PROS / This camera has a wide ISO range and a superior AF point system when compared to other professional DSLRs.
CONS / HDR mode only takes two pictures instead of three. The dynamic range isn’t as great as it would be if you took three exposures.
VERDICT / The 35-megapixel, full-body sensor captures loads of detail and the dynamic range is impressive. This is a solid choice for DSLR cameras.
Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been discontinued, has been replaced by another product. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
The Nikon D800 is one of the few professional DSLR cameras in the Nikon line that comes with a full-frame FX sensor. The D800 is more affordable than the other series from Nikon, has a high megapixel count - which can be good and bad - and is priced similarly to other cameras in its class though it only shoots four images a second. However, at the end of the day, you will appreciate the power and capabilities of this camera.
This DSLR camera has a 36.3-megapixel sensor that captures amazing detail and features significant depth of field. However, megapixels aren’t everything, and this is made clear with the file size of the images. This high-resolution camera may clog up your computer and memory card and slow the workflow with each picture you take. Overall, the D800 captures detailed images, which is great if you are into landscape photography, but you may need to consider whether the large file sizes are detrimental to your photography needs.
You can shoot up to four images per second with the Nikon D800, which is slower than comparable cameras. The Autofocus is fast, utilizing a 51-point focus system and 15 cross-type sensors. This feature is especially useful when shooting fast-moving subjects, such as a goalie jumping for a soccer ball. The fastest shutter speed is 1/8000 of a second, and the slowest is 30 seconds, in steps of one-third stop. The flash sync is a terrific 1/250 of a second.
The ISO starts at 100, goes up to 6,400 and is expandable to 24,500, making it great for shooting in low light without a tripod. Noise will be introduced into photos as you increase the ISO, but Nikon’s Expeed processor does great work with special noise reduction features to keep images relatively clean, especially when compared to similar cameras.
The Nikon D800 features a full-frame CMOS sensor measuring 36 x 24 mm - a great size for capturing photos, especially in low light. This is one of the more affordable Nikon professional DSLR cameras featuring an FX sensor. The D800 shares the same sensor as many other Nikon professional cameras and is nearly half the price.
The Nikon D800 professional DSLR also features 921,000 pixels on its color 3-inch VGA screen, making it an extremely high-resolution monitor. Furthermore, it offers you wide-angle viewing of 170 degrees. With this monitor, you can look through your photos, inspect the menus, make basic edits or use it for live viewing.
The Nikon D800 is strong and durable because it is made to last with magnesium-alloy, and it’s sealed to protect it from bad weather and dust – the Achilles’ heel of any camera. It doesn’t feel like a cheap, plastic, entry-level camera. Rather, it's a solid, professional DSLR camera.
The buttons and switches are all in comfortable, familiar areas on the D800 DSLR camera, making it easy to adjust exposure or others settings without looking away from the viewfinder. If you’re used to an entry-level DSLR, you'll notice a few extra buttons, but you'll adapt in no time. The viewfinder features 95% coverage, making it an excellent option for eyeing your shots before snapping the picture.
There are 54 customizable shot settings, including neutral, monochrome, standard and vivid, with the latter being excellent for capturing color. There are several white balance options, as well, including full manual, auto, cloudy, and incandescent. In-camera editing includes some basics, such as resize, red-eye correction, fisheye and more.
The D800 does have an HDR feature built into the camera; the drawback to this is it only takes two exposures - one normal and one over-exposed - and processes the camera. You won’t get the striking color, contrast and detail you would get with three different exposures, but if you want this, you will just have to take the exposures yourself and edit the pictures using photo editing software.
You can shoot up to 900 shots on a single battery charge, and the camera has a shutter life of 200,000 shots. These were some of the highest amounts in our lineup. The Nikon D800 uses CompactFlash memory cards.
Nikon offers several help and support options, including a resources page, user guide, a FAQs section and a one-year warranty. You can contact the company directly for technical support by telephone or email.
Overall, the Nikon D800 is a good FX, full-frame sensor camera. It features video, and is still a quality professional DSLR. The technology is definitely aging, as evidenced by its ability to only shoot four images per second, but this Nikon helps reduce noise on high ISO shots, has an HDR feature built into the camera and has a 51-point AF system.