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VINE VOICEon 30 April 2014
No really, this camera still stuns me with its abilities. I started with DSLR's a few years ago, being unable to afford new stuff i bought used and progressed from Fuji S2 to Nikon D2x, then made the huge step up to the amazing D700. That was a genuine Oh My GOD! moment, i knew that the D700 was a great camera, my photography suddenly took a huge step in quality. Added a big sigma lens into the mix and I found it hard to believe that the D700 could ever be bettered.

Step forward 12 months and a healthy works bonus (not a banker LOL) I was able to do 2 things, first buy a D800 and second buy my first ever new camera since a Pentax Z10 many years ago.

Apart from the almost reverential opening of the gold box I couldn't wait to get to grips with it, first impressions were good, very similar to the D700, a little larger but slightly lighter, undeniably from the same stable as the D700 and everything in the same old familiar places.

First shock was putting my 32gb card into the 800 and it will hold a massive 400 images, over 1300 in the D700. Fitted with a good old 50mm f1.4 lens I had a play, wow, shocked and mystified.

Shocked because of the quality and detail available in the image, they are just unbelievably detailed and sharp. Mystified because I don't have any idea how the D700 could be improved on by such a huge margin.

The D800 has a lot going for it, its sensor is amazing, settings are as I would expect for any Nikon, the right controls are in the right places, and apart from the addition of a dedicated video recording button almost identical to previous nikons. Menu's are simple and straight forward.

I have now been out and about with the 800 a few times now, wildlife photography, landscape, music/gig images in poor lighting, flowers you name it I have tried it (Except weddings) it has no failings, some will claim that the 3-4fps rate is too slow, well its fine if you plan your shots and watch for your moment its not a problem, I never really bothered with the speed of the D2x even for sporting events.

As a second surprise the video quality is also very very good, even with the internal mic. I have recorded a couple of videos for friends while at gigs and I was very very happy with the results, so were they.

So if this camera is so amazing does it have any downsides? Yes, there are a couple. First off it does need a good lens, although it doesn't have to be prime Nikon all the way, I have a f1.4 50mm that works great as well as the Sigma 50-500mm which is fantastic, but some would have you believe that you need Nikon primes and nothing but. Secondly drive space, at 40-50mb per RAW image you will need a lot, and a decent PC/Mac to run the images through Lightroom (other image editing packages are available) I have a laptop, 16mb Ram, i7 processor and 2tb of hard drives, its filling up quickly. I can't knock stars off for either problems of these problems as really they aren't problems at all.

On the whole I have no idea how this camera will be bettered in the future, it's a tough call, unless they can push the sensitivity even further there is nothing that springs to mind.

Despite what other reviews have said this really is an all round camera, you can shoot anything with it, moon shots have become easy but they are so croppable with that amazing pixel count. Image quality, speed, accuracy, handling they are all there.

For any of yo wondering if the 800 can really be 'that' much better than the D700, let me assure you it is. On the plus side I now have 2 of the finest full frame digital cameras ever made, luck me :)
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The D800 is the first 35mm format camera capable of 36 megapixel images, and was rated by DxO on its appearance as one of the five most optically perfect cameras ever made, beating out many medium format systems. It is packed with Nikon's latest electronics offering excellent in-camera processing of difficult images, and shares the D3 and D700's low noise characteristics up to ISO 6400, with 25,600 equivalent as a maximum. Under studio lights, the D800 offers incomparable quality for this format. Outside of the studio any camera or subject movement will blur the image at the pixel level, but careful shooting technique means that location images of extraordinary depth can still be captured.

I bought the D800 for advertising shots under studio lighting, or portable studio lighting (Profoto B2-1200, etc). I've been using the D3 for years for the same purpose (among its many other uses). At 12MP the D3 is capable of shooting a billboard or an A3 spread, but you have to frame up the image carefully before you do it. 12MP is _just_ enough for that size. By comparison, the D800's 36MP is enough to shoot the whole scene and then repurpose it afterwards, changing an image from a landscape 24 sheet billboard to a portrait 9 sheet. It's also enough to shoot a 96 sheet billboard.

My D800 had its first advertising outing last Monday, for a model shoot on Worcester High Street. I was astonished by the quality of the images it produced, right down to the pixel level. With a Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Lens and subsequent processing in DXO to overcome residual softness, there was absolute clarity, beautifully nuanced colour, and enough depth for extensive post-processing afterwards.

The D800 also excels in video. Pictures are still-photograph quality. Using a Beachtek DXA-SLR (DXASLR) Active XLR Audio adaptor, the audio quality is crisp, and the on-screen audio meter a significant advance on most DSLRs. This is easily good enough for news-quality. Going beyond that necessitates separate audio recording, as it generally does in video production.

Nikon sent me the D4 to try out when it was first released. I had it a week before I had to return it to Germany. I loved it, but didn't think it was _enough_ better than the D3 for me to really buy one. I had a chat with Nikon's PR team afterwards, and they suggested that the D800 might be what I wanted. Sadly, they didn't offer me one to try. It took me more than a year to finally take the plunge and get the D800. I can now say that they were exactly right. Although it can't match the D4's gravity-defying 200,000+ ISO performance, the D800's low noise is easily adequate for all kinds of walk-around news and general photographic tasks. In DX mode it still produces advertising size images, and at a potential 6 frames per second. When required, it also produces the clinically crisp 36 MP images, as long as careful work has been done to prevent movement blur.

There is only one downside to this camera, and that is the cost of the battery pack and D4 type battery. The pack is £250+, the battery is £120+, and the charger for the battery is £300+. Only with this combination do you get the 6fps in DX mode. You don't actually require any of these to use the camera, but if you want D4 type battery life and fast-ish performance, then you have to reckon on another £600-£700 cost, which brings this a lot closer to the D4's price.
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on 9 November 2012
I discovered early on in life that I am not the greatest at capturing the decisive moment, so Henri Cartier-Bresson can rest in peace knowing my work does not compete with his! He could pre-visualise the shot and secure that critical instant in time with no need for any cropping and produce a masterpiece. All of this without the benefit of instant review aka a digital or Polaroid proof. You might ask yourself what does this have to do with a review of the Nikon D800. Well readers, the less talented amongst us do have the luxury of instant review, the ability to crop and do all manner of manipulations on the computer. Now this could easily apply to all digital cameras, but a well advertised feature of the Nikon D800 is the massive number of pixels. A by product of this feature means you can crop the hell out of the captured shot to get what you want without any discernible loss of quality.

For some reason I find it difficult to frame exactly what I want in camera but given the luxury of my studio (garage) I can see the end result much more clearly. I can hear the purists tittering "it's because you're a crap photographer and it isn't cricket", but if I get what I want onto print, who cares how I achieved it.
Many reviewers have commented on the slow capture rate, possible high ISO noise or difficulty getting pin sharp shots while hand holding, but so far I haven't found any of these a problem. I previously used a Nikon D300 and I thought it was and still think it is a wonderful camera, but I always wanted full frame. So when it was time to finally buy one I managed to get a second hand D700 which fairly blew me away, with its handling and quality of shots. I convinced myself I did the right thing saving myself about £1000 instead of going for the D800 and then Amazon did the dirty on me and reduced the price of the D800 by another £100. In a fit of teenage irresponsibility I bought it and now I have the luxury of two full frame cameras. Time will tell which one I'll sell, but I suspect I'll keep both provided my wee wifey doesn't notice.

I won't bore you with all the technical stuff as it's been covered eloquently elsewhere, but the features I like best about the D800 are, well just about everything really. Huge pixel count is the most obvious and for me it is a godsend and not a liability. Images when captured properly are simply stunning in clarity and allow aggressive cropping without loss of sharpness. ISO performance as far as I can determine is perfectly adequate as images taken at up to 6400 are still useable, but not in the same class as the documented professional D4. Shooting rate is not a problem for me either as I take mostly landscape pictures and that in a nutshell is what this camera is all about, unless you are a studio photographer. I also find the LCD display is clearer and easier to view in bright light than both the D300 and D700.

I always hankered after medium format quality when I used 35mm film many years ago and now at the age of 55 I can achieve that quality digitally with the Nikon D800. As an important side note I must be one of the lucky people who don't appear to suffer from the dreaded LF problem or green tinted LCD. This did deter me from buying for a while not knowing how widespread this problem was, but I'm sure glad I waited as the camera cost me £700 less than the launch price.

It's hard to give a camera a wholehearted 5 star rating after such a short review period of 1 week, but I haven't found anything negative to say about it. If pushed, it annoys me that the zoom in and out buttons are reversed from the D300 and they removed the focus area switch but that's just nitpicking. I'm not the slightest bit interested in video so I can't comment but I do wish Nikon had replaced it with built in GPS. The £350 list price for the vertical grip is just shocking but I've seen them selling new for £230.

So 5 stars it is then and hopefully I don't have cause to amend this rating after more rigorous use.
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on 12 June 2015
I bought this on Nov 2012 brill camera the only thing that went on it was the video recorder about a year & half later.
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on 26 June 2012
i thought long and hard about spending this amount of money on this camera i checked all the reviews they were all mostly postive some said that shooting handheld requires good handling skills and better with lenses with vr as most of my photos are of my grand children who dont stand still for a second this did put me off as my lenses dont have vr and i have never used a tripod. any way i purchased the camera it arrived on sat i read the users manuel went out on sunday took some photos in bad light of my grandson when i opened up my photos i was stunned they are totally amazing can not believe i shot them since then i have taken more in good light again amazing dynamic range is fantastic sharpness fantastic detail gobsmacking i zoomed into my grandaughters eye and you can see me taken the photo [a bit creepy that]the fps is only 4 have taken some action shots of my grandkids jumping and running and i still can catch the shots.i have a nikon d7000 which is also a very good camera but i am glad i have taken the plunge and bought this as this is on a different world i would agree with the experts about good quality lenses being required i have a 50mm prime 1.8 no vr and 24-70 2.8 no vr the 50mm cost about £180 this is one of the rare times i have spent so much money and feel happy and thats coming from a scotsman
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on 9 May 2014
The word Professional is booted around on a lot of consumer products these days. It is the same with Photography. With the big brand names there are distinct boundaries as to how they are marketed. With Nikon it is fair to say that most of their DSLR output is consumer, rather than professional. As of this review Nikon have 6 cameras that Nikon sell as "Professional"quality. These are the D4s, D4, D3s, D3x, D800, D800e. So if you have used any Nikon camera in the past, the step up at first doesn't seem that apparent. It is only when you start to use them, do you realise the difference. The D800 was launched in 2012 and has the highest Megapixel Sensor of any Nikon camera, 36.3 Megapixels to be precise. What this means is that the rendering of an image can be close to a medium format camera. With all this rendering though comes a price, each file can be in excess of 200 MB by the time you have finished working with it. These are huge, so it is really worth while checking that your computer can handle all this extra information. It can also deliver video that is considered "Broadcast Quality",offering uncompressed output via HDMI. This is very true. The video is exceptional.

I have had my D800 for a while now and can really say there is a light year in difference in the quality from my old camera. But the D800 does have a hidden problem that can really annoy you if you don't know about it. Smaller sensors, generally speaking are quite forgiving when it comes to rendering an image. You see a shot, you lift your camera up, half press the shutter to focus then press fully down and click, the image is captured. Now do the same with a D800, you may find that the image is slightly out of focus or it shows signs of camera shake. Yes the bigger sensor means that if you only move a tiny bit, the result can mean disaster. It is very important to really think about how you stand and really set yourself very steady in order not to get camera shake. It is a reinvention of everything you know about how to take an image. The D800 is a very unforgiving camera, but the results are spectacular when used. Sadly the same is true with lenses. The D800 is a Full Frame Camera, so unlike other Nikon cameras that have a cropped sensors(DX), you will need to use full frame lenses as opposed to Nikon's Nikkor DX range of lenses. It is very true to say if you put bad glass in front of any camera, then the results will be poor. DX lenses will work with this camera but it will only use a tiny portion of your sensor essentially halving the final image quality. Although it is fair to suggest that most of you who are considering buying this camera, will already know the fundamentals of photography and may be stepping up from another Nikon camera. The menu system looks for the most part, the same as other recent Nikon Models. Even the basic D3100 right the way through and including the D4s have a very similar menu system. Very familiar and really easy to use. You can customise buttons even set your camera to the style of how you shoot. It still is a steep learning curve but one I am sure you will enjoy. I am not sponsored by Nikon, nor do I work for Amazon. I am a genuine user of this camera and will be happy to answer any question you may have with regards to deciding on whether this camera is for you.

Thanks for reading.
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on 28 January 2013
Well done to Nikon for the D800 FX-format CMOS sensor (35.9 x 24.0 mm) with 36.3 effective megapixels, the world's highest number. It renders texture, nuances and details equivalent to those a high-end medium format camera can deliver.

Advanced Scene Recognition System realizes face detection during optical viewfinder shooting. It achieves highly accurate control of auto functions such as AF, AE and AWB utilizing face detection information and detailed scene analysis information.

At the heart of the D800 is a brand new Nikon-developed sensor that boasts 36.8 million pixels in total, with a maximum effective output of 36.3MP. Its ISO span is 100-6400 natively, expandable to a range of 50 ('Lo1') to 25,600 ('Hi2') equivalent. Nikon's highest resolution DSLR to date, the D800/E more than doubles the pixel count of the flagship D4. The D800 is potentially very attractive to studio and landscape professionals, but should pique the interest of a great many enthusiast Nikon users too - many of whom may have been 'stuck' at 12MP for years, with a D300, D300s or D700.
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on 6 August 2014
Far more sharper than my former D700, but a lot more difficult to get a sharp photo than my former D700. As most reviews mention is a camera more useful for controlled studio environments, than a travel one.
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on 13 March 2014
I spent the last year worrying about all the myths surrounding this camera and whether I should buy it. Well, I finally took a plunge and bought one and I just thought I should share some facts about this camera.

Huge mega pixel myth and lenses?

As with any camera, a good lens makes a lot of difference. BUT, this camera is no different to any other professional camera. 99% of people will not notice much difference. there are a small group who pixel peep and then complain about things. Its just silly cause it gives the impression that if you use anything other than a professional lens, you will get photos that are going to be unusable!!! Its absolute rubbish. I have a range of professional lenses and one very cheap lens (from years back). they all perform very well.

You need a tripod to use this camera?

Wrong again. I use this camera at exactly same settings as my D700 and still get stunningly sharp results hand held. (I shoot shutter speeds of 1/125-1/160 with f2.8 no problems).

You can only use this for studio shoots?

Wrong! I just photographed a theatre performance in low light and it worked better than my D700.

Files are HUGE and no way to make the RAW files smaller?

Wrong! There are three settings for RAW. these are Raw Uncompressed, Raw Compressed Lossless, Raw Compressed. I got nearly 800 photos on a 32GB card (I used to get 1.2K photos on same card with D700).

Battery life only lasts 100-200 photos?

Wrong! Battery lasts 900-1000 photos. I even have review on the screen set to automatic after every shot. I have not used it with video so can only speak about the still photography.

The quiet mode is useless?

Wrong! I shot a theatre performance and the quiet mode made a huge difference. BUT be aware that it is not as good as the Canon 5D III..
So what are the bad things about this camera?

The back screen's colour is wrong, slightly. That myth is very true!

oh and believe me when I say, large mega pixel in this case does make a HUGE difference to the quality of your photos!

So there you go. hope this helps. Oh by the way, I am not a Nikon representative either! In fact I can tell you Nikon has terrible customer care! But D800 is a fantastic camera.
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on 23 October 2012
This is a complex camera with hidden depths, and bearing in mind that I've been producing work with it for only a little over a month this review is inevitably going to be pretty cursory.

There are plenty of products out there in photo-land which claim to make a difference to your work. Most of them don't. I believe however that in the longer-term the D800 really will allow me to produce work which is visibly better than anything I've previously shot.

For me, the big pluses are in three areas: dynamic range; colour rendition; and definition. These three are fundamentals: they are I suppose reliant on the big, expensive stuff like imaging chip quality, and processors, and are not the kind of things a manufacturer can change by adding a few whistles and bells. Hence, perhaps, the price of this camera.

There's a lot of learning to do in terms of adjustments which will give the desired results with JPEGs, though I'm confident that getting this right is simply a case of hard work and experience. In terms of RAW files, the initial product can look remarkably flat - I suspect because the camera's impressive dynamic range leaves data from images of average contrast compressed into the middle of the histogram, something which at first puzzled me. But a couple of minutes' work post-production will very rapidly yield punchy results as images suddenly come alive.

A number of people have worried about the size of image files from the D800. In my experience this hasn't been much of an issue however - even on my old Power PC Mac. Granted, using Nikon's own supplied View NX software can be an exercise in clock-watching. But when using a grown-up RAW editor and converter like Capture NX, or RAW Developer, I find things move at a more acceptable pace. In passing, I think it would have shown good grace by Nikon to provide free copies of Capture to people who are laying down a couple of thousand quid for one of their cameras.

So is there any significant downside to the D800? At the moment the only one I can think of is that if in future my work is lacking in quality, I can realistically no longer blame the camera!
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