Nikon launches the D800 and D800E
Yesterday, Nikon launched its oh-so long awaited and discussed D800, alongside the near-identical twin D800E. Our Group Editor, Adam Scorey, discovered the camera we've all been waiting for when the news broke.
The journey into London was ominous but beautiful; early morning mist clung to virgin snow, trees appearing like age old sentinels from the landscape through the train window - how ironic I could do nothing and was heading to a camera launch. On the horizon, the orange orb of a winter's sun slowly rising like the proverbial phoenix. My thoughts were towards the day's main event, a Nikon launch. And what a launch it was going to be.
At the recent SWPP show, one of the many conversations I had with the pros coming to the stand was about ‘the next big thing’, gear wise. Neither Canon or Nikon had, to that point, set the world on fire. I discussed whether medium format would perhaps tempt people away; the greater quantity of pixels, the superior quality of lenses and dynamic range on offer, plus prices becoming more comparable all the time, may just tip some over the edge.
But Nikon has just chucked a metaphoric, photographic hand grenade into the affray: The D800, and its twin, the D800E. Rumours have been around for months, some arguing that the flood in Thailand delayed the camera's launch. No matter, it's here now.
To really appreciate just how important this camera is, you need to study the numbers - and I don't just mean the 36mp FX (full frame) sensor either. Yes, it can shoot at 4fps, with an ISO range from 50-25,600, four image size formats and the new AF, metering chip and processor from the Nikon D4. It's tough too, with a magnesium alloy body, and the shutter is good for 200,000 cycles. The new LCD comes across from the D4 as well. Yarda, yarda, yarda. The number I think we all need to pay attention to is the price, £2400 body only. Yep, I did type that correctly...
What's the Nikon D800E then?
Basically it's the same as the Nikon D800 in size and spec but for one 'tiny' detail, Nikon has removed the anti-alioasing filter from the front of the sensor. Why... they say to increase the detail to meet the needs of those looking for greater detail - particularly medium format users. They did show us an example of an identical image shot with both the D800 and then the D800E and you could see a noticable difference in the detail when shown a section at 100%. The downside is that, as medium format users will attest to, a greater chance of moire and false colour in images. However, software does remove these effects, the new NX2 included. See more here: http://www.europe-nikon.com/en_GB/product/digital-cameras/slr/professional/d800e
This package is, for want of a better phrase, a complete game-changer. This catapults it deep into enemy territory, but Nikon is now playing with the big boys, the likes of Mamiya, Pentax 645D and the Holy Grail that is Hasselblad.
Lenses, I hear people shout. Medium format lenses are far better... Are they? Are you completely sure? Okay, buy an adapter and fit your Carl Zeiss or Schneider’s. At two-and-a-half grand, you could take a punt - failing that, hire the complete kit and try it out. If you can get the same quality for a third of the price, you can charge less than your competitor; your clients and your bank balance will thank you.
The unknown in all of this revelry is the image quality. I've only seen a handful of images and listened to a few carefully chosen words from Nikon's selected pro, Scottish fashion shooter John Wright, but what I saw was impressive. Anyway, Nikon's track record is 24-carat.
The Nikon D4 is impressive, but not "wow". The D800 is a very shouty "WOW!" with a megaphone, for far less cash - I'd even say I think it's 'cheap' for the potential it offers photographers. Not only has Nikon changed the game, they've taken the rule book, poured petrol on it, set it alight and lobbed it into Canon's back yard, whilst flicking the 'Vs' at the same time. Perhaps, boys and girls, it's time to change...
- RRP prices: D800 - £2400 (body only) / D800E - £2690 (body only) / MB-D12 grip - £380
- Available: D800 - 22nd March / D800E - 12th April / MB-D12 - 22nd March
- Newly Developed Nikon FX CMOS Sensor - 39.5mm x24mm
- 36.3 Million Effective Pixels - Total pixels 36.8MP
- Up to 4fps in FX mode and 6fps in DX crop mode (with MB-D12)
- Dual card slots: CF (UDMA 7) & SDXC (& UHS-1)
- A new 91k pixel metering sensor (from Nikon D4)
- ISO 50 - 25,600 (100 - 6400 in normal range)
- 51 AF points/15 cross hair-types (with Face Detection)
- AF works in -2EV (moonlight)
- 6 AF modes: 3D colour tracking, Single point, 9-point tracking, Auto Area, 51-point AF Tracking & 21-point AF Tracking
- Shutter tested to 200,000 cycles
- Battery life: 900+ shots per charge (using CIPA gudelines)
- New 3.2-in LCD with 921k dots (As on Nikon D4)
- Full HD video with 30/25/24fps @ 1920x1080 and 60/50fps @ 1280x720p)
- Mic in port
- Headphone out port (with volume)
- Visual sound level and ISO 100-25,600 can be used
- Uncompresses HDMI out
Format MP NEF (Raw) Processed Tiff 16-Bit
FX 36.3MP 76.5 MB approx. 212.1 MB approx.
5:4 30.2MP 64.2 MB approx. 177.1 MB approx.
1.2x 25.1MP 53.8 MB approx. 147.1 MB approx.
DX 15.4MP 33.7 MB approx. 90.3 MB approx.
Please let us know your thoughts on Nikon's latest DSLR at firstname.lastname@example.org
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