What Do YOU Think About Nikon’s Two New DSLR’s – D800 & D4?

Posted Feb. 11th, 2012 by Daniel J. Cox

I just returned from an extended time away from the studio, traveling to Kenya and Costa Rica. During my time away Nikon announced information on their two newest DSLR’s and they are both very interesting. I’ve not had a chance to handle either the D800 or D4 at this point but Nikon has agreed to send me one of each a week or two after they start delivering the pre orders.

D800 Incorporates a 36 Megapixel Sensor
I have to say that I was a bit surprised by the rumor of 36 megapixels coming true. Understand that I was one of the very few photographers who actually bought Nikon’s D2H that sported a measly 4.1 megapixel sensor. You don’t remember that camera? Most don’t but I shot it for two years and I’ve never had an editor or any photo buyer complain about the lack of resolution from the images I captured with that body. Keep in mind all D2H files were sized up through Genuine Fractals now known as Perfect Resize but nobody has ever been the wiser. Additionally, I shot that camera like I do all digital cameras which means I shot it as if I were shooting 35mm film. In other words I rarely cropped the final image. The files were actually quite good from the D2H unless you went over 400 ISO. In short, the sensor produced great images to start with when using a low ISO and then Genuine Fractals did the rest.  I’ve supplied dozens of images to a German calendar publisher that were proceed from the D2H and these guys are picky. They never published any calendar we did together that featured the photography smaller than 16×20 inches and never  once  did they complain.

Nikon's megapixel monster the new D800.

We’ve now found out that what I thought would be my next camera has 36 Megapixels and a frame rate of only 4 frames per second at full frame resolution. It bumps up to 6 FPS when switched to DX crop mode but that’s two frames slower than the D700 with the extra power booster and lager batteries. The D800 incorporates some amazing new video technology which I was hoping for so that’s good news. Overall I have very mixed emotions about this move on Nikon’s part. What do you guys and gals all think? I would love to hear your thoughts on this new camera.

As usual, DPReview has a great Preview on the D800/800E

Great ergonomics like nearly all of Nikon's top end models.


D4: Will it continue as the Low Light Champion?
The D4 I’m certain will not disappoint for those willing to shell out the nearly $6000.00 it will take to buy one.  I predict it will remain the still camera of choice for the pro level shooters whose living depends on capturing just the right moment. Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of those people left in the world of photography. You can find out more about the D4 on DPReview.

Top of the line, professional body that will most likely continue as the low light champion.

With the announcement these two new cameras I can’t help but hope Nikon may have a completely unexpected rabbit they may pull from their hat. It just seems obvious that there is now a gaping hole in the Nikon line. If anyone would be interested in asking me, which hasn’t happened yet, I would wish for an updated D700. Maybe a D700AS? Do any of you remember the Nikon F2, F2A, F2AS? All just updates to the original Nikon F camera. The D700AS would have video capabilities of the D4 and D800, the smaller sensor of the D4, low light capabilities of at least the D3S and a frame rate of 8FPS with the updated AF system incorporated into the D4. Even the AF of the D7000 would give it a leg up on the current D700. Am I the only one that would like to see this combination? Am I the only one that is predicting this camera may be the next rabbit pulled from the hat? This addition would really give them a well rounded amazing top end lineup.

Tell me what you folks think about this prediction. Better yet tell me if you think I’m nuts. Am I the only one not seeing the light on these two new products?

Add Your Voice!
There are 12 comments on this post…
  1. Tony BynumOn Mar. 25th, 2012

    I think you guys overlook the power supply issue. You can have small and dinky with lots of horse power . . . There’s no atomic engine, your hydrogen motor yet for a camera. . . The point is, in order to have everything you want, all shoved into a crackerjack box, you’ll have to figure out how to provide juice to it when it’s cold . . . I just posted a short review with a few images from the d4, one is a 1 to 1 crop http://bit.ly/GOZKvj. Dan, I hope you dont mind me posting this here, if you do delete it and accept my apology. I would not have though of posting it here if not for the fact that youre asking “what do you think” and i cant embed my answer or re write it as a comment. . . Again, if this violates your board, feel free to take it down. Than you Dan. Tony Bynum

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      danieljcoxOn Apr. 7th, 2012

      Tony, good comments. I do agree that power is an issue for the small cameras and my Nikons are superb in their ability to shoot amazing amounts of images on one battery charge. Thanks for sharing your insight.

  2. douglas hoffmanOn Feb. 14th, 2012

    I need speed from my Nikon and 4 FPS is a bit slow. I want low light capability and a body I can hold for hours at a time.

    Please make a body the size of the D700 that has a large file 24 MB is fine, give it speed 8 FMS, a ISO around 12,800, 1080 Video, & quality sound recording. I will buy two……

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      danieljcoxOn Mar. 1st, 2012

      Ditto for me Douglas.

  3. Nona RadinOn Feb. 14th, 2012

    I currently have been shooting the Nikon D300s, D300, and the D7000. I originally purchased a D2X for $5,000.00 that is now obsolete! My goal is to find a camera body that will shoot 8 plus frames per second, respond great and focus in low light, and not be large as I am tired of carrying all the weight! I was hoping that the Nikon D800 would be the camera for me, however I am sad that it falls far short from what I am looking for. I could have had one of the first ones from my local camera store (since I have been waiting a long time for this camera body), however I passed when the store called me and asked me to put money down on it!! Nikon please make a camera that brags of your focusing capabilities in low light (D4) and has low noise at high ISO (D4)! I am really tired of getting noise at 800 ISO with all my cameras! I want sharp images, low noise, and the ability to get better photos in low light! I want the size of the D800 without having to add on an additional piece to get more frames per sec! I don’t want to have to be forced into a crop mode to get the extra frames per sec!! High fps rate is a must when shooting birds and wildlife. When you do this Nikon, I will invest in my next camera body!! I hope you have something like a D400 with the D7000 focusing capability, high ISO shooting capability with low noise, 8 plus frames per sec, and as many megapixels that will give me the highest resolution possible for these conditions to be met! So Nikon you shot yourself in the foot with the D800 and D800e! I would have spent the money if you fulfilled my needs! I am not prepared to spend $6,000 for a camera body that will be obsolete years from now like my D2X! So I am going to look at what will be coming in the lower priced market when you introduce it. Perhaps I should start looking for another brand if you can’t get it better for your loyal supporters! I shot film cameras, film lenses, and everything NIKON for years! Please give back Nikon!

  4. Rich MathesonOn Feb. 14th, 2012

    Daniel, Hope you are right with the rabbit! ‘Till then I’ll stick with my D700.

  5. ChrisOn Feb. 13th, 2012

    I was shocked to see the 800 with its features, and to be honest disappointed. Maybe I am missing something, or maybe I am not the right demographic they are after but I don’t need video. I need a fast focusing high ISO quality hi frame rate camera to get me excited. For a long time the 700 has been my go to camera for all activity, wildlife, sports, and weddings. I even preferred the 700 over my D3. Recently I have added Canon to the lineup to see how they perform in the wake of the new Nikon upgrades. Long story short the only upgrade I would consider in light of the new models would be getting a used D3s.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      danieljcoxOn Feb. 13th, 2012

      Chris, thanks for sending in your comments. I would love to see more activity to get a feel for how people are thinking. If you can do me a favor and share this Blog post with your friends and if you’re on Facebook that would be great as well. Thanks again for taking the time to voice your opinion.

  6. Doug BrayOn Feb. 12th, 2012


    Since I wanted to have a full frame for the India trip, I was following the rumors for the D700 replacement since last summer. Due the uncertainty of what it would actually be, when it would be available and whether a 36 MP sensor could deliver the same low light performance of the D700, when I found a D700 on the B&H web site in January I it snapped it up.

    Only time will tell if the D800 will match the low light performance.


    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      danieljcoxOn Feb. 12th, 2012


      Ditto, I just bought my second D700.

  7. Fred KurtzOn Feb. 12th, 2012


    As we talked in Costa Rica, I have no need for a 36mp camera and the huge file sizes. I will go the D4 route for the low light capabilities. I too am puzzled by Nikon’s approach and direction. Makes me wonder what the D300 replacement will look like.


  8. Portrait of David and Shiela Glatz

    Dave GlatzOn Feb. 11th, 2012

    Hey Dan thanks for this post. Agree D800 is interesting but seems to fall short on frame rate and we’ll see about high ISO image quality. D4 is full frame sensor so not sure why you refer to it as “smaller sensor” – maybe you meant smaller resolution in MP. Would your camera of choice be the expected D400 – DX sensor, possibly incorporating video upgrades of D4/D800, not sure about hi ISO performance up to D3S, but hey we can hope, right? Would also appreciate your thoughts on the D800E model that removes the “anti-aliasing” aspects of the filter. Have you shot anything in the natural world that gave you a moire effect? Seems like this would only show up in man-made materials like fabrics.

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