Nikon D800

$3,297
  • 36.2 MP
  • Full frame CMOS
  • 3.2" LCD
Released March, 2012
The video looks really good, though I can't yet say whether or not it's better than many of the alternatives.
Rated 86% by by c|net (Mar, 2012)

Conclusion Check out the Nikon D800

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96%
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57%
52%
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90%
86%
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First reviewed March, 2012

Features Key features of the Nikon D800

Back view of Nikon D800
While there's some moiré, there's no rolling shutter to speak of, it's reasonably sharp, and the tonal range in both light and dark looks very smooth and broad.
Rated 86% by by c|net (Mar, 2012)

megapixels

0 MP
12.1 MP

12.1 MP
36.2 MP
40 MP
Featuring a remarkable 36 megapixel full-frame sensor, the D800 also offers 1080p HD video, a 3.2-inch LCD screen and a viewfinder with 100% coverage.
Nikon D800 by Photography Blog (May, 2012)
The Nikon D800E is a 36 megapixel full-frame sensor DSLR with the anti-aliasing filter removed, which should result in higher resolution, sharper images compared to the regular D800.
Nikon D800 by Photography Blog (Jun, 2012)

sensor size

Nikon D800
Nikon D7000
Sony SLT-A99
But I'd bet that a lot of people couldn't tell the difference between the images from a really good APS-C model and a really good full-frame.
Nikon D800 by c|net (Mar, 2012)
The D800 is compatible with DX lenses, designed for the APS-C format, and while this isn't a new feature, it is far more useful than it has been in previous FX format Nikon DSLRS.
Nikon D800 by DPReview (Jun, 2012)

viewfinder size

Nikon D800
Nikon D7000
Sony DSLR-A900
Otherwise the Nikon D800 is a highly dependable and capable camera that offers a versatile and improved auto focus system, an enhanced viewfinder with 100% frame coverage and a very good movie mode.
Nikon D800 by Photography Blog (May, 2012)
Of course, with a large, bright optical viewfinder that offers 100% coverage, we suspect that in the field, most stills shooters will rely on the LCD primarily for reviewing images.
Nikon D800 by DPReview (Jun, 2012)

body size

146 x 123 x 82 mm
160 x 157 x 91 mm
160 x 157 x 88 mm
It had a great sensor, a robust but relatively lightweight body and a comprehensive feature set, and was sold at a price that many thought was reasonable for all the goodness it offered.
Nikon D800 by Photography Blog (May, 2012)
In terms of size, shape and weight, the differences between the D800 and D700 are subtle.
Nikon D800 by TechRadar (Jun, 2012)

focus points

0
19

19
51
60
When shooting in low light conditions, it is probably best to stick to using the cross-type AF sensors on the D800, locking focus and recomposing for composition.
Nikon D800 by TechRadar (Jun, 2012)
In the diagram above, cross-type sensors are indicated in orange.
Nikon D800 by DPReview (Jun, 2012)
 

Performance Real world tests of Nikon D800

DxOMark image quality

Nikon D800
Sony DSLR-A900
Nikon D700
Similarly, there are no digital filters or panoramic modes, although the D800 does offer the standard range of Picture Control settings that can be used to customise the look of still images and videos by adjusting sharpness, contrast, saturation and hue values.
Nikon D800 by TrustedReviews (May, 2012)
Within each of the six Picture Control options you can make adjustments to sharpening, contrast, brightness, saturation and hue settings.
Nikon D800 by DPReview (Jun, 2012)

DxOMark low light performance

Nikon D800
Nikon D7000
Sony DSLR-A900
It's clear to us that Nikon has not sacrificed low light performance for a high pixel numbers.
Nikon D800 by DPReview (Jun, 2012)
The D800's low light focusing ability is impressive, among the better performing cameras we've seen.
Nikon D800 by DPReview (Jun, 2012)

shutter lag

0 ms
88 ms

209 ms
120 ms
90 ms
The Nikon D800 lets you dial in shutter speeds of up to 30 seconds and has a Bulb mode as well for exposure times of practically any length, which is very good news if you are seriously interested in night photography.
Nikon D800 by Photography Blog (May, 2012)
In addition, you can specify a fixed, minimum shutter speed value to ensure sharp pictures - this is generally most useful when you need a high shutter speed to freeze motion.
Nikon D800 by DPReview (Jun, 2012)

continuous shooting

The continuous shooting rate is also faster, 5 fps rather than 4 fps.
Nikon D800 by DPReview (Jun, 2012)
The lockable drive mode dial is where you'll find the continuous shooting, normal and silent single-frame advance modes as well as mirror lock-up and self-timer.
Nikon D800 by DPReview (Jun, 2012)

battery life

900 photos
4,300 photos
2,600 photos
The D800's performance only disappoints in one respect: battery life.
Nikon D800 by c|net (Mar, 2012)
Since the measured battery life (850 shots) includes the use of flash, it's likely that the battery has the potential to last even longer, depending on the situation.
Nikon D800 by TechRadar (Jun, 2012)
 

Our analysis How does it stack up against its top 10 competitors

pros

  • Contrast detection focusing system
  • 1920 x 1080 @ 30 fps
  • Intelligent ISO
  • 95.0
  • Full frame
  • Yes
  • 36.2 MP
  • 200 ms
  • 3.2"
  • 0.25 fps
  • 14.4 ev
  • 25.3 bits
  • Opaque
  • 89.61%
  • 2,853 ISO
  • 51
  • Built in flash
  • 1/8000 s

cons

  • 921 k dots
  • 4 fps
  • 25,600 ISO
  • Feb, 2012
  • None
  • The screen is fixed in place
  • None
  • No geotagging included
  • No automatic stitching
  • 1,000 g

Reviews Word on the street

Rated 82%
Read the review (Jun, 2012)
The raw files were processed in ACR 7 with both sharpening and noise reduction set to 0 and a very slight white balance adjustment to match output between all exposures.
Rated 100%
Read the review (Jun, 2012)
Rated 100%
Read the review (May, 2012)
Boasting a 36-megapixel FX format sensor, the Nikon D800 is currently the highest-resolution “35mm size” digital SLR camera in the world.
Rated 100%
Read the review (May, 2012)
ISO 6400 is where noise becomes more noticeable, although yet again it’s perfectly possible to make good images at this setting – especially if you are shooting in Raw and processing out the noise yourself.
Rated 90%
Read the review (Jun, 2012)
For example, in our shots taken a gym that was dimly lit by sodium lamps, chroma noise is clearly visible from around ISO 2500 when the images are viewed at 100% on the computer screen.
Rated 86%
Read the review (Mar, 2012)
Read the review (Feb, 2012)
And it handles bright, saturated reds, pinks and purples very well, without blowing out any detail.

Sensor

This lower sensitivity setting is essentially ISO 100 with 1 EV additional exposure and a tone curve adjustment to arrive at a final exposure with the correct brightness.
Nikon D800 | Rated 82% by by DPReview (Jun, 2012)
As you can see below, converting a raw file has the potential to bring out a more natural, pleasing rendition of ultra-fine detail in comparison to the more aggressive sharpening applied by the camera's JPEG engine.
Nikon D800 | Rated 82% by by DPReview (Jun, 2012)
We're very impressed overall with the noise performance Nikon has achieved with a 36MP sensor.
Nikon D800 | Rated 82% by by DPReview (Jun, 2012)

Lens

During our test period we primarily used the D800 with Nikon’s 50mm f/1.4 prime – a fantastic lens that’s as sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel and capable of producing exquisite bokeh when opened right up.
Nikon D800 | Rated 100% by by TrustedReviews (May, 2012)
Most professional tripods provide a hook from which to hang weights, for extra stability, and when we hung a couple of kilos onto the base of our tripod - a precaution that will be second-nature to many landscape and macro photographers - the problem was effectively eliminated.
Nikon D800 | Rated 82% by by DPReview (Jun, 2012)
The video was shot with the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II lens towards its telephoto end.
Nikon D800 | Rated 82% by by DPReview (Jun, 2012)

Focus

To be fair, we imagine that for most D800 users, live view will be reserved primarily for critical focus applications like landscapes, still lifes and product photography, where maximum AF speed is somewhat less important than accuracy.
Nikon D800 | Rated 82% by by DPReview (Jun, 2012)
On the top left you've got the quality, white-balance, bracketing, and ISO buttons, plus a lockable wheel that selects among drive modes (single shot, continuous low, continuous high, quiet shutter, timer, and mirror lockup).
Nikon D800 | Rated 86% by by c|net (Mar, 2012)
As you can see, the camera adjusted shutter speed to create a brighter or darker exposure triggered by the location of the AF point (highlighted in red).
Nikon D800 | Rated 82% by by DPReview (Jun, 2012)

Photography

You can make satisfyingly detailed large prints from either camera's files.
Nikon D800 | Rated 82% by by DPReview (Jun, 2012)
For a pro camera that's not intended for sports, the D800 delivers excellent shooting performance.
Nikon D800 | Rated 86% by by c|net (Mar, 2012)
The face detection abilities have been much improved too and we found the camera was able to deliver consistently spot-on results – even when faced with tricky lighting conditions, for example strong backlighting, the D800’s is able to deliver balanced portraits that are neither overly silhouetted nor blown out.
Nikon D800 | Rated 100% by by TrustedReviews (May, 2012)

Video

For movies, you can also choose from two crop modes, 1.1x and 1.5x; referred to as “FX-based” and “DX-based” movie formats in the manual.
Nikon D800 | Rated 100% by by Photography Blog (May, 2012)
The Nikon D800 offers Full HD movie capture at three different frame rates (24/25/30fps) and two quality levels.
Nikon D800 | Rated 100% by by Photography Blog (May, 2012)
Most notably, however, for video shooters is the addition of a direct movie shooting button on the camera's top plate.
Nikon D800 | Rated 82% by by DPReview (Jun, 2012)

Competition What else you should consider

1
Sony SLT-A99 Highest resolution screen Sony SLT-A99 vs Nikon D800
2
Nikon D700 4-way tie: Has a built-in flash D700 vs D800
3
Nikon D4 Fastest rapid fire mode D4 vs D800
4
Canon EOS 5D Mark III Many many cross-type focus points Canon EOS 5D Mark III vs Nikon D800
5
Nikon D600 Least noise at high ISO D600 vs D800
7
Nikon D3 Most shots per battery charge D3 vs D800
Front view of Nikon D800

New duel?

Let the battle continue or dare to compare.


Editions Editions of the Nikon D800

Price Edition Area Resolution Phase detection focus points Cross type focus points Compare
$3,297
Full frame 921 k dots 51 15
 
Compare

Discussions Get involved, ask your question about the Nikon D800

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Popular Questions

July 6, 2012
If you were to switch camera brands, which camera would you buy?

Tell us what camera you have already, and what camera you would get if you had to switch camera brands. 

Beginner I
20
Answers
July 4, 2012
Should I get D800, D7000 or wait for a possible D600/D400?

Currently, I have a D5000 and I've been feeling for a while that I want to upgrade to something a bit more professional. I would like to start working professionally as a photographer, not I've a...

Visitor
37
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September 17, 2012
Outdoors, bird photography?

I am looking for a camera that can get me into bird photography. I think I would need a camera with high shutter speed, number of shots / sec,  continuous focusing etc

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Latest Questions

October 17, 2012
Overall Shooting: Nikon D600, D800 or Sony A99

I shoot a little bit of everything from weddings, to skateboarding, to military training/ action. I currently shoot with a D300s and love the size, button placement and feel. I will soon be up a...

Intermediate I
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November 15, 2012
D800 or Used D3s ?

I'm A wedding event and portrait photographer and im looking into upgrading to a FX camera from my D7000 ... i already got a 24 70 2.8 and a 70 200 2.8 but now im stuck with this dilemma of the i...

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October 30, 2012
Weddings, family events

My work is wedding photography and event photography family currently use Pentax K-7 computer but I need to change my camera and I'm thinking about using Nikon equipment, I would like to know as...

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Unanswered Questions

January 5, 2013
Low noise at hight sensitivity and hight speed

I lok for lower noise than D700 at hight sensibility  hight speed

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January 4, 2013
Portraits, landscapes, night photography

I am having a hard time making up my mind im currently owning a nikon d7000 but im looking for an upgrade to a pro dslr and im stuck between the d800 and d600 i like the 36 megapixles but i know...

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January 2, 2013
The D600, D700 or D800?

I'm stumped. I'd like one of the three, but I don't know which would best suit my needs. I'm looking for a camera that would be good for newborn, children and basic portraiture (couples, family,...

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Community Find out what the Sortable community is saying about the Nikon D800

72

people have recommended the

Nikon D800
Top Nikon D800 experts at Sortable
John-Kim
Intermediate III
Nikon D800
Promoter
heuscher
Intermediate II
Nikon D800
Promoter

nick
Expert I
Nikon D800
Supporter
Brenden-Sherratt
Expert I
Nikon D800
Supporter
Nikon D7000
  • 16.1 MP
  • APS-C CMOS
  • 3" LCD
Nikon D800
Nikon D7000
4 more Sortable users recommended the D7000 over the D800.
View all discussions | View comparison
Intermediate III
2
votes

What kind of lenses do you have now?  If you are using an older kit lens without VR that came with D60, then you might need to upgrade both the body and the lens.  D800 is currently the best a...

Intermediate II
0
votes

If you've got the money do it, but it's a waste if you're just going to shoot 1.5x crop! YES! The 1.5x crop on the D800 is the FX to DX mode. So you've got an FX sensor operating as a DX So if...

Intermediate III
3
votes

Whether you upgrade to D800 or wait for D600, you will most likely be looking at upgrading your lenses to FX lenses unless you already have them.  You will need to factor in the cost of lens as a...

Canon EOS 5D Mark III
  • 22.3 MP
  • Full frame CMOS
  • 3.2" LCD
Nikon D800
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
1 more Sortable user recommendeds the Nikon D800 over the Canon EOS 5D Mark III.
View all discussions | View comparison
Intermediate I
0
votes

Given the two I'd go with the D800. I don't think the Canon is worth the extra $500 that could go towards new lenses. From what I have seen, shot by a friend who owns an 800, it shoots incredibly...

Beginner II
2
votes

*Amazing image quality - check dxomark.com scores - d800 is top sensor quality-wise *AF assist for shooting in low light without flash - 5d m3 does not have that *Amazing quality low price...

Intermediate I
1
vote

Given the two I'd go with the D800. I don't think the Canon is worth the extra $500 that could go towards new lenses. From what I have seen, shot by a friend who owns an 800, it shoots incredibly...

Nikon D600
  • 24.2 MP
  • Full frame CMOS
  • 3.2" LCD
Nikon D800
Nikon D600
8 more Sortable users recommended the D600 over the D800.
View all discussions | View comparison
Intermediate II
2
votes

ISO is better on D600 at 1:1 pixel level but downsize a 36MP image to 24MP or below and D800 is ahead from everything I have seen... worth a check out. If you have any DX lenses they're very a...

Intermediate III
1
vote

How long are you willing to wait?  Right now, D600 is but a rumor, and no one knows what the final specs are going to be when it actually comes to the market place.  Until it comes to the market...

Beginner I
0
votes

Forget Crop sensor, with Nikon D800 you could get a creative options to crop it & enhance composition. I have experienced it myself as I bought D800E recently.