Nikon D810 DSLR Review

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Nikon
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The Bottom Line

If you're looking for top-of-the-line photography performance and image results in all types of shooting conditions in a variety of image formats, the Nikon D810 DSLR camera is going to fit your needs very well. 

This powerful camera works quickly and quietly, especially in Viewfinder mode, while also offering a sharp and large display screen for use in Live View mode. Its performance speeds are excellent, including a 5 frames per second burst mode rate at full 36.3 megapixels of resolution.

Advanced photographers who want the ability to fully customize their DSLR models will greatly appreciate the D810, as you can assign commonly used functions to numerous buttons. You can shoot in JPEG, RAW, or TIFF image formats. And you can shoot at a variety of image sensor crop formats.

The drawbacks to the Nikon D810 are few in nature. It's a very large and heavy camera, so you'll probably want a tripod. The file photos the camera creates require a lot of space on the memory card, which can frustrate some photographers. Most importantly, the D810 has an extremely high starting price of a few thousand dollars for the camera body alone. Still, this is a tremendous camera and one that's easy to highly recommend ... as long as you can afford it. There's no doubt it's one of Nikon's best cameras and one of the best on the camera market regardless of manufacturer.

Specifications

  • Resolution: 36.3 megapixels
  • Optical zoom: N/A, uses interchangeable lenses
  • Display Screen: 3.2-inch, 1,229,000 pixels (also includes built-in viewfinder)
  • Maximum image size: 7360 x 4912 pixels
  • Battery: Rechargeable Li-Ion
  • Dimensions: 5.8 x 4.9 x 3.3 inches
  • Weight: 1 pound, 15.1 ounces (without battery and memory card)
  • Image sensor: Full frame FX CMOS, 35.9 x 24.0 mm
  • Movie mode: Full HD 1080 60p

Pros

  • Full frame FX image sensor creates amazing image quality
  • Offers JPEG, RAW, and TIFF image formats
  • Fast and quiet performing camera especially in Viewfinder mode
  • Numerous buttons on D810 are easily customized
  • ISO extended range is from ISO 32 to ISO 51,200
  • Powerful battery performance
  • Camera is well-built

Cons

  • Price is extremely high
  • Camera is very heavy and large
  • No "extra" features like built-in Wi-Fi or touch screen LCD
  • Photo files require a lot of memory card space
  • Could use more upgrades versus Nikon D800

 

Image Quality

You'll have to search for a while to find a flaw in the Nikon D810's image quality. With 36.3 megapixels of resolution, you can crop this DSLR model's photographic output and still end up with a high-resolution photo, giving you the ability to easily improve the composition of your photos.

Nikon included a full FX format image sensor with the D810, which yields the tremendous image quality. You can pick to shoot at different crop formats too, such as DX, to gain more versatility with this DSLR model.

You also can shoot three different image formats -- RAW, TIFF, or JPEG -- with the D810, which are nice options to have. All three formats have extremely high storage space requirements at full resolution through, including about 20MB of memory card space per JPEG photo, about 60MB per RAW photo, and about 110 MB per TIFF photo.

You'll need to have one or two high capacity memory cards on hand when using the D810. There is a RAW S mode, which slightly shrinks the size of RAW photo files by using 12-bit RAW instead of 14-bit RAW.

The D810 works well in almost any type of photographic situation, whether you're in need of fast action photography at a football game or strong low light performance at your child's play. Full HD movies are of a very good quality with this advanced camera.

Performance

Nikon included an EXPEED 4 image processor with the D810, which gives this model outstanding performance speeds, including up to 5 frames per second in burst mode at full resolution.

That's equal to more than 180 million pixels of data per second, meaning the D810 needs a large memory buffer, which it has.

Low-light performance with this model is further strengthened by a wide extended ISO range between ISO 32 and 51,200. Noise really isn't noticeable until you reach the upper end of the ISO range.

Flash performance is strong with the D810. You can use the popup flash when you're in a hurry, as it offers the ability to work over up to 39 feet. Or you can attach an external flash to the camera's hot shoe for even more flash photography options.

As with most DSLR cameras, the Nikon D810 performs more quickly in Viewfinder mode than in Live View mode. Nikon gave this model both a strong viewfinder option, as well as a sharp and bright display screen.

Battery performance is amazing with this model, easily offering as many as 1,000 photos per charge in real-world working conditions.

Design

Don't expect to lift and carry the Nikon D810 for a full day of photography without feeling it in your arm muscles the next day. With a large lens attached, the D810 weighs around 2.5 pounds. This is a well-built model, so the extra weight shouldn't surprise anyone. It looks like a camera that should have some heft to it. Just be sure you're holding the camera using proper technique so you can avoid problems with camera shake.

Nikon's designers did a brilliant job in giving the D810 flexibility and versatility in a variety of areas. Most importantly, though, you can assign several buttons on the D810 to functions you commonly use, allowing for easy customization and personalization of this model.

Perhaps the biggest design flaw in the D810 is that its feature set and look resemble the Nikon D800 a little too much. D800 owners aren't likely going to want to upgrade to the D810, especially with a price tag of a few thousand dollars. Owners of older Nikon DSLRs though will want to give the powerful D810 a long look, as will those looking for a great DSLR.

If you can fit this impressive DSLR camera into your photography budget -- and don't forget that you're also going to need to keep some money held back in the camera budget to pay for lenses and other accessories -- you're going to be very pleased with your choice. It might be a little more powerful than what someone seeking his or her first DSLR camera needs, but for those who have some advanced photography skills, the Nikon D810 will be able to help them push their photography limits!