It's here, folks. The long-awaited and much-talked-about (and probably natural-disaster-delayed)...drum roll...Nikon D800.
Nikon's replacement for the superb, much-loved, and undyingly popular D700 (a.k.a. the digital F100) is everything that was rumored: full-frame and 36 megapixels. And it's essentially no bigger or heavier than the camera it replaces.
Both cameras are positioned as Nikon's "top of the line amateur DSLRs" but the D700 has been widely used by professionals, as a backup and as their main axe. Just as some automotive buffs advocate buying a model lower in the line but loading it with all the fixins', so some photographers like to apportion their camera budget to buy two workhorse D700s rather than one D3[x] (where x = "x," not x).
The juicy new camera is available for pre-order at B&H. Cost, a reasonable $3k. For an additional $300, they'll take out the anti-aliasing filter for you, which is the Leica M9's trick for creating super-sharp-looking images. That model is known as the Nikon D800e.
Been waiting for the D800 to come out so you could snag a lightly used D700 as upgraders upgrade? Put yourself on high alert.
Although the D800 is the megapixel champ for the moment, you probably shouldn't buy it just for bragging rights. It's likely to be joined at the top ere long.
Still, any camera worthy of replacing the D700 is highly likely to be a very special camera in all sorts of ways, not just by the main number. Although there is that.
Having owned a 24-MP camera for a while now, I'm not quite seeing who 36 MP is aimed at. I can hardly think of a reason for needing 24, since I don't make big prints. But that's not a judgment. Some people do make big prints, others might, and for many, mo' is just bettah. Any photographer apart from the rankest newbie is capable of weighing the benefit of the pixel count for him- or herself.
One thing that does remain to be seen whether medium-format cameramakers should be quaking in their boots.
We'll have more anon.
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Original contents copyright 2011 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Jed: "In terms of aesthetics, the D700 and the D3 were absolutely beautiful. I can clearly see Giorgetto Giugiaro's absence in the design of the newest Nikons, and it saddens me."
Featured [partial] Comment by Kwasi: "[Megapixels are] like water. When you don't have enough, it's a big deal. Once you have enough though, more doesn't matter."