The Nikon D800 has officially been in production for ten years, and it remains a fantastic camera even now.

Nikon D800 has officially been in production for ten years

The Nikon D800 has officially been in service for ten years – incredible! I recall being among the initial group of Nikon owners eagerly awaiting the arrival of this groundbreaking camera in my hands and out in the field in 2012, when it first became available.

It is unfortunately very old-fashioned when compared to modern-day equivalents and was phased out in 2014. Despite this, I still use two D800s today and find them to be just as good as they were when they were first introduced – and if you want to get as close to using a D800 as possible today, you can still order its current successor, the D850.

Here are some photographs I’ve shot with my new Nikon in the back of my car on the day I picked them up, as well as some of the images I’ve taken with them throughout the course of the year.

I recall the day well, driving to the Calumet shop in Manchester, England, and returning with two Nikon D800 cameras, battery grips, and additional batteries, as well as a somewhat depleted bank account as a result. But, as we commemorate the D800’s long life, is it still a useful camera to use? Well, ten years later, I am still using my two Nikon D800s, and despite a few war scars and scratches here and there from their use in the equestrian sports business, I can confidently state that they continue to operate as well as they did back in March 2012 when I purchased them.

As a breakthrough camera at the time, Nikon integrated a full-frame 36.3-megapixel sensor into a tiny weather-sealed chassis that was capable of shooting photographs at 4 frames per second or up to 5 frames per second when using the crop modes 1.2 and DX. Compared to today’s market of 40MP+ cameras capable of shooting at 20-30 frames per second, 4 frames per second continuous shooting appears to be bad form. However, believe me when I say that many Nikon photographers took notice of this high-performance powerhouse back in 2012.

This camera’s ISO range of 100-6,400 was even more astonishing at the time of its release. The ISO range extended to 25,600, which is impressive considering that this camera was released 10 years ago. It continues to produce stunning images with excellent image quality and tonality, as well as the ability to record full HD 1080p video at 24 frames per second (again, we are talking about a decade-old piece of technology).

The D800 served as a stepping stone in Nikon’s development of a professional camera that was excellent for still photography and could also shoot a video if necessary. Today, this has been substantially improved, with devices like the Z9, which offers incredible image quality as well as 8K video capabilities, as an example.

So I’ve sung the D800’s praises, and yeah, if you’re thinking I’m a little prejudiced, you’d be correct in your assumption. I adore my Nikon D800, and every time I use it, I am still astounded by how well it works today, especially when combined with a fast Nikon 50mm f/1.4 lens or even my 600mm f/4 lens — the shots I am able to capture are really stunning.

However, this is a ten-year-old camera, and by today’s standards, it is considered “out of date.” It is a clumsy DSLR with just 51 points of focusing, 1080p video at only 24 frames per second, and 3D color matrix metering, which has been around for almost as long as Nikon DSLRs have been around. It is compatible with old CF cards and somewhat newer SD cards, and it has a “poor resolution” screen compared to recent competitors. The Nikon D800 is an old tank in the professional DSLR world, but it still works well in my world. It is still as fantastic as ever, and I hope it will endure another ten years or more.

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