Two years after Nikon shook up the high-end DSLR market with the 36MP D800 and D800E, it has consolidated the 800-series with the release of a new camera, the D810. The D810 replaces both previous 800-series models, and will be offered at an MSRP of $3299 – about the same as the D800E, and a little more than the D800. Why is the D810 priced like the D800E, and not the D800? Well, the D810 takes the D800E’s ‘AA filter cancellation’ trick one step further by dispensing with an AA filter entirely, which should result in a camera that offers greater resolution than either of the two models that it replaces.
Anti-aliasing filter aside, the D810 is not by any means a reinvention of the popular D800/E concept, but the handful of major changes should make the new camera more capable than its predecessors. Perhaps more importantly, they should also make the camera more attractive to potential buyers who have been weighing up whether or not to jump into full-frame. The D810 isn’t a camera that you should necessarily sell your D800 or D800E for, but it’s a better camera than both older models – at least on paper.
Following Nikon’s general philosophy a few of the refinements made in the D4S have trickled down into the D810 and videographers especially should be pleased with a couple of the additions to its video feature set. Other welcome changes include a redesigned shutter and mirror mechanism to mitigate resolution-reducing shock from shutter actuation, and a new S-Raw mode for reduced-resolution raw capture (Nikon owners have been asking for that one for years).
Nikon D810: Key Specifications
- 36.3MP Full-frame CMOS sensor (no AA filter)
- ISO 64-12,800 (expands to ISO 32-51,200)
- Electronic first-curtain shutter and redesigned mirror mechanism
- New ‘RAW Size S’ 9MP Raw mode
- Expeed 4 engine
- Max 5fps shooting in FX mode, 7fps in DX (with battery grip + EN-EL18 / AA batteries)
- 3.2in 1,229k-dot RGBW LCD screen with customizable color
- OLED viewfinder information display
- Improved Scene Recognition System allows face detection in OVF mode
- ‘Split screen zoom’ display in live view allows horizons/lines to be leveled precisely
- 51-point AF system with new ‘Group Area AF’ mode (inherited from D4S)
- New ‘flat’ Picture Control mode (intended to appeal to videographers)
- Auto ISO available in manual exposure mode
- Zebra strips for focus checking in video mode
- Uncompressed HDMI output with simultaneous recording to memory card
- Built-in stereo microphone