The designers of the Nikon D800 and Nikon D800E aimed very high when they started working on the project. That’s what the behind the scenes story told us.
Nikon engineers wanted to design the D800 “a step above” Nikon’s flagship the D3X, a 24-megapixel model released in 2008, and they wanted to compete against “high-resolution medium-format digital cameras or digital camera backs” for “image quality, tone reproduction, and sharpness” in a light and compact DSLR body.
To make the 36.3 megapixel camera work and work well to meet their goals, Nikon engineers refined many aspects of the camera and used many high standard components as in their pro grade D4.
The behind the scenes story also tried to address some common misconceptions or concerns using the engineers’ words. For example, the Nikon D800 has 36.3 megapixel sensor but that is not the only resolution photographers can use. It supports four different formats: “FX format, DX format, a nearly square 5:4 format that studio photographers will find easy to use, and a 1.2x format that is slightly narrower than the FX format”. With each format, there are three different size choices: large, medium, and small. In FX format the images are about 36.2 megapixels for large size, about 20.3 megapixels for the medium size, about 9 megapixels for the small size. I am not quite sure if those images can be in RAW format, like “sRAW”.
According to the story, the Nikon D800 is “targeted at users who insist on a methodical approach to photography”. If you are casual shooters, the Nikon D800/D800E may not be appropriate for you.