Customer Review

464 of 478 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A clear improvement over the already excellent D700, April 10, 2012
This review is from: Nikon D800 36.3 MP CMOS FX-Format Digital SLR Camera (Body Only) (Electronics)
I know that the D800 is not really the replacement model over the D700. Nevertheless, it did replace my old D700 and the D800 is, I believe, better suited for my photographic needs than the D700, i.e., studio, portraits, and landscape.

The D700 was and still is an outstanding DSLR. The D800 is of course better, but in a very perceptible way, which was quite a surprise to me.
I have done over 5000 shots since my purchase on 24 March. So far, no issues to report: no green cast from the LCD and no problems with the CLS system.
Nikon has really outperformed with this new DSLR and the clear improvements are:
- Much improved Dynamic Range, which was my main problem since my first DSLR
- Better colors straight off the camera: deeper and richer
- Better AF in low light ***UPDATE*** After comparing with older Nikon DSLRs, this improvement is minor and only perceptible on cross-type AF points.
- Highly detailed photographs at full res, 100% magnification and also when down-scaling the photos.
Let's not forget a proper and useable HD video feature at broadcasting quality. ***UPDATE*** Perhaps not broadcasting quality, but close enough.

On the negative side (there has to be some):
- The zoom in and zoom out buttons are reversed from the old models, which is now more logical, but I am used to the old wrong way! it's a minor problem of course.
- D4 has backlit buttons, why not on the D800? This can't be that expensive to include.
- Very expensive Battery pack, this is a major drawback for me. But yes, the D800 is well priced at $3000. I just hate ridiculously priced accessories.
- still wonder the point of having 1 CF slot and 1 SD slot. 2 CF slots would have been superb. But I guess if you come from a SD card DSLR, that would be practical for you.
- Left AF points can suffer from front/back focusing issues on wide angle lenses, but this can be fixed at a Nikon repair center under warranty ***UPDATE***

One crucial point that has to be considered when acquiring a 36MP DSLR: storage will be an issue. I just purchased a 4TB ext hard drive. A 14-bit RAW file (uncompressed) coming from the D800 will average 75MB.

I just shot a wedding, and I consider the D800 to be an excellent choice for the job. All the complains about shots being more blurry at 100% magnification are irrelevant. One has to be precise with his/her settings, at the right exposure and optimal shutter speed, results can be absolutely mind-blowing. And since most won't need 36MP for wedding photographs, down-scaling images will certainly eliminate slight camera-shake or noise.

One particular aspect that I appreciate is that my Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G is now tack-sharp at f/1.4. I had a front focusing issue with my old D700 even with the fine-tune option set to max. Since I'm no techie geek, I still don't understand why the D700 gave me problems with the 85mm.

Anyway, I used to be one of those people saying that digital photography will never replace film photography. The D800 has changed all that.
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Comments

Tracked by 8 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 42 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 18, 2012 11:57:37 AM PDT
Curly says:
Thanks for your review. It seems we shoot the same type of photos. I too am a Landscape/Portrait photographer and have done a few weddings. I bought my D800 last week and hope to have it within the next 2 weeks acording the the camera shop. I have family that works for Sandisk so my memory cards are ready to go at a nice discount. I have a Sigma 85mm f/1.4 and a Nikon f/2.8 24-70 that I can't wait to use. Based on what I've read online and seen in person my review of this camera would be about the same as what you wrote. I want that battery grip[ but can't part with an extra $500.00 right now. The grip for my D300 was about $280.00. Well thanks again for your review and happy shooting.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 23, 2012 12:44:07 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 23, 2012 3:33:55 AM PDT
M. Billon says:
Thanks Curly.
Having discounts on memory cards is great advantage!

I have 2 other issues with the D800:
1/ speed of focus of the outer focus points:
When I use the 85mm f/1.4 and take a portrait, I normally use the top right focus points in order to obtain perfect focus on the eyes mainly when shooting wide open. Those focus points on the extreme part of the frame are quite hesitant in certain lighting conditions. The focus points located in the middle of the frame are very responsive and snappy though. So for weddings you may have to be careful with your timing, knowing that you are restricted to 4fps (enough for me) and the buffer can get full quickly if you like to shoot continuously. Adding to that, are those focus points on the outer sides of the frame, which are non-crossed type I believe, and can give you some hesitation.

2/ Live view for landscape:
The use of Live View for focusing when doing landscape photography is a bit disappointing. When you zoom to the max to focus, you get a get a very fuzzy and imprecise view. This is not the case on the D7000 I believe. It makes focusing quite tedious especially on my 24mm PC-E lens when trying to get optimal DOF by tilting the lens.

Posted on May 1, 2012 8:30:02 AM PDT
JY says:
Speaking of expensive accessories, wait until you check out the MB-D12 grip. WOW.

Posted on May 2, 2012 10:52:08 AM PDT
WELCOME HOME says:
Would love to comment.
Can't get the D800. Have had a pre order for over two months

Posted on May 3, 2012 7:48:36 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 3, 2012 7:51:27 PM PDT
Eye4one says:
Regarding the two (2) card slots - Imagine tethered shooting with an $85 wireless accessory that plugs into an SD card slot. Nikon has not marketed this very significant benefit for using the extra card slot. I'll continue to shoot RAW on the compact flash slot, and send Jpegs to the SD slot.

The D800 firmware supports the "Eye-Fi Pro X2" wireless 8GB SD card.
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_3_6?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=eye-fi+pro+x2&sprefix=eye-fi%2Caps%2C134

Several Eye-Fi models are available for less than $100. That SD card slot turns the D800 into a wireless camera that pushes the image directly to an iPad applet. I cannot wait to receive my D800E.

Check your D800 owners manual for a complete description of the feature, and its setup. I get too excited thinking about how much I'm going to enjoy this feature. Imagine using the iPhone, Ipad, or Ipod to get immediate feedback on a larger display. Or imagine using the same setup to immediately upload images to your favorite Cloud, i.e, Facebook, Flicker, etc. Give your subjects (bride & groom) some immediate feedback on an iPad with Retina display... awesome!

Posted on Jul 15, 2012 9:18:38 AM PDT
A. Amiri says:
Just curious if you checked your D800 for the left point Auto Focus issue that so many people have reported?

Posted on Jul 19, 2012 6:13:57 PM PDT
SRH says:
I agree the D800 is not the replacement for the D700. It can not do what I do with the D700 as it is too slow frame rate wise. Where is the D700 replacement?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2012 6:16:42 PM PDT
SRH says:
And grip only gets you 6 frames per second. In DX mode -very poor. It's a slow camera for landscapes.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 24, 2012 4:11:43 AM PDT
M. Billon says:
I will check with LensAlign tonight. Not a problem that I have noticed on my own, and I use single focus points 95% of the time.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 24, 2012 4:18:13 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 24, 2012 4:24:35 AM PDT
M. Billon says:
As far I know, the D700 has no logical replacement.
The D800 is really aimed at enthusiasts and experts in landscape and studio. High resolution is needed for A0 and higher prints, and also stock photographers.
The D4 is for professional journalists, sport photographers, wildlife photographers, where very high resolution is not a priority, but high fps and short buffering time means everything in order to capture short lived moments.
The D600 would be an entry-level FX body with limited performance.

It doesn't seem like Nikon will satisfy the mid-priced, high fps FX market.
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M. Billon
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Location: France

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