Nikon D800 D800E DSLR Hands-On Review

We go hands on with the new Nikon D800 and D800E Digital SLRs - the new 36.3 megapixel Full Frame Digital SLRs from Nikon.

Posted 13/Feb/2012 - 10:27AM

Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

1/30 sec | f/2.0 | 6.0 mm | ISO 100

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


1/30 sec | f/2.0 | 6.0 mm | ISO 125
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.

Key Features

  • 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


1/40 sec | f/4.9 | 22.5 mm | ISO 800
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.

1/30 sec | f/2.5 | 6.0 mm | ISO 80
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.

1/30 sec | f/2.0 | 6.0 mm | ISO 100
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 hands on - handling four<br /><a target="_blank" href="http://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/D800-4013/highres/nikond800digitalslrhandson-1_1328538615.jpg">High-Res</a>

Nikon D800 hands on - handling four
High-Res

Nikon D800 hands on<br /><a target="_blank" href="http://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/D800-4013/highres/nikond800digitalslrhandson-2_1328538641.jpg">High-Res</a>

Nikon D800 hands on
High-Res

Nikon D800 hands on front view<br /><a target="_blank" href="http://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/D800-4013/highres/nikond800digitalslrhandson-3_1328538683.jpg">High-Res</a>

Nikon D800 hands on front view
High-Res

Nikon D800 hands on - rear view<br /><a target="_blank" href="http://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/D800-4013/highres/nikond800digitalslrhandson-4_1328538719.jpg">High-Res</a>

Nikon D800 hands on - rear view
High-Res

Nikon D800 hands on - top back view<br /><a target="_blank" href="http://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/D800-4013/highres/nikond800digitalslrhandson-5_1328538748.jpg">High-Res</a>

Nikon D800 hands on - top back view
High-Res

Nikon D800 hands on - lcd panel<br /><a target="_blank" href="http://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/D800-4013/highres/nikond800digitalslrhandson-6_1328538790.jpg">High-Res</a>

Nikon D800 hands on - lcd panel
High-Res

Nikon D800 hands on rear view<br /><a target="_blank" href="http://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/D800-4013/highres/nikond800digitalslrhandson-7_1328538821.jpg">High-Res</a>

Nikon D800 hands on rear view
High-Res

Nikon D800 hands on - front view<br /><a target="_blank" href="http://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/D800-4013/highres/nikond800digitalslrhandson-8_1328538839.jpg">High-Res</a>

Nikon D800 hands on - front view
High-Res

Nikon D800 hands on - front top view<br /><a target="_blank" href="http://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/D800-4013/highres/nikond800digitalslrhandson-9_1328538867.jpg">High-Res</a>

Nikon D800 hands on - front top view
High-Res

Nikon D800 hands on - 3.2in LCD screen<br /><a target="_blank" href="http://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/D800-4013/highres/nikond800digitalslrhandson-10_1328538914.jpg">High-Res</a>

Nikon D800 hands on - 3.2in LCD screen
High-Res

Nikon D800 hands on<br /><a target="_blank" href="http://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/D800-4013/highres/nikond800digitalslrhandson-12_1328538995.jpg">High-Res</a>

Nikon D800 hands on
High-Res

Nikon D800 hands on<br /><a target="_blank" href="http://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/D800-4013/highres/nikond800digitalslrhandson-13_1328539020.jpg">High-Res</a>

Nikon D800 hands on
High-Res

Nikon D800 hands on - handling three<br /><a target="_blank" href="http://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/D800-4013/highres/nikond800digitalslrhandson-14_1328539066.jpg">High-Res</a>

Nikon D800 hands on - handling three
High-Res

Nikon D800 hands on - rear view<br /><a target="_blank" href="http://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/D800-4013/highres/nikond800digitalslrhandson-15_1328539100.jpg">High-Res</a>

Nikon D800 hands on - rear view
High-Res

Nikon D800 hands on - front view<br /><a target="_blank" href="http://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/D800-4013/highres/nikond800digitalslrhandson-16_1328539149.jpg">High-Res</a>

Nikon D800 hands on - front view
High-Res

Nikon D800 hands on - 3/4 view<br /><a target="_blank" href="http://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/D800-4013/highres/nikond800digitalslrhandson-17_1328539172.jpg">High-Res</a>

Nikon D800 hands on - 3/4 view
High-Res

Nikon D800 hands on - base view<br /><a target="_blank" href="http://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/D800-4013/highres/nikond800digitalslrhandson-18_1328539223.jpg">High-Res</a>

Nikon D800 hands on - base view
High-Res

Nikon D800 hands on - rear view two<br /><a target="_blank" href="http://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/D800-4013/highres/nikond800digitalslrhandson-19_1328539283.jpg">High-Res</a>

Nikon D800 hands on - rear view two
High-Res

Nikon D800 hands on - card slot<br /><a target="_blank" href="http://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/D800-4013/highres/nikond800digitalslrhandson-20_1328539321.jpg">High-Res</a>

Nikon D800 hands on - card slot
High-Res

Nikon D800 hands on - top view<br /><a target="_blank" href="http://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/D800-4013/highres/nikond800digitalslrhandson-21_1328539343.jpg">High-Res</a>

Nikon D800 hands on - top view
High-Res

Nikon D800 hands on - side view<br /><a target="_blank" href="http://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/D800-4013/highres/nikond800digitalslrhandson-22_1328539350.jpg">High-Res</a>

Nikon D800 hands on - side view
High-Res

Nikon D800 hands on - handling<br /><a target="_blank" href="http://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/D800-4013/highres/nikond800digitalslrhandson-23_1328539371.jpg">High-Res</a>

Nikon D800 hands on - handling
High-Res

Nikon D800 hands on - handling two<br /><a target="_blank" href="http://www.magezinepublishing.com/equipment/images/equipment/D800-4013/highres/nikond800digitalslrhandson-24_1328539387.jpg">High-Res</a>

Nikon D800 hands on - handling two
High-Res

 
 

 

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
Nikon D800 D800E Sample

With the following image showing the highlighted area close up:

Nikon D800 D800E Crops
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!

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