Customer Review

235 of 248 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars D800E for bird photography, May 22, 2012
This review is from: Nikon D800E 36.3 MP CMOS FX-Format Digital SLR Camera (Body Only) (OLD MODEL) (Electronics)
Like others, I debated on whether or not to choose the D800E or the D800. I'm primarily a nature photographer, so my inclination was to get the D800E. The one potential problem situation was with moire on bird feathers. I ultimately chose the D800E based on the logic that birds have so many feathers at different angles and proportions that significant moire would be very unlikely.

Well I received my D800E two days before a planned trip to the St. Augustine Alligator Farm. After more than 2500 images under all conditions, I have to rate the camera as spectacular - a step beyond excellent. Image quality and detail are stunning. I was using a Nikon 200-400 f/4 VR and a Nikon 600 f/4 VR for most of my images. The level of detail is simply stunning. There is detail that I have never before seen from any camera. I'm seeing resolution at 100% (1/7th the image) that is suitable for a web post or small print. And noise is completely absent at lower ISO levels and minimal even at ISO 6400.

You know going in that the D800E only has a frame rate of 4 fps. That's enough for a quick burst at critical action. With birds I'm shooting at 1/1000 second or faster so I am already trying to capture critical action and a catchlight in just a few frames. At burst rates it does take a little time to write to the card, but I never came close to filling the buffer.

One of the things that has been underappreciated is the new AF system. The new AF system of the D800 is excellent - very quick and accurate. There have been some reports of AF errors with the D800 - especially using the widest sensor and a wide angle lens. I have not seen that issue on my copy of the D800E.

The ergonomics and controls are very intuitive. This is a camera you can immediately pick up and use - just like other Nikons. The one adjustment I had to make was with exposure compensation. The direction of the exposure comp has been reversed, but can be customized in the camera menu settings.

While there have been reports of the need for a tripod or special technique, I shot the D800E just as I would have used earlier cameras. If you miss focus the image is still soft, but there is no problem using the camera handheld or on a gimbal head.

File sizes are large - and as expected the large files put greater demand on your computer. Large files understandably take longer to open and to save. But this is to be expected.

Colors and dynamic range at ISO 200 are spectacular. Even at high ISO levels, colors are very acceptable.

Overall, I am very pleased with the D800E and highly recommend it for advanced amateur and pro nature photographers. This is not a camera for a beginner or someone who is not skilled. This is a camera for someone who is skilled, understands the tradeoffs involved, and wants the best image quality possible in a DSLR.

EDIT June 16, 2012
I've continued to use the D800E and my opinion has not changed. It's a great camera. One thing to be aware of is the depth of field. Because the in focus area is so extremely sharp, your specific focus point and depth of field require a little more thought. Your choice of what parts of the image should be in sharpest focus will be rewarded, but if you make the wrong choice you can really tell the difference.
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Tracked by 5 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 15 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 28, 2012 1:05:50 AM PDT
Brad S. Lee says:
Did you receive your D800E from Amazon?

In reply to an earlier post on May 30, 2012 1:05:44 PM PDT
drdvde says:
And if so, when did you order it?

In reply to an earlier post on May 30, 2012 1:13:55 PM PDT
E. Bowles says:
I ordered the D800E from another dealer in October 2010. It was just a rumor at the time and I placed the order sight unseen. I was first or second on their wait list at the time.

Posted on Jun 16, 2012 2:20:13 PM PDT
Scorpius says:
Good review,I just got my D800e last week,,, the moire is not really an issue,I would say its because the sensor over samples most lenses.. and even if it did show it can be mitigated by stopping down to f8(diffraction)...

Posted on Jul 12, 2012 4:38:45 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 12, 2012 4:39:35 AM PDT
A. Frades says:
This review would have been useful had you shared your "fantastic shot" :( I looked around at the uploaded images and there was none! Nada.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 6, 2012 7:18:12 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 6, 2012 7:18:32 AM PDT
P. Strong says:
I agree with you A. Frades, the images uploaded here on Amazon so far are mediocre at best.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 10, 2012 1:00:37 PM PDT
E. Bowles says:
I've posted a good handful of sample images including a 100% crop at ISO 6400 with no post processing or noise reduction. Color will be a little better if your browser is color managed.

Posted on Jan 31, 2013 5:59:28 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 31, 2013 6:00:29 PM PST
Stellar Dust says:
I am thinking of getting this camera. I have older Nikon lens. (1990's, early 2000) and concerned about the Moire issue. Would this be an issue? I do bird, fireworks, landscapes, macro of plants, flowers, and everything else.
I heard Nikon Capture NX 2 Full Version software can fix moire? more thing.... how is the video? (low light) Compare to the Canon 5D Mk III? Thanks

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 31, 2013 7:53:11 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 31, 2013 7:53:51 PM PST
drdvde says:
SB: Moire is not a problem and would not be just because you are using older lenses. Leica, Hasselblad, etc users (a lot of pros) do not have a problem with moire. So far, I've shot at least 2K images, some where moire should appear, AND NOT SEEN IT! You will not be disappointed. IMHO. Video I cannot speak to.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 1, 2013 1:32:30 AM PST
E. Bowles says:
I've taken over 15,000 images with this camera over the past 9 months. I have only seen one image with moire and it was insignificant and easily handled in post processing. I have shot thousands of images of birds and other wildlife, dogs, events, landscapes, and some portraits.

Older lenses are not a problem. The D800/D800E benefit from high quality lenses, but you have enough resolution to make the most of any lens.

Capture NX2 and LIghtroom can both easily fix most moire. Nikon Capture has several settings so you can decide on the strength of the moire removal.

Video is very good for DSLR video. I don't have the Canon, but video is very high quality and easy to use. One thing to keep in mind is that moire can be very tough to remove from video, so if video is planned to be significant, I'd get the D800 over the D800E.
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