Nikon D800 High ISO Image Samples

Our Russian friends at Ferra.ru have published the first Nikon D800 High ISO image samples. I am providing them here, because their website might get too busy and go down due to the high number of requests, just like Nikon’s websites did yesterday.

Preliminary analysis: the high ISO samples look really good. As expected, there is some noticeable noise at very high ISOs (see the ISO 25600 sample). But judging from what I am seeing, it looks like the noise levels are really good compared to what Nikon D700 produces. Down-sampled to 12 MP, the images look stunning (see the down-sampled versions below). Please note that the below images are JPEG, straight out of the camera. No noise-reduction has been applied and no image conversion took place.

If you have not yet pre-ordered the Nikon D800, now is the time to do it!

Nikon D800 High ISO Image Sample (1)

Link to download the image | Downsampled to 12 MP | Shutter Speed: 1/250, Aperture: f/1.8, ISO: 800
Photographer: Victor Zaykovskiy

Nikon D800 High ISO Image Sample (2)

Link to download the image | Downsampled to 12 MP | Shutter Speed: 1/320, Aperture: f/5.0, ISO: 6400
Photographer: Victor Zaykovskiy

Nikon D800 High ISO Image Sample (3)

Link to download the image | Downsampled to 12 MP | Shutter Speed: 1/3200, Aperture: f/2.2, ISO: 3200
Photographer: Victor Zaykovskiy

Nikon D800 High ISO Image Sample (4)

Link to download the image | Downsampled to 12 MP | Shutter Speed: 1/8000, Aperture: f/3.5, ISO: 25600
Photographer: Victor Zaykovskiy

Nikon D800 High ISO Image Sample (5)

Link to download the image | Shutter Speed: 1/160, Aperture: f/1.8, ISO: 100
Photographer: Victor Zaykovskiy

Compare the down-sampled versions of the above images to Nikon D700 High ISO Samples. The down-sampled version of the ISO 25600 shot looks way better than what the Nikon D700 produces!

Please note that the above shots are from a pre-production Nikon D800 camera. The image output might be even better with a production version of the camera.

All images were shot with the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G lens.

All images copyright Ferra.ru.

Comments

  1. 1
    ) Stoyan
    February 8, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Sounds great,

    but for me it is still early to say anything final for sure. :)

    Will get the camera when i see something more.

    • February 8, 2012 at 9:07 am

      Stoyan, you do not like what you are seeing? :)

      True, it is a little early, because the sample images above were taken from a pre-production sample of the Nikon D800.

  2. 3
    ) Matt
    February 8, 2012 at 9:15 am

    These samples look great.

    I currently have a D90 and have been thinking about upgrading to FX. I’m not sure if I’m ready to spend $3000 though. Do you think it would be worth it to try and pick up a used D700?

    • February 8, 2012 at 10:05 am

      Matt, the Nikon D700 is a phenomenal camera and it would be a huge step up from the Nikon D90. So yes, if you can find a used D700 for a good price then I would certainly recommend it!

    • February 8, 2012 at 10:27 am

      Matt, I wholeheartedly agree with Nasim. Coming from the D90, the D700 is a whole different world. It’s like working with a butter knife of a Shun Ken Onion series knife. Especially if you were happy with the resolution of the D90, I would recommend the D700.

      • 36
        ) Matt
        February 8, 2012 at 12:14 pm

        Thanks for your replies. I think i’m definitely going to look for a D700 at a decent price.

        • 90
          ) Valen
          February 9, 2012 at 12:50 am

          Why not go directly to D800?

          • 125
            ) Derp
            February 9, 2012 at 7:42 am

            He said that he didn’t have the money to offer 3000 on it, that’s why.

            And I agree, the D700 is a great camera.

            • 146
              ) Derpington
              February 10, 2012 at 4:07 am

              Mmmmmh…

              I have a D90 too, and have been thinking about upgrading to FX too…
              But when I see 36Mpx I’m afraid about the sensitivity and the size of a RAW…
              D700 and Canon 5DmkII are very attractive, the 5DmkII have one big advantage: movies in 1080p with 30fps (like the…D800).

              In few weeks, Canon will present his 5DmkIII / 5Dx… I think it will be huge!
              So wait and see.

    • 128
      ) ramicx
      February 9, 2012 at 10:12 am

      I,v got d700 for a long time, use it every day, on the street… its worth his price, and only think i’m thinking about new camera is video, but i’ll wait for lower prices :)
      U can check my photo blog http://ramicx.blogspot.com/ 90% pic is from D7oo, rest is from F80 ;p

  3. 4
    ) Maegan
    February 8, 2012 at 9:15 am

    For me buying was an easy choice as I am ready for full-frame and waited (&waited) for the D700 replacement before upgrading. The $1000 lower price was such a blessing, too. I’m also looking forward to being able to take some video on a device my kids won’t steal & ruin. All the other stuff has just been sprinkles on the cake for me. I’m so excited.

    • February 8, 2012 at 10:26 am

      Maegan, I am sure you will be very happy with the D800 – its video output is pretty much the same as on the $6K Nikon D4 (except for very high ISO capabilities).

  4. 5
    ) Stoyan
    February 8, 2012 at 9:15 am

    Yes, Nasim,

    I do like what I see, but the point is that having D700 and D7000 cant throw them easily and pre order the new body only by the official nikon propaganda advertisement and few sample photos like this :)

    • February 8, 2012 at 10:27 am

      Stoyan, no way – can’t throw away the D700 or the D7000 – they are superb cameras!
      I’m keeping my D700 as a backup, love it too much.

  5. 6
    ) Girish
    February 8, 2012 at 9:16 am

    Has any noise reduction been applied to these images in post process?

    • February 8, 2012 at 10:28 am

      Girish, no noise-reduction has been applied to any of the images.

  6. 7
    ) sade
    February 8, 2012 at 9:16 am

    Dear Nasim,

    I must confess that D800 is very rich in the resolution in low ISO setting but that’s all about its good points.
    Even in low ISO, in the shadow area of the image, there are so much noise and banding issues. (check Nikon official samples and look carefully at shadows)

    I know that you earn money from photography and this 36 MP sensor will pay for itself if you buy it.
    But honestly, this camera is not designed for us photographers who won’t make A1+ size images.
    Even Nikon mentioned on D800 page that this camera is designed for landscape/portrait and wedding photographers.
    Many of us need a camera with 16-20 mega pixel sensor which has no noise and large dynamic range and good colors in iso 1600 or perhaps 3200.

    Even after resizing, D800 has a lot of noise even at ISO 800. This is certainly NOT the d700 successor.
    I am sure that you know better than me that low light performance is not just about grains. There are whole other issues there. Color rendering and dynamic range is much more important and can not be corrected only by down sampling.
    I should say that this camera might satisfy some photographers who don’t need iso 400 or higher or those who are rich enough to be able to have D4 or D3s next to their D800 for their low light works, but it certainly is far from being satisfactory for some others who really care about image quality and not just megapixel.
    I personally can not bear with the poor image quality of this camera. I will keep waiting until Nikon makes another affordable camera with better image quality.

    • February 8, 2012 at 10:45 am

      Sade, not sure what your expectations are of the D800, but the low ISO images look absolutely stunning to me. I did not notice any noise that bothers me, even in the shadows. Perhaps I am not as picky as you are, but details, skin tones and dynamic range are all excellent.

      As for high ISO image samples, again, I think you have too high of expectations. I would not expect the Nikon D800 to produce the same results as the D700 at 100% view. Pixel size is twice smaller and this kind of output is what we should be getting. Don’t forget that these are also taken from a pre-production sample. The production sample might have slightly more tweaked output than what we are seeing here.

      If you need to shoot at noise-free high ISOs at 100% view above ISO 3200, then the Nikon D4 is the only choice you have today. Nikon will definitely not release another product (at least anytime soon) that will directly compete with its high-end DSLR. Do I wish there was another Nikon D800 with the same sensor as the D4? Yes, I would definitely buy both if it was available. But realistically, this is not going to happen.

      If you compare high ISO images at ISO 800 and above at 12 MP, the Nikon D800 in no way look any worse than the Nikon D700. In fact, at very high ISOs it looks like it has a stop of advantage (see the ISO 25,600 sample).

      As for dynamic range, the Nikon D800 has a lot more dynamic range at lower ISOs than the Nikon D700 ever had. I will do some detailed color and dynamic range comparisons when I have the D800 in my hands, but I do not think those look worse when down-sampled at high ISOs.

      • 28
        ) sade
        February 8, 2012 at 11:08 am

        Dear Nasim,

        Thanks a lot for your response.
        Actually, my expectation is higher than yours but I don’t think if it is irrelevant. What I expected was about 18mp sensor with today’s technology. Being like D700 (after downsampling) doesn’t satisfy me and perhaps many other nikon users.
        As you said, D4 or even D3s sensor is what I had expected and still I hope Nikon makes its next affordable full frame camera with that sensor.
        I know it won’t happen anytime soon because of the marketing issues. But I hope I see that camera at most in a year from the date D4 starts shipping.

        Regarding the banding and noise issue in shadows, look at : http://fakechuckwestfall.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/the-nikon-d800-less-than-meets-the-eye/

        (Sorry for the rough language, it is not mine though).
        I am mostly agree with him. I noticed the same issue when I looked at Nikon’s official samples. (the one with iso 320)

        In my opinion, D700 is way better choice for someone who don’t print in larger than A2 and doesn’t need video.

        To me, this camera is more like the upgrade of 5DII.

        At the end, I decided to keep my D7000, wait for a year or so to see the next affordable nikon FF and perhaps spend my money for Fujifilm X-Pro 1 with 35 & 18 mm lenses.
        I wish I can see more samples and in depth review(like your deep reviews of cameras and lenses) of Fujifilm to make my decision.

        Best wishes,

        Thanks again.

        • 32
          ) Rob
          February 8, 2012 at 11:30 am

          Hi Sade,

          I won’t speak to your actual concerns with the images themselves (Nasim may want to comment more on that), but I will note that website you linked to is “Fake Chuck Westfall”, which is at its core a satire site (much like Fake Steve Jobs, back in the day). Note also that Chuck Westfall is a Canon Evangelist. So this satire site is based on the kinds of things a fake Canon Evangelist would say…and I would expect the D800 to be a huge target for that kind of discussion.

          Rob

          • February 8, 2012 at 12:16 pm

            Rob, the guy is funny for sure! :) His comment section is pretty nasty though, he gets very personal with people I guess (or the other way around).

          • 43
            ) sade
            February 8, 2012 at 12:37 pm

            Hi Bob,
            Thanks for the comment.
            I just found the link on dpreview and didn’t completely read it. Even though he might be canon user and he is just joking, I still take those 100% samples seriously. Actually, I am not saying that D800 is useless or anything, I just say that it is not a right choice for me. If I get the same performance as D700 out of D800, why should I spend double the price on it? (well, I do not need video and I don’t print in A1)
            I am sure there are a lot of portrait photographers who love this camera, but I won’t. If Nikon makes the same “mistake” as D700 and puts D4 sensor in smaller body, I’ll be lucky and buy one. Otherwise, I will get a used D3s when it gets down in price.

            Nasim,

            Nikon doesn’t produce a 1-1000 f/1 not because of their marketing strategies. They don’t simply because the can’t. For D4 sensor in D700 body, there is no limitation other than the marketing issue.
            If some day they realize that they get twice benefit as D4, they will for sure produce it.
            One might say that Nikon clearly stated that they do not make the same mistake as the case of D700. But in my opinion, this is also part of their marketing strategy. They do not want to cannibalize their D4 at this point. But in a year, they can do so and I bet that camera sells like candy. May be I am wrong. I should wait and see! :)

            I am eager to see your review about Fujifilm. I’m excited!

            • 67
              ) Adele
              February 8, 2012 at 3:48 pm

              Jade, sorry but I really don’t understand what you are complaining about. I’m also a D7000 owner and judging from these photos from the D800 I think that the D800 will give us at least 1 f-stop more compared to the D7000, and that with more than twice the resolution!. Actually I was looking at the 4th image at 100% (Nikon-D800-High-ISO-Sample-4.jpg, the original one, not the down-sampled one) and thinking that it was shut at iso 6400-12800 because that is what I’m used to with D7000 at iso 6400-12800 (depending on light situation). Then I took a look at the EXIF data and discovered that it was shut at iso 25600. Do the test yourself, set High ISO NR to off and shoot with your D7000 at ISO 6400, 12800 and 25600 in RAW and compare the results with the image I mentioned above at 100%.

              We have to be more realistic. Most of us will never use the images they shoot at 100% resolution and unprocessed. It is more likely that we are going to photoshop and down-sample them anyway (for the web, for printing, for slide-shows etc). And people who get assignments for images that are going to be printed at A0 (e.g. posters) or want to sell their images will most likely use a tripod and shoot at ISO 100. The rest (action and sport photographers, paparazzi, photographers who do reportage in challenging places like Iraq or Afghanistan,..) will be more interested in something like the D4 anyway.

              From my point of view, Nikon is doing the right thing. I work a lot with many photographers in studio as make-up artist here in Germany and till now I didn’t see any one who uses Nikon equipment for his work. They all use Canon. Why? because Canon offered them higher resolution for much less than Nikon’s D3X. Now Nikon is going to take over again with the D800 because they always had the better ergonomics, the better low light performance, the better DR and now with the D800(E) they also have more resolution to offer at very reasonable price.

              Companies like Nikon have to stay competitive and make money to survive. To get an idea about what happens to companies that can’t do this, just take a look at the history of Minolta (many of the things we take for granted in the photography nowadays were originally invented and pioneered by them). They went broke and had to sell their photography devision to Sony because they couldn’t catch up with the then new digital camera market in time.

        • February 8, 2012 at 12:14 pm

          Sade, you can’t be serious about the link? This guy is funny, no doubt! :)

          I agree with the first comment on that page, can’t believe I wasted my time visiting his website.

          As for D700 being a better choice, if you feel that it is, then I suggest to either keep it or get a new/used one – there are plenty out there already. Yes, I know, many want the same D4 performance out of the D800. But it won’t happen. Whether it is a marketing or a strategic decision, it doesn’t matter. Nikon won’t do it again. Nikon is already giving us the excellent AF module + metering + video from the D4. That’s more than plenty for me to upgrade.

          I want a noise-free image all the way to ISO 1,638,400 and a Nikkor 1-1000mm f/1.0 lens with N glass, all for under $1,000. Will it happen? No, most likely not in my lifetime. But I still want it badly! :)

          That’s for the “Fake Chuck Westfall” guy :)

          As for Fujifilm X-Pro 1, I will be receiving it with all new lenses when it comes out. A detailed review to follow.

        • February 8, 2012 at 1:58 pm

          Looking for banding – but seeing posterization(!?!)

          D800 pre-ordered!

        • 63
          ) hombreee
          February 8, 2012 at 2:30 pm

          Maybe D400 will be FF camera with 18-24mpx sensor.

        • 230
          ) Lex
          April 14, 2012 at 10:52 am

          hi everyone. i just took a look on http://fakechuckwestfall.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/the-nikon-d800-less-than-meets-the-eye/ and that’s what i saw:
          “Let me first begin by apologizing to all the people who have switched to the Nikon D700 in the last few years because of my recommendations. Really, honestly, I sincerely apologize. I truly feel bad about this, because you guys are fucked now.”

          i’m astonished…though i simply adore some canon models i went for nikon,but i won’t never go against canon just to show people i can shit on something that indeed values a lot!

    • 33
      ) Ryan
      February 8, 2012 at 11:47 am

      “Many of us need a camera with 16-20 mega pixel sensor which has no noise and large dynamic range and good colors in iso 1600 or perhaps 3200.”

      Couldn’t agree more. I guess I will have to wait for D400 now. :(

      • February 8, 2012 at 12:16 pm

        Ryan, the Sony NEX-5n has an excellent 16 MP sensor with little noise. I do not think you will be happy with the D400 when it comes out, if you are not happy with the D800.

        • 65
          ) Ryan
          February 8, 2012 at 2:47 pm

          Nasim, that looks like a great camera. I would have gone for it, if I had not invested in a lot of Nikkor lens.

          BTW, you have a great website. Keep up the good work.

    • 46
      ) Komal
      February 8, 2012 at 12:59 pm

      Really sad that you fell for such a foolish Canon guy :)

  7. 8
    ) David
    February 8, 2012 at 9:18 am

    Nasim, I just sold my D700 (pre-ordered D800) but looking at these samples, without having compared them to many high iso photos I’ve taken over the years with D700; from first look, these look more in line with D7000 than D700 (forget downsampling)…. and I am taking more about noise pattern….. D700 due to large pixels has this magical pattern of noise at high isos that is very pleasant to the eye (can’t even explain why), while I found D7000′s high iso images to have somewhat ‘ugly’ noise with color bleeding etc…. and this looks more in line with D7000. What are your preliminary conclusions?

    • February 8, 2012 at 10:51 am

      David, please see my response to Sade above :)

      We should be realistic of what to expect from the Nikon D800. Having pixel size twice smaller than the Nikon D700, it is normal to see this kind of grain / noise pattern in the images. Why forget down-sampling? That’s the only proper way to compare the image output of the D800 to the D700. As I have already written many times before, the Nikon D700 will surely beat the Nikon D800 at 100% view. It is expected, again, because of the twice bigger pixel size. But down-sampled to the same 12 MP resolution, we should be getting clean images with lots of details and I believe we are, judging from the above image samples.

      I am personally very happy with what I am seeing, even at the pixel level.

      • 75
        ) Davo
        February 8, 2012 at 5:16 pm

        Hi Nasim, I’ll add to your comment that when resampling to any final output, the D800 looks to have the D700 beaten.
        Which is why I don’t particularly understand the comments disregarding resampling. Unless the final output is always used at 100% or is cropped and used at 100%, things should be compared at the final output image, whatever size that might be.
        So you can downsample a D800, up sample a D700, downsample or upsample both to a given output whatever that might be, it doesn’t matter. Compare the final image at the same size and D800 looks to perform better.
        If its a convenience thing, ok fair enough. Nikon should’ve given us 18mp and 9mp RAW modes.

        • 100
          ) Zlik
          February 9, 2012 at 1:44 am

          Davo, very well summed up. That’s what I always say. In the end, it is quite logical that a Nikon FX sensor from 2012 is better than a Nikon FX sensor from 2010… Comparing both at 100% is complete non-sense.

          The D800 gives you the ability to print at much higher sizes, with optimal quality when there is enough light (100 ISO). It’s something the D700 can’t do. Period. And when you take low-light photographs, people don’t expect them to be noise-free at 6400 ISO when you print them at 40″ wide.

        • 168
          ) David Khairi
          February 13, 2012 at 1:06 am

          For the sake of this test, YES, I would agree with Nasim, Zlik & Davo about the resampling to compare high iso.

          But for real world shooting, we have to accept the fact that PROS don’t buy a 38mp camera to shoot at 18mp just to satisfy their iso ‘expectation’.

          They buy high resolution cameras because they need that resolution. Same as, if they need high iso camera, they will look for something else like a D4. You cannot have everything in life.

          For me an excellent high iso camera is an wxcellent high iso camera. It will never be like “Oh the iso is great, but only when you downsample it to 12mp” :)

  8. 9
    ) Amit
    February 8, 2012 at 9:26 am

    I looked at the12 MP downsampled image of the Chandelier (ISO 6400). Since you own a D3s, I would like to ask you whether D3s would have taken cleaner image at ISO 6400 (compared to 12MP downsampled image of D800).

    • February 8, 2012 at 10:55 am

      Amit, I would say that details are comparable to D3s output at ISO 6400, but not the background noise. The background noise on the D3s is cleaner, but again, I would expect that. Otherwise Nikon would be shooting itself in the foot…

      • 45
        ) Zlik
        February 8, 2012 at 12:57 pm

        Nasim, thank you finding and showing us those samples.
        I own a D3s and I have been looking for D800 samples at high ISO since its announcement.

        I took the D800 sample at 6400 ISO, opened it in lightroom, removed the croma noise (easiest noise to remove) by moving the slider to about 25, opened in photoshop (lightroom->edit in-> photoshop) and applied a auto profile Noise-Ninja noise reduction. Then, I down-sampled to 12mp.

        I then took a 6400 shot made from my D3s, chose one with the same kind of artificial light, opened in lightroom+photoshop and applied chroma + ninja noise reduction, but far less than with the 36mp files from the D800 (I tried to apply just the optimal amount of noise reduction without losing details).

        I then exported both files (cleaned, scaled down 12mp D800 + cleaned 12mp D3s) and compared them. I was shocked by what I was seeing. Both files had very, very low amounts of noise (the D800 cleaned up amazingly well), but the D800 was displaying full 12mp of details ! The clarity and sharpness of the D800 photo next to the D3s was hard to believe.

        Above 12’800 ISO, the D3s might still have a slight edge (because blue shift in dark areas and banding is much more difficult to deal with) but until 6400 ISO, I really think that the normalized output from the D800 is not worse than what the D3s can do.

        In the end, this confirms the theory that pixel pitch doesn’t affect the low light ability of a sensor (as much as we thought it would). The size of the sensor and its quantum efficiency (newer technology tends to improve QE) are the main factors that determine a sensor’s low light capabilities.

        In the end, QE is the reason why the D3s performs better than the D700 and the D3x (normalized to 12mp) because its QE was improved (it came out about 1 year later).

        Example of this theory:
        http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1012&message=37549285

        Quote from dpreview ( http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/sonynex7/page22.asp )

        “[...] So overall the increased pixel count delivers potentially more detail at low ISO, without any obvious negative impact on high ISO image quality.”

        My thoughts are that if you buy a Nikon FX camera today, you chose between FPS and MP, and not that much between high MP vs high ISO. D800 = high MP, low FPS ; D4 = high FPS, “low” MP. The processor can’t do both. Of course the D4 is the better solution for low light than the D800, you don’t need to apply noise reduction at 36 and then downscale to 16mp as with the D800, you get a clean 16mp from the beginning, which makes it the logical solution for PJ, sports and wild-life work.

        I am not a full-time professional photographer, and I just bought a used D3s with only 3k actuations for $3,900. I am really considering selling it for $4k+ and buying a D800 for $3k, and spending the extra $1k left on updating my computer (ram, HDD, etc). I don’t need more than 4fps, but I could really use 36mp for architectural photography. I can’t afford both so I will have to decide…

        Happy shooting,

        Zlik

        • February 8, 2012 at 1:13 pm

          Zlik, that’s a very interesting analysis you have there. I will have to wait till D800 is out to confirm if I agree or not, but that’s definitely something worth sharing with others, so I appreciate your hard work.

          I have already numerously expressed my opinion on pixel size vs pixel density. I even wrote an article that shows the original D3 and D3x had very similar ISO performance. But for some reason, most people do not get it or do not want to get it. The whole process of down-sampling, which is built into Lightroom and Photoshop seems to be over their head. I even published two separate tutorials on how to do it, to show how easy and straightforward the process is.

          People want a camera that has 36 MP and has the same performance as the D700! And they want it to be able to do everything for them, including down-sampling RAW files from 36 to 15 MP. On top of all this, they feel the price of $3K is too much for a camera like this.

          Here is my take on the D800: I consider it to be a revolutionary product, similar to how the D3 was when it came out. In fact, I consider it more revolutionary than the D3, given that it costs only $3K. We have not seen anything like this for a very long time.

          This camera will be sold out for months. Nikon will have a hard time keeping up with the demand, I can guarantee that!

  9. 10
    ) soe
    February 8, 2012 at 9:37 am

    hello nasim
    i am from Myanmar (burma) and new here.it is wonderful to see ur website very helpful to me. it is good to see u answering almost every comment. I am now planning to buy my first entry level dslr . my budget is limited just round about 500-600 us$. i first aim to buy nikon d 3100 with kit lens. but my brother who work at japan said there are used cameras and lenses sold in cheap price. it is fair to say that i want d5100 rather than d 3100.
    so i am very interested in used cameras and lens.
    by the way i like to take landscape photography and like to take portrait with blur background.
    i have read ur review on some lenses but i still don’t know what should be my first priority.may i know ur suggestion what camera and especially lenses should i buy . as a nobie in dslr what books should i read to understand photography.

    hopefully u will reply my questions and get helpful suggestion.

    • February 8, 2012 at 10:56 am

      Soe, get the Nikon D3100 or the D5100 cameras – both are excellent. They ship with a kit lens, which is good enough to get you started. You can buy additional lenses for your needs once you learn how to use the camera.

    • 225
      ) David
      March 14, 2012 at 1:14 pm

      Hi soe. I hope to be travelling in Myanmar soon. I have an old camera (Nikon D200) that I could bring along as a gift for you if you like. It is still a wonderful camera and I would be happy to see it be enjoyed by someone. Send me a message through my website if you would like.

  10. 11
    ) John
    February 8, 2012 at 9:51 am

    Dear Mr Nasim,

    I currently have the D3s. Thinking of getting the D800 as a backup. I shoot often in low light conditions mainly at darkened conference/seminar halls whereby the use of multiple powerpoint presentations are a common thing & the use of flashes are prohibited.

    I’m curious to know with its launch in Feb 2012, how well (in your opinion) would the D800 handle High ISO/Low Light noise when shooting at say ISO 6400 & above compared (after downsampling the image to 12 mp) to the D3s using similar ISO settings?
    .

    • February 8, 2012 at 10:58 am

      John, if you need to shoot at such high ISOs, then you would be better off with the D3s or the new Nikon D4. The Nikon D800 cannot be directly compared to the D3s output at very high ISOs, since its normal ISO range is limited to 6400 max.

  11. 12
    ) Chandra ls
    February 8, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Hello Nasim,
    i was planning to upgrade to an FX body, later reading about Next Gen mirror-less camera from (Trey Ratcliff from “http://www.stuckincustoms.com” and many others) decided to wait an yr or so, until Nikon releases a mirror-less camera with bigger than current CX format… but now seeing this D800 reviews and its sample images, really tempted to buy D800 itself ! i’m really confused wat should i do…should i buy or is it worth waiting. cause once i buy a full format one, i’m planning to keep it for another 5 yrs without need to upgrade. ( i’m not a pro just an serious amateur photographer)

    • February 8, 2012 at 11:04 am

      Chandra, I was in the middle of writing an article that talks about the future of DSLR cameras (in my opinion) and the Nikon D800 announcement put a delay on that article. In summary, DSLR cameras are here to stay. Yes, we will be seeing a lot more mirrorless cameras with high-end sensors, maybe even a full-frame sensor sometime soon. But given how much R&D all big manufacturers have in DSLR technology and proprietary lenses, those are here to stay, for a very long time. Nikon executives have already stated that they are committed to the DSLR technology with optical viewfinders. So I suspect Nikon will not release a competing product without a mirror in the next 5 years minimum.

  12. 14
    ) Che Ibarra
    February 8, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Nikon D4 delayed til March 15th!!! !#@$%!#$^@&@# Arrrrrgggghhh. Supposedly FIRMWARE BUG. Will that affect D800 availability date?

    • February 8, 2012 at 11:05 am

      Che, I do not think the D4 delay will delay D800 shipments – two different products, different firmware.

  13. 15
    ) William Jones
    February 8, 2012 at 10:21 am

    Thank you again for providing these. I have preordered at Adorama (called my salesman direct before they even had on website), one each D800 and D800E, along with MB-D12. Some questions on above pictures:
    1) Shot in JPG or NEF?
    2) Did he use any in camera noise reduction?
    3) What if any post production noise reduction (DxO, Photoshop, etc)?
    4) Do you think that noise reduction will be improved once DxO brings out modules for these cameras? (I am aware can do manually, however will be interesting to see how their standard settings work. I use DxO for all my photos, as I like their automatic corrections).
    If you want, I will advise once I have camera in hand and have used (will post to my website).

    • February 8, 2012 at 11:14 am

      William,

      1) The above images were shot in JPEG format, no NEF conversion. NEF conversion at this point would be very challenging, because there is no support from it, except from Nikon directly.
      2) No noise reduction was applied.
      3) With noise-reduction, the images will look stunning.
      4) Maybe, not sure about DxO, since I do not use it. I believe we will see better images when NEF is converted to JPEG through third party tools or Capture NX 2.

      I also pre-ordered both, will provide more feedback once I have them in my hands.

      • 141
        ) Steve
        February 10, 2012 at 2:18 am

        Nasim

        Forgive my ignorance on this but are you saying that it is not possible to process the 36MP from RAW format and you have to shoot in JPEG?

        Also, in crop mode and DX mode, are they available in RAW format or only JPEG?

        Cheers
        Steve

        • February 10, 2012 at 2:26 am

          Steve, no, what I said was that NEF at this point of time is not supported, because the camera just came out. By the time the camera ships, every major manufacturer will be supporting it. I am planning to shoot in RAW from the day I receive the camera…

          As for other modes, RAW format is only available for full 36 MP or DX 15.6 MP. All other formats are simply resized versions of the 36 MP image.

          • 154
            ) Steve
            February 10, 2012 at 1:24 pm

            Cheers Nasim

            Being new to Nikon, I currently shoot Pentax (well somebody has to ;)) I was under the impression that NEF was Nikons RAW format? Even on older models? So am I correct in assuming my CS will work with these files?
            I have always worked with DNG

            Regarding RAW and crop mode, thats fine if DX mode is compatible.

            Many thanks
            Steve

            • February 14, 2012 at 8:29 pm

              Steve, yes, NEF is Nikon’s proprietary RAW format. Your CS will work perfectly fine with it, as soon as the new version of Camera RAW is released with support for D800.

  14. 20
    ) William Jones
    February 8, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Nasim, I just ran the four high ISO pictures from above thru DxO, Version 7, and used their Preset – Detail adjustment, High ISO – Noise reduction setting (as is, made no changes to it), and the cleaned up pictures are fantastic, especially the ISO 25600 picture. Please let me know if you would like me to provide to you.

    • February 8, 2012 at 12:18 pm

      William, sure, let’s see what you got there!

      I suspect noise-reduction would make the images look stunning. Haven’t tried it yet, but I already know that ISO 1600 and 3200 will be excellent.

      • 68
        ) William Jones
        February 8, 2012 at 3:55 pm

        Here is a direct link to the gallery in my website that has the DxO noise reduced pictures. Please note: Due to size limitations within Smugmug, I had to split the last three pictures (ISOs: 3200, 6400 and 25600) into two parts each. Nasim, if you would like these in full size, provide me a physical address, and I will mail you a CD (don’t think I can upload or mail to you, unless you have an FTP site).

        Link: http://poloslides.smugmug.com/Other/D800-Test-Photos/21388602_bFzqwg#!i=1704080278&k=QBTvBD3

        Again, the improvement in the ISO 25600 picture is tremendous, and that was without playing with any settings to see if I can make it better.

        The pictures can be clicked on to view individually, then choose “O” (for original) size, then right click to download. Compare them to the original full sized pictures on your website (view each at 100% switching back and forth between the two).

        I don’t know if Smugmug changes these pictures any.

        WEJ

        • 131
          ) William Jones
          February 9, 2012 at 5:28 pm

          Nasim, I tried to send an E-mail thru your contact form, in reference to blog job, however it failed every time (even though the characters were correct). Let me know if there is another way in which to contact you. My E-mai: poloslides@aim.com

          • February 10, 2012 at 2:32 am

            William, please email me at info[ at ]mansurovs.com (replace [ at ] with @).

  15. 30
    ) Valen
    February 8, 2012 at 11:15 am

    Hi Nasim, what are your thoughts on the ISO6400 sample picture? It looks really unusable to me. http://photographylife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Nikon-D800-High-ISO-Sample-2.jpg

    • February 8, 2012 at 12:19 pm

      Did you look at the down-sampled version of the same image? Again, it is expected that ISO 6400 will look like this at 100%.

      • 92
        ) Valen
        February 9, 2012 at 12:57 am

        Damn, you are right! The ISO on this monster is FANTASTIC. People complain way too much.

  16. 31
    ) Randy
    February 8, 2012 at 11:16 am

    I am a faithful reader of your site. I am currently shooting with a Nikon D5100 and I am the first person on the list at my local camera store with a deposit on a d800. I am upgrading mainly because I like the perspective that full frame gives and the bigger viewfinder. My current best lens is the 85mm 1.4g. Will it perform the same on the d800 as far as sharpness and bokeh? I am looking forward to it not being as long as it was on the dx. Also will the low light be similar to the d5100? I know you seemed to believe this new camera would perform as well as the d700 so I would think it would beat my d5100 in low light.
    My second question is now that i will have an FX camera what wide angle lens would you recommend? I am torn between the 24mm 1.4g, 14-24mm 2.8, and the 16-35mm f4 with VR. How important is VR on a high MP camera? I am leaning toward the 14-24mm for sharpness and usefulness but it has no VR. Will this be ok without a tripod?

    • February 8, 2012 at 12:26 pm

      Randy, your Nikon 85mm f/1.4G will perform even better on the D800, because it is a phenomenal and very sharp lens with exceptional optics. In addition, you will also get shallower depth of field, which will let you isolate subjects more than the D5100. When down-sampled to 16 MP resolution (D5100), the low-light performance will look much better than what you have with the D5100. Even at pixel level (100% view) you should get slightly better performance at higher ISOs (will confirm this in my head-to-head comparisons between D7000 and D800).

      As for the wide angle lens, get the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G (see my full Nikon 14-24mm review) to get the best out of the Nikon D800 sensor. The 14-24mm will be more than OK without a tripod. As for VR, it is always useful to have it, especially on longer focal length lenses…

  17. 34
    ) Luis Santos
    February 8, 2012 at 11:48 am

    just seen the full size version and you have a dead pixel which does look nice for a brand new camera, it is on the middle of the rose, at the left on the darkest size, talking about picture 1

    • February 8, 2012 at 1:00 pm

      Please report it to Fake Chuck Westfall, I am sure he will make a big story out of it :)

    • 158
      ) Roman
      February 12, 2012 at 8:50 am

      You do realize you’re still left with, wait for it, over 36 million fine pixels? ;) Dead pixels happen everywhere – monitors, cameras. It’s the ammount. You noticed one in over 36 million, Luis, that brings a new definition to pixel peeping ;)

      I sometimes think photographers should focus less on the technical side and just shoot. Dead pixels don’t make your work look worse, but sitting and counting them does. :)
      Best of luck!

      • 159
        ) Luis Santos
        February 12, 2012 at 8:54 am

        seriously, why all the anger? I just found it, nothing else jeez

        • 160
          ) Roman
          February 12, 2012 at 8:57 am

          I’m not being angry, Luis, far from it actually, and by no means did I want to offend you in any way, sorry if I did. It’s just the pixel peeping – it’s far too technical for an artist, if one’s an artist. :) It’s a great camera, and it’s not for everyone, that’s all there is to it.

          Seriously, have a great day and don’t take all this too seriously. :)

          • 161
            ) Luis Santos
            February 12, 2012 at 9:00 am

            sure all good, I agree totally and I will get one too, my 24 70 is tired of the D90 :D

            have a great day too, thanks

  18. February 8, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Hi Nasim, I have been following your blog for a few months. I enjoy your common sense, non-fanboy approach to photographic tools. I downloaded the photos from the original site. WOW, I am impressed! I cleaned up the original images and then down sampled them, I felt the 6400 was a bit underexposed, thus killing some detail, but it was still great. Even the 25,600 looked fine, definitely will make an impressive 5×7. I cannot wait until I get mine and introduce the original .nef into my regular workflow. Keep up the great work!

    • February 8, 2012 at 1:02 pm

      Manny, thank you for your feedback. I agree, the high ISO images look extremely good. Not sure why people are disappointed with what they are seeing.

  19. 44
    ) T_g
    February 8, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Hi Nasim,

    great articles on D800, as usual :)

    I have a question regarding the resize process that leads to a “noise-reduction” result.

    Do you know if using the D800 with the S (15Mpix) size would lead to the same result as taking the picture in L size (36Mpix) + resizing it in LR/PS in terms of noise (for high ISO), DR and details ?

    The D800 seems like a great camera. But, as other people, I was hoping for a lower res/higher sensitivity DSLR. So, maybe using using S/M size could be a compromise between reality & my expectations ;)

    Thank you,
    Guillaume, from France

    • February 8, 2012 at 1:04 pm

      Guillaume, if you are asking whether Nikon D800 will automatically down-sample images to 15 MP from 36 in DX mode, then no, it will not. The 15 MP DX image will look exactly the same as the above shots in 100%.

      I am personally not planning to shoot in DX mode, since I think it is a waste.

      • 50
        ) T_g
        February 8, 2012 at 1:12 pm

        Nasim,

        sorry if my question was not clear !

        I was in fact talking of using the size of image in FX mode : like S/M/L …

        Do using the small size (S, equivalent to 15Mpix) renders the same (noise/DR/details) as a 15Mpix export of an originally 36Mpix (out of the camera) ?

        Thank you for your very fast previous answer :)

        Guillaume

        • February 8, 2012 at 1:16 pm

          Oh, you are talking about JPEG image sizes? In that case, yes, we should see less noise on the smaller version of the JPEG. But why would you let the camera do it? You can get much better results if you convert RAW to a smaller JPEG. You do not even have to use Photoshop for that – Lightroom’s export tool will do it for you automatically.

          • 53
            ) T_g
            February 8, 2012 at 1:22 pm

            Exactly :)

            Thank you for your answer !

            My only “problem” would now be the enormous size of the D800′s RAW …. 73MB in 14bits/FX :(

            Will have to consncider this point as well !

            Cheers

            • February 8, 2012 at 1:51 pm

              Guillaume, don’t be scared of 73 MB files :) 3 TB drives sell for roughly $100 a pop. Modern PCs are very powerful and can easily handle those RAW files!

  20. February 8, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    They look great to me. The D700 came out just after I bought my D300 and I’ve been holding off on the upgrade for the D700 replacement. The D4 is actually more like the D700 replacement, but the D800 price point makes it the one I’m gonna go for.

    Who the hell shoots at ISO 6400 anyway? I generally shoot interiors but I’ve done weddings and events and never really had to go over 1600 even on the D300. And 1600 on this cameral looks amazing. I kinda wish it had less pixels, but I’ll be shooting compressed NEF and then outputting downsized jpegs from Capture One so it shouldn’t affect my workflow too much. And the increased detail and dynamic range compared to the D300 will more than make up for it.

    • February 8, 2012 at 2:27 pm

      Mark, exactly my point! I went through my 2011 Lightroom catalog and I found only a couple of images at ISO 6400. Everything else was at ISO 1600 and below, with some ISO 3200 images. And that’s with me and my wife shooting weddings and other things with the Nikon D3s + D700 bodies.

    • 69
      ) William Jones
      February 8, 2012 at 4:07 pm

      Mark, I shoot a lot of pictures at between 1600 to 3200 on a D3X (shoot polo, which is outside, unlit, and is NINE times the size of an American football field). Use an 80-400 lens in DX mode (effective 120-600), so can stay at mid-field and capture all the action. Even so, I still have to crop shots to small sizes when they are far away, so the D800 will give me an almost 50% improvement in file size compared to my D3X, plus higher ISO range (when it gets dark, have been forced to use slower shutter speeds than I like). Plus, can now shoot in 14-Bit NEF with a decent frame rate.

      ISO 1600 or less, even in poorly lit buildings, when the subjects are not running at 20+ MPH, is fine. Not in the world of sports, especially at unlit outside fields.

      This camera is a boon. Just wish Nikon had not physically limited the FPS so much. Must be a physical limit set by Nikon as the D4 at 16MP is a slightly bigger shot than the DX 15.5 MP mode of the D800. Same processor in both. I know why they did it, but would have preferred at least one to two more FPS in DX mode. I guess I will still complain when they hang me with a new rope.

  21. 55
    ) Che Ibarra
    February 8, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Here is my take on this D800 ISO images. I read the complaints some have about the noise comparison to the D700 not being up to par….you are cramming more pixels into the same size sensor so natural you are going to have more noise. I’m not liking all this talk about “when down-sampled to 12mp the D800 produces better or equal images to the D700″. I understand it’s not hard to do post processing. My question is why should I have to do that. Just doesn’t seem right to buy a 36mp sensor and then being somewhat forced to down-sample to get better image quality. Now I do understand some of the logic you guys are arguing..that being: “Hey I have an awesome 36mp sensor in my corner if I ever need it, but If i want even better image quality I will just down-sample”…I kinda get that and understand your reasoning but it just doesn’t work for me. This is the way I see it. When I look at Landscape (for those targeting this camera for that) photos taken with the D700, they look amazing..especially the shadow areas…clean beautiful images…and that’s only at 12mp. So my thinking is a D4 has 16.2mp and a much better sensor than the d700. For my needs (events, sports, night photography, wedding) the D4 makes alot of sense……and hey If I decide I have time to get into landscape, I bet the D4 will rock at Landscape at 16.2 mp even more so than the amazing D700. I PRE-Ordered the D4 yesterday. No regrets. Maybe next spring I’ll take a look at a D800 after more analysis, info and updates our out.

    • February 8, 2012 at 11:09 pm

      Che Ibarra, you would not have to down-sample anything if you shoot at ISO levels below ISO 3200. I do a mix of landscapes and portraiture (weddings mostly) and I rarely ever have to shoot above ISO 1600 (all landscapes are shot at ISO 100-200, unless I do not have a tripod with me). It is a different story when I go shooting birds occasionally, where my Nikon D3s is irreplaceable, but for everything else, I try to stay at low ISOs. So the Nikon D800 would fit my needs perfectly, just like it does with many others. As for your statement “just doesn’t seem right to buy a 36mp sensor and then being somewhat forced to down-sample to get better image quality” – you do not get better image quality by down-sampling, you simply reduce noise when you have to, if the noise levels are unacceptable to you. I do not expect to do much down-sampling with the D800, since I will keep on shooting at lower ISOs. However, if I am inside a church and I cannot use a flash, it is nice to know that I can crank up ISO to higher values and still get decent results when the image is down-sampled. I would never give 36MP images to my clients anyway – most are in awe when they see 12 MP :)

      • 124
        ) Che Ibarra
        February 9, 2012 at 7:42 am

        Thanks for the reply and clarification Nasim…..something to consider. Makes me doubt my decision now a little…but the D4 is preordered. If my business starts to expand, I might sell my D7000 (which at times gives me focus issues….cant send it in yet until I get my D4) and maybe get a D400 or the D800E early 2013. I do all my major buys in the Spring (tax season :) ). Thank you for your input Nasim. The D800E does intrigue me for landscape.

  22. 56
    ) Randy W
    February 8, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    I just recently found your website. Excellent. Enjoyable reading.

    I have been shooting a D700 since May of 2009. I just shoot local dance studio performances. I do an average 3 studios in the Spring (May and June) and 4 studios during the Holidays (Nov and Dec). All of this is done in high school auditoriums with poor lighting; so I usually have settings of f/1.4-2.8, 1/160-1/320 shutter, ISO of 3200 – 6400. These settings typically yield good results and occassionally the highish frame rate has saved my bacon when I mistimed a split leap or two, although I think the light meter in my D700 is a little flaky. (If I take 5 images in quick succession under identical lighting, the brightness of all 5 can greatly vary — typically the images start out perfect, get a bit dark and then jump to too bright.) Anyway, too much information. I was looking forward to another Nikon mistake, hoping that I would get a great FF high ISO camera for significantly less than the D4.

    I do not charge much for the work I do — try to make is as affordable for parents as possible — so I can’t/won/t just purchase the newest and greatest next camera. I wonder what your opinion would be on cameras. I do like my D700, but I may need to have the light meter checked and it is getting a little long in the tooth. Would I be better served to wait and see what Nikon comes up with next year, or are they likely to be another several years (as they were from the D700 to the D800) before making any major changes. For what it’s worth I am not interested in DX (ie the D7000) as I get too much eye fatigue from looking through the “cropped” view finder for 4 hours at a dance rehearsal.

    Great, great site!

    • 72
      ) Gordon Gallagher
      February 8, 2012 at 4:42 pm

      Hi Rany

      Re: your flaky light meter. It sounds like you have exposure bracketing turned on in the camera. I shoot a lot of HDR shots with multiple shots bracketed (5 plus) and sometimes I forget to turn off.

      Note: Bracketed shots on my D300 are usually in the order of perfect exposure, underexposed, overexposed.

      Gordon

    • February 8, 2012 at 11:49 pm

      Randy, as Gordon suggested, see if you have bracketing enabled. If you point at the same spot without changing any of the lighting and you get different exposure every time, you most likely have it turned on.

      If you do not have bracketing turned on and you want to shoot consistently, then my suggestion would be to switch to manual. As long as your lighting conditions do not change, you should get 100% consistent exposures. Light meters very rarely go bad…so I would start from your camera settings.

    • 153
      ) Randy W
      February 10, 2012 at 12:23 pm

      Gordon and Nasim;

      Thank you for the thoughts regarding my light meter. I always shot in manual mode. To be honest the Nikon’s menuing system is too confusing for me to really understand what the camera is doing — so I actually MUST shoot in manual in order to get decent results.

      I believe the exposure bracketing is off, or as off as I can understand it in the menus. I hope I am not revealing just how incompetent I am with the menus — I get the buttons on dials on the body of the camera, but the rest is lost on me.
      MENU –> CUSTOM MENU SETTING –> e BBracketing/Flash –> e5 Auto Bracketing (set as flash only)
      e6 Auto Bracketing Mode M (set as flash only) e7 Under > MTR > over (I have no idea what this is)

      • February 14, 2012 at 9:02 pm

        Randy, see this video on how to enable/disable bracketing on the D700.

      • 208
        ) Graham Salter
        February 23, 2012 at 2:03 pm

        Shooting for some years with the D700 and a variety of Nikon lenses, I regularly experience variation of maybe 1/3 stop between successive shots. (I usually shoot bursts of 3, at 3fps, to choose the sharpest later.) Nothing that can’t be corrected in ‘post’, but quite noticeable. I believe it was Nikon Service Dept. who told me that what I was seeing was diaphragm-opening variation. I must test further to see whether some lenses are more prone to this than others, but certainly I see it with the 50mm f/1.4.

        (Incidentally, I learned this when Nikon were checking, and disproving, Ken Rockwell’s claim that the 70-210 VR2 shows identical colours to the other zooms. Superb as it is, it is consciously designed to be less ‘hot’ than, say the 70-300 VR (mine at least also overexposes by up to 2/3 stop), or even my 85mm f1.8. My 60 Micro D shows the same ‘coolness’ – enough to invite an 81A digital filter equivalent – if and when that matters!)

        Thank you for your time on an educated and cultivated website. I don’t know how you can spare the time !

    • 219
      ) mike
      March 2, 2012 at 10:51 am

      Maybe there are tube-lights that flicker when using short shutterspeeds in the dancestudio.

  23. 57
    ) Scott
    February 8, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    Hi Nasim,

    I’m currently a Canon 5D user and is really fed up with the auto focus system that Canon offers, and am thinking of switching to nikon recently. I’m not trying to bring up the battle between Canon and Nikon, but just curious how has your experience been with the auto focus systems of nikon d700 or same tier cameras. I know every brand experiences focus shifts but I’m just curious of how other people think.

    Cheers,
    Scott

    • February 9, 2012 at 12:15 am

      Scott, I am surprised how many Canon shooters have been contacting me lately, all planning to switch to Nikon DSLRs, primary because of focus issues.

      While common problems like front/back focus are normal for any manufacturer (occasional defective products), I have not had any focusing problems with any of the Nikon cameras I have tested to date…and I have used every Nikon DSLR produced within the last 5 years. Seems like Canon has a lot more AF issues due to bad firmware, bad AF module and other problems. If your plan is to switch to the Nikon D700, then I can assure you that you will be very happy with its AF performance. I have owned the D700 since it came out and most of the images you see on this website were shot with it, including many of my wildlife/bird photography. I am very happy with its AF performance.

      • 130
        ) Scott
        February 9, 2012 at 2:35 pm

        Hi Nasim,

        Thank you for kindly sharing your experience. :) I’m glad to hear that you are generally happy about the focusing system of your Nikon camera. Hope my experience will be similar to yours. :P

        BTW, I really like your website! Keep up the great work.

        Scott

  24. 59
    ) Brian
    February 8, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    Nic article Nasim! Sometimes I feel people are really Picky over details that wot matter too much in the long run and can’t see that the D800 is simply an amazing camera!! Why cant people talk about the engineering brilliance of the camera instead??

  25. 61
    ) Kevin
    February 8, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    Hi Nasim,

    I just wanted to clarify that when you said there’s no noise reduction applied, it means that in camera NR was set to off for the jpg output?

    Personally I find the D800 high ISO performance very good. It’s roughly 2 stops better than D300 that I’m still using, and I really don’t think I will find myself pushing beyond ISO6400 too much. Most likely I’ll be ordering a D800 soon!

    Thanks!

    Kevin

    • February 9, 2012 at 12:17 am

      Kevin, no, I meant to say that no NR was applied in post-processing, so the images are straight out of the camera. I believe in-camera NR was set to “Normal”, which should be the default setting.

      I agree, I also love what I am seeing as far as high ISO.

  26. 64
    ) John
    February 8, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Hi Nasim,

    First I want to thank you for your great website. Got the Nikon 70-200 and 20e III teleconverter because of your review and could not be happier.

    As far as the D800 goes, Nikon has succeeded in being like Apple computer. They have given us a truly new and useful product.

    What do you get when you put a DX lens on a D800? Answer: a D7000.

    What do you get with D800E? An inexpensive medium format camera but with many more lenses to choose from.

    • February 9, 2012 at 12:22 am

      John, you are most welcome!

      While the Nikon D800E is certainly remarkable, I would not say that it is the same as medium format. Yes, it has lots of resolution and dynamic range, but the size of the sensor is still 35mm, which limits the camera on diffraction, depth of field, etc. Medium format is still medium format…

      One thing for sure though – I was considering buying a film medium format camera for my landscape photography, since 12 MP was not enough for me. Now that the Nikon D800 is out, 36 MP is more than enough for my future needs! :) So in that sense, you could say that it will affect MF sales…

  27. 66
    ) Bogdan
    February 8, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    I must say that I am impressed. I was a little bit disappointed about D4, but with this D800 Nikon did a wonderful job. So, being a wedding photographer I work with a Nikon D3s as my main camera and with a D7000 as a backup camera. Which one do you think I should sell and replace with a D800?

    • 71
      ) Che Ibarra
      February 8, 2012 at 4:38 pm

      Bogdan, my thinking would be to sell the D7000. If you are shooting wedding I don’t know if you want to have 500 images in NEF then later in jpeg on your pc…those files are huge. I’d keep the D3s as the main camera for wedding and use the D800 as back/ secondary camera. D3s smaller files and amazing quality!

    • February 9, 2012 at 12:23 am

      Bogdan, the answer is easy – sell your D7000 and get the Nikon D800. Once you go full-frame, there is no going back :)

    • 89
      ) Bogdan
      February 9, 2012 at 12:48 am

      Thank you both for your replies. Your thoughts are mine too, but I needed a confirmation. Thanks again.

    • 193
      ) Bogdan
      February 15, 2012 at 3:54 am

      Actually I have some second thoughts about getting the new D800. I wonder if it’s the best way to spend my money. Do you think after all that D800 is a camera suited for weddings? I saw several wedding photographers saying that for sure they will buy the new D800 for their wedding photography, but what for? I’ll never give to my clients pictures at 36 Mpx, so does it worth to work with a camera at 36Mpx to deliver pictures maybe at half of that resolution in 99% of the situations? What is the D800 main advantage over the D7000 in terms of picture quality? I know, there are a lot of questions and I have so many others, but I don’t want to bother you. I find this camera very interesting, but I don’t want to feel sorry after buying it, realizing that I gained very little.

      Thank you.

      • 195
        ) Rob
        February 15, 2012 at 6:27 am

        Bogdan, yours is actually a question I have going from the D700 to D800, which is less of a jump than your D7000 (at least, in image quality…perhaps not technology).

        I will say, like Nasim said, once you go full-frame, you never go back. I love FF. Beyond that, my question for Nasim is much the same:

        Once you downsample a 36 mp image and you get comparable noise to a 12 (or 16)mp camera, is there any value to the 36 mp? Why not just shoot at the 12 or 16 mp to begin with (assuming you don’t need huge prints)? I feel like there is a difference, even based on the samples (detail, color depth–even at higher ISOs)…but I don’t know what to expect precisely. Any thoughts, Nasim?

  28. 73
    ) Gordon Gallagher
    February 8, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    Hi Nasim

    Thanks for the examples.

    It’s looking better at high ISO than I thought.

    Have a deposit on both the D4 and D800. Need to make up my mind and cancel one. Examples like this are helping me decide.

    Gordon

    • February 9, 2012 at 12:24 am

      Gordon, you are most welcome! Now that’s a tough decision to choose between D4 and D800 :) Different cameras for different needs!

    • 101
      ) Zlik
      February 9, 2012 at 2:06 am

      Gordon, the real question is, do you need high FPS, or high MP ? Do you mostly shoot studio and landscapes, or sports and low-light events ? Answer those questions and you will know which one is the better choice for you.

      -Zlik

      • 123
        ) Gordon
        February 9, 2012 at 7:27 am

        Zlik
        The answer is I need both, but not in my budget. I mainly shoot architectural landscapes (including long exposure and HDR) but also events (corporate, concerts, etc.) where the low light capabilities would be a great benefit.

        If they were both the same price and the same size then the D4 easily wins. However, if the D800 can perform well at ISO3200 and also being smaller/lighter to travel with and carry all day then the edge goes to the D800. If I knew that the D400, if it exists, will have a D4 sensor as some have hoped, then a D800 and a D400.

        I’ll continue to check comments/samples to help me decide.

  29. 74
    ) Nivas
    February 8, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    Hi Nasim:

    Thanks a lot for so many posts and responses around D800. I believe that there are so many excited Nikon users and they would be very satisfied with your up to date articles and responses.

    Following all your updates. Great job.

    Are you going to write about lens choices for this camera?

    • February 9, 2012 at 12:25 am

      Nivas, thank you for your feedback!

      Yes, I will write a post on lenses for the Nikon D800.

  30. 76
    ) Dean
    February 8, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Hi Nasim, great site with tons of information!

    I pre-ordered both the D800 and D800E and will cancel one of the pre-orders closer to the shipping date. I’m sure there will be many more samples out there by that time.

    I’m just wondering your thoughts on this technique as a possible moire reducer on the D800E or any other camera with no AA filter and sharpness is not critical: http://philipbloom.net/2010/08/04/an-interesting-solution-to-eliminating-moire-and-aliasing-from-your-dslr/

    If this is effective then it may be coupled with post processing software to minimize the moire.

    • February 9, 2012 at 12:31 am

      Dean, that only works well for videos. Putting a filter like this in front of the lens is a bad idea. There are some very specialized filters out there that do a better job, but I would still be concerned over possible image degradation on a 36 MP image. I would say the best method is to avoid moire in first place (change shooting distance, angle, etc) or if worst comes to worst, you can always crank up the lens aperture to f/11 and above, which will also eliminate moire. Remember, diffraction is not always so bad :)

      • 91
        ) Dean
        February 9, 2012 at 12:51 am

        Thanks for your feedback Nasim!

        Yeah, softening a $2000 lens with a filter doesn’t make much sense to me. Even though it’s not MF you’d have the work with the D800E just like you’re shooting MF.

        The Nikon sample of moire is downright scary looking: http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/dslr/d800/img/features01/img_44.jpg

        If you look closely you can actually see the some sort of sensor pattern in the bright area of the gold material.

        Then I look at the leaves of this tree and am amazed at the clarity: http://chsvimg.nikon.com/lineup/dslr/d800/img/sample02/img_04_l.jpg

        I opened and worked on most of the Nikon samples in photoshop. The first thing I noticed is how precise the Photoshop tools are due to the resolution of the photo. I seem to have much more control with almost any of the tools.

        The noise looks about as manageable as using the D700. I’m hoping the dynamic range is up to par with Nikon’s latest. I’m guessing that it will be. I’m not too concerned with the shutter speed. I built my PC/NAS to handle large files so 75MB raw files are a non-issue. I’ve stitched 1-2G files that process rather quickly.

        Can’t wait for delivery. If these cameras are in extremely high demand then maybe I’ll pick up both and sell one to offset the cost of the other.

        • February 9, 2012 at 1:37 am

          Dean, yes, moire can be rather nasty in some situations…

          Getting both and then selling one sounds like a good plan! That way, you can decide what is more important for you yourself.

  31. 87
    ) Rui
    February 9, 2012 at 12:35 am

    Hi Nasim,
    Good job & great site!
    I got a D700 in Feb 2011, 1 year is a little short for me to update, but D800 is really good.

    Wait for the D800 price down or replace the D700 at once? What’s ur suggest?

    Thank you !
    Rui

    • February 9, 2012 at 12:41 am

      Rui, depends on whether you need 36 MP or not. If you are happy with your D700 now, why upgrade? :)

      • 93
        ) Valen
        February 9, 2012 at 1:01 am

        Nasim; what do you think of shooting below 36MP on this beast, say 16MP? Should I not do that? I’m getting it because I really need the video mode, if not I’ll be getting the D700 already.

        • February 9, 2012 at 1:05 am

          Valen, why shoot at 16MP? You are essentially disabling half of the capabilities of this great camera. I am personally not planning to ever use the DX mode…

          • 95
            ) Valen
            February 9, 2012 at 1:11 am

            My main concern is storage. I’ll be out on travel for 3 months and I’m afraid that my cards will run out of space.

            Would shooting below 36MP affect the image quality? Would the noise performance have a major difference?

            I apologise if all these has been asked before, and if my questions are too amateurish. I find that posting questions here is better than being ridiculed on any forum.

            Really, sincerely appreciate your help! :)

            • February 9, 2012 at 1:33 am

              Valen, considering how cheap memory cards are today (you can snatch a 16GB SDHC for $30 USD), why don’t you just buy like 5 of those and forget about memory problems?

              Seriously, there is no good reason to shoot below 36MP, unless you need the 6 FPS speed.

  32. 96
    ) raw
    February 9, 2012 at 1:27 am

    It’s really too early to judge,but looking at all the photos here,and at nikon they look horrible. where the clarity,detail and also look a bit out of focus. of right now what i seeing it’s nowhere close to the d700 in IQ or noise.

    • February 9, 2012 at 1:30 am

      RAW, please read the above comments – you will see plenty of discussion on this topic.

  33. 102
    ) John Richardson
    February 9, 2012 at 2:08 am

    WOW, I haven’t done this much research side deciding “money” or “child”. (Got the “child”, wife insisted on human, but I am glad we went that way .. a few times).

    After looking at Nikon’s samples and the Russian’s low light samples and then at my own (cough) photography. Even without more information, I ordered D800E. It’s all in what we really need and the only complaint I have on the D800 series is, really, I don’t have one whit of desire to use video. I have it now and don’t use it. But ehh…it’s there if I want it, maybe I can find something to do with it in macro mode, like bug wars or something, I dunno.

    Much of my decision was also based on your clear logical answers and your attention to your readers. I appreciate you site and information very much and thank you for posting everything. Thanks for a great site!!

    • February 9, 2012 at 2:43 am

      John, thank you for your kind feedback. I am sure you will be very happy with your decision! :)

  34. 103
    ) Mark
    February 9, 2012 at 2:23 am

    Hi Nasim,
    Thanks for all the work and articles on the D800/D800E. Your explination of the issue of Moire and the different options is by far the clearist I have found, I feel I actually understand how it all works now and know what an AA filter actually does. The D800 & E certainly looks like quite a pair of beasts and I look forward to your review of it once you have it in your hands (although I’d wager you will have to fight Lola for it – unless you’ve ordered his and hers)
    I have a slightly different question for you (or anyone else). I am going to get some new lenses with the new FF camera (probably the D4 due to doing mainly sports photography). I am pretty certain on the long focal length area, but the one lens I am missing is a good wide-angle lens. I was looking at the 14mm-24mm f/2.8G which seems to be highly rated but I really like the sharpness of prime lenses. Do you have a feeling how the 14mm f/2.8D prime compares vs the 14-24mm G? Is there much difference in sharpness that would over-ride the veritility of the zoom lens?
    Thanks for your thoughts,
    Mark.

    • February 9, 2012 at 2:42 am

      Mark, you are most welcome, glad the info is helping you out.

      I agree with your decision on getting the D4, since fast fps and high ISO performance are both very important for sports. As for the lens, let me give you a big surprise: out of all the super wide-angle lenses I have tested so far (and I have tested quite a few), none of them beat the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G in terms of sharpness, colors, CA and versatility. The only exception is the Nikon 24mm f/1.4, but you cannot compare the range you are getting with the 14-24mm to a single focal length prime…

      So the 14-24mm is simply the best zoom wide angle you can get from Nikon that performs better than most primes. This lens is one of the few Nikkor lenses that Canonites use with adapters. Yes, it is that good. Its biggest weakness is the large front element that does not allow using filters. But if you are not into sunrise/sunset landscape shots, then that would not matter for you anyway…

      • 113
        ) Mark
        February 9, 2012 at 3:03 am

        Thanks Nasim! The choice is very clear then. And thanks for the quick reply as well.
        I’m glad to see that business is going so well you need to expand to more staff, just wish I lived in the states so I could apply.
        Kind regards,
        Mark.

        • February 9, 2012 at 3:07 am

          You are most welcome Mark!

          Yes, I want to invest in this website and make it bigger. I think it has a good potential…

          • 126
            ) T_g
            February 9, 2012 at 9:26 am

            I do agree with you site’s potential.

            It is one of the most good looking around (design/colors) and reading you is always a pleasure.
            This site is full of information, tricks & always constructive. And no overreactions. : just facts.

            I think I just like your site !
            Surely because it is passion-driven ;)

            • February 9, 2012 at 10:57 pm

              Thank you so much for your feedback, I really appreciate it! :)

  35. 104
    ) OCT
    February 9, 2012 at 2:38 am

    Hi Nasim!, Im very lost with this two new cameras, I mean d800 and d4.
    Currently Im an “amateur” who takes photos of all kinds.. except sports.. mostly street photos, landscape, portraits, travel photos with family, etc.. Im mean Im not a pro.
    Currently Im using a Nikon D3s, its a great camera and the iso performance is wonderful (thats the point of why I bought that camera, the previous one I got was a d700).

    So If I sell my d3s and buy one new camera what do you recommend for me?
    The size of d800 is great and 36 mpx but iso performance is very important for me and seems that d4 is better, so if downsampling those 36 mpx guarantee a good result.. uf I´m lost…. :( I dont really care about the fps continuous shooting, and video really doesnt matter for me, its good but not the point.
    or shoud I wait for d4s?
    my lenses are 70-200 vrII, 24 1.4g, carl zeiss makro planar t100, 24-120 f4.

    Thanks very very much!

    • February 9, 2012 at 2:46 am

      OCT, if you do not care about video, then why bother replacing your excellent Nikon D3s? If you had a Nikon D3, I would have certainly recommended the Nikon D4. If you shot birds and wildlife, I would have recommended the D4. Otherwise, it is not worth the upgrade, in my opinion.

      As for the D800, if you are used to the quality of high-ISO images from the D3s and its super fast speed, you will be disappointed with the D800…

      • 110
        ) OCT
        February 9, 2012 at 2:50 am

        ok, thank you very much!

  36. 106
    ) Nicolas
    February 9, 2012 at 2:42 am

    Hi Nasim, Hi everybody

    I would like to understand two points before to book the D800E

    (1) http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/dslr/d800/img/features01/img_44.jpg
    Is the picture developped with NX2 or JPG from the box ? The color are strange and moire is :)
    I am very big fan about CNx2 and I work only with NEF so the D800E seems to be my future but I wonder how to deal these problem of color ? Can we have the same or best result than D800 with good post treatment in CNx2 ? I understand there will be impossible case to handle.
    Do you think the D800E is a good model for gigs ?

    (2) How to deal the moire with video ? Maybe a dumb question :)

    Thanks a lot for your website. You are one of my favorite informations sources.

    • February 9, 2012 at 2:50 am

      Nicolas, I believe the image samples you pointed to were straight out of the camera, unprocessed. The example just shows the effect of moire on the D800E.

      Treating moire in NX 2 or Photoshop/Lightroom depends on how bad moire and coloring is. If it is really bad, then it is almost impossible to fix in post. If you shoot portraits or architecture, I would suggest to get the regular Nikon D800 version instead. If you shoot landscapes and macro primarily, then the D800E would give you a slightly better edge.

      Either way, the D800 will still give excellent images. It might lack a little detail, but that could be tweaked with sharpening in post.

    • February 9, 2012 at 2:52 am

      As for moire in videos, I really do not know…will have to test and see if D800E will show moire in videos.

      • February 9, 2012 at 5:28 am

        I suspect moire to be less of a problem with video considering the reduction in resolution and not to forget compression.

  37. 111
    ) Michael Laing
    February 9, 2012 at 2:51 am

    I shoot everything (generally badly), portraits, landscapes, weddings, performances, nature and I am not yet convinced with the D800. I was hoping for an all round camera, with a 24mp sensor, 7fps shutter speed and improved ISO ability over the D700. A camera which would be ideal for most things. and for most people. What it feels like though, is that Nikon haven’t created a replacement for the D700 but more for the D800. I am sure the camera will be great for shooting in ideal conditions but is it the right camera for shooting a wedding in a badly lit barn, with no flash?

    One of the groups Nikon seems to be aiming the camera at wedding photographers but at the moment I would say, the D4 seems a lot more appealing and sadly if rumours are true also the 5Dmk3 having 22mp sensor (with what I expect to have better ISO performance) and shooting 6.9fps. I am a die hard Nikon man and really don’t want to go over to Canon but it shows how out of kilter, my needs are, with what D800 offers, that I am even considering it. I am currently weighing up my options and will wait until I see reviews of the D4, D800 and probably the 5Dmk3 before I commit to buying anything. Which is not what I wanted and I am sure I am losing money because of it, because I also wanted to start using video (I used to work in TV as a cameraman/director), but have been waiting for the next generation of DLSRs to come along and have been pleasantly surprised by Nikons new video ability.

    It feels like Nikon is trying to appeal to the fringe, who need a huge amount of MP, not the mainstream, who definitely don’t.

    • February 9, 2012 at 3:06 am

      Michael, I (and I am sure many others) disagree with you. The Nikon D800 is a much better camera than the Nikon D700. Everything from the sensor (yes, even its high ISO performance) to AF to video is better on the D800. Most people are looking at images at 100% view, which is a big mistake. Comparing a 36 MP image from the D800 to a 12 MP image on the D700 is NOT the same. The only proper way to compare is to downsize 36 MP to 12 MP and then do a side by side comparison (that’s why I down-sampled the above images to 12 MP). The Nikon D800 is a perfect camera for weddings. How many times have you found yourself shooting in a barn with a bride and groom with no light? I assist my wife in shooting weddings and I can tell you that I rarely ever go above ISO 1600, and that’s shooting with the D3s. If the lighting conditions are extremely poor, I know that I have to use flash. If I find myself shooting in ISO 6400 or higher without flash in a wedding, I know that I have other problems to deal with, like getting the camera to AF accurately. Many high-end photographers shoot with medium format cameras and as you may already know, those look like crap above ISO 400.

      Who needs a D4? Those that shoot in very demanding conditions such as sports and wildlife, and need very fast fps. For everyone else, the D800 will be perfect.

      • 116
        ) Michael Laing
        February 9, 2012 at 4:50 am

        The good thing in life is that we can dissagree in a good manner :). I would be quite ecstatic, if I am wrong about the D800 but it is not better in every way, the prime example being shooting speed. Whilst I don’t shoot a huge amount of sports photography, I would appreciate the ability to shoot at 6 or 7 fps, but with the 36.3mp sensor that is not going to happen. I also wonder, how long it is going to be able to shoot before it hits its buffer. I have no doubt that Nikon have made improvements with the D800, design wise, the D800 is very much an evolution from the D700 and I have no problems with that because the AF has always been good, the CLS system works very well and body design is great. Where there is a dramatic difference, now including video, Nikon has done a great job. My problem is purely with the sensor.

        Living in Britain, there are a lot of wedding which take place in old converted building (it is a big thing here) and often the churches are not much better. I realise that we are not talking like for like, when looking at full size images from the D700 and D800 and I do think Nikon has done a good job for the the amount of MP the D800 is offering (I would say the bigger sensored Leica S2, shows the achievement that Nikon has made in creating a camera, that is able to get to the ISO levels that it does) but I don’t think there is a dramatic improvement, when you do compare the D700 and D800, when at similar sizes.

        Why need a D4? The simple answer is that I think it is going to offers me more versatility. I ask why need 36mp? Most photographers don’t need it or anything close. High-end photographers photographers could well love the camera, landscape photographers might like it but the general photographer doesn’t need it. I just think for the gains, it sacrifices at lot.

        As I say I am waiting to see the reviews. Hopefully I am going to get to play with the D4 and D800 next week, so I will be having a look at the ISO ability close up. If I am wrong I will be the first to shout it from the tops of mountains (or hills, we don’t get many mountains in London).

        • 118
          ) William Jones
          February 9, 2012 at 6:20 am

          As far as the buffer goes, please download the Nikon brochure for the D800 (use the link below, two lines below the price on the RHS, click and get the brochure). Go to page 26, and at the bottom is a chart with the buffer limits. As they change depending on NEF, 12 or 14 bit, or JPG, and I don’t know how you shoot, I won’t list them here. I will say they are better than the buffer on the D3X, and I think better than the D700. The D4 has a much bigger buffer, approx twice that of the D800.

          Remember, especially if shooting NEF, and using good post processing production, then TURN OFF all in camera adjustments to achieve maximum FPS. This will also help with your buffer.

          Link: http://www.nikonusa.com/Nikon-Products/Product/Digital-SLR-Cameras/25480/D800.html

          Another point: If you don’t need a 36MP picture, the DX mode of the D800 is approx 15.3 MP (bigger than a D3 series, and almost as big as the D4 picture). You still get the good ISO range, you just need a good lens that covers the range. In the case of wide angle lenses, that could be a few steps (if you have the room). With poor light the D4 will be better, however the price is twice as much (which could instead be spent on lenses).

          WEJ

          • 127
            ) Michael Laing
            February 9, 2012 at 9:45 am

            Thanks for the link and the lead to where the information is, I would definitely have missed it otherwise (the joys of being dyslexic). :D

        • 119
          ) Mark
          February 9, 2012 at 6:33 am

          Hi Michael,
          I hope to see you at the top of Box Hill shouting madly in the near future. Personally I think you will find the low light performance will be very good, it has always been one of Nikons strongest points and I can’t believe they will have slipped up here. Certainly if the D700 meets your needs for sensitivity in low light conditions then I believe the D800 will.

          For sports photography you can shoot at 6fps in DX mode on the D800 which should still give you a pretty good number of pixels (I think it is 15MP?) and the benifit of the DX crop zoom factor. If sports photography is more a hobby than your income earner it would probably be good enough. I guess that with the D800 Nikon tried to address the criticism that the D700 was too good a middle of the road camera that canabalised the more upper end D3 series sales without being good enough in the MP count to grab the attention of the Canon high MP crowd with the 24MP D5 mk II

          Of course now they have done this they get the criticism (which I share) that they have too specialised cameras at their upper end ranges and no camera that is a bit of everything which seems to be the direction Canon is moving with the rumoured D5 mk III specs. With the number of high end amatuers who can afford to move into a FF camera I think the Canon proposition mk III would be more attractive to people who haven’t already invested heavily into glass, but Nikon will be more attractive to specialised proffessionals, in my opinion – time (and sales) will tell of course.

          Anyway, I guess now we wait until the first reviews and samples of production models come out to see who is right, what a pity with all those snowy pristine landscapes just waiting to be photographed.

          Cheers,
          Mark.

  38. February 9, 2012 at 6:35 am

    Thanks for posting these, D800 actually looks to have great ISO!

  39. 121
    ) Jesse C.
    February 9, 2012 at 6:58 am

    Hi Nasim,

    I really enjoy your site. These look really good and are tempting me greatly. I primarily shoot with D7000 and part of me wanted to try out a FX camera. I was looking at the D4, but sadly that is out of my price range after picking up the 300 2.8 (after reading your review and subsequent article on wildlife shooting).

    The D800 looks pretty good especially with the D4 tracking system, but the 4/6fps kind of concerns me a bit. Do you think this would work well in shooting wildlife/birds? Or should I just wait and see what the d400 offers?

    • February 9, 2012 at 10:56 pm

      Jesse, I would suggest to hang on to your D7000 until you can get a D4. I would not suggest the D800 for birding. It is great for perched and slow birds, but not for very fast action birds in flight. You will certainly need the fast shutter speed and good high ISO performance in my opinion.

      • 149
        ) Jesse C.
        February 10, 2012 at 8:18 am

        Thank you. That was what I was afraid of. The D4 will probably be out of my price range for awhile. So I will probably wait to see the d400 or maybe look for a d700.

  40. 122
    ) Pospo
    February 9, 2012 at 7:01 am

    Hi Nasim,

    I have a dilema a would like to aks you for advice. I am plannig to upgrade to FX, now I have D90 and D300 and some FX lenses (love the prime onces). I shoot weddings, events, concert etc. and I am not able use flash in many cases. And I kinda like it, noisy but sharp image. I am not printing more than A4 format, i am not interested in video. I am fullframe virgin. Nu what? :)
    Should i buy D700 now for 1900€ (and some pretty lens) or wait 2 moths D800 for 2700€.

    • February 9, 2012 at 10:49 pm

      Pospo, it is probably best that you get a D700 now if you can find one. I am pretty sure D800 won’t drop to 2700 in 2 months, maybe towards the end of the year it will.

  41. 129
    ) Gordon Gallagher
    February 9, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Any thoughts on the D800 sensor and long exposure (1 minute plus) photography?

    Gordon

    • 132
      ) sandbox
      February 9, 2012 at 7:30 pm

      I am also interested in this one… . as for now the samples that we are seeing are within snapshot shutter times, do they have samples on long exposure shots during night at 400 ISO or less?

    • February 14, 2012 at 9:09 pm

      Gordon, I will make sure to test a scenario with a long exposure while writing the review.

  42. 133
    ) daniel
    February 9, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    Hi Nasim

    Like always, I found your views interesting and helpful.
    I noticed you mention you would not shoot dx on the d800 . The fact you can shoot dx and get the same high image as the d7000 is a major reason to consider a upgrade for me. WHY: In order to have a 24 for landscape, 35 fast lens for events, a 70 for portraits and a 125 for portraits: I use the 10-24, 24 1.4 , 50 1.4 and 85 1.4 on my d7000. My understanding is the d800 with the 24 1.4 and the 85 1.4 would give me the same 4 FIELDS OF VIEW if I switched from fx to dx .

    This would reduce the overall weight of my kit and its size – important to me for travelling, and if you factor in, the cost of the 10-24 and the 50 1.4 the cost difference between the d800 and d7000 is reduced.

    I’m assuming changing from fx to dx would be simple and fast . ( easier than changing lenses) using my menu option ?

    Does the above make sense to you ???

    • February 9, 2012 at 10:36 pm

      Daniel, by using a DX mode on an FX camera, you are cutting off more than half of the resolution with no chance to get it back. Why not shoot in FX and crop as much as you want later? Your field of view could then be changed to whatever you want.

      By using a DX mode, you are also eliminating good chances of removing noise by down-sampling an image…

      Seriously, DX mode is a complete waste, unless you really really need to get to 6 FPS with a battery grip.

      • 136
        ) daniel
        February 9, 2012 at 10:53 pm

        Thanks Nasim. Cropping makes sense and I can still carry fewer lenses.

        GOODLIGHT

      • 223
        ) dxb man
        March 5, 2012 at 12:21 pm

        hi mr Nasim iam planing to buy a camera for all time is it good for me to buy the d 800 or should i buy the fujifilm fx 100 puting in my mind that iam just beginner

  43. 139
    ) Fernando
    February 10, 2012 at 12:29 am

    Hi Nasim,

    Thanks for all your information here which is very helpful and I kind of made p my mind already and towards the D800 but I would like just to have your say if I’m going to the the right thing. I have the old D200 and a few DX lens but lately I have been buying pro glass (70-200 f/2.8; 24-7o f/2.8 and the 14-24 f/2.8) in planing to switch to FX camera. I was with my thoughts on the D700 but then decided to wait for this new D800 and for what I read above it sounds worth the difference i $$. I can get an used D700 with low actuations for around AUD $2000.00 which is 1k difference or a new D700 for about the same price of the D800, but I wouldn’t mind paying the difference for the D800 if it’s really worth. I am planing to shoot more indoors like birthday parties and similar events, maybe weddings as I get my skill levels up to that point and probably some real estate for a start. Would the new D800 with its new sensor technology and high megapixels make a difference in image quality and work as well as the D800 in low light? Would I be better off for longer if I get the D800? Many thanks.

    • February 10, 2012 at 2:24 am

      Fernando, why invest in an outdated technology? The Nikon D800 is better than the D700 in every way, except for the fps speed. So yes, the images from the D800 do make a difference in image quality for portraiture…

      • 145
        ) Fernando
        February 10, 2012 at 2:35 am

        Nasim, thank you so much for your prompt reply and my pre order is just on the tips of my fingers :).

        Have a good weekend

  44. 140
    ) Fernando
    February 10, 2012 at 12:34 am

    Him Nasim,

    I am sorry… on my last paragraph you should read “Would the new D800 with its new sensor technology and high megapixels make a difference in image quality and work as well as the D700 in low light? Would I be better off for longer if I get the D800? Many thanks.

  45. 147
    ) Nicolas
    February 10, 2012 at 4:18 am

    Thanks Nasim for your answering.

    I wonder how to reduce properly the high resolution photos. As test i took the examples (not wonderful photos for me as usual provided by constructor) and try to reduce them with two algorithms in photoshop (i follow your advices into your dedicated article) : sharpest and smoothest.
    The result in 1680 width is very different. So when i try to display the original (32 Mo) and the two others i can see different sharpness with my MBP (good test because good screen).

    Is it easy to reduce so much size ? I don’t know if we have same problem with D700 and 12 Mo.

    Finally I choose to book a D800 instead of D700 because I hope to use only my 24-70 with D800. I hope the crop will be enough for portrait (24-120 would be better but i don’t have it) and zooming into landscape. I fear the dust :)

    Best regards,

    • February 14, 2012 at 9:34 pm

      Nicolas, if you followed my instructions on how to properly resize images, then you should have gotten good down-sampled images, similar to the ones I posted here.

  46. 148
    ) Carl TightShooster
    February 10, 2012 at 8:06 am

    Nasim,
    let’s wait for a real compare with same location/environment of D700/D800;
    For me the downsampled D800 12Mp are not as good as my D700 can do it!!!
    :)))
    /
    Karl

  47. 150
    ) Harris
    February 10, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Salam Nasim,

    Photography is my serious hobby. I learned about your website through Google alerts for Nikon D800. It’s my first time that I am writing on any website. The thing that provokes me to write here is the demonstration of high respect & esteem in between the members, your loyal answers (which is not a simple job), and family friendly attitude of the website. Apart from that, I found your answers simple and logical without usage of funky terminologies and I think 80%-90% of your readers are satisfied with your explanations. Well done and congratulations!

    Coming to the point i.e. D800 (satisfaction or dissatisfaction). I am shooting with my Sony F828 since 2006. F828 is a serious noise producer; even at ISO 100, it originates noise. I am forced to shoot at ISO 64 (smallest on F828) to keep my images clean. I shot with this camera in all lighting conditions. Long exposures, Candle light, fireworks, indoors in low light, even I shot one full wedding with this camera. I cannot compare the quality of my images and the luxury what todays DSLRs are offering, but I don’t regret for overall performance of my F828 as well. Check some of my work here: http://www.sxc.hu/gallery/harrren

    My point is (as old saying goes), technology does not produce startling images. Good images are the combination of art and science. Cameras depend on photographer’s knowledge of visual art and creative imaginations. Shooting with a good camera without having good knowledge of visual art is like, one shooting with machine gun in flock of flying birds and expecting one or two birds for lunch.

    Whole world seems to be trapped in the problem of “High Resolution” vs “High FPS” and no one seems to be concerned even about the basics of visual arts. Debate on “High Resolution” vs “High FPS” give the impression that there is a race going on for showing off whose toy is better.

    Look at the work of these photographers and see what kind of images they have produced and what equipment they used for producing their masterpiece. http://harrysproshop.com/Links/Great_Photographers/great_photographers.html.

    Check this link as well and see how amazing images people are creating with some very inexpensive cameras: http://www.dpchallenge.com/camera.php.

    For experienced photographer Resolution or FPS can never create any hurdle. In my opinion, D800 will be a great camera in the hands of a skilful photographer.

    Now I come to a little off topic question.

    What you think why the giants like Sony, Nikon, Cannon, etc. are not considering layered pixel technology (like Foveon sensor) for their DSLRs?

    • February 14, 2012 at 9:33 pm

      Harris, I agree with the camera being just a tool – it is the person behind the camera that makes the image. We do get lost in specs and other things, but that’s the nature of technology – everybody wants the latest and greatest.

      As for Sony, Nikon & Canon not using Foveon sensors, the technology behind Foveon did not prove to be that effective, at least as of yet. The whole “we have three times more pixels” thing just sounds like a big marketing gimmick. Yes, the technology looks promising, but the image quality from Foveon sensors does not blow traditional sensors away. Not even close. Companies are finding creative ways to reduce issues like Moire – see Fuji’s X Pro1 sensor and how they changed the interpolation on it to reduce moire without an AA filter.

      In fact, Sigma has recently slashed the price of their high end DSLR with the Foveon sensor in half and is using that sensor on a cheapie camera…just shows how this type of technology can quickly fail. Cost of production of such layered sensors is just high and image quality does not justify it…

      • 196
        ) Harris
        February 15, 2012 at 12:58 pm

        Nasim,

        Thank you for providing remarks on layered pixel technology. This is one of the secret of your popularity that you won’t let any question go without a good answer.

        I am very excited about D800 and I will certainly go for it. I have gone through all reviews made by professional photographers over internet and found no negative comment about overall impression of D800. I saw many people are concerned (not professionals of course) about the memory requirement. I don’t know why memory is an issue. Portable hard drives are so cheap nowadays that I don’t think that memory should be an issue with D800, especially when memories are getting cheaper and bigger with every coming day.

        My main interest is landscape, long exposure photography, and I am very curious to shoot micro world. I travel a lot. I can afford some good lenses and my initial choice of lenses for D800 is:

        1. AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G (general purpose & snap shot)
        2. AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED (2.9x) (indoors group portraits & landscape)
        3. AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II (2.9x) (portraits & landscape) &
        4. AF Micro-Nikkor 200mm f/4D IF-ED (Micro, portraits, & landscapes)

        Please make your comment on this collection. I also like to see your recommendations if you have some.

        Finally yet notably, I have a request for you

        Please make a review on “AF Micro-Nikkor 200mm f/4D IF-ED” as for me it’s an exotic lens. I have gone through all reviews on this lens and I am very keen to see a review made by you. Thank you in advance.

  48. 151
    ) Mevlut Calisan
    February 10, 2012 at 11:30 am

    Dear Nasim,

    Thanks for this super quick evaluation of high ISO samples.

    My biggest enthusiasm is photographing my kids during swimming races. I currently use a D7000 together with 70-200 VR. Lighting is poor at the swimgrounds and it is practically impossible to use flash.
    The only remedy is pushing up the ISO sensitivity. I work around ISO 3200 to 6400 and shutter speeds of 1/250 and 1/320. The results are satisfactory for publishing in the internet or printing on 13×18 cm paper. I am sure, I will get much better photos, if I can freeze the scene maybe around 1/500 seconds.

    I was hoping that D800 will be the enthusiasts version of D4, just similar to the relation between D3 and D700. I am very disappointed, because I think the sensor of D800 is more or less an enlarged version of D7000′s sensor. I don’t expect much big difference between the noise levels of D800 and D7000, as they both have the same pixel pitch. I won’t object that downsampling may help.

    Now I am looking for a used D3s in good condition. I also plan to add a teleconverter 1,7x or 2x to at least maintain the reach with the crop sensor. Do you think I can get better results with D3s against D7000 (without downsampling) or D800 (plus downsampling) despite the loss of 1,5 to 2 stops through higher shutter speed and the teleconverter ?

    • February 14, 2012 at 9:21 pm

      Mevlut, in your case, you will definitely be better off with a used D3s…

      As I have pointed out before, Nikon will not make the same mistake as they did with D700. They do not want a smaller camera eating up big camera’s sales…

  49. 152
    ) William Jones
    February 10, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Nasim,
    Smugmug just raised the file size limits. I have reposted the DxO noise reduced versions of the above pictures as complete files instead of being split in half. Had over 1,300 view before making the change.

    Link: http://poloslides.smugmug.com/Other/D800-Test-Photos/21388602_bFzqwg#!i=1706066008

    To new viewers. Click on any photo to view larger, then change the size to “O” to view in original size, then right-click to download and save. Let me know if you have any problems or questions.

  50. 155
    ) Scoot
    February 11, 2012 at 11:40 am

    Nasim,

    I presently am a crazy hobbyist who loves taking photos primarily of my kids at their high school functions. I presently use a Sony 850 with fast glass. The photos are usable at 3200 but not what I would consider good. Unfortunately when shooting night football games and inside gyms the need for 3200 is a necessary and would love to shoot at 6400 but presently way too noisy with the 850. I do not like to use flash for sports and many times not allowed. The 800 looks impressive and the ability to crop down from a 36mp photo is also nice. It is advantage I like with the 24mp 850. I am ready for a new FF and think the 800 may be the one. I would like to spend around 3k for the body. Would not mind just a 24mp but can definitely live with a 36mp. I would love to get more fps which may be one of the only cons of this camera that I can see. The noise looks very acceptable and actually pretty darn good. What is the thought on the 800 v 800E? I have yet to really look at Canon but am leaning towards this camera. I know that the grass is not always greener on the other side, but in this case I am hoping it is.

    • February 14, 2012 at 9:20 pm

      Scott, you might want to consider getting a Nikon D4 instead of the D800. Seems like you need good high ISO performance and the D4 is just hard to beat, plus it has a crazy FPS rate.

  51. 156
    ) Martin
    February 12, 2012 at 7:09 am

    Hello Folks, hello Nasim
    I think there is extremely interesting information available on the website of http://www.robvanpettenphoto.com/ and http://cmphotography.com/ both used the camera. This camera is so extremely interesting in either version that it will open up a new dimension in professional photography and for the serious amateurs. It’s like driving a ferrari, which I had the chance one to do: it is demanding and difficult but it has simply a different dimension. I stay tuned on my D3S still I have the proficiency to add this extraordinary camera. I am looking forward to read all these blogs and webinars and tutorials so that this period wouldn’t last too long. Yours

    • February 14, 2012 at 9:35 pm

      I agree, I consider the D800 to be a revolutionary product. We have not seen anything like this for many years from Nikon.

  52. 157
    ) Jimmy
    February 12, 2012 at 7:34 am

    Nasim,

    Do you think it is wise to sell my D3s and get the new D800? I don’t usually need more than 3-4fps but the high ISO of D3s really pleased me. 1.5x crop factor with 36MP is really tempting as I can use the same lens with a longer focal length without changing the lens.

    • February 14, 2012 at 9:37 pm

      Jimmy, you would be trading one type of camera (sports and wildlife) for another (landscapes, macro, portraits, etc). If you shoot in high ISOs, then you will be disappointed with the D800 performance.

      • 191
        ) Jimmy
        February 15, 2012 at 12:51 am

        How about upgrading to D4? Slightly more resolution but good high iso and speed performance. Seriously, 36MP is a pain to my PC.

        • February 15, 2012 at 1:18 am

          That would be your ultimate choice, if you have the budget for it. I believe B&H is still taking pre-orders for the Nikon D4.

  53. 162
    ) Peter
    February 12, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Here we are at comment number 158, and NAS (Nikon Acquisition Syndrome) is in full bloom.

    Remember, after the D800 is 6 months old you will hear rumors about a D800S that has a 54MP sensor. That’s 50% more MPs! In two years there will be a D1000 with a 100MP sensor.

    I can’t wait. I think I’ll hold off and keep my D700 until the D2000 with 200MP is out.

  54. 163
    ) Mike
    February 12, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    Nasim,

    I ran a few of these images through Lightroom and Noiseware. I think the results are acceptable even up to ISO 6400. I think if I had the NEF files and spent a bit more time processing these would be even better. I’m not worried at all about my D800E order.
    http://mike.heller.ca/2012/02/nikon-d800-high-iso-sample-images/

    • 164
      ) Steve
      February 12, 2012 at 1:47 pm

      Mike
      I see you do some wildlife, do you have any worries for this discipline? You see I do mainly landscape and wildlife but worry slightly about moire though I have been infoprmed by Nasim that it shouldn’t bre a problem. However he did say if I do Landscape / Wildlife 50/50 then get a non E version. What do you think?

      • 166
        ) Mike
        February 12, 2012 at 5:55 pm

        To be honest, I think the moire issue is overblown. I ordered the E and I’m not looking back.

        I asked about moire on some Leica forums, and it’s not a problem on the M9 which has an 18MP with no AA. It crops up now and then, but it’s not like those guys are losing tons of photos because there is no AA filter. I think it will be even less of a problem on the D800E.

        • 167
          ) Nicolas
          February 13, 2012 at 12:56 am

          Hi,

          I am not sure we can compare M9 and d800e because this first one has no AA filter altougth the last one has two component merged : an AA filter and an inversed AA filter.
          The physical architecture of d800e is so different.
          So it is hard to conclude as leica.Am i wrong ?
          Best regards

          • 170
            ) Mike
            February 13, 2012 at 7:53 am

            I think the comparison is totally valid. I’m not sure of the M9 structure, but the D800E optics cancel out the effect of the initial split in the photons. When the photons hit the sensor, there is no split and thus no micro blurring of the image.

        • February 14, 2012 at 9:41 pm

          Mike, it all depends on what you shoot. If you are a full-time wedding / portrait photographer, you definitely do not want the “E” version. Remember, most Leica photographers out there rarely do weddings and architecture, so they do not notice moire problems as much.

          • 190
            ) Mike
            February 14, 2012 at 9:57 pm

            I have to admit, I spoke too soon. I got caught up in the whole “sharper is better” argument and the gadget geek in me went for the ‘best’. The problem is that the E is not the best model for my day to day shooting.

            After more back and forth on the Leica forum, including some real-world examples, I have looked back and I am getting the D800, not the D800E. Full explanation here: http://mike.heller.ca/2012/02/why-i-chose-the-nikon-d800-over-the-d800e/

            Overall, the camera will be better for me.

  55. 165
    ) Nicolas
    February 12, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Hello,

    I wonder why the 6400 and 25000 iso are done in good light instead of to be shooted the night.
    The results are most real the night than during the day. With a D80 for example if you shoot à 1600 iso during day it is acceptable. With few light, it is a nightmare :) I know it :)

    Another question : where is limit between D700 and D800 for printing ? It is extremly rare I print more thant 20 x 30 cm (in inch ???). Do you see a real difference or 12 Mo is too big for this print size ?

    Thanks for you answer

    Best regards,

    • February 14, 2012 at 9:43 pm

      Nicolas, I will do some testing at high ISOs at night and will provide some samples, when I have the D800.

      As for printing, google “print size resolution” and you will find many articles on the limits.

  56. 169
    ) Mike
    February 13, 2012 at 4:05 am

    Hi Nasim,
    I’m a huge fan of your work. I think your site is becoming a great source of information day by day. Congratulations on that. I have heard something which can not digest easily, which I hope you can help me with. I read in a persian photo blog that due to high pixel density of the D800′s sensor you have to increase the min. shutter speed by one stop to avoid blurring. I couldn’t find anything on the web regarding this issue. Can you please comment on this. Thanks

    • February 14, 2012 at 9:45 pm

      Mike, ignore such posts. It is like saying that with the “D7000″ you have to shoot one stop faster, because it has more pixels per inch than D700…

      Yes, blur will be more visible at 36 MP at 100% view, but that’s quite normal.

  57. February 13, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    I think Nikon D800 is not for wedding photography. Nikon D800 is a little brother for Nikon D3x. A 36MP sensor is too huge for a wedding photographer. Maybe for special sessions. With a 12MP sensor you can print 50x70cm with no problem at all.
    I see a good DR there and some good improvements :)

    Thank you for samples!

    • 172
      ) Che Ibarra
      February 13, 2012 at 8:06 pm

      I kind of agree with you fotograf. Im somewhat new to photography and shoot with a Nikon D700o with good FX glass. I want to make the jump to FX body and struggled with the decision to go D800 or D4. I’ve shot two weddings and plan expand into that. Right now Im shooting alot of events, races, 10k’s etc. I just didnt like the idea of 600 race images from a 36mp sensor. That’s why I decided to pre-order the D4. Hope my thinking was right.

      • February 14, 2012 at 9:49 pm

        Che Ibarra, looks like the D4 is a better fit for your needs, especially for your sports photography.

    • February 14, 2012 at 9:48 pm

      I completely disagree – D800 is perfect for wedding photography. My wife and I shoot weddings and I will be using the D800 quite a bit. Canon 5d Mark II is a very popular camera among wedding photographers, despite its high megapixel count. The same will be true for the D800. Most wedding photographers use flash and rarely get to use ISO above 3200…

  58. 173
    ) Andrew
    February 14, 2012 at 5:49 am

    Hi Nasim,

    Glad I stumbled across your site – this has been a very education discussion to follow for me.

    I have been waiting for the D800 release for some time (upgrading from ancient D200) and one the applications I am looking to put this camera to use with is star photography (eg http://www.flickr.com/photos/bencanales/6010999086/). The D700 had excellent low noise at high ISO from what I can gather which makes it ideal for these sorts of images.

    I have read that due to the sensor resolution of the D800, the reduced size of the pixels increases the noise to signal ratio resulting in poorer performance at higher ISOs.

    Do you think the D800 will deliver reasonable low noise performance at say 6400 to achieve successful star images I am hoping for?

    Thanks,
    Andrew

    • February 14, 2012 at 9:52 pm

      Andrew, I have done astrophotography and you are right – a camera with a clean image at higher ISOs is often needed for the best results. You might be better off with a D700 for astrophotography, unless you have the budget to get the Nikon D4 – which is ultimately the best camera for astrophotography from Nikon.

      I have used my Nikon D3s at ISO 3200 with 24mm f/1.4, shooting wide open at f/1.4 to get decent results. Astrophotography can be very demanding…

      • 194
        ) Andrew
        February 15, 2012 at 4:05 am

        Thanks Nasim,

        I have seen a few guesses as to the spec on the D400 (FF D4 sensor with 16Mp resolution). This would be a great candidate. What have you heard? And are there any estimates on release date yet?
        Waiting for the D800 has taken long enough.

        Andrew

        • 197
          ) Nicolas
          February 15, 2012 at 2:56 pm

          Hi Andrew,

          I think there is no D400 FX with such sensor. Nikon don’t want to see the sales of D4 be eaten by this D400. In two years why not ?

          2012 will be a great year

  59. 198
    ) Nicolas
    February 15, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    Hello,

    I wonder how is the size for a Raw from a 5D Mk2 ? Is there no problem for canonist with 24 Mo ?
    Canon used sRaw although Nikon purposes only non compressed raw ? I am not wrong…

    The principal problem for me, Nasim, is the fact we must sharpen the picture after downsizing it.
    Maybe I am wrong but I believe the sharpen mask deletes the depth. Maybe I explained bad my idea but when we have several plans, the fact to sharpen image destroys the difference of distances between them. I found that when i abuse with unsharp or High Pass mask. Maybe my question should be in your “how to reduce pictures” but I think lot of people could be interested.

    Thanks a lot :) It is a shame that Nikon didn’t choose you as D800 tester ! I will write them for next times.

  60. February 17, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    Anyway you could post a section for suggestions on the D800 cf and sd cards. Specifically what is and is not overkill for the cards in terms of speed ie…600x…class 10…..95MBs relative to the buffer. We all understand this will not be a speed machine but the file sizes and buffer cause complexities. This would be real helpful.

    p.s. Someone linked your webpage for a description of moire on nikonrumors. I read you article and have been addicted to your site every since. You have a great understanding and are a wonderful teacher. Thank you!

  61. 200
    ) Karim
    February 19, 2012 at 8:45 am

    This is my first time on your forum. Excellent discussion. I am not a pro so my needs are sort of all rounded. I have been waiting for the D800 for a long time to upgrade from D7000 (i already have some fast FX glass). I am worried about the high ISO performance and the frame rate. I see a lot of the pros going for both the D4 and the D800 because they complement each other. I cant justify that but I can get either (with a stretch). I was thinking of the D4 as an all rounded camera, so my question is a bit in reverese to most of the above. How would the D4 perform compared to the D800 at normal ISO (100-400) for portrature, landscapes, action…Will the high MP ofthe D800 kill the D4 or will the spacious pixel density of the D4 make up for it. I meam, for a serious enthusiast looking for one camera to perform in every situation, I hope i dont invest 6k in a D4 and still wish for more IQ that the D800 can deliver.

    Thanks

    • 201
      ) John Richardson
      February 19, 2012 at 9:20 am

      I had similar concerns. I pre-ordered a D800E. But after I had carefully gone over the recently published D800 Guide and Nikon’s first comments out of the gate went for stabilization and statements that all but guaranteed motion blur if you are not careful, I had to re-evaluate my thinking. I often carry a try-pod when I am just taking my time and the D800 would be just fine. But for the everyday walk around shooting without a try-pod the D800 requires a bit more setup. Meaning I would have to employ the standard good techniques I employed in the past during film days. But … to be honest I really can’t stand that still anymore, I felly have a difficult time of it, not like I am convulsing, but I have noticed as I get older I am just not like I used to be. Motion,camera shake will yield more soft images on a 36, it is and will be less forgiving.

      So, I cancelled the order and ordered a D4. Now, will I be losing anything in IQ? Not that anyone should and will be able to tell unless we are blowing up prints, and I have no use for 40 inch prints. I need lower light performance, I need a solid sensor that will deliver D3s+ quality, and I need to not have to worry about my “aging stability condition”. The D4 is good enough for sports photographers and journalists who work under less than ideal conditions, it will be good enough for me. I have seen loads of promos shots from Nikon and I am more than pleased with the D4′s capability. Even if I haven’t held one, I will take the word of the pros who have on this. It is more camera than I need, surely, but the D800 may be more than I can handle (god I never thought I would admit to that!)

      It is a matter of getting a camera that I know I will be able to control, and I will have NO doubts, rather than shooting and chimping like a monkey after every shot. I hate chimping and I hate watching some guy shoot chimp shoot chimp shoot chimp — all the while missing shots that I am getting. We didn’t have that luxury in film days and I had a much higher success rate due to the good techniques I used to employ but do not now. I am going to punish my pocket book by and additional 3 grand because I have become old and lazy. Darn sure I will still carry that tri-pod for the shots I know I will need it for, just like the D800, but I want to be able to shoot without it.

      Strange thinking to most of you I am sure. For you Karim, only you can make that decision, but I am guessing that if you got a D4 you would not be regretting your decision. No one that has a D3, D3s, D3x, or D700 regrets their decisions and I see no reason for you or I to regret Nikon’s flagship D4.

      Just my 2 cents.

      • 202
        ) John Richardson
        February 19, 2012 at 9:22 am

        dang misspellings..sorry :-(

      • 203
        ) William Jones
        February 19, 2012 at 10:21 am

        Question: Why not buy a D800 and carry a monopod instead? Monopods are smaller, lighter than tripods, can be used in confined spaces where you don’t have the leg room, and still provide a reasonably stable platform (just use a higher shutter speed).

        Just my half-pence worth.

        • 205
          ) John Richardson
          February 19, 2012 at 10:49 am

          I am glad my wife doesn’t speak English well enough to read your reply and point out my faulty logic :-). I only just got her to up my camera $. But I must confess, you are correct, a monopod is an excellent idea!

  62. 204
    ) Che Ibarra
    February 19, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Karim, I am in the same position you are at. I already own pro fast glass and shoot with a D7000 and had been saving up for a new FX camera. I’m very picky about IQ and I also need fast frame rate for my sporting events (local stuff) I cover. So I too had to go with the D4 even though it was a lot more expensive. I do NOT see a single circumstance or shooting scenario where I would be disappointed in the D4. The D4 forced me to stretch my budget, but to me I think it’s worth it even if it’s only small incremental advantages over the D800. Go D4 and don’t look back. :)

    • 206
      ) Karim
      February 19, 2012 at 12:30 pm

      Thanks a lot. I think I will. I just needed a boost of encouragement :)

  63. 207
    ) Doug
    February 20, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    I’ve been reading this post from the beginning, i must say i considered everything from buying a 50lux for my NEX5 to buying a NEX 7 and the 35lux, but then i thought: Hey im a big guy i can carry that d800 around, i sold my d700 and my 24mm 1.4 last year only after 1 month using it for £700 less of what a paid for job difficulties, lately i ran into a bit of luck and managed to save some money, then i started reading the forums especially nikonrumours.com last month, then just as a coincidence the rumours intensified last month then finally on the sixth we got the confirmation from the Brazilian magazine, im very happy that for the first time ill be able to buy something on the release date plus at least one piece of glass with it, i was just hopping that the d800 managed to get the same usefull iso of the d700, down sampling will be done more often then anyone on this thread or any other think, i use to be so frustrated when i use to copy those pics from a web site then try to up sample it and then see that it got all pixelated well now i know i can do the inverse using PS, which will also force me to start practising Post processing and really work for that crisp well contrasted low noised final detail i always wished for.

    1 more thing what do you guys think of the 50mm 1.2 AIS, because i want the best 50mm to use on my d800, BTW Nasim this is the best forum i’ve found so far in regards of the D800/E, thanks.

  64. 209
    ) VG
    February 23, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    Mansurov,
    I sold my D700 and Pre-ordered D800. I have Gizmo+Arca Swiss Head conboTripod,Nikon 24-70 2.8 and 70-200 VRII. I am a photoenthusiast, like to shoot,people,wild life and Land scapes. Now after reading several reviews about D800 low light performance with 36 MP. i am kind of in dilemma if I did a wrong by selling my D700? . I am thinking to go for D4 and to do that, I have to sell my D7000 and find 2k. Kind of tight situation :)

    Now please tell me if the D800 going to match D700 in low light performance? and picture quality?or should I stretch my budget to D4 and have just one body instead of two i.e D800 and D7000 with my lens combo?

    Thanks
    VG

  65. February 24, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    and I’m going to disagree with you Nasim!, I’m a now ex-wedding photographer And coming from the $13k Aust – THE nikon D3X i was using on weddings along with my d3, and i have to say the d3x sucked for weddings – it’s slow – very very slow – and this d800 only does 4 frames a sec, thats a huge limit right there.. plus with the D3X i had to use double the shutter speeds i was getting on the d3 to stop motion blur off tripod.. and a max useable iso of 800, sometimes pushed 1600 but rarely. truth be told, i made a huge mistake buying the $13k d3x ( sold for $7k two months ago ) .. It was only useable outdoors in bright sunny locations and the only reason i brought it was because i was shooting four page flip outs in my albums which the 24mp did perfectly fine when on tripod ) , where as the 12mp d3 could not do four large flip out pages with the one shot – simply not enough res. however for the other 95% of the album shots, most of the time the d3 would be in my hand getting the nice clean shots i needed.

    when i shoot a wedding with the two d3/d3x cameras, i’d end up with about 350-400 shots by the end of the day – I’m not one of those 1000 shots per hour guys – i spend my time shooting only what i know will go in the albums, but the d3x was simply just too slow in a lot of the situations you find yourself in when your shooting weddings.. I know the d800 will be a struggle for a lot of people – ( PLUS I HAVE NOT SEEN A GOOD CLEAN SHARP SHOT YET FROM THE D800 !! ) SO I’m going to wait on the sidelines this time… PLUS I’M OVER THE weight of the D3′s – after a couple of hours of carrying them around your neck you really start to feel the weight of them.. i mainly had the 24-70 on the d3 and the 12-24 on the d3x ( that was a sweet combo ! )

    in any case – i’ve moved onto filming now and stopped weddings for the moment as I’m off to china next month for 6 months to shoot a doco – was hoping the d800′s clean hdmi out would be a good choice for the doco – but i haven’t seen a sharp shot like the little gh2′s get, so I guess I will simply grab two gh2′s to shoot that with – i offered Nikon Australia the chance to let me test the d800′s video properly but they have so far not responded favorably to me, so i won’t be buying two d800′s for video when they are untested in heat and anger!.. now the gh2′s at a third of the price mind you – record for a hour or more straight without over heating problems – ( and none of that 12min or 30min business – however thats not a deal breaker with the d800s ext hdmi clean out – as far as I know its unlimited time – maybe just limited by batteries and whatever your recording on like a ninja etc ) , and the gh2′s are cheap and yet the sharpest cleanest video yet.. i was hoping the d800s would be choice since i own a ton of nikon’s glass, and i love nikons d3s but untested, no thanks! .. this is a feature length doco film I’m about to shoot and i am not going to put the entire production at risk due to untested gear!.. the canon’s i shot with in china on my last reccy over there were unusable for interviews due to over heating on just the 2nd 12min recording!

    The c300′s would be fine apart from 2x $16k use price tags haha grr!.. this is self funded and that would blow my entire budget for this project :(

    look out for the ‘ The Cancer Cure ‘ feature film documentary coming out 2013 shot on … not d800′s :(

  66. 211
    ) Alan B
    February 24, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    I will be purchasing the new Nikon D800 (moving up from a D200). My primary concern is I want the highest resolving lenses as many Nikkors will not be up to the task with the D800. What are your suggestions for primarily a landscape photographer (80%), Macro (10%) people (10%)?

  67. 212
    ) sandbox
    February 26, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    Hi Nasim,

    any thoughts about the ISO performance of the DX mode of the D800? Will the DX mode and the FX mode have the same performance in terms of ISO for the D800? :D

  68. 213
    ) Rajesh
    February 28, 2012 at 9:26 am

    Sir,
    I have a NIkonF801s and F100 and few lenses. I had done few exhibitions and that is why large size prints are very important, at least 30/20 inch or 30/40 inch. I do not make any money out of photography too, so I dont have that much to spend. Because quality is very important, and since shooting on film is so difficult, transparency roles are not even available, I have been thinking hard about buying a digital body. The D3′s or D4 is too much for me. The D800, with its resolution, looks perfect for me, but I am confused by all the comments about the performance at low light. I do take a lot of dance and other similar performances and low light quality is very important for me, just like the large print size.
    Please help me, do you think I will be disappointed with D800. As I mentioned, I do not make much money so it is impossible for me to upgrade to a diff body after a few years or so. So may be should I wait for an year or so?

  69. 214
    ) Durga
    February 29, 2012 at 6:43 am

    hi Nasim, I am thinking to buy the camera D800 or D800e. I want to use this camera for the short movies and special occassion (photo session). can you suggest me the model of the camera (D800 or D800e?) and the lense which I can use for short movie and the foto session? thanks

  70. 215
    ) David
    March 1, 2012 at 10:46 am

    Ok so I read the article on Nikon’ site http://imaging.nikon.com/history/scenes/32/index.htm and on the second page or that article they are suggesting that “Medium” at 20MP is to be used for general shooting…

    Quote:

    Hara: “The D800 has an effective pixel count of 36.3 megapixels, but that doesn’t mean it can take pictures only at that size. There are three image sizes – large, medium, and small – and you can choose the one that suits your needs. In FX format, the large size enables shooting with about 36.2 megapixels, while about 20.3 megapixels are used for the medium size, or maybe if you’re taking snapshots you’ll find you can get by with the small size, which is about 9 megapixels. Both the medium and small settings use data from the full extent of the 36.3-megapixel sensor optimally processed to a smaller size using EXPEED 3. Therefore, we suggest selecting medium or small for normal use and choosing large only for, say, group portraits or very high resolution landscape shots. And just like our high-end D4 model, the D800 offers a choice of four image area settings: FX format, DX format, a nearly square 5:4 format that studio photographers will find easy to use, and a 1.2x format that is slightly narrower than the FX format. Each of these formats is available in the large, medium, and small sizes I mentioned earlier, giving the photographer considerable freedom in choosing a size.” ”

    So it says that the medium settings use data from the full extent of the 36.3 sensor optically processed to a smaller size using EXPEED 3. I think it maybe is a sound idea , at least for me, because 20MP is plenty for most that I shoot. I am also going to assume that shooting at 20.3MP will result in even better low light capability depending on how good EXPEED3 chip does the processing.

    My question is, if Nikon is suggesting it, why did not they allowed for increased continuous shooting speed in Medium (20MP) and Small (9MP) mode in FX? Surely, 20MP files are smaller and could be processed faster. I am certain it is a simple firmware update and D800 could easily be capable of shooting 6-8fps in 20MP size and even faster in 9MP size. By doing this, Nikon could take away one of Canon’s new 5DM3 advantage (6fps in 22MP mode)

    I suspect they could but did not do it, because if they would allow 6-8fps in 20MP mode, they would endanger D4 sales, as D4 has 16MP and same AF mechanism as D800, but for $6000. Unless I am missing something?

    • 216
      ) John Richardson
      March 1, 2012 at 10:59 am

      Yeah Dave I thought the same thing when I read it. A firmware update may do the trick, but I suspect if it is possible they my hold that off for a while until the D4 orders are firm and shipping at max capacity. But it is only a guess.

    • 217
      ) Gordon Gallagher
      March 1, 2012 at 3:48 pm

      I do not believe the medium/small settings are in RAW format. I believe they are only available in JPEG. I only shoot RAW and therefore 36MP will result in large file sizes.

      Can someone confirm that I am correct??

  71. 218
    ) William
    March 2, 2012 at 5:46 am

    Is rhere really a banding issue with the D800 images? I have heard some people talking about it but can’t find much about it other than Fake Chuck Westfall’s site. Does anyone know about this?

  72. 220
    ) Joseph
    March 4, 2012 at 2:38 am

    Dear Nasim,

    First of all, thanks a lot for your great site and articles !

    Not sure if you have already talked about it, but do you have any information about how the D800 will deal with the noise in “middle” picture-format option (20 mega pixel).

    I read from nikon website that even if we select the 20 mp size, the full information captured with the 36 mp will be used…. probably to reduce the noise ? And in that case, the noise treatment of 20 mp image may be ‘better’ than the one of 36 mp images… ? Comparison with the 5D III should be made at equivalent size then… ;)

    Thanks !
    Cheers,

    Joseph.

  73. 221
    ) Ansh Sharma
    March 4, 2012 at 2:50 am

    Have Nothing to Say, Results Speaks for Itself, Thanks for the result Pics Nasim..

  74. 222
    ) bert
    March 5, 2012 at 1:50 am

    I don’t see the trouble. A lot of people wanted a lower MP model with cleaner high-iso. What do you need that for? I never go above 3200-6400 with my D700. One thing that comes to mind: Weddings, and then the parties afterwards…. If you want to earn money in that most horrible photography segment, go ahead, buy a wedding-cam (read a 5D MkIII). If you are serious about your profession: admit that weddings suck, and the clients only care for 640×480 Facebook images from the parties. They will look perfect from a D800 too if you want to torture your nice Nikon with that crap.
    I’m an documentary/architecture/product photographer perfectly happy with this move. It gives all the D700 qualities (12mp downsampled 25600 looks great, especially on the D-range, and the jpeg here was not yet put into NX2, so expect much cleaner results with the right software), but adds video, higher MP if you like (there is also a 20MP setting), better AF, better light sensor, and very important: professional cropping tools. You can make 30MP 4:5 images in a 3K camera!

    • 224
      ) Che Ibarra
      March 5, 2012 at 12:27 pm

      Hey Bert, Nasim Mansurov shoots weddings too. So you are saying he doesn’t take his photography serious? People shoot different things. Some might find your doc/arch/product photography boring. Others need thrills and fast action in front of their lens to feel motivated. I am somewhat new to photography (started last year as a hobby) and I can say I have shot just about everything….events, weddings, quinces, nature, concert, landscape, races, architecture and even product photography in a light box I built (I find that boring by the way… doesn’t mean it sucks). Photography is not my profession…I do it as a hobby. Just turned out that people thought I was darn good at it that it started to pay off. Shooting wedding doesn’t have to be boring….it’s drolly just your personality….plus if you are good, they are easy money. Matter of fact, I pre-ordered my D4 without touching my paycheck at all….all funded from portrait, events and wedding shoots I have done the last couple of months. Just my opinion….like i said, this is not my bread-winning profession….but I think it’s kind of lame of you to diss or dismiss those that do make their living shooting weddings as NON-Professionals. Try being a little more like Ernie instead of Bert :)

  75. 226
    ) Harsh Sharma
    March 24, 2012 at 4:34 am

    hi Nasim, I am amateur in fact (amateurish). Will noise reduction be better if used at 20 mp. In other words if matches to canon 5d mark 3 in terms of megapixels, will it do just as good in terms of noise. Is there any clear evidnce (photographs analysing his) to answer this question one way or the other.

  76. 227
    ) Charles Weinberg
    March 30, 2012 at 9:16 am

    Hi Nasim,
    I Just got my Nikon D800 and took my first pictures in raw. I was unable to download them in either CS4 Bridge or LIghtroom 3. Both Bridge and LIghtroom say there are no new camera raw updates. Please help me.

    • 228
      ) Gordon Gallagher
      March 30, 2012 at 11:42 am

      Download the trial of Lightroom 4. Also a minimal cost to upgrade (compared to a D800).

      Gordon

  77. 229
    ) Dave W
    April 1, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    Nasim: This is an awesome website, congratulations on a job well done and thank you! Please help me out. I am an amateur, love shooting my kids doing sports and other stuff too like Grand Canyon, flowers, wildlife. I have a D700 now (didn’t buy a D3S because the shop talked me out of it since I wasn’t a “sports photo professional”) and I really like it. I still find the low light performance indoors like for volleyball and basketball even with my wonderful Nikon 200mm F2 lens to be less than great. I like to freeze the action, and it’s hard to do it without a lot of grain and/or no depth of field at f2 so the ball is in focus but the face is not. I am ready to upgrade. I have some awesome 12MP images printed at 24×36 that are very sharp, so getting to 36MP doesn’t seem like a must to me, but I am having trouble deciding between D4 and D800. D4 is more money, but seems like it might be worth it for what I like to do with sports, and I don’t think I’d lose much on my hiking in National Parks pictures. What do you think? Thanks so much in advance.
    Dave.

  78. 231
    ) Ag Arum
    April 27, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    Interestingly, file properties of the JPEG Samples shows Camera Property Max aperture value 1.6 for the images taken with 50mm f/1.8G lens! Is it another “Easter egg” from Nikon, which can be activated on pair with recently announced “turbo mode”? :)

  79. 232
    ) Hussein
    June 20, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    Hello Mr Mansurov, Great articles, resourceful website you have. Please i need a little advice. I am only a serious hobbyist and contemplating buying a Nikon D4. But since i do not make any money from photography, i think such move would be an overkill. But i love the camera. Recently i have been contemplating the D800 instead. Do you think it makes sense to buy the D4 even if one can afford it?.best regards.

    Hussein

  80. 233
    ) Skoda Biernaowski
    July 19, 2012 at 9:49 am

    I hardly leave a response, however i did a few searching and
    wound up here Nikon D800 High ISO Image Samples. And I actually do have a couple of questions for you if it’s allright. Could it be only me or does it appear like some of these remarks look as if they are written by brain dead folks? :-P And, if you are posting at other places, I’d like to keep up with anything new you have to post. Would you list of all of all your community pages like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?

  81. 234
    ) Martin Crawford
    September 4, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    Sorry but ISO 6400 is totally awful, even a D7000 get much better result… the D800 is a great camera from iso 100 to 1600 but from iso 3200 and up image are way too grainy to be used for anything other then small size internet. In term of grain at high iso, it’s similar to a D90, nothing more… My D700 produce much better result from Iso 3200 to 12800

    I had lot of hope n that camera, but I do lot of photo at show and event in dark places and I had to sent back that camera and got a D3s to pair with my D700… Sadly, I can’t afford the D4 which is THE camera I wish I could put my hand on !!!

  82. October 1, 2012 at 8:44 am

    its terrible iso performance !
    even at 6400 iso range, image quality is trash!

  83. 236
    ) nancy rammouz
    November 29, 2013 at 3:36 am

    Hello nassim
    I am so proud to buy my nikond800

    But I have a problem and no one can explain it or.fix it.

    I hve a color noisy picture in the focus point and the background even …even in low iso ex 200
    I took the to a studio was connected to projectors and used a light meter and we test on a model
    Yet the same problem…
    Can u help ???

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