Nikon D800E review

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Nikon stirred a lot of dust introducing D800 and D800E models earlier this year. The main reason was massive jump in resolution: at 36 megapixels, D800 is highest resolution camera on the market (except medium format) and a huge shift since its predecessor – Nikon D700. D800E differs itself from regular D800 by lack of anti-aliasing filter. In practice, images will appear slightly sharper but with more chance to get moire effect. In every other aspect, both cameras are the same.

Its main rival is Canon EOS 5D Mark III, which I reviewed a few months ago and you can read about it here. Since the late Photokina fair there is also Sony A99 which with its SLT technology and few unique features is a beast of its kind.

GENERAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Announced: 2012.
  • Type: full-frame DSLR
  • Dimensions: 146 x 123 x 82 mm
  • Weight: 900 g (with battery)
  • Sensor: CMOS, 36 MP (7360 x 4912 pixels)
  • ISO range: Native 100 – 6400, Extended 50 – 25,600
  • Image stabilization: No
  • Dust and moisture protection: Yes
  • Flashlight: Built-in + hot-shoe
  • Continuous shooting: 4.5 fps
  • LCD screen: 3.2″, 921,000 dots
  • Memory card: CF + SD
  • Battery: Li-Ion EN-EL15
  • Video: 1920 x 1080 @ 30, 25, 24 fps, 1280 x 720 @ 60, 50, 30, 25 fps
  • Connectors: USB 3.0, mini HDMI, 3,5mm mic input, 3,5 mm headphone output

CONSTRUCTION AND HANDLING

Like all other professional grade cameras, the D800E is built around magnesium alloy frame. It is dust and water proof (when used with sealed lenses) and is able to withstand years of hard use.

Handling-wise, the D800E feels great. The grip has a nice soft feel to it (good quality rubber), but I wished it was just a little beefier. Button layout is logical and they have a nice positive feel when pressed.

The camera has a built-in flash unit – pretty unusual for a pro-level camera, but I like it that way. Although no serious photographer will use it as primary light source, it’s nice to have it just in case.

Nikon D800 has built-in interval shooting option unlike Canon (any model) for which you must buy extra remote commander to enable interval shooting. What’s even better, time lapse is available as a separate option in menu system so the D800 can make full-HD time lapse movies by itself; no extra remotes, software or PC editing time required.

MENU SYSTEM

Menu is quite logical and easy to navigate once you get used to it. There is an “My Menu” submenu for assigning various regularly used functions for quick access; once I set them accordingly to my prefernces, I rarely had to navigate through the main menu system anymore.

I really liked small details like shortcuts to some functions via external button press combinations; “Quality” + “Exposure compensation” button for quick reset and “Erase” + “Mode” for card format. In review mode, pictures can be erased with double press on “Erase” button which speeds up the use.

Image playback is excellent. There is an option to customize the amount of details shown, and I enjoyed the possibility to see clipping for each color channel separetly.

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