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Nikon D800 - A 36MP Revolution

By Alvin Soon - 21 Apr 2012
Launch SRP: S$4488



Once in a long while, something comes along which changes the conversation entirely. The Canon 5D Mark II was one such camera with its Full-HD video shooting ability. So was the Panasonic G1, the very first mirrorless system camera to be introduced. And so is the Nikon D800, a full-frame DSLR successor to the three year-old D700 which is not really a successor, but something entirely new altogether.

The reason for that is the D800's whopping 36MP sensor. Whereas the D700 could be criticized for its low 12MP resolution count, especially when compared to its competitor the 5D Mark II's 21.1MP, Nikon has tripled the resolution for their latest 'entry-level' FX camera, a move which has forced everybody to reconsider what a DSLR camera could and should be. To put 36MP into perspective, the S$4488 D800 trumps Nikon's previous highest resolution DSLR camera, the 24.5MP D3X which cost S$13,888 at the time it was announced.

With the D800, Nikon has effectively split their high-end FX cameras into two well-defined lines; the high-resolution D800, and the high-speed, high-ISO D4. It's a bold move; whereas the D700 was like a smaller D3, and Canon's 5D Mark III is like a companion to the 1D X, the D800 and D4 are completely distinct cameras. It introduces several questions: Is the D800 a suitable general-purpose camera or is it a specialist tool? Will the 36MP resolution place higher demands on lenses and workflow? Is the D800 a compelling upgrade for D700 owners who don't need to print large? These are questions we will attempt to answer in the pages to follow.


Nikon D700

Nikon D800

Effective Megapixels 12.1MP 36.3MP 
ISO Sensitivity (Native) ISO200-6400 ISO100-6400
ISO Sensitivity (Expandable) ISO100-25,600 ISO50-25,600
AF Points 51 51
Cross-Type AF Points 15 15
Max. Aperture with AF f/5.6 f/8
Max. Frame Rate (FX) 5 fps 4 fps
Exposure Sensor 1005 pixel RGB sensor 91,000 pixel RGB sensor
Autofocus System Multi-CAM 3500FX Advanced Multi-CAM 3500FX
AF Detection Range -1 to +19 EV (ISO100, 20°C) -2 to +19 EV (ISO100, 20°C)
Video Resolutions N.A. 1080: 30p/25p/24p, 720: 60p/50p/30p/25p
Video Compression N.A. H.264/MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding
Microphone None Mono
Speaker None Mono
Memory Slots 1 x CF card 1 x CF card, 1 x SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card
Viewfinder Coverage 95% 100%
Dimensions 147 x 123 x 77mm 146 x 123 x 81.5mm
Weight (body with battery) 1074g 1000g
Battery Life (by CIPA) 1000 shots 900 shots
Price S$3888 S$4488
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  • Performance 9.5
  • Design 9.5
  • Features 9.5
  • User-Friendliness 9.5
  • Value 9
The Good
Exceptionally detailed images
Rich dynamic range
Excellent handling
The Bad
Moiré patterns visible in some videos
Slower 4 fps shooting speed
Large image files
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