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.

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