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Nikon throws down the gauntlet!

With the release of its new D800 and D800E cameras boasting 36 megapixels, Nikon has carved a trajectory away from what many futurists envisioned and wowed us all in the process.

Though many die-hard photographers have long concluded that ISO trumps megapixels, it is difficult not to be lured to victory in the pixel race with this release.

So, what is it with this offering? Is Nikon looking, as Ken Rockwell suggests, to blast Canon back to the 1930’s? Are they preempting the imminent Canon 5D Mark III? It’s certainly possible. In this world of $3M superbowl ads, Nikon has just grabbed a headline.

The specs on the new camera(s) are as follows:

  • 36 Megapixels
  • 4 frames/sec (6 with battery pack)
  • ISO 100-6400
  • Full HD video (1080p at 30/25/24p)

With dual card slots, the D800 supports both CF and SD. The camera uses the En-EL15 battery – like the D7000. It also has an extended hand/battery grip and retains the pop-up flash of the D700. And by the way, the E model REMOVES the AA (anti-aliasing) filter – supposedly resulting in sharper images. Commercial shooters may be find its removal advantageous.

What are we to make, then, of this long-awaited Nikon? Some call the D700 a “cult” camera — it paved the way for enthusiasts and pros to acquire the best low light performance in class, not to mention in the industry.

It is renowned as the wedding camera go-to given its light(er) bod and its superb performance. Does the D800 represent such a leap? And furthermore, what about this iteration’s ISO performance? Time (and testing) will tell.

We will not be able to conclude in responding to these questions until the camera is in people’s hands and is thoroughly vetted. It seems to me, though, that given the specs, the camera is a D700 with a huge pixel count.

I had been hoping that Nikon might further wow us with ISO improvements, but it looks like they have chosen a different course.

Is this because we can already practially shoot in the dark with the D4, not to mention the D700?? Or has Nikon decided to grab a headline whilst they forge ahead into unchartered territory.

Being a Nikon enthusiast, I tend to trust the company’s instincts — and I gotta say that I am *really* tempted to try to scrape together a large hunk of change to pre-order my D800 before they are gone.

[box]Patrick Reed is the founder of patrickreedphotography.com. A wedding and portrait photographer and educator, Patrick resides with his wife and two daughters in San Luis Obispo, CA.[/box]

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