Nikon Press Centre. Feb 6, 2012: Expectations Surpassed: The 36.3-Megapixel Nikon D800 Is The Multimedia HD-SLR That Shatters Conventional Resolution Barriers For Maximum Fidelity
The New Nikon D800 Offers Unrivaled Resolution and Features Designed for a Variety of Demanding Professional Photographic and Multimedia Disciplines, Videographers and Filmmakers
Exciting news indeed. After months of watching and wondering, and 3.5 years after the D700, it’s here! I’ll be brief. After my debate of “Are more Megapixels better?” the D800 now sports a 36.3Mp CMOS sensor in Full Frame (FX) 35mm (35.9 x 24.0 mm). That is rivalling Medium Format…but with the choice of f/1.4 lenses where nearly all MF lenses start at f/2.8! The sensor is also completely redesigned and engineered by Nikon, and with Nikon’s legendary FX Format Low Light Low Noise characteristics, this is a leap forward in the evolution of the digital camera, especially in this format. Not just a small Mp progression…It allows unedited A1 size pictures without needing Fractal Software and amazing cropping options without degradation of pixel/image quality.
That’s a pixel density of 42,131 pixels per mm² and to all appearances it’s not at the cost of IQ, sharpness or noise, keeping in line with the high ISO, low noise tradition of all Nikon full frame DSLR’s from the D700 on up, and specifically the D3s.
(Owners of the remarkable Sigma SD1 Digital SLR Camera with the FOVEON X3 – 46Mp will no doubt be wondering what all the hype is about…except maybe the price tag, however the SD1 has an APS-C 24 x 16mm small frame sensor and thus a pixel density of 119,791! Yes I know it has 3 stacked sensors (layers), each 4800 x 3200px but thus needs no AA filter (such as the D800E) and no coloured jaggies but with a slight increase in colour noise in low-light.)
As a reminder here are the current FX per mm² pixel densities (from my 2009 500mm Vivitar mirror-reflex-lens report):
All of the FX DSLR’s use a Nikon designed and built CMOS
D700—14,063 pixels/mm² (12.1 Mp FX 36.0 x 23.9mm)
D3 -–- 14,063 pixels/mm² (12.1 Mp FX 36.0 x 23.9mm)
D3s –- 14,063 pixels/mm² (12.1 Mp FX 36.0 x 23.9mm)
D3x –- 30,113 pixels/mm² (24.5 Mp FX 35.9 x 24.0mm)
D4 -–- 18,850 pixels/mm² (16.2 Mp FX 36.0 x 23.9mm)
D800—42,131 pixels/mm² (36.3 Mp FX 35.9 x 24.0mm)
Despite all it’s new bells and whistles, this is the most intriguing and interesting aspect to me:
What is the difference between the D800 and the D800E or the D800 vs D800E? (Note: Both have the SAME resolution and SAME sensor at 36.3 Mp)
To quote Nikon:
D800E – Maximum Resolution Unleashed
In addition to the D800, Nikon will also be releasing a supplementary model for those professionals who demand even higher resolution and D-SLR versatility; the D800E. This model treads in medium format territory for studio work or landscape photography when there is no exception to only the highest fidelity and sharpness. This unique alternative model will effectively enhance the resolution characteristics of the 36.3-megapixel CMOS sensor by cancelling the anti-aliasing properties of the OLPF inside the camera. By doing this, light is delivered directly to the photodiodes, yielding an image resulting from the raw light gathering properties of the camera. A color moiré correction tool will also be available within Capture NX2 to enhance the D800E photographer’s workflow.
Click here to see sample images of the D800 vs D800E, as well as moire and false colour comparisons.
There will be much heated debate about Nikon’s buyers philosophy here (D800, D4 and owners of now older FX bodies), but I suspect you will have Studio/Jewelery/Land or Seascape/Wedding photographers at one end looking at high Mp, with black blacks and white whites (look for the tonal gradation sample image on Nikon’s D800/D800E pages), Colour Metering III for portraits etc and you will have action/sport/wildlife photographers or photojournalists at the other spectrum (sport, news, events etc) seeking high speed, low light capabilities with smaller files to transfer up when on deadlines or in the field and the D3s is a whole lotta camera for that, and still is. Time will march on and needs, specs and prices will change, shutter’s will die and models will be discontinued…
Price and Availability
The Nikon D800 will be available in late March for the suggested retail price of $2999.95.* The D800E version will be available in mid April 2012 for a suggested retail price of $3,299.95.* The slightly higher price is due the AA filters are reversed, not just not installed.
Get one at B and H Photovideo, bank balance permitting. As usual, thanks to Nikon’s unchanged 50+ year F Mount, any and all lenses ever manufactured for this brand will work on the D800/E giving you unsurpassed lens choices.
Lens IQ debates and if the camera sensor can resolve better now than lenses or show lens flaws where none were noticed before, are already hotting up…This article over at Luminous Landscape will help you get to grips with the technical aspects of sensor vs lens outresolving issue.
Download the PDF brochure here (3.6MB) / Full D800/D800E Specifications here
Sample images: D800 or D800E
OPLF: Translation of page regarding OPLF dating 2003 on the D100
I am no DSLR Video buff, but this looks pretty sweet:
Gear I use: Bodies: Nikon D-SLR’s / Lenses: Nikon, Sigma, Tokina, Vivitar
Filters: Hoya UV & Polarizing / Flash: Nikon Speed-lights / Bag: Lowe Pro
Tripods & Heads: Manfrotto / Grips, Triggers, Timers, Batteries: Phottix
Editing Plug-in: Topaz Labs Noise Reduction, HDR, B&W Conversion & more!
*Suggested retail price listed only as a suggestion. Actual prices are set by dealers and are subject to change at any time.