Nikon D800 36.3 MP CMOS FX-Format Digital SLR Camera (Body Only) (OLD MODEL)
Used & New from: $1,200.00
What's The D800 Advantage If it Has Same Pixel Pitch as D7000? I am thoroughly confused.

I know FX is superior to DX with better DOF control and FOV that is the same as film SLR cameras.

I thought that the other big advantage was that the larger, "fatter" pixels provided better light gathering capability that provided results with reduced noise, better tonal range, and better dynamic range (maybe not so much the last). These advantages simply increased with high-ISO shooting.

However, is this true with the new D800? The D800 is reported to have about the same pixel pitch as the D7000 (by the way, what company makes the D800 sensor? Is it still Sony?), so all else being equal, shouldn't we expect about the same results as the D7000 just with FX characteristics?

I.e, this camera should have FX DOF control and FOV, but should we expect other sensor characteristics--DR, tonal quality, noise profile, etc.-- to be basically the same as the D7000's?

I know that the D7000 is well over a year old, so there are likely other sensor advances in this camera. So, the question probably should include the proviso of not including advances in sensor technology. I.e., what is the difference between the D800's output and the output of a DX camera with current state-of-the-art sensor technology built in?
[UPDATED] asked by Gatorowl on February 7, 2012
Sort: Most Helpful first | Newest first | Oldest first
Showing 1-10 of 45 answers
I feel the user PD is sending such a wrong message with regards to sensor size that I couldn't help but comment.

It doesn't matter if you're a serious pro photog or an amateur photog. The decision you make on what body you buy and the sensor type it has comes down to economics, features you're looking for, and a brand that you want to make an investment in. A true pro body is not a Canon 5DMKII, as stated by PD. In the 'real' pro world, the 5DMKII is a budget camera for portrait photography. A 'true' pro Canon camera comes from the 1D line which offers a sport version or a portrait version. It's important to note that the Sports 1D is a crop sensor (APS-H). The same holds true in the Nikon world with regards to their D3 line and now D4 body. Those are the only 'true' pro bodies.

While the Milky Way photo is beautiful example of what's possible, to think that this is something only the 5DMKII can do or a FF sensor is hogwash. There are plenty of examples on sites such as Flickr 500PX of similar astronomy photography that were taken on consumer-grade cameras, including the T3i, 60D, etc... The key to that is a long exposure at a low ISO, of which many sensors can easily handle.

Finally, marketing of the D800 seems to cater to the recent DSLR video phenom going on. It's to compete directly against the 5DMKII and upcoming MKIII. It's going to be a fantastic camera and I think will take some share away from Canon on the video side of things. Especially for up and coming young photographers just getting into this world.

Obviously, as seen by the link that Gatorowl has provided, the ISO performance is going to be phenomenal regardless of the pixel size.
JT answered on February 9, 2012
Comment | 8 of 8 found this helpful. Do you?  Yes No | Report abuse

I do believe it is a Sony sensor, Sony was working on a FX 36MP sensor for quite a while.

Smaller pixel pitch does not mean worse dynamic range. The D700 8.45µm pixels vs D7000 4.78µm pixels: DxO tests show the D700 at 12.2 EV and D7000 at 13.9 EV dynamic range. It has yet to be seen how the D800 sensor stacks up in this regard, but I would think it would provide dynamic range like the D7000 if not better. At high ISO the D700 beats the D7000 mainly because of physics (more light reaching a given photosite) and fewer pixels as well. If you downscale a D800 36MP high ISO image to 12MP it wouldn't be as noisy and would probably give better results than the D700. The D800 also has a few years of improved technology to its benefit.

If you don't need the additional resolution, shallow DOF and wide angle capabilities of FX, then you may well be better off with a DX camera. A hypothetical D400 DX at 15-16MP would probably be similar to the D800 in "crop mode". The question should be: what features do you need for your shooting style?
Sporty answered on February 7, 2012
Comment | 2 of 2 found this helpful. Do you?  Yes No | Report abuse

Try the ones here:
Gatorowl answered on February 8, 2012
Comment | 3 of 3 found this helpful. Do you?  Yes No | Report abuse

Nikon may very well have done so.

The early samples have been shockingly good. Someone posting on has conducted tests that suggest that when downsampled, the D800 has better low-light performance than the D4.

I'm looking forward to reviewing results from a production model.
Gatorowl answered on March 8, 2012
Comment | 2 of 2 found this helpful. Do you?  Yes No | Report abuse

Kevin, you wouldn't. However, you aren't the only person reading here, not everyone here has "a load of Nikon lenses", people considering doing video as well as stills might like to know how the D800 does video relative to all options, not just the D7000, and you can easily skip posts from which you can derive no benefit.
Number Six answered on April 21, 2012
Comment | 3 of 3 found this helpful. Do you?  Yes No | Report abuse

@J. Atkins
That's a good point but print size is not the only consideration for higher megapixel sensors. The 36 MP rating of the D800 allows you to use DX lenses in crop mode to get 15 MP shots, plus you can also crop your 36 MP shots to either "zoom in" on an area of interest. The other big benefit of having 36 MP is the amount of additional detail you can afford to give up when doing "destructive" post processing. Stuff like noise reduction or sharpening which changes the original image can be applied while still retaining a high level of fine detail.
Functional answered on April 3, 2012
Comment | 1 of 1 found this helpful. Do you?  Yes No | Report abuse

I rented the d800 for 3 weddings (cinematography). I also own the d7000. All I can say is their is simply NO comparison in terms of image quality. The d800 BLOWS the d7000 out of the water.
The image quality of the d800 is simply unbelievable in terms of its video capabilities.
Virginia answered on April 19, 2012
Comment | 1 of 1 found this helpful. Do you?  Yes No | Report abuse

Cool, thanks Virginia.

Now all I have to do is hope my D800 gets here someday...
moonhawk answered on April 20, 2012
Comment | 1 of 1 found this helpful. Do you?  Yes No | Report abuse

You're right that FX is a lot more expensive than DX, which is why it is not nearly as popular. If you're on a budget then you can get the 50mm f/1.4G ($500) or the new 50mm f/1.8 ($220). The 50/1.4 is hard to find; I wouldn't pay more than $500 for it. Either of those should be the first lens you get for the D800.

The 24-70 f/2.8 is a popular option because it produces high quality images and covers popular focal ranges. If you do some searching you can find one below the MSRP of $1900. I would not bother with Sigma or Tamron lenses because they're often a mixed bag with inconsistent quality and subpar QA standards. You're better off with a used nikon lens than a brand new sigma or tamron.
Functional answered on April 20, 2012
Comment | 1 of 1 found this helpful. Do you?  Yes No | Report abuse

This is very true. Unless you are printing mural sized prints, you're going to find that 36 million pixels crammed into an 8"x10" print is going to look amazing. I've seen great poster sized prints shot from a 6mp Nikon D40, now think of the same image shot with 6 times the resolution! You're not going to see the noise unless you use a magnifying glass, which is basically what you're doing viewing it at 100% on your computer monitor.
J. Atkins answered on April 3, 2012
Comment | 2 of 3 found this helpful. Do you?  Yes No | Report abuse
‹ Previous   1   2   3   4   5   Next ›

See all questions about this product