Nikon D800 Review
The Nikon D800 offers a considerably more robust live view feature set than its predecessor, the D700. The most obvious improvement is a dedicated 'Lv' button on the rear of the camera surrounded by a lever that toggles between still image and movie mode.
When live view is activated, the camera's mirror flips up and a through-the-lens view is displayed on the rear LCD. The lens is automatically set to the taking aperture, which means you can accurately preview depth of field. Manual exposure adjustments are updated in real time in the preview image on the LCD. You can press the 'OK' button to display an onscreen exposure indicator along with the option to display a histogram, both of which update in real time. Of even more importance though, is that pressing the 'OK' button is necessary to preview the effects of any exposure compensation adjustments that you make.
In situations where the scene is too bright or dark to present an accurate preview of the final image, however, the preview histogram will not match that of the final image. The only indication of this mismatch in live view mode is that the exposure indicator will blink, signalling that the camera cannot provide an accurate preview.
After taking an exposure in live view, the rear LCD remains blacked out until the image is written to the card, a delay that can last several seconds when shooting in RAW+JPEG mode. While access to all of the menu screens is locked out during this period, you can, however, change parameters available via the camera's top plate controls such as shooting and drive modes, ISO sensitivity, image quality, white balance and exposure compensation. These can all be verified on the camera's top plate LCD.
In live view you have the option of using all of the D800's additional crop modes, such as 1.2x, DX (1.5x) and 5:4. The preview fills the frame with these crop modes, with the 'mis-matched' 5:4 ratio displaying black bars along the side of the screen area. Note that switching among these crop modes requires you to first disable live view. The menu option is actually grayed out while live view is active.
The D800, by default offers four separate information displays, with an additional exposure indicator/histogram view available if you first press the 'OK' button. You cycle through these views by pressing the Info button.
|By default, live view does not preview exposure compensation adjustments. To do that...||...you must press the 'OK' button, which gives an accurate exposure preview along with an exposure compensation indicator.|
|A grid view is available.||You can also display a histogram.|
|The dual axis virtual horizon can be displayed.||An 'information' view displays key camera settings.|
When live view is activated the D800 is limited to using contrast-detect autofocus. This is a departure from D700 behavior. On that camera, in addition to the contrast-detect AF 'tripod' mode in live view, you have the option of a 'hand-held' live view mode in which a half-press of the shutter momentarily disables live view, lowers the mirror and uses a phase-detection autofocus system to acquire focus.
While allowing for a continuous live view feed that doesn't black out during focus aquisition, the D800's contrast-detect AF is much slower than the phase detection AF the camera employs when live view is disabled. In fact, D800 AF aquisition in live view is far more sluggish than most of the mirrorless cameras we've used. To be fair, we imagine that for most D800 users, live view will be reserved primarily for critical focus applications like landscapes, still lifes and product photography, where maximum AF speed is somewhat less important than accuracy.
The AF point can be manually positioned anywhere inside the frame via use of the multi selector arrows. You can choose between static and full-time AF modes, with the latter option allowing the camera to continuously adjust focus until the shutter button is pressed. In addition you can select one of four AF area modes. In Face-priority mode, the camera attempts to detect and lock focus on the face positioned closest to the camera. This works as advertised with faces that are fully turned towards the camera and can actually be quite useful for quick snapshots, although we doubt owners of a $3000 camera will be using live view in Auto AF mode much of the time.
A Wide-area AF mode provides a larger focus point than the Normal-area AF. A subject tracking mode allows you to identify an element of the scene for the camera to follow as it moves within the frame. With the slow autofus performance we cited above, we find subject tracking to be eminently more useful in non-live view shooting modes, as you can see on our AF performance page of this review.
Live view manual focus
The manual focus implementation during live view is pretty straightforward. As with image playback, the zoom buttons on the rear of the camera can be used to change magnification of the image preview. You scroll through magnified areas of the image by using the multi selector's left/right up/down arrows. In live view, the highest magnification level yields a pixelated image preview that is not useful for manual focus adjustment. It is the penultimate magnification level that provides a preview most suitable for critical focus. It should be noted that the live view preview reflects the taking aperture of the lens. So in many cases you may benefit from temporarily opening the lens up while focusing.
|You can customize the behavior of the multi selector button to toggle between the fit to screen view...||...and one of three levels of magnification ('medium' is shown here) to make critical focus adjustments.|
In the custom 'f' menu you can configure the multi selector's center button to automatically toggle between this magnification level (designated as 'medium magnification') and the default 'fit to screen' view. Frustratingly though, even at this magnification level you must contend with what appears to be interpolation-generated artefacts that can make critical focus a bit more difficult when viewing patterned objects of fine detail. The view of the same image area at the same magnification level in playback mode displays none of these artifacts.
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Specifications
- 3 D800E
- 4 Body & Design
- 5 Body Elements
- 6 Viewfinder
- 7 Operation & Controls
- 8 Displays
- 9 Live View
- 10 Menus: Playback & Shooting
- 11 Menus: Custom Settings
- 12 Menus: Setup, Retouch & 'My'
- 13 Handling
- 14 Performance (Speed)
- 15 Performance (Autofocus)
- 16 Features
- 17 ADL & HDR modes
- 18 Noise & Noise Reduction
- 19 Dynamic Range
- 20 Resolution (D800)
- 21 Resolution (D800E)
- 22 Raw Resolution (D800 v D800E)
- 23 Raw Mode
- 24 High ISO noise comparisons
- 25 Image Quality Tests
- 26 Image Quality Tests
- 27 Image Quality Tests (D800 v D800E)
- 28 Image Quality Tests (D800 v D800E)
- 29 Image Quality Tests (D800 v D800E)
- 30 Movie Mode
- 31 Image Q. Compared (JPEG)
- 32 Image Q. Compared (Hi ISO)
- 33 Image Q. Compared (RAW)
- 34 Conclusion
- 35 Samples Galleries
Jun 3, 2015
Apr 25, 2015
Jun 8, 2015
Jun 5, 2015
By combining his skills as a time-lapse filmmaker and an engineer, Julian Tryba created this out-of-this-world creative 'layer-lapse' of New York City that alternates between night and day in time with the music.
Canon Japan's new lineup of novelty camera-themed gifts was just revealed online, including a lens mug and lens thermos, two retro camera-themed USB drives, and a picnic mat.
The Profoto A1 most certainly isn’t for everyone [...] But for those who are used to using the Profoto systems, and want something that pairs seamlessly with the strobes you already have, there is no better companion.
Fujifilm has asked a US district court to clear it of any wrongdoing, after allegedly being threatened with trademark litigation by Polaroid.
While a couple of our reviewers are out testing the Sony a7R III in Arizona, back in Seattle we slapped the camera in front of our studio scene to get a close look at its image quality. See how it stacks up against the competition.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and the #8 ranking belongs to the Nikon D7500.
B+W has announced a new aluminum filter holder that offers three slots so users can use multiple filters at the same time. The holder goes with the 2mm thick 100mm square filters it launched earlier this year.
8K video is coming a lot faster than you think, and Blackmagic is ready for it. Meet the DeckLink 8K Pro, a new high performance PCI-E capture and playback card built to handle 'real time high resolution 8K workflows.'
"Glass is everywhere in photography. From Eugène Atget’s reflective vitrines to Lee Friedlander’s sly self-portraiture, photographers have long been in thrall to the visual complications glass can inject into a composition."
Former Apple Aperture lead developer Nik Bhatt has designed an iOS app called RAW Power that lets you edit raw photos from your professional camera using your phone and tablet.... color us intrigued.
Advertising photographer Blair Bunting got his hands on the new Microsoft Surface Book 2, and it blew him away. Bye bye MacBook Pro...
The OnePlus 5T retains many of the 5's features and specs, but comes with an edge-to-edge display and a dual-camera that is optimized for low light.
Sony's recently announced IMX461 backside illuminated medium format sensor will bring 100MP resolution and almost 2x the speed to the next-gen Fuji GFX and Hasselblad X1D.
With the ‘Rent a Hasselblad’ camera equipment renting program, the camera makers is aiming to give enthusiast and professional photographers easier access to its medium-format photography products.
They say seeing is believing, and that's exactly what happened when one DPR staffer took the Google Pixel 2 out for an afternoon shooting under challenging conditions.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. At the #9 spot we have the Fujifilm GFX 50S, a medium-format camera that took CP+ 2017 by storm.
Instagram is testing a new feature that lets you follow hashtags in addition to people, making it possible to keep track of your favorite #landscapes or #portraits without leaving your home feed.
Despite the gigantic volume of second hand film bodies in existence, it seems there is still a demand for new 35mm SLRs with a retro feel. The latest is a remake of the Ihagee Elbaflex from the 1960s, but with a Nikon F mount.
The Polaroid Insta-Share Moto Mod straps an instant printer directly to your Moto Z smartphone, so you can print your photos as soon as you've captured them.
The Mitakon Speedmaster 135mm F1.4 lens is being relaunched in 7 different mounts, including: Sony A, Sony E, Canon EF, Nikon F, Fujifilm G, Pentax K, and Leica L. Got an extra three grand lying around?
In January, Kodak announced it would bring back the beloved slide film Ektachrome. The timeline has been pushed back a bit, but Kodak says you can expect to purchase Ektachrome again in 2018.
Instagram popularity is threatening some of the most beautiful landscapes in the US, as hordes of 'nature lovers' trample over the same spots over and over again in search of the same exact shot.
You’d have to be pretty brave to immerse your $50K RED cinema camera underwater. But if you've got the guts, Gates just released a new housing you can be pretty sure won't wreck your unbelievably expensive toy.
Adobe has released a 'Lightroom Downloader' app for Windows 10 and macOS High Sierra that allows you to download all of your images from the Adobe Cloud, all at once.
After releasing a popular 4K action cam and an affordable mirrorless M43 camera, Chinese camera maker YI is diving into yet another market: 360° VR. Meet the YI 360 VR: a powerful little two-lens camera that can shoot and stream in 4K.
The DJI Spark has received a lot of attention thanks to its diminutive size, but how does it stack up? In our review, we take a look at what it's like to fly this pint-sized drone, as well as what's in it for photographers.
Between now and the end of the year we'll be counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. Coming in at #10 is a fast wide prime and part of the highly-acclaimed Sigma Art series.
DxOMark has awarded the Pentax 645Z 101 points, making it the second-highest scoring medium format camera it's tested (or the highest scoring from 2015 to now, based on the originally published results).
A small explosion that sounded like a gunshot caused a panic and 24 flight cancellations at Orlando International Airport last Friday. As it turns out, it was a camera battery that exploded inside a traveler's bag.
At last, a premium superzoom bridge camera with phase detect autofocus. Is this the best all-in-one camera ever made? Read on.