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Nikon D800 DSLR review

Nikon D800 review

Nikon announced the new D800 camera model after three and a half years since the D700 camera model was released. The D800 has the same full-frame sensor as the D700, but with a resolution of 36.3 megapixels. That's more than any other full-frame DSLR currently available.

Matrix sensitivity values ​​vary from 100 to 6400 units, but the range can be extended from 50 to 25600 units. While the D700 was unable to record video at all, the D800 is excellent at it. You can choose from several modes: FullHD 1080p at 30 / 24p, 720p at 60 / 30p. Through the HDMI connector, the D800 can broadcast uncompressed high definition video to a large diagonal display.

Nikon has developed another camera model called the D800E. The novelty can minimize the moiré effect in photographs using an optical low-pass filter (OLPF).

Nikon D800 is a great camera. The D800 carcass alone weighs almost a kilogram (900 g), but it is 95 grams lighter than the D700.

Much of the D800's technology is borrowed from Nikon's flagship D4. The two cameras actually have more similarities than differences.

As with the D4, the shutter button is sloped under the index finger, and the front sub-command dial is sloped under the middle finger.

The depth-of-field preview button and the secondary function button are now D-shaped and very precise to press. When shooting video, they can be used to adjust the aperture.

Instead of the lens alignment point being where it was mounted, on the D800 it is marked on the side of the surrounding panel, right below the flash activation button.

Instead of three buttons on the top left of the D700, the D800 has four triangular-shaped buttons. New button for bracketing, and the rest for setting white balance, image quality (resolution and compression ratio) and sensitivity. The shooting mode can be selected by the dial, which can be rotated by pressing the lock button.

On the right side, everything is unchanged, except for the video recording button. The diopter adjustment dial is located to the right of the viewfinder. You need to pull out the disc, adjust, and push it back all the way. It is slightly thicker than the D700, which makes it easier to turn.

Most of the controls on the D800 are similar to those on the D700. The zoom buttons were swapped. It certainly takes some getting used to for D700 owners and most Nikon camera owners.

The Photo / Video button can quickly switch from photo mode to video mode. Lv button to enable LiveView function. The viewfinder is great with 100% frame coverage. It prevents bright light from entering the camera, which can interfere with metering.

Flash sync and remote control connectors. Restyled plugs.

Flash sync connector and 10-pin remote connector.

The focus mode selector on the D800 is similar to that on the D7000.

The D800 is the first USB 3.0 Micro-B DSLR camera. Above is a 3.5mm stereo microphone jack and a headphone jack on the bottom, as well as a Type-C Mini HDMI jack.

The D800 has CF and SD card slots.

Battery EN-EL15.

The matrix. The Nikon D800 is equipped with a full-frame CMOS sensor with an effective resolution of 36.3 megapixels. Today, the D800 offers twice the resolution of the D3X model. This is a huge improvement over the D700's 12.1 megapixel resolution. Potentially attractive for studio and landscape photography, this camera should be of interest to many enthusiasts and professionals alike.

The aspect ratio of the matrix is ​​3: 2. The Nikon D800 takes photos at 7360 x 4912 pixels. There are also two crop modes that reduce the photo by 1.2x or 1.5x.

There are even the lowest resolutions, around 9.0 megapixels - very close to that of the D700.

Smoothing. The Nikon D800 is equipped with an Optical Low Pass Filter (OLPF) located just above the sensor.The task of the filter is to remove the moiré effect in the photograph.

Nikon knows that photographers want maximum resolution, so the D800 includes a low pass filter as standard. And the Nikon D800E camera model is equipped with an improved low-pass filter. A photo taken with the D800E is actually sharper in practice.

The diagram below shows how the D800E's low-pass filter is configured.

It should be noted that the D800E's low-pass filter uses a second low-pass filter to remove moiré.

CPU. Information from the D800 matrix is ​​processed by the latest generation of EXPEED 5 series processors. This is a big improvement over the EXPEED processor in the D700.

Sensitivity. The Nikon D800 offers a standard ISO range of 100 to 6400. In addition, the sensitivity range can be expanded from ISO 50 to 25600. Again, this expands the lower limit while maintaining the upper one.

Sensitivity is available in 1/3, 1/2, or 1 EV steps over the full ISO range of 50 to 6400, and in 1 EV steps above 6400.

Performance. The Nikon D800 can photograph at 36 megapixels up to four frames per second. When using the optional MB-D12 grip and low-resolution shooting mode, this figure increases to six frames per second. Not impressive compared to the D700, which could shoot up to eight frames per second. But considering the resolution of the matrix, this is a good result. The D800 has three times the effective pixels of the D700, but the burst speed is only 20-25% slower.

Like the D4 camera, the Nikon D800 starts up in 0.12 seconds and has a shutter lag of 0.042 seconds.

Optics. The camera is equipped with a Nikon F mount with autofocus contacts. As you would expect, the camera is compatible with almost all Nikon lenses that have been released since 1977. You must choose your lens carefully to get the most out of the high resolution.

Display. The Nikon D800 has a 3.2-inch LCD on the back. It is slightly larger than the 3.0-inch display on the D700. Display resolution 921,600 dots, and 170-degree viewing angle horizontally and vertically, with 100% frame coverage.

The display is protected by reinforced glass. Like the D4 display, it has automatic brightness control. This saves the user from adjusting the brightness of the display. And, of course, the D800 has a monochrome display on the top.

Viewfinder. Frame coverage is 100% in FX mode, and 97% in DX mode. For the cropped FX mode, with an aspect ratio of 5: 4, the coverage is 100% vertically, and about 97% horizontally.

Focusing. The Nikon D800 is equipped with an Advanced Multi-CAM 3500FX autofocus module with 51 focus points. The new sensor has an improved operating range from -2 to +19 EV.

1 point AF

9 AF points

21 AF points

51 AF points

Auto-area AF


Shutter and mirror. The shutter speed range is from 1/8000 to 30 seconds. The shutter is said to have a nominal life of 200,000 actuations. Half the size of Nikon D4.

Exposition. The Nikon D800 uses information from 91,000 metering points for metering. The system has a working range of 0 to 20 EV in matrix and center-weighted modes, and 2 to 20 EV in spot metering.

In 3D color matrix metering, the camera automatically determines the distance and color of the subject in order to correctly expose objects that are too dark (blue, green) or too light (yellow), which would be overexposed or underexposed in normal metering.

The Nikon D800 provides exposure compensation from -5 to +5 EV, in increments of 1/3, 1/2, or 1 EV. In addition, there is the option of bracketing from two to nine frames, in 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, or 1 EV steps.

White balance. Nikon has improved the D800's white balance control system. It includes the ability to keep the lighting temperature in automatic mode.

White balance has two automatic modes and four custom ones. You can choose from twelve preset modes: incandescent, fluorescent (7 types), direct sunlight, flash, cloudy and shade.

Flash. The Nikon D800 has a built-in flash with a guide number of 12 meters at ISO 100.A sync hot shoe is provided for an external flash. Flash sync is 1/250 second at full power, and 1/320 second at low flash power.

As you'd expect, the D800 supports Nikon's Creative Lighting System. A built-in flash or an external strobe, including the SB-910, SB-900, SB-800, or SB-700, can be used as the master flash unit. The SB-600 and SB-R200 flash units also function.

Creativity. In HDR mode, the Nikon D800 takes two frames with an exposure difference of 1, 2 or 3 EV and combines them into one photo. Three levels of smoothing are available in the menu: low, medium or high.

Active D-Lighting corrects dark pictures.

The D800 also includes six picture presets - standard, neutral, vivid, monochrome, portrait, landscape and custom.

Tilt sensor. The D800 has a dual axis camera level sensor. The sensor can be used to align the camera with the horizon.

Video. The D800's video mode offers a variety of very attractive video capabilities. The Nikon D800 can shoot Full HD (1080p, 1920 x 1080 pixels) video at 24 or 30 frames per second. For 720p video, the rate is 60 frames per second.

To adapt to lighting conditions and achieve the cinematic effect you want, the Nikon D800 allows you to control shutter speed, aperture and sensitivity. There is also autofocus, including face detection and object tracking, as well as the ability to focus manually.

Video is recorded in H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC container with linear PCM audio. The maximum movie length is 29 minutes 59 seconds. Although there is a dedicated video recording button, you can configure the camera to use the shutter button to start and stop video recording.

The sound level for the built-in monaural microphone can be adjusted automatically or manually, in a range of 30 steps. In addition, the Nikon D800 includes a standard 3.5mm audio output, allowing you to connect any headphones.

Another impressive thing is that through the HDMI connector, you can broadcast video to a large diagonal TV.

In hand. The D800 is a very durable camera. It is larger than the D300 and more compact than the D4. The D800 is a well-balanced, ergonomic camera.

Tightness. Nikon D800 is dust and moisture resistant. There is no information yet on the number and location of the seals, but I would like to expect the same level of tightness as the D700.

Cleaning the matrix from dust. There is a high chance of dust getting on the sensor, so the camera is equipped with an optical filter shaking system to help clean the sensor.

Connectors. Perhaps the most significant of these is the new USB 3.0 connector, which even the D4 lacks.

GPS. A GPS receiver can be connected to the Nikon D800 camera.

Memory. Nikon D800 has two memory card slots. To record pictures, you can use both cards at the same time: recording RAW on one card and JPEG on the other. You can use one card as the main one, and the second one as an additional one. The D800 can save 12-bit or 14-bit uncompressed files.

Food. The Nikon D800 is powered by an EN-EL15 rechargeable Li-ion battery.


First impressions of the D800 are very positive. D700 users may experience some discomfort due to the redesigned ergonomics. Those considering buying a D800 will definitely prioritize video mode. The D800 is a fairly modern camera, very close in spirit to the D4.

The D800 includes a wide range of features. Some technologies are borrowed from the D4 model. The image resolution makes it very attractive for studio and landscape photographers. This also applies to the D800E, which should provide the highest quality images. The most important advantage is that photos are produced with more detail and you have the opportunity for better, further framing. But there are potential downsides as well.Nikon's current flagship D3X, with its 24 million pixel sensor, requires high-end lenses, and I wouldn't be surprised if some of the lenses paired with the highest-resolution sensor are not as good.

But time will tell ...

Nikon D800 sample shots


1 second


f / 8

Focal length



AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f / 2.8G ED


Antony monn




f / 4.5

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AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f / 2.8G ED VR II


Cliff mautner




f / 8

Focal length



AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f / 2.8G ED VR II


Jim Brandenburg




f / 8

Focal length



AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f / 2.8G ED


Jim Brandenburg

Nikon D800 image quality

Below are comparisons of Nikon D800 shots with Canon 5D Mark III and Nikon D3X.

Nikon D800 vs. Canon 5D Mk III at ISO 100

Nikon D800 at ISO 100

Canon 5D Mk lll on the ISO 100

It is interesting to look at the lines of the mosaic. They are thicker on the 5D Mark 3.

Nikon D800 vs. Nikon D3X at ISO 100

Nikon D800 at ISO 100

Nikon D3X at ISO 100

And in this case, the D800 is not worse than the D3X, and even better in some respects.

Nikon D800 vs. Canon 5D Mk III at ISO 1600

Nikon D800 at ISO 1600

Canon 5D Mk lll at ISO 1600

The Nikon D800 handles less of the red channel, which results in a sharper result, while the Canon 5D Mark III does the opposite.

Nikon D800 vs. Nikon D3X at ISO 1600

Nikon D800 at ISO 1600

Nikon D3X at ISO 1600

The D3X is good in color and detail. Although the sharpness seems a little better on the D3X, the D800 nevertheless draws details better.

Nikon D800 vs. Canon 5D Mk III at ISO 3200

Nikon D800 at ISO 3200

Canon 5D Mklll on the ISO 3200

At ISO 3200, noise appears in the shadows, but the red is still detailed. It can be seen how the Canon 5D lll aggressively crushes the noise and continues to blur. On the other hand, the mosaic on the 5D Mark III looks very good.

Nikon D800 vs. Nikon D3X at ISO 3200

Nikon D800 at ISO 3200

Nikon D3X at ISO 3200

On the Nikon D800, the noise brightness gets a little rougher, but the result is better than on the D3X.

Detail: Nikon D800 vs. Canon 5D Mk III and Nikon D3X



ISO 100

ISO 3200

ISO 6400


5D Mklll

ISO 100

ISO 3200

ISO 6400



ISO 100

ISO 3200

ISO 6400

Comparison of image detail. The 5D III appears to have slightly more contrast and also has more noticeable sharpness around each element. At ISO 6400, Nikon D800 and Canon 5D III are clear leaders.

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