For the most part, Nikon hasn't changed its fundamental control design in years. You select the shooting mode electronically via the mode button, and a button pad on the left shoulder provides access to white-balance, quality, ISO sensitivity, and bracketing options. The movie record button is small and I think poorly situated and hard to feel; I prefer it on the back for thumb-based operation.
The control layout on the back of the D800 is very similar to the D700's, with a few updates. Instead of a metering switch, which has been moved up around the AE/AF lock button, there's a switch that toggles you between photo and video Live View modes. And while I've never been a big fan of the multicontroller rocker switch -- it just feels a bit too imprecise to me -- I've gotten used to it after all these years.
The camera back looks oddly compact in photos. In fact, it's quite big.
You select the drive mode -- single, continuous low, continuous high, quiet shutter, or self timer -- via Nikon's typical button-locked dial. I find this design much easier to operate single-handed than Canon's design, with the button lock in the center.
The function and preview buttons, which you operate with the middle fingers of your right hand, can be programmed for a host of different operations, including the ability to silently operate the aperture via these buttons when shooting video.