Did the Nikon D800 Really Pass the BBC Video Test?

UPDATE: No, they didn’t pass.

According to Nikon Australia, the company’s D4 and D800 DSLR cameras have become the first DSLRs to pass the equivalent of the bar exam for us mere mortals: the BBC Test–but properly known as the European Broadcast Union test.

But take a look at the results very carefully. Here are the downloadable PDF files for the D4 and D800 test accordingly.

The end of the D800’s PDF clearly states, “This camera cannot be recommended for serious programme-making.”

So does that mean it wasn’t passed by the company? Well, read the 5D Mk II’s test or the rest of the Legacy Camera reports. After one test, the company didn’t even bother to go forward with others: proving that even the first DSLR to change the movie industry failed as well. That’s not all, the RED One‘s test is a bit misleading well when the company states, “For normal production purposes, however, the viewfinder signal is perfectly adequate, but it should never be used as a programme feed.” Continue reading the rest of the report though and you’ll see that it seems to think that the RED One shouldn’t exhibit any major problems in normal use. That’s not all, the Panasonic AF-101 was nearly ripped to shreds.

Their vernacular is consistent, which so far leads me to believe that the union didn’t give the camera a passing grade. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they won’t use it. They’ve used the Sony NEX 5N before.

Of course, I could also be totally wrong or it was a mistake. The tests also reference a Nikon 20-70mm f2.4 G lens. Unless that is meant to signify a T stop of some sort.

I’ve contacted the EBU Technical Dept for commentary and am waiting for a response.


Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.