Nikon D800 full review

Our craving for more pixels is unrelenting. Answering that demand and making a statement is the 36-megapixel sensor of Nikon’s D800 digital SLR (DSLR). Such a resolution – the largest currently offered by a 35mm format DSLR – in theory allows massive poster prints – billboard sized we’d argue. It’s full frame too, meaning that any attached lens offers a like-for-like performance; so the 16-35mm wide-angle zoom supplied for our review delivers a focal range exactly that, no ‘35mm equivalent’ multiplication required. There’s full HD video with mono sound too, composed via 3.2-inch, 920k dot LCD, though here ‘movies’ feel relegated to a supporting feature via an almost apologetically tiny record button.

While this otherwise chunky, weatherproofed camera is very much a professional’s tool, its body-only price tag of £2K puts it within enthusiasts’ reach. Additionally there’s a costlier D800E model, which does away with some of the tidying that happens during processing to retain even more picture detail, retained blemishes removable later via supplied software. This slight edge might prove advantageous to commercial photographers shooting on very high-resolution (and even more expensive) medium format cameras. This Nikon therefore straddles two markets.

As expected the camera is responsive, powering up almost instantly via a flick of the power switch encircling the prominent shutter release button. Both sit atop a rugged rubberised handgrip allowing for a firm hold despite the weight and bulk with lens attached, which also means that this isn’t one for surreptitious snapping. Indeed, twinned with the optic in question the D800 proved well suited to expansive landscape shots, via which the sharp level of detail plus punchy colours could really be appreciated. Shooting closer objects, the lens also allowed for plenty of detail to be retained in the subject, with the background sympathetically defocused. 

Biggest is best? Nikon’s semi pro D800 capably offers the world’s highest resolution in the DSLR format at a huge 36 megapixels

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