Nikon Unveils 36.3 Megapixel D800 DSLR for Pro Photographers and Videographers

Nikon Unveils 36.3 Megapixel D800 DSLR for Pro Photographers and Videographers


Melville, NY—Nikon announced its highly anticipated D800 DSLR, engineered to provide “extreme resolution, astounding image quality and valuable video features optimized for professional still and multimedia photographers and videographers.” The D800 boasts a high-resolution 36.3 megapixel FX-format CMOS sensor, a 91,000-pixel RGB matrix metering system, an advanced scene recognition system and other intuitive features.

Nikon’s highest resolution sensor to date, the 7,360×4,912-resolution FX-format CMOS sensor is complemented by the latest 91,000-pixel 3D color matrix metering III and advanced scene recognition systems, as well as an improved 51-point AF system. Compact and lightweight, the highlight of the new DSLR is its extensive video feature set that enables photographers to transition to multimedia to create an immersive story. Pro videographers will appreciate practical features that go beyond Nikkor lens compatibility and Full HD 1080p video recording, such as full manual control, uncompressed HDMI output and low-light video capability. All of this is driven by Nikon’s latest Expeed 3 image-processing engine, which provides the necessary processing power to fuel images with true-to-life color, a wide dynamic range and extreme resolution.

“Whatever the project, visionaries need a tool that is going to help them stay on time and on task. The Nikon D800 reimagines what is possible from this level of DSLR, to address the needs of an emerging and ever-changing market; this is the camera that is going to bridge the gap for the most demanding imaging professionals, and provide never before seen levels of SLR image and video quality,” said Bo Kajiwara, director of marketing, Nikon Inc. “The D800 is the right tool for today’s creative image makers, affording photographers, filmmakers and videographers a versatile option for capturing the ultimate in still image quality or Full HD content, with maximum control.”

Nikon developed the 36.3MP FX-format (35.9x24mm) CMOS sensor to address the demanding applications of wedding, studio portraiture and landscape photography, where there is no compromise to high fidelity and dynamic range. Nikon says its first priority was image quality, and the 36.3 megapixels allow photographers the ability to portray even the smallest details, such as a strand of hair, or crop liberally.

For shooting with minimal noise in various lighting, the D800 offers a native ISO range of 100-6400, which is expandable from 50 (Lo-1) to 25,600 (Hi-2). And, an internal sensor design, an enhanced optical low pass filter and 14-bit A/D conversion with a high signal-to-noise ratio all contribute to the camera’s low-light ability despite its extreme resolution. Images are routed through a 16-bit image-processing pipeline, and to further enhance versatility, users can shoot in additional modes and aspect ratios—such as 5:4 to frame for printed portraits or a 1.2x crop for a slight telephoto edge. Photographers can also take advantage of Nikon DX-format lenses for more lens options and an enhanced focal range (1.5x), while shooting at 15.4MP resolution.

For ease of operation, Nikon included new automatic systems, like an enhanced auto white balance system that more accurately recognizes natural and artificial light sources, and gives users the option to retain the warmth of ambient lighting. Users can also benefit from in-camera HDR image capture and Nikon’s active D-lighting for balanced exposure. A new feature is direct access to Nikon’s picture control presets via a dedicated button on the back of the body, to tweak photo and video parameters like sharpness, hue and saturation on the fly.

Videographers and filmmakers have the choice of various resolutions and frame rates, including Full HD 1080 at 30/24p and HD 720 at 60/30p. They can also record H.264/MPEG-4 AVC format video for up to 29:59 minutes per clip (normal quality). This format produces higher quality video data without increasing file size for a more efficient workflow. Users are also able to have full manual control of exposure and can adjust the camera’s power aperture setting in live view. Whether shooting for depth of field in FX-format mode or looking for the extra 1.5x telephoto abilities of DX mode, the high-res sensor permits videographers to retain Full HD 1080p resolution no matter which mode they choose.

The D800 also features: a 921,000-dot, 3.2-inch LCD monitor with reinforced glass, automatic brightness control and wide viewing angle; a 100% coverage bright optical viewfinder; a 200,000-cycle-tested shutter; the ability to stream an uncompressed Full HD signal directly from the camera via the HDMI port (8 bit, 4:2:2); the ability to simultaneously view an image on the LCD and an external monitor, while eliminating on-screen camera status data for streaming purposes; a dedicated headphone jack for monitoring of audio levels while recording, with audio output levels adjusted with 30 steps, which can be set and monitored on the camera’s LCD; and the ability to select multiple AF modes, including normal, wide area, face tracking and subject tracking.

The D800 is said to be ready to shoot in 0.12 second, and to photograph action in a burst, its shoots 4 frames per second in FX mode at full resolution or 6 fps in DX mode using the optional MB-D12 battery pack and compatible battery. Further enhancing the speed of the workflow, the D800 utilizes the new USB 3.0 standard. For storage, it has dual card slots for CF and SD cards, and it offers users the ability to record backup, overflow, RAW/JPEG separation and the additional option of shooting stills to one and video to the other. Data can be recorded to new UDMA-7 and SDXC/UHS-1 cards.

  D800E Version
In addition to the D800, Nikon will also be releasing a supplementary model for those professionals who demand even higher resolution—the D800E. This model treads in medium-format territory for studio work or landscape photography. Nikon says the “alternative model will effectively enhance the resolution characteristics of the 36.3 megapixel CMOS sensor by canceling the anti-aliasing properties of the OLPF inside the camera.” By doing this, light is delivered directly to the photodiodes, yielding an image resulting from the raw light gathering properties of the camera. A color moiré correction tool will also be available within Capture NX2 to enhance the D800E photographer’s workflow.

The Nikon D800 will be available in late March for $2,999.95. The D800E will be available in April 2012 for $3,299.95.