Nikon D810 36MP DSLR: First Look




The Nikon D810 can be pre-ordered now from Adorama. Orders will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Credit cards will not be charged until orders are shipped.


Nikon started the improvements in the D810 with the sensor. Yes, it's still 36.2MP, but Nikon has tweaked it and paired it with a new Expeed 4 image processing engine to produce cleaner, sharper images, and to do it 30% faster. Nikon has removed the Optical Low Pass Filter completely, relying instead on firmware to seek and destroy any moire patterns. The new sensor supports 1080/60p HD video and up to 1200 shots or 40 minutes of full HD video per charge.


Nikon claims that image quality is consistently noise-free throughout its entire ISO range of 64-12,800. This means the exposure triangle will not be adversely effected by raising ISO. Dynamic range, which was already impressive in the D800, is said to be greatly improved as well for the D810.

While the Nikon D810 is expected to be even more impressive as a still camera, Nikon is also touting its expanded video features to professional cinematographers, and will even bundle a Filmmaker kit version of the camera.


In this video, Nikon senior product manager Lindsay Silverman demonstrates the D810's key features. Video provided by Nikon USA.

Let's take a closer look at how the Nikon D810's key features compare with those of its predecessors, the Nikon D800 and D800E.


Nikon D810 vs. Nikon D800/D800E

  Nikon D810 Nikon D800/D800E
Image Processing Engine Expeed 4 Expeed 3
ISO range 64-12800 100-6400
Expandable ISO Sensitivity 32-51,200 50-25,600
File Format 12 + 14bit NEF, JPEG, TIFF 12 + 14bit NEF, JPEG, TIFF
Raw file size S 12-bit uncompressed No
Picture control Standard, neutral, vivid, monochrome, portrait, landscape, flat, Flat picture, clarity settings added Standard, neutral, vivid monochrome, portrait, landscape, flat
3D Color Matrix Metering III (91k RGB Sensor) Yes Yes
Advanced Scene Recognition Yes-Group Area AF added Yes
Highlight/Weighted Metering Yes-Ideal for spot/stage lit scenes Yes
Face detection analysis for viewfinder Shooting On/Off possible with custom setting Always On
Spot White Balance when using Live View Yes No
Preset White Balance 1-6 possible 1-3 is possible
Group Area AF Yes - 5 AF sensors used as a group; optimized for subjects located within an area covered by the group. No
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 Advance Rate 5fps in FX; 6-7fps in DX crop mode 4fps; 5-6fps in DX crop mode
Unlimited Continuous Shooting Yes (depending on media card and battery life) No
Image Stabilizer: Redesigned Sequencer Balancer Mechanism Yes in Q or QC modes No
Electronic Front-Curtain Shutter Yes - Image sensor acts as front curtain reducing internal vibrations. No
Frame Size/Rate /ISO RAnge 1920x1080 in 60/30/24p (including 60p output to an external recorder under limited conditions); ISO 64-12,800 1920 x 1080 30/24p; ISO 100-6400
Simultaneous recording: Memory Card + External Recorder Yes No
Selectable Audio Frequency Range Yes (Wide/Voice) No
Interval Timer/Time-Lapse Exposure Smoothing Yes No
Time-Lapse Exposure Smoothing Yes No
Number of Images in Time-lapse/Interval Sequences Up to 9,999 Up to 999
Built-in Stereo Microphone Yes No
Highlight Display (Zebra Stripes) in Live View Yes No
LCD 3.2 inch, 1,229k dot 3 inch, 921k dot
Live View Split Screen/Zebra Stripes Highlights No
Ergonomics Deeper Grip
i (secondary info) button added; color customization for LCD monitor
Optical Viewfinder Improved coatings on optical glass render brighter, more accurate color; organic EL info display easier to adjust under bright, dim conditions No
Full Aperture Metering During Live View for Stills Yes No
Live View - Image Area Can be selected while in live view for stills No
Battery Life (CIPA) 1 EN-EL15 Rechargeable Li-Ion; Approx 1200 shots per charge 1 EN-EL15 Rechargeable Li-Ion; Approx 900 shots per charge


Pro-end video versatility

For professional videographers, the D810 offers high image quality and dynamic range on 1080p videos recorded uncompressed at 60, 60 30, 25 and 24p uncompressed to an external device or compressed to an internal CF or SD card—or to both simultaneously. A new ISO auto adjust feature lets you move from dark to light scenes without changing iris or frame rate; you can change a depth of field using power hi-res control, and shoot in a flat picture style that enhances dynamic range and streamlines post-production. A kit designed for professional videographers (shown above) will also be offered.

Still resolution tweaks

Back to stills: The D810 will capture full resolution and 5:4 cropped images at up to 5fps, 6fps in 1:2 crop mode, and 7fps in DX crop mode. As with the D800, the D810 employs an advanced Multi-CAM 3500FX AF sensor with 51 focus points, including 15 cross-type sensors, 11 of which work up to f/8, plus a new Group Area AF. Nikon says it has virtually eliminated internal camera vibration caused by movements of mirror and other gear by using a new sequencer mechanism and electronic front curtain shutter. If you still aren't sure focus is accurate, you can zoom in 46x on the LCD monitor to spot-check focus.


Specialized features

Astrophotographers will be interested in the D810's unlimited continuous shooting capabilities which can produce star trail images. For time-lapse photography, the camera will keep shooting infinitely—or at least until the battery dies or the memory card is filled. Highlight-weighted metering is designed for spotlit situations such as concert photography, and the pop-up flash can be called into action as a commander for Nikon's Creative Light wireless flash system. Files can be saved in a new uncompressed 12-bit RAW Size S, which is half the size of RAW size L and therefore saves time and storage resource. Since full-sized images are 36MP, this is a welcome added option since the 18MP images may be more than sufficient for most uses.

The Nikon D810 will be available from Adorama for $3,296.95 body only, or $4996.95 in a Film Maker Kit with three lenses

Bonus! "Dream Park" Short Feature Film Shot With Nikon D810

Extra Bonus! "Dream Park" Behind The Scenes


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