Description image

Nikon's 36-Megapixel D800 Matches the D4's Clean HDMI Output at Half the Price

02.6.12 @ 11:46PM Tags : , , , , ,

The new Nikon D4 isn’t the only new kid on the block — Nikon will also be releasing a second full-frame DSLR, the Nikon D800. As rumored, the D800 has a whopping 36 megapixel CMOS sensor (7360 x 4912 resolution), which may make the D800 not seem optimal for video (smaller photosites). However, the camera features full 1080p HD video at 30/24fps and 720p at 60fps. Similar to the D4, the D800 will also offer a clean HDMI output — except the D800 is half the price of the D4, coming in at $2,999.

Press Release

Expectations Surpassed: The 36.3-Megapixel Nikon D800 Is The Multimedia HD-SLR That Shatters Conventional Resolution Barriers For Maximum Fidelity

The New Nikon D800 Offers Unrivaled Resolution and Features Designed for a Variety of Demanding Professional Photographic and Multimedia Disciplines, Videographers and Filmmakers

MELVILLE, N.Y. (Feb 6, 2012) – Today, imaging leader Nikon Inc. announced the highly anticipated D800 HD-SLR, engineered to provide extreme resolution, astounding image quality and valuable video features optimized for professional still and multimedia photographers and videographers. A camera with an unmatched balance of accuracy, functionality and image quality, the Nikon D800 realizes innovations such as a high resolution 36.3-megapixel FX-format CMOS sensor, a 91,000-pixel RGB Matrix Metering System, Advanced Scene Recognition System and many other intuitive features designed to create the preeminent device for the most demanding photo and video applications.

Whether shooting high fashion, weddings or multimedia content, Nikon’s highest resolution sensor to date, a groundbreaking new 36.3-megapixel (7360 x 4912 resolution) FX-format CMOS sensor, affords flexibility and astonishing image quality to satisfy a myriad of client requests. The Nikon D800 incorporates the latest 91,000-pixel 3D Color Matrix Metering III and the Advanced Scene Recognition System, coupled with an improved 51-point AF system for images with amazing sharpness, color and clarity. With its compact, lightweight D-SLR form factor and extensive video feature set, the D800 allows photographers to transition to multimedia to create an immersive story. Professional videographers will appreciate practical features that go beyond NIKKOR lens compatibility and Full HD 1080p video, such as full manual control, uncompressed HDMI output, and incredible low-light video capability. With this innovative combination of features, the D800 celebrates resourcefulness and a dedication to the flawless execution of an epic creative vision. All of this is driven by Nikon’s latest EXPEED 3™ image processing engine, providing the necessary processing power to fuel amazing images with faithful 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 re-imagines what is possible from this level of D-SLR, 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.”

Extreme Image Quality
The new Nikon developed 36.3-megapixel FX-format (35.9 x 24mm) CMOS sensor realizes Nikon’s highest resolution yet, and is ideal for demanding applications such as weddings, studio portraiture and landscape, where there is no compromise to exceptional high fidelity and dynamic range. Nikon’s first priority is amazing image quality above all else, and resolution of this magnitude affords photographers the ability to portray even the smallest details, such as a strand of hair, with stunning sharpness or crop liberally with confidence. Photographers also shoot with the assurance of NIKKOR lens compatibility, because only a manufacturer with decades of optical excellence can provide the glass to resolve this kind of extreme resolution.

For shooting with minimal noise in a variety of lighting conditions, the D800 features a wide native ISO range of 100-6400, expandable to 50 (Lo-1)-25,600 (Hi-2). Nikon engineers have created innovative ways to manipulate light transmission to the sensor’s photodiodes, giving users the ability to shoot with confidence in challenging lighting conditions. Internal sensor design, an enhanced optical low pass filter (OLPF) and 14 bit A/D conversion with a high signal to noise ratio all contribute to a sensor capable of excellent low light ability despite the extreme resolution. Every aspect of this new FX-format sensor is engineered to deliver amazing low noise images through the ISO range and help create astounding tonal gradation and true colors, whether shooting JPEG or RAW. Images are further routed through a 16-bit image processing pipeline, for maximum performance. To further enhance versatility, users are also able to shoot in additional modes and aspect ratios such as 5:4 to easily frame for printed portraits or a 1.2X crop for a slight telephoto edge. For even more versatility, photographers can also take advantage of Nikon DX-format lenses for more lens options and enhanced focal range (1.5X), while still retaining sharpness and details at a high 15.4-megapixel (4800×3200) resolution.

Contributing to the camera’s rapid performance and amazing image quality is Nikon’s new EXPEED 3 image processing engine that helps professionals create images and HD video with amazing resolution, color and dynamic range. From image processing to transfer, the new engine is capable of processing massive amounts of data, exacting optimal color, rich tonality and minimized noise throughout the frame. Despite the immense data, the new EXPEED 3 also contributes to energy efficiency, affording the ability to shoot longer.

The D800 also features the Advanced Scene Recognition System with the 91,000-pixel 3D Color Matrix Meter III to provide unrivaled metering in even the most challenging of lighting conditions. At the system’s core is a newly designed RGB sensor that meticulously analyzes each scene, recognizes factors such as color and brightness with unprecedented precision and then compares all the data using Nikon’s exclusive 30,000 image database. Additionally, this new sensor now has the ability to detect human faces with startling accuracy, even when shooting through the optical viewfinder. This unique feature is coupled with detailed scene analysis for more accurate autofocus (AF), Auto exposure (AE), i-TTL flash control and even enhanced subject tracking. The Color Matrix Meter also emphasizes priority on exposure of the detected faces, allowing for correct exposure even when the subject is backlit. Even in the most difficult exposures the D800 excels, such as maintaining brightness on a bride’s face while retaining the dynamic range to accentuate the intricate details of a wedding dress beside a black tuxedo.

Advanced new automatic systems make it even easier to capture amazing images. The camera features a new enhanced auto white balance system that more accurately recognizes both natural and artificial light sources, and also gives the user the option to retain the warmth of ambient lighting. Users can expand dynamic range with in-camera High Dynamic Range (HDR) image capture, and enjoy the benefits of Nikon’s Active D-lighting for balanced exposure. Another 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 on the fly, such as sharpness, hue and saturation.

True Cinematic Experience
The Nikon D800 has a compact and lightweight form factor that’s preferable for a production environment, yet is packed with practical and functional features. The D800 is ideal whether the user is a filmmaker on location or in the studio or a documentarian in the field who requires portability and the NIKKOR lens versatility and depth of field that only a HD-SLR can offer. Filmmakers have the choice of various resolutions and frame rates, including Full HD 1080 at 30/24p and HD 720 at 60/30p. By utilizing the B-Frame data compression method, users can record H.264/MPEG-4 AVC format video with unmatched integrity 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. The optimized CMOS sensor reads image data at astoundingly fast rates, which results in less instances of rolling shutter distortion. The sensor also enables incredible low-light video capability with minimal noise, letting filmmakers capture footage where previously impossible or expensive and complex lighting would otherwise be necessary. Users are also able to have full manual control of exposure, and can also adjust the camera’s power aperture setting in live view for an accurate representation of the depth of field in a scene. Whether shooting for depth of field in FX-format mode, or looking for the extra 1.5X telephoto benefits of DX mode, the high resolution sensor of the D800 allows videographers to retain full 1080p HD resolution no matter which mode they choose to best suit the scene. Users are also able to easily compose and check critical HD focus through the 921,000-dot, 3.2-inch LCD monitor with reinforced glass, automatic monitor brightness control, and wide viewing angle.

For professional and broadcast applications that call for outboard digital recorders or external monitors, users can stream an uncompressed full HD signal directly out of the camera via the HDMI port (8 bit, 4:2:2). This output signal can be ported into a display or digital recording device or routed through a monitor and then to the recording device, eliminating the need for multiple connections. This image can also be simultaneously viewed on both the camera’s LCD and an external monitor, while eliminating on-screen camera status data for streaming purposes. The D800 also includes features concentrated on audio quality, such as a dedicated headphone jack for accurate monitoring of audio levels while recording. Audio output levels can be adjusted with 30 steps for precise audio adjustment and monitoring. The D800 offers high-fidelity audio recording control with audio levels that can be set and monitored on the camera’s LCD screen. A microphone connected via the stereo mic jack can also be adjusted with up to 20 steps of sensitivity for accurate sound reproduction. What’s more, recording can be set to be activated through the shutter button, opening a world of remote applications through the 10-pin accessory terminal.

Wield Speed and Performance with Astonishing Accuracy
Whether shooting the runway or fast moving wildlife, the enhanced 51-point AF system of the D800 delivers blazing fast AF with tack-sharp results. Nikon has enhanced the Multi-Cam 3500-FX AF sensor module and algorithms to significantly improve low light acquisition, for precise focus to an impressive -2 exposure value (EV). The focus system utilizes 15 cross-type AF sensors for enhanced accuracy, and the system also places an emphasis on the human face, working in conjunction with the Advanced Scene Recognition System to provide accurate face detection even through the optical viewfinder. The camera also utilizes nine cross-type sensors that are fully functional when using compatible NIKKOR lenses and teleconverters with an aperture value up to f/8, which is a great advantage to those who need extreme telephoto focal lengths (single cross type sensor active with TC20E III). For maximum versatility in all shooting situations, whether photographing portraits or static subjects, users are also able to select multiple AF modes, including normal, wide area, face tracking and subject tracking to best suit the scene.

The D800 delivers upon a professional’s need for maximum speed when it counts. The camera is ready to shoot in 0.12 seconds, and is ready to capture with super-fast AF and response speed. To photograph action in a burst, the camera shoots up to 4 frames per second (fps) in FX mode at full resolution, or up to a speedy 6 fps in DX mode using the optional MB-D12 Battery Pack and compatible battery. Further enhancing the speed of the camera and overall workflow, the D800 utilizes the new USB 3.0 standard for ultra fast transfer speeds.

Construction and Operability
The body of the D800 is designed to offer a compact form factor and a lightweight body for the utmost versatility. The chassis is constructed of magnesium alloy for maximum durability, and is sealed and gasketed for resistance to dirt and moisture. Users are able to easily compose through the bright optical viewfinder, which offers 100% frame coverage. For storage, the D800 has dual card slots for CF and SD cards, and 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. For high speed recording and transfer, data can be recorded to recent UDMA-7 and SDXC / UHS-1 cards. The shutter has been tested to withstand approximately 200,000 cycles, and the camera also employs sensor cleaning. The D800 also features a built-in flash and is compatible with Nikon’s acclaimed Creative Lighting System, including a built-in Commander mode for controlling wireless Speedlights.

D800E – Maximum Resolution Unleashed
In addition to the D800, Nikon will also be releasing a supplementary model for those professionals who demand even higher resolution and D-SLR versatility; the D800E. This model treads in medium format territory for studio work or landscape photography when there is no exception to only the highest fidelity and sharpness. This unique alternative model will effectively enhance the resolution characteristics of the 36.3-megapixel CMOS sensor by cancelling 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.

Price and Availability
The Nikon D800 will be available in late March for the suggested retail price of $2999.95.* The D800E version will be available in mid April 2012 for a suggested retail price of $3,299.95.* For more information about these models, NIKKOR lenses and other D-SLR cameras please visit

Link: Hands on Nikon D800 Preview – DPReview

[via NikonRumors, planet5D]


We’re all here for the same reason: to better ourselves as writers, directors, cinematographers, producers, photographers... whatever our creative pursuit. Criticism is valuable as long as it is constructive, but personal attacks are grounds for deletion; you don't have to agree with us to learn something. We’re all here to help each other, so thank you for adding to the conversation!

Description image 31 COMMENTS

  • Well the price looks good but yes remains to be seen what the real video quality is like reading of such a massive sensor. I cant imagine the low light would be anything to write home about.

    If nothing else at least its a sign that the market as a whole is heading in the right direction.

  • John Jeffreys on 02.7.12 @ 12:20AM

    Holy crap! Nikon is back and relevant now! So this is what they were working on for the past 2 years…

  • The 5D Mark III we have all been waiting for is finally here, but its made by Nikon and called the D800 !

  • Here is a video made entirely on the D800 – lots of low light

    Not sure about the skin tones at low light…also seemed to be a lot of key focus misses (probably shooting at f1.4)overall however its impressive. Certainly not bad.

  • and yet they still dont have the foresight to have it shoot 1080/60p hopefully its hackable. Other than that it should be pretty nice, it will be interesting to see how the uber-pixelcount handels lowlight and how grainy it will be.Also Id like to see if they put any effort into eliminating the rolling shutter effect.

  • Off-topic question, but reaaly important and I hope someone here can help me. Im from Argentina, and im struggling to decide where and what exactly to study to learn and work on film. Does anyone ever worked with someone from Argentina or knows anyone here that could give me a hand? Thanks in advance!

    • Well if google really cant help you in this I’d say perhaps join up and ask around one or more of the following forums:

      • Thank you so mucho, I will take a look at them now.

        • Hola, soy de Uruguay, yo la verdad que no me puedo pagar un curso de cine porque son muy caros acá. Se que en Argentina hay muchos lugares para aprender, además de más gente y más mercado…más todo en realidad :)

          Yo decidí ahorrar para una cámara y hace un año me compré una Canon 550D. Si sos autodidacta es la época perfecta, en internet tenés todo, es cuestión de leer lo más que puedas y contactarte con la mayor cantidad de gente que puedas. Todo lo que podés aprender está en la web.

          Mandame un mail si querés quedar en contacto y todo bien. Nos vemos!

          • Hola! saludos!. Yo tambien me compre una 550D, y de a poco voy aprendiendo cosas, pero como tambien trabajo mi tiempo libre no es mucho, vuelvo cansado, y con pocas ganas de hacer. Por eso es que busco una universidad o lugar donde aprender, para poder concentrarme mas y estar mas “comprometido” de cierta forma. mi mail es

  • Nikon really listened on this one. Overall this camera is a BEAST! for multimedia professional like myself. I am going to order one for sure. I work on films, commercials, promos and fashion shoots so all of the features, images and video quality appeal to me. The pictures from the D800E are visual cocaine. But I shoot a large amount of short vids so I may still with the D800…

  • Here’s anther D800 video – looks pretty nice!

  • Am I the only one who doesn’t like this? I mean the footage? Yes, the lowlight capabilties are awesome, but the thing that concerns me is the sensor. Not ideal for film at all. The footage looks to much HD, you can definitly see it’s dslr. Still hope that Canon will strike back with a S35 sensor and great lowlight capabilities. 1080p output and a better cinestyle picture of some sort. So that it makes ideal for film.

    • i agree with you on that one. All the blacks are crushed. Low light it’s amazing but not a fan of the look at all…maybe because i’m mentally comparing it to drive haha

    • It is a DSLR

  • If the quality is at least as good as my 60D, I will gladly switch back to Nikon.

  • that’s an awful lot of pixels


    at 36 mpix on full frame, each photosite is significantly bigger than what I have in my current canon APS-C 18mpix sensor

  • Ok Koo, you missed a frame-rate, one that worried me that wouldn’t be there after reading your post– as a D.P. in europe, 25p is important, and it’s confirmed that it has 1080p25, see link:

  • Can we at least say that this puts some pricing pressures back on Canon?

  • Nikon official on joyride again…nice to see them back in action…

  • Erwin (Netherlands) on 02.7.12 @ 4:54PM

    I think the Nikon D800 is a great stills camera. Impressive. It will probably the best DSLR out there for super high res still images, albeit not for low light. Regarding the video however, I have serious doubts! In the D800 video footage on the web I did not see anything that is better than the 5D Mark II, except perhaps for less rolling shutter.

    The resolution in these D800 video samples is not impressive. It looks like 720p, not 1080p. I also see moire. The 700$ Panasonic GH2 provides much better resolution and less moire, for video, even unhacked at the standard 24 MBPS. Hacked it can go up to 176 MBPS I-frame only.

    So now we have wait and see whether the uncompressed 4:2:2 HDMI out signal of the D800 will get better results. In terms of resolution it might, or it might not. If it does, it will require an external device like the Atomos Ninja or Samurai to store the video data. So that will add cost, cables and yet more equipment to carry around. I’m not sure if I will settle for that. I think I rather wait for the 4K video DSLR from Canon and stick with my GH2 in the mean time. For video that is.

    My 2 cents.

  • The thing I’m most excited about here is the ability for the camera to shoot full 1080 video in FX AND DX mode. That effectively extends the range of compositions possible with this camera. For the photographer/cinematographer, this is probably the most powerful all-in-one that exists to date. As for people naysaying, I really think that we forget that all this incredible technology is crammed inside a tiny DSLR. Your miracle camera does not exist to you because you’ve become too jaded and picky. Just pick up a camera and go tell a story.

  • I wonder if the D800′s HDMI output carries audio. I just bought a Ninja for my GH2. It looks nice. No HDMI sound….must be fed from a mixer, and it’s out-of-sync.