Details emerge on Nikon D800, Nikon 55-300mm now $247

Details continue to emerge about the expected Nikon D800. Reportedly a couple shooters have early versions and are confirming that the camera will indeed feature a 36MP full-frame sensor, while being smaller than the D700. At first this seems a little looney, as such a high-resolution camera is unlikely to be able to match the low noise capability the D3/D3s/D700 pack of full-frame sensor cameras have come to be known for. But maybe Nikon is crazy like a fox…

If we look at the resolution of the excellent , it is 16MP shoe-horned into a DX format sensor. Full-frame, or FX, is 50% larger on each side. That means that an FX sensor as over twice the area of a DX sensor – making a full frame 36MP sensor the same pixel density as is found in the D7000. Couple that with another two years of innovation in electronics, and it is entirely plausible that the D800 will have similar, or perhaps slightly better, noise characteristics than the D7000.

Of course, that isn’t as good as the noise rejection in the D700 or D3, and nowhere near as good as the D3s, so unless Nikon has some serious magic up its sleeve in the sensor department, those hoping for the quality of a D3s sensor in a smaller form factor (me, for one!) are likely to be very disappointed. Similarly, the new Nikon D800 is rumored to be only 4fps, a step down for those used to any of the D3 family or even the 6fps or the 5 fps.

The camera is supposed to feature Nikon’s high-end Auto-focus system, but with a 4fps frame rate, it won’t win many fans among action shooters in any case. And then there is the price. The Nikon D800 is rumored to price out at $3,900. That is almost exactly three times the price of a , and over $1,000 more than a . For studio, catalog and portrait shooters who need to squeeze the last bit of resolution out of their cameras, the nearly $4K price tag may well be worth it, but for most photographers, unless they just want the rush of saying they have a 36MP camera, it’s hard to see a big rush to purchase.

Video recording will be improved on the D800, which makes sense as Nikon is still playing catchup with Canon in that area. Of course all this is still in the rumor stage, and with the lingering effects of the tsunami in Japan and the current flooding in Thailand resulting in delays to the D800, there might well be more changes in store before the time it is actually available.

New low price on

Nikon 55-300mm AF-S VR LensIn the meantime, Nikon has dropped the price on its budget-priced . Midway between the entry level 55-200mm and the pricier , the 55-300mm was under-loved at its previous $400 price. With a through this Saturday, 11/26, though, it is a better buy than the 55-200, and a great low-cost product for those who want to dip their toe into wildlife or outdoor sports photography without stepping into the or an even more costly upscale alternative like the .