Nikon D800: full frame, full HD, full of 36 megapixels

The Nikon D800 is a new full-frame DSLR in Nikon's professional line of cameras, sitting on a new 36-megapixel CMOS sensor. The model borrows much of the styling of the D700, mixing in technology from the Nikon D4.

Top of the bill is that new 36-megapixel FX sensor. As a full-frame model it has a large sensor, but this number of megapixels is also new to "consumer" DSLR cameras. Nikon boasts that the level of detail it offers is unprecedented, while managing low-light noise as effectively as the D700.

The new Nikon D800 sits on the same architecture as the flagship Nikon D4, so you have the same AF module and Expeed 3 processor, but much more data to process from that sensor. 

The model tweaks the styling of the D700, bringing in controls for the newly added video modes. Again keeping pace with the Nikon D4, you get Full HD video capture, as well as slow-motion 50/60fps options in 720p, looking to rival the likes of the Canon EOS 5D Mk II.

An HDMI fires uncompressed video out, ideal for professional production purposes and headphone and mic sockets will support your audio capture. Other connections include a USB 3.0, the first for a Nikon DSLR, meaning fast data transfer to get all those images off. At 76MB for a NEF RAW file, you'll need it. Internally you'll find slots for CF and SD cards which can be used in combination.

Around the back of the new DSLR camera is a 3.2-inch 921k-dot LCD display with an ambient light meter, so it will adapt the display properties according to the environment. Above it sits the 100 per cent field of view viewfinder, which will display the 51 AF points.

The metal body of the Nikon D800 offers the same level of weatherproofing as the D700, so it's a camera that is designed to survive daily abuse and will offer 900 shots from the battery. You'll get a normal ISO range of 100-6400, with options to step down to ISO 50 or up to ISO 25600. You'll have options to shoot in different crop modes, from the native FX mode, to DX (APS-C equivalent), as well as 5:4 and 1.2x.

The Nikon D800 is a hefty camera at around 1kg (with battery but no lens) but offers a full range of capture options for the serious photographer or videographer. It also comes in at a serious price, launching at £2399.99. It will be available from 22 March 2012. 

Now why not look at our Nikon D800 pictures and hands-on or see how the D800 compares to the D700?