"D800: Don't get your hopes up" Mon 30-Jan-12 01:27 AM by ZoneV
I have no inside information, but what I do have is an intution from being a close and careful Nikon digital follower since the inception of the D-series. I've faithfully read Thom Hogan all this time too. I have a decent feel for how Nikon does things. I also have some faith (but not total faith) in nikonrumors.com and their leaked alleged D800 specs.
So here's what I have to say: I think Nikon's market strategy with the D800 is changing. The D700 was made as a D3-lite to help win over sports and PJ photographers. It was high speed, low noise, and moderate resolution. But with the D800, I believe Nikon will be more directly targeting nature, architecture, wedding, corporate, high-caliber editorial, and fine-art photographers, including those who wish or need to record video. Remember a high-level Nikon employee saying that future DSLRs would provide a better balance of sensitivity and resolution? I believe that was their way of saying the D800 will have at least 24 MP (nikonrumors says 36MP, but I am skeptical it will be quite that high).
So don't expect the D800 to:
-Have less than 24MP. Nikon wants to compete with the Canon 5D series on a MP level and win over as many of the "huge print photographers". These are people who regularly produce 20x30 and larger prints.
-Be less expensive than the D700 or even equal in price. Look for it to be priced somewhat higher than the D700 when it came out.
-Be as fast as the D700. It's not likely to shoot at 8, 7, or even 6 fps.
-Have the same per pixel signal to noise ratio as the D700. Due to the increase in pixels, the D800 would likely not have quite the same level of cleanliness at high ISO per pixel. Of course, prints might show equal noise to the D700, because some resolution and noise are discarded when downsampling.
-Have a higher top ISO than the D700. Sensor and processor technology now allows a finer pixel pitch with the same image quality, but Nikon is likely to increase the pixel count just a bit more still. Remember, this camera has to last for 4 years in the market.
We're likely to get a boost in MP, but the camera might not be quite as sports/PJ oriented as the D700. It will still be capable in that regard, but it probably won't be the near equal to the D4 the same way the D700 was to the D3. Keep reasonable expections, and you won't be disappointed.
An undeniable paradox: To think that there is any such thing as an absolute rule is at worst naïve, and at best, shortsighted. There is no such thing as an always-true, all context- or situation-salient, absolute rule that always holds true…including this one!