My favorite source for rumors on anything Nikon is (well, pretty obvious URL if you ask me…). What is that website ? Perhaps I should explain the nature of rumors websites first.

A *whatever*rumors dot com page collects bits and pieces of information related to a certain topic. There is a rumors website for Apple products, Sony Alpha DSLRs, Canon and many many more. Just type in your favorite brand and “rumors” in Google and see what you get.

Rumor pages are basically blogs. Information is collected on anything that could hint on a new product or product properties. The “hints” range from unwanted leaks by manufacturers, comments company employees made or just “rumors overheard while visiting a local store”. As long as it is, in our case, Nikon-related, it will do. The guys running the blog have developed a pretty good feeling on whether these rumors are true or fake (Sometimes people invent rumors to make themselves important. Idiots…).

And so I am reading Nikon rumors daily to check out new information about the D800. And finally, some information leaked through and it seems like Nikon could release the D800 within the next 2 months. Along with the estimated timeframe for the product release some technical specs were published. I would like to add my five cents to those rumors and comment on the technical aspects of the camera as they were leaked so far.

I am aware that the specs published might be totally wrong, so my comments have to be read under the headline “how would I find that if it were true”.

36 Megapixels sensor resolution. If that is true and the D800 truly has a 36 million pixels sensor I have to ask Nikon: “What for ?” The D700 has 12.1 Megapixels at full format. Since I own a D300s (also 12.1 Megapixels at DX format) I can confidently say that 12 million pixels are more than enough. I have never used the full resolution and I can’t imagine why I ever should. The biggest canvas print I can find after a quick search is 180 x 100 cm and the company offering such prints demands a minimum image size of 2700×1500 Pixels. The D300s (and D700) have 4288×2848 Pixels…
36 Megapixels would also mean RAW files with 36 MB, which means hard drive space (ok, that’s quite cheap nowadays) and computing power. My MacBook Pro (2 and something years old) does not display the 12 megapixel files instantly. I can work perfectly with it but _really_ fast is something else. Of course the last two arguments do not really count since they are reflected upon my personal computing situation…

4 frames per second continuous shooting. I doubt it. The D700 can do 5 fps and the D300s (which was announced one year later than the D700n !) can do 7 fps. The decrease in framerate could only be explained by a larger sensor (more data to store per shot….). But I doubt that Nikon will make this important feature (*) worse compared to older models (*important for sports photographers and journalists I mean).

Special model without low-pass-filter. I am not sure if this is an translation error or what it means. “Special edition with the antialiasing filter removed” ? What for ? Perhaps they mean the infrared filter which is removed in the special edition ? For astronomy photography ? No clues on that one.

Full HD video. About f***ing time. Some people commented on the “30fps” spec but hey, what do you expect ? A slow-motion-camera ? Come on, it’s a DSLR.

Headphone jacks. Comes with the movie function.

New small wireless transmitter. Could be a WLAN device to stream your photos anywhere. Perhaps directly built into the camera ? If yes: nice. I hope it can be disabled if really introduced (power consumption).

Face recognition. Hm, nice feature but I don’t know if I really find that useful. The D300s also has a face recognition built in, but it only detects faces on images already taken. When you flip through the images you can flip through the faces in a picture quickly to check for sharpness. Nice, but not really necessary.

Larger LCD monitor. Yes, I like it big ! Screens can’t be big enough. (D700: 3″)

Two memory slots for SD and CF. The D300s has it and I love it. Very practical. #

Shutter durability of 200.000 cycles. For the D700 and D300s a shutter lifetime of 150.000 Exposures is rumored. 200.000 would mean quite an improvement. Good for the customer, bad for Nikon’s spare part business 😉

ISO 100-6.400 and simulated ISO 50 and ISO 25.600. Little bit extended compared to D700. Here it starts at ISO 200 and goes to 100 with the boost. Samer high ISO value.

Now for the ouchy part. Market price around 300.000 Yen. That would be about 2.950 Euros. Phew. To be honest I expected quite a sum for such a marvelous piece of technology (gee, I am such a nerd), but I had my personal pain threshold set to a value below 2.950 Euros.

Bottom line: The specs leaked so far are not that exciting. Compared to the D700 not many advances have been made. Video mode is pretty standard, second memory card slot nice. The 36 MP sensor feels a little oversized. I am curious about the noise performance if the pixel number is really tripled. But I can’t imagine Nikon sacrificing noise performance on a pro camera for megapixels. Naaaaaaaaa. Nobody is that stupid.