Following more than a year of speculation and plentiful leaks of product images and specifications, Nikon has finally lifted the veil on its D700 replacement, the D800.

Positioned between the D300s and the recently-released D4, the 36.2-megapixel D800 will be offered as two models, one without the anti-aliasing filter in front of the sensor, to be known as the D800E. The filter in question suppresses moire by slightly blurring images, so the filter-free model, which is purported to be priced roughly 10% higher than the standard model, should provide better image clarity. It is likely to suit for landscape and architectural photographers, whereas the standard model is targeted at wedding, studio and fashion photographers who need high resolution for large prints.


Front view of the Nikon D800 showing the camera with the optional battery grip


Rear view of the Nikon D800E


Top view of the D800 with AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm zoom lens

Many features of the new camera are shared with the D4, while some carry over from its predecessor. The table below provides the best comparison we have been able to compile of the D800 with the D700 and D4, given the information we have gleaned from a brief PowerPoint presentation by local Nikon staff and leaked information that has appeared online. (Any errors can be attributed to the lack of advance information from Nikon.)


Nikon D700

Nikon D800

Nikon D4

Image sensor

36.0 x 23.9 mm CMOS

35.9 x 24 mm CMOS

36.0 x 23.9 mm CMOS

Effective resolution

12.1 megapixels

36.3 megapixels

16.2 megapixels

Pixel pitch

approx. 8.46 microns

approx. 4.88 microns

approx. 7.31 microns

Image Processor

EXPEED (14-bit A/D conversion)

EXPEED 3 (14-bit A/D conversion)

FOV crops


FX, 1.2x,  DX, 5:4

Image formats


Stills: JPEG, TIFF, NEF.RAW, RAW+JPEG; Video: MPEG-4/H.264

Max. image size

FX format: 4256 x 2832;DX format, 2784 x 1848

FX format: 7360 x 4912, DX format: 4800 x 3200

FX format: 4928 x 3280, DX format: 3200 x 2128



1920 x 1080 (30, 25, 24 fps), 1280 x 720 (60, 50, 30, 25 fps), 640 x 424 (30, 25 fps)

Video crops


FX and DX (1.5x)

FX, DX (1.5x) and CX (2.7x)

Shutter speed range

30 to 1/8000 sec. plus Bulb

Shutter rating

150,000 cycles

200,000 cycles

400,000 cycles

Flash synch speed

1/250 sec

Exposure Compensation

ø‚ ±5 EV in increments of 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV

AE bracketing

2 to 9 frames in 1/3, 1/2, 2/3 or 1 EV steps


Electronically controlled timer with duration of 2, 5, 10 or 20 seconds

Focus system

Nikon Multi-CAM 3500FX; TTL phase-detection AF

Nikon Multi-CAM 3500FX; TTL phase-detection AF

Nikon Multi-CAM 3500FX; TTL phase-detection AF, 51 focus points (15 cross-sensors)

Focus points

51 focus points (15 cross-sensors)

51 focus points (9 cross-sensors in centre of frame)

Can be selected from 51 or 11 focus points

Focus modes

AF-S, AF-C, Focus tracking, Face Detection, Single Point selection, AF support in Live View; Manual focus (M) with electronic rangefinder

Face detection



Metering sensor

1005-pixel RGB sensor

86,400-pixel RGB sensor

91,000-pixel RGB sensor

Metering modes

3D Colour Matrix Metering, Centre-weighted and Spot metering (approx. 1.5%)


Active D-Lighting

Advanced Active D-Lighting

Shooting modes

Program AE, Shutter-priority AE, Aperture-priority AE, Manual

Time Lapse


Yes, with movie creator

Picture Style/Control settings

Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome; each option can be adjusted




ISO range

ISO 200 to 6400 plus extensions to Lo 1 (ISO 100 equivalent) and HI 2 (ISO 25,600 equivalent)

ISO 100 to 6400 plus extensions to Lo 1 (ISO 50 equivalent) and Hi 2 (ISO 25,600 equivalent)

ISO 100 to 12800 plus extensions to Lo 1 (ISO 50 equivalent) and Hi 2 (ISO 204,800 equivalent)

White balance

TTL white balance with main image sensor and 1,005-pixel RGB sensor; Auto plus seven manual settings with fine-tuning; colour temperature setting; bracketing of 2 to 9 exposures in increments of 1, 2 or 3

Auto (2 types), incandescent, fluorescent (7 types), direct sunlight, flash, cloudy, shade, preset manual (up to 4 values can be stored), 2500 K-10000 K), all with fine-tuning.


Manual pop-up type; GN 17 (ISO 200, m); TTL flash control with 1005-pixel RGB sensor

Manual pop-up type; GN 12 (ISO 100, m); iTTL flash control; 24mm FOV coverage

Hot-shoe for external iTTL flash

Flash adjustment

-3 to +1 EV in increments of 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV

Frame advance rate

Max. 5 fps (CL/CH)

Max. 4 fps (CH), 6 fps in DX mode

Max. 10 fps (CL) or 10-11 fps (CH)

Storage Media

CF(Type I)

Dual slots for CF  and SD

Dual slots for CF  and XQD

Viewfinder coverage



Focusing screen

Type B BriteView Clear Matte VI screen

Type B BriteView Clear Matte VIII screen

LCD monitor

3-inch TFT LCD with approx. 920,000 dots, 170-degree viewing angle

3.2-inch TFT LCD with approx. 921,000 dots, wide viewing angle

Virtual horizon

Monitor only

Viewfinder and monitor

Interface terminals

USB 2.0 Hi-speed, Video Out (PAL/NTSC); HDMI Type C mini; 10-pin remote control terminal

USB 3.0 Hi-speed, Video Out (PAL/NTSC); HDMI Type C mini; 10-pin remote control terminal; stereo microphone jack, headphone jack 

USB 2.0 Hi-speed, Video Out (PAL/NTSC); HDMI Type C mini; 10-pin remote control terminal; GPS via optional cable; RJ-45 connector, stereo microphone jack, headphone jack 

Power supply

EN-EL3e Li-ion battery, CIPA rated for approx. 1000 shots/charge

EN-EL15, CIPA rated for approx. 900 shots/charge

EN-EL18, CIPA rated for approx. 2600 shots/charge

Dimensions (wxhxd)

147 x 123 x 77 mm (body only)     Approx. 146 x 123 x 81.5 mm

Approx. 160 x 156.5 x 90.5 mm


995 grams (body only)

 approx. 900 grams (tbc)

approx. 1180 grams (body only)

The D800’s sensor is believed to be manufactured by Sony and based on Exmor technology, which combines a wide dynamic range with low noise levels. It’s been speculated that performance on a pixel-by-pixel basis should be similar to the Sony NEX-7 (which sports a 24-megapixel APS-C sized sensor). 
The D800’s normal sensitivity range extends from ISO 100 to ISO 6400 with extensions to Lo1 (ISO 50) and Hi2 (ISO 25600). In comparison, the  16.2-megapixel D4’s normal sensitivity range tops out at ISO 12,800 with extensions to ISO 204,800 with full image resolution.
Coupled to the sensor is the latest  EXPEED 3 image processor, which was introduced with the Nikon 1 V1 in September, 2011 and also powers the Nikon D4. As in the D4, the processor is optimised for DSLR cameras and underpins the camera’s video capabilities (which are virtually identical to those of the D4). The D800 also includes the built-in HDR function introduced with the D4.
The D800 provides four image size settings: FX (36 x 24mm), DX (24 x 16mm), 1.2x crop (30 x 20mm, similar to the D3s) and 5:4 aspect ratio cropping (30 x 24mm). Nikon claims a start-up time of  0.12 seconds and a release lag time of 0.042 seconds for the new camera (both identical to the D4). For lossless compressed raw files and high-resolution JPEGs, the maximum burst speeds range from four frames/second at full resolution through 5 fps with 1.2x crop to 6 fps in DX mode, the latter requiring the optional battery grip.
Although the D800 boasts a new AF module, it is similarly specified to the D4 and autofocusing options include face detection and face tracking. Face detection and tracking have been improved to cover multiple faces and minimise tracking errors. Advanced Scene Recognition is also provided.
Live View shooting is available for both still and video capture and flicker detection can be switched on to prevent interference from pulsed light sources.  As in previous models, a Virtual Horizon can be displayed on the monitor in Live View mode but the D800 adds the ability to see this displayed in the viewfinder as well.
A new button between the Mode button and the shutter release activates video recording. There’s also a lever switch on the rear panel for toggling between still and video modes. Video capabilities are similar to the D4, with the D800 covering 1920 x 1080 (30, 25, 24 fps), 1280 x 720 (60, 50, 30, 25 fps), 640 x 424 (30, 25 fps) resolutions and frame rates, although it only offers FX and DX (1.5x crop) image sizes. ‘Uncompressed’ video can be streamed from the camera via the HDMI interface. The D800 also supports time-lapse re4cording and can output the result in movie format.
The monitor on the D800 is the same 3.2-inch, 921K-dot screen as the D4 and a ‘gapless’ construction provides improved visibility and supports a wider colour space for image playback. The screen auto-adjusts to the ambient light level and features a new structure that decreases light loss in bright conditions. 
Dual slots are provided, one for CompactFlash and the other for SD/SDHC/SDXC cards. Users can  record two full cards of data, record the same data onto two cards for backup, record raw and JPEG simultaneously onto separate cards, or transfer data from one card to another.
For more information on the D800 and D800E, visit Nikon’s website at