Lately, there have been quite a few rumors spreading around the internet regarding Nikon’s newest camera, the D800. Many of them suspected that Nikon would go for a higher resolution (smaller pixel) design than some of their other cameras and they were generally correct in that assumption.
Today Nikon actually announced two cameras, the Nikon D800 and the D800E. The difference will really be completely lost on most people with a few hardcore professionals excluded. The Nikon D800 comes with a 36.8 million pixel CMOS sensor which comes in at 36.3 million effective pixels. The actual sensor measures in at about 35.9 x 24.0 mm (Nikon FX format) which makes it one of the highest resolution full-frame cameras in production. Most of the cameras within this megapixel range generally have larger sensors and are also much more expensive, going for around $20,000.
The difference between the D800 and D800E is really that the D800 has an anti-aliasing filter while the D800E does not. What this does is that without an anti-aliasing filter, many of your pictures can and likely will come out sharper, but there are chances of aliasing occurring which can completely ruin the photograph if not properly shot. Those who use a D800E will likely know what must be done in order to prevent aliasing as it completely ruins an image if it is visible. Many photographers will likely not use the D800E unless they specifically need a camera for their shooting that does not have an anti-aliasing filter.
When Aliasing Goes Wrong
When not having an Anti-Aliasing Filter is good
This camera is really born out of Nikon’s newest camera which is their D4 model. The D4 brings a few welcome additions to their full-frame offerings with their 91K-pixel RGB sensor which enables the camera to accomplish a lot of automatic functions much more easily. Because of this, the Nikon D800 and D800E are capable of much better face detection, auto-focus, exposure, as well as 3D tracking. Overall, this addition to the D800 makes this camera much more friendly to people who just want to be able to fire off shots quickly without having to manually set every single parameter of their shot. The D800’s price also reflects that this camera isn’t necessarily aimed directly at the professional, but rather somewhere between professionals and enthusiasts. This camera also has a 3.2", 921k-dot (VGA) TFT LCD with 170°viewing angle, approx. 100% frame coverage, and automatic monitor brightness control using ambient brightness sensor.
Another feature, which we welcome and really hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves is the addition of USB 3.0 connectivity to the camera. At the given moment, the fastest thing you can connect your camera to your PC through is Gigabit ethernet since Firewire and USB 2.0 are under a gigabit. With the Nikon D800, you can use USB 3.0 which allows up to 5 gigabits per second of transfer speeds meaning that you’ll want to get faster compact flash/ secure digital cards for your camera if you really want to pull your large photos and videos off of the camera. We are hoping that all of Nikon’s cameras in 2012 will have USB 3.0 functionality as both Intel and Microsoft will be integrating USB 3.0 into their latest hardware (Ivy Bridge) and software (Windows 8). Also, since this isn’t thunderbolt, it won’t limit you to a mac or a PC as there are rumors that Apple may adopt USB 3.0 since Intel will have it integrated into their next generation of processors. We are anxious to so see this happen simply because it means that photographers won’t have to shell out crazy money for cables in order to get awesome transfer speeds.
The D800 and D800E will sell for $3000 and $3300 which is not bad considering its capability and competition’s price. The D800 should be available sometime in March and will likely become a welcome addition to many prosumer and professional photographer’s repertoire of cameras.