Nikon D810 £2400/$2500

NPhoto - - Gear Zone -

It’s all about pho­tog­ra­phy’s finer points

When you want to cap­ture ev­ery last detail and tex­ture, for ex­am­ple in land­scape, still life and fash­ion pho­tog­ra­phy, the Nikon D810 is the ul­ti­mate upgrade choice. Fol­low­ing on from the D800 and D800E, the D810 does away with an op­ti­cal low-pass fil­ter (OLPF) en­tirely, to max­imise the re­solv­ing po­ten­tial of its 36.3Mp sen­sor. In terms of han­dling it is sim­i­lar to the D500; the shoot­ing mode dial is re­placed by an ar­ray of but­tons, in this case giv­ing easy ac­cess to qual­ity, me­ter­ing, ISO and white bal­ance set­tings.

Be­neath its mag­ne­siu­mal­loy skin, the D810 is mostly a gen­er­a­tion older than the D5 and D500. Its im­age pro­ces­sor and me­ter­ing mod­ule are the same as those fit­ted to the D750. And, whereas the D750 has a new-gen­er­a­tion 51-point aut­o­fo­cus sys­tem, the D810 has an older ver­sion. It’s a shame, as the D5’s new 153-point AF mod­ule would serve well for crit­i­cal fo­cus­ing in ul­tra-high­res­o­lu­tion pho­tog­ra­phy.

As you’d ex­pect, the D810’s max­i­mum drive rate isn’t blis­ter­ingly fast, with so many megapix­els to process, but the D810 can still muster 5fps, which is faster than the D800’s 4fps. An­other chal­lenge is high-ISO per­for­mance, with so many pix­els be­ing crammed onto the im­age sen­sor. Even so, the D810 de­liv­ers an ex­tra stop in its stan­dard and ex­panded sen­si­tiv­ity ranges (com­pared to the D800), which top out at ISO12800 and 51200.


In terms of im­age res­o­lu­tion, there’s no other Nikon cam­era to touch the D810. Its spe­cially de­signed smooth-ac­tion mir­ror and shut­ter as­sem­bly help min­imise vi­bra­tions and max­imise sharp­ness but, even so, a hid­den cost of up­grad­ing to this cam­era is that you’ll need the very sharpest lenses to make the most of its po­ten­tial. And a trade-off of the high pixel count is that high-ISO im­ages are nowhere near as clean as those from the D750.

When you want to cap­ture ev­ery last detail and tex­ture, the Nikon D810 is the ul­ti­mate upgrade choice

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