Nikon D800 Digital Camera Review$2,999.95
The Nikon D800's full-frame image sensor produced great motion results in our test videos, but the camera's high resolution caused issues with rolling shutter, especially if the camera was moved in any way. In our still life motion rig, there's very little ghosting or trailing, however, and signal interference is practically nil. More on how CamcorderInfo tests motion.
The Nikon D800's motion video stands up well against the competition, including the Canon 5D Mark III. The D800 videos came out sharper, though the higher bitrate of the ALL-I codec tended to result in more pleasing gradation in the videos from both recent Canon full-frame cameras.
The Nikon D800 produced exceptional results in our sharpness test, as we've seen in many test videos shot with the camera here and elsewhere. However, even with the D800's anti-alias filter intact (the D800E version has an optically cancelled low pass filter), moire was still significant in our sharpness footage. It was much better than we saw with the previous generation of DSLRs like the Canon 5D Mark II, but it lagged behind the updated 5D Mark III.
Still, the D800 produced a sharper image overall, with nearly 800 line pairs/picture height visible in our sharpness footage. In bright light we consistently saw 750 LW/PH of sharpness horizontally and vertically, with moire creeping into the shot at higher frequencies. More on how CamcorderInfo tests video sharpness.
In low light we found that the D800's sharpness began to suffer, with horizontal sharpness falling down to 675 LW/PH, though vertical sharpness stayed strong at around 750 LW/PH. The biggest reason for the sharpness falloff was simply noise, as the auto ISO rose to ISO 6400 at the lower light level, encroaching on the video's sharpness.
Low Light Sensitivity
The D800 was able to produce a video image with a brightness of 50 IRE using a target illuminated by just 4 lux of light. This puts it among the most sensitive cameras we've tested, though the Canon 5D Mark III, Nikon D4, and Canon 1D X all beat it by a fairly wide margin due to their superior ISO ranges. We should note that this was using the D800 with auto ISO engaged, so it didn't take advantage of the two higher ISO speeds equivalent to 12800 and 25600. Those speeds produce a large amount of gain, but if you need to capture video in less than 4 lux of light, they're available.