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Nikon D800 Digital SLRs
The Nikon D800 has a full frame (FX-format) 36.3-megapixel CMOS sensor, full HD video, a 3.2-inch LCD display and sensitivity from ISO 100 to 6400, expandable to ISO 25,600. It's designed for serious amateur photographers and pros who need high resolution image files and great low light image quality. It has the same 51-point auto focus system as Nikon's top-of-the-line professional DSLR, the D4.
Submitted by Greg McCary a Intermediate
Date Reviewed: September 3, 2012
Strengths: Image quality, build quality, ergonomics and button lay out.
Weaknesses: Complicated menu, AF system slow and complicated
First of I am mostly a landscape street photographer. I bought this camera specifically for that along with the Nikon 17-35mm lens. I use another system for my portrait work.
First the good. The image quality in mind blowing. 3200 iso has little to almost no noise and 6400 iso isn't bad either. If you need high iso this is your camera. The detail is just stunning. The D800 also has superior dynamic range. It as is good as I have used. I was hoping to be able to shoot without ND grads but I still have to use them but I have to do less post processing of the shadows to get what I want. I can push the shadows and not lose image quality. Still it's pretty easy to blow out the sky just like any other DSLR I have used. The bottom line. This camera is the king of image quality and the competition is a long way behind.
The body. The body is nice and rugged and looks like it can take a beating. I have already tested this out as I got caught in a heavy rain out on the river bank. The D800 got very muddy and wet before I got back to the car. I came home and washed it off in the sink and all is good. It looks like new again.
The buttons on the body are laid out nicely and it is very easy to get to the settings I need in a hurry. There was no leaning curve there. I do wish it had an articulating screen though. It handles real well though someone with smaller hands might find it a handful. But for me it is a nice size.
The menu. The menu is long and complicated. It is a little overwhelming. But you have to realize to this camera will do a lot of things from time lapse to multi exposure. I am sure in time I will have it down. I will probably not use all of the features but they are there if I need them,.
Shooting. There was a learning curve there and I did struggle getting the camera to do what I wanted the first couple of times out but now that I am getting use to it things are going a lot smoother. But also I do shoot a lot. The auto focus system is very complicated to figure out. I am using the Nikon 17-35mm and it hunts far to much for this caliber of camera and lens combo in my opinion. It's like it goes past focus and then comes back. My Sony cameras blow it out of the water with focus speed as with my OMD E-M5. I haven't had a camera focus this slow since my E3 and it's meager three auto focus points. Maybe it's something I am not doing right but I have never had to set up any other camera to focus properly.
The battery life isn't what I expected. Most tell me the get up to 800 shots on a charge. But I do a lot of long exposures when I do landscapes and I don't get near that. Last time out I think I took 60 or so shots and the battery was at 50%. But I have a grip coming for it.
The files, 36 megapixel are huge. It does slow my computer down quite a lot when I am running Lightroom and CS6 at the same time. I would think a fashion or sports shooter that would deal with 1000's of pictures could have a storage problem. In short you need a good computer and a lot of external storage. I am sure in a few years the files will seem small as computers get faster and storage gets cheaper.
Finally, I am very happy with the D800 for what I use it for. When I landscape I rarely use auto focus any way so that really was never an issue. I hope this is the last landscape camera I have to buy. I have been looking at maybe an early retirement and I need a camera that will last me many years without having to worry about upgrades. This very well could be the perfect camera for that. If one wants better image quality than this thing will produce you are just being greedy.
This is easily one of the finest cameras ever made and I wouldn't hesitate if you are thinking of getting one. You want be sorry.
Price Paid: $3000.00
Purchased At: Amazon
Similar Products Used: Sony a850, Olympus E5
Type of photography: Other
Submitted by Franglais a Expert
Date Reviewed: August 3, 2012
Strengths: Great flexibility in terms of correcting errors done during shooting: if you get the framing wrong you can crop, if the get the exposure or lighting wrong then you can go a very long way to get if right in post-processing (if shooting RAW). Lots of useful options.
Weaknesses: Image sharpness becomes an obsession. There is so much detail that when you look at the image at 100% (as you tend to do when processing in Lightroom) every error in focus area choice or depth of field is immediately obvious. It probably doesn't matter in the end result but I find myself going all out for perfect technique (tripod, best lenses) which I don't bother to do with lesser cameras.
Another leap forward in camera technology. The improvement in image quality (compared with the D300) leaps out at you most of the time. But in order to get the best out of the camera (maximum detail) I find myself being much more rigourous than with my other cameras. It's nice to go back to the carefree D300 from time to time.
Plus there's a lot to discover in the D800. Some of the options are really smart, like the Auto-ISO function that lets you set the minimum shutter speed according to the focal length in use, or the mirror lock-up that waits for 1, 2 or 3 seconds for the vibrations to calm down before setting off the shutter.
Advice for the (rich) casual shooter: go ahead, it's really easy to use
Advice for the tech-head: go ahead but be prepared for months of study
Price Paid: $3000.00
Purchased At: Photo Cirque Paris
Similar Products Used: D200, D300
Type of photography: People
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