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Nikon D810
36MP FX, 5 FPS
,
ISO 32-51,200, $3,300
© 2014 KenRockwell.com. All Rights Reserved.

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

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Nikon D810

Nikon D810 (about $3,300, 34.6 oz./980g with battery and CF card) and 24-70mm f/2.8 G. enlarge.

I ordered mine at Adorama. It also comes as a kit with three lenses. (The three lenses are the 35/1.8G, 50/1.8G and 85/1.8G.) You also can get the D810 at Amazon, and get the 3-lens kit at Amazon.

This free website's biggest source of support is when you use those or any of these links to approved sources when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. It helps me keep adding to this free website when you get anything through these links — but I receive nothing for my efforts if you take the chance of buying elsewhere. Never buy at retail, since unlike milk or DVDs which are sealed, Nikon doesn't seal its boxes so you can't tell if it's a used camera or a return. Thanks for your support! Ken.

 

Nikon D810

Back, Nikon D810. enlarge.

 

Nikon D810

Back, Nikon D810. enlarge.

This free website's biggest source of support is when you use any of these links, especially these links to the body at Adorama or the kit with three lenses at Adorama.

Adorama pays top dollar for your used gear, especially the D800, D800e, D7000 and older model Nikon DSLRs.

 

July 2014   More Nikon Reviews   Nikon Lenses   All Reviews

FX Lens Suggestions

Old D800 and D800e reviews.

 

Introduction    top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

New    Missing    Lens Compatibility    3-Lens Kit    

Adorama pays top dollar for your used gear.

B&H Photo - Video - Pro Audio
I use these stores. I can't vouch for ads below.

The Nikon D810 replaces Nikon's ancient D800 and D800e, announced way back in 2012.

The D810 is the world's highest technical performance DSLR ever for outdoor, nature, landscape and many other kinds of precision photography. The D810 has no anti-alias filter, allowing it to replace both the old D800 and the D800e. It's also about an ounce (20g) lighter.

But wait: the D800e had no anti-aliasing filter, but still had an optical low-pass filter (OLPF) over its sensor. The D810 has no anti-alias and no OLPF either, for even sharper images than either old camera.

The Nikon D810 has such extremely high image quality that it exceeds not just every other full-frame DSLR ever made, it also replaces medium-format digital cameras that cost as much as a new Mercedes.

Faster internal processors allow the D810 to process enough data fast enough to shoot at 5 FPS over the slow 4 FPS of the old D800 and D800e. The D810 is now as fast or faster than the original professional DSLRs, the D1 and D1H.

But wait — the D810 runs at 7 FPS in DX mode with the right grip and batteries, which is much faster than the D1 and D1H which were only DX anyway! This makes the D810 perfect for sports as well!

The D810 also claims to have the autofocus performance of the D4s.

The D810 uses the same EN-EL 15 battery, which is now rated for 1,200 shots, up from 900 in the old D800 and D800e.

The D800 and D800e had more resolution than any other full-frame DSLR by a large margin, but were too slow for just about anything, Now the D810 is 25% faster and may also be used for sports, whoo hoo! In fact, why bother with the D4s when you can get the D4s' AF performance with far higher resolution for half the price in the D810? Exactly!

No matter how you slice it, if gallery exhibition is your end product, no DSLR can make better images today than the Nikon D810 — and it now runs fast enough for action, too!

 

New         top

5 FPS, up from 4 FPS. (6 FPS in DX, and up to 7 FPS only with the grip and with certain batteries in DX mode.)

Same EN-EL 15 battery now rated for 1,200 (up from 900) shots.

Nikon claims a new sensor to get the higher speed, but I suspect it's really only faster processors to chew on all that data.

CAM3500FX AF sensor from the D4s; 51 points.

No anti-alias filter, just like the D800e, and no OLPF either, unlike any previous full-frame Nikon DSLR.

New mechanical sequencer and balancer that improves Quiet modes.

Nee "Clarity" setting in picture controls increases local contrast without affecting overall contrast (a weak unsharp mask with a very large radius).

New "Flat" picture control.

Built-in stereo mic (was mono in D800 and D800e).

Auto ISO now also works while rolling video.

Zebra stripe display in Live View for video.

"Power aperture" to change apertures while rolling video.

Base ISO drops from ISO 100 to ISO 64 for cleaner images at high resolution. (Can be dropped to ISO 32 as "Lo-1.")

ISO now goes to ISO 12,800 in regular modes, or to ISO 51,200 in a HI+2 push mode.

New "sNEF" files are lower-resolution NEFs to allow much faster post production while retaining the benefits of RAW.

New highlight-weighted mode added to the 91,000 pixel RGB meter.

Semi-electronic shutter allows smoother operation on a tripod in Live View.

Shutter rated for 200,000 shots.

50p and 59.94p video rates.

Video ISO 50-51,200.

LCD still 3.2," but now 1.3 megadots up from 0.921 megadots.

Clever split-screen mode lets you zoom into left and right sides simultaneously to level your camera even faster and more precisely than the old-fashioned electronic levels of older cameras.

Deeper grip than D800 and D800e.

New secondary i (info) button.

New coatings on finder for claimed better brightness (I doubt there's any visible difference).

New organic electroluminescent data display in finder.

Full-aperture metering in Live View for stills.

Image area selectable in Live View for stills

 

Missing         top

No U1 and U2 settings as on the D7100. Poo!

Lacks an AF-S / AF-C / M switch; it simply has an AF / M switch, and you have to jack with AF-C and AF-S settings with two hands by holding the AF mode button (where the AF-S / AF-C / M switch used to be) and spinning a dial while watching a screen to set it.

No AF Area mode lever of previous Nikons.

No AF-A AF mode (no automatic selection of AF-S or AF-C depending on subject motion).

The MODE button has become a video REC button, and the MODE button moved a little to the left, further away from the shutter.

 

Lens Compatibility         top

With a built-in AF motor and an aperture feeler for manual-focus lenses, it's the same as the D3X and D7000: it works great with every Nikon lens made since 1977!

More at Nikon Lens Compatibility.

 

3-Lens Video Kit         top

The 3-lens video kit for $5,000 includes the 35/1.8G, 50/1.8G and 85/1.8G as well as a few filters, two spare batteries (3 total) and an external video recorder. The kit price isn't much of a discount unless you really want those particular items.

For digital cinema and video I'd use the classic 50-300mm f/4.5 Zoom-NIKKOR*ED instead.

For still shots, see my Nikon D810 Lens Suggestions.

 

Specifications   top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

 

Sensor

36MP FX (35.9 x 24.0 mm) CMOS.

7,360 × 4,912 pixels (L, 36MP), 5,520 × 3,680 (M, 20MP), 3,680 × 2,456 (S, 9MP).

Sensor cleaner.

14-bit linear ADC, 16-bit data pipelines, same as the D3X.

Video only uses a central 32.8 x 18.4mm section at most.

 

Crop modes

It's easy to set a function button to allow direct selection of these from shot-to-shot:

 

Professional 5:4

30 x 24 mm.

6,144 × 4,912 pixels (L, 30MP), 4,608 × 3,680 (M), 3,072 × 2,456 (S).

 

1.2x Canon emulation

30.0 x 19.9 mm.

6,144 × 4,080 pixels (L, 25MP), 4,608 × 3,056 (M), 3,072 × 2,040 (S).

 

DX

23.4 x 15.6 mm.

4,800 × 3,200 pixels (L, 15.4MP), 3,600 × 2,400 (M), 2,400 × 1,600 (S).

 

ISO

64 ~ 12,800, expandable to 32 (LO-1) to ISO 51,200 (HI+2).

 

Lens Compatibility        D810 Review       top

With a built-in AF motor and an aperture feeler for manual-focus lenses, it's the same as the D3X and D7000: it works great with every Nikon lens made since 1977!

More at Nikon Lens Compatibility.

 

AF        top

51 points (15 are cross-type, and 9 will work even at f/8).

New group-area AF uses clusters of 5 sensors at a time.

Dark LCD boxes indicate AF areas, lit occasionally in red.

Same CAM3500-FX sensor as D4s.

Fine-tuning, if you have slight errors with certain lenses.

 

Finder         top

100% coverage.

0.70x magnification with 50mm lens, same as D3X.

17mm eyepoint.

 

Split-Screen Level     top

New system magnifies left and right sides separately and shows them close together.

 

Meter       top

91,000-pixel 3D Color Matrix Meter III with Advanced Scene Recognition and Face Recognition Systems.

New highlight-weighted mode.

i-TTL flash metering for use with SB-910, SB-900, SB-800, SB-700, SB-600 and SB-400.

4mm Spot and 8, 12, 15 or 20mm-diameter center-weighted.

Meter coupling: AI or CPU.

In-camera High Dynamic Range (HDR) capture.

 

Built-in Flash       top

Controls wireless flash.

GN 39/12 (Feet/meters at ISO 100).

 

Shutter         top

1/8,000 ~ 30 seconds in full, half or third-stops.

Bulb.

Flash Sync: 1/250.

Carbon fiber and Kevlar, tested to 200,000 cycles.

Requires an exotic 10-pin electronic remote cable, no thread for a real cable release.

Clumsy Mirror Up mode, and an excellent new delay mode for mirror lock-up.

Front-curtain is also electronic in Live View mode to help eliminate vibration.

 

Frame Rates       top

5 FPS FX.

6 FPS in DX.

7 FPS in DX with MB-D12 and AA cells.

 

Live View         top

Two modes, with a rear selector lever.

23x zoom electronic loupe.

 

Video         top

Video only uses a central 32.8 x 18.4mm section of the sensor, at most.

No Standard definition or 4:3 options.

FX and DX gates.

1080/59.94p.

1080/50p.

1080/29.97p.

1080/23.976p.

1080/25p.

720/59.94p.

720/50p.

720/29.97p.

720/25p.

Time-lapse mode from 1 FPS down to about one frame every half-hour.

H.264/MPEG-4 AVC.

Up to 29:59 minutes per clip at normal quality.

Live, uncompressed 1080 HD signal directly from the HDMI port (8 bit, 4:2:2).

 

Audio        top

Built-in stereo mic.

3.5mm stereo mic jack.

20-step manual recording gain control.

30-step manual output gain control.

3.5mm headphone jack.

Linear PCM recording.

 

File Formats         top

JPG, TIFF, NEF, or NEF+JPG.

NEF in 12- or 14-bit with no, lossy or lossless compression.

sNEF (lower resolution).

JPG in BASIC, NORMAL or FINE, Size or Quality-based.

 

LCD          top

Exquisite 3.2," 1,229,000 dots.

Tempered glass cover.

Auto brightness control.

 

Data Communication           top

USB 3.0, micro-B connector.

HDMI, type-C connector.

10-pin remote.

 

Data Storage          top

Nikon D810 dual memory cards

SD and CF Slots, Nikon D810. enlarge.

One CF card rated up to UDMA-7, and one SD card rated up to SDXC / UHS-1.

 

Power        top

EN-EL15 (same battery and charger as D800, D7000 etc.).

Rated 1,200 shots, up from only 900 in D800 and D800e.

Nikon rates it as 2 hours 35 minutes for a full recharge.

Nikon says the clock battery charges itself after two days with a regular battery inserted, and once charged, will keep the clock running for three months if you pull the main battery.

 

Size          top

4.9 x 5.8 × 3.3 inches, HWD.

123 × 146 x 81.5 millimeters, HWD.

 

Weight         top

Nikon rates it at 34.6 oz. (980g or 2 lb., 2.6 oz.) with battery and SD card.

 

Price (USA)          top

2014 June-July: $3,296.95. Kit with 3 lenses: $5,000.

 

Included        top

D810 body.

BF-1B Body Cap.

BM-12 clear LCD Monitor Cover.

BS-1 Accessory Shoe Cover.

EN-EL15 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery.

MH-25 Battery Charger.

DK-17 Eyepiece.

UC-E14 USB Cable.

USB Cable Clip.

Camera Strap.

ViewNX 2 CD-ROM.

 

Quality          top

Made in Thailand.

 

Announced

26 June 2014.

 

Promised     top

Late July 2014.

 

MB-D12 Vertical Battery Grip (optional)         top

Nikon MB-D12 grip

Nikon D800 with MB-D12 grip. enlarge.

MB-D12, new for D810. It sells for about $500 after you've bought the batteries for it.

The MB-D12 uses Rechargeable Li-ion Batteries EN-EL15 and EN-EL18, AA cells or an EH-5a/b AC adapter if you buy the Power Connector EP-5B.

When the MB-D12 and AA cells, high-speed continuous shooting at 7 FPS in DX mode.

The MB-D12 has its own shutter-release, AF-ON and multi-selector buttons for vertical shooting.

It has the same seals as D810 for dust and water resistance.

 

Performance         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

It's faster than the D800 and D800e, and its static performance should be even slightly better.

I'm not that excited by the higher high ISO specification; I'm more excited that the new D810 should do away with the color problems of the D800 and D800e and their old LCDs.

Otherwise, everything in my Nikon D800 Performance section should be the same, with the D810 of course even sharper than the D800 due to its lack of an anti-alias filter.

 

Compared   top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

 

Nikon's comparison between the old D800/e and the new D810.

 

Sensor

  D810 D800 & D800e
Image area
35.9 x 24mm 35.9 x 24mm
Resolution 36.3 MP FX-format CMOS sensor

36.3 MP FX-format CMOS sensor

Filters over sensor None.

D800: Optical low-pass filter (OLPF) and anti-alaising filter.

D800E: Optical Low Pass Filter (OLPF) with no anti-alaising filter.

 

Image Processing

  D810 D800 & D800e

Image Processing Engine

EXPEED 4
30% faster than EXPEED 3
Low noise throughout the range Supports 1080 60p
Up to approx. 1200 shots per charge and 40 minutes of video recording

EXPEED 3

ISO

64 - 12,800

Lo-1 (32) to Hi+2 (51,200)

100 - 6,400

Lo-1 (50) to Hi+2 (25,600)

small NEF 12-bit uncompressed no
Picture Controls

Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait, Landscape and Flat

  • Flat Picture Control added: ideal for video capture

  • Clarity option added to all Picture Control settings

  • Settings can be changed in 0.25 steps for finer control

Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait, Landscape

 

Light Meter

  D810 D800 & D800e
Light Meter

91k pixel RGB 3D Matrix Meter

Advanced Scene Recognition System, with Group Area AF

Highlight-weighted option

91k pixel RGB 3D Matrix Meter

Advanced Scene Recognition System, no Group Area AF

No highlight-weighted option

Face detection, normal shooting On or off. Always ON.

 

White Balance

  D810 D800 & D800e
Spot White Balance with Live View? Yes No
Preset Gray-Card memories 6 3

 

Autofocus

  D810 D800 & D800e
AF Sensor

Advanced Multi-CAM 3500FX

Advanced Multi-CAM 3500FX

Group Area AF

Five AF sensors used as a Group Optimized for subjects located within an area covered by the “Group”

None
Dynamic AF Modes

9/21/51/51 points w/3D Tracking, Group Area AF, Auto Area AF

9/21/51/51 points w/3D Tracking, Auto Area AF

 

Frame Rates

  D810 D800 & D800e
FX and 5:4 5 FPS 4 FPS
DX and 1.2x crops 6 FPS 5 FPS
Sub-DX crop 7 FPS with MB-D12 and AA 6 FPS with MB-D12 and AA

 

Shutter and Quiet Modes

  D810 D800 & D800e
Improved Quiet modes due to new mechanics Yes No
Electronic front-curtain shutter (lower vibration in Live View) Yes No

 

Audio and Video

  D810 D800 & D800e
Built-in Microphone Stereo Mono
Maximum Video Rate 1080/59.94p 1080/29.97p
Output for external video data recorder Yes No
Audio Frequency Ranges Wide or Voice One unspecified setting only
Exposure smoothing with intervalometer? Yes No
Exposure smoothing for time lapse video? Yes No
Maximum interval or time lapse frame count 9,999 999
Power Aperture Control using Internal Memory Cards Yes No
Auto ISO for video with manual exposure? Yes No
One-button zoom image preview Yes No (one-button playback zoom only)
Zebra-stripe highlights in Live View Yes No

 

LCD Monitoring and Live View

  D810 D800 & D800e
Split-screen zoom display for Live View with still shots Yes No
Full-aperture metering in Live View for stills Yes No
Image area selectable in Live View for stills Yes No
EN-EL 15 battery 1,200 shots 900 shots.

 

Weight

  D810 D800 & D800e
Rated weight with battery and card 34.6 oz. (980g) 35.3 oz. (1,000g)

 

Usage         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

 

Charging

Battery and charger are the same as D7000.

A blinking light means charging, and steady means you're done.

 

Image Area Selection

I often use the professional 5:4 aspect ratio, which crops-off "Oskar's Folly:" the too-wide sides.

Especially for vertical shots, the classic 5:4 ratio is better for what most of us shoot more of the time than the foolish 24x36 frame invented as a work-around by a guy trying to shoot movie film in a still camera.

Anyway, most of the time, the finder only indicates the cropped area with lines, like a rangefinder camera, except that the lines are dark.

Much better is how the D3 does it, which is to make the unused areas dark and fuzzy.

To get the D810 to do this, set MENU > CUSTOM (pencil) > a5 AF point illumination > OFF, which then lets the outer areas go dark instead of just have a line around them.

The D810 does this because it makes more sense to illuminated frame lines in the dark, and the D810's AF area illumination isn't with individual LEDs as it is in the D3 and D4; the D810 simply uses on LED that lights the entire finder's LCD overlay.

 

Autofocus

When you swap between AF-C and AF-S, it recalls whatever AF area mode (Single, Auto, etc.) you had selected before.

 

Auto ISO

Now the slowest shutter speed in Auto ISO can be set to AUTO, meaning that the slowest sped automatically tracks your lens as zoomed to 1/focal length.

You can shift the automatically-selected speed by ±2 stops if you click right from AUTO to set FASTER or SLOWER in one-stop increments.

AUTO ISO's auto-setting slowest speed still isn't smart enough to adjust differently depending on if we have VR or not.

 

Face Finding

Spin the front dial on zoomed Playback, and it swaps among the faces so you can check smiles.

 

Recommendations         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

If you're serious about image quality, especially for large prints, gallery showings and shooting for major publications like Arizona Highways (America's premier journal of the finest contemporary Southwestern photography), the new Nikon D810 replaces everything that has come before it. No 35mm-based DSLR can duplicate its technical image quality.

Not only is its static image quality unbeaten, now shooting at 5 to 7 FPS lets us apply this same insane image quality to our sports and action shots. Want to shoot a hummingbird fight over territory, and blow it up to eight feet wide on the gallery wall for your museum show? Welcome the Nikon D810!

I ordered mine at Adorama. It also comes as a kit with three lenses. You also can get them at Amazon, and get the 3-lens kit at Amazon.

This free website's biggest source of support is when you use those or any of these links to approved sources when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. It helps me keep adding to this free website when you get anything through these links — but I receive nothing for my efforts if you take the chance of buying elsewhere. Never buy at retail, since unlike milk or DVDs which are sealed, Nikon doesn't seal its boxes so you can't tell if it's a used camera or a return.

Thanks for your support!

Ken.

 

Lenses         top

See my FX Lens Suggestions.

The 3-lens kit for $5,000 includes the 35/1.8G, 50/1.8G and 85/1.8G. These aren't the lenses I'd get; I'd use the 50-300mm f/4.5 Zoom-NIKKOR*ED instead for video.

The best do-everything lens to use on full-frame is Nikon's 28-300mm VR. As you can see at my review, it's just about as sharp as all of Nikon's previous reference lenses, and covers the entire range in a twist of the wrist. Sharpness doesn't matter if you miss a shot because you're changing lenses.

Of course lens quality can be a huge limitation if you're counting pixels, as most people shooting the D810 do. You suckers who got cheap with Sigma and Tamron will learn why the old adage says "the poor man pays twice;" you need to use real NIKKOR Lenses to get the full resolution of which the D810 is capable.

Therefore, unless you really know what you're doing and shooting micro lenses with flat subjects at f/5.6, you'll only have full resolution in the middle of your image, and only for what's exactly in focus.

If you really want to use all 36-million pixels, you'll have to shoot flat subjects! Honestly, though, the 28-300mm VR is a great lens, and always gets the shot, but it's not the sharpest if you're a pixel-counter. If you want the sharpest results possible, use the the 24mm f/1.4, Voigtländer 40mm f/2, 60mm f/2.8 AF-S Micro, 85mm f/1.8 G, 105mm Micro and 200mm AF-D Micro, which are Nikon's very sharpest lenses of all time. For ultrawide, use the 16-35mm VR.

Beware of diffraction. At apertures smaller than f/5.6, simple physics will dull the image if you're looking at files at 100%! This is why digital point-and-shoot cameras are designed so that their lenses never stop down to more than f/8. If you shoot at f/11 to f/22, you'll get much softer results.

 

Memory Cards

CF cards tend to be faster than SD cards, but they are also easier to damage when inserting them.

I use a big CF card and use it as a backup (record mode to both at the same time), and use smaller SD cards to pull out and download the day's shooting.

I only use SanDisk and Lexar cards, the only cards we can get in the USA that are recommended by Nikon. I'd not use any Kingston, PNY, store brands, or any brands other than SanDisk and Lexar, period.

I especially like the 1000x Lexar CF card I just got; everything is much faster than with the SD cards I've tried.

If you find all the time and expense I incur sharing all this information for free, this website's biggest source of support is when you use any of these links, especially these directly to the body at Adorama or as a kit with three lenses, when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live.

Thank you!

Ken.

 

More Information         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

Nikon's D810 page.

Nikon's D810 press release.

Nikon's comparison between the old D800/e and the new D810.

 

Help me help you         top

I support my growing family through this website, as crazy as it might seem.

The biggest help is when you use any of these links when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. It costs you nothing, and is this site's, and thus my family's, biggest source of support. These places have the best prices and service, which is why I've used them since before this website existed. I recommend them all personally.

If you find this page as helpful as a book you might have had to buy or a workshop you may have had to take, feel free to help me continue helping everyone.

If you've gotten your gear through one of my links or helped otherwise, you're family. It's great people like you who allow me to keep adding to this site full-time. Thanks!

If you haven't helped yet, please do, and consider helping me with a gift of $5.00.

As this page is copyrighted and formally registered, it is unlawful to make copies, especially in the form of printouts for personal use. If you wish to make a printout for personal use, you are granted one-time permission only if you PayPal me $5.00 per printout or part thereof. Thank you!

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

Mr. & Mrs. Ken Rockwell, Ryan and Katie.

 

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