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Nikon D800 – Is My New Nikon Nearly Here?

spaniard grass duffers saddle sunset central otago by new zealand photographer Todd Sisson

Spaniard Grass & Earth Shadow - Taken On The Exemplary Nikon D7000. Soon to be shot on a D800?

Could it Be True? Is the Nikon D800 Nearly Here? 

My how time flies.

Thanks to Flickr Contact Dan Wade for reminding me of a post that I wrote way back in June 2009 entitled My New Nikon (doesn’t exist). You can still read it here – over at blogger.

At the time I was lamenting the lack of a Canon 5dii equivalent camera body in the Nikon range.  You know the one I mean – high resolution guts inside a so called ‘pro-sumer’ form factor.  Light to pack – but packs a punch. Two years on and my dream Nikon is still vapourware – as Ken Rockwell cleverly puts it – Nikon have not released a new FX camera body this decade…..sad but true.

The un-desirable no-man’s land that I have been inhabiting for the past two years has had Sarah & I shooting with two camera systems – we purchased the 5dii and over time it, somewhat reluctantly, became our mainstay camera due to it’s generally excellent image quality.

The D2x was pimped on Trademe earlier this year along with our heavier and less used Nikkors to be replaced with the stunning D7000 and a couple of new lenses.

I will say this.  Shooting Nikon and Canon simultaneously is no mean feat.  I am fairly sure that juggling the ergonomic and control differences between the two systems has caused irreversable neural pathway damage to my already diminished grey matter – Canon and Nikon cameras are VERY different beasts to use.

Over this period I have learned a couple of important things about DSLRs:

  • Lighter is better when you have to carry it into the hills.  Sure, weilding a full-size pro body DSLR may be the equivalent of driving a 7 litre muscle car – but it comes with the same overheads -weight, bulk, high costs and that ever-present inference that you may be trying to compensate for something. Smaller, lighter camera bodies are simply better for what I do. End of discussion.
  • I don’t like Canon ergonomics. I plan to write a full post on this but briefly;  fiddly little buttons, key shooting functions buried deep in menu trees,  and an overall plasticky feel leave me cold at best, angry at worst.
  • I love the image quality of the Canon 5dmkii.  I have some issues with the colours generated by the 5dmkii under certain conditions, but in general the files it produces are spectacular.
  • I love the Nikon D7000.  It was a revelation to start shooting the D7000 – the ergonomics are pure Nikon with the best of Canon implanted into a fantastically compact body. Image quality is faultless at base ISO and colours are just as I like them – neutral.  Again I will write about this in detail later on.
So we return to my dream camera – Nikon handling, feel and operation combined with D3x / 5dmkii image quality.
It appears that my dream camera is on the way.  Nikonrumors.com leaked the proposed specs for the D800 a couple of weeks and it looks like they have condensed every DSLR gear-freak’s erotic dreams into a small, compact body.  I’m not exactly sure how I will handle 36MP but hell – I’ll give it a crack :)
Normally, I wouldn’t place too much stock in such rumors but, as I said in a tweet last week, Thom Hogan has been dead quiet on the rumours – which generally means that they are bona fide (Thom seems to have to play his leaked cards close to his chest).  Today Thom wrote that he expects a D800 announcement next week – the wait may be over!
Let’s hope that they are not produced in Thailand :~
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