My Thoughts on the New Nikon D800

There’s been a lot of buzz over the new D800 that Nikon announced last week. With 36 megapixels, it’s the highest resolution small format DSLR ever. But is it right for you? Here’s my thoughts.

For commercial and landscape photographer, this camera is manna from heaven. What’s important to these photographers is plenty of megapixels and maximum dynamic range. High ISO isn’t as important since they’re generally shooting at 100 ISO whenever possible.

For wedding photographers, high ISO is more important since they’re often in dim churches or dark reception halls. The 36 megapixels offered by this camera is overkill times three. Wedding photographers tend to shoot thousands of images per wedding so the extra file size of this camera is going to put a strain on existing resources. They can expect to upgrade CF cards, hard drives, and even computers to handle the larger files and the additional processing power needed to deal with the images.

If you’re a wedding or lifestyle portrait photographer considering a new Nikon camera, my suggestion would be to pick up the D700 or D3s as prices come down. The 12 megapixels of these camera are more than enough for any wedding use. The D800 offers few advantages in terms of high ISO, frames per second etc to make it an “OMG, I have to have this” camera for wedding photographers.

I have no doubt that many wedding and other photographers will be jumping on the D800 bandwagon. The lure of extra megapixels and the latest and greatest is hard to deny. But if you’re like most photographers who are dealing with limited budgets and need to get the most of your equipment dollar, I think your money is best spent elsewhere. An extra $1,000 or more dollars spent on the latest and greatest is money that you’re not spending on marketing and growing your business.

No client is going to hire you because your camera has 36 megapixels. They will hire you however if they love your work, your brand and, most importantly, they can find you. Before you invest your hard-earned money, consider what’s truly important to your business.


About johnmireles

Photographer, writer, thinker, climber, outrigger canoeist, bad guitar player and even worse singer.
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3 Responses to My Thoughts on the New Nikon D800

  1. John Wiley says:

    My thoughts, exactly, Juanito! I’m not a Nikon shooter but since Canon and Nikon tend to leapfrog each other, I would imagine a super-high MP compact body offering from Canon is just over the horizon (the, as yet mythical, 5D mk III or whatever?). I won’t be going for such a beast for exactly the reasons you cited. Very happy with what I have right now. (Although that 1DX looks mighty tasty!)

    • johnmireles says:

      Actually, I heard from my local dealer that there’s a Canon 8dx with 36 or so megapixels coming out soon. It won’t replace the 5D MII. No word on whether Canon has improved the AF which is the weak link right now in their system.

  2. cjcampbell says:

    The D800 does not exist. Oh, sure, there are a few in the hands of members of Nikon Professional Services members, but no one else will have one of these cameras before August, at the earliest, and probably not until next year. Nikon’s decision to sell professional bodies only to members of NPS will be the subject of Harvard Business Review case studies on how to go out of business.

    Tomorrow’s professionals come from the ranks of today’s semi-pros and amateurs. If they cannot get Nikon bodies, they will have no choice but to buy Canon, or Sony, or Fuji. And when they turn pro that is what they will shoot: Canon, or Sony, or Fuji. NPS members may be somewhat mollified by Nikon’s shortsighted decision, but Nikon has alienated everybody else. Fatally so.

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