The Nikon D800 is Still a Great Camera
- 36.3-megapixel CMOS full frame sensor
- Expeed 3 image processor
- 51-point autofocus system with 15 cross-type sensors
- Native ISO range of 100-6400 (expandable to 25600)
- 3.2-inch LCD with 921,000 dots
- 1080p video at 24, 25, or 30 fps
- DX and FX capture mode
- Weather sealing
I am the proud former owner of a Nikon D800. It was a great camera for me back in the day.
And though I've since replaced it twice - with the Nikon D810 and now the D850 - I still have very fond memories of shooting with the old reliable D800.
That got me thinking - is the Nikon D800 still a good camera in 2018?
Let's find out...
Nikon D800 Specs
Released in March 2012, the D800 replaced the aging D700 as Nikon's popular mid-range full frame camera.
It came loaded with much-improved features over its predecessor that modernized the model. Here's a few key specs:
Perhaps the biggest upgrade that the D800 had over the D700 is in the sensor department.
With its 36.3-megapixel sensor (which is still fantastic by today's standards, by the way...), the D800 blew the D700's 12.1-megapixel sensor out of the water.
The 51-point autofocus system was also quick and responsive, while the ISO performance was also greatly improved. I still remember being blown away at the cleanliness of images I took at high ISOs with my old D800.
There was a lot that impressed me back then about this camera, and a lot that still impresses me six years later...
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My D800 was indestructible.
This isn't to say that I abuse my gear, because I don't. But my D800 went from the beach to the mountains to the city and everywhere in between, and never caused me any problems.
It's built like a tank, and with weather-sealing, I didn't have to worry when it started spitting rain or when dust was blowing around in the desert.
I enjoyed the feel of the D800 in my hand, too. It wasn't too heavy and the grip was a perfect fit for my hand.
Excellent ISO Performance
At first glance, you might think that the D800 wouldn't be all that great in the ISO department given that its native range caps out at ISO 6400.
You'd be wrong, though.
I found the D800 to perform very well, even when I pushed the ISO into its extended range.
Sure, I wasn't taking tons of photos at ISO 25600, but when I pushed it to 12800, I still got pleasing results. That's true in both RAW and JPEG formats.
Granted, the D800 can't compete with the D850 (which has an expandable ISO range of 32-102400), but it can nevertheless produce clean results at high ISOs (and does so for a far smaller price tag).
Get a complete hands-on review of the Nikon D800 in the video above by DigitalRev TV.
Editor's Tip: If you have old gear, don't let it sit there collecting dust. Instead, find out what your old gear is worth and trade it in for an upgrade.
Superb Image Quality
Yes, this is a six-year-old camera, but if you ask me, it still ranks toward the top of the best-performing cameras when it comes to image quality.
And the D800 ticks a lot of boxes apart from clean high-ISO shots...
Color reproduction is top-notch as is dynamic range. That's true whether you're photographing a scene with natural light or artificial light.
With the capability of capturing details in the highlights and shadows, excellent performance in low-light situations, highly accurate metering and focusing systems, and an intuitive layout and menu system that makes sense, this is a great camera that can help you produce excellent results.
Catch a few sample images taken with the D800 in the video above by Photo Zuki.
Is the D800 a perfect camera? Certainly not.
It only offers 4fps continuous shooting, autofocusing is on the slow side in live view, and the image processor is ancient.
But those are my biggest complaints about this rig, and compared to the plethora of benefits this camera offers, there's really not much to complain about.
I wouldn't necessarily invest in a D800 if I were a beginner photographer, nor would I do so if I was a professional.
But for everyone in between, from advanced beginners to enthusiasts to hobbyists, the D800 is still a great camera, even all these years later.
And given that it's six-years-old, you can find great deals on pre-owned D800s. That means you can get a great camera without breaking the bank! Heck, you might have enough money left over to buy a lens to go with it.