I am currently shooting with the D3s and I am considering shifting to the D800 to lighten my load. Hiking and carrying the D3s plus other gear and a tripod is a heavy load. The D800 is around a pound lighter, that could be a big difference. What would I be giving up going that route?
I am also considering the D7100 to replace my D300.
The big item you give up is frame rate. You'll also be faced with the larger files of the D800, but that is a plus and a minus.
I had a similar thought process with the D800E. I contemplated using my 16-85 in DX mode as part of a light kit but so far have been using the 16-35 instead. I also have used the 16mm f/2.8 fisheye as part of a light kit.
I think you may be giving up a small fraction of a stop in high ISO performance, but that's probably a wash as the dynamic range and color of the D800 is better - especially at lower ISO levels.
The D800 has a newer AF system. While the AF of the D3s is very good, I think the D800 is as good or better.
Most other aspects will probably favor the D800. I think on balance the D800 would be an upgrade for most photographers.
I'm a bit more on the fence about the D7100. I might wait until August or September to see what else might be coming. If there is a D300 successor, it might be a better choice than a D7100 although the D7100 has gotten very good reviews.
#2. "RE: D3s vs D800" In response to Reply # 0 Fri 03-May-13 08:55 PM by PSAGuy
Lake Elmo, US
Well you stated "Hiking and carrying" is an issue....so your need for low light performance is not a huge issue it appears. As big a fan of the D3S as I am, the smaller higher res camera would most likely be the ticket in your case.
I am trying to come to grips with a future problem....D800E or wait for the next D4.....which is almost sure to have at least 24mpix (and maybe more). I want BOTH superb low light performance and high resolution. Rumors say I may get my wish in 2014.
I have both a D3s and a D800e. In addition to the frame rate difference, the D800 will expose weaknesses in your lenses. I have the Nikon 2.8 zooms but prime lenses are much better with the D800. The dog studio portraits on my website are with the D800e plus primes and I am finding it hard to go back to zoom lenses.