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Nikon D800 Review for Snowboard Photography - Snowboard Northwest
D800 camera image

Nikon D800 Review for Snowboard Photography


Nikon’s D800 camera is a full frame DSLR made for serious photographers who demand high resolution images in a solid body.  It’s  the highest resolution DSLR ever made at 36.3 megapixels, which turns out some stunning images.  At a retail price of $3000 it’s not designed for amateurs.   However, if you desire the utmost not only in image quality, but robustness this camera delivers pure performance.  I also use the Nikon D300 for fast burst images, but when I need the highest of quality the D800’s dynamic range delivered by the full frame sensor is incredible.  It’s photos have a very high range of color and contrast so while shooting photos in the usually flat Northwest light, the images come out with more detail in the trees and the riders tend to pop more.

D800 camera image

The build

The D800 is built on a magnesium alloy frame and features dust and moisture sealed doors and buttons.  There are so many days I’m out in extremely damp conditions and the camera never skips a beat.  Not to mention how often the riders think it’s funny to slash snow all over you and your gear.  So it’s great to have a piece of equipment you trust to do the job and withstand the elements.

Specifications Overview

Model Nikon D800 camera Nikon D300s camera Nikon D7100 camera
Megapixels 36.3 MP 12.3 24.1
Sensor size Full frame DX format DX format
Burst speed 4 FPS 7 FPS 6 FPS
Weight 31.7 oz. 30 oz. 23.8 oz.
Price $2999.95 $1699.95 $1149.95



This camera is loaded with truly advanced features that help you step up your game.  From the 51 auto focus points to the TTL exposure metering using 91,000-pixel RGB sensor, this camera is fast and accurate on both metering and focusing.  The viewfinder is 100% coverage so you see everything in the frame in a large viewfinder.  The camera also features in camera HDR, which allows the shooter to blend multiple images into a single high dynamic range image giving the photographer an image that more closely represents what the human eye sees.  The viewing screen is plenty large, even for shooting video on being 3.2″ and housing 921,000 pixels.


The video on the D800 is touted as broadcast quality.  The quality of color and low levels of visible digital grain called “noise” is extremely low and very impressive.  The camera is capable of recording Full HD 1080p at 30/25/24p or 720p at 60/50p in AVC format.  The camera also fully supports a large array of 3rd party audio and stabilizing accessories, so your room to grow and add on isn’t limited.

Final Words

If you’re willing to invest in this camera, not to mention all the glass needed to fully harness it’s full potential, you will be rewarded with top notch photos in a solid package.  While the camera is fairly large and heavy, it feels incredibly solid in your hands.  The shutter is quiet, the buttons are laid out well and intelligently, and switching from stills to video is a breeze.  If you get this beast, be prepared to be the camera jockey for your friends and family.

Good Things

  • Image quality, features, auto focus, high video quality, build quality, and overall control over the camera

Bad Things

  • Price, size, and weight

The Breakdown

Image quality
Size and weight

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