I have had the D800 for about six months and I find it to be a very excellent and reliable camera - it is about the highest rated camera currently available. Regarding weight and size, I find the camera perfectly balanced with my heavy f/2.8 zoom lenses. The AF is very fast and I have no trouble with faulty focus. I also have no difficulty getting sharp pictures when hand holding, provided the shutter speed is kept sufficiently high - I use 1/(2FL). I use MF lenses a lot, and I feel that the LiveView implementation could be better - the "green dot" focus confirmation is simply not precise enough.
I have recommended the D800 to others and will continue to do so. Just make sure that your computer is able to handle the large file size.
Have had a D800 for 1 year now and also have the Tamron 24-70--which I think is a great combination.
I also have a D7100 which I use a lot. The D800 is of course heavier and bigger, but not so much it is a problem. The D7100 I use when I want the extra reach of the DX format. Of course you can do that with the D800 in crop mode, but I like the 24meg images of the D7100 so I can crop sports shots better.
Zoomed in to 100% on your computer monitor, you may see flaws that were not visible on cameras with less resolution, but only because you are viewing the same thing much larger (100% zoom on most monitors is the equivalent of a 2 meter wide print).
If there is a hidden gotcha it is not to get bent out of shape by this - the camera is no more difficult to use than a camera with less resolution when viewed at the same relative size.
30' x 40' prints - you will want to be extra careful to utilize best practices to ensure best results. Web viewing and prints up to 13x19 - D800 photos will simply look better when downsized compared to a camera with less resolution.
It is an amazing camera. I also own the Tamron 24-70 VC and it is a perfect mid-range zoom for the D800. The VC works as advertised and the IQ of the lens is excellent.
Some great responses already - especially liked JPJ's comments regarding 100% crop - "...not to get bent out of shape by this - the camera is no more difficult to use than a camera with less resolution when viewed at the same relative size." Too True!
I've had my D800e for several months now and absolutely love it.
There are some drawbacks! File Size Processing Time Computer Refresh
File size obviously is much larger being 36MP - especially RAW (which i shoot almost exclusively - compressed lossless helps)
Big files take longer - importing into LR5, or even exporting when done to JPG for the web... A good USB3.0 card reader and fast CF/SD cards really help here.
Your computer from just a couple years ago can easily start showing their age. I'm a computer guy, and have multiple high end systems (laptop/Desktop, etc.), and definitely can see it slow down appreciably when doing HDR merge or Pano's, etc. Big files and a lot of Processing power needed.
Or patience - which i'm remarkably short on it seems...
My .02! I'm continually stunned at the IQ and capability of the d800 and don't regret it at all!!
I find the D800E easier to use than my much-loved D300: the focal-length sensitive auto iso, the high-iso performance, and it has even more on-body control than the d300. The performance is wonderful and I am finding my shots need less post-processing than those from the d300.
Downsides? Nothing new here: huge files, needs new batteries, and bigger storage media. Oh, and I hope that you are lucky and get one with a flash housing that doesn't rattle.
Yes, files are large, but my D700 files were larger than those from my previous Nikons -- D1X, D100 and D200. That's just a fact of life. So I don't call it a downside -- any more than if you bought a new computer and kept an old camera. You would not be able to say your computer was limited because your camera wasn't new.
You'll love either the D800 or 800E. Pay attention to people using these cameras -- and not to people looking for reasons not to use them.
I love my D800, but I was a bit surprised at how heavy it is, at least compared with my D90. It is a bit of a problem for my 80 year old muscles and back to carry the camera and three lenses, together with an adequate tripod. I suffer from spinal stenosis, so I carry the equipment on a walker.
Leonard Evens Professor Emeritus, Department of Mathematics, Northwestern University
I would like to add to the IQ comment. When I moved up to the D7100, it really showed my the flaws in my shooting technique. If you're a pixel peeper like me, you'll see movement that you wouldn't see in a lower resolution sensor. A tripod and the VC/VR of the lenses really takes care of most of that. It didn't take long to improve.
I also have the Tamron 24-70mm VC and am VERY impressed with the images it produces with the D800e.
I also use the Nikon 28-300mm VRII for my walk-around lens, so it stays on the camera most of the time. The other lenses are for specific tasks.
The only other thing I'll say is that since getting the D800e, I've had to go to Wal-Mart almost every week to buy socks - every time I use the camera, it BLOWS MY SOCKS OFF!
You won't be disappointed. It is heavy, but that is the only drawback I know of. The big surprise is how forgiving the images are when shooting raw; you can retrieve shadow detail that a lesser sensor would lose.
>I've played with it in the shop. I wish it was a bit bigger >and heavier. My idea of perfect is a F4S. I'd rather put the >cost of the grip towards a lens. >
A lot of excellent comments here about points to be aware of without diminishing the pleasure of the D800/E experience.
I'm intrigued by your 'wish it could be bigger and heavier' statement. We usually hear a wish list for great ergonomics and balance - but lighter is usually better. I have large hands and appreciate good grip points and a sturdy feel, but I've definitely reached the point that lighter is better. So a couple of suggestions to consider:
When I got my D800, I kept my D7000. I like the DX format for FOV for wildlife and birds (we don't know what you like to shoot) and I like the fact that the D7000 with lenses is smaller and lighter for travel. I currently prefer the Nikon 16-85 for a walking around lens with a 35/1.8 for low light as a travel kit.
It seems to me the optional battery pack/grip should satisfy your need for a bigger grip area, somewhat heavier, but still nicely balanced system. You can try it out. The Nikon MB-D12 is more expensive than a few select lenses, but this would be a long term investment in how your camera system feels to you.
You can read about the D800/E construction on Nikon sites. I'm not an expert on weather sealing and fortunately don't have drop/impact experience (yet). In my part of the country, dust is always a consideration that I don't take lightly. Weather proofing of the lens is a separate consideration. Suggest you do scan the Nikonians site for drop/impact experience. My impression is that lenses and camera connection points do not suffer impact gracefully. For these reasons, I tend to err on the side of caution.
The shift forward in CG is a common factor in any handling differences between items, from kitchen knives to golf clubs or tennis rackets and we instantly compensate without thinking by finding the new CG. I do not have large lenses but my walking around lens is a 70-200 2.8 and never consider it better balanced on the D800 than my D90, both identical after the .05 seconds needed to react to counter forward weight shift. It simply means a slight, maybe a 1/2 inch different in support point. If we did not have that hardwiring of our brains to find a GG, we never would be able to stand, run or walk. I keep hearing about "balance is better on a heavy camera" and could never figure out what they mean. Are they trying to single hand shooting, where are they putting their left hand? The only time I ever felt a camera imbalanced on a lens was trying to hand hold Nikonian Peter in San Jose's 400 2.8, with a 2.0 TC on a V1. My left arm was hardly long enough to reach a balance. But the little song bird in the backyard came out great. Using a hand strap, even shooting one handed in events with the 70-200/D800 or D7000/D90 works fine but not so well with ungripped use of any of those bodies. Stan St Petersburg Russia
Sun 24-Nov-13 09:56 PM | edited Sun 24-Nov-13 09:57 PM by ajdooley
I don't think balance is any better on a heavier camera. Perhaps up to a point, "handholdability" is -- inertia and all. But a long lens and heavy body do get too heavy for hand holding after awhile. But weight is something to be endured and dealt with if it delivers what we want for what we do. From my military days, my philosophy was always not to bring anything I couldn't haul myself.
Tue 26-Nov-13 02:04 AM | edited Tue 26-Nov-13 02:07 AM by jamesvoortman
For me, the greatest drawback is that only another costly D800 is worthy of being the back-up body to this magnificent camera. The detail in the images and the low light capability make it difficult to consciously select any other camera body when I feel the need to take some pics.
Given that you have a bunch of excellent FX lenses why wait till after Christmas?
>For me, the greatest drawback is that only another costly >D800 is worthy of being the back-up body to this magnificent >camera. The detail in the images and the low light capability >make it difficult to consciously select any other camera body >when I feel the need to take some pics. > >Given that you have a bunch of excellent FX lenses why wait >till after Christmas?
D610/D600. Detail is almost as good. Low light capability much better. Faster frame rate.
The only downside for me was finding out how sloppy my technique had become, I moved from a D200 which was/ is a fine camera but more forgiving. All in all the move has been good for me as an amature who shoots mostly street and documentary. I find I can wring a lot more detail out of those images as long as I pay attention to the basics.
I would say file size can be a draw back . I think a 32 gb card holds 300 - 400 RAW files . If you shoot action or Wildlife , it's easy to spray and pray . Your next purchases Will be SD cards and hard drives . While the large NEF files choke Most processors when editing , the jpegs are good for 95% of all Work .
I upgraded from the D7000 to the D800 in February (2013). I keep the D7000 as a back-up as sometimes I want the 1.5 crop factor and they share the same battery which means only one charger. The D800's resolution and ability to crop is phenomenal. Watch out for the left focus point issue; I had that problem and sent my camera back to Nikon to be re-calibrated. Otherwise, I love it!
>I upgraded from the D7000 to the D800 in February (2013). I >keep the D7000 as a back-up
That's basically what I intend to do. I bought the 28mm F/1.8 to leave on the 7000. I've been volunteered to photograph some events this summer. Having the 7000 for a backup will give me a bit of a safety margin if the worst happens.