Test Review: The Nikon D810

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December 2, 2014 at 10:30 am  •  Posted in New Products, Review by  •  0 Comments

 

The Nikon D810

The Nikon D810

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.

The Nikon D810 reproduced our test box with a lot of fine details. Only the metal sieve in the upper left is out of focus due to the very shallow depth of field caused by the large FX sensor.

The Nikon D810 reproduced our test box with a lot of fine details. Only the metal sieve in the upper left is out of focus due to the very shallow depth of field caused by the large FX sensor.

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.

472_nikon_d810_model

The colour reproduction in shots taken by the Nikon D810 is natural and only has a slight oversaturation. Skin tones are reproduced nearly perfectly.

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).

On the top right-hand side, the Nikon D810 has a very large, illuminated status LCD. To the left of the view finder are function buttons to quickly change white balance, ISO speed and more. The camera does not have a mode dial. Exposure modes are changed by pressing the small “Mode”-button near the status LCD and by using the set-up dials.

On the top right-hand side, the Nikon D810 has a very large, illuminated status LCD. To the left of the view finder are function buttons to quickly change white balance, ISO speed and more. The camera does not have a mode dial. Exposure modes are changed by pressing the small “Mode”-button near the status LCD and by using the set-up dials.


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 camera offers a dual slot system for image and video storage. It can use SD/SDHC/SDXC cards as well as CompactFlash cards. Both card systems can work simultaneously to save JPEGs and raw files on different cards, for example.

The camera offers a dual slot system for image and video storage. It can use SD/SDHC/SDXC cards as well as CompactFlash cards. Both card systems can work simultaneously to save JPEGs and raw files on different cards, for example.

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.

The camera has a very large LCD screen (3.2 in/8 cm) with high resolution. The fixed screen is covered by a clear/transparent, removable plastic cap, which protects the screen from dust and scratches.

The camera has a very large LCD screen (3.2 in/8 cm) with high resolution. The fixed screen is covered by a clear/transparent, removable plastic cap, which protects the screen from dust and scratches.

Pros:
+ 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

Cons:
– 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
Resolution sensor 37.0
Colour depth (in bits) 42
Size of sensor (in inches) 0/0.00
Size of sensor (in mm) 35.9 x 24.0
TAKING PICTURES:
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
Self timer yes
Exposure Settings:
aperture pre-setting, shutter-speed pre-setting, manual exposure settings,
automatic bracketing, time-lapse photography
Exposure programs 0
White balance:
Auto yes
White-balance settings 6
Individual white balance yes
ISO:
ISO min 64
ISO max 12800
ISO steps 24
manual ISO control yes
FLASH:
Integrated flash no
Flash Mode:
on, off, automatic, slow-sync, anti-red-eye, rear-curtain sync
External Flash:
X-Sync yes
Accessory shoe yes
FILE FORMATS:
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
VIDEO:
Video available yes
Max. width 1920
Max. height 1080
Picture frequency 60
POWER SOURCE:
Rechargeable battery yes
Battery type Li-Ion
Battery charger included yes
Power connector no
Power supply unit no
STORAGE SYSTEM:
Supported memory cards CF-I, SD card, SDHC card, SDXC card
PC-CONNECTION:
PC connection USB, HDMI
TV out HDMI
DIMENSIONS:
Dimensions (width x height x depth; in mm) 146 x 123 x 81
Weight (body without battery and memory card; in g) 980
ACCESSORIES:
Docking station no
Printed manual yes
Manual on CD no
Bag no
Remote control no

 

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