Nikon D810 DSLR Offers Better Image Quality Than D800E

Posted by on June 25, 2014

Nikon D810 36-MP Full-Frame DSLR

There’s a new big (resolution) dog in the Nikon family – the Nikon D810 DSLR. The D800 is one of Nikon’s most lauded and successful digital SLRs. The 36-megapixel FX-format camera (full-frame) attracted all types of serious photographers from working commercial shooters, to landscape professionals, to serious amateurs. For photographers who want the best possible image quality along with maximum resolution and detail, the D800 has been *the* camera to have. And if the D800 isn’t enough, for a few hundred more, you can have the anti-aliasing-free D800E. I’m not sure if anyone actually believed the D800 needed to be updated. But Nikon did it, anyway. The new Nikon D810 promises better image quality than the D800E, better video performance, more speed, and improved battery life. And thanks to the new RAW Size Small format, the D810 is also a lot more versatile.

Nikon D810 Main Features & Specs:

  • Newly-designed 36.3-megapixel FX-format (full-frame) CMOS sensor
  • EXPEED 4 image processing
  • Sensitivity: ISO 50 to 6400 (expanded: ISO 32 to 51,200)
  • Same 51-point AF system as D4S, with new “Group Area AF”
  • New RAW Size Small format
  • Full HD 60p video with built-in stereo sound
  • Improved movie mode auto focus
  • Uncompressed HDMI output
  • Zebra stripes for over-exposure warning
  • Built-in intervalometer with Nikon’s smooth in-camera time-lapse metering
  • In-camera time-lapse video mode
  • New in-camera Clarity control
  • 25% faster shooting – 5 FPS in FX format, 6 FPS in DX format, and 7 FPS in DX format with battery pack
  • 3.2-inch 1.3-million-dot RGBW LCD display
  • New Flat Picture Control Profile offers increased dynamic range for JPEG still photos and video
  • Improved battery life – 1200 shots (CIPA standard)
  • Built-in pop-up flash
  • Weather-sealed magnesium alloy body
  • USB 3.0 interface

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In order to improve on a camera that everyone already agreed had the best image quality of any DSLR, Nikon left the D810’s resolution at 36 megapixels, but completely dispensed with the OLPF (optical low-pass filter), improved the sensor’s microlens design for better light-gathering ability, and gave it their top-shelf EXPEED 4 image processing. The result is a camera that captures more detail, has better dynamic range and with a native max sensitivity of ISO 6400 – the highest of any camera Nikon has ever made. That’s a stop better than the original D800. And the expanded sensitivity now goes from ISO 32 to ISO 51,200.

Nikon D810 DSLR - Top View

One of the biggest issues I had with the original D800 was that you could only shoot at a full 36 megapixels. While a 36-megapixel D800 file is a beautiful thing, it’s not always practical or appropriate. Canon’s higher-spec’d DSLRs offer three RAW image sizes for more flexibility, a feature that I can personally vouch for. So the introduction of the Small Size RAW format makes the D810 a much more useful and flexible camera, in my opinion. Nikon says the smaller 12-bit files are half the resolution and one-quarter of the file size of a standard D810 14-bit NEF RAW image file. That’s great for photographers who want the quality and post-processing versatility of RAW files, but don’t actually need a 36-megapixel image. Like I said, I can vouch for the Canon equivalent, which I use for things like tradeshow photos, some product photography and anything else where I don’t need maximum resolution.

Besides improving image quality, the EXPEED 4 processor also improves the D810’s speed, making it 25% faster than the D800. The D810 can shoot full-resolution 36-megapixel RAW bursts at 5 frames per second. In the DX-format crop mode, it can shoot at 6 frames per second; and with the optional battery pack, it can shoot up to 7 frames per second in DX mode. The D810 still isn’t the mid-range D700 replacement sports photographers have been waiting for. But at 5 frames per second, it is useable for action photos.

Nikon D810 - Rear View

The D810 has a lot of video enhancements – many of them inherited from Nikon’s recently announced flagship DSLR, the D4S. It records full-HD 60p video and can output uncompressed video to an external recording device via the HDMI connector. For more flexible video color control, there’s a new “Flat” Picture Control option that captures video with a wider dynamic range. There’s also a built-in intervalometer and an in-camera video time-lapse mode with smooth metering that eliminates flicker and assembles a time lapse video for you, right in the camera.

There’s a whole lot more, including improved battery life, a new “split screen” live view display, vibration-reducing mirror-balancer and electronic front-curtain shutter, and a new OLED information display in the viewfinder. But the most important things – in my opinion, anyway – are the improved image quality, faster shooting, and the new RAW Size Small format. For me, those are the key features that make the new D810 a serious upgrade. I honestly find it hard to fathom a DSLR offering better image quality than the D800E. But Nikon says the D810 is indeed better.

The Nikon D810 should hit the streets (and your favorite online dealers) in late July. The suggested retail price will be US $3299 for the body only.

Buy the Nikon D810 From Amazon >>

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