Nikon FX-format CMOS sensor with 36.3 effective megapixels
The D800 render levels of texture, nuance and detail to your photography that, until now, have been the exclusive domain of the complicated medium-format system. Define every eyelash, every line in tree bark, and every shimmer of light. Savour the exceptional depth in your still images — with the astounding 36.3 effective megapixels, the world's highest*, you can. Enlarge them as big as A1 poster-sized prints (59.4 x 84.1 cm/23.4 x 33.1 in.) at 200 dpi, or crop aggressively to reach the composition you desire, all without sacrificing the detail and tonal range of the original. In order to maintain clean, high-resolution images, 14-bit A/D conversion within the sensor and a high signal-to-noise ratio deliver phenomenal images in a diverse array of situations. The image sensor's incredible potential does not stop with photography, either. For cinematographers ready to put their exceptionally sharp NIKKOR lenses into action, the D800's 36.3 effective megapixel data is efficiently processed for exquisite 1080p broadcast quality video at 30p. *As of February 7, 2012, among interchangeable lens digital SLR cameras employing an image sensor of 35mm film size.
Standard ISO 100 to ISO 6400, range expandable to ISO 50 to 25600 equivalent
High-resolution, studio-quality images shouldn't be restricted to the studio. The D800 set a new benchmark for high-resolution D-SLR cameras, with crisp clean images across a wide ISO range. Flexibility like this opens up new imaging opportunities for both still photographers and cinematographers alike during the "magic hour", the time just before dawn or at dusk when available light is often beautiful but scarce. Even at high ISO settings, the camera's intelligent noise reduction systems manage noise without sacrificing fine details, giving the D800 the edge. The difference can even be seen in low-contrast subjects such as hair and grass textures, which are often essential elements of cinema as well as high-resolution portraits and landscape images. High image quality at higher ISOs also means that you can shoot still images handheld more confidently, knowing that fast shutter speeds will reduce blur.
A strategic approach to turn light to your advantage
Combining both high-resolution performance and a wide ISO sensitivity range has finally become a reality. Nikon engineers have developed intelligent new methods to manipulate light transmission to the sensor's photodiodes: from the optical low-pass filter and on-chip gapless micro lenses to the image sensor's internal design, every measure has been taken to maximize and improve light transmission in order to deliver crisp, brilliant images with significantly less noise. All this is possible under a wide variety of lighting conditions, enabling you to get the most out of your NIKKOR lenses.
Optical low-pass filter optimized for sharpness on the D800
Reducing false colour and moiré is the main job of the optical low-pass filter located in front of the image sensor. However, this benefit is generally gained with a small sacrifice of sharpness. Moiré occurs in scenes containing repetitive details, such as strong vertical lines in architecture. Finding the right balance between benefits and sacrifices is the key to higher image quality, and that is what the D800's optical low-pass filter delivers. As a result, the astounding 36.3 megapixels unleash their potential through an optimized balance between sharpness and effectively prevented moiré and false colour. Furthermore, the multi-layer structure of the D800 low-pass filter utilizes layers of antireflective coating that have been optimized for the camera, contributing to sharper and clearer images.
Nikon Integrated Dust Reduction System that includes an Image Sensor Cleaning function
Any dust that reaches the image sensor results in unattractive spots on your images. To prevent this, the D800 employ Nikon's Integrated Dust Reduction System, which includes a self-cleaning sensor unit with four different resonance frequencies to vibrate the optical low-pass filter and shake dust away from the sensor. This function can be set to operate automatically when the camera is turned on or off, or to manual.
EXPEED 3 image-processing engine: speed, versatility, and high performance
High-megapixel still images are detail-rich but data-heavy. With the D800, however, you don't have to sacrifice speed for this privilege. Dedicated to understanding speed and its role in image making, Nikon engineers designed a powerful EXPEED 3 image-processing engine exclusively for digital SLRs. From image processing and card recording to image playback and image transfer, EXPEED 3 manages massive amounts of data at faster speeds than EXPEED 2. Even with specialized processing features like Active D-Lighting and high ISO noise reduction, capture speed is not affected. EXPEED 3 is so powerful that it handles data-intensive tasks such as Full HD video recording at 30p with ease. You'll also notice the difference in your still images and videos through minimized noise and even richer colours and tones. In addition to these fundamental advantages, the D800 reduce the kind of colour phase shift that some cameras have difficulty with in similar situations.
Advanced Scene Recognition System with 91K-pixel RGB sensor
Nikon's revolutionary Advanced Scene Recognition System, introduced with the flagship D4 camera, is also employed in the D800. At its core is a 91K-pixel RGB sensor that meticulously analyses each scene with the fine resolution. The RGB sensor can recognize your scene's colours and brightness with unprecedented precision, then use that information to implement various automatic controls and give you more natural-looking results. The real breakthrough, however, is that the sensor can detect human faces with startling accuracy when shooting through the optical viewfinder. Along with face detection, detailed scene analysis is utilized to support more accurate autofocus, auto exposure and i-TTL flash exposure results in a diverse range of compositional and lighting situations. The improved subject tracking is most noticeable when using 3D-tracking, which can maintain a focus on moving subjects smaller in size than with previous generations.
More accurate face detection in auto-area AF and subject tracking in 3D-tracking
Auto-area AF and 3D-tracking are AF-area modes unique to Nikon that use your subject's colour and brightness information to detect focus. With the D800 and their more precise information and subject recognition advancements, expect big steps forward for both AF-area modes when taking high-quality still images. In auto-area AF, the camera can genuinely detect human faces and focuses on them immediately — useful when faces are a priority and there's no time to choose focus points. When using 3D-tracking, the sensor's fine resolution combines with a specifically optimized AF algorithm to realize unprecedented subject tracking precision, recognizing detailed patterns to keep your subject in sharp focus.
More balanced results in i-TTL balanced fill-flash and Active D-Lighting
i-TTL balanced fill-flash Nikon's i-TTL system has long been considered the most accurate flash control system in photography, but now face detection and highlight analysis by the 91K-pixel RGB sensor pushes performance even further. With the D800's enhanced i-TTL balanced fill-flash, you can more precisely illuminate people's faces in relation to their surrounding brightness using either the built-in flash or an external hot-shoed Nikon Speedlight. For weddings and fashion shoots, or any photography that relies on the highest-quality still images, this new standard redefines what a flash system should be. Face detection also makes a difference when Active D-Lighting is used to retain highlights and shadows in high-contrast lighting situations. Faces will be optimally exposed both in the sun and in the shade.
Light source identification for auto white balance in still images
The D800's auto white balance is incredibly accurate in a diverse range of shooting situations, aided by unique Nikon technology that effectively identifies your light sources, both natural and artificial. With the 91K-pixel RGB sensor and the image sensor working together, the camera renders white as white with supreme accuracy. Or if you prefer, the auto white balance can be set to reflect the warmth of ambient, incandescent lighting.
Contribution to D-Movie shooting
The D800's Advanced Scene Recognition System enhances not only still image shooting but also various controls used in movie shooting. It identifies light sources and human faces finely, utilizing the high resolution of the image sensor to deliver accurate auto white balance and exposure control during movie shooting, and improves the precision of subject-tracking AF. Furthermore, it automatically detects flicker effects, and controls the exposure to reduce them.