Just Out – Nikon D800 & D800E

By Allan Weitz
Published Tue, 2012-02-07 00:01

When Nikon introduced the D700, in July 2008, many Nikon aficionados were thrilled to be able to purchase a full-frame Nikon DSLR for about half the price of Nikon’s heftier and pricier D3-series Just Out – Nikon D800 & D800Ecameras. That said, it looks like Nikon is about to make a lot of people even happier this time around.

The new Nikon D800 is downright impressive across the board, starting with its 36.3-megapixel FX-format CMOS sensor. Thanks to improvements in sensor technologies, the new sensor features large 4.88μm pixels, which in concert with the D800’s EXPEED 3 imaging processor, allows the sensor to capture full-bodied image files with plenty of detail in the shadows, highlights and every tone in between.

In addition to robust JPEG, RAW, and JPEG+RAW still capture, the D800 can also capture cinema-like Full HD 1080p video @ 30 or 24 frames per second in H.264/MPEG AVC format in both FX and DX imaging formats. The D800 also affords you the option of simultaneous Live View output using external monitors while recording uncompressed video via HDMI terminal. You can also bypass the camera’s dual memory card slots (CF and SD) and record your video directly onto your computer or an external drive.

Compared to earlier video-enabled DSLRs, the D800 displays far fewer rolling shutter effects, which makes it easier to capture moving and rotating subjects, or when panning the camera while capturing Just Out – Nikon D800 & D800Ea video sequence. The D800 also utilizes B-frame data compression, which allows for lighter files without loss of image quality. Lastly, the D800 features a Multi-Area Full HD D-Movie Video recording mode for recording video in FX or DX-formats at Full HD 1080p @ 30 /24p in a 16:9 aspect ratio.

Another broadcast-quality feature found on the D800 is a built-in external microphone input that accepts the optional 20-increment Nikon ME-1 stereo microphone. As icing on the cake, you can monitor the audio quality using headphones that you can plug into the camera’s audio port, just like the big boys.

Nikon has always been recognized as having one of the most accurate metering systems on the market, and here, too, the D800 shines with a 91,000-pixel 3D Color Matrix Metering III System that features an advanced Scene Recognition System that enables face recognition (up to eight faces) through the camera’s optical viewfinder, along with improved exposure, white balance detection, autofocus performance and i-TTL flash exposures.

In the performance department, Nikon’s D800 features a 51-point AF systeJust Out – Nikon D800 & D800Em with four Dynamic AF modes and 3D Focus Tracking, up to four-frame-per-second still capture in FX mode, an HDR capture mode that captures two images and combines them for up to a 3 EV exposure advantage, dual Live View modes (Photography Live View and Movie Live View) and up to 900 exposures per battery charge. The ISO range of the D800 goes from 100 to 6400, and is expandable to 25600.

For composing and reviewing stills and video, Nikon’s D800 features a bright optical pentaprism that displays 100% of the image area, as does the camera’s 3.2-inch 921,000-dot LCD, which allows you to zoom in up to 46x for critical focus checking.

In addition to the standard D800, Nikon is also introducing a special edition version—the Nikon D800E—which features a low-pass filter without anti-aliasing properties to facilitate maximum sharpness levels when shooting RAW files.

The Nikon D800E is best used when the subject can be lit and photographed at a distance that mitigates the risk of moiré patterns common to fashion and textile photography.

Nikon’s new D800 and D800E are thoroughly compatible with all current and many older-generation Nikkor optics.

Imaging Sensor CMOS
Total Pixels 36.8 million
Effective Pixels 36.3 million
Image Sensor 35.9 × 24.0 mm CMOS sensor (Nikon FX format)
Dust Reduction System Image sensor cleaning, Image Dust Off reference data (requires optional Capture NX
2 software)
Image Size (Pixels) • FX format (36×24): 7,360 × 4,912 (L), 5,520 × 3,680 (M), 3,680 × 2,456 (S)
• 1.2× (30×20): 6,144 × 4,080 (L), 4,608 × 3,056 (M), 3,072 × 2,040 (S)
• DX format (24×16): 4,800 × 3,200 (L), 3,600 × 2,400 (M), 2,400 × 1,600 (S)
• 5:4 (30×24): 6,144 × 4,912 (L), 4,608 × 3,680 (M), 3,072 × 2,456 (S)
• FX-format photographs taken in movie live view*: 6,720 × 3,776 (L), 5,040 × 2,832
(M), 3,360 × 1,888 (S)
• DX-format photographs taken in movie live view*: 4,800 × 2,704 (L), 3,600 × 2,024
(M), 2,400 × 1,352 (S)*Photographs taken in movie live view have an aspect ratio of 16:9; A DX-based format is used for photographs
taken using the DX (24×16) image area; an FX-based format is used for all other photographs
File Format • NEF (RAW): 12 or 14 bit, lossless compressed, compressed or uncompressed
• TIFF (RGB) • JPEG: JPEG-Baseline compliant with fine (approx. 1:4), normal
(approx. 1:8) or basic (approx. 1:16) compression (Size priority); Optimal quality
compression available • NEF (RAW)+JPEG: Single photograph recorded in both
NEF (RAW) and JPEG formats
Picture Control System Can be selected from Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait, Landscape;
selected Picture Control can be modified; storage for custom Picture Controls
Media SD (Secure Digital) and UHS-I compliant SDHC and SDXC memory cards; Type I
CompactFlash memory cards (UDMA compliant)
Dual card slots Either card can be used for primary or backup storage or for separate storage of
NEF (RAW) and JPEG images; pictures can be copied between cards
File system DCF (Design Rule for Camera File System) 2.0, DPOF (Digital Print Order Format),
Exif (Exchangeable Image File Format for Digital Still Cameras) 2.3, PictBridge
Viewfinder Eye-level pentaprism single-lens reflex viewfinder
Frame coverage • FX (36×24): Approx. 100% horizontal and 100% vertical • 1.2× (30×20): Approx.
97% horizontal and 97% vertical • DX (24×16): Approx. 97% horizontal and 97%
vertical • 5:4 (30×24): Approx. 97% horizontal and 100% vertical
Magnification Approx. 0.7× (50 mm f/1.4 lens at infinity, -1.0 m-1)
Eyepoint 17 mm (-1.0 m-1; from center surface of viewfinder eyepiece lens)
Diopter adjustment -3 to +1 m-
Focusing screen Type B BriteView Clear Matte Mark VIII screen with AF area brackets and framing grid
Reflex mirror Quick return
Depth-of-field preview When depth-of-field preview button is pressed, lens aperture is stopped down to value selected by user (A and M modes) or by camera (P and S modes).
Lens aperture Instant return, electronically controlled
Lenses  Compatible with AF NIKKOR lenses, including type G and D lenses (some restrictions apply to PC-NIKKOR lenses), DX lenses [using DX (24×16) image area], AI-P NIKKOR lenses, and non-CPU AI lenses (exposure modes A and M only). IX NIKKOR lenses, lenses for the F3AF, and non-AI lenses cannot be used. The electronic rangefinder can be used with lenses that have a maximum aperture of f/5.6 or faster, employing eleven focus points with lenses that have a maximum aperture of f/8 or faster.
Shutter Electronically controlled, vertical travel focal-plane shutter
Speeds 1/8,000 to 30 sec. in steps of 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV, bulb, X250
Flash Sync Speed X=1/250 sec.; synchronizes with shutter at 1/320 s or slower (flash range drops at speeds between 1/250 and 1/320 s)
Release modes S (single frame), CL (continuous low speed), CH (continuous high speed), Q (quiet shutter-release), (self-timer), MUP (mirror up)
Frame advance rate  • With EN-EL15 batteries
(FX/5:4) CL: approx. 1 to 4 fps, CH: approx. 4 fps, (DX/1.2×) CL: approx. 1 to 5 fps,
CH: approx. 5 fps
• Other power sources
(FX/5:4) CL: approx. 1 to 4 fps, CH: approx. 4 fps, (1.2×) CL: approx. 1 to 5 fps, CH:
approx. 5 fps, (DX) CL: approx. 1 to 5 fps, CH: approx. 6 fps
Self-timer 2 sec., 5 sec., 10 sec., 20 sec.; 1 to 9 exposures at intervals of 0.5, 1, 2 or 3 sec.
Metering TTL exposure metering using 91K-pixel RGB sensor
Metering method • Matrix: 3D color matrix metering III (type G and D lenses); color matrix metering
III (other CPU lenses); color matrix metering available with non-CPU lenses if user
provides lens data • Center-weighted: Weight of 75% given to 12-mm circle in
center of frame; diameter of circle can be changed to 8, 15 or 20 mm, or weighting
can be based on average of entire frame (non-CPU lenses use 12mm circle
or average of entire frame) • Spot: Meters 4mm circle (about 1.5% of frame)
centered on selected focus point (on center focus point when non-CPU lens is used)
Range (ISO 100, f/1.4 lens, 68°F/20°C) • Matrix or center-weighted metering: 0 to 20 EV
• Spot metering: 2 to 20 EV
Exposure meter coupling Combined CPU and AI
Exposure modes Programmed auto with flexible program (P); shutter-priority auto (S); aperturepriority
auto (A); manual (M)
Exposure compensation -5 to +5 EV in increments of 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV
Exposure bracketing 2 to 9 frames in steps of 1/3, 1/2, 2/3 or 1 EV
Exposure lock Luminosity locked at detected value with AE-L/AF-L button
ISO sensitivity(Recommended Exposure Index) ISO 100 to 6400 in steps of 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV; can also be set to approx. 0.3, 0.5, 0.7
or 1 EV (ISO 50 equivalent) below ISO 100 or to approx. 0.3, 0.5, 0.7, 1 or 2 EV (ISO
25600 equivalent) above ISO 6400; auto ISO sensitivity control available
Active D-Lighting Can be selected from auto, extra high, high, normal, low or off
Autofocus Nikon Advanced Multi-CAM 3500FX autofocus sensor module with TTL phase detection,
fine-tuning, 51 focus points (including 15 cross-type sensors; f/8 supported by 11 central
sensors), and AF-assist illuminator (range approx. 1 ft 8 in. to 9 ft 10 in./0.5 to 3 m)
Detection range 2 to +19 EV (ISO 100, 68°F/20°C)
Lens servo • Autofocus (AF): Single-servo AF (AF-S); continuous-servo AF (AF-C); predictive
focus tracking automatically activated according to subject status • Manual focus
(M): Electronic rangefinder can be used
Focus point Can be selected from 51 or 11 focus points
AF-area modes Single-point AF, 9-, 21- or 51-point dynamic-area AF, 3D-tracking, auto-area AF
Focus lock Focus can be locked by pressing shutter-release button halfway (single-servo AF)
or by pressing AE-L/AF-L button
Built-in flash Manual pop-up with button release and a guide number of approx. 39/12, 39/12
with manual flash (ft/m, ISO 100, 68°F/20°C)
Flash control TTL: i-TTL flash control using 91K-pixel RGB sensor is available with built-in flash
and SB-910, SB-900, SB-800, SB-700, SB-600 or SB-400; i-TTL balanced fill-flash
for digital SLR is used with matrix and center-weighted metering, standard i-TTL
flash for digital SLR with spot metering
Flash modes Front-curtain sync, slow sync, rear-curtain sync, red-eye reduction, red-eye
reduction with slow sync, slow rear-curtain sync; auto FP high-speed sync
Flash compensation -3 to +1 EV in increments of 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV
Flash bracketing 2 to 9 frames in steps of 1/3, 1/2, 2/3 or 1 EV
Flash-ready indicator Lights when built-in flash or optional flash unit is fully charged; blinks after flash is fired at full output
Accessory shoe ISO 518 hot-shoe with sync and data contacts and safety lock
Nikon Creative Advanced
Lighting System (CLS
SB-700 as a master flash and SB-600 or SB-R200 as remotes, or SU-800 as
commander; built-in flash can serve as master flash in commander mode; auto FP
high-speed sync and modeling illumination supported with all CLS-compatible flash units except SB-400; Flash Color Information Communication and FV lock supported
with all CLS-compatible flash units
Sync terminal ISO 519 sync terminal with locking thread
White balance Auto (2 types), incandescent, fluorescent (7 types), direct sunlight, flash, cloudy,
shade, preset manual (up to 4 values can be stored) and color temperature setting
(2,500 K to 10,000 K); fine-tuning available for all options
White balance bracketing 2 to 9 frames in steps of 1, 2 or 3
Modes Live view photography (still images), movie live view (movi
Lens servo • Autofocus (AF): Single-servo AF (AF-S); full-time servo AF (AF-F) • Manual focus (M)
AF-area modes Face-priority AF, wide-area AF, normal-area AF, subject-tracking AF
Autofocus  Contrast-detect AF anywhere in frame (camera selects focus point automatically
when face-priority AF or subject-tracking AF is selected
Movie Metering TTL exposure metering using main image sensor
Frame size (pixels) and frame rate 1,920 × 1,080; 30p, 25p, 24p • 1,280 × 720; 60p, 50p, 30p, 25p; actual frame rates
for 60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, and 24p are 59.94, 50, 29.97, 25, and 23.976 fps respectively;
options support both high and normal image quality
File format MOV
Video compression H.264/MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding
Audio recording format Linear PCM
Audio recording device Built-in monaural or external stereo microphone; sensitivity adjustable
Movie options Index marking, time-lapse photography
Monitor 3.2-in. (8-cm), approx. 921k-dot (VGA) TFT LCD with 170° viewing angle, approx.
100% frame coverage, and automatic monitor brightness control using ambient
brightness sensor
Playback Full-frame and thumbnail (4, 9 or 72 images) playback with playback zoom, movie
playback, photo and/or movie slide shows, highlights, histogram display, auto
image rotation, and image comment (up to 36 characters)
USB SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.0 Micro-B connector)
HDMI output Type C mini-pin HDMI connector; can be used simultaneously with camera monitor
Audio input Stereo mini-pin jack (3.5-mm diameter)
Audio output Stereo mini-pin jack (3.5-mm diameter)
10-pin remote terminal Can be used to connect optional remote control, GP-1 GPS Unit or GPS device
compliant with NMEA0183 version 2.01 or 3.01 (requires optional MC-35 GPS
Adapter Cord and cable with D-sub 9-pin connector)
Supported languages Arabic, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish,
French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish,
Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian
Battery One EN-EL15 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery
Battery pack Optional MB-D12 Multi-Power Battery Pack with one EN-EL15/EN-EL18* Rechargeable
Li-ion Battery or eight R6/AA-size alkaline, Ni-MH or lithium batteries
*Requires BL-5 Battery Chamber Cover (available separately
AC adapter EH-5b AC Adapter; requires EP-5B Power Connector (available separately)
Tripod socket 1/4 in. (ISO 1222)
Dimensions (W × H × D) Approx. 5.7 × 4.8 × 3.2 in./146 × 123 × 81.5 mm
Weight Approx. 2 lb 3.3 oz /1,000 g with battery and SD memory card but without body cap;
approx. 1 lb 15.7 oz / 900 g (camera body only)
Operating environment Temperature: 32 to 104°F / 0 to 40°C; humidity: less than 85% (no condensation)

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