Nikon D810 | Test and Review

lug, 2014

Nikon D810 is finally out. I’ve a D800 and a D800E, I used them for two years and I really love them. I mainly shoot weddings, lifestyle and candid portrait sessions.  In the past two years I used my two cameras for a lot of works and after I modified a bit my flow-work to perfectly fit them (and their resolution) inside it, I find them great for my kind of use. But there were, from my point of view, just few points where the D800/D800E needed some improvements and it seems that Nikon guys have heard me.

AF on large apertures, buffer size, fps, shutter noise, live view mode. These were the most critical points, and in Nikon took care about the problems and improved these aspect. But they did more than this! Following, a list of all the most important improvements they did on this new D810 (because it’s a completely new camera!)

  • Brand new sensor, for better image quality.
  • New EXPEED 4 processor allows a one frame per second in burst mode, reaching 5 FPS
  • Iso standard range was improved from the incredible 64Iso value to 12800 (32-51200 extended range); very usefull if you like the idea to shoot in full light and wide apertures.
  • added Quiet Continuous mode to the Drive Mode dial
  • new mirror sequencer / balancer unit that’s designed to better-control vibration
  • TFT-LCD screen upgraded to a 1,229K-dot resolution RGBW panel. The RGBW display  (which includes white subpixels) can be brighter than standard screens, but can also increase efficiency. It means better visible display if shooting outdoors, or power savings if shooting in low light conditions.
  • TTL pentaprism optical viewfinder has been improved with new coating for better clarity, along with a brighter and easier to read OLED status display
  • Body has been redesigned with a deeper, more comfortable grip
  • New electronic first-curtain shutter function, activated with custom settings or when using Live View;  Image sensor acts as the front curtain reducing internal vibrations
  • Split-screen display zoom, which shows two parallel areas of the frame side-by-side at a high zoom ratio.
  • new highlight-weighted exposure metering option, very usefufull if you want to save the highlight to take advangage from the high dynamic range of this sensor in recovering the shadow in the editing phase
  • Group Area AF Like D4s; Five AF sensors can be used as a Group; it optimizes the AF performances for subjects located within an area covered by the “Group”
  •  battery life increased (1200 shots per charge versus 900 previously)
  • 12-bit uncompressed small Raw (9 mpx)

For a full specs comparison with D800/D800E refer to this Comparison Sheet from Nikon.

In these pictures you can see the Nikon D810 compared with the “old” D800E:

Nikon D810 test and review Front Nikon D810 test and review BackNikon D810 test and review right Nikon D810 test and review left Nikon D810 test and review top

The handling is very good, and the camera suite well in my hand. All the commands are comfortable and I love the fact they move metering mode button from the back to the main four-button cluster at the top of the Drive Mode dial.

The AF system seems to perform very well at the first use. It’s faster and more accurate than before, expecially in low light condition. I’ve to try the Group Area AF to understand if it can improve the quality of my work.

In the coming days I’ll use my new cameras in three different weddings so I’ll be more precise about this aspect, and of course I’ll start to analyze the immage quality. But  image quality wasn’t definitely a problem with D800/E, so for the moment I’m assuming it will be surely the same or better!

Some video comparison with D800:

Burst mode; 23 frames vs 17 frames before buffer is full (first one is D810)

Buffer speed comparison after six seconds continuos shooting. Give a look to the green led (it indicates camera is still writing; D810 on the right)

Nikon d810 vs d800 live view speed in burst mode; as yo can see with D810 you havn’t to wait the camera empty its buffer before to shoot again (first one is D800).

Nikon d810 vs d800 live view noise in low light conditions; you may also note the completely different white balance of the two screens  (D810 is on the left)


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