Nikon has officially announced the Nikon D800, a megapixel monster (36!) that comes with a full-frame 35.9x24mm sensor. We’ll get back to that, but you have already guessed that this is going to be a rock-solid still camera. The more interesting part is that Nikon has polished the D800 for videographers, as it can record 1080p movies at 30FPS with an image quality that camcorders would have a hard time to match (that includes uncompressed video). The D800 also comes with a microphone connector, and a video output that lets operators output a video feed to a monitor in real-time. With the Nikon D800, videographers get most of the “bang” of the Nikon D4, at a lower “buck”.
On paper, the D800’s biggest differences with the D700 are: the resolution has been tripled, the auto-focus has been improved and the Advanced Scene Recognition System is now much more advanced. Finally, the LCD display can swivel on two-axis (versus one for the D700). Pretty much everyone would agree that the D800 isn’t as good as the D4 in low-light (which is my favorite feature on cameras), but on the other hand, those who work in a studio won’t care that much about low-light capabilities, so this is definitely covering a corner of the market.
The megapixel count is not going to be useful to everyone as well: even enthusiasts may not be keen on having images that can be 200MB+ big. I also wonder if the existing lenses can match the level of performance of a 36 Megapixel sensor – we’ll see soon enough. In the meantime, with the introduction of the Nikon D800, Canon will probably follow-up with a 5D Mark III relatively soon… [Nikon press release]