The fight for 2012’s best camera appears to have started, with Nikon announcing a camera with the world’s largest megapixel count in a digital SLR.

Introduced today, Nikon is replacing its D700 prosumer camera, a 12.1 megapixel full-frame body that was first introduced in 2008.

Built out of magnesium alloy, the replacement camera – Nikon’s D800 – features a sensor three times the count of the original, making it a 36.3 megapixel camera, the highest amount of any currently released digital SLR cameras.

Equipped with a 3.2 inch screen, the D800 is able to take both full-frame lenses (FX) and the APS-ready crop sensor lenses (DX) used on other cameras in Nikon’s DSLR range, the D800 is designed for most situations.

Low light on this new camera can hit up to a maximum of ISO 25,600, while video mode is also catered for with 1080p Full HD video able to be captured in both full-frame FX and cropped DX modes, depending on the type of frame or picture you’re trying to grab.

It’s not enough to have the biggest sensor of any digital SLR either, with the D800 becoming the first camera in the world to sport a high-speed USB 3.0 port, able to send files between five and ten times faster than a standard USB 2.0 connection. You will need a USB 3.0 port on your computer to achieve these, and right now that only includes Windows laptops, as Apple does not support the format.

A second model will also be made available removing the low-pass filter normally left in cameras to blur images slightly on the pixel level to stop the moire pattern from occurring. Identical to the D800 in every other way, this special edition model – the D800E – will be geared at photographers after the most control of their images.

Nikon Australia hasn’t given us a price for the new camera, but we’ve heard the D800 will reach around $3,000 in America, with the D800E coming in for a few hundred heavier. Given how strong our dollar is at the moment, we hope we’re not too far off.

The D800E is identical in every way except for the missing low-pass filter inside the camera.