenses is NOT in the future for me. Borrowed a D800 a couple times and tried it with a number of my favorite old manual focus AI and mirror lenses and was extremely pleased to discover that they were beautifully compatible. Just returned from a trip to Italy with the D800 and 5 AI Nikkor lenses and was totally satisfied with how well they worked together. LIKES: Very pleased to find the ground glass focusing to be about as accurate as the electronic range-finder, despite my failing eyes. Electronic range-finder works well with ALL of my f5.6 or faster old lenses and especially with all of my fast AI Nikkors (55f1.2, 24f2, 28f2, 35f1.4, 105f1.8, 135f2). Live-view focusing is a terrific feature with really big, slow telephoto lenses. Love the spot-meter feature. Love the ability to quickly change the ISO. Love the built-in diopter correction for the viewfinder. Image quality is superb. My DISLIKES: I find digital camera bodies to be very NON-intuitive (compared to manual film cameras) and thus slower and more difficult to use. Perhaps I should buy a Df. Part of what I mean by this is a digital camera requires the use of your eyes to make most or all settings. A manual camera like an F3 allows you to set the camera "blind" by using just feel. That is easier and quicker IMO when you learn the controls. I find the matrix-metering (when used with the one AF lens I own), to be less reliable than knowing how to make a proper exposure. I use the spot-meter feature, manual mode, my decades of experience, and nail every exposure every time, no question. Works great. Need more "Non-CPU lens" data entry spaces. Space for just 9 lenses is not nearly enough. It cannot even cover all the various Nikkor maximum lens apertures, let alone focal lengths. No aperture direct read-out of an AI lens like an F2 or F3 body. Mirror-up operation requires a special remote release. Will have to order one. Self-timer is not self-cancelling after one shot, requires visual setting instead of tactile. No mirror-up operation for my 7.5mm fisheye-Nikkor. No use for a built-in flash on a camera of this sophistication. Too many bells and whistles clutter up the camera controls.
As a nature photographer with my ability to reach the great satisfaction, D800 is the camera I enjoy most .I still love to use D2x and D3 as backup. I carry D800 and D3 in my bag,almost all the time. With my nature work using D3 and D2x, D800 is great addition to my work.
Daddy long legs (pholcidae) with D800 and 105mm F2.8.
I have been shooting with this camera for a little over a year and am very happy with its characteristics. Excellent low light shooting and incredible detail. I have used it all over the world shooting wildlife as well as landscapes and people. I have added it to my D3x when traveling and especially like it on days that I don't want to carry around the weight of the D3x. Both of these cameras perform especially well when paired with high end Nikon lenses. The picture of the owl shown was shot at 8:00 in the evening with the D800, a 200-400 f4.0 lens, at 1600 ISO. Amazing color and clarity. Well worth the money.
I went from a D3200 to the D800 and found it easy to learn. I use it with a Nikon 500mm F/4 super telephoto lens and love it. It recently developed a focusing issue and is currently in the shop at Nikon, forcing me to use my D7100. There is night and day difference in the two cameras, even though the D7100 is an excellent camera. My wish and advice for Nikon is to improve this camera by removing the ability to do video and concentrate all the electronics and image processing for still photos and maybe to increase the ability to shoot and focus a bit faster. I have never done a video with the camera and have no intention of doing one. I love outdoor photography and the resolution of this sensor is outstanding. The new D810 just looks like a D800 E to me with a different number. Make a camera for just still photography for us die hard camera buffs!
Using the D800 both in the studio and in the field and its does everything I want. The dual card storage is a great feature, very quick changing ISO's and the interface is simple to use. I've been more than happy using it, not to mention the incredible resolution of the images. This is definitely the top of its class.
I have decided to leave Nikon. Quality problems and Nikon's refusal to take video seriously. The D800 is an OK camera. There is really nothing special about it. I honestly think the Canon 6D is a better camera than this and its cheaper.
Awesome detail,perfect pic quality. Good features .