Nikon D800 Sample Photos Are Mind Blowing

Nikon’s posted several amazing sample photos shot with its recently announced D800 camera. The new D800 is Nikon’s latest full-frame DSLR camera. At $3,000 (body only), the Nikon D800 is designed for serious enthusiasts and professionals who don’t want to go all out and spend $6,000 on the Nikon D4.

While I love the convenience of shooting snapshots with my iPhone 4S and compact cameras, Nikon DSLRs are my weapons of choice when I want the best results. I’ve already pre-ordered the D800 from Amazon.com and suggest those who want their own D800 do the same as soon as possible if you want it anytime close to its mid-March release date. The Nikon D800 is a logical upgrade from the D700, which was released over three years ago.  D800 units will likely be scarce for months after the camera’s release.

The sample images are straight out of the Nikon D800 and converted from RAW format to JPG using Nikon’s Capture NX 2 software. If you view the images at full resolution you’ll get a true sense of what it means to shoot with the Nikon D800’s 36.4 Megapixel sensor. There are some flaws in the D800 sample photos since there’s no retouching or other enhancements, such as sharpening. That’s a good thing in my book, since just about every professional published image we see these days is digitally enhanced to some degree. If these sample images are a starting point, I can’t wait to see what professionals come up with once they start shooting with the Nikon D800 in the field and (tastefully) enhancing their images.

The sample images show off the Nikon D800’s capabilities in a variety studio and landscape situations. Unfortunately, Nikon hasn’t provided any D800 samples of action shots or low-light portraits. Some have already criticized the Nikon D800 relatively narrow ISO range and its sensor’s high pixel density as barriers to shooting in low light. Nikon’s also come under fire for the D800’s burst mode, which only shoots up to 4 frames per second. That’s less than the much more affordable D7000 (6 fps) or the D4 (10 fps). Most photographers don’t need or use burst mode on a regular basis, but a slow burst mode is a deal breaker for some sports and wildlife photographers. Nikon should add more variety to its D800 sample images library to round things out a bit.

Before you rush out and try to replicate the quality of the Nikon D800 sample images below, keep in mind serious professionals shot them with the latest and greatest lenses and photo accessories. You would have to spend about $6,000 to acquire the three lenses used to shoot the D800 samples. Also keep in mind that the photographers worked with professional models and crowd-free locations.

(Read- Nikon D800: Amazing Sample Video)

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Nikon D800, ISO 640, f4.5, 1/200 sec., AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II (Click for High Res D800 Sample)

In this Nikon D800 sample image we can get a sense of what the D800 is capable of in a portrait session or wedding, assuming the photographer’s dragged a few lights along. Shot at 160mm with a telephoto zoom lens, we can see extraordinary detail. With 36.4 MP, there’s more detail in this photo than you’d need for just about any workflow. Images of this resolution were once solely the realm of medium format cameras.

100% Crop of Nikon D800 Sample Image

100% Crop of Nikon D800 Sample Image

Here’s a 100% crop of this Nikon D800 sample. Here you can see details such as the model’s eyelashes and fine wrinkles. If you look closely you can see some irritated pores where the makeup artist presumably plucked the model’s eyebrows. You can also see a lot of details in the reflection of her eye, including what looks like a soft box. Some of these “imperfections” would be edited out if this photo were to make its way to a magazine.

Nikon D800 Sample Photo Model

Nikon D800, ISO 100, f8, 1/200 sec., AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED (Click for High Res D800 Sample)

In this D800 sample image the photographer pairs a model with a cat. Hair and fur are great for testing cameras out. This is as close to a wildlife D800 sample as Nikon’s providing at this time.

Nikon D800 Sample Image

100% Crop from Nikon D800 Sample Image

Here we can see distinct the hairs are when the D800 is in focus if you look at the top-left of this crop.

Nikon D800 Sample image photo of library

Nikon D800, ISO 100, f/8, 1 sec., AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED (Click for High Res. D800 Sample)

This is a sample shot in relatively low light inside a library. Shot at 15mm with a NIKKOR wide-angle zoom, there’s incredible detail here considering the space captured in this single frame.

Nikon D800 Sample Image Library crop

100% Crop of Nikon D800 Sample Image

Here’s a 100% crop of the librarian’s counter in the sample image. It’s distorted since it’s off to the side of the wide-angle shot, but you can still read the signage and clearly make out the items on and around the countertop.

Nikon D800 sample image, photo of model with jewelry

Nikon D800, ISO 100, f10, 1/200 sec., AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II (Click for high-res D800 sample)

Shooting jewelry and other reflective surfaces present their own challenges. Nikon is offering the D800E,  a version of the camera without an anti-aliasing filter to make fine details as crisp as possible, but the Nikon D800 appears up to the task.

nikon D800 sample image jewelry

100% Crop of Jewelry- Shot with Nikon D800

Each and every gem is crisp and clear. While the Nikon D800E may do even better, most photographers will prefer having the anti-aliasing filter in place to prevent undesirable patterns from appearing in shots with fine patterns.

Nikon D800 Sample photo, image of ocean and flowers

Nikon D800, ISO 320, f10, 1/400 sec., AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED (Click for high-res D800 sample)

 

The Nikon D800 is the way to go if you’re primarily shooting people and things close up. If you’re a landscape photographer you may be better suited with the Nikon D800E. The above image was shot with the Nikon D800.

Nikon D800 Sample image

100% Crop of Nikon D800 Sample Landscape Photo

It’s clean enough for most uses, but you can see that some of the edges around the flower petals and stems are soft.

Nikon D800 Sample Photo

Nikon D800E Sample Photo

 

While Nikon doesn’t provide direct Nikon D800 and D800E comparison shots, you can see how the D800E is sharp as a tack right out of the box in this D800E sample photo.

Nikon D800E Sample image Snow Trees

100% Crop of Nikon D800 Sample Photo

Each little branch in this photo is crisp and you can clearly make out the branches of the snow-covered trees in the background. It’s results like these that will drive some Nikon shooters to opt for the D800E, which comes with a $300 premium.

Nikon D800 Sample photo, image of tree

Nikon D800, ISO 100, f8 1/15 sec., AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II (Click for high-res D800 sample)

Again, despite the D800E’s incredibly sharpness, the D800 is no slouch. For most purposes the D800 is plenty sharp.

Nikon D800 Sample Image

100% Crop of Nikon D800 Sample Image

Here’s a better example of the D800 performing in the outdoors. Unless you’re going to crop incredibly tightly or make poster-sized prints you probably won’t be able to eyeball the difference between the D800 and D800E.

Nikon D800 sample photos

Nikon D800, ISO 100, f8 1/2 sec., AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED (Click for high-res D800 sample)

Here’s another Nikon-produced D800 sample image shot in an empty library. This is the closest thing we have to a nighttime sample from Nikon at the moment. Note the dynamic range, going from the dark corners and background to the skylights.

All of the above photos were shot by accomplished professionals. Here’s a video from Nikon that shows how the sample D800 portraits were produced.

It’s no secret that many of Nikon’s latest DSLRs can take amazing photos, but the company’s lagged the competition in the video department for years. Nikon put a lot of effort into providing a stunning D800 sample movie. I wish they stopped and took the time to share some still from the sets of this movie.

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You can read more about the Nikon D800 Sample Video here.

Comments

  1. Phil Bentz says

    This isn’t the “logical upgrade” of the D700 (you said D800 but I know what you meant).  The D700 was a low-light rockstar for it’s time…the D800 will likely be a large step backwards in this department.  I can see a mass exodus to Canon if Nikon doesn’t come out with a true D700 replacement (very soon) that’s comparable to the D4 in low-light conditions.  

    • Spence says

      yeah because in the semi-pro range Canon has amazing low light monsters such as the 5D Mark… oh wait nope nope… the 5DMKII is the worst full frame cam in low light… ah yeah but the 7D is a real light sucking machine!! oh wait nope nope the 7D is even worse in low light, definitely the worst of any crop frame camera in its class… yeah but def a mass exodus because…just because!

      • Sheldon says

        The D800 displays noise at ISO100.. The 5D Mark II will knock it out of the part in terms of Noise at low to high ISO. 36mega pixels is just too much and the Photocytes are just too small.

        If you don’t believe me, take a look at the 100% crop of the landscape shot with the yellow flowers. Take a look at the water line, it’s very noisy.

        • Spence says

          Ah, no sorry.  If you’re referring to the photos on this page, they are highly compressed by the web developer to make the page laod faster.  Take a look at the D800 page on Nikon’s actual web site or Mansurvos for the real quality of the high resolution crops.  They are insane.  No noise to be seen.  

          That’s not to say the D800 will equal the D700 when it comes to high ISO, but my response was to the mass exodus based on low light performance claim – Canon has never rivaled Nikon in high ISO noise.  They’ve always opted for resolution.  The 5DMKII has always been seriously spanked by the D700 in low light.  

          For those who wish to research above the mindless debate, go to DXOmark and check out the sensor comparisons.  There has never been any serious rival to Nikon when it comes to noise at high ISO.

        • James Pardoe says

          Sick of reading really uninformed sweeping comments like this….. no clue whatsoever… the 640 iso sample has NO NOISE…. and remember this is a 100% crop of a 36mp image down size it 2/3rds and then compare to d700.. 

        • Russbritt1 says

          That’s not noise, look to see where the focus was. The lens was focused on the flowers in the foreground.
          Its an optics thing not a camera thing……

        • Angelsfanatic says

          I agree 100% with James. I am also sick of the all the people making comments about the horrible noise with the D800. I am sorry, but please go read Cliff Mautner’s blog…www.cmphotography.com. He has actually used the camera unlike the nay-sayers. He was one of the first photographers Nikon approached to test the D800 last year. He actually writes that the noise level of the D800 is on par with the D700 and D3.

        • Fotolopithecus says

          The pixel density of the D800 is nearly identical to that of the cropped frame D7000, which is not overly noisy, and has very good dynamic range. The mass exodus someone mentioned is highly unlikely.

      • Dehowie64 says

        Anyone who has faith in DXO has serious issues. To compare non resized images at a common resolution is ridiculous and lawned at best.
        The 5Dmk2 and 1Dsmk3 easily matched the D3 and D3s when resized. The D800 will now be put to the sword via the very myth that gave Nikon a so called edge at hi ISO.
        When resized down the D800’will provide excellent images in the EXACT same way the 5Dmk2 1Dsmk3 and 1Dmk4 have been able to match final image qualities with the D3 series. ZMP has a bonus..the problem with the D800 is diffraction quality issues in initial files will cause massive issues shooting at sat F16-18..notice there are NO samples at small f stops..one word why.
        Diffraction..36 is to big..with 24 they would have a killer camera..sorry but 36 will be this cameras undoing. Massive computer upgrades required and diffraction issues for landscape shooters.
        Pity

        • Guest says

          Another Canon shooter with his head up his ass, making baseless assumptions. DXO might not be perfect but their tests are a damn more reliable than your senseless drivel.

          One thing people are forgetting is that the D800 sensor is at least two
          generations newer than the D700’s. Sensors are getting better. I think
          people are going to be surprised by the D800 sensor, but again, we must
          await cameras to test to verify that.

          • Anurag says

            Dehowie64 raised a very valid concern of Diffraction. The Diffraction Limited Aperture of Nikon D800, due to its high resolution, should be around f/8. If the aperture is smaller than f/8 (Value higher than f8), the sharpness of the photo will get worse. Dehowie64 mentioned it because he seems to have made his thorough study. Others, who are commenting against do not have that much thorough knowledge.

    • Anonymous says

      Been using Nikon my whole life.  When it came time to recommend a new camera, I recommended the Cannon.  Google “Joe Doakes” and you can see two shots I took with my D700 – still love it.  But for people starting out they are happier with Canon.

      Go figure.

        • Anonymous says

          Did not realize this was a spelling test . . .

          As for me being an expert.  Started out on a Nikon F.  Worked for two newspapers.  Spent so much time in a darkroom I didn’t see the sun rise or set.  I went form that to the F3 to the F4 during that time.  In my sunset years I still do the darkroom thing because It’s a habit I can’t seem to break.  Digital has invaded my life though with a Nikon D700.  Couldn’t bring myself to by a Cannon because of all I have invested in equipment . . .

          What ever this makes me, that’s what I am.  No more.  No less.

        • Anonymous says

          Never been called a wanker before . . . Ching tu madre!

          But yes I did, I wish it went the other way, I still hold out the hope that one day some smart engineer will take a 35mm film case and a sensor and find away to build it so we can put that into our “old” cameras and bring them back to life.

          I would love to pull out my F4 and use it with that gizmo. Someone send an email to Kodak, before they close up shop.

        • Tasb says

          Why on Earth do you need to be rude, brand loyalty is such a pointless thing. I shoot canon this minute. I’ve shot with just about everything, the name on the front makes little difference. The D4 or 800 could be my next camera just because of the video output, if Canon had put HDMI output on the Dx I would have that. I handled all three at the BVE show this week, it’s only the video that sets the D4 from the 1Dx,both fantastic cameras. The 800 was not in it’s element in a dark tungsten lit huge shed, high iso noise was very noticeable as you would expect.
          But what would I know, I still shoot a Rolleiflex when I want photography to be fun.

    • Nknshooter23 says

      Totally agree on the “logical upgrade”. Nor is it really a serious threat to the D4 considering the diff in specs. Even if they were the same price the landscape / portrait & non action folks will likey go to D800. The D3x on the other hand is totally dead. The second hand market for these is going to plummet… I plan on keeping my D700 not upgrading it! I wouldn’t be surprised if they took their sweet time with discontinuing it. If the D800 had a 12mp RAW mode (no crop) with better ISO perf than the D700 this would be a different story… I dont want to have to manually down sample in LR later. Wonder if that is an option? 

    • M3byron says

      I don’t know about an exodus but what I most respected about NIKON was that they made a photographers camera and didn’t buy into the consumer megapixel myth. There are certain facts that don’t change. Larger photosites render a greater tonal range, smoother tonal transitions, better blacks, and lower noise. Cramming in more pixels is only good for marketing hype and reducing IQ. This camera is more like the consumer d7000 than the much loved d700.

    • Ktas08 says

       
      Why are we all in a mad race of ISOs? Have we forgotten the
      days- not very long ago, when we had almost fixed ISO films which could only be
      pushed a little by adjusting a tad of exposure in chemical processing. Now we
      phu-phu an awesome camera with an array of advanced developments simply it
      won’t match the ISO of D700. Cameras are tools and we don’t use one tool for
      all our jobs. no doubt D800 is not a low light magic. It’s not for the faint
      hearted who pisses off when the lights go off. It ask you to create your own
      light. It then shines to emit its dazzling light.
      Why are we all in a mad race of ISOs? Have we forgotten the
      days- not very long ago, when we had almost fixed ISO films which could only be
      pushed a little by adjusting a tad of exposure in chemical processing. Now we
      phu-phu an awesome camera with an array of advanced developments simply it
      won’t match the ISO of D700. Cameras are tools and we don’t use one tool for
      all our jobs. no doubt D800 is not a low light magic. It’s not for the faint
      hearted who pisses off when the lights go off. It ask you to create your own
      light. It then shines to emit its dazzling light.

      • Typhooned says

        Because in retrospect, those days sucked (36 exposure, fixed ISO)!  While I still think the F4 was the greatest SLR camera made for its time, the instant feedback, variable ISO, and media portability of digital lays waste to the SLR film era (at least for 99% of us).  I beleive It’s also opened up the SLR cameras to groups of people that would have never owned a film SLR.

        A great many of us were looking for slightly more pixels, Hi ISO, and FULL HD recording in the 3k range.  Something to finally compete with the 5dmkII, but with Nikon’s superior hi ISO performance.  Instead, it looks like we have to spend 6k to get it?  It ain’t happening here.  I understand the need for high MP for a certain group of people.  Really, I do.  The D800 will be remarkable.  I also understand for Nikon’s need to increase market share (it will be significant in the pro segment).  However, I think a huge number of the people that were anticipating this camera are now anguishing over how much better off they’ll be with it.  Getting better moving shots in low light is were I needed to see the most improvement, not image quality. 

        Take the grip off of the D3s, give it full HD and sell it for 3k and I’m all over it!

        • Upgraditis says

          I think you and many other photographers have to decide are you a photographer or a videographer. My background like many is film, mostly 35mm and I then moved into digital. Video is a crock on a DSLR, a gimmick to appease the peasants. I couldn’t give a damn for video. The art of photography can get lost when you instantly switch to video.

          High ISO certainly is handy to have but if you look at the big mover in the last few years its been wireless radio triggers. Being able to control light is where its at for a lot of photographers and when you master light suddenly high ISO’s isn’t all that important. 

          What is important not only to many photographers and clients is high resolution photo and prints. Yes DSLR’s like the D700, D3, etc shoot excellent photos in low light .. so what ? 12MP is still only 12MP.

          I have always said over many years that more megapixels is where its at, otherwise we all would be shooting with 2MP cameras. Take a look at a fashion magazine and you will find many of the photos are shot with a Hasselblad, Canon 5D Mk2, D3X etc

          I shoot with a D7000 a D3 and there have been several clients who I have lost because they have decided to go with a photographer who has a Canon 5DMk2 or a Hasselblad or a D3X. It doesn’t take a rocket science to figure why.

          The simple fact is photography is progressing to more megapixels because of the demand. I for one will be ordering a D800E simply because its a quantum leap in technology and who do you think clients will opt for .. a 12MP D3 or a 36MP D800.

    • No says

      Thank you, I’ve been thinking I’m the only one that hasn’t been completely impressed with the sharpness and quality of the sample images. Frankly, I think I’m making much sharper and better looking images with my D7000 and I’m not even using the Nikon 2.8 top shelf lenses either

      • Alexknelson says

        Are you joking? My D7000 images look absolutely lackluster. Love my D700 and these D800 images look impressive to me. Even the 25600 ISO images look nice.

    • Spence says

      Yeah. you’re right.  The web developer needs to link to the actual high res images.  These are highly compressed, not indicative in any way of the image quality.  Check out Nikon’s D800 page or Mansurvos for the actual files.  This is bogus.

    • Xavier Lanier says

      Some people were hoping for the same sensor as the Nikon D4. A lower pixel density is generally better for low light photography. 
      In terms of ISO – by staying the same as 3.5 year old technology, Nikon is kind of taking a step backwards if you want to call it that. 

      • Anonymous says

        generally.. but you’re assuming the sensor technology hasn’t changed. but it has. for example, a more efficient low-pass filter and a gapless micro-lens sensor design. so too has the image processor been improved.
        just because the ISO range is the same, doesn’t mean there isn’t an improvement at each ISO setting, even with more MPs.

      • James Pardoe says

        Image Quality is no longer an issue then? Is it really all about iso? A DLSR that is a direct medium format competitor, with comparable speed and ease of use to a d700 etc with useable iso up to 6400….. sounds rubbish doesn’t it?????????

        • mp myth says

          This is not even in the same league as medium format. The IQ you get from a MF back is mind blowing. Having the same number of pixels is not the same as having a larger sensor.

      • Sheldon says

        I completely agree. I think that 36mega pixels is
        overkill. 24, maybe 25 would have been acceptable.. But 36, really.. I am a
        Canon 7D owner and for me it is an awesome camera. The Photocytes on the D800
        are just barely larger than the 7D. That doesn’t say much for the D800. I
        expected more from this Camera, something closer to the D4 would have been
        killer, or even closer to the D3X… 36megapixels… I just don’t get it.

      • Anonymous says

        the D800’s pixel size is 4.88 microns.. that’s bigger than any of the canon’s current 18mp APS-C cameras. in fact, it’s almost 60% the size of the D700 pixel size (7.3microns), despite having more then 3x the number of pixels. it also uses an improved low-pass filter and gapless microlens design, which help to let more light through. along with the new image processor, i am pretty sure it can perform as well if not better than the D700, which was great in low light to begin with.

        • Timpicks says

           No no no, it’s quite obvious from the test shots on the web that the D800 doesn’t compare to the D700 in low-light.  Even at 3200 you can see significant noise in the D800 whereas the D700 was crisp.  This is a major setback for Nikon, and for once I’m left without a viable camera to shoot music or theater in low-light with my beloved 2.8 lenses.  Color me extremely disappointed, Nikon.

        • Anonymous says

          i had a D700, i know exactly how good it is at high ISOs straight out of the camera (i don’t own photoshop). i don’t know what sample pics of the D800 you’re looking at, but check the comments on this page for links to some photographers who got their hands on D800 for hands on testing. i’m getting the D800 as soon as it’s in stock.

      • Gruven11 says

        Ahh so the D40 is better in low light performance then the D7000 because of pixel density? 

  2. FB says

    Well, you can have the same ISO range and not have the same performance. That is the big question.  I use a D700 (wildlife photography) and I would love more resolution but will not give up (much) sensitivity.  One of my problems with the images, here, is that they are all shot at low (for me) ISOs.  Fingers crossed…
    In terms of “all look soft”..?  Are you out of your freakin’ mind?

    • Xavier Lanier says

      True. All the specs in the world don’t mean a thing until pros get their hands on the D800 out in the wild. As noted in the article above, all of these shots are in controlled situations. The ISO on most is 100 and I doubt anyone in their right mind would shoot at ISO 100 with a 1 second shutter. 

  3. John says

    Where are all the action photographers? From the D300, do we get improvement for sports, low light, or do we just have to step up to the D3 if we can’t afford the D4?

    • Timpicks says

       That’s a loaded question, because you’d be moving from the D300’s DX sensor to the D3’s FX sensor.  The D3 will shoot more FPS, but at what cost?  I still use my D300 and battery pack and can shoot reasonably well at 1600 albeit with some noise.  Apples to Oranges when comparing DX to FX sensors.  It all depends on the quality of glass at that point.  If you have 2.8 lenses you’ll get more out of your FX camera, but otherwise stick to the D300 and wait until Nikon gets their heads out of their respective butts and puts out a low-light replacement for the D700 that doesn’t cost $6k like the D4 does.

  4. Mrterrabyte says

    I’m mystified as to why anyone refers the D800 as the D700 replacement…clearly the D800 is the high res, more portable version of D3x – as in, D800 is to D3x, as D700 was to D3/D3s. For whatever reason, be it tsunami, flood, earthquake, cannibalising

    D3x sales, or whatever, was never released earlier. D800/e is for extreme res, whereas D700 was extreme low light.

    Way I see it, Nikon still has to deliver a DX D300 replacement (unless D7000 is it), and a true D700 gripless D4…

    • Timpicks says

       Couldn’t agree more.  Nikon has completely missed the boat on a D700 replacement.  Four years of waiting and we get a 36MP D800 that doesn’t compare to the quality of a 22MP Medium Format Phase One digital back?  For shame, Nikon, for shame.  D900 with 16MP and better-than-D700 low-light capabilities, anyone?  Something in the $3k range?  Oh wait, I must be living in 2016.

  5. Chappy says

    Can’t wait to have my hands on this new baby. My d300 will be on CL as soon as my D800e arrives at my door.

    • Timpicks says

       D800 for sure.  The D800E moire will affect your product shots negatively, all for $300 more.  There are great reasons to look at the D800E, but product shots are not one of them.  Save the money.  In fact, I’d rather spend $5k on a used Medium Format system with a lens or two than the D800 if you’re shooting in a studio for product shots.  The quality difference is astounding when you go medium format.  My two cents.

    • Anonymous says

      they’re just used to the years of “more mp is better” myth. now that nikon finally decided it has improved the sensor design enough (new low-pass filter, gapless micro lens) to roll out a 36mp FF sensor without sacrificing low light/high ISO performance, suddenly a high mp is horrible.

      • Carl Knox-Robinson says

        I don’t think it’s sour grapes… I just think that a lot of Canon users are waiting to hear the details for the replacement to the 5Dii. At low ISO’s I find Nikon and Canon to be much the same. However Nikon simply blows Canon away for high ISO shots – and am waiting to see if the D800 keeps up this tradition (but I’m a bit skeptical here)

        I’m a Canon user but not afraid to switch to Nikon… especially if the D800 has similar low light performance to the D700 – even if it does mean swapping $7000 of lenses!

        However I just wish Canon will release details and demo shots for the Canon 5D iii / 5Dx before I make a brand switch. A 3K investment is much easier to swallow than an $10K brand switch.

      • Sean Molin says

        Thank you. You’re the first person I’ve seen say it.

        Nikon isn’t making the “same mistake as Canon with the MP wars.” They waited until it was technologically sound.

        The low light capability of this camera is on par if not slightly better than the D3/D700. Couple that with 3x more detail, and it’s a serious piece of gear.

        • Timpicks says

           I can’t believe I just read that, Sean.  With all due respect, the low-light sample shots on the web are showing extremely poor noise at 3200 when compared to the D700.  Those 36MP squeezed into the FX sensor are NOT better than the D700.  Better than the D300 yes, but the D300 is a DX sensor, so that’s to be expected.  As I’ve said before, the D800 is not a replacement for the low-light mastery of the D700.  In fact, I’m in the market for a used D700 if the price is right….

      • Nick says

        I wonder what threads were like when Nikon released the 12mp D700 and Canon released the 21mp 5Dmk II? Just take this thread and switch Nikon with Canon and switch Canon with Nikon. Done.

  6. Fotofiend says

    Whats everyone so worried about noise for?  We’ve all heard of Noise Ninja, Nik software, and my fav,Topaz DeNoise.  I’ve sold a lot of photos and never once has anyone commented on the possibility of noise.  That would be waaay down on the list.  First is….what kind of camera do you use?

      • Timpicks says

         Sure, noise reduction is great in Noise Ninja, and even Lightroom in a pinch.  But you lose considerable sharpness.  And besides, who wants to post-process 100% of their shots with a $3k camera that should have upped the D700’s game but didn’t?

        • sfteague says

           I’m not sure why everyone is so worried about the D800 not having better noise reduction capabilities than the D3/D700.  The D3/D700 were an absolutely huge advance in low-light capability at the time.  I think it’s unfair to simplify the issue to the point where we’re saying Nikon is doing people a disservice by not improving on that 1 characteristic of the D800 when compared to the D700 just because it is a few years down the road now.  From what I’ve read, the D800 should be roughly on-par with the D700’s low light capability, which is really pretty great already.  As a D700 owner, I’ve always thought that I loved the way the camera handled, and that it’s low light capability was awesome, but I still have been jealous of other cameras have superior resolution (like the 5dmkII, for instance).  For me it was a worthwhile tradeoff when I upgraded to the D700.  For the D800 to bring so much resolution to the table and be close-to or on-par with the D700’s low-light performance at a 3k price point is a huge win for Nikon and photographers I think.  Perhaps the next upgrade to the current D3x will have everything we all want, but I guarantee it will be $6k+++…

  7. Rgcampbell Nz says

    What a bunch of losers, D700 upgrade haters and Canon I’m dying of envy haters. Who do you think is leading the world in high resolution photography?? It aint Canon or Nikon. Hasselblad’s have been kicking ass for years. There are many switched on clients out there who will flatly refuse to be shot with 12mp DSLR’s. The starting point good or bad is the canon 5D Mk2 or the Nikon D3x and the premier camera’s the Hasselblad’s which start and 35mp and go to 50mp and up.

    The D800 has been aimed specifically at that target market of high resolution fashion and wedding photography, that is very clear. Is it an upgrade of the D700? Not at all in my opinion, its a step and a big one at that in another direction. The D800 will sell out, it will be a raging success … WHY ?? because there are many photographers out there after a DSLR with these specs.

    • Chappy says

      @RgCampbell, you are just right on buddy. I’ve always wanted a H4D-31 but never reached my savings for one. D800 answers just that 31mp and beyond that I’ve waiting for. 6 weeks waiting seems foreve r r r r

      • sfteague says

        Make that 8-10 weeks for those of us that got the D800E… 

        But yeah, I’m in the same boat.  I’ve spent hours in camera stores staring at all kinds of medium format rigs…  this is finally something I can afford that will deliver great resolution.

        I’m a D700 owner, but I look at this like more of an add-on than an upgrade.  At a wedding reception for instance, it will be awesome to leave a F1.4 prime on the 700 and have an F2.8 medium zoom on the 800E.  I’ve almost bought a used D3X many times, but now I’m glad I waited.

    • Timpicks says

       Hallelujah, my friend.  The D800 is for wedding photographers and landscape photographers who don’t want to invest $10-25K on a medium format camera.  Truth be told, if you’re getting paid you will have a ‘Blad or a Phase1 of course.  Even the 22MP Phase1 is going to give you far superior results than the D800’s smaller sensor.  It’s pure mathematics, people.  Don’t buy the hype and think you’re getting medium format quality and size in the D800 for $3K.  You aren’t.  But then again, those that need a medium format camera are few and far between – you know who you are.

    • Xavier Lanier says

      I too have a NIkon D7000. I’m probably going to keep it as a secondary/backup camera. I like how relatively light weight it is, especially with my 50mm f1.4 lens.

  8. rey says

    Lol, soft… many of you here take mediocre images and you guys complain. The D800 is for a different mindset, not for noobs or pretentious minds.

      • Timpicks says

         I don’t buy it.  The three shots of the model at different ISO’s seem to be the exact same picture, after close comparison.  Even taking the little time to up the ISO would mean she’d move just a little bit, don’t you think?  I’ll wait until I see some more shots from other D800’s before I’ll say that 3200 is useable.

        • Typhooned says

          I don’t think so. The ISO 800 is different from the ISO 3200. Look at the blonde hairs overlapping her left eyebrow in the cropped pics. However, the difference between ISO 800 and ISO 6400 is hard to tell. The loss of detail makes it very difficult.

        • Nipz says

          They are different shots. There is a stray hair on the right hand side down by the veil that has moved. Also the set in her face has changed minutely – she has a soft smile in the second shot but a straight set mouth with the first (I’m not looking at the close ups here).
          Also this guy is one of the most well known wedding photographers around, I don’t think he would put his credibility on the line by doing what you are implying. 

  9. Gruven11 says

    To the pixel density geniuses- I guess the D40 is better in low light then the D7000.  Technology changes fellas.  When intel couldnt get any fast then 3.4Ghz processors they went to dual core and so on.  There is certainly not going to be a flood of Nikon users going to Canon because of the D800.  Sony is going to use their sensor (D800 36 megapixel) in their next camera.  Nikon knows whats its doing.  Check out Dx0 Camera Sensor Reports and you dont see Canons  the 5D is way behind a bunch of Nikons.  Wait till the D800 gets on the list and then tell us what you think.

    • Dhale says

      Thank you.  All this negative stuff sounds like junk from folks that can not understand the true impact of what Nikon has done.  This new sensor has the same pixel density as the D7000.  Do that math.  Nikon is a camera company.  Seventy percent of their revenue comes from cameras.  Canon is a conglomerate who also makes cameras.  

  10. Arnold000 says

    Just one thing to say, compressed or not what you are judging in these pictures is almost about the lenses used to take them. And on this point, I think fixed lens would have make a better way to appreciate the real possibilities of that sensor. I know, Nikon need to sale these very expansive zoom, and they are very convenient for the everyday job, but speaking of contrast and resolution a middle range price fixed lens would have done better in most of these shots. 

  11. Patrick John O'Doherty says

    The way I see it is the D700 upgrade is the D4 and this is very disappointing as I shoot mainly at night or in dark dingy places. I was looking for a very low light body upgrade with a slightly larger MP sensor for bigger prints and the D4 met all my expectations for the D700 upgrade. There is no real need for me to have all the wireless,memory card features etc on the D4. It also has video which I wish I had on the D700. I really don’t know what to do. A petty first world problem. I have been saving for the last two years and can afford the D4 but I cant justify spending so much as I would not use half the features on it as well as the bulkiness of the bottom grip. Such a big camera is not really conducive to documentary/street photography as people are very aware of you taking photos even if you have spent time forming a relationship with them. The D700 is much less intimidating to my subjects. I doubt that Nikon will jeopardize the sales of the D4 and give its customers a gripless D4 body. I also doubt the 5dmk11 upgrade will meet my needs. Only time can tell if the D800 ISO range is cleaner and more sensitive than the D700. I am sure the D800 meets the needs for many photographers but it just does not meet the needs I have which just might be unreasonable. 

  12. Tekkie says

    Just give me a camera that’s an improved D700. I don’t want video. Give me low light and reliability.

    • Timpicks says

       Amen!  Video be damned, I want to shoot music and theater at 3200 and 6400 and have useable frames without excessive post-processing that reduces noise and sharpness at the same time.  Ridiculous what Nikon has done with the D800 in killing that particular market of photographers (like me).

  13. Jeff says

    Oh……and paragraph 1 of this article could not be further off base. I could get the D4, but it is not enough an improvement over the D3s. The D800E, on the other hand, addresses a completely different need.

  14. Guest says

    Most of you from what I can read have got your head so far up your ass you cant see the wood for the trees. The D800, D800E, D4 will sell out, Nikon will not be able to meet the demand.

    • Timpicks says

       I didn’t read anywhere where someone said they wouldn’t sell out.  Everyone knows they’ll sell out – the tsunami and earthquake made us all wait extra long, so the wolves are hungry for ‘new new new!!!’.  That’s not the point.  The point is whether these cameras are improvements over their previous counterparts.  Consensus seems to be that the D4 is marginally better than the D3, and the D800, while NOT being as good in low-light from the D700, is a major breakthough for Nikon in MP count.  I don’t think anyone’s debating Nikon sales – that would be ridiculous.  You won’t be able to buy these cameras for months.  But whether you SHOULD buy these cameras is always a healthy debate for those who DON’T have their head up their ass.  And thus this forum.

      • Headsup says

        Thanks for heads up Tim ,, even though you are talking a load of shit. eg

        ” The D4 is marginally better than the D3 ” WTF ! shows how much you know.

        Hey i can see a few trees now

      • Voteofconfidence says

        If the D4 is a marginal improvement over the D3, then it is clearly not the
        camera for you (consensus??? – made me lol, maybe for photographers who didn’t need the D3 in the first place). If you cannot find a need for a D800, the camera is
        clearly not for you.

        Not sure what you like to take photos of, but you sure as hell like to whinge! The only benefit your comments have is in putting a sign above your head saying I am an ignorant amateur photographer.

  15. Mohammed Homoud says

    I think it’s time people start comparing the D800 to its real competitors (medium format cameras).

  16. Dooman51 says

    Its really hard to read all this dribble from self professed experts, its horses for courses. How about you learn how to take a photo using the equipment you have first, be it Canon or Nikon. In this day and age anyone can press a button on one of these cameras and take a great shot. There is very few people in the world that can truely say they can get the best out of any camera through skill alone. The longer the digital revolution goes on the more so called experts crawl out spouting brand war and megapixel count. They complain about lack of megapixels, now too many megapixels. How about if you want a good low light camera you buy a D3s and if you want a portable studio based camera buy a D800. Sound logical. If you like your D700 so much keep it if you think its better. If you think Canon’s new 5d3 is the way to go… Off you go. I suggest you just take photos with what you have I’m sure there is something on it you haven’t mastered yet.

    • sfteague says

      Dooman51, you make valid points.  I will readily put myself in the category of photographer that has much to learn, and say that the biggest opportunity for improvement in my images will come from refining skills that are unrelated to technology.  I would like to remind you though that — just as being a “photographer” doesn’t encapsulate you as a person — our endless discussion about brand wars or the technical superiority of one camera versus another does not necessarily imply a belief that the best way to get a great image is to get the latest greatest camera.  It’s entirely possible to have enough photo-nerd in you to get overly excited about the number of autofocus points or pixels in a new camera, overspend unnecessarily on that tool, and then wake up the next morning to resume improving on those more-important areas of being a successful photographer.  :)

      • sfteague says

         By the way, I didn’t mean to imply that the D800 won’t be awesome.  Based on announced specs and sample images, I think it will be a big win for Nikon and a great fit for many photographers.

    • Doormat says

      Most of all Dooman51 the worst dribble in this article is yours ..and whining about photographers who have posted in this article whom you know nothing about. A two year old could of made the same assumptions you have, for all we know you might not be a photographer at all. 

      If we look at what this article is about and that is Nikons D800, D800E and not all the other conjecture that’s is going on in this article Nikon again has produced a winner.

      I like KR’s summation of the D800, D800E

      – 
      The Nikon D800 has over twice as many pixels as the new Nikon D4, for one-half the price, and is the lightest full-frame digital camera ever made by Nikon. 

      – 
      With a 36.3 MP FX sensor, the highest resolution of any 35mm-based DSLR in the entire history of mankind, and lighter than the D700 

    • Doug says

      You da man! Photography is a ‘fun thing’ people do to capture the moment and relive it every time they look at the image. The camera makers are always exploring the latest avenues as newer technology evolves. Some times the manufacturers get it right and sometimes they get it wrong. That fact defines evolution. The critics are a valuable source if properly mined for positive evolution. We live in a spectacular time of technological advances in so many areas. Stopping to remember that from time to time will get us back on track. I’m excited about what the manufactures produce and the photos that many of YOU take are nothing short of spectacular. Keep up the critiques but not so much that the joy of photograph is lost.  

  17. VanKou says

    I think this camera would be great for those who shoot medium format digital, especially the version without the aliasing filter.  You get high resolution, higher sharpness without the filter for 3.3K US$. What you don’t get is 16 bit processing and superior noise performance, which is not something the medium format people are getting anyway.  The price differential is huge.

    But for someone who is shooting 35mm, I am not sure if it is the right choice.  My 2c

  18. K-a-anderson says

    nikon and canon here in austrakia is like ford and holden cars. i wouldn’t say one is better than the other .it boils down to what suites you. as far as  sports action goes canon is not in the same race as nikon [yet] most wedding photographers i know use canon, i photograph horse sports such as cutting i prefer the nikons for this.for there hi iso and speed.

    • Johncarter says

      Here in New Zealand its the other way round with Nikon and Canon, Canon is used by mostly sports photographers and Nikon is preferred for Wedding photographers.

      My favourite wedding photographer is a Nikon shooter.

      http://www.ryanbrenizer.com/

  19. Androidbean says

    If you want an upgrade to the Nikon D700 get the Canon 5D III.

    If you want a high res camera with lower light capabilities get the D800e.

  20. Tyrantt316 says

    Wow. With these responses, you would think the Nikon D800 produced jet black pictures. I find it hard to believe that so many professional photographers can’t look past a few spec differences to still produce great shots which in the end is more about what you do with the camera

  21. Johnjackson says

    No way that Brand X can surpass Brand Y. They are not even in the same ball park. Brand X’s images look soft and when the NR kicks in they look like plastic. I’m a loyal user of Brand Y and I have all their lenses and have spent thousands so I know! If I total up all the time I’ve fought stupid Brand X owners on the forums it would amount to a few weeks of time I could have been dong something else, sure. But I have set those bums over in Oceania straight. Once and for all. Doubleplusgood and real horrorshow.

  22. Odaddyo says

    D800 samples are flat when compared to MF….  don’t kid yourself….  I ordered the D4 and D800 on day one….  canceling D800 after much thought…  I already shoot with Hassy Digital….  I’ll put the money toward a Hassy lens

  23. phil says

     i n now using 2 units D3s, i sold D700 2 units , i like D700 but i have
    to sale it cos i n not camera collector. D3s is amazing gear. But , any
    latest tecnology or product must be in good result!
    if u r capable why not to ” ADD ” new one? Dont simply comment any which u just ony guess!
    try n experience it, u will feel the different, i believe it will bring great reasult.
    by the way,any ” bonus ” or ” gain ” as u comment after the 100 % crop??? why need to crop 100% ???
    before shooting, frame the picture in our mind. so the outcome will b beter…
    if nikon offer me good price D800 , i will great to add…..tq

  24. hstrongbow521 says

    Canon and Nikon make outstanding cameras to a quality way beyond the capability of your average photographer being able to exploit their full potential. The D800 images, for a full frame camera are nothing short of astounding and so far in a league of their own. I use a digital Hasselblad for some of my work (39MP) and the sample images from Nikon are slightly below the quality I would expect from the Hasselblad. However, for most applications I could easily use the D800 to replace the Hasselblad and nobody would notice the difference. That amounts to replacing £15,000 worth of equipment with an investment of £3,000 with the added bonus of much better noise control at elevated ISO. Nikon has an unrivalled pedigree in overcoming that supposed constant of signal to noise ratio and Canon is not far behind – particularly in recent years. I do not predict a stampede towards or away from Nikon because of this camera because brand loyalty is strong for both makes and other considerations such investment in lenses and accessories is also another driver in determining whether you change or not. I do foresee quite a lot of high-end professionals that normally use medium format digital cameras switch to using full frame cameras with high pixel count over the next couple of years and whether that change is to Nikon or Canon will be down to brand loyalty and not for the reasons that hobbyists often argue about.

  25. SLRist says

    Buy a D800 and get a D7000 for free! Just set it into crop mode. Nice one for the landscape ‘togs who like a spot of wildlife photography on the side. My D700 is already on eBay and I have my D800 on order. Really though – the main reason I;m moving from the D700 is for the improved DR, metering and AF performance, plus it will be a nice perk to have video capability for the odd interview. The resolution improvement is great if you want high ISO shots – you can downsample an ISO 6400 shot at 36MP shot into a very low noise 9MP shot. Perfect!

  26. Lehmann Rainer says

    Now it turns out that the D800 is better overall than the D4, better than the D700 anyway. (D&O labs, France). Noisewise it’s quite bettter than the D700, and equals practilcally the D4 !! Any other comments are wrong.

  27. GeorgeZeaiter says

    Can we please be practical here people ? If you are a photographer that needs ISO in the six digit, you’re probably going to be taking pictures of bloody stars, pin points of light – light years away. The MINUTE a photographer who knows he shoots in extreme low-light sees the d800’s 25600 ISO LIMIT is going to say NO to this camera. 

    Say a wedding photographer (half of who’s situations are gonna be average low-light) gets the d800, he isn’t going to NEED to boost his ISO to more than 1600 (I have assisted at weddings, and took great low noise, non flash photos on my d7000 at around 800 ISO). From my research into the sample shots of the d800 at high ISO, most professionals who’s comments I have read – start getting annoyed when they pump the ISO to 2000, and realistically, an everyday client isn’t gonna realise the noise until it hits 6000. My d800 is ordered, and from 4 years of experience, I can tell my personal use (which i’m sure is pretty standard) of landscape, wedding, portrait, wildlife etc, will never present me with a situation where I will need more than 2000 ISO realistically. My summaries are – 1. Anyone that knows they constantly deal with six digit ISO should not even be looking at this camera2. Comparing the d800 to the d700 is like comparing a bugatti veyron to a porsche 911, d800 is more beast (mp) but the d700 is more precision (low-light performance). You’re not gonna try and hit 253 m/ph in a 911, and you’re not gonna stay perfectly in a line in a hairpin turn in a bugatti. 3. People being upset about it’s low-light performance in comparison to the d3s are stupid. The large mp = worse light intake lesson is basic.4. I see the d800 being used in absolute perfection in the studio, in controlled light situations, to rival hasselblads and phase ones. Using the d800 outside of the studio at an ISO no greater than 2000, and an f-stop no greater than like 16, is still going to give pretty phenomenal shots. 5. The only people that shouldn’t be switching to the d800 should be sports (you’ll want the d4) and extreme low light, e.g time lapse (you’ll want the d3s)I am a 17 yr old enthusiast, who finally wants to make the move to full frame, and shoots in fairly standard situations. I hope this helps others in my position. 

    • SLRist says

      Actually, I think you’ll find that the high ISO ability is noticeably better on the D800 than the D700 once you’re looking at a print of the same dimensions. The only thing the D700 has over the D800 is frame rate. That’s it. This camera will be awesome for wedding togs and fashion togs and anyone else who has a moderately capable computer to process and store the images. My wedding was shot with a Nikon D100 and D200 and the photos were perfectly acceptable to my wife and her mother. What photographers have come to demand and what their clients are happy with gets further apart all the time. A sense of perspective would be awfully helpful. Post-processed ISO 6400 shots on the D800 look absolutely awesome. If you’re telling me anyone ever *needs* more then ISO 6400 for a wedding, I will say “bullshit”. The only possible reason I can imagine why you might is if you’ve bought some crappy cheap f/3-5-5.6 zoom lens, but that’s not the fault of the camera.

  28. Mvsheat says

    fuck canon     it’s been wack all they got now is the best point & Shoot    Nikon    Killed  it Bless

  29. leo says

    sorry, but the crops look rather unusable. They are BAD!

    I was considering this camera, but thanks for such a post, this surely takes it off my list.  maybe Sigma, or Phase One

  30. moe says

    All the whiners and people bitchin that their d700 and what not are just sore losers crying cuz they can’t get their hands on the new d800 or can’t afford it…cuz they invested in their previous models…So I say STFU! If you don’t like it don’t buy it!

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