Nikon D810 Announcement / What’s New

Nikon D810 Front Angle (Source: Vistek c/o Nikon)

Nikon D810 Front Angle (Source: Vistek c/o Nikon)

The new D810

It seems just like yesterday to me when the Nikon D800/D800E was first released.  I wrote about it back in March 2012.  Today, Nikon has announced a new replacement that has consolidated the two versions into one, the D810.

After reading the whole First Impressions article on DPreview and a few other reputable photography gear sites I’ve made my list of what’s new and what’s not so new (I apologize now but it’s going to get pretty techie from here on.

Nikon D810 Back

Nikon D810 Back (Source: Vistek c/o Nikon)

What’s New

If you think you’re going to get a totally revolutionary camera you are right and wrong at the same time.  Two years ago you would’ve gotten a totally revolutionary camera.  Today, you’ll be getting the same camera with some improvements.  But remember, change can be a good thing!  (source: DPreview)

  • The sensor has pretty much the same resolution at 36.3MP.  However, the anti-aliasing / optical low pass (OLP) filter which was there on the D800 (rendered inactive on the D800E) has been removed.  This should create sharper images in certain situations.  Hopefully this will also fix the long exposure noise issues.
  • 5fps maximum shooting in FX mode (compared to 4fps in the previous model).
  • There’s a new ‘Group Area AF’ mode (5 AF points can act together).
  • New electronic first-curtain shutter and redesigned sequencer/mirror to reduce vibrations.
  • New ‘highlight-weighted’ metering option (to preserve highlight detail in higher contrast scenes).
  • 1080/60p movie recording with built-in stereo mic (compared to 1080/30p with monaural audio in the past model).
  • Higher resolution LCD screen, 3.2″ 1,229k-dot RGBW LCD screen (compared to 3.2″ 921k-dot RGB).
  • Power aperture available while shooting video to SD/CF card (compared to only when using HDMI).
  • The ability to record to memory card while simultaneously outputting video over HDMI (not sure if that’s also true for tethered modes).
  • New ‘flat’ Picture Control mode (intended for videographers who need broader dynamic range).
  • Unlimited continuous shooting (previously 100-frame limit).
  • Some cosmetic changes like moving the shooting speed lock button, moving metering mode button, a new grip material on the memory card door, new i-button to give quick access to commonly used features, dedicated doors (3 doors instead of one large one) on the side for all the connect ports.
  • Improved optical viewfinder with info overlay and brighter prism glass.
  • Ability to shoot in a reduced file size RAW mode.
  • Left and right split screen zoom in live view to check for horizon levels.
  • New native low ISO 64.  The previous model’s lowest (real) ISO setting was ISO 100.  Go any lower and you were using a software induced ISO that reduced your dynamic range (in the highlights)
Nikon D810 Topjpg

Nikon D810 Top Dials (Source: Vistek c/o Nikon)


What’s Not So New

Nikon has decided to keep some things the same, of course, why fix it if it ain’t broke right?  Here are some things that they’ve kept constant…. mostly the good things that made the D800/D800E a good camera body.

  • Same batteries and battery grip.  The D810 still takes the same EN-EL15 batteries and MB-D12 battery grip.  So, D800/D800E shooters won’t have to spend another $500 on new batteries and a new grip.
  • Overall dimensions is still relatively the same.
  • Weight is similar
  • Weather seals are still used.  This is good for outdoor shooters who have to contend with wind, rain and whatever comes your way.
  • Memory card slots are still the same.  One CF and one SD slot to be used for Jpeg backup, overflow or to mirror each other.
  • Still 51-AF points (although there is that new 5 point ‘Group AF’ feature).

Conclusions

I would like to say (and I’m sure Nikon would love to hear) go out right now and pre-order your camera.   However, I would only recommend people that were on the FX sensor fence.  If you are a DX shooter (cropped sensor) and were thinking about switching and the D800/D800E interested you, this is the time to seriously consider jumping into the D810.  If you already have a D800 or D800E and are drooling at the new features, well just wait and see what the next few years holds.  Nikon is projecting a ship date of mid to late July 2014.

But enough of my opinions, check out this YouTube video to learn more (coincidentally from another ‘Cruz’)…

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