Almost every picture I take for Cool Hunting stories is shot with my Nikon D700 so today's unveil of the D800 is welcomed news. An expected follow-on to last month's D4 announcement, the D800 brings a bounty of new features ranging from a massive full-frame CMOS sensor to dual SD and CF card slots to proper HD video support.
The D800 is slightly smaller and lighter than the D700 despite being more feature-packed. The new model features an FX-format CMOS sensor and EXPEED 3 image-processing engine, hitting the mark with an incredible pixel count of 36.3 million pixels and a wide ISO range of 100-6400 (expandable to 25,600) for impressive low light shooting. From these advancements expect truer tonal graduation, more faithful color and a wider dynamic range.
Raising the stakes for filming capabilities on a DSLR, the CMOS sensor reads image data at an incredible rate to minimizes rolling shutter distortion while also reducing noise in low-light filming conditions. The D800 ups recording time up to 30 minute per clip and offers full manual aperture settings to adjust depth of field, all while capturing at 30-fps full 1080p HD resolution. New output wise, the videographer welcomes a designated headphone jack and an 8 bit HDMI port for uncompressed full HD signal streaming.
Also announced today is the alternative D800E. Otherwise identical to the D800, this upgraded version promises truer image accuracy for RAW photo shooters by disabling the anti-aliasing properties for the optical low pass filter (OLPF). Instead of filtering the incoming light to prevent moiré and false color—like the D800 (and almost all DSLRs)—the light is transmitted to the image sensor uninhibited, achieving higher accuracy images. While this feature is of clear benefit to pro photographers, we suspect those seeking to shoot video will prefer the D800 as it will handle a wider range of shooting situations.
The Nikon D800E will be available mid-April for $3300 while the D800 will hit shelves late next month with a price tag of $3000.