The Nikon D810 is a full-frame SLR system with an image resolution of more than 36 MP. The camera uses a sensor without a low-pass filter, offers a very fast AF system, and performed excellently in our tests.
Comments on Image Quality
Colour: The Nikon D810 reproduced the test images with only a slight oversaturation (103.8 percent). The slight oversaturation may be caused by the very exaggerated blue nuances, while most other nuances are reproduced very precisely. The automatic white-balance system caused a little shift of bright gray or white elements into the yellowish/greenish direction. This is noticeable in the bright background of the portrait shot, while the reproduction of the standard test box has a very coherent, natural look. Skin tones are rendered very precisely. There is nearly no shift for the to skin tone test pattern. This is also noticeable in our portrait shot.
Sharpness: The new Nikon camera performed well in our resolution/sharpness tests. The manufacturer’s decision to use a sensor without a low-pass filter enables the D810 to reproduce the ISO 12233 chart with 4713 of 4912 lines per picture height (nominal resolution 7360 x 4912 pixels). The result is a little better than the D800’s output and nearly on the same level as the D800E.
Images taken in JPEG mode have a slightly smoother look than images taken with Canon or Panasonic cameras, for instance, because the Nikon D810’s processor uses a little less sharpness filtering. Nevertheless the images are rich in detail and offer a lot potential for upscaling and USM filtering in image editing software/in pre-press process.
Noise: The noise results are very good. The camera keeps the luminance noise on a low level (0.6-0.7 percent between ISO 64 and ISO 6.400). Even in the highest ISO speed setting the “y-factor” is far below the 1.0 percent frontier.
The dynamic range results are very good. The Nikon captures images with a maximum of 11.5 f-stops. The result is very high for a camera with very high pixel density (36 MP on a full-frame sensor). More important is the fact that the Nikon D810 keeps a high dynamic range level even when using higher ISO-speed settings. During the test, it shot images with more than 10 f-stops even in ISO 3200. In higher ISO-speed settings, the dynamic range drops significantly (8-9 f-stops in ISO 6400 and ISO 12800 mode).
Comments on Handling
The new Nikon D810 follows the D800. Like the special edition of this camera (the D800E), it doesn’t use a low-pass/AA filter to enhance image sharpness. Just like its forerunner, the new Nikon offers images with 36.3 MP (7.360 x 4.912 pixels). These detail-rich images allow the creation of very large prints, even of cropped images. The camera uses a standard Nikon F-mount lens system. It also allows the use of DX lenses, for Nikon’s SLRs with APS-C sized sensors. It detects these lenses automatically and switches to a cropped, DX-sized area on its image sensor (15-MP resolution).
The Nikon D810’s extremely fast AF system (“Nikon Advanced Multi-CAM 3500FX”) is also used by the flagship Nikon D4s. It offers 51 AF sensors (including 15 cross-type sensors) and is highly configurable. Single AF sensors can be used, and the AF area can be defined to a centre area with 11 larger AF areas and more. It is not as configurable as the new AF systems of many mirrorless cameras (focus-point setting for nearly the whole image area, face and eye detection, focus-point tracking and more), but it is extremely fast and was able to capture and keep very fast-moving objects in focus. Even in very dark situations and low-contrast scenes, it worked very well (even using lens systems with f1:8, like tele zoom lens including a 2x converter).
Even though the camera offers very high-resolution images and therefore extremely high data volume, it can shoot up to five frames per second. Using the optional battery grip MB-D12 and reducing the image area to the DX crop format allows it to shoot up to 7 frames per second. Combined with the fast AF system, the D810 can be used for sports photography. The fastest shutter speed of 1/8000 s also supports shooting fast-moving objects. The new “Expeed 4” image processor allows it to shoot high-resolution images at a high speed.
The D810 has a massive body, and its large grip allows for comfortable handling. The camera is well balanced, so shooting with the D810 is fatigue-free and effortless. It offers a large status LCD on the top to gather all exposure information immediately. The optical viewfinder is very large and shows a bright image. The camera offers an additional live preview on its large LCD screen. Its neither a swivel screen nor a touch screen—simply a very large (3.2-in/8-cm) LCD with a very high resolution of nearly 1.3 million RGB dots.
The new Nikon D810 has a lot of function elements on the top and beside the LCD screen. Combined with the 8-way control field, changing the menu parameters is fast and easily. The set-up dial on the back and the additional parameter wheel near the shutter-release button allow for easy and comfortable set-up of aperture size and shutter speed.
+ very high image quality due to large FX sensor with very high resolution and extremely good colour reproduction
+ very robust, massive body
+ large, bright optical viewfinder with 100-percent field of view
+ a lot of function elements and set-up dials for professional handling
+ very fast AF system, highly customizable
+ high quality video with high resolution results
– no swivel LCD (a swivel monitor would be very handy, especially when shooting video)
This review is based on precise lab tests conducted by BetterNet GmbH and provided by the Technical Imaging Press Association (TIPA). TIPA is the largest family of independent photo and imaging magazines worldwide. Photo Life is an active member of TIPA.
|SPEC SHEET: Nikon D810|
|BASIC TECHNICAL DATA:|
|Resolution||7360 x 4912|
|Colour depth (in bits)||42|
|Size of sensor (in inches)||0/0.00|
|Size of sensor (in mm)||35.9 x 24.0|
|Startup time (in sec)||0.10|
|Shutter delay (in sec) without pre-focusing||0.09|
|Shutter delay (in sec) with pre-focusing||0.01|
|Continuous shooting speed (frames per second)||5.0|
|Max. burst during continuous shooting speed||30.0|
|Fastest shutter speed (in sec)||1/8000|
|Long time exposure/shutter speed (in sec)||30|
|aperture pre-setting, shutter-speed pre-setting, manual exposure settings,|
|automatic bracketing, time-lapse photography|
|Individual white balance||yes|
|manual ISO control||yes|
|on, off, automatic, slow-sync, anti-red-eye, rear-curtain sync|
|Standard file formats||JPEG, RAW, DCF|
|JPEG compression grades||3|
|LCD AND PREVIEW:|
|Size (in inches)||3.2|
|Resolution of LCD (in pixels)||1229|
|Zoom mode during preview||yes|
|Index during preview||yes|
|Slideshow during preview||yes|
|Battery charger included||yes|
|Power supply unit||no|
|Supported memory cards||CF-I, SD card, SDHC card, SDXC card|
|PC connection||USB, HDMI|
|Dimensions (width x height x depth; in mm)||146 x 123 x 81|
|Weight (body without battery and memory card; in g)||980|
|Manual on CD||no|