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Nikon D800

Review Date: Jun 22, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: AF better (faster) than, and high ISO almost as good as D3, 15 megapixel crop mode, smaller package than D1/2/3 bodies, video and 36 megapixel as a bonus
Ridiculously expensive grip (and D4 battery if you you want that option to go with it, body not as 'brick'proof as D1/2/3

Shooting sports (surf) and fashion (castwalk) the D3 was (and is) for many years my body of choice.

Problem was that for surf, I lost the reach of the 200-400mm/D2X/HSC mode combi I used to work with, and in the D3 FX mode had to use a 4/600 with 1.4 TC. Still got lovely pictures, but had to drag along a lot more (heavier) equipment.

With catwalk on the other hand, my 2.8/80-200mm was too short for the bigger venues, and although the 4.0/200-400 was an excellent alternative, I missed the one extra stop.

I had been thinking of a D3X for the bigger files in DX crop mode, but the price and compared to 'normal' D3 limited high IS0 gave me second thoughts. ( the difference in high ISO between D3 and D3s compared to the real need for the times I really needed that did not justify the cost of an upgrade for me.

Finally, I have lugged around an extra D3 body for back up with me, but never really needed it, while having the same specs as the other D3, it offered no new/aternative options to look out for.

Enter the D800.

My first interest was the 15 megapixel DX crop (the 5 megapixel crop of the D3 never interested me), while I hoped the AF and high ISO would be near or on par with the D3. Fortunately all the above answered my expextations.

My only problem was that my copy of the D800 came with serious back focus problems, but a trip to Nikon had that solved (for free of course)

The grip of course also is a bit of a bump at the official price, but found an original one at 25% less, and discovered I have the same fps with Eneloops (of which I have a bundle lying around) as with the D4 battery. Even when shooting surf I never go faster than 7 fps, so I can live with the 6 fps in X mode.

Did het some 16 gig CF cards, and some SD cards, but no real major expenses in that regard.

Only lens that really fell short for use with the D800 was my venerable old 2.8/80-200 AF D, which given it's age was no surprise, and quite honestly already in title for an upgrade for some time already. So it recently got replaced with a 2.8/70-200 VR2

Use the D800 much in crop mode, can use the 200-400 with TC for surf again, and for catwalk the virtual 120-300 is just what I was looking for.

As a bonus I have the 36 megapixel option for studio/catalog work, and video for whenever I may be needing it (have no experience with video so far though)

And I get all the above, in familiar Nikon quality, at the remarkable (relative) low price point, so I'm a happy trooper