The Nikon D810 Digital SLR is a new 36.3 megapixel full-frame camera that replaces both the Nikon D800 and D800E and is introduced with a number of updates to make it, according to Nikon, the best Digital SLR Nikon has ever released. The D810 is available for £2699 body only.
Nikon D810 Features
When announced, Nikon were keen to emphasise that the 36.3 megapixel full-frame Nikon D810 camera has four main headline features:
Superior image quality– Thanks to the wide choice of Nikkor lenses (85 million), a new 36.3 megapixel image sensor (ISO64-ISO12800 standard, extends to ISO32 to ISO51200), Expeed 4 processing engine with improved noise reduction, higher definition, support for 1080/60p video, and evolved picture control – with a new clarity setting, plus a new flat rendering video mode for the widest dynamic range possible.
High reliability- With 51 point auto focus (AF), new group area AF (as found in the Nikon D4s), an electronic front curtain shutter to capture images with minimal blur, quieter shutter and 200,000 shutter cycle rating, highlight weighted metering, 7fps continuous shooting in DX crop (15.4mp) mode, 6fps continuous shooting in 1.2x crop (25.1mp) mode, and 5fps continuous shooting in FX full-frame mode (36.3mp), along with superior dust protection and weather resistance.
Best in class handling- Improved exterior design, rubberised memory card cover, new i button for quicker access to settings, RGBW 3.2inch 1,229k dot screen, monitor colour balance adjustable, split screen zoom display, FX, 1.2x, DX, 5:4 crop modes, RAW-S format (12-bit, uncompressed, as this is quicker, and will be useful for animation / animation houses, and could be useful for timelapse as well), along with unlimited continuous JPEG shooting (useful for timelapse).
Movie recording- Supports ISO64 to ISO51200, 1080p at 50fps and 60fps, can record in camera and externally at the same time, enhanced audio control for mic and wind control, new zebra view mode, and new picture control - including flat to enable grading and processing in the video industry, with the widest dynamic range possible.
- New 36.3mp Full-Frame FX CMOS sensor without OLPF
- 5fps full-frame continuous shooting, upto 7fps DX cropped
- ISO64-12800, expands to ISO32-51200
- 51 AF points, with new group area AF (as per D4s)
- FullHD 1080-50p-60p advanced movie recording
- Quieter shutter, 200,000 shutter life rating
- 100% optical viewfinder
- 1229k dot 3.2inch RBGW screen
- NEF-S 9mp raw recording
- Magnesium alloy weather sealed body
Nikon D810 Handling
Little has changed externally between the D800 / D800E and the D810 although those with a keen eye will notice that there is no longer a metering mode dial surrounding the AE-L button and instead this has been moved to the top left control on the camera, next to the ISO, WB and QUAL buttons. The bracket button that was here, has now been moved to the front side of the camera in between the flash release and flash settings buttons. On the top left dial is the drive mode setting, which has a release button that needs to be pressed and held when turning the dial. On here you'll find continuous shooting high speed and low speed, as well as quiet mode and quiet continuous modes, along with the mirror lock-up feature (MUP).
Like the Nikon D800 and D800E, the D810 feels good in the hand, with a weather sealed body and a good size hand grip, with the rubber texture surrounding the side of the camera, as well as featuring on the back for your thumb (now larger than on the previous camera). The memory card cover has been updated with a rubber texture, which is an improvement over the previous model. The camera feels very well built, and the weather sealed body will be re-assuring for those that like to shoot outdoors.
There is also now an i button on the back that lets you quickly change settings on the rear screen of the camera, much like other Nikon DSLRs with this button. The left side ports now feature separate covers for the mic, USB, and HDMI sockets, rather than just one cover, meaning you are now less likely to expose all of the ports when accessing them.
In playback there is now a zoom display that shows you when you are viewing the image at 100% making it easy to see when an image is sharp. Another new feature added to the camera is 'Split Screen Display Zoom' that lets you view two areas of the image magnified while taking a photo in live view mode.
The shutter is now quieter, as we noted that the D800 shutter was quite loud when we were testing it, and the D810 also has a quiet shutter mode to further dampen the noise of the camera's shutter. The camera has 51 focus points, like the D800/D800E, however, this has been updated to include group area AF (as found in the Nikon D4s). The optical viewfinder is large and bright, and gives a good level of information in the viewfinder. The controls and menus are as you would expect if you've used other Nikon Digital SLRs, and are neatly laid out, with the 3.2inch screen giving a very clear display.
Battery life - Battery life is rated at 900 shots according to Nikon / CIPA test results, which is very good, and can be extended using the optional Nikon battery grip.
Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.
|Wide - Focus / Shutter Response
|Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response
|Switch on Time to Taking a Photo
|Shot to Shot without Flash
|Shot to Shot with Flash
|Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
|5fps (47 shots)
|Continuous Shooting - Flash
|Continuous Shooting - RAW
||5fps (18 shots)
Focus and shutter response are both very fast, with the camera offering a quick switch on time, as well as shot to shot times. The camera can shoot at 5fps at full resolution (an improvement over the 4fps of the previous model), and will take up to 47 shots when shooting JPEG images.
Nikon D810 Performance
The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.
Nikon D810 Sample Photos
Sample Photos - Exposure is generally very reliable and photos are packed full of detail, with good colour reproduction. Shooting portraits or people shots with the D810 can be a bit of a shock if coming from a lower resolution camera, as there is so much detail it may be unflattering to your subjects. Despite the lack of anti-aliasing filter on the sensor, it was very difficult to spot any signs of moire, however if any is found it is possible to remove.
Nikon D810 Lens test images
Lens Performance - Images show very good levels of detail when shooting with the NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. Dynamic range is very good, and can be expanded using the d-lighting setting, shooting raw, or using the built in HDR mode. Some purple fringing is visible when shooting subjects with high levels of contrast such as the photo above of a tree against a bright sky.
Nikon D810 ISO test images
ISO Noise Performance - For the lowest noise and best detail possible we would recommend using ISO32 to ISO1600/3200, as images have low levels of noise and good levels of detail. Although when using the lowest ISO setting of ISO32, dynamic range is reduced. For lower light situations ISO3200 to ISO6400 still provides good results, although noise increases and detail is reduced. At ISO12800 noise levels become strong and we would recommend avoiding this setting if possible, although results may still be useful if resized and used on the web. ISO25600 and above is best avoided as noise is extremely high, and detail is very low.Noise reduction options are: Off, Low, Medium (default), High. We tested the camera on the default setting of medium.
Nikon D810 White-balance test images
White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) gives a yellow / warm colour cast under tungsten lighting, with the tungsten preset giving a slightly better result, although with a green tint. AWB performs well under fluorescent lights, with the fluorescent preset giving a slightly better result although with a very slight magenta tint.
Nikon D810 Digital filters
Digital Filters - The camera has a number of colour modes, these let you alter sharpening, contrast, brightness, saturation, hue, as well as clarity. In playback there are a number of effects available as well as raw image processing, examples of these can be seen above.
Video - The D810 offers full HD (1920x1080) video recording, at 60p, 50p, 30p, 25p and 24p. The camera also features microphone and headphone sockets to enable stereo sound recording. ISO can be set from ISO64 up to ISO12800 (expandable to ISO51200 equivalent with +2 EV compensation). Quality is good, and the camera can create time-lapse videos in-camera, as well as supporting additional colour grading options, which will be useful for those producing video for cinema or TV.
Value For Money
The Nikon D810 is available for £2699 body only which makes it the same price as the D800E when it was first introduced, and more expensive than the D800 (£2399 when introduced), making it quite a sizeable investment. When the D800 and D800E were launched they were the only affordable cameras available offering such a high resolution full-frame sensor, now you also have the choice of the Sony Alpha A7R, with a 36.3 megapixel full-frame sensor, available for around £1589 body only, albeit with a much more limited range of lenses. If you wanted more resolution from a digital camera, then the next level up would be something like the Pentax 645z, with a 50 megapixel medium format sensor, and priced at £6799 body only.
You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.
Nikon D810 Verdict
The Nikon D810 updates the already excellent Nikon D800 and D800E with improved image quality and enhanced features making it the best DSLR currently available. To get the best results, as with the D800 and D800E, you will need to use the best lenses available, and Nikon has produced a list of recommended lenses for these cameras. Build quality is very good, and the camera gives excellent handling with a solid metal body and weather sealing the camera should be suitable for almost any landscape or outdoors project.
The camera delivers impressive image quality with improvements in noise performance, as well as an extended ISO range. Video quality has been improved, and not only does the camera offer additional colour settings for photography (including a new clarity setting), the D810 also offers advanced video colour settings for those that want to get the highest quality and dynamic range from video. With a tried and tested body design inherited from the D800/E, the camera delivers high image quality at an improved shooting speed, and is our "Editor's Choice".
The Nikon D810 updates the already excellent D800 and D800E with improved image quality and additional features making it the best DSLR currently available.
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Nikon D810 Specifications
|CCD pixels||36.3Mp (Megapixels)|
|Sensor Size||Full Frame|
|Sensor Size (width)||39.5mm|
|Sensor Size (height)||24mm|
- Face Detection
- AF Tracking
- AF Fine Tuning
|Shutter speeds shortest||1/8000sec|
|Shutter speeds longest||30sec|
- Multi Pattern
- Centre-weighted - Average
|ISO sensitivity||32 - 51200|
|Video FPS||60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, 24p|
|Optical Zoom with Video||Yes|
|Battery Type||AA, EN-EL15, EN-EL18 and EP-B5|
|Box Contents||EN-EL15 rechargeable Li-ion battery with terminal cover, MH-25 battery charger (AC wall adapter supplied only in countries or regions where required), Strap (AN-DC6 for D800, AN-DC6E for D800E), UC-E14 USB cable, USB cable clip, BF-1B body cap, BS-1 acces|
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