The full picture

Nandagopal Rajan | Print Edition: September 2012

Nikon D800E
Specs: 36.3MP FX format CMOS sensor; 1/8000 shutter speed; ISO 6400, Full HD 1080p video at 30fps; Dual card slots CF & SD; 3.2-inch LCD.
Price: Rs 1,74, 950

The Nikon D800 is now at the very top with DSLR bragging rights of a neverbefore 36.3 megapixel FX-format CMOS sensor and a host of features that are, without doubt, best-in-class. We tested the D800E, which has a different optical design to ensure that light is received by the image sensor at a single point, making the pictures taken with it boast a higher resolution.

The D800E is a largish DSLR and can be quite a handful for people who are not trained in using one. So Mr Amateur Photographer, this is not the camera for you. We recommend a medium level of expertise to handle this camera as there are no scene-based modes or full Auto modes to make life easy.



Rs 99,990
WHY: Mid-level DSLR with 24MP APS-C sensor, swivel LCD and electronic viewfinder. Different from other DSLRs in most features.
There are hundreds of features in this camera and there is no way we can list all of them in this space. In fact, it will be up to the photographer to tame this beast by customising each feature to his/her preference-even the command buttons can be customised. We found the editing functions with trim, D-lighting, etc very handy and easy to use. For instance you can do full RAW processing in the camera itself without the need of a software. Plus, there is a time-lapse option which can be very useful.

This camera is a bit heavier and larger than other mid-range DSLRs. The mode dial is on the left with buttons on top for white balance, ISO, quality and exposure bracketing. The Live mode dials are on the left of the 3.2-inch LCD monitor, while the trigger is merged into the on/off toggle towards the front. Since this is also a full-fledged HD video camera there are HDMI, mic, headphone and USB ports towards the left.

A lot many people will be buying this camera primarily as a video device since it can shoot Full HD at an impressive 30fps. There is a dedicated record button near the trigger, while the live mode has still and video modes. As you shoot, the screen will also show the audio signal level and other info. When you create videos, the speed of this camera and the EXPEED 3 image-processing engine come to the fore with everything in focus as we pan across the scene.


Rs 3,815
WHY: Best option if you need to carry multiple lenses. This quickdraw model can hold most accessories too.

Rs 2,480
WHY: Lightweight, but can still hold up to 2.5 kg. This makes it a good option for amateurs who want to take their photography to the next level.
We started out on RAW+JPEG Fine mode, and found our 4G CF card filled to capacity in 40 shots. With just JPEG Fine, the card accommodated around 100 images. We later shifted to the Transcend CompactFlash 600X 16GB card. The processing was a bit faster with this card, especially in the Live mode. Since this camera is going to be used a lot for video as well, it is better to get the largest fastest card possible. In fact, this camera gives you the option of having a second SD card and record video in multiple formats.

We tested the camera with a 24-85mm Nikkor VR lens. The auto-focus is exemplary, latching on to the subject in a split second. The camera has 51 AF points, but as you shoot you see just the ones that are coming into play. But what is the real advantage of the having a 36 MP camera? We took a shot of Delhi's Connaught Place and were able to crop a high-resolution image of just one shop window, sans noise or distortion. That is where the mega pixels make a difference. While the focusing was as fast, the processing of pictures inexplicably took longer in Live mode. The purists will not use this mode much, even otherwise it is better to use this mode for video. The ultimate results were everything that we expected it to be, though it seemed a bit too sharp at times. It captures subtle changes in colour tones and light plays.

VERDICT: Among the best DSLRs around, but not for amateurs.

Courtesy:Gadgets and Gizmos

  • Print

A    A   A