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In February 2012 Nikon introduced the D800. Unlike some people suggested, it wasn't a D700-successor but a completely new camera. You might even say it’s not one, but many camera’s. Of course we have D800 and the D800E, but both can be considered as several cameras as well. First of all any D800 is a high resolution camera that in any practical aspect could be regarded as replacement of the great but expensive D3x. Then it replaces the D700, in all aspects but speed (frames per second). Finally you might even regard it as a replacement for the D300s.
That sounds strange maybe, but the D300s was for many amateurs the best Nikon body that didn’t force you to invest heavily in FX-lenses. With the D800 you have a 16 megapixel DX-camera and a 32 megapixel FX camera in one. You can start with existing DX-lenses, and add FX-lenses as you wish. You can add an old Ai lens for example, or one or more of the entry FX-lenses: the 50/1.8, 85/1.8 and 28/1.8. Since a year Nikon also offers a great standard zoom for FX; the 24-120/4. In other words: It’s easier and less expensive to upgrade from DX now, then at the time of the introduction of the D700.
I even think that the very fact that Nikon offers ‘budget’ FX-lenses means that they want advanced amateurs and those pros who haven’t converted already, to go to FX. Technically speaking it just makes sense: the simplest way to  obtain the highest picture quality (low noise and high resolution and dynamics), is to use a large sensor. If you want the highest quality, problems regarding production and design tolerances are asmaller with a larger sensor. So the D800 could be regarded as both a D3x, a D700 and a D300s successor.
The D800 is not a D700 successor for all pro’s though. For some of them, the D700 was a modern Nikkormat: a cheaper body that offered the same picture quality as the expensive pro model.

This is the (niche) market Nikon decided to give up. I think it’s a good decision: there will be many customers from other brands who will go over to Nikon and only a few (if at all) who will leave Nikon because there is no cheap D4.

The problem

Now to the real problem: the choice between the D800 and D800E.
This is not easy. Many people have already warned against the E-type. There even have been people who have warned against all high resolution camera's and have yelled ugly names like 'diffraction limited' at them. Let’s stop this  nonsense once and for all: there are no diffraction limited camera’s, only diffraction limited lenses. Yes, if you stop down a D800 to f/11 and compare this with a picture made at f/8 you might see diffraction. More important is though, that you still will get a picture that is worlds, if not galaxies apart from the D700. The D800 rewards you if you choose the optimal aperture of a lens, the D700 less so, that’s all. Strangely enough the D800E even shows diffraction less strongly than the D800, I’ll explain why later.
Now that I’ve been teasing you enough, let’s show some results. >>> part two

Nikon D800 and D800E: which one suits you best?

Nikonreflex.com

Nikonreflex.com

 

 

 

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on Nikon cameras, Nikon lenses and lenses with Nikon-fitting, software and more
by Dré de Man, photographer, journalist and author of more than twenty books on digital photography and Nikon cameras and one about IT