Nikon D800 review

April 28, 2012

Overall Rating:


Nikon D800

  • Build/Handling:
  • Autofocus:
  • Noise/resolution:
  • Metering:
  • Features:
  • AWB Colour:
  • Dynamic Range:
  • LCD viewfinder:



Price as Reviewed:


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...

Sponsored by

Looking to upgrade? Our Trade-In and Purchase Service is one of the best in the industry. We buy all sorts of equipment and make that upgrade much easier than you may think. Visit for a quote.

LCD, viewfinder and video

Nikon D800 LCD

Another feature shared by the D800 and D4 is the 3.2in LCD screen. The screen is slightly bigger than the 3in version in the last generation of models, but the 921,000-dot resolution remains. A sensor next to the screen detects the ambient light and adjusts the brightness, contrast and saturation accordingly.

This function means that in a variety of lighting conditions the screen will appear the same to the eye and viewable even in bright light. The LCD screen also features a new glass-and-panel design for an improved viewing angle, thanks in part to a resin between the glass and screen where previously there was an air pocket.

Unlike the D700, the D800’s viewfinder has a 100% frame coverage, which is excellent for precise framing. It is also bright to aid focusing, although for critical focusing it is best to use the LCD screen with focus magnification.

When a crop mode is selected, the electronic overlay in the viewfinder displays a marker to indicate the frame edges. An option for shading out the unused areas of the frame would be useful because it is easy to forget where the crop is effective. Wideangle DX lenses display a cutoff in the corners, but not in the final image. Another display in the viewfinder (and LCD) is for the dual-axis virtual horizon, which can be brought up by pressing a function button.

With the high resolution of the D800, not only is Nikon setting a benchmark for stills cameras, but it is also aiming at the video market. It is possible to capture high-quality, full HD (1080p) footage for a maximum 29mins 59secs recording time. Enthusiast film-makers will appreciate full-time contrast-detection AF in movie capture, with face priority and subject-tracking AF available.

Furthermore, connections are included for an external mic with 20 adjustment levels, sound level monitoring, headphones and clean HDMI output at 1080p/720p for live view, without compression. As I mention in Focal points, edits to video files can be made in-camera.

  • Built-in Flash: Yes
  • Dioptre Adjustment: -3 to +1 dioptre
  • White Balance: 2 auto, 6 presets (with fine-tuning), plus 3 custom and Kelvin adjustment settings
  • Shutter Type: Electronically controlled focal-plane shutter
  • Memory Card: 1x CompactFlash slot compatible with UDMA 7, 1x SD slot
  • Viewfinder Type: Pentaprism single-lens reflex viewfinder
  • LCD: 3.2in TFT with 921,000 dots
  • Output Size: 7360 x 4912 pixels
  • Field of View: Approx 100%
  • White Balance Bracket: 2-9 exposures in increments of 1, 2 or 3
  • AF Points: 51 points, selectable manually or automatically
  • Sensor: FX-format (full-frame 35.9 x 24 mm) CMOS device with 36.3 million effective pixels
  • Focal Length Mag: 1x (1.5x in DX-format crop mode)
  • Max Flash Sync: 1/250sec
  • Exposure Modes: PASM
  • Weight: 1,000g (with battery and card/s)
  • Shutter Speeds: 30-1/8000sec in 1⁄3 steps, plus B
  • File Format: NEF (raw), JPEG, raw+JPEG simultaneously
  • Power: Rechargeable EN-EL15 Li-Ion battery (supplied)
  • Colour Space: Adobe RGB, sRGB
  • Drive Mode: Single, continuous (Hi/Lo selectable, up to 4fps with AF), self-timer, quiet, mirror-up
  • Exposure Comp: ±5EV in 1⁄3, 1/2 or 1EV steps
  • ISO: 100-6400 in 1/3EV steps and Lo1, Hi1, Hi2 (ISO 50-25,600)
  • Lens Mount: Nikon F
  • RRP: £2,599.99 (body only)
  • DoF Preview: Yes
  • Focusing Modes: Manual, single-shot AF, continuous AF with AF fine-tuning
  • Dimensions: 146 x 123 x 81.5mm
  • Metering System: 91,000-pixel RGB 3D matrix metering, centreweighted (adjustable), spot (1.5%)
  • Connectivity / Interface: USB 2.0 Hi-Speed, HDMI
  • Compression: 3-stage JPEG, 3-stage NEF
  • Tested as: Enthusiast DSLR

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

13 issues for £13 - don't miss out!

Subscribe to Amateur Photographer magazine today and receive 13 issues for only £13 - saving 71%!