Best value for money

Started May 19, 2012 | User reviews thread
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Hussam
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Best value for money
May 19, 2012

I'm a photo enthusiast, and photograph with many cameras all the time. I've been a D700 user since it was announced (July 2008), and I pre-ordered the D800 the minute it was announced.

The D800 is a FANTASTIC camera. It's slightly lighter than the D700, which accounts for a huge difference to me. I use the camera primarily handheld, and in low light situations (high ISO). The camera is impressive in every regard. It is fast, sharp, and ergonomically fit.

I love to photograph my family with the D800, because those memories will be preserved forever! This camera has enough resolution that my children can use it in future slideshows when 8K video (32 megapixels) becomes standard!

The 36 megapixel sensor is very impressive. Be prepared to employ all your photographic techniques if you want the very best out of this sensor: best lenses, low ISO, fast shutter, optimal aperture, tripod, shutter delay / mirror up, remote cable release, and live view. This is not the rule, but a mere recommendation. I personally shoot my D800 handheld all the time, and I've been impressed.

The camera has so much detail that I can see myself in people's eyes all the time! It's a little scary actually, because you can actually see behind the camera in the subject's eye reflection.

This is my first DSLR with video, so I'm not an authority here, but I expect I'll only use video in setting where focus is relatively fixed. The camera produces beautiful footage when viewed on a Full HD screen. The built-in mono mic is more impressive than one would think; however, I still prefer to use an external stereo mic (Tascam + Sescom LN2MIC) and monitor using headphones (Audio-Technica).

Compared with the D700, here's what I think:
Pros:
* Lighter - feels great in the hand.
* Auto ISO - both the improved feature, as well as being able to enable/disable Auto ISO using the ISO button itself.
* Useful Live View - I've actually never used the one on the D700 - it was that bad.
* Fast SD slot - finally. I can now transfer the pictures directly to my MacBook Pro (or PC) without having to use an external card reader.
* Super fast USB 3, but I don't have a USB3 computer to test it.
* Dedicated BKT button, now I can free up the Fn. button to actually use it.
* Quick Picture Control button - yay!!
* Improved self-timer function; however, it still cannot be combined with a shooting mode.
* Face recognition during focus (shooting) and playback. I use this all the time.
* Amazing JPEGs. I hardly shoot RAW anyway, because the JPEGs are soooooo good.
* Works with Eye-Fi Pro X2 SDHC card, and in Direct Mode as well.

Cons:
* The rear thumb handle is slightly recessed compared with the D700, which worries me sometimes that the camera will slip from my hand - it hasn't!
* The LCD color is slightly different than the D700. I don't think it's bad, it just needs some getting used to. It actually matches the image on my screen more closely - which is a good thing.
* Combined Autofocus button. The implementation is actually quite good, it just needs some time to get used to.
* The "Quiet" mode is not at all quiet. The 5DmkIII is superior in this regard. However, you can keep holding the shutter button to lower the mirror when you're out of the Quiet zone. Still lame, though.
* The new dedicated video record button is too close to the "mode" button. I wish the record button was further down.
* The Zoom (magnifying glass) and un-zoom buttons are swapped compared with the D700! Why Nikon, why?

I'm in love with this camera and this form factor, and I'll buy it again and again.

Problems:

I use a 64GB Lexar SDXC 600x UHS-I card on my Nikon D800. And while it works great on the D800, my MacBook Pro (15", 2011) running OS X Lion (10.7.4) has a problem reading the SDXC card at times. It's intermittent, inconsistent and sporadic! I can't predict when and how it happens. The error messages I receive range from unable to mount the volume, to unable to read/copy.

Luckily, every time I re-insert the card into the D800, it works just fine - so no data loss, or filesystem corruption.

So after repeated attempts of re-inserting the SDXC card in my MacBook Pro (and waits in between), OS X eventually can read the images/videos, and I can copy it off the SDXC card. I believe the problem has to do with how Nikon formats its ExFAT filesystem. I'll try to format using the official "SD Formatter" and see if that makes a difference.

Hussam's score
5.0
Average community score
4.6
bad for good for
Kids / pets
great
Action / sports
acceptable
Landscapes / scenery
excellent
Portraits
excellent
Low light (without flash)
good
Flash photography (social)
great
Studio / still life
excellent
= community average
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