In 2008, I wrote a blog post about the launch of D700, followed by a hands-on review which I wrote for T3 Singapore.

Three and a half years later, Nikon has officially announced the D800 to replace the D700 and the D3X.

Monstrous specs:

  • 36.3 megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor, or DX-crop of 15.4 megapixel.
  • ISO 100-6400 (expandable to 50-25600)
  • 4 frames per second for full-frame, 6 fps for DX
  • ±5 EV (common DSLRs have ±3 EV)
  • Revamped 51-point AF point system, supporting low-light AF up to f/8
  • 91k pixel metering sensor (old-gen Nikon DSLR has 1005-pixel)
  • Built-in HDR
  • Better Auto ISO settings
  • Full manual video recording capability with a myraid of external connections and capabilities for the most demanding movie makers. Like audio and video monitoring output.
  • CF and SDXC card slots
  • 900 grams with battery (about the weight of D300)
  • separate D800E model removes anti-aliasing filter for increased sharpness required for professional users.
  • US$3000

I think the most overwhelming feature about the D800 is its 36.3 megapixel image size. According to DPReview, the raw file size is almost 80MB. Question is: does a freelance photographer like myself require such high resolution? There is a need to balance between need and nice.

Then there is the high definition uncompressed video recording capability that meets the professional user, but I won’t need half of it. Perhaps it would be good time to pick up movie making with the D800.

Due to the increase image size, the frame-per-second rate falls to 4fps, so the D800 immediately eliminates the action photographer segment, where the new D4 comfortably caters for.

One thing I am glad is that the weight of the D800 is similar to the D300 that I currently own, so I will be able to handle the weight, as compared to the D700 which is almost 200 grams heavier.

Everything else in the D800 are improvements that we expect of a new generation DSLR – better AF point sensitivity, increased pixels for metering, auto ISO, EV adjustments, auto HDR.

The D800 is tempting, but with this announcement, I might consider the option of getting a D700 instead.


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