Nikon D800 and Nikon D800e DSLRs: Awesome, but are they right for you?

Nikon D800 and Nikon D800e DSLRs: Awesome, but are they right for you?

Nikon’s worst kept secrets, the and were, dare I say finally, announced yesterday. At 36MP and $3,000, it blows the doors off the raw pixel-per-dollar performance of Nikon’s flagship Nikon D3X – an $8K camera with lower resolution that uses older technology. And Nikon has amped up the video capability by leaps and bounds on the D800 and D800e. But is one of them the right camera for you…

First and foremost, if you’ve been trying to shoot serious video, you should run, not walk, to place a (also NPS priority instructions went out yesterday, so if you didn’t receive yours give them a call).

Conversely, if you rely on the speed of your current D3 or even D300s or D700, the may be a  letdown, and quite possibly not fast enough for your work. It is only 4fps in full-frame (FX) mode, although if you want to reduce it to the image size (16MP) of the D7000 by running in DX mode, it pops up a little to 5fps, and with a vertical grip with the right batteries, it’ll stretch to 6fps in DX mode.

At 36MP, the will also have a hard time matching the low-light performance of the D3S, let alone the D4. So for those needing the ultimate light-gathering from each pixel, higher-resolution isn’t always better.

On the plus side, the and feature plenty of upgrades based on the newer technology found in the D4, including the 91K pixel RGB metering sensor 3.2 inch 921K pixel LCD and Expeed 3 processor – giving it a similar startup time at .12 seconds, along with the updated autofocus module and sensors. Its ISO range is a throwback, however, running up to 6400 before the Hi modes allow kicking it up to 25,600. That’s to be expected from the ultra-high resolution and corresponding small pixel size.

The control layout is more similar to the newer and Nikon D4 than to the older D3 and previous style. As is typical with Nikon it appears there is yet another new vertical grip, the MB-D12. Soon many of us will have as many vertical grips as we have battery chargers!

New VIdeo Features

The D800 can 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 has the option of simultaneous Live View output using external monitors while recording uncompressed video through its HDMI terminal. You can bypass the dual CF & SD memory card slots to record your video directly onto a computer or external drive. Like the D4 it offers an external microphone input and the ability to monitor through headphones.

and Sample Images

Nikon has placed a gallery of , from both the and . Of course, samples are typically carefully crafted to bring out the best in the camera, but they are certainly very, very impressive, viewed online at least.

So if you want the ultimate Nikon for videographers or dripping detail for your studio or fine art work, the is for you. If you want the ultimate in sharpness and can live without the anti-moire (low pass) filter common in most DSLRs, then spend the extra $299 and get the – side by side comparisions show that dumping the low pass filter is a great idea 99% of the time, although the other 1% small patterns can cause artifacting. But if you’re looking for a high-speed action camera, or low-light monster, then save your pennies for a or keep waiting for the next DLSR to roll off the line. The great news is that we’re getting some great new DSLR options from Nikon after a couple years of drooling about leaks and rumors.