Nikon launch the D800!

2012 is shaping up to be a very exciting year for Nikon users and there are bound to be many happy photographers waking up today to the long-awaited announcement of the D800 and D800E this morning. Yesterday we eagerly attended Nikon's pre-launch preview event and were lucky enough to get our hands on this really exciting new camera. As per usual, lets take a quick look at the key D800 specs first...


  • 36.3 megapixel FX-format CMOS sensor
  • A standard ISO range of 100-6400, extendable up to 25600 and to as low as ISO 50
  • Next-generation EXPEED3 image processing engine
  • Full HD 1080p movie capability with many of the same revolutionary video features as found in the Nikon D4
  • 3.2? 921k dot resolution LCD screen (also the same as on the D4)
  • Dual card slots: one for CF cards and one for SD cards
A view from above of the Nikon D800

The D800 definitely lives up to its tagline: "the Big Picture". With a groundbreaking 36.3 megapixels, the imaging potential is certainly promising. We were able to have a quick hands-on with the D800 at the event yesterday and even in the short time we spent with it, the image quality was clearly outstanding. When shooting in DX mode, the effective megapixels are expected to be around the 15.4 mark, which is impressive in its own right given that the highly-acclaimed D7000 boasts 16.2 megapixels.

In a continuing theme with the D800, some of the most exciting features of Nikon's flagship digital SLR have been incorporated into the latest model. The D800 is equipped with the same processing power as Nikon's flagship D4: the EXPEED 3 image processing engine, which is able to process information nearly instantly.

One area where this is most evident is in the D800's video shooting capabilities. The D700 has had a major upgrade in this department, going from zero to hero with full 1080p movie recording and incorporating many of the additional video features that got lots of photographers excited about the D4, including 30/25/24 frame rate options at full HD, the inclusion of a movie-record button next to the shutter release, sound level monitoring, headphone out port, the same time-lapse photography function and the ability to export a clean HDMI feed whilst shooting.

The back of the Nikon D800

As you'll notice in the comparison table below, the broad ISO range in the D800 has barely improved on what was offered in the D700 and the frame rate has actually reduced. While wildlife and sports photographers may be disappointed with this, it would seem that Nikon have chosen to focus their efforts on ultra high-resolution stills and video capture in the D800 and as such there obviously needs to be balance between achieving such large file sizes and how smoothly they can be handled. For photographers requiring mind-blowing frame rates, Nikon's flagship DSLR is more than capable of that job :)

The D800E

The Nikon D800E with the new MB-D12 Battery Grip attached

Nikon simultaneously announced a special edition version of the D800: the D800E. Designed specifically for high end commercial photographers who require increased detail, the D800E has a modified optical filter with anti-aliasing properties removed. As with many medium format sensors this increases the occurance of moire and false colour and Nikon's Capture NX2 post-processing software will mitigate this effect.

In Comparison: D4 vs D800 vs D700

  D4 D800 D700
Megapixels 16.2 36.3 12.1
ISO range 100-12800 100-6400 200-6400
Max extendable ISO 50-204800 50-25600 100-25600
HD Video 1080p 1080p No
Autofocus 51-point 51-point 51-point
FPS 11 4 5
Screen (dot resolution) 3.2" LCD (922k) 3.2" LCD (921k) 3.0" LCD(920K)
Weight* 1180g 900g 995g

*approximate body only weight (without battery or memory cards)

Sample Images

We’ve sourced four sample images from Nikon (original source here or click through on the individual images) for a first look at what the D800 can produce. More sample images will be added here as they become available.

D800E - 1/400 sec at f/8, ISO 100. Taken with an AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II Lens. © ????, courtesy of Nikon
D800 - 1 sec at f/8, ISO 100. Taken with an AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Lens. © Benjamin Antony Monn, courtesy of Nikon
D800 - 1/400 sec at f/8, ISO 320. Taken with an AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Lens. © Jim Brandenburg, courtesy of Nikon
D800 - 1/200 sec at f/4.5, ISO 640. Taken with an AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II Lens. © Cliff Mautner, courtesy of Nikon

If you'd like to find out more about the Nikon D800, the product tour video below goes through more of the features and is well worth watching...


The Nikon D800 is expected to be available in late March 2012 and can be pre-ordered at Wex for £2,599*.

The D800E is expected to be available in mid April 2012 and can also be pre-ordered at Wex for £2,899*.

*price as at 26th March 2012, subject to change