The Nikon D800/D800E is Official and I Stand By My D4 Decision

Yesterday Nikon made the long awaited D800 announcement and for the most part the rumors were true in terms of the specs. It's a 36MP camera! Wow! That's awesome for studio photographers, people that do weddings and commercial photographers. It's Nikon's highest megapixel DSLR to date. If you think about it, it's approaching the resolution of a medium format camera at a fraction of the price! While I can certainly understand the benefits for the intended market, (In my Obi-Wan Kenobi voice) this is not the D700 upgrade that I was looking for. Nope, this is a brand new camera aimed at a very specific set of customers. I get it! It's not for me. As I stated when I pre-ordered my D4, that while I don't need a D4 for the type of work/photography I do, I'd rather have the lower megapixel count for my portrait photography.

While I can certainly understand the desire to have more megapixels in terms of potential image quality, enlargements and being able to crop and still have a ton of data, I just don't want every frame I take to produce a file that large. On a positive note (according to the specs) the image size does appear to be selectable. If I'm reading this right you'll be able to choose between (L) 7,360 x 4,912, (M) 5,520 x 3,680 and (S) 3,680 x 2,456. That sounds great! In theory you would be able to dial up or down the MP count as needed. However, for me that would mean having it dialed down to "M" the majority (99%) of the time as I can't think of too many occasions where I would ever dial it up. The "M" setting would be a 20MP image, which is still larger than I need and "S" would be around 9MP, which is less than I'm used to now. Also knowing the way things work, I'd have that one magical shot at the lower setting and wished I had had it dialed up for that shot. While this is all theoretical for me at this point, I stand behind my decision to go with the D4. Once the D800 is out in the wild and the reviews (and sample images are in at the various sizes) are in perhaps my opinion will change. If that did happen I could always sell my D700 and go up to a D800 as a second/backup body to my D4. For now I'll be watching the D800 from the sidelines. Cheers to those who have been waiting for and dreaming of a 36MP DSLR!

One more thing… I should also point out that the D800 has two card slots (something I really wanted). CF and SD. That means that having an Eye-Fi card in the SD slot for wireless transfers to your computer, iPad, Android or iPhone while you're shooting is a possibility. I would shoot RAW to the CF and basic JPEG to the Eye-Fi card. The client could be reviewing shots off to the side as I take them. Sweet!

You can pre-order a Nikon D800 here or here You can pre-order a Nikon D800 (low pass fiter with anti-aliasing removed!) here or here.


  • terrell c woods

    Terry, that two slots with one being a SD card is a keeper. I really wish Canon would do that. Eye-Fi is not going to waste $$ on producing a CF card for the so few that are out there.

    • Jim

      @terrell c woods – Canon does offer that. Their 1D line has two card slots, 1 CF and 1 SD.

  • Gareth

    You’re assuming th eye-Fi will work in a magnesium body which is a big assumption. I’vee never been able to get it to work in anything that has a predominately metal body.

  • Im with you here! I was hoping for a true D700 update, perhaps taking after the D4 or even the D3s. I am a wedding photographer and proud of it. I still don’t understand why they are touting this as a wedding photographers choice. It hasn’t improved on native higher ISO and noise quality (as it stands now) which would be helpful for low light situations. And even at the D800 medium ‘M’/20 MP setting, it would be an issue of storage and file management and less about image quality. The D3 and D700 already produce images at great resolution that i can enlarge with no problems. I also don’t need video…I’d rather support the cinema artists in my industry than try and take on another dimension to my workflow. So I’m a little disappointed to say the least. I’ll stay with the D3s & D700 lineup for now. Hopefully real world results for this camera prove me wrong.

  • David

    From what I’ve read in other columns, the firmware in the D800 specifically works with eyefi cards (I’ve not read anything about performance of the eyefi in the camera but one hopes if they wrote the firmware they may have tested it out…..).

    Big issue for me price. As a keen amateur, it’s hard enough to excuse paying for a D800, never mind a D4.

    Biggest reasons for me liking the D800 are the video and the ability to use an eye fi. When I’m doing paid shoots, most often it’s on location (business office etc.), and the faster I can review with the client, the better. If I’ve only got 1/2 hour to do the job, I don’t like having to take the CF cards out and load the pics to a computer.

    Megapixels? Nice to have but not a deal breaker for me.

    • Don

      There is a CF card reader for the iPad you know. I have one. 🙂

  • Dan Cole

    Terry, I’m with you on this and have come to the same conclusion regarding the D4. But one thing still confuses me on the marketing of the D800 – help me understand how 36mp is good for wedding photographers? Speed has been more important than megapixels at every wedding I’ve shot.


  • 36 mega-pixel camera….. wow… certainly it possess great resolution… amazing… 🙂 i wish i get this camera

  • Oddly Nikon put two conventional and well liked card slots in the D800 but only one useable or at least “normal” card slot in the faster burn rate D4. What the heck were they thinking or did SONY simply “make” them?
    How unlike the Nikon of my memory (and former fanboy level adoration).
    And what’s with Nikon only using still guys to demo these new camera’s video potential? Especially with Canon having real video pros, up to and including Ron Howard, shoot real videos and actually build a Hollywood-based video center to back up the Canon DSLR video and C300 phenoml? My old Nikon would never become so seemingly unprofessional in the face of Canon.
    Happy with my D 1 X pre orders, thank you very much.
    As for the 5D mk III variants we’ll all just have to wait and see.

  • I agree, the Nikon D4 will provide a better overall pixel integrity. However, the D800 remains as a great backup or alternative for landscapes, etc.

  • Stef

    36 MP? wow, there are new lenses in the Pipline?

    Are there any lenses in the portfolio of Nikon, their can image the high resoltuion of 36MP of the D800 in respective Quality?
    For example, there are not many lenses by Canon which may reflect the resolution (21MP) of the 1Ds and 5D Mark II…

    Thank You!

  • Phil