The Nikon D810 User’s Manual is now available online.
Download the Nikon D810 insturction manual PDF. The manual covers all the new features and settings available. New items include the i-button, 2 and 3 EV stop choices available in bracketing, electronic first curtain shutter option, split screen zoom display in Live View, the new RAW S for small RAW images.
Of special note are the Bracketing options now include 2 and 3 stops per frame. With up to 9 bracketed frames available, the exposure range is now up to 27 stops!
The ISO range is now 64-12,800. Extended range is ISO 32 and 50 on the low end, and ISO 16,000-51,200 on the high end.
You can also view the D810 Digital Brochure online.
The Nikon D810 is the update to the popular Nikon D800 released in April 2012. The D810 incorporates the latest advances and has some new features that the previous camera lacks. Whether these differences will make buying the D810 worthwhile comes down to the individual photographer’s needs.
Both the D810 and D800 offer the same 36.3 megapixel resolution. The D810 offers a new base ISO of 64, rather than the D800’s ISO 100. While there are extended ISO range options to bring that number even lower, the native base ISO will produce the best results. What does ISO 64 offer and why is it better than ISO 100? Theoretically, the lower ISO may result in better image quality – dynamic range and color depth. However, depending on available light, this low ISO may require the use of a tripod to achieve maximum sharpness. Most likely the new ISO 64 will lower the noise floor and produce slightly better results to the discerning user.
The D810 has no anti-aliasing filter, whereas the D800 had a traditional anti-aliasing filter. Although the D800e was offered to reduce the effect, is actually retained a vertical blur component of the filter that was canceled. Basically the image was split into two then re-combined. The D800 had both vertical and horizontal blur. The reason for this was to make the filter surfaces and distance the same, so that the rest of the cameras could be made identical. Since the D810 was built from the beginning without any aliasing filters, it has less material and surfaces between the lens and the sensor, which should result in slightly improved image quality compared with the D800 as well as the D800e. The D810 will still retain the UV and IR filter in front of the sensor.
The D810 processor is faster, with a larger buffer and offers better continuous shooting. The D810 offers the new EXPEED 4 processor which is capable of 5 fps continuous shooting, whereas the D800 was only capable of 4 fps. If you switch the D810 to 1:2 or DX format it can do 6 fps. And if you add the optional MB-D12 battery grip and EN-EL18a battery, it will do 7fps in DX mode. The old D800 could only max out at 5 fps in 1:2 crop and DX modes. This may represent an important difference for sports and wildlife photographers. The faster processor also allows longer continuous burst shooting, up to an unlimited number of images in JPEG mode. The camera uses the same UHS-I SDHC/SDXC cards and write format as the previous model, so if you already have fast cards no upgrade is necessary.
A new Group AF mode will be appreciated by sports and action photographers. This allows any focus point to be chosen, and the camera will select that point or a point above, below or beside it for focusing. This improves auto focus speed and accuracy.
The D810 offers higher frame rates in video. It will shoot 50 and 60 frames-per-second 1080p HD video. This will create smoother video for high speed action, as well as offering the ability to convert to achieve better slow-motion sequences. The camera also allows power aperture (smooth aperture control of G lenses) when recording to the internal media cards. The previous D800/D800e would only offer this feature when using the external HDMI output.
Some other nice additions to the D810 are a split screen live view mode to magnify two points along a line to help level horizons. Zebra stripes in live view will show areas of blown highlights, which are especially essential to know when shooting video. Another improvement is built-in stereo mics, whereas the older camera offered only a built-in mono mic.
The mirror is no longer tied to shutter activation. The D810 offers an electronic first curtain shutter. This allows the mirror to be locked up and the shutter released separately. This reduces vibrations and should help improve critical sharpness, as well as offering faster shot-to-shot performance in live view mode.
A new flat picture control offers a better picture mode for shooting video. Previously, custom profiles would need to be imported to mimic a flat shooting profile. The new flat control allows a clean base that can also be customized in-camera. The D810 also enables Auto ISO during video recording. Previously this was only available for still shooting. This change allows for better manual control over frame rate and aperture, while using the camera to select the optimum ISO for shooting conditions.
The new RAW S mode may interest certain photographers looking to reduce file size while still allowing high-quality RAW images to be saved. This may help some event and wedding photographers improve workflow. However the new S size is only going to be needed in certain applications, but its addition will benefit those who want more than JPG quality but less than 90MB RAW image files.
The rear LCD is higher resolution, the boost to 1,229k dots over the old 921k dots. This will result in crisper images, and is of interest to those using sensor loupes and magnification devices. The viewfinder also gets an upgrade to organic electroluminescent display for the information screen.
The grip on the D810 has been improved by making it deeper. This will help those with large hands or who use long lenses. The D810 weighs slightly less, a 20 gram reduction is hardly worth mentioning on a 2 pound camera. What is notable is that this was done in addition to making the camera slightly larger (due to the grip modification). Perhaps a more notable change is the production of the camera. The new model is now built in Thailand instead of Sendai, Japan. The move will allow Nikon to meet demand and avoid a re[eat of the embarrassing delays in filling initial D800 orders.
The new D810 lists for the same price as the previous D800e. It should easily win approval for its additional features over both the D800 and D810, however the differences will make the most different to a few specific shooters. The first type is the photographer looking for the best image quality possible. This is a discerning landscape photographer who takes their time to make every shot count, uses a tripod, mirror lock-up and/or Live View or similar slow shooting method. This type of photographer always shoots RAW images and does extensive post-processing. If this describes you, the D810 is your camera.
The second type of photographer who will appreciate the new D810 features is the wildlife or sports photographer. The faster frame rates can mean the difference between getting or missing the shot. The new Group AF will also improve its auto focus capabilities. There are faster choices in cameras, so the D810 still might not be fast enough, however its improvement in speed can make a difference when speed matters.
The third type of photographer who will want the improved features of the D810 is the videographer. The new frame rates, live view improvements, better LCD resolution, zebra stripes for highlights, flat picture control, and power aperture when using built-in media cards are going to be appreciated. However, the D810 is still probably not the first choice when shooting video. There are other cameras that go beyond with 4k video and more advanced features (focus peaking).
If none of the above photographer types describes you, the D810 may still be the best camera available. However, if you already have a D800 or want to buy at a discount, the D810 may not be a necessary upgrade.