Nikon D800 Review – Preview

d800-review-brighton-sussex-photographer-headshots-commercial-freelanceSo it’s almost here, the much awaited and talked about Nikon D800 (cue angels singing and flashes of lightening). So many forums and photographers have been literally wetting their pants over the release of this new camera from Nikon, and possibly for good reason. On paper it looks astonishing with 36 megapixels on a full-frame sensor and an iso range the same as the legendary D700.

Of course so few have actually done a full sweaty-hands-on real-life review of the camera yet, but knowing Nikon and using their professional equipment for many years now it seems unlikely that it will be anything but bloody brilliant. Now we all know (we do know this right?) that it’s not the camera but the photographer that makes a great image. I still have amazing shots I took with my first 35mm film camera – a basic Olympus OM1 (back when Julius Caesar was still just starting out as a salad chef and the Roman Empire was but a doodle on the back of an envelope) and also that there are rubbish amateurs who use £20,000 medium-format cameras to produce out-of-focus images of their dogs.

But still, ain’t technology amazing and as a pro I always want to see what the manufacturers are producing, and how that can influence the final product I give to clients.

So to the D800. Aside from the enormous mega-pixel count, which is three times their current D700 and an iso range of 100-25,000 there is also a new Exspeed 3 processor, 51 point AF system useable down to -2EV, full 1080 HD movie, larger LCD screen, a 25MP crop mode and so much more. And for the (actually quite reasonable) price of £2400.

At the moment I use D700 and D3s cameras, both of which have 12MP full-frame sensors. These cameras are a total joy to use and produce beautiful image-files, especially when used with my lovely pro lenses. The quality of the pixels is so good that it is no trouble to blow-up the final images to poster size and larger without any loss of quality. I have used the cameras for shoots in the Sudanese desert at 40 degrees, in Madagascan rainforests at 95% humidity, in studios with no heating and minus 10 degrees outside, and on Brighton Pier with slightly greasy fingers (good old fish and chips) and they have never once let me down.

So, I don’t need another camera but I am sorely tempted by this new D800 for studio and slow-paced work, especially when shooting portraits, headshots and fashion, where the D800 will possibly give even more dynamic range than the amazing cameras I already use.

Lets see when they finally hit the streets of Sussex and we start to see real-world tests, and then I’ll think about placing an order for one…..


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