Last week, on the brink of the D810 release, I made sure to grab one of the D800's as it proved to be a reliable camera for photographers over the past two years. In the first week of owning it, I have little to complain about, and I'm glad I bought it over the D810. Looking at the images I took with my AF-D lenses, I realized just how inaccurate they are, and I knew that I had to upgrade to the AF-S versions of the lenses. If I had bought the D810, there is no way I could afford to buy new 50 and 85mm lenses immediately – and what's the point of having a sharp camera if your lenses aren't tack sharp?
The 50mm 1.8 AF-S, which replaced my 50mm 1.4 AF-D, definitely feels hollow in my hands in comparison, but when paired with the D800, I've definitely seen an increase in sharpness throughout the image. I certainly won't get rid of my 50mm AF-D, but it's not going to be my go-to lens when using my D800.
I had to use my 180mm ƒ2.8 AIS (a 30 year old lens), and for being a manual lens with less than perfect optics, it worked fairly well. I was impressed with the accuracy of the manual focus assist on the D800, but unfortunately, I was photographing a moving tiger for The Collegiate. So while I shot 100 pictures, I probably only got 10 keepers, but most of the issues had to do with the subject and not the camera.
One thing I noticed after photographing the tiger was how dead my arm was for days. The D800 and the 180mm were probably around four pounds together, and it definitely not something I was used to. After a week of acclimating to the D800, my hands actually like the grip better than the D7000, which the grip is something online folks seem to gripe about constantly.
Something that should be griped about is the lack of infrared remote control. Last night while shooting the fireworks, I noticed that there was NO wireless IR receiver. Looking at the options online, there's really no cheap option for remotes, and since they all rely on the 10-pin connector, you don't want to get one that is subpar and may bend the connectors. That was the nice thing about the D5000, D90, and D7000 that I have used in the past – they all used a simple remote shutter cord that you could buy for around $5. That being said, I was able to find one for $20 on Amazon that looked pretty sturdy, but I am still annoyed that the remote will have to take AAA batteries – just another thing I have to remember to check in the future. Additionally, there's no cheap alternative to get a GPS receiver if you were interested. It too relies on the 10-pin connection. It all makes sense though, since this is a professional camera, and you don't want something as critical as the shutter release falling out on you in the middle of a time lapse or in the middle of a session.
I don't want to end on my disappointment with the 10-pin connector, so I'll wrap it up talking about file size. I'm thoroughly impressed with the transfer speeds of the files from the camera using USB 3.0. While they may be 75MBs each, if you are transferring them without converting to DNG, it takes around a second and a half. I'm not much of a believer in the DNG rationale of "If you don't convert, in ten years when Nikon goes bankrupt, no one will be able to read files." Let me call B.S. on this – you seriously don't think someone would come out with an open-source or heck an app for $10 that would make the file openable? Anyways, I also wanted to note that while everyone thinks I'm insane for buying a 36 megapixel camera, I believe that it will be a low megapixel within a decade. You have to stay ahead of the game, and as of right now I don't have a problem editing photos any slower than I had before. Exporting them to JPEG on the other hand I have seen a decrease in productivity, but overall, my solid state drive has kept me from feeling any real pain while working with the files.
I regret nothing in buying the D800. Definitely will be my camera of choice for years to come.