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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  • Jesus_sti

    What ! are you serious … need one now !

    • confirms my finding.
      even the high iso is absolutely amazing

      • Andrew

        A sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. The D800’s 36 MP sensor’s high ISO performance trumps the D700’s 12 MP sensor’s ISO? WOW!

    • tony

      Impressive yes, but NR should have mentioned that datas came from “print” measurment, i.e. “which corresponds to about the physical size of an 8Mpix image“.
      For SNR 18%, screen measurment looks like this

      Anyway, I wish I had this camera one day.

      • tony
      • timon

        “print” quality is obviously more important than the screen mode, you are impossible to view and admire the photos with a screen always, with a 36MP or a 16MP.

        the 8Mpix image is not a resized from 36MP, rather it is cropped the image to get a middle 8Mpix image to the print, which is not a problem.

        if you only wanted to watch on screen, please resize from 36MP, I think that you did not need a 36MP.

    • Darkness

      Hilarious to see all those moaners who dissed Nikon for taking too long, despite disasters in Japan and Thailand, who then moaned too many pixels, then high ISO wouldn’t be as good as d700.
      Have some fun and go play on the cannon forums, Nikon moaning season is closed.

      • PHB

        I think that a large proportion of the moaners were folk looking to unload their D700 to some chump at a higher price.

        There are idiots who will believe anything they read. Had a contractor come round the other day telling me some damn fool nonsense about the government planning to ban PVC pipe. It was almost total crap. There was a LEED pilot program where there was a credit available for documenting that 20% of the building materials used did not contain cadmium or lead and so on. And there was an additional credit for not using a bunch of plastics that included PVC. But the other 80% of the materials could be anything, you could use PVC siding if you liked let alone pipe.

        The folk wittering on about pixel density mostly have no idea what they are talking about. What it comes down to is that the light level limits the resolution you can use. If you want to shoot at a full 36 MP and get acceptable results you are going to need more light than if you only need 18 or 12MP. All that increasing the sensor resolution does is to increase the amount of data you can capture. More data does not hurt your low light response but it doesn’t help you very much either.

  • Gerry

    How’s the ISO scores. Very impressed all round.

    Good job Nikon

    • Roger

      Good job Sony

      • Ghost

        Nikon and Sony are business partner now, they both should against Canon, LOL.

        • Sly Larive

          The pixel peeping of dollar thrift store junk madness has reached a climax it should never have.

          Sorry to say this harshly, but you’ve got your priorities wrong if the goal is for Sony / Nikon to team up against Canon. We only win when competition is at its peak and corporations push one another to develop the best products available.

          Sony has solid sensor technology and we should have seen these results coming after the results Nikon got from their latest collaboration with Sony. Still…

          What if Canon releases the best camera? I’ve invested in Nikon and I’m going to use the best they offer until I feel I cannot achieve satisfying results with their products (highly unlikely).

          Lets simply be happy that we have access to superb photographic instruments such as the D4, D800, 5d MK III and so forth without having to bow down in shame to the supremacy of the corporation we chose to put our faith in…

          • Andrew


          • St.


          • Calibrator

            Most sensible comment on this thread!

          • i think it is quite safe to stay with nikon. canon shifted their focus onto movies and they are screwing their customers for long time already. 5DMkIII is very cool camera, but they were forced to update it because otherwise nobody would stay with canon. MKII was bad camera in compare to D700.
            sure, even MKI is good enough in skilled hands but i just dont like corporate trolls trolling me.

      • Andrew

        No, good job Sony and Nikon. It is a Sony developed sensor with additional Nikon designed specs. Give a lot of credit to Sony, but Nikon’s Expeed 3 image processor with all of Nikon’s software smarts create more stunning images from the Sensor than anyone else can. Give the same Sony sensor to another manufacturer and you will not get the same result (i.e. ISO performance). Nikon will always do a better job with Sony’s sensor technology than even Sony can or any other camera manufacturer for that matter!

        • David

          d5100/7000 and the Sony a580 were pretty evenly matched

        • Calibrator

          Expeed 3 is mostly of use for JPGs and movies. It doesn’t help much with RAW.
          The only camera with the 16 MP Sony sensor used in the D7000 that had better low ISO is the Pentax K-5 — because it does some denoising on their RAWs (unlike the D7000).

        • Darkness

          Pentax hah

      • Darkness

        Kretin, Nikon make the processor.

  • salceson

    holy shit!

    • +1 No excuses in performance here. If you can’t shoot decent images with this camera, give up photography ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • +1

        Honestly, if you can’t shoot decent image with an old D3000 and a kit 18-55mm, you should give up photography.

  • I like what I see for dynamic range and high ISO. I think this will be my next camera. amazing!

  • disco

    holy cow batman!

  • Nik

    Please stop making me reconsider my D4 pre-order. Please, please stop.

    • Hey, if you need a D4, you need a D4! No regrets. These still look like totally different beasts to me. Need a D800 too? No worries, they’ll make a great pair. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Dale

      Unless you need the speed, cancel the D4 and buy the D800. Then, take the $3000 you saved and buy some great glass or use part of it to upgrade your computer if needed.

      • I think my wife will get the d800 after wedding season, when there’s a bit more availability (with regard to both cameras and $$$!) and her newborn work takes over for the winter. I’m still happy about the D4, and with three outdoor weddings last summer that were in absolute torrential downpours I still feel better knowing I’ll be that much more weather-protected (coming from a D700 that didn’t fail, but still was nerve-racking).
        Plus the high-ISO, should be fun. Now if only it would show up!

  • Marcus Engstrรถm

    Impressive! Need mine now!

  • Denko

    gha! Now for the D800e numbers, wooooohoooo!

    Awesome day today.

    • Hmmmm. Given it is the same sensor, would their tests actually reveal a different score?

      • Denko

        The packaging of the sensor is not identical. The UV filter is there but not the AA… my belief is that it will have a bit more EV in dynamic range… possibly a bit less light transmission loss in the two AA layers… if that is going to be enough to push it above 95 is the question. If the entire “cake” of the two AA and one UV were gone then it would definitely be above 95. My bet is that E800e will end up in 95.1-95.4 range… above that would be very surprising but would also show why Nikon went and made a D800e in the first place.

  • T.I.M

    Cool review about D4/D800 video features:


  • Mike23

    Wow!! This is insanity!!! I suspect markiii is better in low light but wow, speechless.

  • Michael

    Holy shit! How could a denser sensor get higher points?

    • Roger

      How can it not? You’ve been fooled by dpreview telling everyone that more megapixels makes noise and dynamic range worse.

      Predictions came true, read the bottom few comments on dxo’s page. It was EXPECTED to have score this high.

    • GrumpyDiver


      Newer technology of course. The new back-lit sensor design captures around 90% of the light versus around 60% for the “last generation” sensor technology as a base case. Add other improvements in filter, amp design and microlens design, so this is not something unexpected,

      The comment regarding smaller photodiodes being more susceptible to noise and dynamic range are still true, but only in an “apples to apples” comparison. Comparing three or four year old technology to performance of current state technology really makes no sense. In that regard, it is easy to see how the design decisions regarding the D4/D800; Nikon has some pretty stunning technologies in both cameras, but has always clearly stated that the D4 was built for speed; i.e. low light performance and a high burst frame rate and the D800 was built for image quality. Engineering these devices is all about managing trade-offs.

      • Michael

        But we’re comparing two 2012 beasts. D4 and D800. This shows the importance of low read noise. The D4 clearly has a lot of read noise and if not, D4 would have beaten D800.

  • I switched from thinking “whether I should buy one” to “when will I buy one” ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Same here. But I have decided to wait till the D800E is released and in the hands of those who will buy both D800 and D800E for some comparisons, what the differences are in IQ due to the differences in filters, etc.

      • mikils

        my sentiments exactly

    • Andrew

      I always though I needed a baby D4 with a 16 MP sensor for its high ISO performance, but these results are messing with my thinking. This camera (D800) has just buried the vaunted D700. Oh Nikon, what are you doing to us? From this day on, the conversation on NikonRumors will forever change. Final thoughts… the D800 is stunning, stunning, stunning!

      • D

        [Guest post: Nikon D800 criticisms refuted]

        As I said on March 2, 2012, at 6:35 pm:
        “The D800 is going to smoke the D700.”

        Well, looks like it smoked everything else …

    • derWalter


  • Fishnose

    Yep, that’s what I was waiting for.
    After the D4 took spot #2, there was almost no doubt the D800 would leap to the top of the list. All those
    MF people out there are going to be looking at the D800 now. Just think how much easier everything gets if you can work in a ‘standard’ environment like the massive Nikkor lens range and all the other Nikon stuff. At reasonable prices compared to Hasselblad and Phase One…
    Of course, Nikon is going to have to up the ante now on the lens side. Now they have to show what they can do to match their own body. No excuses any more.

    And the Canon fanboys all cringe…..

    • Michael

      Still, the MF has higher resolution, but this will make those pros rethink the benefits of FF.

  • chris


    • Fishnose


    • Sly Larive

      LOL +1!

      I guess I’ll have to pay for my indecision and I’ll still wait for more than a DXOScore to push me over the hump to buy one, but as a whole, this is very good news.

  • Michael

    I think the score of D4 is badly affected by the read noise. Notice the dynamic range and color sensitivity is not straight.

  • Bitter

    Wow, it can do everything…except fulfill preorders before August…

    • Only if you are in position 392,645. Pretty much every one on the planet will want one sooner or later though ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Tandua’

    Amazing. The number 1. I’m still waiting my pre-order!!!

    Too many pre-order.

  • Art


    This is incredible. Now that the time has come I’m glad I held out for over 18 months (and over 25,000,000 NR page refreshes) for Nikon’s next generation camera. Only 3 more weeks before my D800E shows up….

    On the other hand, just think how awesome the D900 will be!!!!

    • Denis

      It’s the end of SLR era. The D900 may happen, but for serious money.

  • MarkH

    I wonder if this means there will be a re-run of the D700 v D3 history where the D700 was said to cut into the sales of the D3? At less than 1/2 the cost, the D700 looks sweet, assuming you do not need the speed of the D4.


    • Trevor

      I think this is why there are now higher spec differences between the d4/d800 and d3w/d700. As someone above said, if you need a d4 (fps primarily) you NEED a d4. Otherwise d800 should be a no-brainer. But this time around, I don’t think NIKON will be surprised by more d800 than d400 sales.

      • GrumpyDiver


        With Nikon saying that they are pushing out 9000 D4 cameras per month and 30000 D800 cameras per month, you could say that Nikon is expecting to sell around 3-1/2 D800 units for every D4 sold.

        • Who said 9000 D4s (NR Admin previously reported 5000)? That’s great news, if true!

  • dVo

    You know, this won’t make waiting for the unfortunate many of us not any easier! ๐Ÿ™

  • Roger

    D800 blows away everything else. I’ve been saying it for months now….

  • Awesome, I can’t wait to get one!

  • Mayolo

    and they say its NOT a D700 replacement! Whoever still thinks that is one some serious CRACK!

  • CJ703

    Great new. I can just say “Holy crap”

  • gbm

    That’s Awesome!

  • silversurfer5400

    just reading this on my way back from the dealer in the train. on the seat beside me is my copy of the new #1 … can’t wait to unpack it and can’t stop to smile.

  • ennan

    My next camera purchase for sure. Very impressive.

  • Wow….14 stops of DR????? AND 36MP??? I’m a Canon guy but my 5D2 is starting to look pretty long in the tooth….

  • Both of my kidneys just went on the market. Along with a lung and my soul. All I need is the cost to cover the D800 and new 85mm 1/8. And probably 10TB of hard drive space…

  • Ric

    it goes to 11.

  • dida56

    Happy Birthday D800, congratulation Nikon, thanks to admin NR for information all over the time.
    I have pre-ordered bevor 1 month but still wait for my d800. Greetings, dieter

  • I picked mine up late last night. So far have only been able to take pictures OF it… not WITH it. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Dormant

    My usual response to DxO scores is “meh”.

    But this time it’s “holy crap, Batman”.

    So smug about my coming D800E.

  • Kostas

    OMG This is very impressive!

  • Ren Kockwell

    Take that bitches!

  • …really?!

  • Mandrake

    *slow clapping*

  • Awesome. Buy a D800 now, wait for the D4s to come out in a couple years ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I pre-ordered the D4 on the day it was announced but I think I’m going to cancel my order. It seems that we’re being asked to pay 3k for 1 additional stop and faster frame rate. Is this accurate? Based on the tests, the megapixel count seems to otherwise not affect the low-light high-iso quality.

    I am looking to use this equipment heavily for HD video and the D800 still shoots the same frame rates, contains an HDMI output for longer recording to something like an Ninja, and even has more megapixels. I’m confused how these 2 points justify an extra 3k?

    • Ben

      The D4 still has huge video advantages. The 3 crop modes that can be used on any lens making each the equivalent of 3lenses. 1X, 1.5x, 2.7 x
      It also can be used wirelessly for rec from hard to reach angles.

      The d800 only has one crop mode & that only goes into effect if you put a dx lens on it.

      • Fishnose

        @Ben – Nonsense.
        In stills mode you have 4 modes to choose from on the D800, chosen manually. In video you have 2 modes to choose from, approx 1.1x and 1.5x, chosen manually.

      • Travone

        I agree on the missing crop in the D800 that would’ve been great as it wouldve allowed the d800 to crop to the actually size of 1080 hd video so it wouldnt have to be downsized at all

    • Andrew

      All professionals need a D4!

      The D4 has a more durable shutter system with 400,000 cycles. The D800 gives you 200,000 cycles. And the D4’s body construction is more durable. Plus your clients will want to spend more money when they see how big the D4 is. You will be instantly called a professional before uttering your first words. So my conclusion is, keep the D4, it will pay for itself and last you much longer. Maybe you will make so much money that in a matter of months, you will be able to afford a D800 as a backup.

      • JLK

        The D4 may have a more durable shutter but for the same price you can buy two D800s to get the same 400k rating. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        • Andrew

          True, but you will not get the 11 fps performance of the D4. If one is starting from scratch and need a backup, and the performance is not an issue, then it makes sense to get two cameras. But most pros can use their current camera as a backup in case of emergencies. And as I said, the sheer size of the D4 exudes professionalism, this sure will help bring in some extra clients. Anyway, you raised a good point!

    • Michael

      Also, D4 shoots lower noise video. D800 has higher noise per pixel.

  • Nicolรฒ

    Within a few hours I am having mine!

  • Barter


  • PeterJ

    Mine was delivered today and is waiting at home for me to finish work in about 45minutes.

  • abby

    A plea:

    Can some lucky someone please please please shoot something that moves quickly and unpredictably. A dog. A 3 year old. Preferably wide open and hand held. I am dying (dying!!) to know how the af+insane resolution will behave for those of us who don’t shoot stationary objects and don’t have the option of using a tripod.

    (In other words, can I cancel the d4 i preorded months ago and use the d800 like my d700 … or should

    • Jonas

      i have the same problem.. i have a d7000 and the focus sucks… it never gets the sweet spot in focus…

      • My wife sometimes has trouble getting sharp focus with her D7000. However, I don’t have any problems with it. I don’t get any more miss-focused shots from it than I do with my D700. If I get an out of focus shot, it is my because I did something wrong.

        As I say to her, I say to you: it’s not the camera. You should work on your technique.

    • Mutton Puncher

      abby, You will have no problems shooting without a tripod as long as you use good techniques when holding the camera and lens. Of course shooting indoors with poor lighting may be a challenge. You will want to use fast glass and may need a speedlight flash in challenging indoor conditions. You will be surprised though just how good you can get in these types of situations with slow lenses as long as you practice skilled camera handling. Just google youtube for videos on this topic. Jim Brandenburg, a pro National Geographic photographer who used a pre-production D800 last summer for Nikon, describes how he loves to shoot without a tripod and had no problems with the D800. Here is a link to the full video.

  • Jonas

    is it to bad to use the d800 has a dx camera?

    • Andrew

      The experts are saying that the D800 will work perfectly like a DX camera by simply putting a DX lens on it – with no special adjustments in the camera’s menu. In other words, the D800 will sense a DX lens and automatically switch to DX mode. I am sure others have more to say.

      • Stefan

        yep, DX mode works automatically depending on the lens (actually can select that, can force it to take FX size pictures with DX lenses but obviously then you get the black borders around your frame).

        that said .. shooting with DX lenses will degrade your D800 to a D7000. you will be throwing away all the benefits of having a FX sensor (things like the higher ISO advantage, etc). Only worth it if you have some special lenses that you want to keep.

        • PHB

          Nope, ISO will remain exactly as before in DX mode. Same sensor, same ISO rating.

          Now taking an image in FX mode and then using photoshop to downsample to the same number of pixels as a DX mode shot will show a difference. The FX mode shot gives photoshop more date to work with and the result will have lower noise. But that isn’t something that the ISO rating tracks at all which is why it is not a good measure of how capable the camera is.

        • RondoX

          You know… that gets me thinking…

          Im betting you won’t get any black borders if you shoot in the FX 1.2X crop mode with a DX lens, like the 35 1.8 for example. Has anyone tested this?

          • PHB

            That is going to depend entirely on the lens and what the focal length you are zoomed to is.

            For example, lots of people have reported that the 10-24 covers the FX frame from 14mm on.

            The downside is that the designer wasn’t looking to make the lens perform in that area. Some lenses have to be modified (shaved 10.5mm for e.g.) to play that game.

            What might be more interesting is a square crop of the FX frame.

      • Photo-Jack

        Does the D800 also shoot Raw/Nef 14 bit if you switch it to DX (In case I need the crop for longer “focal” length) or is it just JPG?

        • NoFunBen


  • Johnnymunro

    I was hoping not to get caught up in all this D800 hype because I only ordered mine last week
    Cripes I soooo can’t wait !!!

  • Its amazing! A higher score than that of a medium format Phase 1 back.
    Congratulations Nikon. You just killed the medium format as well as your competitor!!!

    • David

      Well not really, since medium format can be 80mp, compared to 36mp.

      Also, think about the thin depth of field you can get with medium format. You still can’t get that with 35mm.

      The whole “medium format replacement” argument is stupid. If the ONLY reason you were shooting MF was for resolution, maybe the d800E is an answer. But for other purposes, MF still has it’s place and the D800 doesn’t affect it at all.

      • PHB

        You can actually get better depth of field on the FX format than with the ‘blad. I haven’t checked out the phase one but I doubt it would be very different.

        The MF cameras have smaller aperture ratios than the corresponding F-mount lenses. If you do the math, the aperture is actually about the same and so is the DoF you will get using them.

        An f/1.4 MF lens with a given angle of view will have better DOF than a f/1.4 FX lens with the same angle of view. But you can’t get f/1.4 lenses for most MF cameras, the largest is f/2.8.

  • Rolf Rasmussen

    An analysis that goes a bit further :
    Just a dream camera.

    • D

      Yep. As the analysis goes on to say:

      “The D800 sensibility is greater than the D700″[sensibility]

      Well, I … would … have … to … agreeeeee. ๐Ÿ™‚

      The D800 is nothing less than a “delicacy”. Where (when?) can one obtain a tasting?

  • Paul Vesterlof

    Since DxOMark measures the sensor performance and this sensor is made by Sony, all I can say: Congrats Sony, you have made remarkable sensor!

  • pegdrgr

    Last night as I was shooting with it I was thinking to myself this is the best camera I have ever used. Being that I haven’t used that many exceptional bodies I didn’t put much thought into that statement. The DxO review matches exactly how I felt about the whole camera, not just the sensor. The AF on it is awesome, even in the dark.

  • Nikgun

    The D800 will be hard to get because of all the Canon folks buying them up ๐Ÿ™‚

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