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The Nikon D800 is a BIG DEAL for Photographers, but since I’m a small ‘p’ photographer, and really an iPhone photographer lately (looks away with slight shame) I had to go to an expert to get the dirt on this latest technology from Nikon.
Alex Ratson is a photographer and cinematographer, but also the assistant department manager at London Drugs in Squamish. As someone who used these exact words and punctuation when describing the Nikon D800—”outright amazing!!!!!”—I shot him some questions to get to the bottom of this exciting announcement.
Q1: In the world of cameras (from phones, to point-and-shoot to very high end) where does the Nikon D800 fit?
A1: The Nikon D800 is an entry-level professional camera that caters to two main groups of photographers; advanced enthusiasts who, although they don’t make money from their work, strive for the professional standard of quality from their work; and professionals who value the key highlights this camera offers over other professional cameras (small for a pro camera body, super high resolution).
Q2: What was the Nikon D800 “built” for (what can it do), and what are some of these “amazing!!!!!” features?
A2: The D800 was built with the working professional in mind. It offers superb build quality that is capable to withstand the daily abuse a working shooter might put the camera through. It offers some of the best resolution on the market (for a DSLR) allowing a lot of flexibility for the photographer to make both large prints and aggressively cropped shot prints.
Like many other high end DSLRs they have also deployed some very capable video features. The D800 is capable of shooting full 1080P HD video. It records the footage internally in a format known AVCHD which is widely used in many other DSLRs due to its effective compression technology. Nikon has also offered full uncompressed 8-bit (4:2:2 colour sampling) via the HDMI port. This is a first for video shooting DSLRs and is normally a feature reserved for professional video cameras. To take advantage of this feature you will need to pair the camera up with a third party digital recorder.
Q3: What is the difference between the D800 and D800E?
A3: The D800E is the same camera but without the Optical Low Pass filter which on most cameras is placed in front of the imaging sensor to reduce an optical defect known as Moire.
Moire will apear in images which contain a repetitive pattern (such as the grill of a car). From an engineer’s point of view, this effect will show itself whenever a repetitive pattern spatially out-resolves a sensors resolution…in layman’s terms when Moire rears its head at your images, it will make those repetitive lines appear kind of squiggly. The Optical Low Pass filter blurs the image, making those sharp repetitive details a little more dull so they don’t appear squiggly.
The reason why some are excited for the D800E’s lack of Low Pass filter is due to it capturing the full resolution that the camera is capable of resolving. Although the camera’s super high, 36 mega pixels will aid in reducing this effect as will more advanced software built into popular image editing programs, anyone who buys the D800E model should be prepared to deal with this effect as it will have a higher likelihood of appearing vs. the none E model. As a side note, there are not many cameras that do not have this filter in place, and the final outcome of its absence is not yet known, especially when shooting video.
Q4: How did Nikon improve for this camera over the D700?
A4: The D800 adds faster auto focus, higher resolution and video capabilities over the D700. The D700 was a champ and is still a highly desired camera. Many people who do not shoot video and who are not in need of the 36 mega pixel sensor (and its REALLY large files) will opt to pickup a D700 while they still can.
Q5: Who should use this camera? What level of experience should someone have to get the most out of this camera?
A5: The D800 would be ideal for the advanced amateur or professional who have a need for any of its key features such as high quality video or high resolution.
Q6: Does London Drugs offer any instruction on using high-end cameras?
A6: London Drugs offers the Photo Experience workshop. Our DSLR version of this workshop would be well suited for any new D800 owner who wanted to gain some additional knowledge on how to get the most from their new camera.
Q7: What can someone expect to pay for this camera?
A7: The D800 is available right now for $2,999.99 and the D800E is $3,299.99
Q8: When will the D800/D800E be available? Is there a different release date for each model?
A8: We have started to fulfill pre-orders on the D800. Once all pre-orders have been fulfilled you will be able to see it on our shelves. If anyone is wanting this camera their best bet is to pre-order and pre-pay at your local London Drugs as this will ensure you do not have to wait until all other pre-paid customer orders are fulfilled.
Any other comments?
Although we do not currently have any kits including lenses (I am sure we will eventually) anyone buying this camera should keep in mind that the high resolution sensor is going stress any lens to the max. It will undoubtedly out-resolve any consumer lens and you will need to use the high-end pro-sumer or pro grade lenses to get the most out of the high resolution sensor.
London Drugs Fan
Nala Henkel, a former employee and current contract proofreader for London Drugs, is a self-confessed fan of our store. We’ve invited her to share her quirky perspective on all things London Drugs from a consumer’s point of view.