Price: $3600 body only (street price)
THE LOW-DOWN: This is a 36 megapixel full frame DSLR that supersedes the 12mp D700. We tested it with the 24–70mm and the 85mm Nikkor lenses. Construction is to Nikon’s highest standards and the ergonomics are brilliant. Ever major function is accessible from knobs, buttons and wheels on the camera body. There is even a blackout shutter for the viewfinder – no more looking for the little rubber doodad to cover the finder. There is an inbuilt flash, unusual for this level of camera, that wirelessly controls off-camera flashes. The D800 has enhanced video capability with uncompressed HDMI output. The 8cm LCD is high resolution and bright. There are both CF and SD card slots that can be configured in various ways.
LIKE: This is a beautifully responsive camera that produces superb images. Nikon’s auto-focus and auto-exposure systems have always been the best and here they are even better. The lenses supplied matched the quality of the camera, focusing quickly and accurately with outstanding resolution.
DISLIKE: Auto focus is a tad slow in live view mode. It is surprising that Nikon can’t bring the contrast detection system up to the lightning speed of compact system cameras.
VERDICT: This is a magnificent camera. It is being spoken of by reviewers as the conventional DSLR that makes medium format digital cameras look over-priced, over-bulked and clumsy. For anyone with Nikon lenses and accessories looking to move up to a full frame FX DSLR this is an obvious winner. This is the best camera for general use (as distinct from the special requirements of professional sports photographers, for instance) that we have ever handled. We didn’t try the video function but as the module is the same as in the professional D4 we expect it to be sensational. In a word: Majestic.