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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  • Ant

    I do enjoy these tests, the crazies crawling out of the woodwork makes for great entertainment. Looking forward to rounds 2 and 3 once DxO get their hands on the 1Dx and 5D III.

    Anyway, I always feel with DxO that whilst you can take nuggets of useful information and guidance from the results in the individual areas, the overall score is much less informative.

    • burgerman


      14 stops + dynamic range…
      As good a ISO noise result at the same print size as the D4
      Much greater resolution than everything but medium format, and it beats these anyway at higher ISOs..
      Whats the last one? Colour depth… Pretty damned good here too!

    • R!

      I predict a KO in round 4 by D800E!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Seeing as DxO tests the sensor…
        …and the sensors are identical…
        …I think they will test exactly the same.

        • PHB

          I am not sure that is the case as the ‘sensor’ probably includes the filter as far as DxO is concerned. It would be interesting to see what the difference was though.

        • R!

          …not the same resolution power certainly !(lens testing resolution is also a DXO factor).

          • R!

            ..but maybe It doesn’t count in the final note ,but It counts in real life!

        • hlpgtf

          I’m not sure about that – the sensors in fixed mirrored Sony SLT cameras score lower than the same sensors in NEX cameras (look at the NEX-7 vs. A77 and A65). The lack of an anti-aliasing filter will probably change at least a bit of the end result.

          • Ron benson

            This is probably due to the fact that the fixed mirror splits the light in two (don’t be too picky here). The SLT probably acheives lower ISO scores than the equivalent NEX cam.

  • Brad B

    Congratulations to the Nikon & Sony engineers, outstanding job!

  • Landscape Photo

    Wow !

  • National Camera Exchange out of Minnesota is shipping my D800 today! They have great service.

  • iamnomad

    D800 Dynamic Range = Awesome!
    Just what the large format film shooter ordered.
    2.2 Evs better than my D700.
    1.3 Evs better than the D4.
    0.8 Evs better than Pha$e One.
    Thanks to Nikon, DxO and Nikon Rumors.

    • D400

      Pha$e 1, lol 😀

  • Again, for UK Amazon customers, just had my “Order Dispatched” email!


    • Mick Rhodes

      Yes Amazon uk, She is in the post. Woo hoo.

    • Tony

      … and I have just had my “we do not have a specific date” email from UK Amazon.

  • R!

    DXO is testing the quality of the photosite,for people that dont like DXO you can still read Ken rockwels pages !!!!!

    • R!

      I like Kens pages don’t get me wrong but ,If you dont understand DXO just dont argue camera testing they are just the best on this planet.

    • Fishnose

      Ken R is an embarrassment. All he has is an opinion, based on a bunch of very strongly held views. And to have any kind of relevance that’s not enough.

      • vertigo

        Yup, Ken R insisted that the D40 was low noise and the greatest camera ever and that pixels don’t matter. This article proves he’s pompous and overly opinionated.

        • djh65

          I’m not defending Ken R, but regarding the pixel discussion, he is just saying that if you know what you are doing you can take great pictures with a D40 or I Phone for that matter.

  • Lukas

    It’s good to see a Nikon in a top spot, will this help you in taking better picture than with a D700 or D3s for argument sake, I doubt it.

    The difference between the sensors seem big but I doubt you’ll see that much difference on the field.

    I’ll pick that phase one over the D800 any day. I am the proud owner of a D3s and a D700, no a Canon user as some may think

    • St.

      No, the first thing in my mind was that you’re D3s and D700 owner.
      And don’t get me wrong but you sound like an old man crying why the world is changing and how everything was better “back then”.
      Do you really believe that Nikon as a leading company in this business after 4 years will release WORSE product???
      That’s very naive and again it sounds like you’re crying to bring back “the good old times”.
      Face it D800 is better!
      And the camera after it will be better and better…That’s how the civilization grows.

    • Mr Orchard

      My .02…..

      So I’ve shot with the IQ180 a lot on the Phase 645 DF and I can tell you, it’s resolution and dynamic range are amazing. What’s also amazing? The file size = 250MB per shot. Think about that. It takes your computer/storage/processing requirements to a whole new level.

      Tethering? The images don’t exactly rush to the screen. Clients staring over your shoulder and I’ve heard the digital tech apologize every time we shoot.
      Also the ISO performance is still poor. Marginally better than the P+ backs…

      Now I haven’t used the D800, but when it costs $3K and the IQ180 is $48K just for the back, I’m going to take a good hard look at the images and see what makes sense. For most shooters, especially ones that don’t have $60K for a camera system, it’ll be the D800.

      Trust me, I love shooting the IQ 180, but there are issues with it, just like any other camera system.

    • Doug

      “will this help you in taking better picture than with a D700 or D3s..” Actually, indirectly, it will. As many of us can attest, the psychology involved with acquiring new, more technologically advanced, photo gear often “inspires” us to be better. Don’t sell inspiration short, it is what is at the core of composition. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s all about gear, it’s not. However, knowing the gear we have far exceeds our own capabilities inspires us to become better photographers, to rise to the occasion you might say. Surely you remember that feeling back when you bought that D700 or D3s?

    • DMc

      My compositions will not improve.

      The shadow detail will improve, noise reduce, better detail. I may have to sacrifice some low ISO to get higher shutter speed and capture more detail. It will require some learning.

    • Gerry

      Spot on Lukas.

      I don’t understand these armchair photographers.

      Improvements will be insignificant in almost all cases. Just as 36MP will be, as 96% of pics don’t get off a computer. Maybe sitting there scanning back and forward between the different files you may see some but nothing mind blowing.

      That said I have one on back order. The difference is whilst it is a VERY nice upgrade, I am not expecting it to change the world!!

  • Lloyd Chamberslin

    Suck on this, Canon users!!

    • D400

      And MF users as well. . . I bet david hobby will be jumping up and down screaming right now. . .

      • PHB

        Well the medium frame sensors have been lagging for years now. Take a look at the ISO performance of the Phase One. It has bigger sensor cells than any recent Nikon yet manages only D50 level ISO performance. That is because Phase One don’t have the volume to do the R&D required to switch to modern processes like CMOS.

        The D800 beats the D4 largely because DxO give a heavy weighting to resolution. That is the only reason the Phase One is competitive with the D4 at all. But give different weights to the various features and the order would be different.

        I thought it rather likely that the D800 would come top on the basis of the D7000 results.

        • Some Guy

          I expected the D800 to be close to the D7000 as well. I don’t understand how it ranked up there in low light and other specs with the D4. Scratching my head on this one. If the sensor at that resolution is so good at 36 megapixels with smaller photo sites, then why wouldn’t the D4 be substantially better in all stats with larger photo sites??? I don’t get why they the two camera sensors rank so close to each other. I am happy for the D800 but I don’t understand how it matched the D4 so close.


          • Sien

            Well, the answer is simple: pixel size doesn’t matter (at least for noise and so on – for resolution it does indeed).
            Sensor size is all that counts.
            (In theory any medium format camera would beat the hell out of a D800 but actually it lacks way behind in sensor development.)

            For further reference:

          • Remedy

            It’s not weird. You just didn’t pay attention to how this was achieved. All these scores are representation of a scaled down to 8Mpix picture or in other words it’s as if they printed photo from every camera on the same sized paper. Only then D800 sneaks into D4’s noise territory. Go to DxOMark and switch the tables view from “Print” to “Screen” and You will notice that on a per pixel level D700 has significantly better noise performance, as soon as You scale down D800’s file to 12Mpix (D700 size) the D800 is winning again. Maths and physics.

          • Jabs

            @Some Guy,

            Basically the D800’s sensor and the one in the D4 are different generations and manufactured differently. The D4 was designed by Nikon to be a faster readout sensor with a different pipeline, hence SPEED was the objective.

            The D800 sensor seems to be a Sony manufactured sensor and not sure who designed it, but it is similar in scope to a D3X sensor and not really like the D7000 sensor series to me, as that’s DX.

            Too many people make the assumption that pixel pitch means or equates to some sensor being scaled up or scale down and that might be an Internet myth. Sensors are like monolithic units designed purposely for a certain megapixel SIZE, sensor dimension size (FX, DX, CX) and thus probably not scaled up or down but some aspects of the design might be re-purposed, hence commonality.

            D800 sensor was designed for maximum Resolution and Nikon designed the complimentary pipeline just like in the D3X, which was like using Expeed 2.5 (custom Expeed 2, basically) and now that Nikon has finished Expeed 3 and released several Series of cameras using it, one can see its functions clearly.

            D4 sensor was designed for higher speed plus higher ISO results, longer life and accuracy at more fps plus under grueling Pro use, hence the price.

            D800 was aimed at the new Canon 5DMK3 mainly, plus an effort by Nikon to bury Canon there via megapixels, as many were expecting a basically scaled down D4 to replace the D700, but Nikon instead gave us maybe the D4X sensor in a smaller body FIRST and then later on we will get a D4 sized and format D4X with the same 36meg sensor of this D800 but with more speed and perhaps 16bit stills file output.

            Nikon surrounded Canon to conquer them, hence the new President’s statement here at NR that Nikon was changing directions and emphasizing megapixels and speed also. Now, we have Nikon 1 Series, D4 and D800 all using various aspects of this Expeed 3 to run by the competition.

            Nikon took its time and ran over everyone, basically! Surround and conquer them.

            D700 replacement maybe coming later on then as a scaled down D4 and the D4X coming then as a scaled UP D800 – brilliant strategy to me, if right.

        • Jabs


          Maybe it is because Kodak makes most of the sensors in MF cameras and backs including the Leica S2.

          I really do not like the dynamic range of the Leica S2, but I like the dynamic range of the Phase One newer IQ Series. Not sure of Phase One has gotten a new Manufacturing partner or not – maybe still Kodak but improved over last generation.

          Most Medium format cameras and backs need a digital pipeline like Nikon has in Expeed3, but who is going to invest in that or sell them that?

          I love the Fuji GS 680 and would like to buy one with a Phase One back, but not sure if it is available.

          To me, the Leica S2 maybe looks worse than the D800 due to maybe its pipeline from the sensor, but not sure. D3X still looks incredible to me and the D800 does not clobber it in every case, but we now need the D4X – lol.

  • Got one! Thank you Best Buy!

  • Dr Web
  • Silvio Rusmigo

    seems DSLRS have moved one step further

  • Bill Me Later

    Question…..Why is the name Canon even being mentioned on this site? We are Nikon owners.What is the purpose, and who cares what Canon has to offer if one shoots Nikon?
    Why are we not dicing Leica, Pentax, Sony too?
    I prefer to hear discussions about what I have and not another brand I could care less about,
    no matter what manufacturer it is.
    Lets give those poor Canon shooters a break, they are shooting the best their company can provide them with. SMILE ! ! !

    • Tiger1050Rider

      Why do Canon get a mention here?

      There are always going to be some people who feel that :-
      1) The grass is greener on the dark side
      2) Have more money than sense and switch on a whim
      3) Are not going to be satisfied by anything Nikon, Canon, Leica, Red or even Hassleblad can make this decade.

      • Darkness

        Or they are social media marketing interns working for cannon..

    • Phil Gardner

      This sounds like you were an ignorant stupid pain in the ass. Both brands are great and maybe Nikon is now (!!!! what concerns DSLR video, Canon ruled Nikon until the D800 emerged) slightli better. Sure go and yerk off!!! Equipment is one part of the bill the other is imagination, creativity and knowledge. I doubt you have all of them..

      • Pablo M.

        Please go away if you can’t be civil.

      • LP

        Phil Gardner, bad bad bad boy, where did you learn to be so rude,was it your naughty friends at kindergarten or was it at home watching Tom and Jerry? Now you go and wash with soap or no kissy kissy mommy with that dirty mouth.

  • Walter

    Is it okay to mention here that i got 1?
    Or i am then just rubbing it in :p

    PS the damn thing is awesome

  • Viktor

    I am happy that DxOMark has pointed to the link of “Detailed computation of DxOMark Sensor normalization”. Now I can understand how is it possible that 14 bit digital raw image has Dynamic Range (DR) greater than 14 bits. It’s funny.

    • Dynamic Range is not measured in “bits”, it’s measured in EV stops. A file’s bit depth has little/nothing to do with a sensors DR. A file with a higher bit-depth means it can produce more colors and at finer/smoother graduations.

      • Viktor

        Thank you for explanation.

      • Graham Sumner

        It’s perfectly reasonable to measure dynamic range in bits. If you take a look at the sensor data, what you’ll find is that the bits become progressively swamped by noise as you increase the ISO setting. My measurements indicate that the D700 has about 11 bits of dynamic range at its optimum sensitivity of ISO 200 and this has reduced to about 8 bits by ISO 1250.

      • Jabs

        Look here and D800 is now up.

  • trialcritic

    People who did their first walkaround tests with the D800 found that we had made too big a deal about the problems with the high resolution (that we have to use tripods etc). Do see

    The problems will be seen if we size up the images substantially, these images are done by an amateur.

    • D

      Pretty good amateur…

      Snapshooters will be pretty happy. I mean, at lets say ISO 8063 … 🙂

      Cameras should be for fun too, not just for ‘serious business’ all the time.

  • ShaoLynx

    Well, this post did it for me — I ordered one today (can wait) — I’ll use it as my second (scrap that) first body, besides my D700. Added benefit: it takes exactly the same batteries as my 1V1! What a stroke of added luck!
    In the mean time I can report a documented (first?) D800-casualty in the category: came from Canon. This guy is a pro fashion shooter, bought a Hassy only a month ago (some 16K€ !) and now only yesterday he walked in out local photography club with a fully equiped D800! I mean: including the grip and an SB910! Cocky SOB — good friend of mine.
    I was able to handle it and shoot it (I even used my own CF card, since it was faster than his SD card) — so I tried it out for awhile. Nice, impressive and not at all that much different to handle for a D700 user. Writing time takes longer (but good buffer!). 14bit lossless compressed RAW is about 48MB a pop.
    If you’re interested you can visit his site and send him a message:
    Maybe you guys can welcome him to Nikon — I know I did.


    The good news for D800 just makes the wait harder!

  • Travone

    Surprised but excited at this, maybe even a little proud lol. I love Nikon this makes me too happy , cant wait to get mine!

  • Very exciting news given that I’m a future D800E owner :). Quick question for the hardware gurus out there — what’s up with these “fractions of a bit”? 23.5 bits, 24.7 bits, etc. In the software world I’ve worked in (and the hardware world I have experience with) “bits is bits”. It’s either a bit or it’s not. There is no such thing as a fraction of a bit (0.5 bits, etc.). mentions they use logarithmic scales, so maybe that’s what’s meant in these scores. But then a different term than “bits” should be used – unless DxO is extrapolating to create fractional values. Does anyone know what’s going on with the fractional bits in the scores?

    • Art

      Well, a friend of mine invented a system for using fractions of a bit in computing. It is called arithmetic encoding and is now used quite frequently for data compression.

      Here is a linky about it:

      Of course, it really uses full bits to represent the integers used but the output can represent fractional bits.

      • Art,

        Thanks. Very interesting article. I now know where Huffman coding fits in the world 🙂 I still don’t really follow where bits can be represented fractionally (although I imagine it’s conceptually sort of like fractal geometry representing detail via fractional dimensions) but at least I understand conceptually at least the overall framework those fractional bit values fit into. Thanks again!


    My tent is so pitched right now. I just got my D800 sensor in the mail! It’s so awesome! My D800 sensor has the best specs and DxOMark’s relevant measurements confirm my spending! Oh I can’t wait to test the high ISO and sharpness of this new sensor I got. The sensor is so amazing that it even blows away MF photos. Check out my work on Flickr, you’ll see that I have compared my sensor to the photos by Canon wannabes and MF losers. I just wish my sensor came with a D800 neck strap so that I could wear it around at the park and car show… people need to know that I have the world’s best sensor, and that I am a Nikon supporter. It feels so good when the company I buy products from makes new products! The new sensor is going to make my photos have so much more depth and meaning! … plus… now I can shoot video. Hell! I’m a videographer now! Check out my Vimeo site (later this week). I’ll compare 1080p footage from my new sensor with Super 35mm. Those wannabes over at Canon are going to be so sorry they didn’t invest in Nikon products back when the D100 came out like I did. Who wants to sit around and drink beer and look at our new sensor measurements? I’ll start a club on — “The World’s Best Sensor Club”

    Lemme know!

    With New Balance would hurry up and catch up with technology like the Sony engineers and Nikon producers did. Would be nice to also pre-order the World’s Whitest New Balance Shoe to go along with my World’s Best Digital Sensor.

    .com .org .net! gaaaah!!!!

    • Ernesto Quintero

      WOW you’re vain as heck. Use the camera and STFU.

      • derp


        • i see what you did there… ^^

  • sgts

    it’s not even IT HAS BEGUN anymore…….

    it’s IT IS HAPPENING !!!!!!!!!!!

    This more than makes up for a few years of not kicking canon to the curb and having to sit through blues traveller. Even broxi has cheered up a bit (although he’ll be very sad come sunday).

    • Scott M

      So funny, I sat thru half of a Blues Travellers show one time. Wow. They sucked.

  • Rich

    Don’t mean to rub it in anyone’s face, just excited as hell, but I just got a D800 from Best Buy in Dallas. I mean what were the odds?

  • Zen-Tao

    My wife is searching in my pockets everytime I come out from home. It will very expensive to migrate from DX to FX but I’ve benn waiting so long to do that, and now, it’s time.

  • broxibear
    • Luke

      Woah !!! $4500 plus postage, this dude is trying to make a +$1500 profit on a DSLR. Not a bad idea though. I wonder if anyone will snap it up haha. Maybe i should sell mine for that price and buy a new one with a nice 14-24mm and wait 2 months haha

  • Amazing!!!

  • Robert Falconer

    I will be interested to see how the D800 performs against the Hasseys and the Leica S2.

    Meanwhile, it seems the D800 and D4 are performing precisely as Nikon intended them for their specific demographics.

    • RVB

      I agree,but I think the lens resolution of the MF cameras will be higher,particularly the S2 glass and this makes a huge difference.

  • broxibear

    “Nikon (UK) have announced a significant price increase to the D4 and D800 cameras”…
    “An e-mail sent from Mr John Walsh, General Manager, Nikon UK at 18:00 (GMT) today, Friday, 23rd March 2012, to camera dealers in the UK and Eire, states that due to a “systems error” the RRP of the D4 is to be increased by £500.00, and the RRP of the D800 is to be increased by £200.00, with immediate effect. Apparently, the increase is to be applied to all back ordered cameras. No further explanation is offered.”

    • broxibear

      Just had a quick check and so far only Jacobs have changed their online price, won’t be long before the others do the same. Those who already paid and received their D800 or D4 just saved a few hundred pounds.

      • What?

        Surely they wouldn’t do that, outrageous lies if so.

        • broxibear

          The price rise is not a lie, Jacobs and Jessops have already changed their prices.
          Whether the increase is to be applied to all back ordered cameras I don’t know. Someone’s going to end up paying for it…either the customer, the retailer or Nikon.
          The whole thing is suspicious, a “systems error” that’s only noticed the week of the first shipments ?…or just an underhand way of increasing prices when people have already ordered ?

    • Tony

      Presumably “systems error” means “we under-estimated the demand and think we can get away with charging more for it”.

      • broxibear

        Hi Tony,
        It’ll be interesting if this “systems error” is just in the UK. All of Europe is supplied by the same Nikon supplier.
        This story only broke a few hours ago and it being the weekend we probably won’t hear anything from Nikon UK until Monday. 6pm on a Friday is a strange time to be releasing a price statement to your retailers, unless you don’t want to face the questions of course.

  • rico

    i want to hear the downside of nikon d800 , about motion blur , camera shake ….tripod use/ big file size

    • burgerman

      Theres no difference in motion blur to any other FX cam at any standard output size.

      As for big files then what can I say, computers have never been so cheap, and mine for eg has 8x 1 terrabyte disks, and a fast quad core CPU, 12GB RAM, and I honestly cant detect any difference between these files and the old D700 ones.

      Even the camera (and PC) has 10x faster USB3…

  • SNRatio

    To me, the most amazing so far is that per pixel (“screen” on DXOmark), the D800 and D7000 measurements are so close to identical. Which means that contrary to common belief, in certain respects Nikon hasn’t done all that much to the D7000 sensor other than doubling its size. Which also means that we cannot really talk about two full generations from the D700, if we consider that the same generation as D3X. For Nikon, the D7000 sensor can in several ways be considered as the next iteration of the D3X sensor. And it may also be noted how close the D7000, D3X and D800 are, pixel-wise. Which means that Sony/Nikon essentially was able to retain the same pixel quality with 50% more pixels.

    So, if any Nikon sensor introduced the last years should be called ground-breaking, it must be the D7000.

    The D7000/D800 similarity may also contribute to explaining the the low price: IF Nikon has made any expensive tweaks to get more out of the D800 sensor, it surely doesn’t show up on the DXOmark measurements. So they probably haven’t.

    Comparing prints from the D800 and the D7000 lets us see the benefits of more pixels, even if they are quite like the old ones. This can be taken further: What if Nikon releases a body with the sensor given another doubling, a 72MP 36x48mm Nikon M1? It could be time for Nikon going that way soon now, having established such a good pixel design.

    The great pixel similarity with the D7000, and the plans for releasing this body in 2011 makes me quite sure there is a D800s in the works. But I don’t think Nikon will do the D3/D3s type trick again here: It’s probably not possible.

    This all surely points towards a 24MP DX model, where they have shrunk the pixels even more, while retaining most of the quality. But, as the D3/D4 per pixel comparison shows: Don’t expect this to happen without costs. “Most of” isn’t all, and there are limits to how much downscaling the final image can compensate for worse pixel quality. For example, I do not believe the D800 in practice is so close to the D4 in color precision as DXOmarks scaling algorithm tells us. But it’s by no means that far off, either.

    • Denis

      Nikon? You wanted to say Sony, right?

      • SNRatio

        Have you studied the DXOmark results for the A55 vs D7000?
        Per pixel, while the D800 and D7000 results are very similar, there is a clear difference vs the A55, and the two models were released within 4 weeks of each other. That the A55 is an entry level model is a rather moot point in this respect – compare the D7000 and the D5100, for example.

        Of course, it would be more correct to say “Sony/Nikon”. But, letting “sensor” denote the whole assembly, filters inclusive, I think it is better to say “Nikon” than “Sony” if one is to choose.

        • Jabs


          The problem seems to stem from who designs and then who manufacturers the sensors in the Sony and Nikon cameras.


          Sony seems to use 12 bit output, thus killing their cameras, as I can clearly see a difference between 12bit, 14 bit and 16 bit outputs in cameras as a long time graphics maker from the Commodore Amiga and C64, C128 days.

          Canon’s and Nikon’s Pro bodies are all 14bit so far and thus a tremendous difference at DXO and other places. The newer Mamiya has 16bit output and it is clearly superior to the Pentax 645D and others.

          Nikon also has the best pipeline after the signal leaves the sensor plus the only digital pipeline and that means that Nikon is currently killing everyone. Just look at the files from a Nikon 1, then the D4, the D800/D800E and there is a tremendous difference to me, even when the image is off or has lots of shake from inadequate shutter speeds or focus errors from too shallow depth of field due to an inadequate or improper F-stop.

          Problems now are primarily operator error!

  • Royster

    There is a rumour going around that Nikon UK got it’s prices wrong and it putting the price of the D$ up by £500 and the D800 up £200. This includes back orders

  • Royster

    There is a rumour going around that Nikon UK got it’s prices wrong and it putting the price of the D4 up by £500 and the D800 up £200. This includes back orders

    • burgerman

      They will find that a bit hard. Mine will be delivered before 12 tommorow…

  • Seen rumoured in UK that from now on and any preorders in the uk that the price of the D4 will increase by £500 and the D800 by £200 – was told that it was a systems error by Nikon.

    Several retailers like Jacobs Digital have now increase prices

  • Eric Calabros

    Mission: Ruin MarkIII
    Status: Accomplished

    • Jabs

      +10 @Eric

      Mission – Dalek’s EXTERMINATE – Canon 5D-MK3

      Exterminate, Exterminate, Exterminate !!!

      Vaporized – LOL.

    • How, exactly, does the D800 ruin the 5D Mk III? Please just don’t regurgitate specifications and quote other sites. Lab tests and specs have no real world meaning. Only the final print matters. I suspect the 5D MkIII will product stellar prints when used by a person who knows how to handle a camera.

      • Jabs


        Sorry, but the Canon 5D MK3 is an answer to yesterday’s problems and not in the league of a D800.

        Stills are much better and video is at least a generation ahead in functionality.

        I am still waiting on tests of the 1DX to see if Canon is still in the game, as Nikon and others need the competition.

        The older 5DMK2 was an inconsistent camera that was ran over by the D3S and even at times the D7000 as it had banding, but the image results were great when you got it right, so Canon is good at what they do.

        Nikon has raised the bar so far that I don’t think anyone can catch them now, so let us see in DXO tests what they measure as.

    • Pixelhunter

      Is this war? We are talking cameras, aren’t we?

  • Travone

    I would love for the Nikon cameras to remain on top even after the new Canons get ranked but even if they don’t I’ll be fine. I was just thinking how I was hoping to get the best camera and not just looking at how far we’ve come. The D800 far surpasses the 5D in every area, including video which is the one that made me hesitate on my purchase a bit because video is important to me. The 5d Mark II was used to make Act Of Valor, on an entire episode of house, its been given indie filmmakers the power to create great films for a few years now and now I have something that matches it and is even better with more percs. I’ve got got a camera that shoots at 36 megapixels and doesn’t completely jeopardize what I can do in low light, I’ve got every feature I’ve really ever wanted all at a reasonable price and this goes for Canon users as well who should have better low light in the Mark III and now better autofocusing. We should all be happy that this generation of cameras is giving us all that we want instead of worrying over which one is better. We’ve got incredible equipment in our grasps that is all definitely good enough for what we want and with that I’m simply just satisfied, can’t wait to see how we all utilize it! Forget whats better and be happy at how far we’ve come and what we all can do

    • emanf8

      Travone ….well said. I salute you!!!

  • D400

    A happy day for nikonians!
    Another reader said that the IQ180 cost $48k for the back ONLY. If he wasn’t exagerating, then MF is basically dead, becasuse the d800e costs $3300. This could be revolutionary.

  • Jabs

    A Pro shooter on their Blog talking about the D800 and Nikon’s new cameras plus features and capabilities. Photo examples too!

    Cliff Maunter:

    • d800-for-weddings

      Cliff Mautner said in a tweet the other day to another Nikon user that d800 files are too big for shooting weddings, and that he’ll use his D4 for weddings and his d800 for all his portrait work. Check out his twitter feed if you don’t believe me.

  • timon

    “Wildlife and Sports photographers will obviously choose the D4 ”

    Landscape and Portrait photographers will be rather to choose the d800.
    Besides, there are also including many high-level enthusiasts.

  • neversink

    Whoa – STOP THE NONESENSE!!!!!

    Who says you can’t shoot wildlife with the D800??? Baloney!!! Yes. The D800 may not have even half the fps as the D4.

    But wait a minute. let’s review history. I remember purchasing my first Motor Drive for the Nikon Ftn….. I believe it was the MD1. it shot, if I recall at about 4 fps. WOW, we all exclaimed back in the late 1960s. We’ll be able to use this for riots, sports and wildlife.

    Now suddenly we can’t use anything user 9 fps for wildlife and sports. Give me a break. And we didn’t have VR or autofocus back then either!!!!!!!

    • mikils

      Well Spoken!
      I was afraid to be the only one that can remember 2.5 fps of the motorized F2!

  • Gideon D

    Fantastic news indeed! Knowing is the dynamic range latiitude in those huge raw files is a big bonus, this sounds like an excellent camera for archival-quality images, a downsized medium format camera (or at least something like one). The two things I worried about with this camera were high ISO abilities and fps.

    Now at least I only have one thing to worry about… and as I rarely need more than 3fps, I think it will be fine for me, though it obviously leaves a gap for a D4x that fixes this up.

  • Anonymous Maximus

    Q: Which camera among the recent got the lowest DxO score?

    It could score of a lowly number of 41. Oh, what a pity… So, Nikon can both create masterpieces like the D800 & these “Cool” ones too 🙂

  • Anonymous Maximus

    Nikon is now challenging MF in all aspects, except price 🙂

    Seriously, is there any need for MF from now on? Unless interested in a slight & debatable gain, with a compromise multiple times in cost and multiple times in loss of practicality & versatility. Add the bulkiness issue.

    Granted not before until today, but now MF is exclusively for thick walleted hyper-ego photographers. I can visualize the panic among the snobby MF manufacturers. They must drop real estate equivalent prices at least by half or they are doomed in the following years.

    • SNRatio

      Something tells me you are not a practicing pro MF photog. Think about the FX/DX relationship: People didn’t ditch their D700s when the D7000 came, even though most <6400ISO shooting could be done as well with the D7000. It is, essentially, the D7000 pixels that are now so highly prized iin the D800.

      Why? My personal reason (I use both sensors now) is that bigger pixels are easier. And I’m lazy, with somewhat sloppy technique and not too good glass.

      • Sien

        sorry to correct you, but actually pixel size does not alter the need for photography skills or a steady hand once the picture is printed out. It’s solely the sensor size which makes the difference. So it’s even easier to achieve a sharp picture with a MF camera.

        • mikils

          What is the point of getting rid of MF cameras? they still have some substantial advantage, bokeh for instance, which is admittedly paid a very hefty price. But for some special kind of imaging I guess that someone -not me- will rather keep using it. We should rejoice instead that many of the advantages of Mf will be from now on available where so far it was not possible to bring such cumbersome equipment; so we can leave the big cameras in the studios where they belong and bring Mf quality to the world outside! I cannot wait!

        • SNRatio

          Pixel size of course alters the need for some kinds of shooting precision. The signal/noise ratio for shot noise goes with sqrt(N), which makes things like “exposure to the right” far more important for smaller pixels (smaller max N = full well capacity, maximize shooting N). And this is one of the reasons why it is easier to achieve better pictures with larger sensors, as I pointed out.

  • Viktor

    I have made some calculations of the un-normalized DxOmarks (SNR, DR, CS, TR) based on the published standardized values to compare some selected Nikon cameras (D7000 D700 D800 and D4).

    It could be useful for comparing the real/pixel-based behavior of the sensors.

    %% Size of the sensor (MP)
    N_standard = 8.0
    N_D700 = 12.20
    N_D4 = 16.43
    N_D7000 = 16.37
    N_D800 = 36.56

    %% Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR)
    % Normalizing formula: SNR_norm = SNR + 20*log2(sqrt(N/N_standard))
    SNR_D700norm = 41.2;
    SNR_D4norm = 45.4;
    SNR_D7000norm = 41.1;
    SNR_D800norm = 45.0;
    % Unnormalized values:
    SNR_D700 = SNR_D700norm – 20*log2(sqrt(N_D700/N_standard ))
    SNR_D4 = SNR_D4norm – 20*log2(sqrt(N_D4/N_standard))
    SNR_D7000 = SNR_D7000norm – 20*log2(sqrt(N_D7000/N_standard))
    SNR_D800 = SNR_D800norm – 20*log2(sqrt(N_D800/N_standard))

    SNR_D700 = 35.1119
    SNR_D4 = 35.0174
    SNR_D7000 = 30.7702
    SNR_D800 = 23.0781

    %% Dynamic Range (DR)
    % Normalizing formula: DR_norm = DR + log2(sqrt(N/N_standard))
    DR_D700norm = 12.15;
    DR_D4norm = 13.1;
    DR_D7000norm = 13.87;
    DR_D800norm = 14.33;
    % Unnormalized values:
    DR_D700 = DR_D700norm – log2(sqrt(N_D700/N_standard))
    DR_D4 = DR_D4norm – log2(sqrt(N_D4/N_standard))
    DR_D7000 = DR_D7000norm – log2(sqrt(N_D7000/N_standard))
    DR_D800 = DR_D800norm – log2(sqrt(N_D800/N_standard))

    DR_D700 = 11.8456
    DR_D4 = 12.5809
    DR_D7000 = 13.3535
    DR_D800 = 13.2339

    %% Tonal Range (TR)
    % Normalizing formula: TR_norm = TR + log2(sqrt(N/N_standard))
    TR_D700norm = 8.95;
    TR_D4norm = 9.66;
    TR_D7000norm = 9.01;
    TR_D800norm = 9.63;
    % Unnormalized values:
    TR_D700 = TR_D700norm – log2(sqrt(N_D700/N_standard))
    TR_D4 = TR_D4norm – log2(sqrt(N_D4/N_standard))
    TR_D7000 = TR_D7000norm – log2(sqrt(N_D7000/N_standard))
    TR_D800 = TR_D800norm – log2(sqrt(N_D800/N_standard))

    TR_D700 = 8.6456
    TR_D4 = 9.1409
    TR_D7000 = 8.4935
    TR_D800 = 8.5339

    %% Color Sensitivity (CS)
    % Normalizing formula: CS_norm = CS + 3*log2(sqrt(N/N_standard ))
    CS_D700norm = 23.5;
    CS_D4norm = 24.7;
    CS_D7000norm = 23.5;
    CS_D800norm = 25.3;
    % Unnormalized values:
    CS_D700 = CS_D700norm – 3*log2(sqrt(N_D700/N_standard))
    CS_D4 = CS_D4norm – 3*log2(sqrt(N_D4/N_standard))
    CS_D7000 = CS_D7000norm – 3*log2(sqrt(N_D7000/N_standard))
    CS_D800 = CS_D800norm – 3*log2(sqrt(N_D800/N_standard))

    CS_D700 = 22.5868
    CS_D4 = 23.1426
    CS_D7000 = 21.9505
    CS_D800 = 22.0117

    • Viktor

      Sorry for the error in SNR formule. The correct values are:

      %% Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR)
      % Unnormalized values:
      SNR_D700 = SNR_D700norm – 20*log10(sqrt(N_D700/N_standard ))
      SNR_D4 = SNR_D4norm – 20*log10(sqrt(N_D4/N_standard))
      SNR_D7000 = SNR_D7000norm – 20*log10(sqrt(N_D7000/N_standard))
      SNR_D800 = SNR_D800norm – 20*log10(sqrt(N_D800/N_standard))

      And here is the summary:

      SNR_D700 = 39.3673
      SNR_D4 = 42.2745
      SNR_D7000 = 37.9904
      SNR_D800 = 38.4008

      DR_D700 = 11.8456
      DR_D4 = 12.5809
      DR_D7000 = 13.3535
      DR_D800 = 13.2339

      TR_D700 = 8.6456
      TR_D4 = 9.1409
      TR_D7000 = 8.4935
      TR_D800 = 8.5339

      CS_D700 = 22.5868
      CS_D4 = 23.1426
      CS_D7000 = 21.9505
      CS_D800 = 22.0117

      • Sien

        Viktor, thanks for crunching the numbers but where’s the news besides approving DxO’s test results? 😉

        You actually calculated the Screen Mode measurements found on DxO’s website from their Print Mode results.

        To be honest your calculations seem to fit (besides that your valid digits are wrong).

        D800 calculated values vs. DxO measurement:
        SNR: 38.40 vs. 38.4
        DR: 13.23 vs. 13.23
        TR: 8.53 vs. 8.53
        CS: 22.01 vs. 22.0

        The single question is: does DxO actually measure both so called “modes” or do they just apply the same math as you do?

  • Duke

    Guys, lets be realistic, its all sbout the Sensor size, ill take a Battle anyday against d800 users with my leaf aptus 75, you will be suprised !

    But the d800 is a great piece of Technology



    • Hero

      Wrong! Its about sensor technology!

      Thats why the D800 sensor trumped the old D700 in every area!

  • Nikonnut

    I have read many times that the D800’s is sony’s.

    Id like a clarification from those who know.

    I believe that the D800 and D4 sensor is MADE by sony under licence from nikon but completely designed by nikon. Am I correct? meaning sony is NOT allowed to use it in their cameras.

    The D7000’s sensor however is made and designed by sony thus is used in the pentax, sony, nex etc….

    Its like foxconn makes iphones but Apple designed it.

  • Sean

    wow i’m impressed. truly impressed. it’s mind blowing.

  • Rudi

    Oh boy, do I have to change my d4 order to d800?

  • I just made some more test-shots with the D800, this time JPEG and RAW. Pretty big files, but in case anybody wants to do some pixel-peeping:

  • Very impressive. I might have to break down and buy one.

  • Brad

    This is confusing. It looks like the DXO say that the D800 performs similar to the D4 on the ISO tests. How can this be true? I thought that the D800 sacrificed iso performance for pixel detail. Am I reading the DXO tests wrong?

    • burgerman

      HOW DO WE GET RID is this pixels v noise myth. Its obviously NOT TRUE! Yet every forum has the same stupidity repeated on almost every thread somewhere.

      Sensor AREA (light catching area) and Output or PRINT SIZE (or screen viewing size) is all that is important given the same level of technolgy… THIS is what determines noise.

      As long as you are viewing LIKE FOR LIKE then the D800 or a camera with 10x the pixels will have the same ISO noise at every ISO as the D4.

      The only thing a D4 does better is SPEED other than tiny differences. But atr low ISOs it has 1/3rd the pixels so less detail.

      The D800 will look noisier at 100 percent on screen obviously because you are looking at it 3x closer! Its about 74 inches wide for christs sake…

      More pixels DOES NOT MEAN MORE NOISE!!! It never did. A smaller sensor however does. So DX is always worse as it has half the light capture area compared to FX.

      • Burgerman

        EDIT! Was thinking of D3…
        I mean a bit more than 1/3rd the pixels but not as much as half!

        Which means in case you havent graped it, the D800 really is every bit as good as the D4 in low light once printed out…

      • d400

        Allow me to totally pedantic, you could make a camera with pixels so small that the photos are one great big blob of noise at any iso, and then this would be worse than the low mp camera in low light, right?

        • burgerman

          No. It would have the SAME noise as every other FX sensor at the same ISO and output size. Just better resolution yet again.

          I dont believe people still dont get this.

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