>In my film days I learned to use the more conservative 1/2 x >focal length for shutter speed where possible and consistent >with hoped-for depth of field results. > >Would that technique, enormously aided by greatly improved ISO >possibilities (relative to film) plus use of VR lenses like >the 24-120 and the 16-35 enhance the odds of high image >quality shots with the D800 but without tripod?
Yes it does. I have one of my shooting menu banks set up for normal daytime shooting in sunlight. I shoot in Aperture priority. Auto ISO is enabled, restricted to ISO 2500 with the shutter speed set to 1/(2x focal length). This means it will increase ISO to maintain the required shutter speed until the ISO threshold is reached, after which it will compromise shutter speed. At this ISO limit on the D800, niose is negligible and no special post processing is required for noise removal, except in critical cases.
I have a shot taken handheld while leaning back in my harness on a climbing route - the pic is of a climber on an adjacent route about 15 feet away. Taken with the 24-120 f4. You can see the fibres in the stitches on his harness and the weave of the fabric.
Compared to my DX camera, with the D800 I have to pay more attention to bracing when handholding and to depth of field, which is narrower on FX at the same field of view....but it only took a month or so to adjust.