Translated Q&A session with Nikon France on the D4 and D800/E *UPDATED*

Chasseur d'Images published the full transcript from the Facebook Q&A session with Thomas Maquaire from Nikon France on the new D4 and D800/E cameras. Here is the Google translation (UPDATE: I got a better translation from a reader, thanks Mike):

Hello everyone, we are pleased to invite you to our first question and answer session live over the internet.
We have already received many questions and we will try to answer within the allotted time.
Notice that we will only answer to questions about Nikon D800 and Nikon D4.

Q: Is the D800E higher in sensitivity compared to D800?
A: No, the D800 and D800E both have a sensitivity of ISO 100 to ISO 6400 with two expandable levels (Standard ISO 100 to ISO 6400, range expandable to ISO 50 to 25600 equivalent)

Q: How many dealers will have the D4 in France?
A: The D4 will be sold exclusively in selective distribution which is approximately 80 stores.

Q: On the D800, are RAW file systematically recorded in 36 MPX or is there a setting to reduce the number of pixels, except using JPEG output format while still in RAW
A: The D800 offers 36MPX RAW files to give photographers maximum definition. But you can, in postprocessing, adjust the final definition of the image (JPEG only).

Q: What about video capabilities of D800: is there an autofocus? of what kind? how is processed subject tracking ?
A: The D800 features a new contrast detection AF (directly implemented on the sensor). It is available in AF Live View and video. It is continuous and allows subject tracking.

Q: Hello, the Nikon D800 and D4 form the new full frame lineup (FX format). However, someone switching to full-frame has the choice between a 36 Mpixels device, requesting high optical quality lenses and powerful post processing hardware to deal effectively as much of information, or a device admittedly high-performance but overpriced. The D700 realized this link between the ultra-versatile D3s and D3x dedicated to studio photography and large format printing lovers. How to advise someone who wants to switch to full frame? We must admit that the D800 36Mpixels is not easy to manage.
A: The concept of D800 is to provide maximum definition in a versatile package. The D700 remains in the lineup and would provide to photographers who do not need high definition a very affordable alternative.

Q: Hello. Could you tell us the difference between D4 and D800 in terms of extreme conditions resistance (high / low temperatures, rain, etc..)?
A: D4 and D800 have anti-dripping seals and a magnesium alloy body that allows use in extreme conditions. Although, even if no datas are provided, the strength and tightness of D4 were elevated to a higher level.

Q: A comfortable user of Capture NX have more direct interest to choose the D800 E version?
A: The choice of D800E must be done considering an expert approach of aliasing management, especially during shooting and in post-production. Nikon Capture NX is a post-production tools that can help you with.

Q: Positioning of AF points has been reviewed ?
A: Density and coverage of 51points AF system of D800 and D4 is identical to the D700 and D3 series. Gap of performance of the new generation AF is due to collimators sensitivity and Scene Recognition System that allows much finer acquisition and subject tracking.

Q: D800E risk of moiré also concerns video?
A: In imaging as on video, structure of the low pass filter of D800E can cause moiré. Definition reduction in video due to "downscaling" and video specific image processing should limit appearance of moiré in the image. Notice that video recording via HDMI output in a format such as Apple Pro Res optimizes post-production and thus the final image.

Q: Difference between the two D800 bodies ?
A: D800 is equipped with a low pass filter which is designed to disperse light rays to limit aliasing effect. Whereas the structure of the D800E low-pass filter have the same optical path but cancels the diffusion of light rays.

Q: Sound quality of the D800?
A: The D800 is built-in external stereo microphone input for mixing. A permanent audio level indicators offer visual confirmation of audio level and an external headphone jack enables you to effectively monitor and control audio.

Q: Hello, why USB3 port on the D800 while the D4 have only has a USB2?
A: The choice of USB3 port on the D800 is linked to high definition concept (36Mpx) and then the need of transferring files as fast as possible. The definition of D4 is lower (16Mpx), so choice of USB 2 was considered as sufficient. Nevertheless, the potential of D4 in terms of pictures transmission (Ethernet, Wi-Fi) makes it the body with most communication features of the series.

Q: Are there plans to update the D700 firmware in order to integrate part of latest D800 software features ?
A: The D800 is designed to provide the very high resolution. All software development is linked to this parameter. So D800 software is specific and cannot be applicable to other bodies like the D700.

Q: I understand that several formats are available on the D800 as the DX ... in this mode, what is the effective RAW image size (in pixels) ?
A: At DX format (24 × 16): the definition is 15.4 MPx is 4800 × 3200

Q: Which optical quality level is required to operate with 36Mpx of D800 ?
A: To enjoy the full potential provided by 36Mpx, useage of High-performance Nikkor lenses or latest high quality lenses is required. For example: AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8, or 35mm f/1.4 or 105mm AF-S VR macro ...

Q: Why the D800 is it not compatible with WT5 wireless transmitter module ?
A: D4 includes a pre-processing data chip (before submission to the WT-5) that helps increasing pictures wireless transfer speed. For space saving reasons, this engine was not integrated into the D800. However, the D800 remains compatible with the WT-4.

Q: Why button illumination function of the D4 is not implemented on the D800? Maybe a further update ?
A: D4 has been designed to work in extreme conditions, including low light (or night). That's why we integrated button illumination function. D800 concept is high definition so it was not considered necessary to implement it.

Q: Is the D800 better than the D700 at low light iso (ex.3200 and 6400) at same image size (without benefit of D800 higher resolution) ?
A: D800 sensor choice and applied post-processing allows image results equivalent to D700 at all sensitivity presets.

Q: Is selected D800 AF-point moving when changing portrait / landscape as on the D4? If not, linked to extra grip useage ?
A: D800 does not have all the ergonomic modifications of D4 as the dedicated AF command or AF toggle when switching from a portrait to landscape.

Q: Difference between D800 and E made by internal software and / or firmware ?
A: Same firmware.

Q: You indicated previously that the D700 remained in the lineup, so we should not consider the D800 as his replacement
A: Yes.

Q: Are crop formats x1.2, DX and 4:5 available in RAW (NEF) ?
A: Yes!

Q: Will it have other manufacturers than Sony providing XQD memory cards ? and is it planned to propose an upgrade to avoid having two types of cards in the D4?
A: Currently only Sony plan to sell XQD cards. No hardware update is planned about D4 to offer 2 slots of the same card type.

Q: Is LR4 able to reduce moire of D800E ?
A: Adobe have to provide the answer

Q: D4 would have a better noise result at ISO 12800 than D3s ! What about exactly?
A: Improved definition and noise management of D4 offer better performances than the D3 series.

Q: I saw that the D800 has a built-in HDR mode. How does it works ? What are the fine tuning options ?
A: HDR allows capture of two images in a single shutter press. Exposure Gap between the two exposure images can be set from 1 to 3 EV.

Q: I am going to purchase a D4 and a D800E but already some pro-agents resellers in Paris alert me on possible delivery delays ! What exactly?
A: D4 will be sold from March 15, 2012. D800 from 22 March and D800E from April 12.

Q: Are there significant advantages to use stabilized lenses with D800 36Mp sensor to reduce micro-shaking (like 24-120 f4 instead of AF-S 24 -70 f2.8) ?
A: To reduce the micro-vibrations, the shutter is equipped with an anti-vibration system.

Q: Why D800's frame rate is limited to 4 or 5 frames per second?
A: Frame rate is directly related to amount of data to process (4 fps in 36Mpx or 6 fps in 15Mpx DX format with battery EN-EL18).
Moreover, buffer of D800 allows more continuous shoots than D700 despite a 3x higher resolution.

Q: Is megapixels increase done in detriment of sensor sensitivity? Would it be a more valuable to combine technology improvement with lower resolution (and so lower density)?
A: Intrinsic sensitivity of the sensor is directly related to the density of the photosites. However, the positioning of D800 is to propose a highest definition as possible. The sensor design and image processing achieves sensitivity levels already very impressive.

Q: Compatibility of D700 battery with the D800?
A: No. The battery of the D700 and D3s no longer meet the new standards applicable in Japan. Nikon used same battery for the D800 D7000 and designed a new battery for D4.

Q: If using old non-AF lens for example, the 36MP sensor of D800 will be a disadvantage or an advantage?
A: The latest NIKKOR lenses receive optical designs that have evolved over older lenses. The gain in resolution is related to these developments. So greater benefit with the latest lenses.

Q: Why did not you integrated GPS in D800.
A: The concept of D800 did not need to embed the GPS function.

Q: Maximum recording speed of videos recording with the D800?
A: In card recording, up to 24Mbits per second. In HDMI, rate related to recording format defined on recorder.

Q: Crop (x1.2 / DX) in the viewfinder? Grid ? Shaded part?
A: Unused portion is grayed out but still translucent.

Q: The sensor is it backlit ? Manufacturer ?
A: The sensor design was done in cooperation with a partner company. Manufacturing is done by this partner company.

Q: Do you plan to release an update on the D800 to implement 16/9 format directly in the viewfinder? This will simplify the frame slide show on TV screen.
A: In theory, no.

Q: D4 pre-orders recorded to date in France will be satisfied on March 15? (Congratulations for these wonderful bodies !).
A: Thank you! To answer you: no, pre-orders exceeded all our expectations.

Q: Do you consider D800 as a replacement of D3X?
A: No. D800 positioning is different than existing D700 or D3x bodies.

Q: Hello, what is your target of D800, knowing that the sensor 36Mpx away significantly from its little brother the D700, which one of the selling points was: little MP to a size of photosites more large, resulting in better sensitivity. What about this statement with this new 36Mpx?
A: You are right, the D700 offers little MPx for high sensitivity (reportage, low light ...).
The D800, on the other hand is for those seeking an extremely fine detail rendering (landscape, architecture, fashion, portrait ...)

Q: Is the D700 will be discontinued??
A: No, the D700 remains in the lineup.

Q: Does Nikon School videos will be updated quickly to unleash potential of D4?
A: It is our practice to change our courses according to demand. I would not fail to note your remarks to the Nikon School.

Q: D800 HDR output file format a RAW or JPEG directly?
A: JPEG only.

Q: Capture NX will he provided free with the D800 as in Germany?
A: Only with D800E.

Q: Are there any hope for progress on the side of the dynamics in the D800/D4 from generation D700/D3?
A: Yes! Dynamic range and color reproduction is improved.

Q: Some photographers have they test the D800? Or can we see photos taken with the d800?
A: I invite you to visit our Flickr:

Thomas Maquaire - Nikon France:
Thank you all for following us during this session of questions and answers.
We have done our best to answer all your questions about the new Nikon D800 and D4.
All responses will remain available during this session. Thank you again!

This entry was posted in Nikon D4, Nikon D800. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • rio

    nikon d800 is for amateurs as well , but amateurs can t afford 14-24 and 24 mm 1.4g and 85mm 1.4g. i want to move from d300s to d700s , i want action camera

    • jodjac

      I’m pretty sure that Nikon’s new G 1.8 lenses will work fine on the D800 and though it’s not a machine gun, 4 fps is pretty good.

  • fred

    “D800 sensor choice and applied post-processing allows image results equivalent to D700 at all sensitivity presets.”

    Translation: The D800 doesn’t provide any quality advantage over the D700 at 12Mp. Obviously the D4 sensor has a quality advantage over the D700, since even the D3s does. So we’re looking at there currently being no <$3k image quality upgrade path for those shooting 12-16Mp FX. That's the gap and Nikon will fill it in about a year.

    • It could also mean that the D800 with it’s 36MP sensor (smaller pixel size, higher pixel density) performs just as well in handling noise like the D700 12MP sensor (larger pixel size, lower pixel density) without having to downscale the 36MP image of the D800 into 12MP of the D700.

      • fred

        I agree, and that is a huge accomplishment on Nikon’s part.

    • Landscape Photo

      “The D800 doesn’t provide any quality advantage over the D700 at 12Mp.”

      OMG ! Fred, your only measure for quality must be the high-iso performance. Is the generous 36mp resolution unimportant for you? How about low-iso quality, DR & 100% viewfinder?

      • fred

        Who said anything about high-ISO performance? Hearing voices?

  • friendlier

    What about D4 video bitrate? Will it be the same as D800 which is 24Mbps?

  • Art

    I am really curious about the video focus system. It would be interesting to know how far they have come to creating a smooth tracking focus similar to what is available on regular video cameras. I’m sure it has gotten better than the D7000 which was reasonably good but still a bit stuttttterrrrly.

    • Doug

      I don’t remember where but it seems that the nikon guy said that he found that the tracking system was a bit slow on movie mode, well nothing is perfect, do manual dont matter for me anyways, im trying to find a fast piece 50mm of glass for mine d800 and the only good thing so far i found was the 50mm AIS which is manual.

      • Nikon has a 50mm and 85mm 1.4G, just 1 stop less light than having a f/1.2 aperture which isn’t that big of a deal. If you want a 50mm or 85mm 1.2, switch over to Canon. And Nikon already seems to handle noise better than Canon (from my experience with D700 and 5DII at ISOs above 1600) that 1 stop difference in aperture was definitely not an issue.

        • 1.4G, just 1 stop less light than having a f/1.2

          I’m sure you meant ‘f/1.4 is just 1/3 stop less light than an f/1.2 lens.’

          • Yes you’re right Ron, my mistake…reading the site at around 3am in the morning and my brain was too tired.

          • MLN

            If I remember correctly, an not to be picky, in third stops:
            f /1.1
            So f/1.2 should be half a stop.

            • I’ve heard it both ways. 😉

              Joking aside, from what I understand the manufacturers typically truncate the f-numbers instead of rounding them (I suppose it looks better on paper, after all). I’m pretty sure Canon and Nikon both consider 1/3 aperture stops to be f/1.0, f/1.1, f/1.2, and f/1.4. The tricky part is that they may also consider f/1.2 to be a half stop increment.

              Maybe one of the Canon lurkers (or hybrid shooters) here could confirm?

              Either way, I would hazard to guess both N & C’s f/1.2 lenses are 1/3 stop faster than f/1.4.

            • MotoMannequin

              It’s a half stop:

              2*log2(1.4/1.2) = 0.5

            • It’s not that simple, as the camera manufacturers truncate instead of rounding. This means that the third-stop — f/1.26 (should technically be f/1.3) — is actually f/1.2.

              Case in point: f/1.2 on Canon’s 85mm f/1.2 lens is 1/3 stop down from f/1.4. (I’m 99.9% sure)

        • Ren Kockwell

          Why switch? Pick up an AIS version of the 50mm 1.2. It’s amazing.

  • haha

    So there is a rumor of another 3 bodies to appear this year.

    If D800 is not a replacement for D700 and D3x.

    Then the 3 bodies might be D710/D700s, D400 and D4x. Although I doubt Nikon will ignore the entry level users. Oh no…… I am still waiting for D700 replacement……. :~

    • preston

      No way a D4X is coming out this year. Surely it will be a D3200.

      • Anonymous Maximus

        Is there a strong demand for a missing D3200? What will it offer extra over other entry DX models? Why can’t the potential D3200 customers buy a D5100 instead?

        I can’t see a priority here, but the DX D400 !

      • Anonymous Maximus

        I aggre with you on the D4x part. Furthermore, there may not be any D4x ever, because what will it offer that D800 does not? Attach a grip and you have a D4x…

        The most anticipated camera is now the D700s or D800s, depending on which body Nikon chooses to start with. I doubt Nikon will revert to D700 type from now on. It will be a D800s with the D4 sensor, but we may have to wait at least a year for it.

        • fred

          The D4x will have a D800 sensor mounted on an anti-shake platform.

    • 1) I always find the use of the word ‘replacement’ to be inappropriate. Why not call it ‘successor’ instead. The D4 is a true successor to the D3 and D3s. I would say the D800/E is a new addition to the Nikon family, it doesn’t seem to succeed nor replace the D700 though at 36MP does seem to give a slight hint of succeeding the 24MP D3x.

      2) Besides the D4 and D800/E announcements, if Nikon does have plans to announce new bodies within the next 12 months, my bets are on successors to at least one of the following: D300 series, D7000, D5100 and finally D3100. I won’t make a guess of what the naming conventions might be, (D400, D8000, D6000, D4000, D7100, D5200, D3200, etc)?

      3) Would there be a high-end pro line successor to the high MP D3x? Is there a possibility of D300 successor becoming FX format or would it stay DX format and Nikon plans to introduce (within the next 24 months) a true successor to the D700 (for clients who need a fast speed low cost alternative to the D4)? Time will tell.

  • ChF

    I’m pretty sure that there’ll be a d700 successor. There’s a great audience for that kind of camera and Nikon doesn’t wanna lose those pro and high budget amateurs who want an action full frame camera.
    The D3 came out in august 2007 and the D700 in june 2008. So let’s wait less then a year and we’ll see a D(I’ don’t know what numbers!) with the same D4 sensor, autofocus and video capabilities. Any bets on that?

  • French double talk.

  • jardel

    on d800 can i change the shutter speed in aperture mode ? nikon guide : keep all the seting the same and increase the shutter speed to avoid blur motion

  • lovely pine scent

    My guess is – Nikon could very well release a D700 successor when they’ve already tapped all the sales they can with the D800. 6-8 months after the initial D4 announcement, let me know is this came to pass…

    Nikon’s a business, so

    (a) Just because they don’t say they’re going to come out with a “D750” doesn’t mean they aren’t sitting on one until the first few waves of D800 orders “are in the can”.

    (b) Nikon would be shooting itself in the foot to in any way suggest a lower-priced FF camera might be coming. Even if they’ve got them in the wild with beta testers under NDAs. They’re under no obligation to us to give us information on what’s going to happen with the D700 – but rest assured that they know perfectly well what’s coming or what’s not.

    (c) They’re not trying to get a foothold in the market or win over skeptics (a la Sony), so they don’t have to publish (and would be stupid to publish) a roadmap of their future products just because we want them to. Marketing being ratcheted up to screaming levels like it is, and every camera they come out with has to be painted as if it’s the last great hope for photography.

  • Stephan

    Very informative Q&A, however, I am gonna buy the new Nokia 808 Smartphone instead of the D800E – gives me 41MP! Also, it is a lot lighter 🙂

    • Gav

      Yep I’m with you.

      The Nokia is sure to challenge medium format photography format!!

      I just hope it has a silent mode for when doing professional photo shoots 😉

  • Sahaja

    So those who hung on for two years waiting for a D700 successor, thought their moment had arrived with the D800 release, are now told the D800 is not the D700 successor, and so must now hang on for even longer waiting in anticipation of that camera.

  • Excellent questions, and even better answers!

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