The Nikon D800 is due out in just 4 weeks. Retailers in the US, Europe and Japan estimate they will have the new 36MP full-frame camera as soon as March 22, 2012. The specialized D800E will follow on April 12.
In the US, B&H Photo posted an estimated availability dates of March 22 for the D800 and April 16 for the D800E. B&H has been accepting pre-orders since the D800 was announced on February 7. Amazon has given an estimated delivery date of March 21 for pre-orders with overnight delivery. Amazon posted the D800 pre-order late at night on February 6 and closed the pre-order the following day due to overwhelming demand. Amazon’s D800 product page allows customers to enter their email address to be notified when the item is in stock.
In Europe several retailers are also expecting late March availability. United Kingdom’s Grays of Westminster quotes the March 22 date, while Amazon.co.uk posted the D800 with a March 26, 2012 release date on their web site. Thomas Maquaire, product manager for Nikon France stated the D800 would be available March 22 and D800E on April 12th in an interview. In Japan, web retailer Amazon.co.jp has given dates of March 22, 2012 for the D800 and April 12, 2012 for the D800E.
It is very likely that initial shipments to retailers will be accounted for by pre-orders and will not be “in stock” for immediate order for several months. Nikon revealed a maximum production capability of 30,000 units of D800 per month at their Sendai, Japan factory. Worldwide interest from both professional and amateur photographers will easily consume that amount. Some photographers seek the D800 as they move to full-frame for the first time, while others will seek the DSLR’s segment-leading 36 megapixel resolution. The camera’s primary appeal will be landscape and studio photographers, but its outstanding video capabilities should attract videographers as well. Its broad appeal combined with pent-up demand from those waiting for a successor to the 4-year old D700 will make the D800 a hot commodity for a long time into the future.
The best way to get get the Nikon D800 is to pre-order it through an Authorized Nikon Dealer. See the Nikon D800 Preorder Information page for details and a list of retailers where you can place an order online.
Michael Zawadzki from UniquePhoto.com interviewed Steve Heiner at the WPPI Wedding Photographer Trade Show. Heiner is a Senior Technical Manager at Nikon. He provides some insight into the new 91,000 pixel metering sensor and its improvements over the D700. Also discussed are some of the features that will be of interest to those shooting HD video on the D800. One of the issues mentioned is how the D800E will handle video since it lacks the traditional anti-aliasing filter. The answer given is that the D800E should have no problem with moire when shooting video because the downsampling involved in going from full resolution to 1080 resolution will take care of interference patterns.
The Nikon D800 is still weeks away from delivery, but here is are reading material to keep you occupied in the meantime:
Nikon D800 Product Brochure
Nikon D800 / D800E Technical Guide
Amazon sent out Delivery Estimate emails for Nikon D800 orders with delivery dates of January 2013! The emails list ship date of December 31, 2012. The messages were sent to many customers who placed pre-orders for the Nikon D800 on Amazon, many of the customers report placing their orders just minutes or hours after the pre order was open.
This appears to be a mistake and hopefully Amazon will correct the error before customers unwittingly cancel their orders.
UPDATE: Amazon explains that the 2013 delivery estimate is not accurate. Since they do not have an ETA from their supplier, the date in their system is a placeholder.
“Our latest information indicates that ‘Nikon D800E 36.3 MP CMOS FX-Format Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)’ hasn’t been released yet, and we don’t know the expected release date. The 2013 date listed on our website is displayed as a placeholder until our suppliers are able to provide us with a specific release date. Once we know the release date, we’ll add that information to our website.”
Apparently the placeholder date triggered an email with the incorrect delivery estimate to be sent to everyone who pre-ordered the D800 on Amazon.
The Nikon D800 is being produced in Nikon’s Sendai, Japan factory. Select members of the media were recently invited for a special tour. Photography was prohibited inside the building, but they were able to extract some interesting information about D800 production.
The Nikon Sendai plant is capable of pumping out the D800 at nearly one camera per minute rate. This means they can make up to 30,000 of the D800 per month. Each camera contains over 1,600 individual parts. Some of the components are produced at the factory, while others come from various locations. It takes about 4 hours to build a D800 from start to finish. The plant is also producing the flagship D4 camera.
The factory incurred significant damage as a result of the 2011 earthquake. Luckilly it was able to escape the floodwaters of the ensuing tsunami, and none of its 1,600 employees were injured. Nikon spent over $100 million on repairs and had the factory back up and running in under a month.
Sources: CNET Asia, bernama.com