Overall, the D800 is a stunning camera. The camera breaks new imaging boundaries, showing off exceptional image quality at a convenient size and price. However, the D800 has been one of the most problematic newly-released cameras I’ve ever used, and I’m not buying one again until I know for certain that Nikon has addressed all the issues I’ve mentioned on the previous page - let alone the bugs that others are experiencing.

Coming from the D700, the difference in image quality is quite astounding. This isn’t only because of the high megapixel count, but also for the wide dynamic range, improved colour depth, and refined operation.

While I feel that the D800 is slightly flawed in ergonomics, it’s not enough reason to disregard the camera as a whole. The camera will fit some hands like a glove, but I fear this will only be the case for small hands with short fingers. For long shoots, I think the D800 may be even more tiring than the D700, and it’s clear there’s simply no replacing the comfort of the D3 or D4 form factor. This aside, the other quirks and short-comings are easy to overlook. Most importantly, I much prefer the size and weight of a D800 over a D4, no matter how strained muscles become after a 10 hour wedding shoot.

I appreciate the operational refinements made to the D800. For the most part, annoyances I’ve had with the D700 have been either fixed or refined. The battery compartment finally has a clip to keep the battery in place, and the new battery design eliminates the dead battery syndrome. The viewfinder finally has an advertised 100% (not true 100%) coverage, and the focus screen has improved focusing accuracy. The shutter and mirror box mechanism can now operate independently from each other, making live view just that much more practical for sound and vibration free operation. The DOF preview button and Live-View feature now actively respond to aperture input changes of the front command dial. The only issue I have, which is still present on the D800, is the flimsy memory card door.

I’ll be attempting to repurchase the D800 in a few months, since the D800 is far too good to ignore! I sincerely hope Nikon listened to all the user complaints out there, and will implement the appropriate fixes as soon as possible. For all those concerned with the original AF back-focus problem, recall that all the latest cameras I’ve tried didn’t show this problem. It’s unlikely that this problem will occur in newly arrived stock.


Since publishing this review, I have sampled an additional five D800 units.

Four SN 8800 and one SN 6015. Two had the left AF-point back focus, three had the pentaprism blur, and all had uneven top/bottom manual focus problem.