Aimed at pro photographers and cinematographers, Nikon’s D810 features a brand-new 36.3-megapixel, full-frame FX-format sensor without an optical low pass filter (OLPF) to allow for extreme resolution and what Nikon calls “staggering” dynamic range. Bolstered by Nikon’s Expeed 4 image processing engine, the D810 delivers “enhanced response and performance,” says the company.
At the core of the D810 is a 36.3-megapixel FX-format (7360 x 4912 resolution) CMOS sensor that lets photographers reap the benefits of extremely high image resolution with rich tonality and a broad dynamic range. The OLPF has been removed, resulting in outstanding resolution and clarity, says Nikon, yielding images that render subtle details with striking fidelity.
Image quality further benefits from the application of Nikon’s Expeed 4 image processing engine, which provides enhancements to overall performance while suppressing instances of false colour and moiré. Whether photographing in the field or in the studio, users will see the difference with the ability to create stunning images with unprecedented clarity in gradation rendering, expanded dynamic range and high-accuracy white balance, Nikon says.
Additionally, Expeed 4 enhances noise-reduction performance and helps to achieve a wider ISO range, from 64 to 12,800, to improve low-noise image capture in a variety of lighting conditions. The ISO range is also expandable from 32 (Lo-1) to 51,200 (Hi-2).
Nikon’s Advanced Scene Recognition System with the 91,000-pixel 3D Colour Matrix Meter III provides “unbelievably balanced” exposures in difficult scenes. The system analyzes each scene to recognize factors such as colour, brightness and human faces with “startling precision” to determine what type of subject a user is shooting. The system then compares all the data using an image database to enhance subject tracking and adjust exposure, autofocus (AF), auto white balance and i-TTL flash control.
Further enhancing the D810’s image quality, a “Clarity” setting has been added to the available Picture Control adjustment parameters, which adjusts mid tones to enhance details within an image.
To help preserve the most amount of detail in shadows and highlights, the new “Flat” Picture Control Profile is now available. This allows both photographers and filmmakers to get the widest tonal range out of their cameras for maximum flexibility in post processing. For further customization of Picture Controls, users are now able to make adjustments in .25-step increments for the maximum level of custom colour, saturation and brightness levels.
Additionally, the D810 employs a new highlight-weighted metering option, which detects the brightness in a scene and determines optimum exposure to prevent blown-out highlights, which is ideal for stage and performance capture.
Video hasn’t been overlooked for changes from the D800 and D800E:
– Broadcast quality video: Achieve Full HD (1080p) 1920 x 1080 video capture at a variety of frame rates, including 60/30/24p.
– Versatile crop modes: FX and DX crop modes give users a telephoto boost when needed, a feature that has been very popular with camera operators because of its added flexibility on set.
– Flat Picture Control Profile: This neutral colour profile is ideal for video, and gives the user maximum flexibility in post-production.
– HDMI output: The D810 can relay uncompressed digital video to an external recorder via HDMI, while simultaneously displaying the video on the rear LCD display and external LCD monitor. Operators can now also record both to the internal card (compressed) and to the external recorder (uncompressed) simultaneously.
– Smooth in-camera time-lapse and interval timer: Like the Nikon D4S, the D810 uses an auto-exposure setting to help create super-smooth exposure and tonal transitions for professional results with time-lapse and interval-time shooting.
– Audio control: The D810 features a built-in stereo microphone, and an external microphone can also be attached, such as the Nikon ME-1. Additionally, audio capture can record wide and voice frequency ranges.
– Expanded ISO for video: The ISO range is expanded for video, now encompassing a clean ISO 64 to a versatile 12,800. The Auto-ISO function is also available while recording to adapt the exposure as the light changes, which can eliminate the need to adjust the aperture (in manual mode, ISO 200- 51,200).
– Zebra stripes: A zebra pattern can be displayed during live view, making it easy to spot overexposed areas.
– Highlight weighted metering: This new setting helps to prevent blown-out highlights in video. This is especially useful when capturing spot-lit stage performances or shoots with harsh directional lighting.
– Full manual control: With the innovative Power Aperture setting, it’s simple to change the exposure and depth of field on the fly while recording to an external recorder or SD/CF cards. In manual mode, users can control shutter speed and ISO while recording. Additionally, white balance and exposure compensation can be adjusted prior to recording.
– Full time AF: The Live View AF has been improved, and now provides faster full-time AF (AF-F mode).
The D810 renders every subtle detail and nuance in epic clarity, says Nikon, thanks to the enhanced Multi-Cam 3500-FX AF sensor module that utilizes new AF algorithms for precision, even in challenging light. The focus system also has 15 cross-type AF sensors for enhanced accuracy, and works with the Advanced Scene Recognition System to provide face detection even through the optical viewfinder. The camera also utilizes 11 cross-type sensors that are fully functional when using compatible Nikkor lenses and teleconverters (aperture value up to f/8). In addition to the normal, wide area, face-tracking and subject-tracking modes, the D810 features the new Group AF mode for enhanced accuracy, even while tracking subjects.
Nikon says the Expeed 4 image processing engine allows for a 30 percent boost in overall performance, as well as a faster burst speed and enhancement to energy efficiency. The D810 is capable of shooting at 5 frames-per-second (fps) at full resolution and 5:4, 6 fps in DX or 1.2x modes, (15.4-megapixel, 25.1-megapixel, respectively), and 7 fps in DX mode (15.4-megapixel) with battery pack.
For full workflow versatility, the D810 also gives users the option to shoot in full-resolution 14-bit RAW/NEF file format, or the new RAW Size Small format. This 12-bit file format is half the resolution and approximately 1/4 the file size of full RAW files, and is perfect for high-intensity shooters like wedding and news photographers who require increased flexibility when speedy downloads are desired or memory space is at a premium.
When looking through the wide and bright viewfinder with 100 percent coverage, users will see shooting data is displayed on an organic EL display element for maximum visibility. The viewfinder also features a prism coating for enhanced clarity. In addition, the grip has been refined for comfort and ergonomics, and the “i” button has been added for quick access to common mode-dependent settings.
A new high-resolution 3.2-inch LCD screen makes it simple to check focus, review images or compose a scene. The colour space of the LCD screen can now be fully customized, a feature that is useful for matching monitor or print-calibration settings. Using the LCD screen, users can also activate the new Split Screen Display Zoom function. This new mode magnifies two separated points on the same horizontal line, making it easier to confirm the two points are both level and in focus; a true advantage for architecture, industrial and landscape photographers.
Improvements have been made to the camera’s durable magnesium alloy structure compared to the D800, including the use of a redesigned mirror sequencer / balancer unit, which minimizes vibration during shooting to increase sharpness during multiple frame bursts. Additionally, the electronic front curtain can now act as an electronic front shutter when using Live View, or first composing through the optical viewfinder in mirror-up mode. This new feature is useful to attain exacting sharpness when shooting slow-shutter landscapes or astrophotography. The shutter unit has also been tested to 200,000 cycles. For further durability, the body of the D810 has been thoroughly sealed and gasketed to resist the elements.
The D810 has a built-in flash and is compatible with Nikon’s Creative Lighting System, including a built-in Commander mode for controlling wireless Speedlights. The MB-D12 battery grip is also available to give users both extra grip and power.
For wireless control, the D810 is compatible with a full range of Nikon’s remote systems, including the new wireless remote system with the WR-1 to trigger the camera remotely. This system uses radio frequency rather than infrared technology, eliminating the need for line of sight communication.
The Nikon D810 is scheduled to be available beginning mid-July at a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $3,599.95.