Nikon D800, D800E announcement

The Nikon D800 is now officially announced:

Press release:

The New Nikon D800 Offers Unrivaled Resolution and Features Designed for a Variety of Demanding Professional Photographic and Multimedia Disciplines, Videographers and Filmmakers

MELVILLE, N.Y. (Feb 6, 2012) – Today, imaging leader Nikon Inc. announced the highly anticipated D800 HD-SLR, engineered to provide extreme resolution, astounding image quality and valuable video features optimized for professional still and multimedia photographers and videographers. A camera with an unmatched balance of accuracy, functionality and image quality, the Nikon D800 realizes innovations such as a high resolution 36.3-megapixel FX-format CMOS sensor, a 91,000-pixel RGB Matrix Metering System, Advanced Scene Recognition System and many other intuitive features designed to create the preeminent device for the most demanding photo and video applications.

Whether shooting high fashion, weddings or multimedia content, Nikon’s highest resolution sensor to date, a groundbreaking new 36.3-megapixel (7360 x 4912 resolution) FX-format CMOS sensor, affords flexibility and astonishing image quality to satisfy a myriad of client requests. The Nikon D800 incorporates the latest 91,000-pixel 3D Color Matrix Metering III and the Advanced Scene Recognition System, coupled with an improved 51-point AF system for images with amazing sharpness, color and clarity. With its compact, lightweight D-SLR form factor and extensive video feature set, the D800 allows photographers to transition to multimedia to create an immersive story. Professional videographers will appreciate practical features that go beyond NIKKOR lens compatibility and Full HD 1080p video, such as full manual control, uncompressed HDMI output, and incredible low-light video capability. With this innovative combination of features, the D800 celebrates resourcefulness and a dedication to the flawless execution of an epic creative vision. All of this is driven by Nikon’s latest EXPEED 3™ image processing engine, providing the necessary processing power to fuel amazing images with faithful color, a wide dynamic range and extreme resolution.

“Whatever the project, visionaries need a tool that is going to help them stay on-time and on-task. The Nikon D800 re-imagines what is possible from this level of D-SLR, to address the needs of an emerging and ever changing market; this is the camera that is going to bridge the gap for the most demanding imaging professionals, and provide never before seen levels of SLR image and video quality,” said Bo Kajiwara, director of marketing, Nikon Inc. “The D800 is the right tool for today’s creative image makers, affording photographers, filmmakers and videographers a versatile option for capturing the ultimate in still image quality or full HD content, with maximum control.”

Extreme Image Quality
The new Nikon developed 36.3-megapixel FX-format (35.9 x 24mm) CMOS sensor realizes Nikon’s highest resolution yet, and is ideal for demanding applications such as weddings, studio portraiture and landscape, where there is no compromise to exceptional high fidelity and dynamic range. Nikon’s first priority is amazing image quality above all else, and resolution of this magnitude affords photographers the ability to portray even the smallest details, such as a strand of hair, with stunning sharpness or crop liberally with confidence. Photographers also shoot with the assurance of NIKKOR lens compatibility, because only a manufacturer with decades of optical excellence can provide the glass to resolve this kind of extreme resolution.

For shooting with minimal noise in a variety of lighting conditions, the D800 features a wide native ISO range of 100-6400, expandable to 50 (Lo-1)-25,600 (Hi-2). Nikon engineers have created innovative ways to manipulate light transmission to the sensor’s photodiodes, giving users the ability to shoot with confidence in challenging lighting conditions. Internal sensor design, an enhanced optical low pass filter (OLPF) and 14 bit A/D conversion with a high signal to noise ratio all contribute to a sensor capable of excellent low light ability despite the extreme resolution. Every aspect of this new FX-format sensor is engineered to deliver amazing low noise images through the ISO range and help create astounding tonal gradation and true colors, whether shooting JPEG or RAW. Images are further routed through a 16-bit image processing pipeline, for maximum performance. To further enhance versatility, users are also able to shoot in additional modes and aspect ratios such as 5:4 to easily frame for printed portraits or a 1.2X crop for a slight telephoto edge. For even more versatility, photographers can also take advantage of Nikon DX-format lenses for more lens options and enhanced focal range (1.5X), while still retaining sharpness and details at a high 15.4-megapixel (4800×3200) resolution.

Contributing to the camera’s rapid performance and amazing image quality is Nikon’s new EXPEED 3 image processing engine that helps professionals create images and HD video with amazing resolution, color and dynamic range. From image processing to transfer, the new engine is capable of processing massive amounts of data, exacting optimal color, rich tonality and minimized noise throughout the frame. Despite the immense data, the new EXPEED 3 also contributes to energy efficiency, affording the ability to shoot longer.

The D800 also features the Advanced Scene Recognition System with the 91,000-pixel 3D Color Matrix Meter III to provide unrivaled metering in even the most challenging of lighting conditions. At the system’s core is a newly designed RGB sensor that meticulously analyzes each scene, recognizes factors such as color and brightness with unprecedented precision and then compares all the data using Nikon’s exclusive 30,000 image database. Additionally, this new sensor now has the ability to detect human faces with startling accuracy, even when shooting through the optical viewfinder. This unique feature is coupled with detailed scene analysis for more accurate autofocus (AF), Auto exposure (AE), i-TTL flash control and even enhanced subject tracking. The Color Matrix Meter also emphasizes priority on exposure of the detected faces, allowing for correct exposure even when the subject is backlit. Even in the most difficult exposures the D800 excels, such as maintaining brightness on a bride’s face while retaining the dynamic range to accentuate the intricate details of a wedding dress beside a black tuxedo.

Advanced new automatic systems make it even easier to capture amazing images. The camera features a new enhanced auto white balance system that more accurately recognizes both natural and artificial light sources, and also gives the user the option to retain the warmth of ambient lighting. Users can expand dynamic range with in-camera High Dynamic Range (HDR) image capture, and enjoy the benefits of Nikon’s Active D-lighting for balanced exposure. Another new feature is direct access to Nikon’s Picture Control presets via a dedicated button on the back of the body to tweak photo and video parameters on the fly, such as sharpness, hue and saturation.

True Cinematic Experience
The Nikon D800 has a compact and lightweight form factor that’s preferable for a production environment, yet is packed with practical and functional features. The D800 is ideal whether the user is a filmmaker on location or in the studio or a documentarian in the field who requires portability and the NIKKOR lens versatility and depth of field that only a HD-SLR can offer. Filmmakers have the choice of various resolutions and frame rates, including Full HD 1080 at 30/24p and HD 720 at 60/30p. By utilizing the B-Frame data compression method, users can record H.264/MPEG-4 AVC format video with unmatched integrity for up to 29:59 minutes per clip (normal quality). This format produces higher quality video data without increasing file size for a more efficient workflow. The optimized CMOS sensor reads image data at astoundingly fast rates, which results in less instances of rolling shutter distortion. The sensor also enables incredible low-light video capability with minimal noise, letting filmmakers capture footage where previously impossible or expensive and complex lighting would otherwise be necessary. Users are also able to have full manual control of exposure, and can also adjust the camera’s power aperture setting in live view for an accurate representation of the depth of field in a scene. Whether shooting for depth of field in FX-format mode, or looking for the extra 1.5X telephoto benefits of DX mode, the high resolution sensor of the D800 allows videographers to retain full 1080p HD resolution no matter which mode they choose to best suit the scene. Users are also able to easily compose and check critical HD focus through the 921,000-dot, 3.2-inch LCD monitor with reinforced glass, automatic monitor brightness control, and wide viewing angle.

For professional and broadcast applications that call for outboard digital recorders or external monitors, users can stream an uncompressed full HD signal directly out of the camera via the HDMI port (8 bit, 4:2:2). This output signal can be ported into a display or digital recording device or routed through a monitor and then to the recording device, eliminating the need for multiple connections. This image can also be simultaneously viewed on both the camera’s LCD and an external monitor, while eliminating on-screen camera status data for streaming purposes. The D800 also includes features concentrated on audio quality, such as a dedicated headphone jack for accurate monitoring of audio levels while recording. Audio output levels can be adjusted with 30 steps for precise audio adjustment and monitoring. The D800 offers high-fidelity audio recording control with audio levels that can be set and monitored on the camera’s LCD screen. A microphone connected via the stereo mic jack can also be adjusted with up to 20 steps of sensitivity for accurate sound reproduction. What’s more, recording can be set to be activated through the shutter button, opening a world of remote applications through the 10-pin accessory terminal.

Wield Speed and Performance with Astonishing Accuracy
Whether shooting the runway or fast moving wildlife, the enhanced 51-point AF system of the D800 delivers blazing fast AF with tack-sharp results. Nikon has enhanced the Multi-Cam 3500-FX AF sensor module and algorithms to significantly improve low light acquisition, for precise focus to an impressive -2 exposure value (EV). The focus system utilizes 15 cross-type AF sensors for enhanced accuracy, and the system also places an emphasis on the human face, working in conjunction with the Advanced Scene Recognition System to provide accurate face detection even through the optical viewfinder. The camera also utilizes nine cross-type sensors that are fully functional when using compatible NIKKOR lenses and teleconverters with an aperture value up to f/8, which is a great advantage to those who need extreme telephoto focal lengths (single cross type sensor active with TC20E III). For maximum versatility in all shooting situations, whether photographing portraits or static subjects, users are also able to select multiple AF modes, including normal, wide area, face tracking and subject tracking to best suit the scene.

The D800 delivers upon a professional’s need for maximum speed when it counts. The camera is ready to shoot in 0.12 seconds, and is ready to capture with super-fast AF and response speed. To photograph action in a burst, the camera shoots up to 4 frames per second (fps) in FX mode at full resolution, or up to a speedy 6 fps in DX mode using the optional MB-D12 Battery Pack and compatible battery. Further enhancing the speed of the camera and overall workflow, the D800 utilizes the new USB 3.0 standard for ultra fast transfer speeds.

Construction and Operability
The body of the D800 is designed to offer a compact form factor and a lightweight body for the utmost versatility. The chassis is constructed of magnesium alloy for maximum durability, and is sealed and gasketed for resistance to dirt and moisture. Users are able to easily compose through the bright optical viewfinder, which offers 100% frame coverage. For storage, the D800 has dual card slots for CF and SD cards, and offers users the ability to record backup, overflow, RAW/JPEG separation, and the additional option of shooting stills to one and video to the other. For high speed recording and transfer, data can be recorded to recent UDMA-7 and SDXC / UHS-1 cards. The shutter has been tested to withstand approximately 200,000 cycles, and the camera also employs sensor cleaning. The D800 also features a built-in flash and is compatible with Nikon’s acclaimed Creative Lighting System, including a built-in Commander mode for controlling wireless Speedlights.

D800E – Maximum Resolution Unleashed
In addition to the D800, Nikon will also be releasing a supplementary model for those professionals who demand even higher resolution and D-SLR versatility; the D800E. This model treads in medium format territory for studio work or landscape photography when there is no exception to only the highest fidelity and sharpness. This unique alternative model will effectively enhance the resolution characteristics of the 36.3-megapixel CMOS sensor by cancelling the anti-aliasing properties of the OLPF inside the camera. By doing this, light is delivered directly to the photodiodes, yielding an image resulting from the raw light gathering properties of the camera. A color moiré correction tool will also be available within Capture NX2 to enhance the D800E photographer’s workflow.

Price and Availability
The Nikon D800 will be available in late March for the suggested retail price of $2999.95. The D800E version will be available in mid April 2012 for a suggested retail price of $3,299.95.

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  • rhlpetrus

    They have a 1.2x crop, 20mmx30mm region, at 25MP. That will run at 5fps with grip. And it’ll produce RAWs at that crop as well. As for lenses, the 14-24 becomes 16.8 x 28.8mm at that crop, not bad for many purposes.

    • jastereo

      Very useful and being overlooked by most people (along w/ the 5×4 crop that the D700 was missing) . Especially since the 1.2x will help with cropping some bad corners when using older lenses or even good pro zoom lenses that are not quite up to resolving everything that will be showing up in those big 36MP files.

  • skipiggy

    Hats off to Peter for being right on the money for D4 and D800. You do a great service to consumers/professionals

    • Thanks Peter, your info in the last few months was invaluable in deciding which camera D3s/D4/D800 to purchase and how long to wait for it at a critical turning point in my career.

  • fanssssss
  • I honestly think the AA filter in the D800E is NOT user defined (ie the user cannot turn it on and off).

    My guess is the “in-camera disabling” is just a rough translation of “in the camera, it has been disabled”.

    So, which one to get if you shoot landscapes mostly, but like the occasional architecture / cityscape?

    • I hope you are wrong Jim, even tho the chances are very slim…. 🙁

      • I hope I’m wrong, too. But the language on Nikon’s site leads me to believe it is a “yes” or “no”. If you could switch it on and off at will, I think there would have been just one model.

        • Jonny Ray

          Unfortunately, as cool as it would be, according to what I’ve read on DP Review and B&H, it sounds like it is a new OLPF with no AA properties, as opposed to something switchable. That would have been really cool, but all things considered I’m really excited about this camera.

          From B&H:

          “Enhancing the heart of the camera you’ll find an optical low-pass filter with all the anti-aliasing properties removed, making for RAW images that are easier to manipulate due to their pristine starting point, an altruistic sharpness. This is the ultimate in clarity for photographers who require complete control over their images from file to finished product.”

    • Your not wrong, you need Nikon software (Capture NX2) if you run into any moire pattern and jagged edge problems. I’m sure third party software will also add this feature, fine tuned for the D800E, sometime in the future.

  • Yakka

    I was expecting a minimum of 72MP at this stage – it’s 2012 for pity’s sake. I need the ability to crop more and print really large. Goodbye Nikon, I’m moving to Canon. I just can’t believe this. I really wonder how many people took me seriously until this last sentence.

    • Sahaja

      Unbelievable? SAR is saying Sony will release a 100mp+ FX sensor in 2013-2014. For the D4x?

  • MB-D12 $616??? Why almost triple the price of MB-D10?

  • dwight

    wait! can you turn down the mpix for smaller files???

    • anon


  • Ryan

    If I use crop DX mode, will FPS increase?

    • Anon

      dont people read? yes, it goes from 4fps to 5fps under crop mode. and it goes to 6fps if u use the battery pack

      • Richard_X

        That’s ridiculous. Olympus OM-D EM-5 can support upto 11 fps.

  • Help a glamour photographer choose (ie pretty girls in bikini, lingerie… and less)… D800 or D800E?

    • anon

      d800. u dont need the finer detail and patterns on those bikini may cause moire problems

    • Jack

      I’d do your job with my F2 even with no film in the camera!

      • Anand

        and prolly with no light it would be even better! haha

      • bobby


    • TheInconvenientRuth

      D800. One reason: Stockings. Moiré hell…

  • jodjac

    Where oh where is the order button!

  • Dave

    Am I mistaken, or do diffraction effects take over beyond 25mp on a full-frame sensor?

  • I’m kind disappointed that the single and continuous serveo switch was change to af /m switch
    but I do like the lock
    just something that has seemed to go under the radar

  • So…I’m having a hard time understanding something…

    I’m a wedding photographer, and pretty much thought the D4 was going to be the next big purchase. Now Nikon is even stating that this camera is for weddings..but has a lower frame rate. I can’t remember, does the D800E have a better ISO than the D4? I’m torn now…

    I’m thinking price wise, the D800E is the way to go…but I’d rather get the right tool for the right job.

    Or…I keep my fingers crossed and the D400 comes out full frame at a lower price:)

    • RCS

      Wait for the D900. It’s going to be 72.8 megapixels with usable ISO up to 640,000. It’ll be perfect for you.

    • Jack

      How well will losing the AA filter render the textures of the clothing people wear at weddings?

      • iamlucky13

        You might end up with some funkiness from tulle, heavily textured cloth, or certain patterns people might wear or decorate with.

        Perhaps if you think you might want the D800E, but aren’t sure if moire might be an issue for you, wait and see how well the software does at cleaning it up.

    • I do think the D800 will be a beautiful compliment to a D700/D3s/D4. You don’t always need the crazy high ISO.

      And you really need more than 4fps for a wedding?

      • No, that’s why I’m thinking the frame rate won’t be an issue.

        For me, I need better low light. I’ve been waiting for a while – I still own a D200 and anything passed ISO800 gets a tad too noisy for my liking.

        I don’t need 36MP though…or even video.

        I might just get a used D700 if that’s the case. Maybe I’ll wait to see a D700/D800E comparison.

        I find a lot of “funkiness” from men’s suits – especially pinstripe. But lightroom seems to clean it up quite a bit.

        • Sean

          Sounds like you’d be set with a used D700 or even better a D3s. I’ve been shooting weddings on the D700 for the past three years and rarely yearned for more. I’m going to pick up another one when the prices start to fall.

      • Yes, you also need high ISO quality. Unless every wedding you shoot will be in a fully lit studio. . . and everyone in the wedding party doesn’t move.

        Moments? Who needs moments when you can just pose every shot.

      • Steven Georges

        BTW Sean, nice photos.

  • R R

    I am a D800 ? not sure.. having a D3x I may go for a D4 for all the goodies and use my D3x whenever I need high MP count..

    • Dixie

      Thank you for sharing this very usable info.

  • Mike

    Why is the DX aspect ratio initially stated to be 1.2x and then later in the article changed to 1.5x?

    • You have 1.2x and 1.5x options.

    • Luis

      It has both a 1.2X crop and a 1.5X crop. The 1.5X crop is the full DX – when you want to use a DX lens. 1.2X crop can be used with FF lenses to get a little bit of extra telephoto “reach” in-camera so you don’t have to so it in post. Of course, you can also use the 1.5X DX crop with FF lenses to get even that much more telephoto reach in-camera.

  • Maybe now there’s no need for D400. We have 2 cameras in one.

  • Luis

    All looks great but I still can’t believe we’re stuck with 1EV bracketing. What the heck good is 1EV bracketing anymore? How about make the steps, 1EV, 2EV, 3EV, instead of 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, 1EV.

    Exposure bracketing 2 to 9 frames in steps of 1/3, 1/2, 2/3 or 1 EV

  • Mike

    nevermind… ‘DX Lens’

  • Jc
    • Lance

      Thanks for the link. D800E order has been placed. Woohoo!

  • tifkat

    Not compatible with the WT-5?

  • Shaack

    D800 or D3s for Sports….help???
    Which will be best for shooting indoor sports like basketball or football at night?

    • benS

      thats easy>> D3S of D4 for sports 🙂

  • Jake Sneed

    B&H pre order is up!!!! I got mine!!!

    • Luis

      Only seeing the D800E there.

    • Me too! D800E.

  • Jack

    I’m in. The price is right, and the camera meets my needs. The only problem is my next project is before the end of March, so I’m not going to be able to use it on that trip. Where can I pre-order?

  • Wade Spam

    will I be able to Switch On/Off the cancellation of the anti-aliasing properties?

    • Luis


  • nikonnut

    WOW!!! The price just makes this camera too hard to resist!!! Nikon made sensor, that shows its been in the pipeline to go against the canon 5dm2 for a while now. Canon exes must be shaking!

  • bp

    I still remember those smart detectives saying “fake” …….

    • iamlucky13

      Better than that. Ken Rockwell bet today that the D800 would be a 16 MP camera.

  • Brian

    These cameras confirm how grossly overpriced the d3x was. It should have been the same price as the d3; but really the d3x should have been this form factor. Then nikon would have continued innovating and pushing things after the d3/3s instead of following canons 1ds. They could have destroyed 5dii sales too by having the d700 and a small d3x.

    Although I’m mostly printing and selling large prints, i would have liked to see a more well rounded camera. Say 24 mp that shoots at 6-7fps without the grip. I hike and ski a lot and do shoot a fair bit of action and 4 fps is too slow and the extra grip adds too much bulk some times. I’m using a d3 now.

    • Brian

      And also, why is it that the d7000 can shoot 6fps with only the el15 battery but this camera requires the d4 battery in the grip to do so in DX crop mode?

      • Brian

        D7000 doesn’t even have expeed 3 does it?

        • Steven Georges

          No, EXPEED 2.

  • Jake Sneed
  • Art

    I’m so excited, It has begun!!!!

    I placed my preorder today at: Really great folks! I can’t say enough good things about them. Now for the big question …. When will it actually show up in stores?

  • Nice to see the “new” lower price points. That really makes it a lot better value IMO. The low ISO samples look great so far! I’m wondering what the higher ISO samples look like, but that wouldn’t be a deal killer for me if they weren’t fantastic.

  • Doug

    Image comparison between d800 and d800E

  • Don

    Why no high ISO samples?

    • Doug

      1 on main page of the building, but is very small although it looks ok for me

  • 800-pre-order
  • Hey Peter, now that it’s out, can we see the full high ISO samples?

  • Doug

    moire effect noticed on the D800E sample picture:

    • Where? I’m not seeing it?

  • 1. No new lenses? I thought I heard something about an 800 mm F/8 mirror AFS VR?
    2. It sucks they are still pushing Capture NX2, which makes nice pictures, but is horrible to work with.
    3. Camera Control Pro 2 is over 5 years old now.

  • Landscape Photo

    Thanks Admin for your efforts. There’s only minimal difference between the actual vs rumored.

  • Rob

    Also available for pre-order via Amazon…

    Just ordered mine.

    Free shipping as well.

  • InfraRed

    Congrats Peter! You definitely have the right connectors.
    Kudos to you!

  • silmasan

    See? $2,999. I was right hehe, the rumored yen price even if still true there in JPN doesn’t necessarily convert to USD in a 1:1 ratio. (not to mention the sloppy leaked image was spot-on, yay to fake-sayers/detectives!!! :D) … Anyway, thanks for all the D4/D800 ‘insights’, Peter the [NR] admin!

    And see you soon D800/D800E!!! (hmm, i have a question: how does the removal of AA filter affect the video quality?)

    • Monkey Nigh Mow

      It would make a lot more trouble for video than for stills that’s for sure. Especially when you shoot repeating patterns. Once you get moiré in video it’s pretty darned hard to remove.

  • F

    how soon can we expect to see some real high ISO samples? Nikon site only shows up to ISO 640 😀

  • 800-pre-order-amazon
  • Jetfire

    B&H has the D800E up for preorder.

  • Monkey Nigh Mow

    I still can’t work out if you can shoot RAW in smaller MP sizes (well maybe not RAW, but a form or RAW, kinda like Canon’s sRAW.

    I see on the Nikon site it says: FX format (36 x 24): 7,360 x 4,912 (L), 5,520 x 3,680 (M), 3,680 x 2,456 (S)

    But I gotta assume that’s jpeg. Right?!

    • nathanael

      i would really like an answer to this question as well…I’ll be so pissed if its not RAW at those sizes! Why would I want to shoot a 20mp JPEG file?!

      • Monkey Nigh Mow

        Time will tell I suppose. I certainly hope they have in-camera pixel binning or something of the like. That would make this camera a must buy for me.

  • Linghu

    Reasonable price, now i am thinking of getting one, before was thinking get extra D700 LOL, but will see more comparison with the two first. if not meet my requirment save more for the D4 hahhah

  • Mr. Biswas

    My local Nikon dealer told me two months ago he was fairly certain the price of the D800 would be $3K when it was announced (probably just a wild guess on his part), so I put my order in then. He’s willing to take a trade in on old glass, too. Well, we’ll see what the reviews say, but the ability to use DX lenses without heavy PP (I assume) means I get to use my D7000 lenses for a while longer and don’t have to spend a fortune on upgrades right away. Sounds good at this point.

  • So now we have it. Too much to take in all at once. The price looks right.

  • How do I put my name down for one!!!!!
    Well done keeping us informed.

  • Gordon Gallagher

    I’m waiting for some high ISO shots (3200 minimum).
    Also wondering what sensor would perform best with long exposure (1 minute plus) photography, the D4 or D800?


  • Tony5787

    WOW The MB-D12 is $600? What is it made of gold?

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