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Nikon D810 vs D800E – Which One You Should Buy According to Kai

By Kishore Sawh on September 4th 2014


The term ‘game changer’ is tossed about in photographic circles like ‘love’ is among teens.. Most don’t really know how to identify either. When the D800 came around a few years back, the sheer enormity of the statistics involved made everyone stop and think, once again, that this could be it. It captured the hearts and adoration of the masses more than Nikon’s flagship, and there was much high-tone and fancy-chat about it biting at the leg of medium format.

Well, it’s been a few years and the D800 has already got its third variant, and more so than ever it seems, this is the camera that would live up to the hype first placed on its forbearer’s shoulders. But how much better is it? Or is it better?

[REWIND: Canon vs. Nikon: Why I Want To Switch to Nikon, But Can’t Fully | Tony Northrup]


In prototypical DigitalRev style, there’s the brushing aside of the overly technical speak in favor of more real world, real work, day-to-day usage critique. Kai, takes this D810 and does a few things with it that most owners would think is the work of someone with a straightjacket.

From highlighting its weather sealing by doing a camera version of the ALS challenge, to dropping the camera body from height on different surface types, Kai shows a bit of disdain for the new 36MP monster. And, as usual, makes some frank, if not entirely mind blowing opinions on which of the D800s should be bought.



I’ll refrain from making any judgement here myself as I haven’t used the D810 as yet. I can say though, that personally, I tend not to mind when a new revamp to a model comes out since that makes the previous version, usually 95% as capable, much less costly, and I actually think more shooters should do this. Most new updates aren’t really much to write home about. That said, it does seem as though this version is really the one to go for. What say you?

Source: DigitalRev TV

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A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Kurk Rouse

    make him stop please for every one who can barely afford a pro camera !!

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  2. Herm Tjioe

    I’m with Kai. He distilled his findings to the lowest common denominator . . . good for landscape photogs, that’s it. Otherwise meh

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    • John Cavan

      I think you can probably add fashion and fine art to that list. It’s also a good FF entry point for the more advanced amateur or semi-pro who wants more than what the D600 offers and doesn’t want to spend the money for the D4, presuming a preference for Nikon of course.

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    • Herm Tjioe

      As an entry FF cam ?!?! that is a steep entrance fee.

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    • Kishore Sawh

      I don’t think the D800, any of the variants, are considered entry level at all. A D800 buyer wouldn’t buy one because they don’t want to spend the money on a D4, since their strengths are so different. The two cameras aren’t exactly interchangeable. You can do things with the resolution of the 800 that a D4 can’t. And of course you can do things with the power and speed of the D4….

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    • John Cavan

      Yeah, actually it is (speaking from experience). If you want FF with pro features and not the price tag that goes with the flagship, then the D800 is an entry point. You’ll note that I did NOT say that with respect to the general consumer market and did NOT say entry level. I realize that the D4 is targeted at a different purpose than the D800, but it’s also carrying a massive price tag regardless, and that limits the advanced amateur and semi-pro market for the most part. I made the jump from Pentax to Nikon, giving up two K5 bodies and 10 lenses in the process, and chose the D800 as my entry point for all of those reasons.

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    • Matthew Saville

      Architecture, commercial, fine art, nature, travel, reproduction, portraiture of pretty much ANY kind, from fashion editorial to families…

      In my opinion, this is definitely NOT a “meh” camera unless you sincerely have one of two concerns. One being that you need astonishing shooting speeds and buffer sizes, which 80-90% of photographers really do NOT actually need, despite what they may think. I’ve shot plenty of action sports jobs with 4-6 FPS cameras, and never had a problem with the speed. I’m not an Olympics photographer, sure, but that’s a very small %% of the whole world mind you. The other being, of course, the file size. And again, unless you’re a spray-and-pray high-volume wedding shooter who rattles off 5K images per wedding at 40+ weddings per year, …then shut up, buy a few more memory cards and a new external hard drive, and enjoy the amazing image quality. Oh, and set your camera to 12-bit compressed RAW if you’re a volume shooter, it’ll almost cut your file sizes in half…


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    • Matthew Saville

      John Calvin, even though the D800 / D810 might be the first and most affordable choice for someone who is looking to “enter” full-frame, the D810 etc. are definitely not “entry level”. I know you didn’t call them that specifically, and simply used the phrase “a good entry point”, so I thought I’d clarify this…

      Most people who are looking at “entry level” ought to consider a D610, of course. Or, quite honestly, a Sony A7 series maybe if they aren’t already totally invested in Nikon lenses.

      But I digress. For a pro or aspiring pro, yes a D810 might be their “entry point”, but in my experience it is actually much more likely that the D810 is already the BEST camera for them, and NOT an entry point. What is there, past the D810? A D4s, and that’s it really. And unless you’re in that 5-10% of photographers who are Olympics-bound, you’re not gonna be stepping “up” from a D810 to a D4s some day. The D810 is the last camera you’ll buy for a very, very long time IMO.

      So yeah, the semi-pro D700 was indeed my “entry point” into full-frame for me, back in the day. But it was also my final resting place for many years, so I never considered it an entry point. Just a full-frame version of the D300 and D200 I had been previously using. :-)

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  3. Nick Viton

    BAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHA ice bucket challenge on the D810!!!

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  4. Eric Sharpe

    I’m going to wait to see what this rumored D750 is going to be, and if it’s nothing, then I’m going with the D810.

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