The first Nikon D800 books

Amazon is now taking pre-orders for the first D800 books - "Mastering the Nikon D800" by Darrell Young (publisher: Rocky Nook):

Mastering the Nikon D800 by Darrell Young provides a wealth of experience-based information and insights for owners of the new D800 camera. Darrell is determined to help the user navigate past the confusion that often comes with complex and powerful professional camera equipment.

This book explores the features and capabilities of the camera in a way that far surpasses the user's manual. It guides readers through the camera features with step-by-step setting adjustments; color illustrations; and detailed how, when, and why explanations for each option. Every button, dial, switch, and menu configuration setting is explored in a user-friendly manner, with suggestions for setup according to various shooting styles.

Darrell's friendly and informative writing style allows readers to easily follow directions, while feeling as if a friend dropped in to share his knowledge. The learning experience for new D800 users goes beyond just the camera itself and covers basic photography technique.

Check also the Nikon D800 Digital Field Guide (publisher: Wiley).

In German languageNikon D800: Das Kamerahandbuch: Ihre Kamera im Praxiseinsatz. There are few other listings here.

In French language: Nikon D800.

See also:

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  • A pre-order for a book not yet published, about a camera not yet released. Gotta love the speed of capitalism at work 🙂

    • FX DX

      Always read the manual that comes with your camera. 90% of the time, it will tell you everything you need to know about your camera.

      • 100%
        Manual all the way – the rest waste of money.

        • Andrew

          Spoken like a true professional. What about the beginner or intermediate student?

          • LOL

            Read the internet.

          • The d800 is not a beginner’s camera. It’s not an intermediate camera either. I’d consider the d7000 an intermediate camera – but only if the user is willing to do some hard work (and lots of practice). Nasim at did extensive research about the reported focusing errors of the d7k – turns out in the vast majority of cases it was user error. Thom Hogan has tons of posts about the kind of shooting discipline you need at these pixel densities.

            If you are a beginner (or even an intermediate shooter who does photography only occasionally) you simply shouldn’t start with the d800. I don’t even recommend the d7k unless the beginner is really crazy about photography. People assume that buying the latest, greatest, most expensive equipment will improve their photography, provided they can read some good books about it. Not the case. The autofocus system itself is so complicated in these modern DSLRr that it takes months of hard practice to really know what settings to use for each situation. It took me about 6 months to completely master the d7k (and I still feel there is room for improvement for certain kinds of shots). I’m about getting ready for the d800 (probably gonna buy it late this year or early next) – but only because I think I’m approaching the point where I’m shooting at its limits. Not urgent though, for the kind of photography I do at the moment the d7k is perfectly fine. And believe it or not, I do interiour work for some of the largest companies (penthouses, villas, serviced apartmetns, hotels) around here.

            I got some questions about the gear I use – for some type of contracts you can list the equipment you use and they pay you a percentage after their value as part of the full fee. I do get some raised eyebrows occasionally (my competition usually lists equipment far more expensive than mine) but they can’t argue with my results 🙂 Anyway, the point is, that those who actually NEED the d800 would probably know exactly what they want, and I don’t think they will get much use for a book such as this.

        • Ralph

          Is that what you do with the manual, I thought you put it back in the box which then gets stored in the top of the cupboard until you are ready to resell it!

          Damn, will need to give that a try when the D800e gets here.

          • Handbooks

            because unsuccessful photographers still need some income.

          • Luis

            You keep the manual in the wrapper in the box to help your resale value.

            Then you download the PDF from Nikons web site and use that instead. In the PDF you can search for keywords more easily.

      • Oh please. Drop the “real pros only shoot manual” BS.

        Real pros know when and how to put the camera to work for them when it is fully capable of making better (read: faster, more accurate) decisions. Sometimes manual is the best choice, other times it is not.

        You can bet your ass I’m excited for face detection in challenging lighting conditions.

        • Like what I did there? Haha.

          But seriously, even manuals leave a lot of important info out. That’s why I find Thom Hogan’s guides so great. They are a *real* manual with camera-specific advice.

          • I think you misread the original post and now you’re trying to save yourself.

      • KT

        I have to disagree with this statement, I bought Darrell Young’s D700 book and it was the best investment I ever made for my D700. It’s light years ahead of anything Nikon could print. Nikon might make the best cameras but they still got ways to go when it comes to explaining how to make the best of their bodies.

    • Forget the D800, I’ve already started writing a book about the D900!

      I agree, seems awful silly. After all, I would sure hope people buying a $3000+ camera SHOULD know how to use a professional level camera by that point. (Thus the book would be completely pointless.)

      • IndyGeoff

        Not really pointless. Some people have enough disposable income they can buy a 3k$ item and learn as they go.

        • Nikon Shooter

          I second that. I’ve given photography lesson to guys with brand new D3s’s and 500mm lenses, but who didn’t even know how to change a lens. There are many, many people out there who don’t even have to think twice about whether to spend $500 or $3000 on a camera as long as the latter is considered to be a much better piece of equipment.

          • Event Shooter

            Yeh, when i shoot events (usually for rich people) they either have Nikon D700 (probably D800 later), 5Dii or more likely than not Leica M9.

      • Andrew

        Modern cameras have so much automated smarts that an amateur can get a lot out of a $3,000+ camera. And if they can afford it, why not?

    • hq

      Add to that a *manual* that isn’t released yet, or even complete specs!!

  • Lumenatic

    I wonder how they produce these books. I mean, how do you write a book on somerhing which is not released yet ? Do the authors have access to a D800 before the rest of the world ? Or do they prepare a book based on features rumored here at NR and implement changes at high speed when the camera is actually released ?

    • GD

      I would imagine that publishers can apply to Nikon to receive advance technical documentation about a camera (though not an actual camera). They then identify an author to write it.

      The author would then probably receive updated documentation as it changes/is finalized and writes and edits as it comes in.

      Publishing books like this is something which would seem to be of obvious benefit to both parties.

    • GD

      Oh, and I also notice that — for Canada at least — the release date is late August!

      So scratch my guesswork. Maybe “Darrell Young” is sitting at home right now waiting to get his hands on a D800 like everyone else, has nothing yet except a promise to Rocky Nook, and will start madly writing right after the FedEx truck pulls up to his house…

      • sam

        This is to allow for additional time for the english to canadian translation.

        • Haha +1

        • GD

          That shouldn’t take long at all…

          Search for “?”, replace with”, eh?”

          Nothing simpler!

          • Luis

            And replace all instances of “about” with “aboot” 🙂

            This is all tongue in cheek. Canadians can spoof all about the English idiosyncrasies in the US.

    • foo

      Probably 75% of the books’ contents are generic material applicable to just about any prosumer Nikon camera with minor changes. When the camera is finally released, they quickly finish some sections and publish the book. Much of the D800 specific material are probably just rehashing of the various settings you can learn from reading the owner’s manual.

  • You’ve got to wonder about the “wealth of information” when the D800 book has a D700 on the cover… 😉

    • D400

      first thing I saw as well!

  • Troy

    Hey everyone…rememeber Darrell Young the next time you hear about a Nikon pro-body
    being released so someone came follow him around to see if he has the lastest product!
    Rememeber to have your new D-800 to capture some video and stills..8oP

  • peekamoose

    UGH… I read Young’s Mastering the D700 and hated it. It was just a rudimentary introduction to photography and he always said that if you want more info on a certain topic, refer to this or that page in the Nikon manual that came with the camera. So why do I have to read his book in the first place.

    No thanks….. This book gets two thumbs down. it should be called Learning the D700 for Dummies. As a pro photographer, I was astounded that someone could write a book like this and call it Mastering the D700. maybe he learned his lesson for the D800 book in this series.

    But I wish him well and I hope he makes a million selling his book…… And I hope he makes a lot of improvements in the book compared to the D700 book.

    Sorry Darrell – you are probably a nice guy….

    • Art

      There is a long discussion on the Nikonians website where he is asking what people would like to see in the D800 book. The consensus is to skip all the basic stuff (depth of field etc.) and talk about the real meat as well as suggested settings (and why) as well as features that we might easily overlook. Given that, it could be a really interesting book and have some real gems.

      Yes, I get awfully disappointed when I see books rehash the basics again and again and again. On the other hand, I always have to remind myself that photography is about perhaps 10 simple rules that take a lifetime to master and I shouldn’t get on my high-horse so easily.

      • djh65

        well said

      • Alan

        I agree. For me, the perfect book would point out the features of the camera I’ve never bothered to figure out because I learned on an AE-1 and still don’t really expect a camera to have a menu. I don’t need to be taught photography, but how this new camera impacts photography.

        Personally a laundry list of features is useless. Tell me what’s new, tell me what behaves differently than I’d expect. Tell me how my use of some feature will be different now that I’ve got more pixels and better metering.

        Tell me what is really happening in the camera when certain features are engaged. The amount of work I’ve had to do to get a decent technical description of what Active D-Lighting really does is ridiculous. Marketing people want to treat a feature like magic, and that’s fine for a point and shoot, but I need to know what it’s doing so I can use it.

        Which brings me to the tear out quick reference card: how to turn all that crap off.

        • This is why Thom Hogan’s guides get my money.

      • Andre

        Seriously, if you need a book to understand how that camera operates then I reckon you really should be looking at a camera body that has some more basic functions to match your ability ( or lack of ) but then again there seem to be a lot of cashed up cowboys with all the gear and no idea in the world of photography.

  • broxibear

    It’s nowhere near the quality of the D700 books…look how noisey that cover is, lol.

    • BartyL

      Sure, but when it’s downsampled to the same dimensions as the D700 cover I think you’ll find the IQ is on par, maybe even a little better…

    • Calibrator


  • Art Jacks

    It would be much better if Nikon posted the D800 manual on line in advance of launch so that those of us who have an order in place can get reading.

    • djh65

      +1, seriously, why not release the manual early. Does Nikon always do this with new cameras?

    • Alan

      I’ve been begging for the same thing. Nikon cust svc just says “they’ll be released when the camera goes on sale”. People keep reminding me that the D4 manuals are on the Japanese Nikon site, not that it does me any good…

  • souvik

    What about D800E book?

    • GregS

      It’s been delayed. They’re trying to fix a moire problem with some of the photographs.

      • BartyL

        Very good.

      • Luis

        And the JPGs are too sharp for the publisher to reproduce on paper…

  • seb

    We do not need that book manual instruction book contains the same but people thing they find something special in the book which is just colorful version of manual instruction book.I discovered that 90 % of users do not read manual instruction.

    • BartyL

      “I discovered that 90 % of users do not read manual instruction.”

      I write manuals for a living and I can confirm this.

      • Luis

        Read the manual? Seriously? What male resorts to that? The challenge is to figure it all out on your own. It’s like trying to get through a puzzle. You know you have proved your mental prowess if you can do that.

        • BartyL

          I fully agree with you. However, the old saying is, “When all else fails, read the manual”. In practice this seems to have become, “When all else fails, phone the manual writer and have them read the manual to you”!

  • I know the digitutor is out on the D800.
    Has anyone seen the manual for this camera?

    • the manual is not out yet – I check almost every day

  • neekone

    Hey Admin,
    Do you know anything about the 24fps 2MP silent mode for court reporters on the D4?

    For example, how many frames can it go for (how long?). Also, what is the method used to get 24fps, is it lineskipped like the video mode, or is it downscaled like jpeg mode?

    Also, is it the whole sensor, or is it a crop of the sensor?


    • LeGO

      This feature essentially takes a 2mp 10801,920 pixels wide by 1,080 high 16:9 ratio JPG. I believe that you can choose FX or DX from which to downscale it from and possibly a one is to one pixel for 1080p image 2.7x crop from the center of the sensor.

      With the mirror staying up and only the electronic shutter working (thus avoiding the sound from the mirror going up and down and the mechanical shutter blades opening and closing), it is essentially quiet.

      My question though is why not just extract a 2mp image from having taken an HD video? Using the HDMI out with no card in the body and recording to an external recorder, you avoid any video compression and essentially have an unlimited time recording and thus acquire considerably more possibilities as to what still image to extract from the HD video captured?

      • neekone

        The HD video is no where near the quality of a downscaled JPEG. A downscaled JPEG would make this camera one of the most interesting new cameras for movie making in the sub $10K bracket. Yes, it would be a pain to deal with jpegs, rather than video clips, but the quality result would be worth it.

    • don’t remember reading about it anywhere

      • neekone

        Sheesh, why do we have you around? JK

        On a Nikon D4 info page:

        under the segment:
        “Quiet and Silent Live View modes”

        it clearly states:
        “When using the Silent shutter release function in Live View, the mirror remains up and the shutter remains open; which can be quite useful during events such as shooting inside of a courtroom or sporting events such as golf. The Silent mode allows you to shoot at either 12 or 24 frames per second in 4:3 aspect ratio for 2.5 megapixel files.”

        Very curious about this little talked about feature.

        • Neekone

          !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!———————————————————————————–ATTENTION ATTENTION ATTENTION ATTENTION!!!!!!!!

  • T.I.M

    “Mastering the Nikon D800”
    Most people who are buying the D800 don’t need to read a manual.

    • Calibrator

      The fact that there is a book for beginners (only beginners buy these books – because they are unsure) proves that the market for it is big enough.
      It’s therefore a clear sign that the D800 is a consumer body. Of course it is good enough to be used by pros, too, but you will see a lot of amateurs run around with it (like with the D700).
      Only the D3-series and soon the D4 are Nikon pro bodies right now and that’s why there are no Darrell Young books about them.

      • Andre

        Then what I said a post or two above stands. If beginners have to read a book to understand this camera then they would be better off buying a lower specced body, saving their money until they learned something about photography in general and then thinking about the gear.
        Just because they buy an expensive body and read “a book” will never guarantee them a good photo.

        Once again, all the gear and no idea.

  • While I agree that most books like this are useless for experienced professionals (I’m a professional software engineer, been doing it for 12 years…when new tech comes out, I don’t buy books on it since it’s just a matter of diving in and getting your hands dirty) these types of books are good for a few types of people: Folks just getting into digital photography (which is probably a very small segment for the D800), people moving from a less complicated camera (I shoot a D7000…if I were to move to the D800, I’d definitely buy a (not necessarily this) book since no doubt it’s a much more complex machine), or people just now making the jump from film to digital.

    When I first started my career in programming, I could not have done it without countless technical books since usually the manufacturer’s documentation is purely technical, and not real world at all. That being said, if the market for books like this are anything like the market for programming books, the authors make little, if no money off of them. I have several friends who write programming books, and it’s a labor of love, not profitable at all. They just want to help people get into whatever they are passionate about.

    All that being said, there are so many tutorials on the web these days, I wonder how any of these books actually sell. I bought one book for my D7000 (which was my first “real” DSLR), and have no plans to ever buy another one for this model. Books on theory and real world application make more sense.

  • Voilá!

    Take a D700 book, change the specs to D800, body images, new photo examples et Voilá! a D800 premature book! Come to me your buk’s!

    • hq

      You’re exactly right. The D800 *manual* is even published yet. They just keep some place holders for items they’re not sure about, and once it’s released, fill in the gaps, and Voilá!

  • LeGO

    Thom Hogan writes a read-worthy camera guide. The drawback is that this is frequently released much later after the camera has been released.

    • Andre

      At least Thom doesn’t masquerade and pretend to know the new equipment before he uses it. He does know how to use a camera and presents a very useful guide for some.

      Having said that he does expect an income for his time spent (rightly so) and aims his books at those who do know how to take a camera of auto and “p” mode.

      These other pretenders that have “so called books” ready to order before the camera even hits the streets are probably just as clueless about how the camera operates as the people that are sucked into buying their books.

  • Landscape Photo

    An interesting article including examples about AA vs non-AA:

  • Anonymous Maximus

    What happened to the book “Obtenez le maximum du Nikon D800” 🙂

  • Moe Jacknally

    Rob van Petten on the motion blur issure with the D800:

    “The motion blur factor with the D800 is real. It is a function of the pixel density on the sensor being so much finer that the subject to sensor alignment is much more critical. I have never used tripods and especially in the studio I have hand held my 200mm F/2 with gripping sharpness. However – with this camera I can not. There is a noticeable difference.

    You ask specifically if you will still be able to shoot 1/50 to 1/200 with a 500mm hand holding. My guess without trying it, would be that you would not be able to escape the vibration with an D800, causing a blur.

    I think shutter speeds of 1/800 to 1/1000 are more likely to get a sharper result.

    A mono pod might give more stability. I had good results with an extremely heavy camera stand (200 lb.) and sand bags to dampen vibration.

    Again I have not tried shooting birds with a 500mm with a TC14E, but if I can’t hold a 70-200mm or a 200mm F/2, a 500 is going to be even harder to hold still.”

    • btdown

      This is a concern…Will be interesting to see what happens once this thing drops. If the performance is as-stated in his quote, I see can foresee a bunch of these being returned.

  • Hermann Kloeti

    Started with an F2AS to F3-F5-D70-D2x-D700 and now D800 – I always liked Nikon’s manuals: One can always build on existing knowledge. Just sit down of an evening, switch of the telly, grab your gear and make sure you’re not going to be disturbed for a couple of hours: Bingo. Only once did I buy an additional book (for the F5, that was) – waste of time, never again.

  • Heribert

    Never felt the urge to buy a book specific for my cameras. All I need to know about them can be found in the manufacturer’s manual or on his website. However, I love books. But I prefer those that teach me how to take better photos from an artistical point of view.

  • DG

    I bought the terrible “masteri the D700” out of curiosity. It was the only such type of photo book I have ever bought, although I had purchased many books in the past on darkroom techniques. Of course, chemicals are passé as are darkrooms. How I miss the smell of fixer,, the nose tingling pungency of stop bath, and the poisonous vapors of various toners….

    I began with the Exacta vx11a with Zeiss lenses and was able to scrounge for bucks to eventually get a Nikon Ftn and a bunch of used Nikkor lenses. Never needed a book, except for the manual that came with the camera. My favorite manual was the little hard cover book that came with the Exacta (it was a present from my Dad) ….

    So after attempting to read Young’s mastering the Nikon D700, and being very perturbed that he referenced the Nikon D700 manual on every page, I decided never to purchase another such book.

    Shame on Nikonians for publishing an excuse for a book with “Master” in the title. The manual was much more informative, though it could have been better written. But Young constantly tells the reader to read the manual for more info. So why buy the book. What a JOKE!!!!!!!!!!

  • Crimed

    Speaking of technical details – I downloaded a complete comparison of specs of the D800 and D4 from Nikon’s website. There were a few interesting details that perhaps some of you might be able to comment on. First the D800 doesn’t have backlit buttons (no surprise). Second the digitutor on the D4 makes a big deal of its ability to uncouple exposure compensation from flash exposure compensation. No mention of this on the D800. Also it has rear curtain slow synch which is not listed for the D800. Any comments or observations? And yes I do know that these are very minor points and not going to determine anyone’s choice of camera, so please play nice. After all, without a manual we’re all reduced to reading tea leaves.

    • R!

      The most important is to have the same AF with the same mesurements and metering and viewfinder,unlike Canons by the way!!

    • MLN

      I just searched the manuals for the D3000 and the D700, both of them have “rear curtain slow synch” (so does my F4+SB24 from 1988).
      As for independent exposure compensation and flash compensation: on the D700 I’m not sure it can be done with the built-in flash but it can be done with a SB-900.

  • I bet these guys give the D800 manual a quick read and then rework their D700 guides in a word processor. Usually the result is a rehash of the factory manual with no real advice or insight. These authors are called professional book writers.

  • T.I.M

    More about the PC-E 24mm and D800/e issue:

    I’m still hoping someone will be able to clarify the situation.

    • R!

      I dont know but there is a sheep one at Samyang&ying coming out!!!!!!!

      • AM

        Sheep one, LOL.

    • MB

      The guy working at Nikon support was obviously using 2009 lens brochure so there was no mention of D800 there. I think it is a sad thing that people working at Nikon support have no clue whatsoever about the Nikon products, for example the question:
      Can I mount the PC-E NIKKOR 24mm f/3.5D ED on a D90?
      I’m thinking about buying this lens, but when I borrowed my friends I found that the rectangular housing hits on the underside of the flash when I’m trying to mount it. Is there a way to mount this lens on the D90? Thanks
      was answered:
      In order to better assist you, please click on the link below:
      Answer Title: How to ask or update a Technical Support question
      Answer Link:
      The correct answer is yes you can use PC-E NIKKOR 24mm f/3.5D ED on a D90 and I am sure you can use it with D800.

      • I am about to publish a post about this online

    • I will post about it today. I am sure Nikon will update their answer on Monday.

  • Beso

    According to the Barnes & Noble website the book can be preordered but will not be available until August 28, 2012. Assuming that our cameras ship on or about March 22, 2012 we will have 5 months of actual use and experience before this book hits the stores. If you haven’t figured out the camera by then it probably isn’t going to happen.

  • Reg Rogers

    P and TTL

  • DG

    There is five months between the release date of the book and B&N and the supposed shipment of the first batch of D800 bodies. That doesn’t give much time for Mr. Young to really write a comprehensive book, does it? After all, a book needs to go to prepress in China (probably) and then printed and shipped. All this takes a two to three months minimal. So really, Mr. Young will still be trying to master the D800 after he has written the book. What a JOKE!!!!!!!!

    The question is, after reading the Nikon manual, what can these books teach you!!!!!! Absolutely nothing.

    • DG

      Sorry about all the typos… But you all get the gist…

  • Jim

    The best book foR the D800 and D4 will be from Thom Hogan. I will buy both when I get my camera bodies and the books are available.

  • DG

    The PR blurb (before the book is even out and before the camera is even out) says it all —–……

    “The learning experience for new D800 users goes beyond just the camera itself and covers basic photography technique.”

    So much for “Mastering the Nikon D800” by Darrell Young….
    The title should read “Masterbating with the Nikon D800.”

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