Nikon D810 DSLR Review

Review posted 04/02/2015

Quick Take
  • Brilliant image quality across JPEG, RAW, and TIFF formats
  • Full frame FX image sensor
  • Sharper detail than many other DSLRs because Nikon removed anti-aliasing filter
  • Works fast in viewfinder mode
  • Very quiet operation
  • 36-plus-megapixels of resolution allows for cropping of images when required
  • Large range of extended ISO from Lo 1 (32) to Hi 2 (51,200)
  • Dual memory card slots
  • Viewfinder is clear with 100% coverage
  • 3.2-inch LCD is extremely sharp
  • Plenty of buttons and dials to control the camera's settings
  • Small RAW mode offers some flexibility in storage space requirements
  • 51-point autofocus system works extremely well
  • Manual focus option is easy to use
  • Nikon offers large number of customization options to easily personalize camera's operation
  • Camera is well-built and has weather-proofing
  • Strong battery life
  • Heavy camera, especially if you make use of a telephoto lens
  • Photo files are extremely large in terms of storage space, even JPEG
  • High price tag
  • No Wi-Fi, no GPS, no articulated LCD, no touch screen LCD
  • Maximum burst rate of 5 fps at full resolution could be a little better for pro-level sports photography
  • Doesn't offer an overwhelming number of upgrades in features over Nikon D800
  • Images have obvious noise in extended high ISO range
  • Focus switch only offers AF and manual, AF-S AF-A, and AF-C must be selected through on-screen menus
Bottom Line
The Nikon D810 DSLR camera has a host of eminently likable features, giving it the flexibility and power that all photographers want in a camera. The D810 works equally well as a camera for shooting sports, for shooting nature photos, and for shooting portraits. Images are brilliantly sharp and bright. And with 36-megapixels of resolution in the FX image sensor, you can easily crop half the photo and still have a high-resolution image. For advanced photographers who want to completely personalize their cameras, Nikon gave the D810 an impressive number of customization features. Not surprisingly, all of this power and flexibility comes with a price -- a few thousand dollars in this case for the camera body only. If you want one of the best models on the market and price is no concern, the Nikon D810 will be a great choice. Read more in our Full Conclusion.
In June of 2014, Nikon announced a new HD-SLR for professional photographers and cinematographers. The new D810 boasts at 36.3-megapixel full-frame FX-format CMOS image sensor with a 7360 x 4912 resolution and no optical low pass filter (OLPF), which helps overall resolution and dynamic range. An EXPEED 4 image processor suppresses false color and moiré, enhances noise reduction performance, and helps to achieve a higher ISO range. An Advanced Scene Recognition System with a 91,000-pixel 3D Color Matrix Meter III adjusts "exposure, AF, auto white balance, i-TTL flash control, and subject tracking" to balance exposure in "difficult scenes."

Nikon has added a "Clarity" setting to the available Picture Control adjustments as well as a "Flat" Picture Control Profile. Clarity is designed to "adjust mid tones to enhance details with in an image." And Flat is designed for cinematographers who want to "preserve the most amount of detail in shadows and highlights", effectively giving filmmakers maximum flexibility in post processing (digital color grading).

Speaking of film production, Nikon's D810 is much more than a still camera. It offers Full 1080p HD video recording at 24, 30 and 60 fps. There's also a couple "crop modes" for a quick telephoto boost. The camera's HDMI output can "relay uncompressed digital video to an external recorder." There's also an in-camera time-lapse and interval timer, as well as a built-in stereo microphone with audio control features (external stereo mics can also be attached). Full time AutoFocus is available, as well as Full Manual controls, including an expanded ISO range of 64 (native) - 12,800 (expandable to ISO 32 - 51,200). Lastly, there are Zebra Stripes and Highlight weighted metering options to prevent overexposure.

The Nikon D810 also features a high resolution (1229K dot) 3.2-inch LCD screen with Split Screen Display Zoom (to ensure precise focus), 5 frames-per-second burst shooting at full resolution (and up to 7 fps in a reduced 15.4MP resolution crop modes), the option to shoot 14-bit RAW/NEF or in Raw Size Small file formats, and an enhanced Multi-Cam 3500-FX AF (AutoFocus) sensor module for enhanced focal accuracy and precision.

Finally, Nikon will offer the free Nikon Capture NX-D image processing software for RAW, JPEG, and TIFF files.

Nikon D810 DSLR Features:
  • 36.3-megapixel full-frame FX-format CMOS image sensor
    • 7360x4912 resolution
    • no optical low pass filter (OLPF)
  • EXPEED 4 image processing engine
    • ISO 64-12,800
    • expandable to 32 (Lo-1) to 51,200 (Hi-2)
    • Advanced Scene Recognition System
    • 91K-pixel 3D Color Matrix Meter III
    • New "Clarity" setting added to Picture Controls
  • 3.2-inch high-resolution (1229K-dot) LCD screen
    • Split Screen Display Zoom
  • Full HD 1920 x 1080 video @ 60/30/24p
    • FX and DX crop modes
    • Flat Picture Control Profile
    • Uncompressed HDMI output
    • In-camera time-lapse and interval timer
    • Built-in stereo microphone with audio control
    • Expanded ISO for video
    • 64-12,800
    • Auto-ISO
    • 200-51,200 in manual mode
    • Zebra Stripes
    • Highlight weighted metering
    • Full manual control
    • Full time AF (AutoFocus)
    • Compatible with 80 NIKKOR lenses
    • Enhanced Multi-Cam 3500-FX AF sensor
  • 5 frames-per-second burst shooting at full resolution
    • Up to 7fps @ 15.4MP
  • 14-bit RAW/NEF
  • 12-bit RAW Size Small
  • Durable magnesium alloy structure
  • Nikon Capture NX-D Software

The Nikon D810 DSLR is available as a body only, with a $3299.95 MSRP. Check our best price box at the top right of this page to see current online pricing.

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