The new Nikon D800 is a new full frame Digital SLR from Nikon (the second this year) and features a whopping 36.3 megapixel full frame CMOS sensor. The camera is designed to sit along-side the Nikon D700 and has an RRP of £2399 with a release date of the 22nd of March.
It comes in two flavours, the Nikon D800 "standard" DSLR, or the Nikon D800E with AA / Anti-Aliasing filter removed for even higher quality images. With the D800E* camera there is more risk of moire (coloured patterns appearing incorrently in images) however Nikon will have an updated version of Nikon Capture NX2 with a moire filter to resolve this problem. The D800E is designed to get the maximum resolution from the sensor and would be suited to landscape or fashion photography and will be available from select retailers. The Nikon D800E has an RRP of £2689 with a release date of the 12th of April.
Nikon D800 D800E Features
In hand, the Nikon D800 and Nikkor 28-70mm f/2.8 lens.
In addition to the headline feature of the 36.3 megapixel full frame FX CMOS sensor, the camera also features Full HD video 30/25/24fps, Clean HDMI output, ISO50 - ISO25600, 4fps full frame shooting, 6fps at DX size, 200,000 shots shutter rating, weather sealed body, 3.2inch screen and a number of other impressive features including USB 3.0 tethering.
36.3 megapixel full frame FX CMOS sensor
ISO100-6400 (expandable to ISO50, ISO25600)
4fps continuous shooting
6fps continuous shooting in DX format at 15.4mp (with MB-D12)
51 focus points
FX/5:4/1.2x/DX Image Formats
EXPEED 3 processor
AF at -2EV (Moonlight)
Full HD 30/25/24fps Video
Clean HDMI output, Mic/Headphone sockets
ISO100-25600 available in video
High-speed CF (UDMA 7) and SD (SDXC and UHS-1) dual card slots.
3.2inch screen, 921k dots (near sRGB colour)
Optical viewfinder (same as D700)
USB 3.0 - high speed for tethering
Optional MB-D12 Battery pack
Nikon D800 D800E Handling
Top LCD screen and controls
Handling - The D800 includes a two axis virtual horizon that can be displayed on the back LCD screen or view the optical viewfinder. The optical viewfinder will be familiar to anyone who has used the Nikon D700 and offers 100% coverage. The camera has a new lightweight magnesium alloy body that is dust and water resistant to an equivalent level as the D700. The top LCD is illuminated and the camera has a redesigned hand-grip with a more comfortable shutter release button.
Back of camera in live-view mode.
Menus - The Nikon D800 features a clearly laid out menu system with colour coded sections and a wealth of options. The shooting menu spans four pages and includes HDR shooting options and there are seven pages of custom menu items, which are also colour coded which should help you familiarise yourself with the cameras many options.
Battery - The camera features a new battery and power saving designed to drain minimal power during live view and movie operation and is rated at 900 shots in still shooting mode, based on CIPA standards, or 60 minutes of live view video mode.
Top of Nikon D800
Speed - While we were unable unable to run through our full speed tests, our time with the camera led us to believe that the camera is as fast as Nikon are claiming, with the camera responding quickly in use whether in live view or not. The camera has a newly developed shutter mechanism tested to 200,000 cycles with a release time lag of 0.042seconds. The camera's startup time is rated at 0.12 seconds tested to CIPA standards and the camera has the same high-speed AF module as the Nikon D4.
Nikon D800 Hands-On Photos of Equipment
Nikon D800 D800E Performance
Nikon has said that the noise performance equals that of the 12.1 megapixel full-frame D700 despite the sensor including exactly 3x as many pixels. This seems like quite a bold claim, however this is explained by the camera sensor being several years newer, than the D700 sensor, which was originally announced with the Nikon D700 in 2008. Until we've been able to test a full production camera we will not be able to give our full verdict, but look forward to seeing if these bold claims are warranted. From the example images we saw images looked very good despite being from a pre-production camera.
Nikon gave an example of the difference between the Nikon D800 and the Nikon D800E with AA / Anti-aliasing filter removed, which is shown in the presentation and below:
Nikon D800 D800E Sample
With the following image showing the highlighted area close up:
Nikon D800 D800E Crops
Value For Money
The Nikon D800 is the highest resolution Nikon Digital SLR and in fact the highest resolution Digital SLR currently available (excluding those with a medium format sensor, such as the 40 megapixel, £9,000 Pentax 645D) and as such it gives a groundbreaking price point of £2399. This is particularly impressive when you consider that the previous highest resolution full frame camera from Nikon was the 24.6 megapixel Nikon D3x with an RRP of around £5499.
Nikon D800 D800E Verdict
The Nikon D800 and D800E look particularly impressive on paper with an impressive specification reaching beyond entry-level medium format in terms of resolution alone thanks to the 36.3 megapixel full frame sensor. In hand the camera feels good with a reassuringly solid weather sealed body and a number of external controls and displays ensuring it's easy and quick to change settings as desired. The camera's speed in use appears to be very good and the high quality 3.2inch screen makes it pleasing to view with the live-view updating smoothly. On top of all of this Nikon has priced the D800 at a very competitive price making extremely high resolution image capture available at a price that is one quarter the price of medium format!
EN-EL15 rechargeable Li-ion battery with terminal cover, MH-25 battery charger (AC wall adapter supplied only in countries or regions where required), Strap (AN-DC6 for D800, AN-DC6E for D800E), UC-E14 USB cable, USB cable clip, BF-1B body cap, BS-1 Captu