Jumping the gun on the Nikon D800

Since my post last night here on Google+ (http://www.scottgplus.com), and here on my blog earlier today, I’ve seen a lot of comments flowing in pro and con about this camera, and I just want to say a quick few things about the comments I’ve been reading thus far:

(1) The D800 was apparently created for a very specific type of photographer 
There is no law that every camera introduced by a camera company has to be designed to fit your personal needs. If you read that it has 36.3 megapixels and you’re like “36.3 megapixels is overkill!!!” then obviously this camera isn’t for you, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t photographers out there who read that spec and cheered! (Me being on of them). It looks like this was designed for commercial photographers, and wedding and landscape shooters that want to be using a camera with Medium-Format type resolution without the medium-format price. If that’s not you, that’s OK. Nikon makes other camera models for you.

(2) The D800 doesn’t appear to be designed for sports or action photographers (like the D700 was)
In fact, it looks like the D800 is an entirely different camera intended for an entirely different market, which is why it only shoots 4/fps (which for a camera with that high a resolution is actually very fast. If you’ve ever shot a medium-format camera, this is blazing!!!).

(3) The D700 was kind of a stripped down version of the D3…
but the D800 doesn’t seem to be a stripped down D4 on any level (even though the name D800 alone would make us think otherwise). I wish Nikon had given it a different name just to make a more obvious break with the D700 line, and I really hope Nikon does introduce a stripped down version of the D4, because I always thought the D700 had an important place in their product line that a lot of people really benefitted from (I have a D700 myself).

(4) This is the most important one: the camera isn’t shipping yet
…and there are only literally a handful of people in the entire world that have even taken one single frame with this camera. Instead of rushing to judge this camera and exclaim why it’s not for you, instead why don’t we wait until we actually see one with our own eyes, hold one in our hands, and in person see a print from it and what it can do? I know, that sounds crazy but why don’t we actually use one before we decide anything?

I know that from the specs alone, and from what I’ve read, and a personal account from one of the few people that did shoot one —- I want one, and I’m pre-ordering mine from B&H Photo this morning (they’re taking pre-orders here: http://bhpho.to/zJsYDU — just saw that Adorama is taking pre-orders as well: ). But just this once, why don’t we actually see, hold, and experience the product for at least 60-seconds before we tell the world why it’s not for us. You never know, this type of “try it before you trash it” thing might actually catch on. ;-)

  1. Scott, are you going to order the 800 or the 800e, just curious if you have thoughts on that?  Thanks for all you do and say.  It would be nice if we could stay positive in the world as a whole.

    1. I’m going with the 800 (no “E” for me). I shoot a lot of people, and I think I’d be running into the moire problem enough that I’m passing on the E. It’s probably perfect for a lot of folks with what they’re shooting, but since I shoot a wide range of stuff, I think it’s “no E for me.”

      1. Do y’all know that with a wider UV gamut this camera will work more like an IR camera if you use an infrared filter than one with the AA filter!

      2. Do you know that for a fact? My understanding is that the D800E actually has 2 anti-aliasing filters that cancel each other out. So if the thought is that the AA filter also filters IR, and the D800E has no AA filter, therefore it will allow more IR to pass through… It may be incorrect.

  2. Right on Scott! A hands on video at Kelby headquarters would be very appreciated when you get the time to do it! Maybe a bit like you did with the D4 when it was announced! Thanks for everything!

  3. “Wait and see what the camera really does before making and spreading opinions” … This is blasphemy you speak, and certainly not how the internets work :)

  4. Agreed. I know that the D800 is not for me, but I’d never trash it just because I’m not going to buy it. That doesn’t mean that I’m not looking forward to seeing you do some Grid Live or demos of the D800 though…  :)

  5. As primarily a sports photographer, very disappointed.  I love my D700, but it’s getting long in the tooth (and the shutter count).  Not sure I want to invest $2500 in another D700, with 5 year old technology, but it’s either that, or invest $5000+ for a D3s (still not new tech), or $6000+ for a D4.  Kind of a shame that the sports/action shooter has very few options, other than the super high-end.

    1. How about a used D3s…since they’re going to be $3500 once the D4 starts shipping?  That’s my plan…a D800 now…grab a used D3s in six months or so.  Hell of a combo !!!

  6. It’s so funny how many people are complaining about the megapixels because for years people have been giving out that Nikon didn’t have an answer to the 5D Mark II. Now that they do they are all giving out. Dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t

    1. Spot on imo.  Go read some Canon forums right now.  The D800 is arguably exactly what the 5d2 users want in the 5d3…and they aren’t optimistic Canon will deliver.  Especially the pro level AF.  

      The massive (!!) success of the 5d2 proves there is a customer base for this type of camera.  Many Nikon users, myself included, whined about wanting a Nikon 5d2 equivalent.  Nikon has delivered in spades…and there’s still whining.  I predict Nikon doesn’t meet demand for 12 months.

      1. lol WUT? You have no idea what your talking about. We do NOT want a uselessly high MP camera with crap ISO performance and grandma in cadillac speed
        people who want high MP need to buy a Hasselbad or shut up and get out of the way 

  7. Hi Scott, did you pre-order the D800 or the D800e? In your oppionion is there any difference or advantage that justifies the extra cost in the e version? Thanks!

  8. Every time a highly anticipated product ships, there’s a flood of comments disparaging it for what it isn’t.  I’ve stopped getting excited about new product announcements.  Not because the products aren’t amazing or great, but because of the roar of whining that inevitably follows.  The Internet has revolutionized complaining.

    I know that must be true, because look at me.  I’m using the Internet to complain about complaining.

  9. Its just like what people did when the iPad was announced and we all know how bad those sell.

    I’m surprised that they took it in another direction but it is their product and I’m sure they are going to sell a lot of them.  Who knows maybe they will release a D800s model that is directed at sports shooters.
    Interesting that you get a D7000 built in if you change it to DX mode.  6fps and 16mp

  10. Well presented Scott. This camera does live on a different shelf to any other Nikon model thus far. I shoot product for in-store retail environments, and, say a nail varnish or mascara will end up in reproduction about 4 feet tall… I shoot a D3x and I’m certainly going to take a look at the D800 myself – before I make any judgement.

  11. camera looks very impressive

    I thought you  and Corey Barker might be interested in passing this on…Get 3D Pro Software for Free: Only TodaySome 3D Pro software from DAZ are free for download, among them:Bryce Pro Hexagon (named Amapi some times ago) DAZ Studio Pro (rendering application)ihttp://www.daz3d.com/Only thing you will need is to register for being able to download application for free.more info at hardmac.com

  12. Normally, I would agree that we’d all be better served waiting to actually see/hold the camera, but in this instance (and apologies in advance as I mean no disrespect) I think that advice just makes no sense and is a bit of a platitude.

    I know my technology and what it can handle and I know how large I need my file sizes to be.  36 is just way too much for my needs.  That makes it a great camera for “someone” (I’m sure it’s awesome, in fact), but I don’t need to hold it in my hands to find out that, lo and behold, 36 is actually 36.  Same with 4fps.  I know your “let’s wait and see for once…let’s not be the internet as usual” will always get a “My thoughts exactly, Scott” or “Great post, Scott” and will generate other Flickresque comments, but I fail to see what actually holding the camera in my hands is going to do to the 4/6 fps limitation.

    Again, love Scott and love this blog, and I am sure that the 800 is going to be a great camera for someone, but its a but unfair (and slightly disingenuous) to blow those of us off who are criticizing as just being whiny internet children who need to actually hold the thing in our hands before making a decision…

    1. Actually Matt take a look at Canons newest lenses and you will find they are in fact more than Nikon. The new canon 24-70 is priced at 2299, while Nikons is 1899. Also the Canon 400 and 600 have skyrocket way pass Nikon. A Canon 400 2.8 is 11,500, while Nikon is 9000.00. Your assumption was true a few years back but not anymore. I switched 3 years ago and never looked back.

  13. Well said. I just went to a digital photography site and there are a ton of people commenting on the specs already. Not all people who get wowed by a large megapixel count camera are people who think that megapixels is the be all end all of all cameras. There are people who actually use all those megapixels for whatever they are doing. 

    Actually 3 grand for a full frame 36mp camera isn’t bad at all. 

  14. Digital photography has made such great advancements in the last 10 years. I’m excited to see that companies are continuing to make advancements, and not just marketing gadgets.

    1. The D800E is the same camera and has the same sensor as the D800, except that the D800E has its anti-aliasing filter removed (IR and UV rejection is the same).This gives the D800E potential for sharper images with exceptional lenses, and also the potential for irremovable moiré patterns on fabrics, screens, distant fences and fine repeating patterns.

  15. so much common sense found on the internet, very nice. would have hoped for the same when talking about the X100 – which has no anti aliasing filter by the way. no, I can see why you’re having the opinion you have. right tool for the right purpose and for the right guy. those mega pixels seems to be distraction, I don’t think most people need them, but there’s nice benefits coming with them (not talking cropping images here)

  16. While I think Scott, as usual, makes excellent points, I actually don’t think you need to hold and use this camera to decide whether it’s for you or not.  The specs and performance are so differentiated from the D4, it’s really apples and coconuts.  For me, I’m nothing short of ecstatic with the D800 specs.  I feel I’m getting MFD circa 2007 with clean iso 1600 and 4fps…something MFD can’t dream of doing…for $3k.  All in a small light body.

    Which version am I getting? With AA filter. Why? I’m a tiny bit concerned about moire with stills…and a LOT worried about moire with video.  Stills, it can be fixed most likely.  Fix moire in video?  Nightmare.

  17. Well said Scott! Some people seem to have this reflex where just because the camera, or whatever they really want hasn’t come out on the market, they ‘pull to pieces’ all the hard work and dedication thats gone into a particular product for a particular market. No manufacturer in the whole wide world can please absolutely everyone all of the time! Very impressed by the specs though it might not necessarily meet my own needs, as you point out out that there are other models in their lineup, like the D7000 which ticks nearly all the boxes on my wish list!

  18. Scott, thanks for the update on this, I for one take this for what it is, information, I for one will wait until I can get my hands on one, do some touch and feel.

    I also see they introduced the MB-12 vertical grip and I wonder if you can still use the MB-10?

  19. Totally agree with you on N. 1 just get what suits your needs! (if I only need one family car, with 4 wives and 15 kids…as much as I like a Ferrari…it’s not going to happen), just kidding!!
    I would take one kid at the time, if I could only afford it! :-}
    I see the D800 as a D3x on a budget, more megapixels at 5000 megadollars less! And with the apparently brilliant video of the D800 you could even film yourself, on a Caribbean beach, counting all the thousands of dollars you saved!!
    I think I’m going to get a D800, later on in the year, as a 3rd body (even if that means getting rid of one of the 4 wives!) Only joking, I only have one wife and she’s too good to be traded in for a camera!!
    Scott, variety is what makes the world great and exciting…100 people, 100 different opinions!! 
    All the best.

  20. Yeah, for the first time I’m considering selling my motorcycle (knees and hips are protesting too much already!) and getting a D800 (with 17-35 f/2.8). I don’t do high speed sports stuff, and I really miss medium and large format. I just wonder if I’m good enough to warrant a camera that outstanding…

  21. Well said, Scott. I drool at every camera Nikon has issued since I got my D70. But I figure that Nikon isn’t putting out new cameras just to try to get me to replace each one as it is issued. And besides, I still like my D70 and it does everything I need it to do. Thanks to Photoshop, I can fix a multitude of sins due to my shooting, or shortcomings due to my D70! So like I’ve done with so many other new Nikons, I’ll pass on the D800.

  22. Scott, you are right, only a very few have actually played with this amazing new camera, but (as I know from personal experience), those who have don’t want to give it back. That should tell you something… ;)

    Cheers from Australia

  23. Ever since putting down my film cameras and buying my first digital Nikon 13 years ago I’ve been waiting and hoping for a 35mm digital whose output would approach (or achieve!) medium format resolution, and when I first heard the rumors that the D800 would be a 36MP camera it seemed too good to be true– but it’s real, and I couldn’t be more delighted! 

    This is EXACTLY the camera I want, both for my own work and that which I do for clients– advertising, portraiture, abstracts, and landscapes are precisely those things for which the D800 was apparently intended– and I am SOOOOOO glad to have placed my order for it this morning. 

    I’m sorry that action and sports photographers will be disappointed, but these are complete non-issues for me and I can’t wait until my new dream camera arrives!

  24. Wow, dropping nine grand on two cameras in two months! It’ll be interesting to see how you use each of them and which one you choose to carry on those one camera-one lens trips like the one to Copenhagen last year.

    It’ll be really interesting to see the quality of the D800 images against, say, a PhaseOne or other medium format. Generally the larger the area of the individual pixel the better the quality of the capture. I’m going to guess that the average Joe is going to struggle to tell the difference when viewing on a screen at anything less tan 100% resolution.

    Still, it may offer a more cost-reasonable route towards medium format quality than investing in a PhaseOne, even second hand, especially if you’ve already invested in a bunch of quality glass. I will have to keep an eye out for comments on the D800 from Strobist David Hobby since he shunned the D4 and used the D4 announcement to reveal his graduation to the PhaseOne.

    As a Canon shooter, the D4 announcement didn’t excite me. I think the D800 announcement is far more exciting and agree with the other commenters that this is close to what we’re looking for in a 5D Mark III.

  25. well said. I love reading forums and web comments… so many people were just born to complain and criticize. We never ever had as much choice like today, never had as many possibilities to make our work better and better every day with the tools that fits our needs…

    I can’t wait to get my D4 and will check this D800 with great enthousiasm! 

  26. I’m excited about it kind of…  I want to see some hopefully non-biased reviews.  So far all I’ve seen are posts from the I hate Nikon and Nikon can do no wrong camps.  I’ve been shooting a D200 since it came out and I want to move up to a full frame camera.  The single digit D’s are out due to price.  The D700 is damn hard to find.  As for Canon, I’ve read too much bad about the 5D2 to consider it, but am now waiting to see what they announce at the end of the month.  For me it’s probably going to come down to a choice between the D700 and D800 (assuming N is going to continue selling the 700).  I’m willing to wait a little more and see what Canon has to offer though I guess.

  27. I agree with you, Scott.  Cameras are just tools and each has a specific purpose.  What we shoot is what fits our needs best as individuals.  Those that think one body should do it all have unrealistic expectations.  

  28. Scott a good topic for the grid would be, why are people so obsessed with comparing gear brands and determing which is better?

    Like you keep stating in your posts, it is a TOOL and for a perticular job.
    The ammount of blog posts at the moment trying to convince us how now the new D800 is a million miles better then the Cannon 5D mk2… 2 very different pieces of kit… and do very different jobs.Yawn..

     Are people really that bothered? they need to learn and master there own kit first i find.
    I have yet to see a major pro start ripping anothers camera…..

    You and the Kelby team keep up the great work.
    Big fan


  29. I have always used CF and im not in the loop of the new SD tech. Is there any reason why I wouldn’t want to use a (95 MB/s Read, 90 MB/s Write) SD card vs a (90MB/s) CF card with the D800? Considering the SD cards are cheaper and I can use it directly in a macbook pro, it seems like a no brainier unless I am missing something.question 2. say a laptop has USB3 ..would it be faster to transfer RAW files via usb3 direct from the camera, or just taking out the SD card and plugging it right into the computer slot?

  30. This looks to be a great camera but it’s not the upgrade owners of the D700 were looking for, myself included. My hopes were the D800 would be the $3000 version of the D4. Something around 18-20 MP, 7 FPS with Nikon’s fantastic low light performance. Picking between nikons full-frames now feels like politics, you got your far right wing and far left wing but I’d like something in between. A third full-frame camera to round their line up off with would be great.

  31. I currently have a D700 and have been waiting for three years to purchase a second full-frame camera. As incredible as 36 MP sounds … I opted for the D4 to replace my main camera for a handful of reasons. Outside the obvious features of owning a D4 … my top reason for not wanting the D800 is I do not like the idea of a workflow that includes culling through and editing a couple hundred … much less a couple thousand 75MB files at a time. The cost of purchasing extra memory cards, HDDs, new computer hardware, etc will turn the seemingly cheaper D800 in to a much more expensive piece of equipment than most realize. All of this together outweighs any reason it may or may not be the right camera for my needs.

    On another note … I have yet to see a single image that remotely compares in sharpness and detail to a medium format camera. Which leaves me very underwhelmed by having 36MP so far. Not a big deal … but if they can’t provide official sample images from the get-go that support the claim … they shouldn’t be touting it as a something that does compare. Though a bit smaller, the D4 images I’ve seen in comparison seem to have just as much detail as the D800 sample images.

  32. Scott, I’m surprised that you had to get on the waiting list! You should have given them the “do you know who I am?!” treatment. But thanks for not cutting me in line. ; )

  33. I have my D800 on pre-order and already own an excellent D7000. The added advantages of the D800 over the D7000 are worth the upgrade to me. I’ve already received an excellent Nikon 24-70 F/2.8 FX lens that I’ve been testing on my D7000. Since the two cameras use the same battery I will have a total of four with two chargers. I look forward to receiving the new gear.

  34. I have my d800 and I fully agree. I use it on the high res settings as I would my film medium format. It rocks. There are many new features that make it a winner. If you are an action photographer get the d4. Better still, get both.

  35. I have a D800 that I am happy with, very very happy with. I actually read the specs carefully figured out exactly what it was before I bought it. Anybody thinking that a camera that is new is going to be similar to something that is old is a bit silly and Nikon have made no secret of their desire to take a huge leap forward with digital cameras and they have done exactly that. I knew before I bought it that every system I was using would have to be upgraded, including lenses so I went shopping a few months ago, put everything together and worked the bugs out. The cameras arrived, put to work after a short test, no hitch, no problem, just glorious results with every shot.
    If your not happy with this camera, providing that it is a good example and working properly, then you yourself need to be sent to the service department for repairs ………. nikon only make cameras, not peoples brains! Before a comment is passed ……….  I have sold all of my Canon equipment now, as they really wern’t up to it by comparison.
    Please bear in mind that I do not shoot video or am likely to and have not tried to on either Canon or the Nikon product.

  36. Just got mine. Camera store did not have extra batteries and I am trying to find out the best sd card to get so I can take some video at a wedding Sat. Ay suggestions.

  37. Kelby is correct on all counts. I’ve owned the D700 and now the D800. Very different cameras beyond form factor. The higher resolution has added several yards of reach to my photography, including shooting birds in flight, and the like. The increased MP count lets me crop into the scene I want with less loss. I had shot this camera now in near darkness at f/5.6 and at ISO 6400 with excellent results using a 80-400 zoom. The D800 is a delight to use and has brought new life to my older pro glass like the 17-35 and 85 f/1.4D, etc. Now that I have some experience with the D800, I might recommend to D700 owners that they consider keeping their D700 if budgets permit. My solution was to leverage my D90 as a lower MP alternative with solid performance for max flexibility. My strong recommendation: Go shoot some pictures and enjoy what most people reading this stuff enjoys! If we focus on the Pix and not the pixels, we’ll likely see some more stunning images from each of you.

  38. Nikon high end cameras were outstanding in the past. I’ve had my D800 for 5 weeks, had to send it back to Nikon for repair. Through the Viewfinder you could not remove the 5:4 format. Nikon Tech support unable to fix problem, they advised me to send it in. New and there’s a software issue that you are unable to reset to a TRUE default. Not Good.

  39. i have two and i love the camera but need help processing files it just kills me sitting up to 1am everynight trying to work on files! 36 mega pixels sure know how to cut into your time ;-( cf card is even slower

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