My review as an amateur user of the Nikon D800

Started Oct 4, 2019 | User reviews
Giovanni_1968
Giovanni_1968 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,143
My review as an amateur user of the Nikon D800
8

Before jumping into the Full Frame universe I was a happy enough DX shooter, I actually loved, and still do when I use it, my Fuji S5Pro, I already had a few F mount lenses and the transaction to the D800 was a rewarding big challenge, I had to re-learn the basics and it sure made of me a better amateur than I was and I am sure it will push me further and further along this journey photography being.

I never experimented with all the tons of features the camera offers, I am kind of a film shooter, central point AF (yes, even the left ones work correctly so far), no burst, no C-AF, no Matrix... well, I ended up trying AF-C, I decoupled the shutter off the AF button, customized the WB a bit but at the end nothing grand.

I like to shoot semi candid portraits and the AF speed has never been a problem not even with my screw driven lenses, the sensor is amazing, I never push ISO to stellar levels, actually I limited Auto ISO to 3.200 but in not too weird light conditions it does pretty well, again, no need for 5 digits ISO as well as no 11fps; for landscape use it is just great, 36MP give lot of room for cropping and still print BIIIIIIIG, hard to burn highlights (and, believe you me, with the S-CCD sensor of the Fuji S5Pro highlights have never been a problem), shadows always easy to recover, Dynamic Range is there, hard to expect more and I guess that nonetheless the D810 and D850 are sure improved they only have a small margin in regards to DR but rather more whistles and bells, sure a faster AF and burst as well as a more silent shutter but the D800 was and still is a monster camera.

Sport wise I can't tell much, my tele lenses are screw driven and never did any serious attempt at fast moving action, AF-C is not really my field of action, when I do I keep using single point AF and even with a limited 4fps I never missed my son hitting the ball when playing tennis.

Portraits wise it just is a perfect tool, to get better results it only takes better lenses than those I own, I don't shoot posed or studio but rather natural light and semi candid and it never missed a shot, AF accuracy, again, spot on with both AF-S and AF-D lenses, skin and eye details are amazing nonetheless the trend to remove the AA filter, just a great tool.

Landscape, ok, sit the camera on a tripod, switch to Manual and have fun whilst relaxing while enjoying the scenery, 36MP give plenty of room for cropping and, again, the Dynamic Range allows to recover shadows where (and if) necessary, to make it a better landscape camera, in my case, it needs better lenses (where I still fail).

Ergonomics is perfect to me for a D-SLR, everything is handy, no need to go through menus to change most needed settings, for me the important is to have ISO dial, metering and exp compensation quickly available and they are all right there, can do it all without to take the eye off the viewfinder.

Can it get better? It sure can and in fact they did with the D810 and then the D850 but, in my opinion, it was a matter of refinement of a very good base, the extra MP is not what would lead me to an upgrade, a faster burst would make of the D800 the perfect camera (FOR ME) the D850 is.

Long life to the D800!!!

-- hide signature --

Giovanni - 70% GAS affected
http://www.flickr.com/photos/giovanniaprea/
Nikon D800 - Nikon D2Xs - Fuji X-Pro1 - Fuji S5Pro - Nikon F - Nikon F3
J.A. Michell Gyrodec - Audio Research SP-9 - Aeron AP-890 - JBL4311B
JN70CN - 14.14.30E 40.32.40N

 Giovanni_1968's gear list:Giovanni_1968's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro Nikon D2Xs Nikon D800 Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 60mm F2.8G ED Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D +16 more
Nikon D800
36 megapixels • 3.2 screen • Full frame sensor
Announced: Feb 7, 2012
Giovanni_1968's score
4.5
Average community score
4.6
bad for good for
Kids / pets
good
Action / sports
good
Landscapes / scenery
excellent
Portraits
excellent
Low light (without flash)
good
Flash photography (social)
unrated
Studio / still life
unrated
= community average
Nikon D800
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
Mark_A
Mark_A Forum Pro • Posts: 16,076
Re: My review as an amateur user of the Nikon D800
1

Giovanni_1968 wrote:

..

Long life to the D800!!!

Hi Giovanni,

I also changed to a D800 from a Fuji, in my case the S2.

I agree with what you have said, I love my D800 - and it is a big step up in image quality and in performance as a camera over my Fuji.

Long live the D800 indeed!

And they must be one of the best value used purchases that there are at the moment.

Mark_A

gnet158 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,040
Re: My review as an amateur user of the Nikon D800
4

I've been very fortunate to be able buy, test, resell for profits the following FX cameras:

D700, D800, D3, D4, D850, and back to a deal on a D800E & D3 that I couldn't pass. I could never duplicate the "3D look" I got when using fast glass like anything F1.4.  And to me the output from my D800 seems to be just a good as my (now sold) D850.  For the $$$ the D800/E can't be beat.

Sure, not the latest or greatest but I don't make a living at this "yet" and having money in my pocket for glass is always nice.

-- hide signature --

I got to get out and shoot more.

 gnet158's gear list:gnet158's gear list
Nikon D3 Nikon D200 Nikon D7100 Nikon Z6 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Special Edition +3 more
Giovanni_1968
OP Giovanni_1968 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,143
Re: My review as an amateur user of the Nikon D800
1

Let's be honest, we can't expect Nikon to sit there and keeping produce D800s, they sure last longer than any of our smartphones don't they? Ok, I use an iPhone 7+ and there is a brand new 8+ in the drawer, do I need it? Does it do anything the old one doesn't do? It's a phone, I replaced the battery and till it fails it does everything I expect off a mobile phone, damn, my MacBookAir has 256GB storage, my iPhone got the same!!!

So, it sure does the D850 a better camera with a higher burst, the touch screen (I am waiting for girls to be touch screen and look for that Airplane mode button...), Wi-Fi (does it have Wi-Fi and WhatsApp?), the faster buffer, the extra MP (30% more, correct?), the fancier C-AF modes, the tillable screen (ouch, can't twist it to the front to sit it on a selfie stick with a fisheye to replace the cheapo GoPro...), yes, if I had the money I'd get one and am sure that in a year or two I will have to, no matter how much I cherish the D800 it has been lasting quite long, maybe it has like 60K actuations on the shutter but, hey, it's high tech and it's not supposed to last that long not to say I don'w want Nikon clerks to go work for Canon!!!

Lunga vita D800!!!

-- hide signature --

Giovanni - 70% GAS affected
http://www.flickr.com/photos/giovanniaprea/
Nikon D800 - Nikon D2Xs - Fuji X-Pro1 - Fuji S5Pro - Nikon F - Nikon F3
J.A. Michell Gyrodec - Audio Research SP-9 - Aeron AP-890 - JBL4311B
JN70CN - 14.14.30E 40.32.40N

 Giovanni_1968's gear list:Giovanni_1968's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro Nikon D2Xs Nikon D800 Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 60mm F2.8G ED Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D +16 more
Andreascy
Andreascy Contributing Member • Posts: 862
Re: My review as an amateur user of the Nikon D800

Giovanni_1968 wrote:

Before jumping into the Full Frame universe I was a happy enough DX shooter, I actually loved, and still do when I use it, my Fuji S5Pro, I already had a few F mount lenses and the transaction to the D800 was a rewarding big challenge, I had to re-learn the basics and it sure made of me a better amateur than I was and I am sure it will push me further and further along this journey photography being.

I never experimented with all the tons of features the camera offers, I am kind of a film shooter, central point AF (yes, even the left ones work correctly so far), no burst, no C-AF, no Matrix... well, I ended up trying AF-C, I decoupled the shutter off the AF button, customized the WB a bit but at the end nothing grand.

I like to shoot semi candid portraits and the AF speed has never been a problem not even with my screw driven lenses, the sensor is amazing, I never push ISO to stellar levels, actually I limited Auto ISO to 3.200 but in not too weird light conditions it does pretty well, again, no need for 5 digits ISO as well as no 11fps; for landscape use it is just great, 36MP give lot of room for cropping and still print BIIIIIIIG, hard to burn highlights (and, believe you me, with the S-CCD sensor of the Fuji S5Pro highlights have never been a problem), shadows always easy to recover, Dynamic Range is there, hard to expect more and I guess that nonetheless the D810 and D850 are sure improved they only have a small margin in regards to DR but rather more whistles and bells, sure a faster AF and burst as well as a more silent shutter but the D800 was and still is a monster camera.

Sport wise I can't tell much, my tele lenses are screw driven and never did any serious attempt at fast moving action, AF-C is not really my field of action, when I do I keep using single point AF and even with a limited 4fps I never missed my son hitting the ball when playing tennis.

Portraits wise it just is a perfect tool, to get better results it only takes better lenses than those I own, I don't shoot posed or studio but rather natural light and semi candid and it never missed a shot, AF accuracy, again, spot on with both AF-S and AF-D lenses, skin and eye details are amazing nonetheless the trend to remove the AA filter, just a great tool.

Landscape, ok, sit the camera on a tripod, switch to Manual and have fun whilst relaxing while enjoying the scenery, 36MP give plenty of room for cropping and, again, the Dynamic Range allows to recover shadows where (and if) necessary, to make it a better landscape camera, in my case, it needs better lenses (where I still fail).

Ergonomics is perfect to me for a D-SLR, everything is handy, no need to go through menus to change most needed settings, for me the important is to have ISO dial, metering and exp compensation quickly available and they are all right there, can do it all without to take the eye off the viewfinder.

Can it get better? It sure can and in fact they did with the D810 and then the D850 but, in my opinion, it was a matter of refinement of a very good base, the extra MP is not what would lead me to an upgrade, a faster burst would make of the D800 the perfect camera (FOR ME) the D850 is.

Long life to the D800!!!

hello giovani.  i own too the fuji s5 , its great camera , and have this unique beautiful colors. this camera will be always in my bag and never been sold. i also own a nikon d700. The difference is big. the nikon D700 is better camera in every way except the colors and the dynamic range in high light recovery. I would say to you that having the d800 ( i never had but  had the d610) its much better camera in everyway. except fuji sensor will be always unique and fuji s5 still will be the king in highlight recovery. i made a comparison comparing fuji s5 d700 and d610 highlight recovery, and fuji s5 pass easy even the d610 that has much improved sensor. finally i sold my d610 because , d700 body is much better, and it has anything that you want, professional body, plenty of buttons , AF always accurate, and 12mp sensor that producing very good image quality. after having the better sensor of d610, i understood that for my type of shooting,( portraits and landscape) i dont need big files . Although are better for cropping i dont need to crop very often. Although is better in high iso , i hardly shoot more than 1600, and from other side smaller files very easy to store  and better for me.  I believe the fuji s5 always will be a special camera, but sometimes you will need a fast camera with good AF , better screen for viewing the images and more responding camera. so the d800 i think it has place in your bag along with the fuji s5

 Andreascy's gear list:Andreascy's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro Nikon D700 Olympus OM-D E-M10 Olympus OM-D E-M10 II Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH +9 more
straitouttahell
straitouttahell Contributing Member • Posts: 529
Re: My review as an amateur user of the Nikon D800

It's interesting that both you and the OP write about "high light recovery". With the "new" Nikon/Sony sensors, I find it easier to just underexpose and then recover the shadows. It's incredibile how much you can pull up from the shadows with little penalty of noise and colour loss.

Am I missing something?

 straitouttahell's gear list:straitouttahell's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH Nikon D70 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 II +2 more
Andreascy
Andreascy Contributing Member • Posts: 862
Re: My review as an amateur user of the Nikon D800

straitouttahell wrote:

It's interesting that both you and the OP write about "high light recovery". With the "new" Nikon/Sony sensors, I find it easier to just underexpose and then recover the shadows. It's incredibile how much you can pull up from the shadows with little penalty of noise and colour loss.

Am I missing something?

The Fuji S5 real power is on highlights. You can overexposure an image and then is amazing how much you can recover back even comparing with newer sensor.

see my test in previous topic

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/63308592

 Andreascy's gear list:Andreascy's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro Nikon D700 Olympus OM-D E-M10 Olympus OM-D E-M10 II Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH +9 more
Gergob New Member • Posts: 9
Re: My review as an amateur user of the Nikon D800

I know successful wedding photographers that shot DX and print at Walmart. If the D800 does what you need, don't spend more money. For others however the D850 was a game changer. One such example is astrophotography, especially time-lapses. 90% of the D850 users will never attempt a holy grail time-lapse, yet for some it is the first camera that could do it right.

5 years ago I used to think that my Canon 5D Mark II with the 70-200 F2.8 v2 was still a pinnacle of technology, then my iPhone 7 captures images with high dynamic range that the "fancy" Canon could not reproduce.

straitouttahell
straitouttahell Contributing Member • Posts: 529
Re: My review as an amateur user of the Nikon D800

Andreascy wrote:

straitouttahell wrote:

It's interesting that both you and the OP write about "high light recovery". With the "new" Nikon/Sony sensors, I find it easier to just underexpose and then recover the shadows. It's incredibile how much you can pull up from the shadows with little penalty of noise and colour loss.

Am I missing something?

The Fuji S5 real power is on highlights. You can overexposure an image and then is amazing how much you can recover back even comparing with newer sensor.

see my test in previous topic

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/63308592

I remember reading that post.

The results are interesting indeed, but I don't understand why I would bother to recover the highlights when I could underexpose by 2 or 3 stops and recover the shadows. The D610 is pretty good at it, as is the D800.

It's not a provocation, just plain curiosity.

 straitouttahell's gear list:straitouttahell's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH Nikon D70 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 II +2 more
Andreascy
Andreascy Contributing Member • Posts: 862
Re: My review as an amateur user of the Nikon D800

straitouttahell wrote:

Andreascy wrote:

straitouttahell wrote:

It's interesting that both you and the OP write about "high light recovery". With the "new" Nikon/Sony sensors, I find it easier to just underexpose and then recover the shadows. It's incredibile how much you can pull up from the shadows with little penalty of noise and colour loss.

Am I missing something?

The Fuji S5 real power is on highlights. You can overexposure an image and then is amazing how much you can recover back even comparing with newer sensor.

see my test in previous topic

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/63308592

I remember reading that post.

The results are interesting indeed, but I don't understand why I would bother to recover the highlights when I could underexpose by 2 or 3 stops and recover the shadows. The D610 is pretty good at it, as is the D800.

It's not a provocation, just plain curiosity.

I would say that Fuji S5 is a daytime camera. HIgh iso performance is really bad, and is a slow camera. Its a camera that cant compare with today cameras in speed, AF etc but there are some things that are making this camera special. The first is that is the only camera with a Fuji sensor that accepts nikon lenses. The other thing is the Fuji sensor and the beautiful colors OOC and the ability of this sensor to recover much highlights . So I have this camera not because of the highlight recover but for the sensor and the colors. For people like me that  shooting 99/100 in bright light, highlight recovery are more important . i dont mean that shadows recovery are non important , but for my type of photography is interesting to know that this camera can recover so much in highlights. About history .. this camera was intended for wedding photographers . taking metering the grooming black costume they could get the wife dress overexposed. and then they could bring back highlights very easily.

 Andreascy's gear list:Andreascy's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro Nikon D700 Olympus OM-D E-M10 Olympus OM-D E-M10 II Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH +9 more
Michael Firstlight Veteran Member • Posts: 3,990
I bought a D850....
2

I bought a D850 (I sort of got it for free after realizing I had enough reward points I had long forgotten to redeem for Amazon gift cards LOL).  I love the D850 - just wow, but I'll never sell my D800.  In fact, I can't believe they sell in mint condion on eBay for around $700USD-  that's a freaking steal for 36MPs great DR and low noise plus many other timeless and useful features!

I'm even thinking of eventually picking up second D800 to convert to IR which would make even one with a left focus point issue (which were actually pretty rare), a moot point since its best to use Live View when focusing and shooting IR.

MFL

 Michael Firstlight's gear list:Michael Firstlight's gear list
Nikon D800 Nikon D850 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 105mm F2.8G IF-ED VR +29 more
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads