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Nikon D800 Review

By on November 1, 2012
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Brilliance in one heavy package.

Good: Excellent JPEG & RAW quality as well as videos; 24fps recording at 710p & 1080p; Great build quality; Easily accessible buttons; USB 3.0 ports for fast photo transfers.
Bad: Noise in pictures (at full resolution) & videos in low-light conditions due to high megapixel sensor.
Price: AED 13,999
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

Our test D800 came with the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G AF-S lens, an excellent choice for this full frame camera. The f/2.8 aperture is retained throughout the zoom length, so event for those sudden moments when you want to take a candid shot of someone at an event, you’ll get the nice smooth bokeh effect.

And given that the D800 is a full-frame camera, the actual focal length of any lens will be maintained in real life. That is to say that unlike normal APS-C sized DSLRs (both entry level and prosumer) where you have to factor in the crop effect of the smaller sized sensor on the lens’ focal length, the D800 will have a straight 1:1 ratio of lenses because of the 35mm size. In other words a 50mm prime lens on a Nikon D3200 will be equal to 76.5mm, whereas on the D800 it will be 50mm.

Given the size of the D800’s body, plus the hefty 24-70mm lens we received, taking pictures becomes a bit difficult after prolonged usage due to lugging around such a bog and heavy camera. Fatigue sets in easily if you’re covering a full day event (like GITEX). The good news is that because of the weight, panning the camera around or keeping it stable is very easy while making videos as you hands will cause little to no vibrations. This is especially useful when recording 1080p videos @ 24fps as you can get decent cinematic quality videos with a handheld.

When taking pictures, the D800 produces results that are exceptional in both regular JPGs and RAW files. Auto white balancing and Noise reduction (especially High ISO NR) works really well, resulting in crisp pictures. Of course, once you zoom into 100% of an image, you’ll start seeing noise, especially in low light shots. That is the main downside to such a large megapixel count. The same holds true in videos as well.  Of course, for pictures this can be somewhat minimized if you reduce the JPG size, but for videos you’d better have good lighting or know your way around post processing software to come up with a clean low light video.

Conclusion

The Nikon D800 is an exceptional camera for pictures, with some very impressive results for videos in nicely lit conditions. It was so good, in fact, the we used it for almost all of our GITEX 2012 coverage. Apart from noise in low light conditions at full resolution, there’s hardly anything to complaint about. Certain quirks in getting used to the menu and option selections can be gotten used to within days, while the body itself presents easily accessible buttons for most of your daily shooting needs.

The price gives a good indication of what you’re getting into, make no mistakes this is something that will take you completely into the professional segment of DSLRs. If you’re getting into it for the first time, you may be a little confused, but in time you’ll appreciate the efforts Nikon has put into making such a sturdy and practical body. It’s features you may get used to instantly, and the picture and video results are of admirable quality from the get go.

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About

From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

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