24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 2013
I bought the D800 for my upscale wedding photography packages. Now, after using it for a year it rarely comes to weddings. One of the weddings I shot had a 12"x16" album. When I opened it up, the spread was 16x24 inches. Yes it looked lovely, but even that size was too small to see all the resolution of the camera. I sat there with a 5 power magnifying glass and looked at each grass blade clearly, but for the most part it was lost on the client. What was not lost was the each 64 gig SD card only took 800 shots. I shoot around 2000 images at a wedding.
When you put on good, clean glass and mount this body to a tripod you'll get images that are every bit as good as a medium format negative. With a high quality, large ISP monitor you'll see things with this camera you've never seen before. I'm sure I could find even faster memory cards and learn to adapt my shooting style to use this at weddings. But to me, it's too special. When a dear family friend needed 28 faces photographed in one family portrait, a first and last time for many years to come this is what I used. The blow up was nearly 40" wide and 16" tall, I could make out people's eye colors.
If you do a lot of portraits and a lot of retouching this is a great camera to own. If you do landscapes and commercial it's also a great camera to own. IF you shoot weddings and work on speed and volume of images, it's a bit too much. I used to think that no camera was too good for a wedding. I'm a guy who dragged around a Mamiya RB67 to a wedding at one point. For larger, more elaborate weddings I have used this for portraits and slide back to my D300 for everything else. Unless you like buying 2 terabyte hard drives every few months for storage you may want to keep this as a portrait camera and leave it at home for weddings. The money dance doesn't need 36 megapixels. Yes, you can turn down the resolution but you're wearing out the shutter just the same.
This is like the pair of shoes you're supposed to wear to work but they are so nice that you save them for special occasions. The D400 whenever it comes out will be my new go-to camera. The D800 is the camera I use when I want to take my time and make art.
For reasons still unknown to me my commercial business continues to grow. The D800 is the camera of choice for my commercial jobs. It's a bit interesting to say but I can very much see differences between lenses with this body. I've been using a 135mm AIs lens (yes, old school) and at F11 there is nothing sharper. Portraits where you can see every pore of the skin as clear as day. Simply amazing. If you can get your hands on a 105 f2.5 AI or AIs shoot it close to wide open with available light. This lens design is based off of the the Zeiss Sonar lens that you'll find on Hasselblads.
When you hold the D800 it feels substantial in your hands. It's just very nice to hold and to use. It's the one camera that reminds me of my film days. It faintly reminds me of my F3 but gives results much like medium format.
I still stand by initial review, the D800 isn't really a wedding camera. It's also not a first camera I would buy. If this is your first DSLR get something like a D7100. The D800 is a great second body that you take out on special occasions. My D300 is beaten down and it's just nice to have a nice, large clean camera like the D800 available for special shoots.
I haven't had focusing issues per say like others have experienced. So far I feel it focuses faster and better than any other Nikon I've worked with except for the F5. The thing that turns me off a bit to the D800 is the old 65nm image processor. Canon has moved onto ARM image processors and Nikon has only introduced them in the new Nikon One line.
Perhaps the question that most people will wonder about is that they are thinking of buying a D7100, but for about $800 they can get into an FX body (Nikon 610). And for $1000 more they can have the D800. I shoot with by DX and FX cameras and lenses. Day in and day out the DX line is my bread and butter. I'd say buy the D7100 and wait to see if Nikon updates the D800 in the next year or so. The $1800 you save not buying the D800 can buy you one impressive zoom lens or a few great quality prime lenses. The 35mm F1.8G lens from Nikon is around $200 and it will be a lens that will make you a DX believer. But then again it comes down to what you shoot. If you are retired and take nice vacations and you want to pack as many megapixels than by all means jump into the D800. If you're younger and the D800 is going to stretch out your finances start smaller with a DX body. I don't think I would appreciate the D800 as much if I had only shot FX. There's a difference, not as big as you would imagine but you need experience with both DX and FX to see it.
40 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2012
I ordered my D800 from a local shop soon after it came out. I received it back in March. From the beginning I could tell something was wrong with autofocus but it took a long time to determine I had the left focus sensor problem. Anyway, I shipped it off to Nikon, they shipped it back in the same faulty condition. Since I was on a shoot in California, I even paid steep overnight shipping charges. They did not return the favor and just shipped it standard ground back to me. Repeated calls to Nikon has resulted in no action. I am heavily invested in Nikon equipment so can't just "switch" to another brand. I really can't fathom that MY Nikon, whom I've used since 1978, would turn out this way. The camera makes great pictures when in Live View (which I don't use), is missing the standard things we all ask for (pre-sets, SIMPLICITY in controls), but Nikon's complete failure at customer service keeps me from rating this camera higher. If this doesn't change, at some point I will divest myself of my professional Nikon "kit" but I can't afford to replace it right now. So, I have a $3,000 camera I can't trust, just sitting at home, which Nikon will not take back, while I shoot with "yesterday's" D3 and D3s. I was angry for a while, now I'm just sick of it all. I hope you have better luck.
41 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on April 13, 2012
The ISO performance is not as good as the D4, but for studio work, this is the best camera you can buy right now. Wish it had built-in wifi, wish the grip wasn't almost 500 bucks. The size is unbelievably small for what it is, which makes it a great camera for "walking around" too. When posed with the choice of which you should get - D4 or D800 - consider what you will use it for. If you don't need 11 frames per second or to be able to take pictures in near-darkness, buy the D800. If you find that you crop your photos a lot, get a D800. Keep in mind that you will need to buy very large memory cards for this thing. Spring for a set of 64GB cards right away.
46 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on September 17, 2012
I am a professional photographer and have one D800 body that works fine, while my 2nd D800 body has a severe back focusing issue. I had it 5 times with Nikon to get it fixed, they agreed that there is a problem, I am a NPS member, but till now there is no real repair solution and Nikon Japan doesn't acknowledge that there is an issue. So I would advice anyone who wants a 100% working camera to wait till Nikon offers a fix and admits that there is a fault, at least with some of their D800 cameras. I am using Nikon equipment for 25 years but am very disappointed and lost my confidence in the company.
49 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 2012
I am an owner of a Nikon D3S and D300S, both are 12MP and with fast frame rate. I have a range of fast/pro grade lenses. I focus mainly on landscape and [natural light]portrait. I also do quite a bit of street photography.
D800 is long awaited and fit in nicely the criteria of FX sensor with the size of a D300S.
There are many positive reviews of how good this camera is, and I agree.
For this "review", I will not go through the pros and cons, the pluses and minuses of this camera. Rather, I want to share the experience of jumping from low  MP, fast frame rate DSLR to one with 3 times the resolution and much slower frame rate.
To manage camera blur, the rule of thumb that we were taught is to make sure the shutter speed is at about 1/focal length of the lens. If one uses a 50mm lens, the the shutter speed should be around 1/50 of a second. It could be slower if the lens has a VR.
This rule of thumb does not work well with D800 due to the very high MP. I didn't know that before.
The first day I had it, I shoot it in a public park. I used it with a Nikkor 50mm f1.4D. It was a cloudy day, I shoot with base ISO of 100, Aperture prior at F/2. and my shutter speed at that time was about 1/30s. The images at 100% was blurry.
I bumped up the ISO to 200 and increase the shutter speed to 1/60s. Still blurry but better.
I gradually bumped up the ISO until it reached 400 and shutter 1/125s. Only then the shutter speed is fast enough to stop the blur.
The next day, I used it indoor with a volunteer model. I used a SB-700 flashgun with a Nikkor 85mm f1.4G, aperture priority at F/4, and the camera selected a shutter speed of 1/60s. Most of the images at that shutter shutter speed were blurry. With the experience the day before, I bumped the ISO up and increase the shutter speed to 1/160s before the blur subsided.
I discussed this issues with a few friends who also own D3X, they confirmed that based on their experience, it will be difficult to handhold a high MP DSLR without the shutter speed at least twice the focal length of the lens (i.e., 1/[focal length * 2]). I did a few more testing afterward and learned that to be absolutely free of blur, the "new" rule of thumb for minimum shutter speed without causing a blur when using a D800 is 1/[focal length * 3]. In layman term, if you use a 50mm lens, your best bet of having a perfectly sharp image is to shoot with a shutter speed of 1/150s. Of course, with VR, it can be slower.
This camera is better suited for certain situations than others. For landscape photography where we tend to use a tripod,you will not have the blur problems as I mentioned. But for street photography where you tend to handhold, just need to watch out the shutter speed.
41 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2012
Let me first state that this camera will not make you a better photographer. Not even close. It may even make you a worse photographer. Why? because the hand shaking that was forgivable before will now be more evident at 100% zoom. Wait, why are you pixel peeping a 36MP camera? For pixel peepers, avoid this camera at all cost! I'll explain more below.
The beauty of a high megapixel camera is that it makes your pictures better at the same megapixel size as your last camera! Let me explain this, for most lens, sharpness differences can be viewed at 100% zoom. Unless you print at gigantic 36MP, which only a very small percentage of pros will be using, it's moot. Now, when you downsize a picture, the pixels are interpolated. Lens that were previously unacceptable at 12MP all of a sudden look pretty decent at 12MP downsized from 36MP! For example, a picture that was taken with slight motion blur at 100% pixel peep will disappear when I re-size it to 12MP. That's the thing, most will not print a 36MP picture at 36MP! You will have to resize it to make prints! It's pretty insane to upload 36MP JPEGS to make 4x6 prints anyway. Although someday, I will hang a 36MP picture on my wall.
So what's the purpose of getting a 36MP? First, high ISO noise will be interpolated out of existence when downsized. Second, blurriness will be sharpened out of existence when downsized. Third, your not so sharp lens at 100% will look pretty darn good downsized. You need to compare the pictures produced at the printed size and not at 100% zoom! If you take a picture of your face and zoom in at 100%, it'll be pretty unflattering with all the pores and stuff. Same concept here. So if you buy this camera just to view pictures at 100% zoom, you will all be disappointed because that simply is not the point.
Coming from a D90, these are the things that are better.
1. Full frame. Your 50mm prime now has a real 50mm FOV rather than a fake 75mm FOV.
2. Bokeh. You get to see more of that 50mm FOV which means the bokeliciousness that were lost on the D90 is now there. The further you go away from the focus point, the softer the bokeh is. When the DX picture is truncated, you lose that bokeh. This is why full frame appears to have better bokeh.
3. ISO. When downsized, my ISO 6400 looks like ISO 100 on a 12MP. Maybe I'm exaggerating a little...but not by much.
4. Sharper image with the same lens. Yes, at 100% zoom, all the short-comings are there to see. At 12MP downsized, it will look very great.
5. Cliff Mautner looking pictures. Yes, I went there. I've always looked at those nice midday pictures where Cliff take pictures of his models in front of a green background (trees) and the model's faces has that cool looking rim lights... yeah, I can replicate that! Except his models are better looking. Is this due to the better sensor or the better imaging processor?
6. Better dynamic range. When the sun's beating down on you at high noon, dial the exposure compensation down -2EV, shoot without flash, and then fix the under exposed parts without blowing out highlights. Tada, natural light at high noon without flash! Very nice, Nikon!
I have no green cast. I have no out of focus focus points (that I know of). My beep on focus function is broken. I turn it on, but it doesn't beep. I don't know why. At 100% zoom, my prime doesn't look that sharp at F1.8 as it does at F4. But I don't care. If you want a camera to test out lens sharpness, this camera is it! But don't blame me if you proceed to throw them all in the trash to buy sharper lens.
Is this a better camera than the D700? It depends. Is it worth the $1300 premium for the added functionality? Is a $3000 Channel purse worth $1300 more than a $1800 LV purse? A purse doesn't even take pictures and you sure as heck can't downsize it on command! And yet my wife buys a new one each year. For me, yes it's worth it! I'm referring to the camera, not the purse. Then again, if you were reading carefully, I previously own a D90 not a D700.
As a final note, I'm going to read more books on photography because this camera tells me what I'm terrible at it. I look at the pictures on Flickr that people took using this camera, then I compare it with my pictures, all I want to do is to punch myself in the face. If I become a better photographer as a result of owning this camera, then I guess the $3000 is worth it.
This is the Internet. Feel free to tell me I'm idiot and that I'm wrong in the comments.
Update 6/23/12: (1) The beep issue was resolved by deleting bank A and then use bank B. Unfortunately, my camera has the left focus issue. Most of my lens are fine, however I borrowed a friend's 24-70mm and the left most focus definitely has a problem on this one. In liveview, it works fine. I'm going to wait a few months to see what Nikon says about this before sending it in for repair.
33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2013
I made a huge mistake and got a D800 from a store instead buying it from Amazon. I love Amazon in anyways. They have one of the best customer services in the world. What a value they carry by that. I will never buy another imaging product somewhere else. I learned my lesson. How did I learn it? Oh well, Let's talk about the worst customer service experience. Nikon that is. I have been dealing with Nikon last 6 months, hours of phone calls, hundreds of emails, dozens of sample images for the AF issue. Is this a major problem, no it is not, but there is a problem that needs to be solved, why do I pay a full price for a defective unit? I reached the highest level in their customer services department probably it took 27 escalations of my case to get there, not gonna give a name but the people in my situation probably know the gentlemen who is the head of Nikon customer services in the U.S. So the result; the camera went to service two times, they paid the shipping, really nice of them. And the final decision, the camera is fine. I requested them to send me sample images they took during testing, they sent, nice of them again and the problem is clearly there again, they blame lenses. I purchased a brand new 50mm 1.8G, tested the camera, yes results are same, last week, I ordered a 24-70mm 2.8. arrived yesterday and will test the camera again this week as soon as it arrives from Nikon. One is a cheap lens and one is way over priced for the output it gives but a quality glass, let's see if we all gonna blame a $1900 lens again. The shutter speed faster than 1/250, on a tripod, timer set and the results comes with AF issues...This is my fifth DSLR, there are two options, I don't know crap about photography or Nikon tells that tens of thousands of people having this specific problem are lying to them. Thanks to Amazon, NO thanks to Nikon.
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on May 24, 2012
I am not going to give a full review of this camera since it is likely you are already well aware of much of what is out there. That being said, there are a few things I have noticed which there don't seem to be much feedback on which I would like to highlight. For point of reference I am coming from a D700 and have many of the high end FX lenses.
One of the absolute best improvements (aside from obvious things like resolution, improved DR etc.) is the Auto ISO feature. Am I the only one who loved this on my D700 and love it even more on the D800? Nikon has tweaked the min shutter speed setting on this so it is a little more intelligent. Instead of just saying 1/50 or whatever you want as the min (this would be a decent setting for a wide lens) the D800 takes it 1 step further and allows it to float relative to the focal length. In other words 1/50 with a 200mm lens might be a little low in my opinion but the D800 will set it to 1/200 (following the 1/ FL rule). Furthermore, you can tell the camera to set it faster or slower (there are 5 levels with the mid setting as 1/FL) so the same 200mm lens will have some multiple (or fraction) applied to this as well. I like the one step up setting so my 200mm lens never shoots with a shutter less than 1/400. This makes it so much easier on longer length lenses and especially zooms like the 70 - 200 where you might jump around and going back into the menu is a pain to set the min shutter each time... Call me lazy but I love this feature - great addition.
EDIT: After shooting 2,000 shots or so with the D800 (and especially with any longer non-VR lenses) I see why this feature has been added... With the D700 the 1/FL rule seemed to work just fine, especially with VR equipped lenses (most non caffeine junkies can get away with far less). With the D800 this rule just doesn't work as well and will produce mixed results. With a D700 and my 24-70 I would shoot at ISO 100, 50mm and 1/50s all day long. On the D800 I have found it is better to go to 1/100 or even a little higher with ISO 200 or higher - the ISO change is a lot less noticeable than the increase in sharpness due to the shutter. With the 14-24 this "new" rule (haven't decided yet if the new rule should 1/2*FL or 1/3*FL) isn't too hard to follow but with the 70-200 I find myself pushing the ISO frequently of changing the setting down a bit due to the presence of VR (I use the VRII model). I honestly would not have guessed that the increase in MP would require this much of a change in technique but it does. Of course you can always downsample and still be better off than where you were with the D700 so don't take this as a negative to the camera - just a required change in technique in my opinion. When I first wrote this review I loved the new feature and I still do now but there is one change they now need to make: Recognize VR equipped lenses and allow conditional rules such as 1/2*FL with VR and 1/3*FL without. None the less I just change the setting in "my menu" when I use a 16-35VR or 70-200VR (although the longer one can sometimes benefit from just leaving it) and the end result is the same but Nikon made it 90% of the way on the new feature, why not round it out. I did also pick up a grip and use rechargeable AAs simply to add weight & this also helps but D800 + grip + 8 rechargeable AAs + 70-200 is not something I walk around with for hours on end.
Other more minor comments:
- This is less about Nikon as it is about Adobe but it caught me off guard: LR3 will not read D800 RAW files nor will it ever! You either have to use a converter (add more workflow steps which is unacceptable in my opinion) or upgrade to LR4. I suppose I can see both sides but it is annoying to say the least. Adobe should really support this in LR3. It made me want to use Aperature instead but I also use PCs so that is just a pain.
- Built in HDR is a joke. Any respectable HDR shooter will bracket with at least 5 frames and likely use Photomatrix or something similar. It also does not work if you shoot RAW - only JPG and only 2 images hence the joke. Your probably not buying the camera for this anyway.
- The quiet mode is also useless. Fractionally less noisy than the std and a waste of a spot on the dial.
- The + / - on the image zoom is backwards from the D700. Just takes some getting used to...
- Folks, it is a 36mp sensor; you will need a bigger drive and 16GB cards barely scrape by now. I am finding 14 bit lossless compression files in the 50mb range - directly after a format the camera reads 200 available images on the 16GB card. A 2GB card is like an old roll of film now for 25 "exposures" LOL. I get that wedding shooters are going to need a lot more bigger drives but you can't have more detail without more space... Yes, people say you can downscale but this poses a serious workflow bottleneck for me. I have also found that in addition to more drive space working with these large files, particularly in PS & HDR SW with a dated dual-core 2.4GHz CPU and 4 gigs of ram in 32 bit mode requires patience. I hate waiting. EDIT: I have underestimated the PC side of the equation on this camera upgrade. I had to buy a new computer with a lot more muscle to handle a 7 or 9 image RAW stack to be sent to Photomatrix. These get really big and processor hungry. I got a PC with dual quad core (8 total) 3.2GHz XEONs and 16GB of RAM. The processors are far more important than the RAM I have found so get a faster processor and 8GB if you must to save $. It costs as much as a nice lens or even a bit more but keep in mind it is used for every image I take... Worth the upgrade in my mind and something to consider if you have an aging PC / Mac.
- 100% viewfinder vs 95% on the D700 doesn't sound like much but it is really a welcome improvement.
- I have now started buying SD cards to compliment the CFs I already used with my D700. For whatever reason tests I have done on my computer show I am getting faster write speeds out of a 60mb/s Sandisk EX Pro CF card than I get out of a 95mb/s Sandisk Extreme Pro SD card. Same manufacturer but the CF cards just seem to be faster. They are also more expensive - go figure.
- I have never owned a D7000 but I hear the auto focus settings (selecting) are the same on the D800. It is way different than the D700 and took me 10 minutes just to figure out how to adjust from AF-S to AF-C. Hint: it is on the front (the side button) to the left of the lens when looking thru the viewfinder.
- It has been said before but the fact that this thing has similar high ISO performance compared to the D700 with 3x the resolution deserves a slow clap from Nikon. Really, impressive. I have no issue with using ISO 1600 in auto ISO mode and for certain types of shots see little downside to 3200 unless you are seriously pixel peeping.
- Their product launch and way they rolled this out and so dramatically underestimated demand is the exact opposite. Once you have one (a good one without some of the early mfg issues) though you seem to forget all the frustration of the wait.
These are just the initial impressions since I have only had the camera for a week or so and shot < 1,000 images. So far very impressed thou and would do it again in a heartbeat. Lastly, in case you are also wondering, I have since cold my D700. Given it still has amazing value I just could not justify it as a backup body and there were few if any advantages that I could really see. I can see wedding photographers scooping these up though as they are a great balance of performance and file size if you are getting into the 4 digit file counts per shoot.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on February 24, 2013
I won't rehash all the specs and comparisons for this camera. I did my research for 8 months, and decided that this was the camera I would buy, trading up from a Nikon D300. Amazon had the best price and service, so I bought it here. My camera came with a free backpack, 32gb SD card, and $200 rebate and 2% rewards and free shipping!
People say you need to use a tripod and Nikon's best lenses on this camera. That is true if you want to make amazing studio shots. HOWEVER, you can use it handheld, with a relatively decent lens and still get better shots than you can with any other lesser Nikon. You can downsample the size of the images in-camera and get great color depth and rendition.
Why didn't I give this five stars? Simply because this is the FOURTH D800 I've had. The other three were refurbished cameras, direct from Nikon USA. They all developed oil/dust on the sensor that could not be controlled, and required wet cleaning of the sensor (something I'm not competent to do). This final camera from Amazon has a much higher serial number, so I know it is of more recent construction, evidently Nikon has worked the bugs out, as this camera throws very little dust on the sensor (there is some).
To test your D800 (or any DSLR) for dust/oil on the sensor, follow this method:
1) Set your camera to A at f22 - use a 100mm lens on manual focus, set it to infinity.
2) Call up a blank white screen on your computer (I use MS Word)
3) Hold the camera about 2" from the screen and take a shot.
4) Take the file into Photoshop and select "auto smart fix" under the enhance menu
5) Look for spots!
If you see more than three large spots or 20 smaller spots, your sensor has more than normal amount of debris on it. Look fo dark, round spots that have a lighter colorered halo around them. These are oil spots. Irregular or comma shaped spots are just dust. Repeat the process after cleaning the sensor with a rocket blower (following manufactuer's instructions!). If there are still spots, your sensor needs to be cleaned. If under warranty, try to get Nikon to do it. If you are firm, yet insistent, and send them sample images, you may be able to get them to pay for the shipping (I was able to).
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 2012
Batch #303xxxx still has the left AF point issue. No green tint though, at least to my eyes. Good that I've bought this warranty that came with it, this should cover shipping to Nikon for calibration.
Update: turned out that Squaretrade warranty doesn't cover items that were defective from the start, so that goes back to Amazon.
Update: I've got a replacement from Amazon (very fast by the way) and the camera still has the same left focus point issues. Serial # is 3036xxx, so its basically the same batch as the one I've tried before. Though I've only tried 2 bodies, I have a feeling that all of these D800s are the same, including the D800Es. The reason why not everyone notices it is because its not that bad in real-life and you can see it clearly only under controlled conditions and with a fast lens wide opened.
That being said, I'm keeping the camera. It's great otherwise, and I'm hoping to get it fixed some time in future when I send it out for sensor cleaning. I still got that Squaretrade warranty thing that should cover it. Nevertheless, the 3-star rating stays, because Nikon needs to pay more attention to their quality control, and that's the only way I can help it happen.
Update: I have noticed oil particles on my sensor and had the camera shipped to Nikon for cleaning and calibration. Good thing I bought that additional Squaretrade warranty, because Nikon's warranty doesn't cover sensor cleaning. Anyway, my camera was calibrated, and now all autofocus points work perfectly.