Blog post

Feb 2012

New Nikon D4 and D800

Amazing New Cameras from Nikon


On Wednesday of this week, I was at an Nikon Professional Services event to launch the new D4. It is always worth attending these events as there is a camera clinic and you can have your camera checked and cleaned while you attend the presentation. I was really looking forward to seeing the new D4 which is an evolutionary rather than revolutionary upgrade to the beloved D3s that I use. The day before the trip to Edinburgh Nikon launched another camera the D800 to the world’s press in London and other places across the world. I knew it would be a talking point but I did not expect to see it one day after the release.  However it was very exciting that there was a D800 there so those at the workshop were among the first group of photographers in the world to handle this amazing new camera.

The ground breaking news is that the D800 has a full frame 36.3MP sensor. High resolution is usually delivered at the expense of high ISO performance but this new D800 can still perform amazingly at 3200 ISO or even 6400. It cannot compete with the 16MP flagship D4 in this area, as it can virtually "see in the dark" and goes to an insane 204 800 ISO but it does have twice the resolution. Most photographers are taking the view that the D800 will be the logical choice for the commercial, studio, and wedding photographer while the D4 with it’s ability to work in very low light and it’s speed (up to 11 frames per second (compared to 4or 6 of the D800) will be the natural choice of the press photographer. I would expect to see lots of D4’s at the Olympics. However I do not think we can make a decision until we try the cameras and see the files.

It was great to see and handle both cameras along with the full range of Nikkor lenses and I cannot wait to properly test them both.

This is me in Edinburgh on Wednesday with the D4 and D800

As the cameras were pre-production models, the memory card slots were taped up. However someone in our group (who will remain nameless for fear of repercussions) managed to sneak a memory card into the D800. Although I cannot open the raw file as Adobe are not supporting the new cameras yet, a jpeg shot with available light at 3200 ISO is below. The "male model" in the shot is Charlie Stewart of Royale Photographics.

A small file on a blog post cannot convey the resolution and quality of this jpeg straight from the camera but it certainly looks very impressive. However, Nikon has made a selection of sample images available for download on its official site for the new cameras. As always, these are compressed JPG files – we will wait to see what the RAW files of these cameras can produce before we can even begin to really judge the quality. Still, interesting nonetheless.

Nikon D800 Sample Images

I have not went into any detail on the specification or even mentioned video as there are hundreds of opinions, and detailed technical reviews on-line (I have probably read them all) and all the specifications can be obtained from Nikon or DP Review.

There is already huge debate over which is the best camera. However they are both fantastic tools and both will yield amazing results – it is a very exciting time to be a photographer.

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