Pros Outstanding pictures. Best DSLR for video. Moire not a problem. 36MP-- are you kidding?!
Cons In use-- you really need the battery grip for video mode-- and it's pricey. Fewer FPS from D700. Files much larger. All new batteries and chargers. Switching between S & C autofocus modes is now via internal menu.
Summary This is a real world review-- no scientific tests of what the camera can do in theory-- this a roll up your sleeves and shoot review.
Let's start with this-- The D800E is a brilliant camera. I've had many Nikon digital bodies (D100, D200, D300, D700, D800E) The D800E tops them all at making pictures-- which is what matters in the end.
Going in-- My biggest concern about the D800E was the issue of moire. Much has been written about moire issues and Nikon's controversial decision to offer a body without an anti-aliasing filter-- tests done-- complaints lodged-- ignore them. In the real world-- after 3000 shots and a bunch of video, I haven't run into a single issue with moire. Yes if you point the camera at a certain image a certain way-- you can excite the sensor-- but in reality (where it matters), I've yet to see it.
The D700 skewed hot on the light meter. I have to back off the EV by a third of a stop under normal shooting or I'd overexpose. The D800 & D800E appear to be more acurate.
Video-- this camera does video right. First off-- the in-camera compression isn't a hinderance. No artifacting or stair stepping at all-- it's a great codec. But if you want more-- you can stream UNCOMPRESSED to an external recorder via the HDMI port. I don't know of another camera, other than maybe the D4, which does this uncompressed. I use a BlackMagic Decklink-- and the results are simply stunning-- but in reality, it's overkill. The internal recording is more than adequate.
Another video success-- switching between still and video modes is outstanding. To get to video mode-- push "live view' on the back of the camera with the switch surrounding it to video. Set your ISO, shutter and aperture. Wanna shoot a still? Click "live view" again-- and ALL OF YOUR STILL SETTINGS ARE RETAINED! Could not be happier. This is how every camera manufacturer should do it.
Also-- with a good lens (70-200 f/2.8) I'm amazed by who good the camera performs in low light when shooting video. Nice job there, Nikon.
Under low light in still mode-- the camera performs similar to the D700-- with maybe a little more grain on the D800 in the upper ISOs. Pretty remarkable considering they tripled the pixels.
Let's talk about a few dislikes:
The FPS issue-- there's no getting around it-- when you push this many pixels through the pipeline-- it just can't write them to memory as fast as the D700. I've retained my D700 body for instances where 8FPS (I use a battery grip with the LN15 battery) is a necessity-- the most you can get out of the D800 is 5 FPS with the battery grip and the new LN18 battery.
About the batteries-- The new battery-- including the one in the camera and the grip-- have been changed for no good reason that I can see-- other than making users buy all new chargers and batteries. The power ratings are virtually identical.
Also-- if you are shooting video-- you really must have the battery grip for all practical purposes. Oh-- and the price went way up for the grip this time around. The camera blows through batteries in video mode, and there's no AC solution available. With the battery grip installed-- you can hot swap the grip battery without affecting recording. With a few batteries and chargers-- you can shoot all day. Though there is a 20 minute limit on each video clip.
All in all-- this is a very worthy upgrade-- an amazing camera with insane video performance to boot. If you're on the fence between the D600 and the D800, the D600 is slightly faster-- but if the rumors are true-- there's no Auto FP High Speed Sync mode and no sync port for external strobes. I would steer you to the D800, if this is indeed the case. Auto FP is a deal breaker for me. I use it all the time.
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