With a high-resolution, 36.3-million-pixel sensor that virtually matches those of medium-format models, the Nikon D800 may just have raised the bar for full-frame cameras. Read our Nikon D800 review...

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Nikon D800

AWB Colour:
Dynamic Range:
LCD viewfinder:


Nikon D800 review


Price as reviewed:


White balance and colour

In most cameras, I find auto white balance (AWB) gives a slightly cool colour balance in all situations except tungsten light, where it is usually too warm. The same is true with the Nikon D800. However, a second AWB option is designed to keep warm tones of light, which is ideal for maintaining ambience.

New to the D800 (and D4) is the ability to adjust the colour temperature setting minutely in the manual Kelvin mode. Alternatively, a manual white balance reading can be taken, although this is a slightly longwinded process compared to other systems. It is achieved by navigating through a couple of menus and selecting a previously recorded image of a grey card taken in the ambient light conditions.

Overall, the D800 is perfectly capable of good colour rendition. Skin tones are usually spot-on and the greens in landscape images are particularly natural, although I do at times find the blue of skies a little cyan.

Standard colour mode in Nikon DSLRs appears less saturated than in most other systems, so I often opt to use the vivid setting to add a little punch to images.

However, all the colour modes can be customised for saturation, sharpness and contrast, so it is worth adjusting to taste. Handily, the monochrome setting offers not only different tones, from sepia to cyanotype, but also yellow, orange, red and green filter effects. These can be replicated in editing software, but to have the option to enhance the impact of the sky in a monochrome landscape by using the red filter is quite addictive.

Image: The monochrome colour mode offers different filter effects. Here the green filter is ideal for skin tones

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Features
  3. 3. D800E
  4. 4. Build and handling
  5. 5. White balance and colour
  6. 6. Metering
  7. 7. Noise, resolution and sensitivity
  8. 8. Autofocus
  9. 9. LCD, viewfinder and video
  10. 10. Dynamic range
  11. 11. The competition
  12. 12. Our verdict
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