A year after its release, the Nikon D810 offers no real surprises by now, but remains very much a steady performer by which the mark for high-megapixel photography in 35mm DSLRs was once set. We’re somewhat surprised to see that it’s now one of the larger contenders in this category – and for that note, the heaviest – as the camera itself never stood out for its size. What it did stand out for was the fact that it was the first full-frame Nikon DSLR to ship without an Optical Low Pass filter (OLPF) for optimum resolving power.
It retains the excellent layout from the D800/D800E before it, which means you can change most settings by holding down a single button and turning the control dial. Not having to dive into menus certainly helps, but we do wish Nikon made more of the ‘i’ menu as it doesn’t seem as though there is a way to customize the functions selectable.
One thing that is greatly improved from the D800/D800E is the new mechanical shutter and balancer that control the shutter. Where the old models were fairly prone to shake from shutter slap at lower speeds, the D810’s shutter feels noticeably quieter and gentler. There’s a nice, deep handgrip, and all the ports are individually covered by rubber flaps for better weather protection.
On the software front, the D810 implements a new SplitScreen Display zoom function that lets you simultaneously view two points in a split screen, allowing you to accurately level the camera. It also gained the group-area AF mode from the D4S before it, allowing you to use five focus points simultaneously to quickly determine focus.
You could say that the D810 is Nikon’s most serious attempt at incorporating video till date, as they added stereo microphones, a power aperture function to change aperture without interrupting video, and features like Zebra display in Live View. They also added shifted the mode button further away from the record button, making it easier to access. Those are certainly encouraging changes, but still lag behind the 4K capabilities of the Sony A7R II.
The i button draws up menu to change some basic settings.