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Picture Controls

The Nikon D800 offers six Picture Control color response presets, shown in the table below. These presets can be applied prior to image capture when shooting in JPEG-only mode. If you're shooting in a Raw-enabled mode, they can also be applied post-capture via the camera's Retouch menu.

Standard Neutral Vivid Monochrome Portrait Landscape

Within each of the six Picture Control options you can make adjustments to sharpening, contrast, brightness, saturation and hue settings.

For each Picture Control you can make adjustments to the image settings shown at right. The 'quick adjust' option (unavailable in Neutral and Monochrome modes) triggers preset grouped adjustments for the five sliders below it.

Auto ISO sensitivity

The D800 features an improved set of auto ISO sensitivity parameters compared to the D700. You can now enable ISO Auto Control directly by pressing the ISO button while rotating the camera's front dial, rather than having to delve into the menu. As on the D700, you can define the maximum sensitivity the camera will select in the shooting menu. In addition, you can specify a fixed, minimum shutter speed value to ensure sharp pictures - this is generally most useful when you need a high shutter speed to freeze motion.

The D800's new trick is an Auto option for minimum shutter speed. In this mode - provided you are using a modern 'CPU' lens which transmits data to the camera - the D800 automatically sets a minimum shutter speed value based on the focal length of the attached lens. This comes in particularly handy when shooting with zoom lenses. In the examples below, the camera was set to aperture-priority mode with maximum ISO sensitivity set to 6400. As you can see, at four different focal lengths the ISO was adjusted to allow roughly a '1 over focal length' shutter speed.

24mm, 1/25s at f/8, ISO 640 35mm, 1/40s at f/8, ISO 1400
50mm, 1/50s at f/8, ISO 2500 70mm, 1/80s at f/8, ISO 5000

You can even fine-tune the automatic shutter speed selection. There is an adjustment slider in the sub-menu for 'Auto minimum shutter speed' that ranges from 'slower' to 'faster' in 5 steps. This lets you bias the camera towards higher shutter speeds of approximately 2x and 4x the current focal length, or to lower shutter speed values of roughly 0.5x and 0.25x the current focal length. This former is useful for freezing action with high shutter speeds (or simply minimizing any chance of camera shake with non-VR lenses), the latter for taking maximum advantage of image stabilization to keep ISOs as low as possible.

In the ISO sensitivity menus you can specify the range of ISO values from which the camera can select. With the minimum shutter speed set to 'Auto' the camera will use the focal length of the currently mounted lens to determine a hand-holdable shutter speed. An 'Auto' sub-menu (highlighted here in yellow) allows you to bias the camera towards choosing slower or faster shutter speeds for any given focal length.

Crop modes

In addition to its native full frame FX mode, the D800 gives you the option of shooting in DX format (1.5x crop) and 1.2x crops as well as a 5:4 aspect ratio. In the examples below, you can see the differences in angle of view these crops provide with the camera in a fixed position.

FX (full frame) mode 1.2x crop mode DX (1.5x) crop mode 5:4 crop mode

By default, the camera also enables an Auto DX crop option which means the viewfinder will automatically include DX formatted framelines when a DX lens is attached. In live view, the preview is adjusted so that the selected format fills the screen, although choosing a 5:4 format on the 3:2 ratio LCD necessarily leads to vertical black borders on the sides of the display.

DX Crop Mode

The D800 is compatible with DX lenses, designed for the APS-C format, and while this isn't a new feature, it is far more useful than it has been in previous FX format Nikon DSLRS. The D700 could accept DX format lenses, but resolution dropped to 5MP. The D800, by comparison, can capture 15MP images in the 1.5x crop DX format - a far more usable resolution (and not far off the native resolution of the DX format D7000). 

By default, the D800's DX-format mode is activated automatically when a DX lens is mounted. It can also be manually selected when an FX lens is mounted. As on the D700, the boundary of the DX frame is indicated in the viewfinder by a black rectangle. In DX mode, the D800's 51-point AF array (shown here) covers a majority of the DX format image area.

Besides a respectable output resolution, another benefit of the DX format is that in this mode the D800's AF array covers almost the entire image area. The continuous shooting rate is also faster, 5 fps rather than 4 fps. This has obvious appeal for certain types of photography, perhaps most obviously sports and wildlife. 

D800, AF-S Nikkor 17-55mm /f2.8 DX ISO 200, 640sec, f/8 D800, AF-S Nikkor 17-55mm /f2.8 DX ISO 250, 200sec, f/9
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Comments

Total comments: 11
bdenize
By bdenize (1 month ago)

I just got my D800 2 days ago, coming from D7000.
I do not own the very expensive lenses everyone say to be the "MUST" on the D800/E. And that was my very big concern about getting this camera.
I tested it with my 70-300VR and even with my 24-85 AFD. It works just GREAT !
Maybe I unconsciously take a bit more care in holding the camera when shooting. But that is the point also for every amateur... improving the technique.
Still, IMHO... I am very happy I didn't go for the smaller D610. Worth every penny I spent for it. I am VERY happy I did it.
I did my homework of course, and checked the left AF points. All is fine for me.
I found the shutter noise to be a bit kinky compared to D7000... not as "smooth" but it seems normal for FX.
If you are Amateur, go for it and be happy if your budget allows it. You will certainly be with the D800, no matter you need or don't the extra mpx. It is a monster.

Comment edited 51 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
calicam
By calicam (2 months ago)

I agree that to take full advantage of the D800E quality, it demands extra care when shooting and using the best lenses. I'm looking at the Sony A7R for a possible future purchase, maybe easier when backpacking. I also don't care for the very curvy, roundish look of the Nikon and Canon offerings.

0 upvotes
scottstensland
By scottstensland (3 months ago)

the ON/OFF switch on D800E is less ergonomically pleasing than D300

0 upvotes
aquadream
By aquadream (4 months ago)

The review states that best results are obtained from D800/E if best (most expensive) lenses are used, which sounds a bit like a drawback. My experience shows the opposite. Nikon D800E shines the brightest over any other camera I have used when I use just simple plastic zooms like Nikon 28-80/3.3-5.6G
I was not able to get ever sharper immages with any Canon using superior prime lenses than the images I get from nikon D800E with the nikon 28-80/3.3-5.6G lens.
Perhaps the best D800E results will be with the best lenses there are. I also have Nikon 85/1.4G, no questions there. This lens is so sharp that manages to exite some moire and aliasing even when shooting grass.
However D800E produces superior image quality over anything else even with cheap lenses.

I could post some examples.

0 upvotes
mufflon
By mufflon (3 months ago)

sound interesting -> i will test that too :)

0 upvotes
munro harrap
By munro harrap (4 months ago)

There seems to be a kind of failure to realize that the D800 responds very much faster to use than does the 5D MkIII, and that it does not degrade images as do the 5D MkII and 5D MkIII series.
There's no point having the resolution if the 5D Mk II and III smooth away all low contrast detail as they do- certainly in Raw files as well as Jpeg in the 5D MkII.

I would not advise anyone to buy such a camera whose shutter lag is also much greater than its peers. An Old 1Ds is a much better bet if you are a Canon fan, much. No degradation to fine detail (which happens at ALL isos and much much faster response-same as D800 in custom function mode.

I bought a 5D MkII. I was appalled at what it did to the images and the Jpegs are a disgrace-worse than the Basic level off a Nikon with all detail mushed. Well, if you want that, and the finest detail turned to mush in 5dMkII and MkIII RAW files too , as now Dpreview admit(years too late), go ahead, but the D800 is just SO much better -it just is.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
SASpurr
By SASpurr (5 months ago)

In the 'Final Word' subsection of the 'Overall Conclusions' section it states:-

"Yet, I'd caution anyone who considers buying the D800 or D800E solely, or even primarily because of their ultra-high resolution. Pushing these cameras to achieve their maximum level of detail requires an investment of both time (methodical preparation) and money (the very best lenses Nikon makes)."

The part about which I would like clarification is "...requires an investment of both time...". Is the author referring to additional tasks over and above what one would 'normally' do in taking a picture? If so what are these tasks?
Or does it refer to care in the conduct of normal tasks: use of tripod, select correct depth of field/aperture, exposure delay and remote control to reduce vibration, switch off image stabilisation??

1 upvote
Joed700
By Joed700 (3 months ago)

The only reason you want this camera is because you plan to present your photos or make BIG prints. Of course, shooting RAW at all time. You probably want to invest in prime lenses or good zoom like 24-70mm f2.8 or 80-200mm f2.8; 50mm f1.8g... Also, purchasing a photo processing program is a must, like CS6 or similar. If you are a causal shooter who doesn't care about post processing, you are better off getting the D610 for full frame or D7100, D5300...and shoot jpegs.

Also, you really don't need a tripod in many situations. I think Nikon was trying to emphasize the pixel power of this camera by telling people to shoot at a higher shutter speed...

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
YogiGX20
By YogiGX20 (2 months ago)

When digital cameras reached 14 MP, with the first being the Pentax K20D, criticism was raised, that lenses won't cope. It's now crept up to 24MP for APS-C and the sensors are praised for their detailed pictures. Makes me wonder how great all these new kit lenses must be??? Or it was all just a media hype?
Using a DX lens on a D800 brings the resolution down to about 15MP which is roughly the same pixel pitch as a Nikon D7000 or Pentax K5 - it is also considered the best compromise between pixel size and resolution. So a D800 is basically a full frame version of a 16MP APS-C sensor as far as I understand it.
I think you do need much better glass for a D7100 or D5300 (than a D800) to get the best out of the sensor and a much steadier hand (or fast shutter speeds) for really sharp pictures. Such a high amount of photo sites will pick up any lens movement ....
I reckon if Nikon also produced a "D800" with a 24MP sensor, it'd be more appealing to a wider audience.

1 upvote
Mike Davis
By Mike Davis (6 months ago)

Regarding the excellent demo of diffraction's impact at various f-stops, on page 25 of this review, where is the photo showing what could have been accomplished using Photoshop ACR sharpening against an f/4 RAW file?

I would very much like to compare sharpening of the f/4 RAW file to sharpening of the f/22 RAW file. Surely, a silk purse made from silk would be more attractive than a silk purse made from a pig's ear.

Link to page 25 of this review: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikon-d800-d800e/25

Mike

0 upvotes
arhmatic
By arhmatic (6 months ago)

Maybe it's just me, but I see this camesas looking more and more like a melted soap bar. I miss the days when bodies had straight, clean lines. They were also much smaller, for the same full frame film...

2 upvotes
Total comments: 11