Nikon D800 Digital Camera Review$2,999.95
The Nikon D800 doesn't offer a glut of video recording options, sticking with a maximum resolution of 1080/30p recording in a MPEG-4/H.264 compression. Videos are contained in a .MOV file with Linear PCM audio recording. The camera also lets you record at 1080/24p, 720/60p, and 720/30p sizes as well. The D800 can record for up to 29 minutes and 59 seconds in most recording modes, though at the maximum quality the clip length is limited to just 20 minutes. Find out how the performed in our video image quality test./r:link_to_content
When recording video the D800 lets you adjust shutter speed, aperture, and ISO when in the full manual mode. In the priority exposure modes you can also record, but automatic exposure takes over and manual control is limited to the same degree as it is in still shooting. Aperture control is available while the camera is recording, but it is not a smooth adjustment on the 24-120mm lens, with each aperture stop down audible on the captured video.
The D800 uses through-the-lens metering with the whole image sensor in order to judge exposure. The camera offers exposure compensation in these situations so that you can adjust the brightness of your scene. The D800 doesn't have a mode dial, so you'll have to place the camera in program auto mode and hit the live view button in order to shoot video with full automatic exposure during recording.
For optical zoom the D800 doesn't offer any sort of control on the body, leaving you to have to manually turn the zoom ring on the lens itself. For the 24-120mm lens that is a fairly rough action, and you won't get the kind of smooth zooms in and out that you would on a full video camera.
The D800 offers contrast-detection autofocus while recording video. It's not particularly quick, but it's not any slower than it is for live view still photography. The autofocus can be engaged with the shutter button, with a box indicating focus zone turning green when focus is achieved and red if focus cannot be found.
When shooting video you have full use of the lens's aperture range, but limited use of the shutter speed. You can only set shutter speeds faster than 1/30th of a second in 1080/30p or 1/60th of a second when recording with a 60fps frame rate. The ISO range can extend all the way to the 6400 in automatic exposure, but can go all the way to HI-2 (ISO 25600 equivalent) when recording video in manual exposure mode.
The D800 includes both a mic and headphone jack, with audio level control in the menu available as well. If you don't want to record audio you can just turn off sound entirely. The D800 comes with a built-in monaural microphone, but accepts stereo microphones via the 3.5mm mic adapter on the left side of the body. The real advantage of the D800 is the headphone jack, which lets you actually monitor the audio that you're recording, adjusting levels as need be.