Nikon D800 tested at DxOMark, gets the #1 spot

After the Nikon D4 got the second best DxOMark overal score on Tuesday, today there is a new king - the Nikon D800 is now the #1 rated camera - it even got a higher score than the Phase One IQ180 digital back. The detailed stats are available on DxoMark, here are few screenshots:


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  • Bob

    I have heard that D400 will be FX, is that true?
    I think D800 has 36M pixels which is too many for me, also a lot of stress on SD/CF/CPU/Disk….

    • enesunkie

      You heard it from someone who wants an FX body , but is too cheap to just go out and buy a D700.

    • Bakkes

      Chips are paid per sqaere mm, not on specs. So a full frame chip is per definition expensive. Dont expect a cheap d400. If you cut the magnesium body of a d700, you probably save 200-300 bucks, so 1799€ or so is the bottom for full frame. They’ll throw in movies and expeed 3 for free.

    • bert

      And don’t forget: the D800 does 20 and 9 mpixel too. You can just decide to do the mayority of shots in 20mpixel setting. It will give very clean looking shots. I wonder if you can do 36mpixel RAW with 9 pixel JPEGS for example.

      • Ronbenson

        D7000 sure does it. RAW is always full sensor (for evident reasons), JPEG can be what you want.

        • Martin

          …. not so evident to me that RAW is sensor resolution. I think they could create a RAW file with less megapixels, even on firmware basis. In this case RAW would relate to the bit-depth per channel, whereas the pixels would be interpolated. Nice if you know you don’t need this high res. Of course it would be great if fps would increase too then but this may actually involve a deeper electronics redesign.

    • dwd

      It would be cool if they made a D400 full frame at roughly 16MP, without any of the video features. Basically a refresh of the D700’s philosophy, the current price of just north of $2K is a great point to be at for a body like that. This would at least give them room to do something like a D9000 at the D300s’ current price. Of course if they would just give us small and medium RAW options in the firmware like Canon does then we could shoot the D800 and not care or wish for a more manageable full frame.

      • RondoX

        The D700 doesn’t have any special philosophy. Its a D3 is in D300 body. It was just built before the DSLR video explosion.

        There is no reason for the D400 not to have video, as even the cheapest/entry level DSLR has it nowadays.

        The only question is, will it be DX or FX….

        If it is indeed suppose to be released this year, I can’t imagine it being anything other than DX, like it should be. It would cut a little into D800 sales, but considering the reviews it’s getting, the D800 sales may not even feel a pinch.

        A 24mp DX D400 with D800esque performance fits the bill.
        And with Nikon raising prices on everything, I can’t imagine it being sold any less than $2k. Which gets people asking, “Do I get the D400 or spend only $1k more and get a FX and DX camera in the D800…?” Which are questions I’m sure Nikon wants people to ask themselves.

        • bob cooley

          The D400 will be DX… It will follow the same as the others in its naming heratige (D100, D200, D300). If there is to be a D700 replacement that ISN’T the D800, it would likely be named D75o or D700s – though I seriously doubt ou ever see such a model…

          • mikils

            Why not 701? I fondly remember my first AF camera, the marvellous F801s.

        • dwd

          Well, the D3 in a D300 body is the whole point of a D700. With that reasoning the d700 replacement hopefully follows the same theme.

          Why can’t we have a camera without video? The only models that currently don’t have it are all from last generation. I’d love to have a still photo dedicated camera, be it the D400 or the replacement for the D700. I can’t tell you how many times I hit the stupid LiveView button on my 300s when I’m reaching for the Info. It would just be nice if the extra jacks, real estate on the menu system and dedicated hardware controls that video brings could be tossed out on a model or two in Nikon’s lineup.

          Anyhow, whatever the next pro model is, D400/700s/etc., I hope it’s a baby D4 without the video bloat and is full frame.

      • Martin

        I think they can’t leave out video any more. But they could cut the price by using a less sophisticated AF system, i.e. the one from the D7000.

  • newbee

    What kind (how fast/brand0 of Compact flash or SD card is recommended for this beast it wont “slow” down the 4 fps!!????
    does one even come with it!?

  • Got mine yesterday – coming from a D7K. Biggest difference is in the highlights. There is more detail. DR is better, you can raise the shadows with a little less noise than the D7K, but it’s highlight detail retention that I notice in my early pics that seem to be the biggest difference. Resolution is incredible – any more would be more of a microscope than a camera.

    Excited to put a micro (macro) lens on it!

  • burgerman

    Its a great 15+ mp DX camera. It can shoot HIGH ISO absolutely as good as the D4. It has the best focus system, and face recognition exposure system of any current DSLR, and it can outperform many MF cameras with huge resolution if required. Or it can be a bunch of different crop modes with less pixels, or can shoot full frame 20mp or 9mp (with smaller files/less noise if required.

    So the only thing a D4 does better is speed for sport/news where high resolution needed. So whats not to like?

    Other than for photo journalism its the best DX and FX camera Nikon ever made all rolled into 1. Which was obvious when anounced. And why its sold way more than nikon ever expected. Were they asleep?

    Finally the obvious high MP = noise myth has been totally disposed of. And yet in the next thread it will be back again by all those that dont understand physics or photography…

    • burgerman

      >>>> So the only thing a D4 does better is speed for sport/news where high resolution needed. So whats not to like?

      SHOULD BE:
      So the only thing a D4 does better is speed for sport/news where high resolution IS NOT needed. So whats not to like?

  • cheese

    The graphs actually shows d4 is better. Iso400 and above, d4 leads all the way. But d800 is cheaper. So, d800 is more worthy.


      ISO / D4 is better by such a tiny miniscule amount that amounts to nothing even worth mentioning and is probably within the bounds of experimental error anyway.

      And the the D800 has better everything else. Hence the total score of 95…

  • Robert

    ok, almost two months after its launch, D800 and so far have not spent a few compelling images and much success in the laboratory (?)

    • It is not 2 months since launch, you mean since announcement. It just started shipping a week ago and only to a very select few who got their order in the first couple hours (if that) or caught the few at Best Buy the last few days.

  • Frank

    Just got an email from B&H in reply to my question as to delivery date of my D800. They said next delivery of cameras would be toward the end of May and they didn’t know how many they would get. Where are they going?

  • timon

    it is a very interesting comparison about SNR in the screen mode in 100% magnifying, the 36MP d800 is almost equal to 21MP eos5d2 in SNR result, (SNR with screen mode in 100% magnifying).
    you have to notice that the d800 is a 4.85μm sensor (providing the details more closely), but the eos5d2 is a 6.39μm sensor.

    of course, initially I did not believe the d800 can win against to a 645 format 6μm sensor currently, but later I changed the notion. DxOmark’s Overall Score is unworthy with your fanatic overly, rather their impersonally Measurement data is valuable in focuses, especially under the screen mode to view the charts, (100% magnification, pixel-for-pixel).

    d800, d7000, Phase One IQ180 Digital Back, measurement charts with screen mode,

    d800, d7000, 5d2, measurement charts with screen mode,

    In currently, major desk-monitors are resolution in between 96dpi and 120dpi, it means the d800 can print a larger picture in 70×46-inch/100dpi, but the imaging quality would not be lower than the eos5d2 in 50×33-inch/100dpi, moreover the DR performance d800 is better than eos5d2.

    for the A3 (300 dpi) print, the narrowed sample is in 4500 pixels, the imaging quality the d800 would undoubtedly surpass eos5d2.

    needless to say, mirror-slap-blur, a lesser shutter lag time, spot-metering link AF-point, alloyed mirror-box and lens mount backside, etc…

    d800 and d7000 are more worthy of investors’ attention. Although the d7000 is an APS-c format and plastic mirror-box, but the imaging quality is also a well done camera.

  • burgerman

    Well after playing with this thing in daytime and at night for a few days I am absolutely amazed by it. Visibly better colour, less blotchyness in skies etc and better Dynamic range than the D700. And obviously less noise. Cant say I notice much difference in focussing though. Makes the D700 I sold a month ago seem like an antique. Using the 105VR and the 3 zooms 14-24, 24-70, 70-200 vr2 the results are increadible. Dunno about the rest… I cant test.

    Lots has happened in 3 or 4 years. Direct comparison against a D3S shows no difference in noise in a 24 inch comparison print at any ISO, and better detail. Using zero noise reduction in cam, and Topaz noise reduction afterwards on both the results are amazingly identical. Ignore the price hyke, you wont regret it! There has never been a dslr this good.

    • burgerman


      Just spent 15 mins testing all the different focus options in dark/light places. I was wrong its hugely faster! It just goes and gets it right. The lens is the slow bit, Was using a macro lens that takes a while to go from one extreme to the other. The camera decides instantly, and correctly… Especially groups of people. It fires when I tell it instantly and always at the correct point(s).

  • DavidB

    In reading the manual, Nikon is very clear about how much of the sensor is used in each of the various formats — FX, DX, 5:4 and so on. What they are not specific about is what is happening when you select the L, M, S file sizes with each of these formats. Can someone clarify how Nikon is arriving at these files and in what formats? For example, does using the M file size with RAW mean that the camera is reducing the file size on the fly outside the parameters of frame format

    • burgerman

      > L, M, S

      Uses the same full fx sensor area, and resamples the image down to a less noisy, sharper, 20 or 9 million pixel image. It does the same to the various crop modes. So say a DX crop, or a 5:4 crop is the “same image” resampled to a smaller output. So quite correctly the raw stays the same size as the chosen full size crop.

      Been shooting at 20mp all day, works great! Only use 36mp for tripod/landscape stuff. 20 is faster, smaller, unbelievable quality.

      • DavidB


  • Mike

    I can’t wait to see all the pictures of people’s toes, “test shots,” and “high iso test #424504409045” littering Flickr and review sites. Where are the PHOTOS from the D800? I am noticing a weird trend of people who don’t even own a DSLR buying these things. One guy said his first camera was an iPhone.

    • Patrick

      Lol, DSLR does not choose people, people choose what they want to do with DSLR. It doesn’t have to be so different from the luxury car markets. Exotic drivers aren’t that much better drivers than average drivers yet their cars have 4 times and power and traction.

  • Ray


    Nikon introduce D800, le intelligent Nikon Tech: okay… here is 36 mega pixel…

    Nikon troll face: Problem?


    So Nikon said Okay assholes here’s your uber pixel count camera…

    and the assholes internet trolls says “omg its too much, i only wanted average pixel count, not high pixel count.. actually even less than 21 mpx of the canon 5dmk2, even though we kept bitching about how much we want to jump ships for the 21 mpx, but 36? we are actually too stupid and got what we wished for and regretted it.

    Then canon will introduce 40 mpx, and 36 will look shitty, and then everyone will bitch: D800 Y U SO LOW PIXEL COUNT?


    first world problems. I am happy that the d800 is so awesome, and if I was still so into photography I would sell my d700, which i am completely happy with for a casual photographer.

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