Nikon D800 vs. Nikon D700 high ISO comparison

This Nikon D800 vs. D700 ISO comparison was initially posted on the and my understanding is that it was later removed. I have not seen the original post and I don't know all the details, but I assume those are 100% crops. You will have to ignore the fact that all D700 samples are blurry and just pay attention to the ISO performance. Keep also in mind that the D800 was probably a pre-production version. I did not include the samples bellow ISO 3200 because there was no visible noise. You can click on the sample images for a slightly larger view:

Nikon D800 vs. Nikon D700 comparison ISO 3200

ISO 3200

Nikon D800 vs. Nikon D700 comparison ISO 6400

ISO 6400

Nikon D800 vs. Nikon D700 comparison ISO 12800

ISO 12800

Nikon D800 vs. Nikon D700 comparison ISO 25600

ISO 25600

Nikon D800 vs. Nikon D700 comparison ISO 25600

ISO 25600 (NR on)

The Nikon D800 and D700 cameras have identical ISO ranges with the only exception being that the D800 starts at ISO 100 (Lo-1 ISO 50) and the D700 starts at ISO 200 (Lo-1 ISO 100).

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  • Al

    All this back and forth arguing is giving me a headache…..

    GUYS !!! Do you really think Nikon would put out a product inferior to their previous model ???

    Everyone was talking trash about the D7000 before it came out and I think that camera was almost as good as the D700 !!! Higher MP on a DX body and the noise was almost identical to D700. D700 was sharper at high ISO, thats it!!! D7000 was a smarter camera.

    This new D800 is going to kick a lot of @$$ !!!!

  • Doug

    wow, so this guy comes here and is allowed to keep this kind of comments but when i post a comment about the trololo men it gets deleted wow what an absurdity.

    • Canon killer

      +1 indead my men.

    • Ren Kockwell

      Dude, I loved that Trololo post. It was the first time I ever saw it and I laughed my ass off.

    • uwrtg

      Of course coz your such a tosser!

      • Doug

        Oiii tossers are allowed to laugh, it is not exclusive to trolls like yourself.

  • Wow

    This camera is a phenomenal achievement on Nikon’s part, in my opinion.

    Nikon just keeps steaming forward. I am so excited for my D800 to arrive.

  • Frank

    Love all the people bitching about the test environment. SHUT UP. You’re all pissed that the D800 is obviously going to blow away the D700. (dont know why people fight it) We have another legendary camera here.

    Who didnt think this would happen? They are leveraging the same sensor advancements made in the D3S and D4. Obviously the D3S had 12MP like the D700, yet was able to go up to 100k ISO. So obviously this 36mp sensor with the new advancements in sensor tech, will at the very least be exactly where the D700 was in terms of ISO performance, if not better (which we know now it is better) So you get triple the resolution with about a 2 stop better performance. FUCK YES.

    • Johan Rosen

      I totally agree. Of course the cameras get better, why would they put a new camera on the market that is the same as the old ones…
      This looks like a wonderful camera and let´s wait and see how the pictures look when it is out.

    • HansG

      Not quite right Frank! I do not have a D700 but I’m thinking of getting me a D800. Therefor I would like to see as acurate comparison as possible of the two, as I know the D700 to be fantastic camera. A comparison test like this is, is a “before and after” comparison like this:

      • legion515

        HansG, unless you are buying a well-used D700, a brand new D800 probably won’t cost you much more. here in the US a new D700 costs $2700 vs. the $3000 D800. if you go for a used D700, then yes you could save $1000. but even then i would question if the savings are worth it.

        • HansG

          At the end of the day it is ones talent to take photographs (or to do comparison tests!) which counts but not the gadgets, expensive or not, zillion MP’s or not, old or new. Right? However, a nonsense comparison is just that: nonsense! I’m not even concidering buying the D700, it is the D800E I’m after. But badly done and useless comparison “tests” like this one, annoyes me. But that’s probably just my narrow minded attitude speaking!

      • The part that I don’t get is everybody jumped on the band wagon about the D800 ( It’s not in stores yet) I do in fact own a D60, D5000, D7000, D700, D3….Now with that said, I think ( my opinion) that someone who is in the market for a D800 should think. 1) 36. ? MP That there would be alot of memory ( If in fact you shoot RAW) I shoot straight RAW, Now if you shoot Jpg however you might be fine. Still alot of memory. The most MP’s I have is 16.? and I can approx 700 Shots per SD card, Think about it 36.? you are going to get “ALOT LESS”. I don’t do the video thing except for Christmas or a Birthday (Not much trouble). I shoot ,Corporate, Landscape, Cityscape, Portrait and Pets.. That is my 2 cents in the fountain of life. Good luck with your New camera, look forward to your post when you get some photo’s ( I do not debate or hate). Happy shooting to all.
        God Bless you all
        Thank you , KPA

        • St.

          You do know that there are 128GB cards, right? Both CF and SD.
          This means with 75Mb per RAW file you have about 1750 images in 128GB. Multiply that by 2 (card slots) and you end with 3500 images JUST in one load of the memory cards.
          And you can always have spare, right…????
          So enough about how much space the images will take. It will be just ok!

          • And everyone needs to stop throwing around that “75MB” figure.

            Realistically most of us will shoot 14-bit raw lossless compressed, which is about 40MB.

    • tigrebleu

      Telling people to shut up is a sure you to get your opinion through, right? Or are you afraid to act like an adult because you think nobody will notice your comments?

      Still, the first samples seem to show the D800 is better than the D700 in terms of high ISO image quality.

      But it seems the D800 samples are not 100% crops. If they were, I would’ve expect the D800 images to show a smaller portion of these cans, as the higher resolution would allow more important cropping before reaching the 100% crop value. Could be a reviewer error.

      Now since the cans are similar in size, either the D800 samples are less than 100% crops or the D700 samples are more than 100% crops

      Another possibility would be that the D800 samples were shot from a different distance (further away) so that the cans present a similar size on both images (which would indeed result in both images being 100% crops). I doubt the reviewer would go to such lengths just to get the cans as big as with the D700, but it’s not impossible.

      That said, even if the D800 sample aren’t 100% crops, the D800 would still get the upper hand thanks to its higher resolution. With three times more pixels, the noise should be three times less noticeable on the same size print or monitor when displaying the same portion of an identical image. After all, the D800 image would be enlarged three times less than the D700 image in such circumstances.

      And even if cropped 100%, I’m now convinced the D800 would still beat the D700. Bottom line, it’s a great camera.

      I’m still hoping for a D700s or similar upgrade (D3s sensor in a D800 body, prehaps?), however, as I’m not ready to invest in a new Mac computer that would be required to cope with these big 36 Mpix RAW files! 😉

    • Emil

      This is called Smart Marketing

  • Are there any comparison regarding the speed of auto focus?

  • Mike

    D700 v/s D800!
    I dont understand the argument here. Pro’s, may need a D800! As for me, as a serious amateur using the F2/EL2 for almost 25 years and changing now to digital photography the D700 is still a superb camera . ( Even more , considering a possible price drop) The savings i rather put in a new lens and in my computer up-grade. As much as i love my hobby and would love to invest more money, i still have a family to feed! And that all it is! So simple.

    • neversink

      What do you mean you don’t understand the argument??? Just because you choose not to spend the bucks doesn’t make the D800 invalid. It is valid. The D700 was a great camera. It is now being supplanted by the D800. Secondly, it is not an argument, it is a comparison of noise at high iso….. Yes, there are other factors to consider also….

      As a pro, I have a family to feed also… And I need the best equipment out there that will give me the best results. The D4 and D800 look like the answers to me. I have no choice. I have to buy these cameras.

      Hell, I wouldn’t touch these cameras either if I didn’t need them. They are better than their predecessors and eventually I need to replace my bodies anyway. I still shoot with my older film bodies, but with digital I have no choice but to move on.

      Enjoy your d700, but stop whining about those of us who will be switching…. Enjoy your family and take care of them, but please, don’t hide behind having to feed your family as a reason not to understand the need a new camera body….

      • Daniel

        I’m not sure I agree that you have no choice but to buy the D800. The D700 is all the camera you need for a wedding for example. If you need to blow images up to 5 metres wide then perhaps there is an arguement to “have no choice”. Equally if you need to use video. For photography, we reached comfortable comprimises years ago.

        • Chrisgull

          What most people miss here is that the D800 brings the possibility of cropping. As a wedding photog you can shoot looser crops and crop down to interesting details later while still keepihng enough detail.

          • While I don’t necessarily disagree with you about the freedom to crop more with 36mp, I wonder how many photogs will use that as a crutch instead of continuing to practice sound composition skills? I’m not talking about cropping as the result of changing the aspect ratio, but cropping well over half the image. To me it’s no different to spray and pray.

        • neversink

          I have no choice because I have too many clicks on (100’s of thousands) both my D3 and my D700 and my newer D7000 is up there too. Also, I am not a wedding photog…. I agree that the D700 is great but the D4 and D800 will be the next great tools, and as I said… I have no choice…. I have too many clicks and am ready for new bodies…. Don’t know why so many people are upset with the new cameras when ou haven’t even had them in your hands….

      • stve

        Jeez give the guy a break he’s an amateur only just moving to digital from film, probably using an old computer , maybe not familiar with Photoshop is it any wonder he doesn’t understand all he is reading.
        He’d probably be better off with a cheap Nikon D200 for a year while he learns the basics & he would be to make an informed decision about which camera to buy & he could probably sell the D200 for close to what he paid for it.

        Oh yeah almost forgot please stop whining about comments your narrow little mind does not agree with.

        • NikonMike

          Well said ‘stve’

          • neversink

            Actually… He should enjoy his “hobby.” There is no need for most people to have the latest and the greatest equipment. Photography is not an easy business. It has been a roller coaster ride for me, but it has rewarded me and I am grateful I was able to make my living from my art. He should take some lessons or just stay with film (which I still love.) As much of an equipment junkie that I am, I have rarely bought any lens or other piece of equipment unless I needed it for a shoot or a project. I had a doctor who I once borrowed a 600mm f4 from for an industrial and an editorial shoot. He bought it and used it twice and lent it to me so many times that he made me a deal I could not refuse. Eventually I purchased it from him several years later at a discount. Now I want the AFVR version but love the 500 AF VR because it is so much lighter than the 600.

    • jack

      I have little doubt that the D800 is going to be one amazing camera–in fact, I hope it destroys the D700 in every category. This way it will push the value of the used d700’s down and I can buy one again. It was the last camera I used when I shot professionally and as far as I am concerned, it is the first camera with which I would never need anything more. The d7000 is pretty darn close, but I wear glasses and still find DX viewfinders to be horrible.

      Would more resolution be nice? Sure. Better autofocus? I guess–but I never missed shots when I had one. Better white balance–my Nikon v1 is better, but I still would never complain.

      Neversink–You said you have a family to feed… at risk of sounding like an @$$, I would do more research into how to run a profitable business. You would be far better off investing money (or buying lights, which are serviceable assets for much longer than even lenses) instead of purchasing new bodies every release. You’re clients will not know the difference, but your ROA will. For the cost of a new body, that’s a nice family vacation, money in your children’s college fund, whatever.

      Saying you have no choice is nothing other than foolish assumptions. Run your equipment into the ground (so long as they’re serviceable) and focus on things that will have a return… additional marketing such as a free print sent to an engaged couple you met at the wedding or over-the-top album presentation with wine and hors d’oeuvres. Emotional brides remember that stuff, not being able to count their eye-lashes.

      • jack

        That said, I reread your article and saw nothing saying you were a wedding photographer–if you are shooting billboards, then yes, I could see a “need” for the d800. Otherwise, any kind of portrait work–heck no.

        • jk

          People tend to think that billboards need a higher resolution.

          You HAVE to take viewing distance into consideration.

          Megapixels is not only about how big you can print but also how much details is present at closer inspection.

          When was the last time you pulled out a ladder and pixel peeped a billboard?

          Also, take a closer look at commercial displays you see in malls, airports etc… they are not crazy high resolution.

          Also, could you imagine the computer power you would need to out put a billboard at 300 dpi or higher? it would be a huge time waster and completely unnecessary.

          I personally prefer more detail for medium to large prints that people are going to view at arms distance and be captivated by all the detail. This includes portraits too!

          So no this is not well said!

        • neversink

          Jack, Thanks for making me smile. I am selling my D700 and D3 at a reasonable price, once I purchase and test the D800 and D4 and am satisfied with the test results. I am keeping the D7000.

          Care to purchase a D3 with more than 300K clicks??? It will be the cheapest on the market, I can assure you. It has been a workhorse but recently overhauled and well taken care. Never dropped from a helicopter, like my first Nikon Ftn!!!!! The D700 has about 200 K clicks…. and has also been recently refurbished. Let me know if you want either, or both!!! Just so you know, they have been in the Sahara and in Arctic conditions.

          But for my needs, since I travel to some remote areas at times, I must have reliable equipment. I cannot depend upon equipment, particularly overused digital bodies, when shooting on assignment. Note that I am not selling any lenses!!!! By the way, I would continue to use the D700 and D3 if they weren’t so used, but c’est la vie. Too many clicks…..

          You are correct. I am NOT a wedding photographer, which is an incredibly profitable business. I would get bored too easily.

          My photography business has been profitable and I am lucky, but it has been a roller coaster ride — particularly during three difficult economic eras (the late 80s recession, the 9/11 catastrophe, and the worst for my business was the banking debacle beginning three years ago!!!!) The editorial side of the business has changed incredibly since the rise of the internet. In fact every aspect of the business has changed.

          I am in semi-retirement (that’s why I have the time to write this) and lucky to be able to work with only the clients I respect and to concentrate on my own personal work. I will never completely retire.

          Shoot on brother Jack, shoot on!!!!!

          PS – Just to stay on track —— As far as these iso noise comparison tests go on this thread —- Who knows if they are even for real. An out-of-focus test is suspiciously inauspicious….

      • Laurie

        Well said!

  • Hero

    How hard is it to shot a stationary object with ISO > 3200 under normal flourencent lighting?

    Shutter speed required is fast enough and focal length is short say <100mm. Why would the object be out of focus?

    Stupid people blames the D700 pictures are out of focus which they clearly are not. The reason they are blury is because is has less resolution and when blown up they appear much softer.

    This proves the 36MP is indeed very very useful!

    • Greg

      I don’t think so– as someone pointed out earlier, if you down sample the “D800” images and re-upsample them they aren’t anywhere close as blurry as the “D700” images.

      Why do we think these images are legit other than wishful thinking? I’d love for them to be real, but I’d love just one unambiguous test to work from. This has the same feeling as blurry pictures of unreleased iPad parts…

      • Hero

        Of course it won’t as once the D800 images are downsampled, a lot of noise would be gone. And if u blow them up again it would have less noise to work with then a D700 image shot at ISO 3200+ blown up.

        What do u think these images are not real? Simple, u just don’t want to believe.

        • Greg

          Try it– download the images, downsize them by 58% (linear, which is a 3x reduction in total area). You now have a 12MP equivalent image, just as you’d expect from the D700.

          Take that image and scale it up by 1/0.58=172% (again, linear) and you now have an upsampled equivalent of a D700 image, which is what people are claiming the right hand images are.

          What you will see is that the resampled left image looks nothing like the right image– ignore the noise and just look at the content. Noise isn’t causing the rim of that soda can to blur like that– it’s too, well, gaussian.

          Trust me, I want to believe very badly. I have one of these on order and I would like to know today that it’s the best camera hands down. I simply can’t believe anything based on crappy pictures that had to be removed from some Chinese website. This doesn’t look like a real test to me– it looks like someone trying to make me believe that they have the first head-to-head comparison that we’ve all been waiting for.

          • legion515

            there were links either in comments on older posts or in the forum to downloads of two different full resolution D800 high ISO test series. one included NEFs and jpegs. sure, they weren’t comparing D800 vs. D700, but you could download them, pixel peep between the various ISOs, use your post-processing workflow, and print to your heart’s content.

            are people here really only interested in the difference at higher ISO? things like AF, resolution, video, ergonomics, 100% viewfinder, metering, size and weight, etc. don’t matter at all? if so, rest assured the D800 will have equal or better high ISO performance compared to the D700, if only because of the higher resolution, nevermind 3+ years of advances in sensor tech.

  • aahkam

    I got pissed by many replies here. Don’t get me wrong, I see a very positive picture with D800 in ISO performance.

    People like to pixel peep and said many conspiracy statements about the comparison, but heck, are you shooting photograph or are you are pixel peeper to tell everyone not buying D800 because you can’t afford one?

    Stick to your D700 and do more photo shooting and keep quiet. We don’t need your conspiracy input and tell us how good your D700 is.

    • Zeb

      We? Don’t oppress for me.

  • D700 User

    i’m a full time working pro. i pay my mortgage and support my family by shooting weddings. i am buying the d700 while it’s cheap. why? because the d800 won’t make me any more bling. why? because i might make only a few prints per year where the added resolution will make a difference. An a typical 10×10 album, the print quality isn’t apparent. when my clients go to 20×30 or bigger, they go with canvas. i don’t want 36 megapixels, i don’t want to shoot a 3 day wedding with two shooters and an assistant and have a half terabyte of raw files to deal with, i don’t want to upgrade all my computers to process that amount of data. is the d800 better? F yeah it’s better — it’s way better than the d700. do i want it? only if it makes me more $$$. i don’t see how it will. so i’m buying the old tech, the cheap tech, and putting the rest toward my tax bill at the end of the year.

    • BO

      +1 on the file size, I shoot a lot of jobs where the added amount of data simply is not going to help me. along with the challenge of managing amount of data from a job.

      This clearly show that cameras have arrived at a place where we are no longer desperate for the next upgrade, or at least Im not.

      Do I want a D800 ahh.. YES I do.. and I will purchase one, but a lot of jobs will not require full rez files, same goes for personal shots. still its nice to have a 35mm medium format camera if required.

    • Eric

      Still would love a D700 with two CF slots as backup for weddings though.

      • 120-300 OS for Nikon

        +2 and an lock on that door like on the D200 D300

    • Daniel

      Completely agree with you.

    • ActionJunky

      Here is a person that has their head on straight. Kudo’s for buying what you need. Personally, I am willing to bet that the DX-mode on the D800 will be as good as the FX mode on the D700, so I am not really concerned about file sizes. Then again, I am not a wedding shooter and I really have no aspirations to do so. For a few dollars more than a used D700, I can get the D800.

      It includes video, DX-mode, an SD-card slot, and HDR’s in camera. The SD-Card gives me the flexibility to use eye-Fi cards. This is not a deal breaker for pros, but I love the flexibility and I am sure that I will find many uses for it. No, it’s not a WT-5 transmitter, but I don’t need that right now.

      Thanks for the insight. Enjoy the weddings.

    • Pierre

      Gee… if you don’t make enough money to buy your tools, I should stick to software engineering.
      It’s kind of sad, looks like being a photog is a lot harder than I though.

    • aahkam

      Exactly. Buy what you need.

      I have twin SSD in a Quad Core i7 Machine with 16GB RAM. I have 8 Bays NAS supporting 24 Terabytes and D800 RAW files to me is just equivalent to nothing.

  • lomjun

    review have bias photo D700 out of focus.

  • worminator

    Conclusion: we’ll have to wait for dpreview…

  • the d800 will be a very good camera, but I won’t buy it – why? I was waiting for a successor of the d700 with better iso performance, more resolution (something between 18 and max. 25 mpx), better af, better measuremant and hopefully still a little bit lighter in weight. last thing is one of the reasons why I don’t buy a d4 – I want to carry the camera all the time with me, but I am to old to need a camera to show off and get a stiff neck, I already made my way. and I also don’t want to handle terrabytes of data with shootings were you shot a lot, but no necessity of 36 mpx. If I need 36 mpx or more (mostly in the studio with stilllife), I use my medium format camera with the leaf back and no 36 x 24 chip will be that good. so I will keep my canon 5d mark II if I need more than 12mpx. the 5d mark II has a perfect size of resolution, it’s light and has good lenses (as far as you don’t need wide-angle lenses). that’s what I expected, or better wished, to get from a d700 successor to stay with my preferred camera.

    • feder

      iwhy you write this nonsense things … think about it

  • RoDe

    “I did not include the samples bellow ISO 3200 because there was no visible noise.”
    I don’t agree with that!
    Yesterday I was able to do an hands-on-test with the D800.
    It’s great, but if you watch the pics on a PC there’s noise @ ISO 800 (!!) already!
    But as we know, it’s easy to resample the image to… let’s say… 20MP (which is still more than enough) and then noise is visible @ ISO3200 – with loss of detail of course.

    I also got D4 in my hands – someone shot @ISO 204800 with 1/1600 *lol* in a room just lit with dimmed wall-lights – well, D800 is not THAT bad 🙂

  • Ugur OKUCU

    Isn’t the magnification in the D700 photos ( thus the more visible noise ) considerably higher ?

  • Hero

    Can’t wait for the actual test results of the D800 against the D700 to blow all the D700 diehards out of the stone age.

    • stve

      I’m most looking forward to the reviews comparing the D800 with the Canon 5DMK III.

  • sebontheweb

    Just pay attention at the chrominance noise in the case of the D800 + it will be interresting to see the difference at lower iso (e.g. 640 isos) in low light conditions because some testers revealed inconstant results with the D800 pre-production versions.

  • peterw

    very interesting sociological survey:
    within the brand the quarel may be even stronger than in discussions between brands (C / N)…

    internal competition was allways meaner and tougher than external competition (though the latter is off course more serious and has more consequences).

    lets not jump to conclusions considering I/Q and see the next tests.
    (It could be logical that cropped to the same size the D800 gives better noise-results, since less light gets lost in the individual sensors? Although I don’t recall to have seen any efficiency tests of D700 or D800)

    What I really hope is that any future camera of mine will be more time in my hands, and less time at Nikons Service Point than my present D700… 🙁

  • Jake

    it is obvious that the D800 is almost a full stop better than the old D700.
    I am glad I sold all my D700 and 5D2 bodies and preordred the D800E.

    • TC

      No no, that can’t be right! You can’t make a 36MP camera without horrendous noise. Nikon should go back to 4MP cameras like the D2H. Also, an APS sensor gives you bigger reach, so stop this full frame nonsense. And besides, it has 3 times the number of pixels, which means that you can make a print with three times the area, but the linear resolution is only 73% better, so it is really no improvement at all.

      • chrisq.

        half of what you said there is actually true.

      • ActionJunky

        You could not be more wrong about the reach of an APS-C sensor. It does not give you any more reach. It only gives you a cropped image. Use a 70-200 on an APS-C and you get an image. Take the same image with the same lens on an FX camera and you get an image with a bigger field of view. If you crop that image, you will have the same image produced by the APS-C.

        However, consider both cameras have the same resolution. Let’s say 12 mpix. You will get a 12 mpix image from the APS-C, but an 8 mpix image from the FX. By your own logic, the FX will have fewer pixels, but with better light capabilities. Isn’t this what you were asking for?

        Now consider the D800 and 36 mpix. If you crop the image to DX, you will get a 24 mpix image. In theory, fewer pixels capture light better, but I am betting that with three years of improvements under their belt that Nikon has gotten much better with their sensors. If that still doesn’t make you happy, down-sample that 24 mpix image to a 12 mpix. I am quite confident that by now, you will get some pretty sharp images with low effective noise.

        • El Aura

          Reach is how many pixels you can put on your target.

          • Actionjunky

            I disagree, but by that definition, the D800 has far more reach.

        • happysnapper63

          You could not be more wrong. What happens when you fit a a 400mm lens instead of a 200mm lens? You get a more cropped portion of the real world scene on your sensor.

          Whether greater MP = more reach via a greater scope to crop depends upon whether your lens has resolved that detail. If it has then yes, but its not the same as the crop factor or fitting a longer focal length unless the remaining resolution of the crop => the uncropped scene on the lower resolution sensor, assuming the post processing crop achieves the same field of view.

  • Zim

    I’m still waiting for the D400

  • Hassle Bad

    I really don’t understand all this animosity what the D800 is or should have been, How it compares to a D700 (and other camera’s).

    The D800 is here and it is what it is. If it is not what you like or wanted or need: vote with your dollars and take it somewere else. And in 4 weeks from now we will exactly see what is like.

    Nikon surely did proper market research and thought that the D800 proposition is a good one, for them and for us (in general, not specific individuals).

    Of course the D800 will not be liked by everone, that applies to all products.

    At the moment camera’s are still mass produced goods and we have not yet seen companies offer designed or assembled to order camera’s.

    Damn :), Nikon et al should take a look at car manufacturing, these, at least many of the european brands, assemble to order and you can choose your engine/fueltype (analog: Sensor and fps), Sedan, Coupe or Station (analog: camera body with or with vert grip, weather sealed or not, flash included or not). And the cars are still mass produced.

    • RoDe

      Nikon just wanted to blow the new Mark III away. Since the other plan (to keep small MP-Sensors) didn’t work, Nikon gives D800 36MP – more than the MIII will get. Nikon pushes Video function and has in mind, that there is a C300 which MIII would compete to, if it also has 4:2:2 out.
      I’m afraid Nikon bows to the I-have-many-megapixels-so-I-am-a-pro-consumers.

      • peterw

        this D800 is in no way a consumer or prosumer camera. It is much to demanding on skill in optics, in focus and in blur.
        It likes to be on a tripod according to Nikon. Which consumer camera ever was intended to be used on tripod?
        It gives detail no prosumer will need. The camera costs only 15 prints of the size it can deliver.

    • Rich in TX

      I actually think this is a great idea;

      Just as you can go on and custom configure a laptop with whatever processor, ram, video card, hard drive, dvd drive, etc you want, you should be able to go to or and build your dream camera and have it shipped. I wouldn’t be surprised if that is coming.

      For example I would love to have a high ISO performing DX sensor in a D4 body..

  • I won’t buy D800

    I was waiting for a successor of the d700 with better iso performance, more megapixel (max 21-22) , good video and exposure improvement

    . I shot without tripod…and D800 (imho) is a tripod camera with its 36megaxpixel

    ergo…after4 years I am going to switch to 5d mark III (the “real” D700s)

    • Metten

      At 36MP, linear resolution is only 30% higher than on the 21MP you wished for. I would not consider that a difference large enough to keep me from buying it.
      Besides that: how do you know the 5D3 won’t have 40MP? Canon’s 1D X also has more MP than the D4…

    • Talk me into a D800

      If you shoot a D800 without tripod you’ll effectively have a 22Mpx camera
      If you shoot the 5DmkI3 WITH a tripod, it’s still a 22mpx camera.


      • jodjac

        Ha Ha!
        (Nelson laugh from the Simpsons).

    • jorg

      your website is full of landscape pictures, i do not see any action-photos, not even people! why you would want an updated D700 is beyond me.
      on the contrary: a D800 would fit perfect to those land- and city-scapes of yours.

      please do not feel personally insulted, i just wondered, what is the peoples problem with the D800 is and just randomly clicked on some names here in the forum and had a look.

    • mikils

      Che ci vieni a fare in un sito di nikonisti? se ti garba tanto la Canon D5 III ( che ancora non esiste, ma tu sai già che è perfetta!) sposatela e lasciaci in pace!

  • SNRatio

    While the D800 is very likely to outright beat the D700 in high ISO resolution, when downsampled to same pixel count, I’m not so sure about other aspects of IQ. I really hope the higher chroma noise we see is not because Nikon has weakened the color separation on the D800, but is just a result of the smaller pixels. It’s not in general true that we can get all the bigger pixel size IQ back by binning – there is always some read/processing noise component adding, given same pixel type.

    Between sensor generations, pixel type will generally not be the same, which is why we may observe both higher res and better binned IQ in comparisons. As D3s shows, the D3/D700 sensor is very improvable in several respects, which is why we might see comparatively very good high ISO performance from the D800 after binning. @12 MP, maybe even better than D700.

    It doesn’t seem that there is a “sRAW” type format for lower res RAW files. Maybe that is because Nikon doesn’t want D800 to compete too well with the D4?

  • Goutam

    I hate this type of Fake Test Reports. The focus and angle was not same and identical between two pictures. See the high lighted edge of the pot in D700 is much wider than D800 in 3200 ISO tested. You could also see the focusing imparity in the yellow colour cross designs between two pictures. I think the test is presented to show the noise difference between two cameras not the focusing difference. There should be the proper and identical focusing between two cameras to give proper judgement.

  • Roma

    How the Nikon D800 produces images smaller? Watching the size of the cans

  • Jens

    The D800 seems to have more color noise, but all it’s noise is more fine grain (since the smaller pixels).


  • All this banter! If only they’d called it the D700x! At least it would have stopped all this comparison nonsense. I don’t recall any trouble between the D3 the D3x. They are for different jobs entirely. If you want to shoot low light, fast action get a D4! I’m pretty sure my D800 will spend most of its life at the lower ISO’s, sat on a tripod producing some very fine, highly detailed images. A camera of such high resolution will only show up any slight error when used to its full, detail revealing potential. It’s not a D700 replacement, it’s a new thing altogether.

    • Eugene


    • peterw

      so true RM +1

  • WengerIsMad

    Off topic if thats permitted.
    I have been shooting jewellery/gemstones @ 1/1 on MF which is a pain in the ass. Thinking of switching to the Nikon for this & using a 200 micro f/4. Does anyone know if this lens is as good as Mr Rockwell says it is. (I know he rates the 28-300 very highly but my own is only ok ish, so not sure) Tried using 105 micro but i’m a bit too close to light it properly.

    • Dr Motmot

      Can’t comment on the 200mm but I have the 105mm which is great, I use it with a Sigma ring flash (which is crap because it hasn’t got TTL metering on my D7000 so I have to manually dial in the flash power, should have gone for the Nikon macro flash instead). I have a working distance of about 20cm for 1:1 ratio.

    • FM2Fan

      my recommendation for gems – a tilt/shift lens, because you can change everything you need … check this one:

    • stve

      Not familiar with the lens but check out this guy auto focusing with a D4 (same AF as the D800) with 3 kenko extension rings between the D4 and his 105AF-S
      at ISO 12,800

      • WengerIsMad

        Thanks, Never thought of that.. Shoot hand held @ ISO 12,800 🙂
        12,800 does look very nice, especially the one with the 50mm, quite film like. Better than the D3s at that speed by a good margin IMO

    • Anonymous

      Nikon 200/4 micro AF is an older lens without the newer AFS motors. However, its optics is superb.

      Good luck.

  • Scott

    Um…how about we all just take whatever it is we have and go shoot something. That’s kinda the whole point of what we do isn’t it?

  • Juan Carlos Martín

    24 Mpix, 36 Mpix, 40 Mpix….? Bueno, no se si es que mis conocimientos no alcanzan, pero el mejor objetivo de Nikon no sobrepasa 70 líneas por mm de resolución y eso da malamente para un sensor de 18 Mpix. ¿Estoy equivocado?. Que alguien me lo explique.

  • SNRatio

    If the D800 had a 9MP “sRAW” mode, I would have been more inclined to upgrade from my D700. Good high ISO – when you need it, you tend to need it badly. For lower ISOs, the D7000/D5100 sensor works really well, and doubling it will only improve things. I really don’t see any reason for choosing between high res and high ISO when one sensor can give you both. But optimal algorithms for binning aren’t trivial, which is why I want a mode for it from the camera producer, rather than rolling something myself or have a RAW converter do it.

  • picky peter pixel peeper peeped at pixelated pixels

    • correction:
      picky peter pixel peeper peeped at pixelated pictures

  • Geert

    This is a terrible test. The results of the D700 are horrible…. You can’t compare the image quality with this pictures. The can isn’t in focus on the D700 pics!

  • Annie Lebowitz

    No one is saying the D700 is a BAD camera……

    Were just saying the new D800 is better. D700 will be my backup.

    Im a part time pro, I do weddings for extra cash. Sure I can do the job with a D700 or a D7000. I could probably even go to say I could do a wedding with a D90.

    Were not saying the D700 is obsolete, but the new D800 is an improvement. And for only $300 more than what the D700 was priced at its a no brainer.

    I think that was a very humble move on Japan, considering all theyve gone through and considering the original guesstimate was $4000 for the D800.

    If you can buy a new D700 for under $2000 and money is an issue, go for it !!! D700 is a great camera !!! But if money is not an issue but you cant afford the $6k D4, than this D800 will be amazing.

  • Tomas

    This test is NOT FAIR.
    The D700 pictures are out of focus, co you cannot see if details are present or not.
    Absolute zero value for reading!

  • Sunil Singh

    I thought that 3 times the number of pixels equals 70% more resolution or am I wrong?
    The D3x has about 40 % more resolution than the D3 /D700/D3s if only the number of pixels are considered.

  • jake

    Oh yeah, don’t mind the blur in the d700 examples, not to mention the obvious difference in crop examples. This is just not a very good comparison.

    Obviously the d800 will be better but a proper test is in order.

  • catinhat

    I fully expect the D800 to be slightly better than D7000. Why slightly, — because it is essentially the same generation technology and about the same pixel density. I shot with D7000 and with D700. The noise handling at high ISO is actually quite close. But I think it is because D7000 uses stronger noise suppression. So, it loses detail faster. That said, depending on the lighting conditions, one can get very usable shots with D7000 even at ISO 6400, at least for the web. One also has to remember that when the light is poor, the noise is more obvious and the detail is lost faster at the same ISO setting. I would rate D7000 as pretty good up to ISO 2500 and D700 up to ISO 4000. This is actually less than a stop difference, and D800 may very well get to D700 noise levels. This is not to say I didn’t get some amazingly clean shots from D700 at ISO 5000, if the light was advantageous for the main subject.

    In any event, if Nikon markets D4 as the high ISO camera, and the rumors I’ve heard so far indicate that it is roughly the same as D3s in the ISO department, the D3s being about one stop better in high ISO than D700, then please put 2 and 2 together, and don’t assume that D800 is going to be as good as D3s/D4.

    There are other important (for me) issues here that Thom Hogan actually mentions in one of his posts, if I’m not mistaken. The D7000 sensor tech (and probably D800 too) is much less forgiving to blown out highlights than D700, and I may add even than D300. If I shoot people in an environment where light is not easily controlled, highlights interest me much more than the shadow detail, because the last thing I want is burnt out skin tones which are impossible to miss. So if all the DR advantages come on the shadow side, it is overall a losing proposition for me.

    • Dr Motmot

      @catinhat – that is very interesting, I have noticed that skin tones with my D7000 have a pinkish hue and read that instead of the highlights blowing out to white, the surrounding colour bleeds into them resulting in a peachy colour. You really have to be spot on with your exposure and even focus as the sensor is quite unforgiving (and I do use the best glass: 24-70mm, 105mm, 50mm/1.4). Other than that the handling is excellent, very fast and responsive, but I can’t help thinking I would have been better off with the D700. Will see if the price drops.

    • SNRatio

      I think this may be important in quite a few shooting situations. It may have to do with “full well” capacity: With Poisson filling of four wells, (smaller pixels) we can have, say, three of them over-filling before their combined potential is exhausted (bigger pixels). While the same number of photons (exposure) would be perfectly measurable, so 3 out of 4 blown-out is different from 0 out of 1, and this may easily produce some tone artifacts, if all channels don’t blow out simultaneously.

      • Dr Motmot

        Do you think 16MP is the maximum number of megapixels that they can cram onto an APS-C sized sensor?

  • hohoho

    CANON 5d III will be the new D700 … sorry nikon i must quit you

  • sonui

    this time is Canon time… so bad nikon im not a studio-tripod shoter, i need speed and iso bad bad d800 ….! 5d3 !

  • AI is for amateurs

    Not impressed. I’m sticking with my F2Sb, Photomic FTn, and refrigerated Kodachrome 25.

  • Again, I find it extremely interesting reading the comments regarding the D800.
    The D800 will be the BEST pro/semi pro DSLR that Nikon has ever made. It will be the ONLY camera one would need for many, many years (especially if they can add features in the future via firmware updates).

    I cannot wait to get mine.

    By the way, you should read what people are saying over at… many are not happy about the rumored 5D3 specs and are getting ready to buy a D800.,3562.15.html

    • Nikon moaners

      yeah isn’t it soooo funny. Here people moaning coz they want a D700s and don’t want pixels. In the Canon camp they are about to release a D700s in the form of the 5DIII and all they are complaining about is wanting more pixels.

    • Yagion

      Grass is always greener on the other side…

  • You know, I like having ISO ranges up to 25600 but who really shoots that high? Wedding photographers shoot in low light but they don’t depend on ISO ranges; rather they’d shoot with primes wide open or use a flash when you don’t have church authorities breathing down your neck. People who shoot at night usually set the ISO range pretty low and focus on shutter time to reduce noise. If you shoot fashion at night (small niche of people), it’s really nice to have the ISO range so you can balance your ambient light with your flash but at that point, I’d rather have a clean image than a noisy one with better ambient light. Lets face it, we’d all love a D800 but I think the real argument is whether you need the 36mp and +75mb files. I guess if you tend to crop your photos, it’s a nice feature?

    • Gav

      Sorry David, the last 2 sentences are good but do you realize you are telling people on how they shoot!!! You are saying wedding photographers shoot this way and use this lens that way. It is very narrow minded thinking, I certainly don’t shoot like that!

      If we all shot the same way we would all have similar looking pictures 🙁

  • rich in tx

    this whole discussion is rediculous. Normally I expect to see canon fans and nikon fans going at it, which is entertaining for me. But here all I see is nikon user vs nikon user;

    the D700 crowd (which I was one of until very recently) sounds offended that there is a newer, better model, they sound afraid that they have just purchased a now obsolete model. Not the case. The D700 would be my camera still if not for the video on the D800. If you dont need video then stay with what you have.

    I do mostly landscape / cityscape stuff and so I look forward to the MP boost; but I can’t wait for the video capability.

    One thing that i get a kick out of however is hearing that you ‘need’ this or that for weddings or whatever you do. I remember many wedding photogs using D70 etc. and raving about it. Made plenty of money using it, too. But now weddings have changed somehow and require more from a camera? please.

    say you ‘want it’, not ‘need it’.
    just wanted to give my 2,000 dinars worth of opinion.

  • I have been thinking of upgrading from D7000 to D800, but the D800 viewfinder in DX mode is the only thing stopping me from ordering. I primarily shoot wildlife/birds/action but also some landscape (happy visions of shooting 36MP from mountaintops). I would be thrilled with the greatly improved autofocus system and better low light performance etc, and am ok with the 5 FPS in DX mode which is where I will primarily be for wildlife. I was really starting to get excited about moving up to FF. Here is the problem (it’s always something isn’t it?): I understand that in DX mode the viewfinder does NOT scale up the view of the cropped portion – it simply blacks out the unused portion. It’s hard enough with my WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) DX viewfinder to see and therefore keep focus on the eye of a twitchy little bird (even when my telephoto lens gets me fairly close.) With the reduction in view size it will be impossible. I don’t get why they don’t scale up the view of the DX cropped portion to fill the viewfinder so you can see wtf you are doing!

    • WengerIsMad

      Nikon DK-17M Magnifying Eyepiece ?

      • A magnifying eyepiece would solve it, thanks so much for that suggestion – I didn’t know there was such a thing, thank you!!!!!!

    • ActionJunky

      It is an analog image, not digital. How would you recommend they scale up the image. The only way to scale an analog image is a magnifier. So, should they install a magnifying glass into the cameras that drops in place when you switch to DX mode. It seems much simpler to just dim, block, or black the portion of the image you are not photographing. At least you will have a wider field of view, allowing you to more easily compose your shot.

    • I’m considering the same upgrade. I like the crop mode so I’ll get about the same megapixels as my D7000 (which I consider enough generally) and I can continue to use my nice DX glass (17-55 2.8 and 35 1.8 plastic fantastic.) My 70-200 2.8 I can use full resolution when shooting portraits or switch to DX mode for air shows and just general just shooting around having fun. I’m just hoping for a stop or two improvement in noise and a tad more dynamic range. Frankly just the 70-200 2.8 costs enough where I live that the D800 almost seems like an accessory to this brilliant lens.

    • John

      The size of the image in your viewfinder will be the same in the D7000 as in the DX mode D800. The FX viewfinder is huge compared to a DX viewfinder.

      • Excellent, so the viewfinder size makes up for it, I am happy now.

  • FalseComp

    This comparison is not done under a controlled environment, the focus is different, and it seems “D800” had noise reduction enabled whilst “D700” hasn’t…the list goes on with whats wrong with this comparison…perhaps thats why it was deleted at the source…

  • Derek Matarangas

    Maybe I’m the only one but I can’t wait to get rid of my d700. I personally never saw a big diffrence from the d300 I had besides fx if course.

    For me the d800 is a dream camera. I agree it might be to many mega pixels in such a small camera but I have never shot over iso800 even shooting a concert. When I used the p40 phase one I saw noise even at 400 and I mean a lot! Maybe the d800 might have a similar problem.?

  • I’m not sure why people are getting argumentative and aggressive with one another over a post regarding a camera. I find it somewhat amusing that people will insult each other over this. There’s no doubt that the D800 has improvements over the D700, that’s the evolution of the product and I would definitely like to get my hands on one. However, for the majority of what any of us will be using a camera for, the D700 will do the job and it will do the job extremely well. I’m not trying to discourage anyone from picking up the D800, but all of you that have a D700 or are thinking about getting one, there’s no need to be upset or defensive because it is an excellent camera. In the end we’re all Nikon users and no matter which model you’re using, they’re all quality products.

  • enrico

    cool, but those are not 100% crops of the d800. the portion of image captured is equal on both sides. so the d800 is at 33% of its resolution, while the d700 is at 100%. obviously the d800 wins, but i want to see true 100% crops.

  • If both samples are 100% crops, were the D800 images taken from further away so that the same number of pixels would be displayed, or have they been down sampled?

  • jk

    Think carefully about you camera upgrades.

    A lot of you are just angry because you blew your 5 year camera budget on a must have d700 and can not comfortably obtain the d800 that you now must have.

    Be happy with what you’ve got, use it and upgrade when you can.

    The world (photography) exists outside a d800. 😉

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