A few weeks ago, I had all my camera gear stolen in Birmingham, Alabama. After a few weeks of coming up with money and reaching out to friends, I came in contact with someone that could help me.
A friend of a friend of a friend (American guy) worked at Nikon in Tokyo, Japan. I reached out to him to try and see if he knew of any gear that was cheap. He told me they had a refurbished Nikon D800 that did not even have one new shot on it.
I was completely amazed at how fast they moved the order. I sent the payment on Wednesday morning (Kansas City time) and by Friday morning, the camera has been moved from Tokyo to Korea to Alaska to Kansas City. That is quite impressive to have a camera half around the world in 48 hours!
It even still had the charger connection for Asia (I believe Korea) with the adaptor for the United States. It has been a while since I saw that connection…. probably since the days of Osan Air Base. They even included the original the data cable for the Nikon D800. Probably the thing I was most thankful for is the new EN-EL15 battery (they do get pricy at $54 a piece)
Why a Refurbished Nikon D800?
The first reason is clearly the price. The Nikon D800 started at $2,995 when it was released and it still goes for well over $1,500 new. Normally, they are around $1,000 even on the used market. I got this one for $650 with free shipping.
The other reason to consider it is has a new sensor. The 36.3 MP sensor is a beast! It was unreal to have when it went on sale in March 2012. Nothing over 24MP was believed to be possible without going into Medium Format. It is true that this camera changed the industry.
It changed everything and it really was ahead of its time. It can still hang with any camera on the market besides the Nikon D850. Depending on the type of shooting you are doing, it still the best bang for buck. (Sport photography is a different beast though.)
Getting the refurbished Nikon D800 means I have a great camera that will getting me through for a few years until I can get the money to get a new D850 or its’ replacement. I could also end up getting the Nikon Z7 II when prices come down as well.
At the end of the day, getting a D800 is just a smart decision. It is the “bang for buck” factor that really makes it a wise decision. It still does most things that the newer cameras does and they are going for under $1,000 now. That is really what makes it such a winner.
The important thing is you can save on the body so you spend on full frame lens because they get very pricy very quickly. Any lens for a full frame camera, especially Nikon is $1,000 by itself.
What Nikon D800 don’t have?
There is some things that you would give up to get a camera that is eight years old. Most of them are not that big of a deal. You just need to be aware of them.
The first one is wifi and NFC. There is no moving images from your camera to your phone or computer wirelessly. This is only an issue for me because I like to use my phone as an external monitor. On my other cameras, I could use wifi or NFC for this. On the Nikon D800, I have to use the data cable and OTG adaptor.
The second issue is it seems every DSLR that Nikon puts out they move the ISO command. On this camera, it is on the top White Balance and Bracketing. On the new D850, it is over by the power switch.
A minor issue with the NIkon D800 is the mode system. I can’t just hand a camera to a family member and let them use it. There is only modes for manual, aperture propriety, and shutter. It does not have the automatic modes that most Nikon has. I shoot manual so not a big deal!
Outside of the wifi and NFC issue, the main issue is the moving around of command dails on every new camera. I just wish that no matter what camera I used, I could rely on what I need to be in the same place. I am not sure why Nikon has a thing for screwing with these but they do. Stop it, please!
Bottom line on Nikon D800
It is still a beast of a camera and worth the money. It does have some performance issue when next to the top camera that are much newer but that should be the case. If you have $2,000 to spend, I highly suggest that you get a refurbished Nikon D800 and use the rest of the money on a lens like an old Tamron 24-70mm (F/2.8)
I am sure there are people out there saying how bad the D800 is today and why you should have used it anymore. I just have to disagree with them. It is still getting the job done…and doing it with 36MP.
I have even seen videos on Youtube of people still using this camera to do wedding photography. As a lot of photographers end up in that space, it can do the job.
Can it handle HDR Photography? It can without a problem. It The dynamic range is still great and the bracketing is very good. It does not have in body stabilization but HDR Photography has to be done on a tripod anyways.
All in all, I highly recommend using the Nikon D800 for about anything you want to do in professional photography. I know people will tell you that you need something newer but as I said, you do not really.
Have you used a refurbished Nikon D800? If so, how did it work out for you?