More thoughts on the Nikon D800

OK so the announcement of this camera was just under a week ago and the amount of views, opinions and (very few) hands on tests have been astounding, some of the better ones are here:

  • Imagaging Resource’s preview is here.
  • Scott Kelby has a couple of posts here and here.
  • Thom Hogan has a lot to say about the D800 and some of the myths already being discussed on various blogs and forums here.
  • Cliff Mauntner (one of the best Wedding Photographers out there) has actual used the camera, his blog is here, Scott Kelby also has a post about Cliff’s use of the camera here.

I won’t go into the various forums that are currently discussing the camera, some with a lot of authority by people who haven’t used the camera or seen the output from the files (apart from a few available).

I also haven’t seen the camera, but I would like to add a few views of my own.

I see the D800 as two cameras in one. On one hand this is a full frame camera with a 36 MP sensor, provided that the glass you are using is up to the task, you are going to get files with a lot of detail within them. Switch to DX mode and you now have a cropped sensor camera with a 15.3 MP resolution and up to 6 fps output. Moose Peterson states that anything useful for capturing moving animals is 5 fps or greater.

Whatever you use the camera with (DX or FX), the camera has inherited a lot of the great technology from the D4:

  • New amazing Autofocus system
  • All-new 1080p video system with microphone and headphone sockets
  • Advanced Scene Recognition System with 91,000 pixel metering sensor
  • ‘Expeed 3’ Image Processing engine
  • Dual-axis Virtual Horizon (on LCD screen/viewfinder)
  • Auto-ISO improvements, such as where the reciprocal of the lens’s focal length is used
  • 3.2″ 921000 dot unit, with expanded colour gamut and a gel resin layer between the LCD and the cover glass to minimise any risk of fogging when the camera is exposed to rapid changes of temperature

The camera also has a few features of its own, like the sensor, USB 3.0 – the first on any digital camera and the dual slots as per the D300s – compact flash and sd.

The final though that I will finish the blog with is the extra 1 fps that can be gained by the 800 when in DX mode. In FX mode the camera can shoot up to 4fps, in DX mode this jumps to 5fps. This can be pushed to 6fps by using the MB-D12 grip and one of the following power sources:

  • 8x AA Batteries
  • EH-5b AC adapter and EP-5B power connector
  • Using the EN-EL18 (D4) battery

The cost of this 1 fps can reach £380 for the grip, £129 for the EN-EL18 battery and if you ever want to charge the battery, another £299 for the Nikon MH-26 Battery Charger; the total for this is £808! Hopefully Nikon will release a single-battery charger such as the MH-21 that can charge the D3/D3S/D3X battery pack.