Nikon D800 - Minuscule details, monumental images, broadcast quality videos
What does it take to render images perfectly? Sharp resolution? Subtle textures? Colour fidelity? Tones so nuanced that the viewer wants to reach out and touch them? All of this is possible with the D800, Nikon's newest FX-format D-SLR. Its groundbreaking 36.3 megapixels and the powerful EXPEED 3 image-processing engine offer imaging potential that rivals some of the best studio cameras, but with the agility and durability of a Nikon digital SLR body. Depict the slightest change in light or shadow, on a piece of jewellery or in the glow of human skin. Still images reach a completely new height with unprecedented depth and details, both indoors and out, and this is only the beginning.
Nikon's exclusive 91K-pixel RGB sensor enables the Advanced Scene Recognition System to detect human faces even when shooting through the optical viewfinder, adding even more of an edge to your AF, AE and i-TTL flash performance. If your workflow demands broadcast quality video with high-fidelity audio recording, D-Movie will satisfy even the most demanding clients. Moreover, the D800 shoots 1080p Full HD in both FX- and DX-based formats, offering cinematographers a liberating versatility. All of this works in conjunction with outstanding mechanical precision, as well as the exceptionally sharp and versatile NIKKOR lens line-up. Turn your imagination into stunning still images and spectacular videos. Create something monumental. With the D800, you can.
High resolution & wide ISO sensitivity range
Nikon FX-format CMOS sensor with 36.3 effective megapixels
The D800 renders levels of texture, nuance and detail to your photography that, until now, have been the exclusive domain of the complicated medium-format system. Define every eyelash, every line in tree bark, and every shimmer of light. Savour the exceptional depth in your still images — with the astounding 36.3 effective megapixels, you can. Enlarge them as big as A1 poster-sized prints (59.4 x 84.1 cm/23.4 x 33.1 in.) at 200 dpi, or crop aggressively to reach the composition you desire, all without sacrificing the detail and tonal range of the original. In order to maintain clean, high-resolution images, 14-bit A/D conversion within the sensor and a high signal-to noise ratio deliver phenomenal images in a diverse array of situations. The image sensor's incredible potential does not stop with photography, either. For cinematographers ready to put their exceptionally sharp NIKKOR lenses into action, the D800's 36.3 effective megapixel data is efficiently processed for exquisite 1080p broadcast quality video at 30p.
Even at high ISO settings, the camera's intelligent noise reduction systems manage noise without sacrificing fine details, giving the D800 the edge.
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A strategic approach to turn light to your advantage
Combining both high-resolution performance and a wide ISO sensitivity range has finally become a reality. Nikon engineers have developed intelligent new methods to manipulate light transmission to the sensor's photodiodes: from the optical low-pass filter and on-chip gapless micro lenses to the image sensor's internal design, every measure has been taken to maximise and improve light transmission in order to deliver crisp, brilliant images with significantly less noise. All this is possible under a wide variety of lighting conditions, enabling you to get the most out of your NIKKOR lenses.
Standard ISO 100 to ISO 6400, range expandable to ISO 50 to 25600 equivalent
High-resolution, studio-quality images shouldn't be restricted to the studio. The D800 sets a new benchmark for high resolution D-SLR cameras, with crisp clean images across a wide ISO range. Flexibility like this opens up new imaging opportunities for both still photographers and cinematographers alike during the "magic hour", the time just before dawn or at dusk when available light is often beautiful but scarce. Even at high ISO settings, the camera's intelligent noise reduction systems manage noise without sacrificing fine details, giving the D800 the edge. The difference can even be seen in low-contrast subjects such as hair and grass textures, which are often essential elements of cinema as well as high-resolution portraits and landscape images. High image quality at higher ISOs also means that you can shoot still images handheld more confidently, knowing that fast shutter speeds will reduce blur.
Rich tones and natural colours thanks to the EXPEED 3 image-processing engine.
Lens: AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED, Exposure: [A] mode, 6 second, f/8, White balance: Auto 1, Sensitivity: ISO 100, Picture Control: Standard, ©Jim Brandenburg
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Optical low-pass filter optimised for sharpness
Reducing false colour and moiré is the main job of the optical low-pass filter located in front of the image sensor. Moiré occurs in scenes containing repetitive details, such as strong vertical lines in architecture. Finding the right balance between benefits and sacrifices is the key to higher image quality, and that is what the D800's optical low-pass filter delivers. As a result, the astounding 36.3 megapixels unleash their potential through an optimised balance between sharpness and effectively prevented moiré and false colour. Furthermore, the multi-layer structure of the D800 low-pass filter utilises layers of anti-reflective coating that have been optimised for the camera, contributing to sharper and clearer images.
High image quality & image-processing speed
EXPEED 3 image-processing engine: speed, versatility, and high performance
High-megapixel still images are detail-rich but data-heavy. With the D800, however, you don't have to sacrifice speed for this privilege. Dedicated to understanding speed and its role in image making, Nikon engineers designed a powerful EXPEED 3 image-processing engine exclusively for digital SLRs. From image processing and card recording to image playback and image transfer, EXPEED 3 manages massive amounts of data at faster speeds than EXPEED 2. Even with specialised processing features like Active D-Lighting and high ISO noise reduction, capture speed is not affected. EXPEED 3 is so powerful that it handles data-intensive tasks such as Full HD video recording at 30p with ease. You'll also notice the difference in your still images and videos through minimised noise and even richer colours and tones. In addition to these fundamental advantages, the D800 reduces the kind of colour phase shift that some cameras have difficulty with in similar situations.
Lateral chromatic aberration reduction: Take full advantage of your NIKKOR lens collection
High-megapixel sensors can really test the quality of your lenses, but you can be confident that the combination of brilliant NIKKOR lenses and Nikon's intelligent processing measures will significantly reduce lateral chromatic aberration to give you incredibly natural-looking results. Unlike other correction methods that simply eliminate chromatic aberration, Nikon's method compensates for these colour differences resolving, making it particularly effective in producing images with stunning edge-to-edge sharpness. Moreover, because these corrections are made regardless of the NIKKOR lens used, this feature contributes substantially to achieving the sharpest images possible.
14-bit A/D conversion and 16-bit image processing for rich tones and natural colours
Tonal gradation is where an image transforms from simply representing life to taking on a life of its own. The D800 does exactly that, with cutting-edge image processing that injects vital energy into your images. Black is rendered as pitch black, and shadow details are subtle and rich. Even under harsh, high-contrast light, where some cameras can fail, the D800's gradation remains smooth with abundant detail and tone all the way up the scale to pure white.
Accurate auto exposure results, even in backlit situations, thanks to the Advanced Scene Recognition System.
Lens: AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II, Exposure: [A] mode, 1/80 second, f/5, White balance: Auto 2, Sensitivity: ISO 100, Picture Control: Standard, ©Cliff Mautner
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Advanced scene recognition system
Advanced Scene Recognition System with 91K-pixel RGB sensor
Nikon's revolutionary Advanced Scene Recognition System, introduced with the flagship D4 camera, is also employed in the D800. At its core is a 91K-pixel RGB sensor that meticulously analyses each scene with the fine resolution. The RGB sensor can recognise your scene's colours and brightness with unprecedented precision, then use that information to implement various automatic controls and give you more natural-looking results. The real breakthrough, however, is that the sensor can detect human faces with startling accuracy when shooting through the optical viewfinder. Along with face detection, detailed scene analysis is utilised to support more accurate autofocus, auto exposure and i-TTL flash exposure results in a diverse range of compositional and lighting situations. The improved subject tracking is most noticeable when using 3D-tracking, which can maintain a focus on moving subjects smaller in size than with previous generations.
More accurate face detection in auto-area AF and subject tracking in 3D-tracking
Auto-area AF and 3D-tracking are AF-area modes unique to Nikon that use your subject's colour and brightness information to detect focus. With the D800 and its more precise information and subject recognition advancements, expect big steps forward for both AF-area modes when taking high-quality still images. In auto-area AF, the camera can genuinely detect human faces and focuses on them immediately — useful when faces are a priority and there's no time to choose focus points. When using 3D-tracking, the sensor's fine resolution combines with a specifically optimised AF algorithm to realise unprecedented subject tracking precision, recognizing detailed patterns to keep your subject in sharp focus.
3D colour matrix metering III for more accurate exposures
Professional photographers who shoot still images know that Nikon's metering system delivers supremely well-balanced exposures. Thanks to the 91K-pixel RGB sensor, the D800 has far more detailed scene information at its disposal — including detected face information. This data helps the 3D colour matrix metering III deliver more desirable auto exposures, especially when there are human faces present. When the D800 recognises a human face in a backlit situation, the camera determines the overall exposure while prioritising the facial exposure, which might otherwise be under-exposed. When a face is lit from the front and appears much brighter than the background, the camera recognises the situation and avoids blowing out the facial details.
More balanced results in i-TTL balanced fill-flash and Active D-Lighting
Nikon's i-TTL system has long been considered the most accurate flash control system in photography, but now face detection and highlight analysis by the 91K-pixel RGB sensor pushes performance even further. With the D800's enhanced i-TTL balanced fill-flash, you can more precisely illuminate people's faces in relation to their surrounding brightness using either the built-in flash or an external hot-shoed Nikon Speedlight. For weddings and fashion shoots, or any photography that relies on the highest-quality still images, this new standard redefines what a flash system should be. Face detection also makes a difference when Active D-Lighting is used to retain highlights and shadows in high-contrast lighting situations. Faces will be optimally exposed both in the sun and in the shade.
Light source identification for auto white balance in still images
The D800's auto white balance is incredibly accurate in a diverse range of shooting situations, aided by unique Nikon technology that effectively identifies your light sources, both natural and artificial. With the 91K-pixel RGB sensor and the image sensor working together, the camera renders white as white with supreme accuracy. Or if you prefer, the auto white balance can be set to reflect the warmth of ambient, incandescent lighting.
Wide af coverage & improved af sensitivity
Advanced Multi-CAM 3500FX autofocus sensor module for razor-sharp detection in low light
Accurate AF detection is crucial for extremely high-resolution still images in every situation. The 51 sensor points in the D800's AF sensor module work down to -2 EV (ISO 100, 20C/68F), the approximate physical limit of human visibility through an optical viewfinder. For even more powerful detection, you can rely on the camera's 15 cross-type sensors in the centre to detect both vertical and horizontal lines when using any AF NIKKOR lenses of f/5.6 or faster. What's more, AF can be activated with eleven focus points in the centre with open aperture of f/8*, which is a big plus when you combine a telephoto lens with a 2.0x teleconverter to shoot distant subjects. (Cross-type sensor is limited to the centre AF point only. AF may not be achieved in low-contrast or low-light conditions.)
Versatile AF-area modes
Whether it's a still life, a portrait, a landscape or a candid street scene, your subject matter varies, but its importance doesn't. That's why the D800 offers four AF-area modes, each specifically tailored to adapt to various subjects. Singlepoint AF is ideal when you need pinpoint focus on stationary subjects. Dynamic-area AF has three options (9-point, 21-point and 51-point) and is ideal for shooting moving subjects. The selected AF point and the surrounding points keep your subject in sharp focus even if it briefly leaves the selected points. 3D-tracking allows you to maintain focus on subjects that are moving erratically from side to side. Autoarea AF detects human faces and prioritises their sharpness for you — an ideal choice for candid photography.
Full HD video quality and minimised rolling shutter effect: Dynamic movie shooting in diverse lighting situations
Many filmmakers, multimedia professionals and still photographers need the highly mobile, lightweight and compact form of a D-SLR in order to cover large events or make documentaries, music videos or movies. For these professionals, the D800 is ready to create true cinematic experiences. By using the B frame data compression method, you can record 1080p Full HD video at 30p in H.264/MPEG-4 AVC format with unmatched moving image integrity for up to 29 min. 59 s* of recording in a single clip. Thanks to Nikon's latest image-processing optimisations, the monumental power of 36.3 megapixels transforms to sharp, exquisitely rendered videos. Expect exceptionally smooth gradation in blue skies, with minimum block noise and beautifully natural movement rendered clearly and sharply. The D800's intelligent image sensor reads out movie images at faster rates than ever, significantly reducing the rolling shutter distortion that can occur during panning shots or when shooting fast-moving lateral subjects like trains. Thanks to EXPEED 3, your movies will take on a distinctive look of their own, even with dimly lit scenes. Combine these benefits and you'll begin to realise exactly the new creative opportunities possible for photographers and cinematographers alike.