Nikon D810 Review

Now its introduction, the Nikon D810 has quickly established itself as a fan favorite among both amateur and professional photographers. However, the D810 has since been succeeded by the superior D850.

The Nikon D810 continues to be a very well-rounded full-frame DSLR and will now better value than it has ever been; nevertheless, if you want the best, you shouldn’t hesitate to get the Nikon D850; you won’t be sorry.

When Nikon unveiled the D800 and D800E in February 2012, it was met with a tremendous deal of excitement. A significant contributor to this excitement was the cameras’ revolutionary 36 million pixel count.

The only difference between these two full-frame DSLR cameras is that the sensor in the D800E has a weaker anti-aliasing (AA) or optical low-pass filter (OLPF), which allows it to produce crisper details directly from the camera without the need for any post-processing.

Because of the remarkable detail resolution that both of these cameras offer, they have quickly risen to the top of the wish lists of a great number of professional and amateur photographers. This is especially true for photographers who are interested in purchasing a relatively lightweight camera for shooting landscapes, still life, or macro photography. Since then, they have consistently been people’s first choices, and their resolution has become the standard against which other cameras are evaluated.

Nikon D810 Features

  • CMOS sensor with a full frame
  • 36.3 megapixels, 3.2-inch screen with 1,229,000 dots
  • and 1080p video recording

It should not come as a surprise that the Nikon D810 has the same amount of pixels as the Nikon D800 given the high pixel count of the Nikon D800; however, we have been informed that it employs a freshly developed sensor, which typically results in greater noise reduction. It has also been linked with Nikon’s EXPEED 4 processing engine rather than the EXPEED 3 engine that was found in the D800, and this should also be excellent news for the picture quality of the camera.

Other improvements over the D800 include an LCD panel with a greater resolution, the ability to capture raw photos that are smaller, similar to what is seen with the Nikon D4S, and the addition of a Group-area AF mode, which is also similar to what is seen with the D4S.

The upgrade to the EXPEED 4 processing engine also makes it possible to boost the maximum continuous shooting rate at full resolution to 5 frames per second, up from the previous maximum of 4 frames per second. Alternately, the D810 is capable of recording photos at 15.3 megapixels and shooting at 7 frames per second when shooting in DX format.

The buffer capacity of the D810 has also been increased, and it is now possible to capture more raw files in a single burst than it was previously possible with the D800. For instance, it is capable of shooting 47 lossless compressed 12-bit raw files as opposed to 21 and 23 uncompressed 14-bit raw files as opposed to 16. This is a huge step forward in making the D810 more of an all-rounder; however, you must be prepared for the memory cards to fill up rapidly in order to take advantage of this feature.

Nikon D810 Build Quality

Due there are just a few pretty slight design modifications included with the new model, any Nikon D800 user who picks up a Nikon D810 is likely to find themselves perfectly at home because of the similarities between the two cameras’ bodies.

For example, the grip on the back of the camera is a little bit more protruding, the grip on the front of the camera is somewhat more ergonomically designed, and the door for the memory card seems like it is more sturdy.

There isn’t much of a difference between the new camera and the D800 that it replaces, but the grips have been improved, so the new camera feels more comfortable and secure in your hand.

The metering switch that was located on the rear of the D800 has been removed so that the AE-Lock/AF-Lock and AF-on buttons are now more accessible and simpler to use when the camera is held to the eye.

On the top of the camera, what was formerly the bracketing button is now located just above the drive mode dial. This allows users to reach the metering choices. Although I choose a switch or dial for selecting selections wherever feasible due to the fact that it is typically both quicker and easier, I do not believe that the transition to a button for metering should be considered a deal-breaker.

Nikon D810 Performance

Images taken directly from the Nikon D810 do not appear to be very different from those taken with the Nikon D800, despite the fact that they contain a bit more detail if you look for it very carefully. When the Matrix metering system is employed, the colors are generally pleasing and bright, and the exposure is satisfactory in the majority of lighting circumstances.

The noise is typically well controlled, and images produced at the higher sensitivity levels appear quite excellent when viewed and printed at sizes typical for those activities. When seen at 100% on screen, these photographs indicate that the noise produced by the D810 has a finer texture than the noise produced by the D800; there is less smoothing and clumping. It appears that this makes the noise more noticeable to the testing equipment in our laboratory, but it does assist improve the perception of detail.

When taking pictures using a camera that has 36 million pixels, there is a great deal of detail that can be seen in the pictures. However, in order to capture every last speck of detail, the camera needs to be mounted on a tripod, the optimal aperture needs to be selected, exposure delay needs to be utilized in conjunction with the front shutter, and the subject needs to remain still.

When you zoom into photographs captured with a handheld camera, there is typically something that can be seen that indicates the image is not completely crisp. One disadvantage of having so small photosites is that even the tiniest of motions can have a major effect on the system.

Nikon D810 Image Quality

It’s difficult to find a camera that can compete with the D810’s Raw image quality (and trust us when we say you’ll want to shoot in Raw, as the JPEG performance is less than stellar). With the right glass, the Canon 5DS/R offers a higher resolution than the Nikon D810, but the D810 boasts noise performance that is unmatched in the market at ISO 64.

This results in photographs that are the cleanest and crispest short of medium format, with a dynamic range that is comparable to that of the Pentax 645Z. By increasing its capacity to collect light at ISO 64, the D810 is able to pull off this little trick: it can tolerate up to approximately 0.7 EV more light before clipping the same highlights that a regular camera with base ISO 100 could.

If you are able to provide the D810 with an additional 60% of light, then it will be able to compete with the 645Z’s sensor, which has a surface area that is 66% larger. This will be especially true given that the sensor noise floor of the D810 is comparable to that of the 645Z. In fact, we discovered that it had a dynamic range that was comparable to that of the 645Z in our real-world dynamic range competition, outperforming even Sony’s superb a7R II and easily trouncing the Canon 5DSR.

Nikon D810 Specs

Body typeMid-size SLR
Body materialMagnesium alloy
Max resolution7360 x 4912
Other resolutionsFX: 5520 x 3680, 3680 x 2456; 1.2: 6144 x 4080, 4608 x 3056, 3072 x 2040; 5:4: 6144 x 4912, 4608 x 3680, 3072 x 2456; DX: 4800 x 3200, 3600 x 2400, 2400 x 1600
Image ratio w:h5:4, 3:2
Effective pixels36 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors37 megapixels
Sensor sizeFull frame (35.9 x 24 mm)
Sensor size notesRAW (NEF) available at 12 or 14-bits, lossless compressed, compressed, uncompressed, large or small size.
Sensor typeCMOS
ProcessorEXPEED 4
Color spacesRGB, AdobeRGB
Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
ISOAuto, 64-12800
Boosted ISO (minimum)32
Boosted ISO (maximum)51200
White balance presets12
Custom white balanceYes (6 slots)
Image stabilizationNo
Uncompressed formatRAW + TIFF
JPEG quality levelsFine, normal, basic
File formatJPEG (Exif 2.3, DCF 2.0)RAW (NEF)TIFF (RGB)
Optics & Focus
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Phase DetectMulti-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousFace DetectionLive View
Autofocus assist lampYes
Manual focusYes
Number of focus points51
Lens mountNikon F
Focal length multiplier
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDFixed
Screen size3.2″
Screen dots1,229,000
Touch screenNo
Screen typeTFT-LCD (WRGB)
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeOptical (tunnel)
Viewfinder coverage100%
Viewfinder magnification0.7×
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed30 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/8000 sec
Exposure modesProgramShutter priorityAperture priorityManual
Built-in flashYes
Flash range12.00 m (at ISO 100)
External flashYes (via hot shoe, flash sync terminal, wireless)
Flash modesFront-curtain sync, slow sync, rear-curtain sync, redeye reduction, redeye reduction w/slow sync, slow rear-curtain sync
Flash X sync speed1/250 sec
Drive modesSingle-frameContinuous low-speed [CL]Continuous high-speed [CH]Quiet Shutter ReleaseQuiet Continuous ReleaseSelf-timerMirror-up
Continuous drive5.0 fps
Self-timerYes (2, 5, 10, 20 secs for up to 9 shots)
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedHighlight-weightedSpot
Exposure compensation±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 1 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±5 (2, 3, 5, 7 frames at 1/3 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV steps)
WB BracketingYes (2-9 exposures in 1-3 increments)
Videography features
Resolutions1920 x 1080 (60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, 24p), 1280 x 720 (60p, 50p)
FormatMPEG-4, H.264
Videography notesUncompressed output over HDMI with simultaneous writing to memory card
Storage typesSD/SDHC/SDXC, CompactFlash (UDMA compliant)
USBUSB 3.0 (5 GBit/sec)
HDMIYes (mini-HDMI)
Wireless notesvia WT-5A or Eye-Fi
Remote controlYes
Environmentally sealedYes
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionEN-EL15 lithium-ion battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)1200
Weight (inc. batteries)980 g (2.16 lb / 34.57 oz)
Dimensions146 x 123 x 82 mm (5.75 x 4.84 x 3.23″)
Other features
GPS notesvia GP-1 or GP-1A

Nikon D810 Final Verdict

The advent of the Nikon D810 has been welcomed with considerable ridicule, in contrast to the reception that the launch of the Nikon D800 and D800E received, which was characterized by widespread enthusiasm and high acclaim.

Even though it is unfortunate that Nikon did not include Wi-Fi connectivity in the D810 camera, which would have allowed the average photographer to control the camera remotely using a smartphone or tablet, as well as wirelessly transfer an image or upload it to Facebook, the D810 is still an excellent camera and a worthy successor to the D800. Although it is unlikely that many people who already own a D800 would wish to upgrade to the D810, many people continue to view it as a desirable camera to own.

It is not fair to anticipate that the D810’s sensor will have a larger pixel count than the D800’s, given that the D800’s sensor has 36 million pixels. There are already a lot of people using the D800 who have brought up the issue of how large the files are and how they need to increase either their computer or their storage space in order to deal with them.

Nikon D810 Pros & Cons

Good For
  • A large number of pixels.
  • 5 frames per second capture at full resolution
  • No anti-aliasing filter for enhanced detail resolution
Need Improvements
  • Huge file sizes
  • More interference might become more of a problem.
  • no Wi-Fi built in

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Now its introduction, the Nikon D810 has quickly established itself as a fan favorite among both amateur and professional photographers. However, the D810 has since been succeeded by the superior D850. The Nikon D810 continues to be a very well-rounded full-frame DSLR and will now...Nikon D810 Review