Who Wants a Nikon D810 Now?

At first I wasn’t very excited about the rumored Nikon D800S. As the days approached for the camera’s release, the name changed to Nikon D810 and some specs started showing up. My interest got much stronger!

I own a Nikon D800 and have always been jealous of the D800E users, with their lack of AA (OLPF) filter and superb sharpness. Secretly, I harbored a deep desire to have a D800E. But, why? I have a D800 after all!

Nikon D810 and AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8D ED lens, front view

Nikon D810 and AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8D ED lens, front view

Well, after seeing the new specs of the D810 I knew Nikon had hit one out of the park. Then, when I was contracted to write Mastering the Nikon D810 (late 2014 release), I danced a jig of delight. Now I MUST buy a D810, or I can’t write the book (He he)!

I hope my excitement rubs off on this community (as if it needs to). In my opinion, the D810 is the ultimate landscape camera, and as a nature photographer, I neeeeeeed the D810. Look at these new features:

  • Absolutely no AA (OLPF) filter. Not a hybrid on/off AA filter as seen on the D800E, instead there is no interruption in the light beams. There is truly no AA filter!
  • Larger image buffer memory with 100 images of any size JPEG, 28 lossless compressed 14-bit RAW, and 47 lossless compressed 12-bit RAW. (Double the D800!)
  • EXPEED 4 processor from the Nikon D4S, better noise reduction and moiré suppression
  • New kevlar/carbon fiber-composite shutter design
  • Highlight Preservation light metering mode!
  • New Clarity setting in the Picture Controls, gives JPEG shooters Photoshop-like clarity control
  • Group autofocus for even better action tracking
  • Face detection with Optical Viewfinder  (OVF)
  • Expanded ISO from 32 to 51200 (32 ISO yay!!!!!!!). ISO 64 is native, not expanded!
  • Faster frame rate of 5 fps in FX mode. Also, 6 ands 7 fps in DX mode.
  • CIPA shot rating increased to 3270 pictures on a full EN-EL15 battery.
  • Electronic first curtain shutter when using Live View (lowers shutter vibration significantly)
  • Stereo mic input on the body for better simple family videos
  • Zebra mode for zebra striping of overexposed areas when using Live View
  • 3.2-inch LCD screen with 1229K-dot resolution (instead of 921K-dot)
  • OLED viewfinder information display
  • Split-screen zoom display in Live View for precise horizontal leveling
  • Super-deluxe RGBW display (instead of RGB) the W stands for White (warm white), adding even more accuracy to the display, with true whites and better contrast
  • sRAW capability like the D4S (similar to a small TIFF file, not real RAW)
  • New Flat Picture Control for those who need maximum dynamic range in still pictures and for video color graders
  • 1080p video at 50 and 60 fps
  • Recording simultaneously to an external recorder with uncompressed 4.2.2 video (www.Atomos.com) and to the internal memory cards with H.264 compressed 4.2.0 video
  • 1/2 ounce (20g) lighter body weight
  • Side rubber flaps redesigned for better waterproofing
  • New Software Developer’s Kit (SDK) will give third party developers the resources needed to create applications and enhance the flexibility of the D810!

There are a more new features I could talk about, but I will have to reserve that for our upcoming NikoniansPress book.

Nikon D810 and AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8D ED lens, top view

Nikon D810 and AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8D ED lens, top view

I want to talk about the D810. Tell me your ideas, thoughts, desires, and worries about the camera. Even if you are not wiggling with delight (as fan boys like me often do), tell me how you feel about this new medium-format wonderkamera!

Keep on capturing time…
Darrell Young

Darrell Young

Darrell Young is an active member of the Nikonians User Community, Nikon Professional Services (NPS), Professional Photographers of America (PPA), North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA), and the author of 17 photography books from NikoniansPress through Rocky Nook, including Beyond Point-and-Shoot, Mastering the Nikon D610, Mastering the Nikon D800Mastering the Nikon D7100, and Mastering the Nikon D810, to name a few. He’s been an avid photographer since 1968 when his mother gave him a Brownie Hawkeye camera.

His website, www.PictureAndPen.com, was created to support the readers of his educational books, photography students, and clients. Visitors to his website will find articles and reviews designed to inform, teach, and help you enjoy your photographic journey.

Join Darrell on Facebook and Google+


  1. I recognize the value for landscape photographers, but is there an advantage to portrait photographers to not have the AA filter? I thinking of adding the D810 to my current D700.

  2. WOW! What a camera!!! I am drooling…and how wonderful that would be to own such a wonderful camera! 🙂 What a dream come true.Please consider me for the giveaway of this fine equipment,i really do need a better camera .

  3. I own a Coolpix P510….I dream of owning a camera with lenses…or being able to REALLY get the shot I see, but can’t quite capture. Do I want this demigod of a camera….oh yeah…but for now, until I figure out how to turn on D810…I will watch with wonder and drool!

  4. Such an amazing camera. The non-expansion mode that allows ISO 64 is something that really brought the D810 to the next level to stand out against the competition, and from what I hear – they did it well!

    Unfortunately I’m rocking out a D40, but I do what I can. I’ve been really into learning more about all the Nikon’s I can’t afford, but one day! Hopefully one day soon I can test out the D810!

    Thanks for the post, absolutely thrilled about the D810!

  5. The NAS took over as soon as I saw the new features installed in this D810. But for the moment the price is quite too hight. So I will wait some time. In between I suppose you will right the next book “Mastering th Nikon D810?

    • Merle,

      If you can get a great price in a Nikon D800, go for it! I have a D800 and probably would not have purchased a D810 simply as an upgrade from it. Probably not enough is gained. I have to write a book on the D810 and I have to own a camera to do that.

      What most excites me about the D810 is the complete lack of AA filter. My D800 is very sharp, but as a landscape artist, I want the maximum sharpness I can achieve with my current lenses.

      • I’m a little torn. It is a heck of a deal but I strive for sharpness as well. Especially with landscape.
        Did a little reading in the AA filter. I’d forgotten about that aspect mostly because I never thought we own one.
        I’m going to guess I’ll still get better sensor info from the 800 than my 300s and 7000 correct?

        • The D800 is rated by DxO Labs as having the second best image quality on planet earth (95), just behind the Nikon D800E (96). I expect that the D810 will at least tie the D800E, if not exceed it. So, in my opinion, you have higher sensor quality in the D800 line, especially compared to the older cameras. Plus, you have a lot more pixels to choose from!

          (UPDATE: DxO Labs rated the Nikon D810 at 97, one of the best sensors on planet earth!)

  6. Michele,

    An AA filter (AA = anti-aliasing) is also called a blur filter. When repetitive detail in your image closely matches the size of the photosites on the camera’s sensor, there can be some weird repeating patterns and false colors as a result. The AA filter very slightly blurs the image at the pixel level to prevent these patterns and color. Without an AA filter, your image could display the repeating wave-like patterns (called moiré) and have a rainbow of odd colors in finely detailed images (called false color).

    However, the D810 has such small photosites on its sensor that there are few patterns out there that are small enough to cause moiré. Therefore, most people will rarely or never see moiré and false color with the D810 in still images. However, there is a potential for moiré and false color when shooting with the D810 that cameras with an AA filter do not have.

    Persons mostly affected by this are those who shoot things with repeating patterns, such as the weave in clothing. Therefore, photographers who shoot a lot of weddings or events with people, often like to use a camera with an AA filter. However, my experience with the D810, so far, is that I have never yet seen a moiré pattern or false color appear in any event I have shot. Therefore, I would not worry much about it. Cameras with extreme resolution, such as the D810, have such microscopic photosites on the sensor that moiré and false color are not a problem for most types of shooting.

    When shooting video, moiré can be more apparent due to the movement and undulating wave patterns of moiré catching the eye more readily. Therefore, when shooting commercial video, maybe using a camera with an AA filter is best. 1080p video cannot even begin to use the enormous resolution of a camera like the D810. It subsamples the 36 megapixel frame down to a 2 MP frame, and that in itself can cause the jaggies (aliasing) and moiré in your video.

    Moiré and false color are not problematic with the D810. I have used the camera quite extensively in all sorts of shoots and have never seen either rear their ugly heads.

    About the D7000

    Yes, there is an AA filter on the D7000. The photosites on the D7000 are large enough to match smaller subject patterns in things like clothing; therefore, an AA filter is a good idea. However, AA filters really don’t cause softness. Any gain from lack of an AA filter is slight and can only be seen when using premium lenses.

    Most of the time, image softness is caused by handholding the camera at a shutter speed that is too slow, a lens that is not focusing properly, or cheap lenses. Camera movement is the most common cause of soft images. Try shooting some hands-off images (use the self timer) on a tripod and you will see how sharp your current lenses can possibly be. Even the mirror-slap of a reflex camera, such as the D7000, can lower sharpness. That’s why landscape shooters use a tripod.

    Also, if you are looking at your images at 100% on the computer monitor, please do not expect them to be sharp. No image is sharp at 100%. Lack of an AA filter can make an image a little sharper than one without an AA filter, if the shooter is using a tripod and pro lenses. However, 100% on your computer monitor is not the best way to judge image sharpness. Looking at an image at 50% enlargement on the monitor will give you a much better view of how the image will actually look when printed or viewed on a webpage.

    Nasim Mansurov over at the PhotographyLife blog has posted a good example of moiré and why an AA filter is needed for some types of photography with certain cameras: http://photographylife.com/what-is-moire

  7. I will just like to ask if this Nikon D810 is able to take doble or multiple exposures. I ask because way back then when I had my analogs (Nikons), I use to work on doble or multiple exposure proyects. I´ll like to start with them again.

  8. Hi: I’d like how can I take photos with the D810, using a cordless remote device. I like to do macro photos. I bought your wonderful book Mastering the Nikon D810. I’m reading and making researchers on it.
    Until now I couldn’t find some tips about my issue. Thank you! Franklin Wagner – from Brazil

  9. I own a D810 and a couple nice lenses. I’m interested in capturing video with this as well but not many videos or posts note if this camera will output 4.2.2 (4k). I understand I have to make sure I have the latest firmware (1.10), but I haven’t seen anywhere that shows which Atomos device will allow this to happen. I want to know if the latest device might allow that: Atomos Ninja Assassin 4K & HD HDMI 10-bit 422 Recorder and Monitor.

    This posts hints to this so I’m hoping to get more insight before making this investment:
    “Recording simultaneously to an external recorder with uncompressed 4.2.2 video (www.Atomos.com) and to the internal memory cards with H.264 compressed 4.2.0 video”

    Appreciate any insight.

  10. I bought the wife a D7200 and she is quickly becoming more than just an amateur, gets some great shots. She gets frustrated from time to time on her camera settings. I try to help her by googling some helps. She tells me I don’t know what I’m talking about. Well I just have a iPhone, if I had a nice camera I could show her just how to get those money shots.

  11. My dream is to own a great landscape camera because I want to do farm photography when I retire next year. This camera sounds like the optimum. I currently have D80 and a D5100. They are both great but. I want to upgrade.

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