Nikon D810 Review: A Lightning Fast Full Frame DSLR

The EXPEED 4 processor makes for a super fast camera, with image quality to match.

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Nikon’s extremely popular D8xx series cameras have a cult following of sorts. The D800 and the D800E were extremely popular cameras tailored for two different segment of users. When a successor was planned, the company produced the D810 merged the two predecessors to form the D810.

Sensor

The D810 is a full-frame DSLR. It has a 36.3 megapixel CMOS sensor with no optical low pass filter. The absence of an optical low pass filter means the camera can capture a greater amount of detail by fully utilizing the large sensor and the humongous number of pixels. The large sized sensor with a huge number of megapixels ensure that the camera can fire JPEGs and RAW frames of the size 7360 x 4912 pixels. The frame size is large enough to produce huge prints even at 300 DPI.

Image Processing

The D810 features Nikon’s EXPEED 4 image processing engine. EXPEED 4 greatly improves the speed of image processing as well as improves continuous shooting performance in full auto-focus mode and improved low light performance by reducing noise at high ISO levels.

Auto-focusing

Auto focusing on the D810 is powered by a Multi-CAM 3500FX 51-point AF sensor mechanism. 15 out of the 51 AF points are cross type. In addition to that the D810 comes with what is known as Group Area AF. This mechanism clusters 5 AF points together to perform as a single AF point. When shooting under low light or low contrast scenarios Group Area AF is a boon to have.

ISO Sensitivity

The D810 has a phenomenal ISO range of 64 to 12800. In the extended mode it can range from 32 – 51200. This means you can shoot at incredibly low light as well as compensate for extremely bright conditions without having to jack up the shutter speed very high.

An interesting feature of the camera is its Auto ISO feature in manual mode. Auto ISO can be a life saver in some situations. It helps in nailing exposures with greater degree of control over the shutter speed and aperture while ISO is automatically set by the camera.

Still Shooting

The D810 shoots at a moderate speed of 5 fps at full resolution. While the number of frames do not sound pretty exciting auto-focusing performance in full resolution is one of the best in the business. You can switch to DX format mode for shooting at a slightly faster 7 frames per second.

Video Shooting

Though not designed for shooting videos per se, video shooting performance is very good. It shoots at a maximum resolution of full HD (1920 x 1080p) at a frame rate of 60 fps. At full HD and 60 fps the maximum video length is 20 minutes.  The D810 comes with a built-in stereo mic capable of recording good quality sound. Having said that if you need proper sound quality go for an external microphone. There is the option to plug one on the D810. A continuous audio monitoring option along with the option to select the frequency range of sound being recorded means you have a more detailed control.

Rear LCD Screen

The large 3.2” rear LCD screen with a resolution of 1229,000 dots dominates the back of the D810. The diagonal angle of view is 170 ˚ and the screen coverage is 100% of the frame.

Connectivity

The D810, for some reason do not get a built-in wireless connectivity. You can, however, use an optional Wi-Fi transmitter and get wireless connectivity with the camera.

Build Quality and Weather Sealing

The D810 is a very well built camera. Though, not necessarily in the class as the fantastic D5 or the D4S, the D810 can still hold its own in most situations. It is designed out of magnesium alloy and has numerous weather sealed areas.

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