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  • 36.3 megapixel FX-format CMOS sensor
  • EXPEED 3 image processor
  • ISO from 100 to 6,400 with extensions to 50 and up to 25,600
  • 4 fps continuous-mode speed at full resolution; up to 5 fps with MB-D12 battery grip
  • Full HD movies with uncompressed HDMI output
  • Updated 51-point AF system with 15 cross-type sensor
  • 3.2-inch, 920K pixel LCD with 170 degree viewing
  • Selectable 14- or 12-bit digitization
  • SD slot with UHS support plus CompactFlash slot with UDMA support

(From Nikon literature) Nikon Inc. has announced the highly anticipated D800 HD-SLR, engineered to provide extreme resolution, astounding image quality and valuable video features optimized for professional still and multimedia photographers and videographers. A camera with an unmatched balance of accuracy, functionality and image quality, the Nikon D800 realizes innovations such as a high resolution 36.3-megapixel FX-format CMOS sensor, a 91,000-pixel RGB Matrix Metering System, Advanced Scene Recognition System and many other intuitive features designed to create the preeminent device for the most demanding photo and video applications.

Whether shooting high fashion, weddings or multimedia content, Nikon’s highest resolution sensor to date, a groundbreaking new 36.3-megapixel (7360 x 4912 resolution) FX-format CMOS sensor, affords flexibility and astonishing image quality to satisfy a myriad of client requests. The Nikon D800 incorporates the latest 91,000 pixel 3D Color Matrix Metering III and the Advanced Scene Recognition System, coupled with an improved 51 point AF system for images with amazing sharpness, color and clarity. With its compact, lightweight DSLR form factor and extensive video feature set, D800 allows photographers to transition to multimedia to create an immersive story. Professional videographers will appreciate practical features that go beyond NIKKOR lens compatibility and Full HD 1080p video, such as full manual control, uncompressed HDMI output, and incredible low light video capability. With this innovative combination of features, the D800 celebrates resourcefulness and a dedication to the flawless execution of an epic creative vision. All of this is driven by Nikon’s latest EXPEED 3™ image processing engine, providing the necessary processing power to fuel amazing images with faithful color, a wide dynamic range and extreme resolution.

“Whatever the project, visionaries need a tool that is going to help them stay on-time and on-task. The Nikon D800 re-imagines what is possible from this level of D-SLR, to address the needs of an emerging and ever changing market; this is the camera that is going to bridge the gap for the most demanding imaging professionals, and provide never before seen levels of SLR image and video quality,” said Bo Kajiwara, Director of Marketing, Nikon Inc. “The D800 is the right tool for today’s creative image makers, affording photographers, filmmakers and videographers a versatile option for capturing the ultimate in still image quality or full HD content, with maximum control.”

Extreme Image Quality
The new Nikon developed 36.3-megapixel FX-format (35.9 x 24mm) CMOS sensor realizes Nikon’s highest resolution yet, and is ideal for demanding applications such as weddings, studio portraiture and landscape, where there is no compromise to exceptional high fidelity and dynamic range. Nikon’s first priority is amazing image quality above all else, and resolution of this magnitude affords photographers the ability to portray even the smallest details, such as a strand of hair, with stunning sharpness or crop liberally with confidence. Photographers also shoot with the assurance of NIKKOR Lens compatibility, because only a manufacturer with decades of optical excellence can provide the glass to resolve this kind of extreme resolution.

For shooting with minimal noise in a variety of lighting conditions, the D800 features a wide native ISO range of 100-6400, expandable to 50 (Lo-1)-25,600 (Hi-2). Nikon engineers have created innovative ways to manipulate light transmission to the sensors photodiodes, giving users the ability to shoot with confidence in challenging lighting conditions. Internal sensor design, an enhanced optical low pass filter (OLPF) and 14 bit A/D conversion with a high signal to noise ratio all contribute to a sensor capable of excellent low light ability despite the extreme resolution. Every aspect of this new FX-format sensor is engineered to deliver amazing low noise images through the ISO range and help create astounding tonal gradation and true colors, whether shooting JPEG or RAW. Images are further routed through a 16-bit image processing pipeline, for maximum performance. To further enhance versatility, users are also able to shoot in additional modes and aspect ratios such as 5:4 to easily frame for printed portraits or a 1.2X crop for a slight telephoto edge. For even more versatility, photographers can also take advantage of Nikon DX-format lenses for more lens options and enhanced focal range (1.5X), while still retaining sharpness and details at a high 15.4-megapixel (4800x3200) resolution.

Contributing to the camera’s rapid performance and amazing image quality is Nikon’s new EXPEED 3 image processing engine that helps professionals create images with amazing resolution, color and dynamic range in both still images and video. From image processing to transfer, the new engine is capable of processing massive amounts of data, exacting optimal color, rich tonality and minimized noise throughout the frame. Despite the immense data, the new EXPEED 3 also contributes to energy efficiency, affording the ability to shoot longer.

The D800 also features the Advanced Scene Recognition System with the 91,000 pixel 3D Color Matrix Meter III to provide unrivaled metering in even the most challenging of lighting conditions. At the system’s core is a newly designed RGB sensor that meticulously analyzes each scene, recognizes factors such as color and brightness with unprecedented precision and then compares all the data using Nikon’s exclusive 30,000 image database. Additionally, this new sensor now has the ability to detect human faces with startling accuracy, even when shooting through the optical viewfinder. This unique feature is coupled with detailed scene analysis for more accurate autofocus (AF), Auto exposure (AE), i-TTL flash control and even enhanced subject tracking. The Color Matrix Meter also emphasizes priority on exposure of the detected faces, allowing for correct exposure even when the subject is backlit. Even in the most difficult exposures the D800 excels, such as maintaining brightness on a bride’s face while retaining the dynamic range to accentuate the intricate details of a wedding dress beside a black tuxedo.

Advanced new automatic systems make it even easier to capture amazing images. The camera features a new enhanced auto white balance system that more accurately recognizes both natural and artificial light sources, and also gives the user the option to retain the warmth of ambient lighting. Users can expand dynamic range with in-camera High Dynamic Range (HDR) image capture, and enjoy the benefits of Nikon’s Active D-lighting for balanced exposure. Another new feature is direct access to Nikon’s Picture Control presets via a dedicated button on the back of the body to tweak photo and video parameters on the fly, such as sharpness, hue and saturation.

True Cinematic Experience
The Nikon D800 has a compact and lightweight form factor that’s preferable for a production environment, yet is packed with practical and functional features. The D800 is ideal whether the user is a filmmaker on location or in the studio or a documentarian in the field who requires portability and the NIKKOR lens versatility and depth of field that only a HD-SLR can offer. Filmmakers have the choice of various resolutions and frame rates, including Full HD 1080 at 30/24p and HD 720 at 60/30p. By utilizing the B-Frame data compression method, users can record H.264/MPEG-4 AVC format video with unmatched integrity for up to 29:59 minutes per clip (normal quality). This format produces higher quality video data without increasing file size for a more efficient workflow. The optimized CMOS sensor reads image data at astoundingly fast rates, which results in less instances of rolling shutter distortion. The sensor also enables incredible low-light video capability with minimal noise, letting filmmakers capture footage where previously impossible or expensive and complex lighting would otherwise be necessary. Users are also able to have full manual control of exposure, and can also adjust the camera’s power aperture setting in live view for an accurate representation of the depth of field in a scene. Whether shooting for depth of field in FX-format mode, or looking for the extra 1.5X telephoto benefits of DX mode, the high resolution sensor of the D800 allows videographers to retain full 1080p HD resolution no matter which mode they choose to best suit the scene. Users are also able to easily compose and check critical HD focus through the 921,000-dot, 3.2-inch LCD monitor with reinforced glass, automatic monitor brightness control, and wide viewing angle.

For professional and broadcast applications that call for outboard digital recorders or external monitors, users can stream an uncompressed full HD signal directly out of the camera via the HDMI port (8 bit, 4:2:2). This output signal can be ported into a display or digital recording device or routed through a monitor and then to the recording device, eliminating the need for multiple connections. This image can also be simultaneously viewed on both the camera’s LCD and an external monitor, while eliminating on-screen camera status data for streaming purposes. The D800 also includes features concentrated on audio quality, such as a dedicated headphone jack for accurate monitoring of audio levels while recording. Audio output levels can be adjusted with 30 steps for precise audio adjustment and monitoring. The D800 offers high-fidelity audio recording control with audio levels that can be set and monitored on the camera’s LCD screen. A microphone connected via the stereo mic jack can also be adjusted with up to 20 steps of sensitivity for accurate sound reproduction. What’s more, recording can be set to be activated through the shutter button, opening a world of remote applications through the 10-pin accessory terminal.

Wield Speed and Performance with Astonishing Accuracy
Whether shooting the runway or fast moving wildlife, the enhanced 51-point AF system of the D800 delivers blazing fast AF with tack-sharp results. Nikon has enhanced the Multi-Cam 3500-FX AF sensor module and algorithms to significantly improve low light acquisition, for precise focus to an impressive -2 exposure value (EV). The focus system utilizes 15 cross-type AF sensors for enhanced accuracy, and the system also places on emphasis on the human face, working in conjunction with the Advanced Scene Recognition System to provide accurate face detection even through the optical viewfinder. The camera also utilizes nine cross-type sensors that are fully functional when using compatible NIKKOR lenses and teleconverters with an aperture value up to f/8, which is a great advantage to those who need extreme telephoto focal lengths (single cross type sensor active with TC20E III). For maximum versatility in all shooting situations, whether photographing portraits or static subjects, users are also able to select multiple AF modes, including normal, wide area, face tracking and subject tracking to best suit the scene.

The D800 delivers upon a professional’s need for maximum speed when it counts. The camera is ready to shoot in 0.12 seconds, and is ready to capture with super-fast AF and response speed. To photograph action in a burst, the camera shoots up to 4 fps in FX mode at full resolution, or up to a speedy 6 fps in DX mode using the optional MB-D12 Battery Pack and compatible battery. Further enhancing the speed of the camera and overall workflow, the D800 utilizes the new USB 3.0 standard for ultra fast transfer speeds.

Construction and Operability
The body of the D800 is designed to offer a compact form factor and a lightweight body for the utmost versatility. The chassis is constructed of magnesium alloy for maximum durability, and is sealed and gasketed for resistance to dirt and moisture. Users are able to easily compose through the bright optical viewfinder, which offers 100% frame coverage. For storage, the D800 has dual card slots for CF and SD cards, and offers users the ability to record backup, overflow, RAW/JPEG separation, and the additional option of shooting stills to one and video to the other. For high speed recording and transfer, data can be recorded to recent UDMA-7 and SDXC / UHS-1 cards. The shutter has been tested to withstand approximately 200,000 cycles, and the camera also employs sensor cleaning. The D800 also features a built-in flash, and is compatible with Nikon’s acclaimed Creative Lighting System including a built-in Commander mode for controlling wireless Speedlights.

D800E - Maximum Resolution Unleashed
In addition to the D800, Nikon will also be releasing a supplementary model for those professionals who demand even higher resolution and DSLR versatility; the D800E. This model treads in medium format territory for studio work or landscape photography when there is no exception to only the highest fidelity and sharpness. This unique alternative model will effectively enhance the resolution characteristics of the 36.3-megapixel CMOS sensor by cancelling the anti-aliasing properties of the OLPF inside the camera. By doing this, light is delivered directly to the photodiodes, yielding an image resulting from the raw light gathering properties of the camera. A color moiré correction tool will also be available within Capture NX2 to enhance the D800E photographer’s workflow.

Price and Availability
The Nikon D800 will be available in late March for the suggested retail price of $2999.95. The D800E version will be available in Mid April 2012 for a suggested retail price of $3,299.95. For more information about these models, NIKKOR lenses and other D-SLR cameras please visit

See the Nikon D800 and Nikon D800E Hands-on Previews at Or post your own review below!

Keywords: Nikon SLR CF SD 35mm 36MP FX


Registered: September 2013
Posts: 2
Nikon D800 / D800E review by Flyinghigh
Review Date: 9/13/2013 Would you recommend the product? No | Total Spent: $3,500.00| Rating: 3 

Pros: Good image quality when not leaking oil, easy Nikon interface, good ISO performance
Cons: The oil spots! Overall quality control, left side autofocus is useless

Buying this camera is a BIG gamble! It has so many problems that can render it useless. I have been using Nikon's for a very long time and always have been really unhappy until now.
I am on my 3rd body - yes 3 bodies and all 3 have been defective. The 1st the LCD screen would only display half the image. The 2nd and 3rd have had the famous oil issue. Basically oil/debris leaks onto the sensor creating multiple spots, after 500 shots I had 100+ spots alot were large and rendered the camera useless. Nikon do not have a fix and the 3rd body had been sent for repair. The job card said they only cleaned the sensor, 10 photos later I have 10 big spots. 100 photos later I have too many to count. I believe the D600 has a simiar issue except slightly worse along with the D7000 Series. See this video to see exactly what I am talking about
It also has an autofocus issue. It struggles to focus on an object in the left part of the frame which can become annoying.
The colours are pretty good but tends to over saturate the greens
It has the potential to be a great camera, but until Nikon get their game together I would recommend that you avoid it.

Registered: December 2008
Posts: 31
Nikon D800 / D800E review by andre_
Review Date: 8/12/2013 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $2,900.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: sensor quality, handling, software (menu, features, etc.)
Cons: noisy mirror, AF point distribution (although very fast and precise)

The sensor is way better than every other in the market.
The dynamic in low light and high sensitivity is outstanding, and the noise is never an issue.
It's less prone to collect dirty than the D700.

The ergonomy is sightly better than in the D700, and the noise while shooting is (unfortunately) about the same. The "quiet" feature doesn't help, only slow down the camera.
I like very much the "new" disposition of some commands, like the AF dial.

The general features are a great improvement, with the AutoISO finally useful as well as some other features (the double virtual horizon, 1.2X crop...).

The real issue is still the AF point distribution, covering no more than the DX format, but when well tuned the AF is very fast and precise (one of the two D800 I have needed a fine tuning at Nikon service, done under warranty).

The camera is rather slow, and needs a couple of fast card because of the big RAW files, but it's something one must know before purchase the D800.

What is really too much underestimate around the web, in my opinion, is the risk of blurred images due to the extremely high definition.
Forget the "easyness" of the D3/D700: this camera is hyper definited... and every minimal movement during the exposition is never forgiven.

But after few time of use, I find the D800 the perfect replacement for the D700 on street photography.
...And even better, looking at the low light rendition.

I never use the video feature, neither the Live View or the JPG on camera, so I have no opinion about that.

My lenses range from some old AFD (105/2DC, 20/2.8, 16/2.8 FishEye) to some newer G lenses (24-70G, 50/1.4G, Sigma 150/2.8), and I haven't seen any defect on top of what was with every other camera.
The extra definition doesn't degrade any lens performance.

I absolutely don't reccommend this camera to everybody.
Only who know very well how to use such a great definition (and own the better lenses in the market at least for the most used focals...) should purchase this camera.
For all the others the D700 is still a great camera, the D600 is better than expected (I own one D800 and one D600, now), and the D800 is only a waste of SD and CF cards. Wink

Registered: January 2010
Posts: 13
Nikon D800 / D800E review by lalitjee
Review Date: 2/5/2013 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $4,085.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: menu much improved,solid built,pro quality
Cons: battery grip very expensive,

this is my main wedding camera which i use with nikon 24-120 f4 and nikon sb910 speed light,very happy with the resuls and handling

Registered: November 2005
Posts: 10
Nikon D800 / D800E review by langier
Review Date: 6/16/2012 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Total Spent: $3,000.00| Rating: 10 

Pros: Image Quality, several new and improved features
Cons: Bank presets, setting-up video, menu issues, a bit of a learning curb for all the features

With the exception of some niggling menu settings, settings that can't be changed to make it consistent with several other bodies, non-sticky settings for the Shooting Banks (A, B, C, D), and other little annoyances, the D800 is one heck of a camera for the money!

With the basic settings and coming from the D700 to D100 bodies and both D2- and D3- series cameras, this one is still quite useable provided you can live with the idiosyncrasies and buried menus. One issue I seem to encounter is that with auto image display after capture and an occasional press of the menu button, there's a several-second delay. Not always, but usually when I need to take a look at the Histogram or make a fast change to a setting!

That out of the way, I've now run better than 10,000 clicks, including several interval time captures converted to video, shot many jobs, used it in the field and in the studio.

Even with non-recommended lenses, the D800 probably has the best IQ I've ever had, even comparing it to my 5D2 (which has a fairly nice an organized menu system!)

I've put it through its paces up to ISO 25,000 and have useable images, though not quite as good as lower ISOs, but still up there with the D700, if not better!

Shooting, once you've figured it out and keep it simple, works fine.

Now that I've had it since the start, I'm my schedule is allowing me to finally print a few images. Full-res captures open at better than 200 MB!

I'm liking what I'm seeing when the ink hits the paper. For the most part, I've got to drastically shrink the files to make them fit in to my workflow and master print size of 19x13 inches. Though I haven't found an image to go to 60x40, it won't be long!

Typically, I can easily get a 30x20 print from any of my stable of Nikon cameras and legacy files, even from the D100 and D2H, I've been successful with making nice and marketable photographs. Now the potential is there to really put the 44 inch Epson printers to work!

With the D800's 200MB images that easily blossom to larger than a GB once crafted and full of layers comes a problem I term "File Bloat." "File Bloat" leaded to the hidden "upgrade taxes"--larger and faster cards, more hard drive storage, faster machines to process with more memory, software upgrades to open the raw files. Typically, images from my D300/s, D700, D3/s come in about 10 MB and for back-up, I can count on about 440 images to a DVD. Files are compressed-lossy 12 bit files. For the D800, I've got the same 12-bit, compressed-lossy files, but they are three times the size, about 33 MB and that allows me to run about a third the number of files to back up, 140 images per disc. That makes me glad I can only crank up the rate to just 4 FPS!

Considering that CF and SD cards are getting faster and prices are dropping and that HDD prices are finally back on track to larger capacity and lower prices and that ACR, Photoshop CS and Lightroom have all been updated and in place for the D800, the file-bloat is pretty much a minor issue.

Luckily, Adobe and Nikon made it easy this time and the ACR upgrade to Photoshop CS 5.1 was in place when the camera came out!

So far, running a 2009 quad-core Nehalem MacPro with 24GB memory, a couple of RAID 1 drives and ACR 7, it's a little sluggish, but quite useable. I have yet to see how it does in bulk processing, but so far, it's not too bad.

Simply be prepared for the bloat and upgrade tax!

Bottom line, 36MB captures in such a small camera are great! The D800 works fine with even the non-listed lenses such as the 24-120 and 28-300, so don't be afraid to run these lenses!

When I'm in the field, though the frame rate is just 4 FPS, it hasn't been a problem for my style of shooting. Generally, I'm shooting two quick frames, maybe three if it is a bracket-burst for HDR (though to get more than a stop, you've got to shoot FIVE frames and toss the two 'tweeners!).

One feature I am really enjoying is the frame masking for 1.2x, DX and 4x5 crop modes. It looks like the Kodak DCS 200 & 300 series cameras with the darkened and blurry frames and sort-of like working with an M-series Leica with the frame lines. It allows you to crop in the camera down to 24 and 16 MB images for the 1.2 and 1.5 croppings and gain a little "focal length" when you don't need the humongous files. I'm using it on shorter lenses so I can in theory pack less. However, if you choose to "light-up" the focus points, you loose the masking and just get a frame line that can be difficult to see.

When I was making the change from film to digital, having two lenses, the 12-24 and 24-120, worked well for my dual-bodies. It covered from about 17-18mm to 180mm, a good range in the field and less weight than my typical 17-35 and 80-200 set-up and covering middle ground. That worked well and today with the D800 and the latest 24-120, I can now cover 24-180mm with one body and one lens! Less weight as I get older and with stitching, I can still get the wider image in a pinch.

For video, I've only done a few captures at 24 FPS and to the card. Default put the video on the SD card, so faster and larger cards are a necessity, especially for downloading! For the most part, I simply run the interval timer and shoot raw files so I can later process them and crop the images if needed. The dynamic range is lost when shooting video direct to the cards, but taking those raw files by the hundreds and taking the time to craft a time lapse is well worth it in addition to being able to simple process the same capture into a large format print! One of the issues I encountered during a moonrise was that I ran out of card space in the middle and had to swap cards quickly! I eventually pared the frames down to perhaps a third of the take simple since I had set too short an interval. Just the nature of learning the ropes!

Overall, if I could add another check-box to the three above, it would be for the menus, a work in progress and bank-settings that aren't sticky! I'd give them an 8 for effort since things still need to be finessed and better organized, especially for video!

A couple of nice features I like include the 2-axis camera alignment with the press of the function-button. Great if you use the PC-E lenses like I do and even better when you cut-and-run and hand hold those lenses! Another nice feature is the channel-by-channel histogram and file clipping "blinkies" to show you when you are out of range and fully-saturated. More good info for better quality capture! I like the cropping/making (image area), but have two have two menu items in my custom menu that does take more steps to set.

Long exposures, even without NR look fine and not too noisy up to 30 seconds and even a few minutes, though I need to do more to get a better feel. In any case, the color is for sure better than my D2x when it comes to that.

Batteries haven't been a problem, other than you can't find them at the moment. I know this would be an issue and so I bought a couple before I bought the D800 since I had that problem when I updated to the D200 six years ago. During one interval timed session, the count was better than 2000 raw files and there was still power left. For a day of shooting raw files with auto image review, even with long exposures at the end of the day, the battery life seems adequate, though not as good as the D3.

One bit of advice is to buy several 32GB or even larger cards and fill both slots with them. It doesn't take long at 33MB and larger captures to fill up a card!

For many projects, the D800 makes the grade, but though I had planned on a pair, the file-bloat is something I've got to consider for workflow and I'll be keeping my D3s and D700 for day-to-day shooting, especially events and weddings and many projects not needing to go larger than perhaps a double-truck. But when I want the ultimate IQ for myself or my clients and capture size isn't an issue, by all means I'll be using the D800!


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