Brilliance in one heavy package.
The Nikon D800 is a fairly large sized camera, and much heavier than most entry level and prosumer cameras, coming in at 900g for the just the body. Part of this is due to the rugged construction of the body made from magnesium alloy. That’s good enough to keep out dust and moisture; it’s not completely weather proof, but even for the harsh and dusty environment of UAE the D800 will survive.
Starting from the left we see the autofocus and manual focus switch, the Flash menu selection button along with the built-in popup flash release button. The mic, USB 3.0, 3.5mm headphones and mini-HDMI ports are all hidden under the flap.
On the top you have the drive mode dial which is probably the most practical menu selection implementation I have seen in DSLRs. On the top you have four very continuously used options to choose from, while the dial moves to select the shooting mode for the shutter. There’s a small lock on top so you don’t accidentally flick the wheel in the middle of a shoot.
On the back the 3.2-inch screen with 921k dots dominates the surface area, with various menu buttons placed conveniently on the left. On the right we have the main menu selection control buttons, which can also be locked. On the bottom right we have the Live View switch which allows you to select between movies and videos, the latter showing a 16:9 area with black bars on the top and bottom.
On the top right you have the small display (with a green backlight) which shows most of the basic info you’ll need in daily shoots. The number of available shots left on the memory card of choice will be displayed even when the D800 is turned off.
As I said before, almost all the buttons and frequently used options are easily accessible through a variety of buttons; another two on the front right are also customizable for each of the modes. It’s interesting to note that the D800 only offers PASM modes, there’s no fully auto mode, although within the Program mode a lot of the settings can be automated.