24 Things You Need to Know About the New Nikon D810

Since the Nikon D810 got announced yesterday, we have been getting a lot of questions from our readers via emails, comments and Facebook messages. After answering many questions and doing some additional research, I decided to compile everything I have gathered so far in a single article. Looks like the biggest number of questions is coming from existing Nikon DX and D600/D610/D700 owners, who are considering to move up to the D810 as an upgrade. Some Nikon D800 and D800E owners like myself also find some of the new D810 features attractive, but there are still some items that remain unclear from the announcement (such as the camera buffer size), so the below article will hopefully address some of those questions and concerns as well.

Nikon D810 Film Maker's Kit

1) Nikon D810 has no OLPF / AA filter

This one might be particularly interesting to existing D800E owners. If you remember from our previous coverage of the D800E, the difference between the D800 and the D800E is the filter stack in front of the sensor. Basically, the D800 has two stacks of anti-aliasing / blur filters along with the regular UV / IR filter, which is what effectively reduces moire in images. The D800E, on the other hand, has a blur filter in the front of the filter stack, which is cancelled out by another filter at the end, as shown in the below illustration (a detailed PDF illustration from Nikon is available here):

Nikon D800 vs D800E Low-Pass Filter

The new Nikon D810 does not have the two low pass filters, so there is nothing that needs to be cancelled out. Only a regular filter stack (mostly to combat UV) is present in front of the camera sensor. As we have shown in this article, there is practically no difference between the D810 and the D800E. This reveals that the Nikon D800E filter stack was probably designed that way for cost reduction reasons. Now there is no need to do that, since both D800 and D800E have been combined into one line.

Some older Nikkor lenses might perform better on the D810 than on the D800 / D800E cameras. Remember, older lenses were designed for film cameras and film has no glass in front of it. Roger Cicala did a great job explaining all this in his article on sensor stacks and their effects on lens performance. If we find any difference in performance between old and new lenses, we will report it here.

2) EXPEED 4 means better autofocus performance

Those that have had a chance to use the new Nikon D4s probably noticed that autofocus has gotten noticeably better compared to the D4. Part of the reason is the faster EXPEED 4 processor, which is able to apply faster calculations to fast-changing scenes, which in turn improves autofocus speed and accuracy. The Nikon D810 gains exactly the same autofocus system as the D4s, so we can expect similar improvements in performance.

EXPEED 4 Processor

3) EXPEED 4 is 30% faster than EXPEED 3

With a roughly 30% faster processor, the D810 will be able to process images faster too, so the improvement is not only limited to the autofocus system. Thanks to the faster processor, images are also handled faster and more aggressive noise reduction algorithms are applied at high ISOs in the imaging pipeline. EXPEED 4 also translates to faster frames per second and other performance gains listed below.

4) Group-area AF really works

If you had a chance to work with the D4s, you might have already fallen in love with the Group-area AF mode, which works very well for tracking fast moving subjects. Instead of a single point, Group Area AF activates four AF points to track subjects, resulting in better accuracy and consistency from shot to shot. Wildlife and sports photographers might find this new autofocus setting very useuful. So this feature is not another marketing gimmick – we found it to be useful while testing the Nikon D4s (we are working hard on the review as we speak).

5) Battery and MB-D12 are compatible with the D810

Another good news is that you do not need to worry about buying different batteries for the D810, because the older EN-EL15 battery is compatible with the D810. In addition, the MB-D12 battery grip for the D800/D800E is also compatible with the D810, which should make it easier to transition for existing owners.

6) 5 FPS Full RAW, 6 FPS in DX Crop and 1.2x Crop Modes and 7 FPS with the MB-D12 Battery Grip

The Nikon D810 shoots 1 FPS faster than the D800/D800E and now does not require the MB-D12 battery grip to get to 6 FPS – you will be able to shoot either in 1.2x or DX crop modes at this speed and if you need more speed, you can jump to 7 FPS with the older MB-D12 Battery Grip.

7) Electronic Front-Curtain Shutter completely eliminates camera shake

If you have used the D800/D800E, you have seen how much simple shutter vibration can impact images when shooting at slow shutter speeds. For this reason, I typically end up enabling the “Exposure Delay” mode in the camera menu, setting it to 3 seconds. Still, even 3 seconds can sometimes cause vibrations, especially when shooting with super telephoto lenses. The new Electronic Front-Curtain Shutter is amazing in this regard. If you have shot with a Sony NEX-6 or similar cameras that have the feature know how useful it really can be in those low light situations. Basically, once the mirror is raised and the camera is in Live View mode, the shutter does not have to close and reopen at the beginning of the exposure. The shutter is only lowered at the very end of the exposure, which obviously does nothing to introduce potential blur. As long as you do not have continuous vibrations due to wind or other factors, the Electronic Front-Curtain Shutter will yield sharp, blur-free images. This is a huge improvement for me personally, as I continuously struggle with vibrations when testing lenses or working in low light when travelling with a lighter and less stable tripods. And by the way, this mode will also work in Mirror Lock-Up mode, so it is not just limited to Live View!

8) New shutter and mirror design make the D810 quieter

The Nikon D810 is much quieter than the D800 and D800E, which is great news for wedding, reportage and documentary photography. By how much? Take a look at the below comparison video to hear for yourself:

Our apologies for the loud music in the beginning – we will try to find a better comparison soon.

9) Lower Base ISO of 64

As you may already know, cameras give the best dynamic range at the lowest base ISO. With the D800 and D800E, the base ISO was 100, so you get the best performance at ISO 100. Although these cameras offered a “low boosted” ISO of 50, it is not native to the sensor, meaning that it is a software boost, which only reduces the dynamic range. With the D810, the base ISO is 64, so it is native to the sensor. This means that the best dynamic range on the D810 will be at ISO 64 and you can further “low boost” it to ISO 32. Although we only found very small differences in dynamic range performance between the D810 and D800E, lower ISO still presents advantages in some situations. Being able to shoot at ISO 32 means that you might not need to carry your ND filter all the time when you need to use a slower shutter. For photographers that want to shoot wide open with fast f/1.4 lenses or with flash in bright daylight conditions, this is a definite plus.

10) Higher Native ISO of 12,800

The native ISO range has been expanded to 64-12,800 range from 100-6,400. The one stop improvement in the high ISO range translates to lower amounts of noise at high ISO levels, particularly past ISO 1600. Unfortunately, RAW support from Adobe and other companies is still quite poor and it is hard to determine the real improvements at high ISOs the D810 brings. Still, it is nice to have the option of shooting at ISO 12,800 with such a high resolution sensor.

11) Better Optical Viewfinder and OLED Display

The Nikon D810 has a better and brighter optical viewfinder when compared to the D800 / D800E, because special coating is applied to the pentaprism (similar to how Nikon applies coatings to lenses). The D810 is the first Nikon FX format camera with an OLED viewfinder display. Previously, the Nikon D7100 was the only model in the Nikon line that had a similar display.

12) Twice Larger Buffer Size

One big question that interests many wildlife and sports shooters is the buffer size of the camera. With a mediocre continuous shooting speed of 5 FPS, the D810 is no D4s. But what is usually bad is not the speed of the camera, but its buffer that tends to get full too quick. That’s why many are still hoping that there will be a Nikon D400 or a D9000 with a DX sensor, because the Nikon D7100’s buffer is too small for professional use. Some mirrorless cameras often advertise insane FPS stats like 10 FPS, but if that only lasts one second, then how good is it for real use?

Although the D800 and the D800E last longer in DX mode than the Nikon D700, their buffers are just not suited for continuous shooting. After doing a bit of research earlier today, I found out that Nikon actually doubled the buffer size on the D810, which is great news for those that are considering the camera for action photography. Take a look at the below graph that I published earlier in my Nikon D810 Buffer Size article:

DSLRImage TypeFX SizeDX SizeFX BufferDX Buffer
Nikon D810NEF (RAW), Lossless compressed, 12-bit31.9 MB14.6 MB47100
Nikon D800 / D800ENEF (RAW), Lossless compressed, 12-bit32.4 MB14.9 MB2138
Nikon D810NEF (RAW), Lossless compressed, 14-bit40.7 MB18.3 MB2897
Nikon D800 / D800ENEF (RAW), Lossless compressed, 14-bit41.3 MB18.6 MB1729
Nikon D810NEF (RAW), Compressed, 12-bit29.2 MB13.3 MB58100
Nikon D800 / D800ENEF (RAW), Compressed, 12-bit29.0 MB13.2 MB2554
Nikon D810NEF (RAW), Compressed, 14-bit36.3 MB16.4 MB35100
Nikon D800 / D800ENEF (RAW), Compressed, 14-bit35.9 MB16.2 MB2041
Nikon D810NEF (RAW), Uncompressed, 12-bit55.9 MB24.4 MB3478
Nikon D800 / D800ENEF (RAW), Uncompressed, 12-bit57.0 MB25.0 MB1830
Nikon D810NEF (RAW), Uncompressed, 14-bit73.2 MB31.8 MB2346
Nikon D800 / D800ENEF (RAW), Uncompressed, 14-bit74.4 MB32.5 MB1625
Nikon D810JPEG Fine (Large)18.1 MB8.6 MB100100
Nikon D800 / D800EJPEG Fine (Large)16.3 MB8.0 MB100100

The above chart shows that the buffer on the D810 is almost twice bigger when compared to that of the D800 / D800E, which is a huge difference. Being able to shoot up to 12 seconds continuously on the D810 is exciting and will make many sports / wildlife shooters happy!

13) Nikon D810 SDK will be available

Nikon is planning to release a Software Development Kit (SDK) for the D810 soon, which should allow companies to be able to write software to take interface with the D810. No more reverse-engineering mess to deal with, which will shorten the development times and allow third party developers and manufacturers to make great tools for the camera. If Nikon makes the D810 very open, we might even see third party addons like Magic Lantern for the D810. This is a huge deal and we are happy to see Nikon move towards being more open.

14) Improved Metering and Auto White Balance Performance

The Nikon D810 has an improved scene recognition system with its 91,000 pixel RGB sensor, which not only improves metering performance and accuracy, but also results in better auto white balance accuracy. And with the face detection feature improvements, photographing people should be easier and more accurate when compared to the D800/D800E cameras. The D810 also comes with the new “Highlight Weighted” metering mode, which detects the brightness in a scene and determines optimum exposure, thus preventing blown-out highlights. This particular feature will be useful for photographing people in mid-day sun, concert photography and other tricky environments.

15) Drastic improvements of video quality and new features

Canon might have had the video recording crown for a while now, but that might change with the D810 – Nikon really improved the video quality output of the camera. The changes are very noticeable, particularly when shooting in full HD modes. Take a look at the below video compiled by folks at “World of DSLR” that shows differences in video rendering between the D810 and the Canon 5D Mark III:

The D810 can shoot full HD video at 60p and Nikon has added other great features such as Zebra Stripes (for highlight overexposure control) and audio levels in live view mode. In addition, there is now a new “Flat” picture control for a low-constrast look that can be later manipulated in post-processing (think of it as RAW for video). Lastly, the D810 now has a “Power Aperture” feature, which allows the videographer to smoothly control lens aperture during live video footage, while it is being recorded to a local SD or CF card.

16) Auto ISO in Manual Video Mode

Videographers will love this new feature, because it automatically adjusts the brightness of the scene when changing between dark to bright. You set the desired shutter speed and aperture, while the camera adjusts ISO for you. No more pausing and shutter speed adjustments in differently lit environments – now you can shoot in one go and keep full control of the exposure.

17) New, improved battery – up to 33% longer shooting time

The Nikon D810 ships with a newer EN-EL15a battery, which will allow capturing up to 1200 images on a single charge. That’s a 33% improvement in battery capacity, which is great for not just stills, but also for shooting video footage.

18) Better LCD screen with 1,229k dots

A small, but still good to have change is the updated LCD – instead of 921,000 dots on the D800/D800E, the D810 now has a total of 1,229,000 (same screen as on the D4s). More dots translates to more details when viewing images. The new screen is more power efficient and allows for more brightness and contrast levels. In addition, you can actually customize the colors on the LCD through the camera menu system, so the “green tint” problem from before has now been eradicated.

19) Clarity slider and finer adjustments of Picture Control

Nikon is now allowing for much finer adjustments of picture controls and adding a new Clarity slider, which is similar to the Clarity slider in the Basic Panel in Lightroom. In short, you get more punch in JPEG images, with a more defined “pop” around objects like clouds. This is a great setting to have for JPEG shooters, but does not apply to RAW images (since Picture Controls are only applicable to JPEG files).

20) sRAW file format support

The D4s was the first Nikon DSLR to feature the new (for Nikon) sRAW format and the D810 now also receives it. We are working on an article that explains what this format is all about, but for now you just need to know that it is more of a marketing gimmick rather than a useful feature. It turns out that the sRAW file format only contains 11-bit processed data, so it is not really a RAW file. Think of it as a JPEG file with reduced resolution, albeit with a little bit more color information. Plus, the sRAW files are not all that smaller, so you would be better off shooting in full RAW format with less bits and compression instead.

21) Superior ergonomics

The Nikon D810 has a different grip that is slightly narrower and yet deeper for more comfortable hand-holding. To make it similar to other recent Nikon DSLRs, the bracketing button on the top dial has been moved to a dedicated button on the front of the camera, while the metering mode selector has been moved in its place on the top left dial. We welcome this change, since the added Highlight-weighted metering mode would have made the previous button look cluttered and harder to use. Another “i” information button has been added to the rear of the camera, which allows accessing some of the camera’s functions, similar to what we had seen on the D7100.

22) The 36.3 MP sensor on the D810 is NOT the same as on the D800 / D800E

Many of our readers have been asking if the D810 has the same sensor as the D800 / D800E, but perhaps just tweaked for ISO 64. That is certainly NOT the case. While all three cameras have the same physical size, the total number of pixels is actually different – 37.09 million pixels versus 36.8 million on the D800 / D800E. This is not just another software boost – the sensor technology itself is different. And no, this is NOT the same sensor as the one on the Sony A7R.

23) Much better Interval / Time-Lapse shooting options

The Nikon D810 has much better options for shooting timelapses. Instead of the typical 999 frame limit we see on Nikon DSLRs, the D810 now can shoot up to 9,999 frames and has plenty of other great options available such as exposure smoothing to improve the quality of timelapse sequences.

24) There are two kits that will save you money

Nikon decided to bundle a “filmmaker” and “animator” kits, with a bunch of lenses, filters and other accessories. If you do not already own the gear, buying one of these packs will actually save you money. For example, the filmmaker’s kit with 3 prime lenses will save you roughly $900, so it is not just a compilation of gear. The Animator’s kit, for example, contains the Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G VR lens, which is worth $920 by itself. The kit is sold for $3,999.95, so you are getting the lens for $700 and the other parts of the kit like the Dragonframe software and the EH-5b/EP-5B Power Supply and Connector are basically free, as shown on this page at Nikon USA.


  1. 1) MartinG
    June 27, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    When do you think they will fix the ‘Custom settings bank’ not having a defined “Save the is setting?” or “do you want to save changes to this setting?” problem? Will this be possible using the SKD? I

    • June 27, 2014 at 11:33 pm

      Martin, unless someone completely rewrites the Nikon firmware, I don’t think it will be possible to remove the custom banks…that has to come from Nikon!

      • 1.1.1) MartinG
        June 28, 2014 at 1:01 am

        I don’t want to remove them. All I want is about around 10 -20 lines of code. If they could set up the option to ‘permanently’ save a setting by creating a new menu item in the custom setting part. Nikon needs an “update setting” or “create new custom setting?” option. What we all need is something which ensures that if a custom setting is “saved” it cannot be overwritten by changes accidentally. Perhaps they could arrange a save setting to memory card.

        • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov Nasim Mansurov
          June 28, 2014 at 2:14 am

          Martin, that is certainly what I would request too! I don’t think the SDK will allow developers to be able to write firmware changes to the camera though. For that, Nikon would have to release the firmware code, which will never happen :)

        • KnightPhoto
          July 19, 2014 at 9:27 am

          Hi MartinG, just checking that you are aware there is already a Save Settings to Memory Card option? Save/Load settings in the Setup Menu.

          Thanks Nasim for this comprehensive listing with comments as to utility of each!

          • MartinG
            July 19, 2014 at 4:42 pm

            Yes. I know it exists. It is not the solution however. Changes to settings need to give you the option to “save or edit” so that settings are useful. The current system is a joke.

            • neversink
              October 6, 2014 at 1:03 am

              MartinG – You sound like you are echoing the inane verbiage from KR’s site (name withheld – but you know who I am talking about) who complains incessantly about the same memory bank issues, yet he over saturates 99 percent of his images while using his family to beg for monetary contributions.. Learn to use what you have and don’t complain so much. I love my Nikon cameras and am happy with them. These improvements would be nice, but they are not important. I grew up in the age of film, and began my career learning the differences between the films I used and how to master them while shooting and in the darkroom. Read Ansel Adams books The Camera, The Negative and The Print. It actually applies to today’s digital photography. And I am not the biggest fan of Adams’ work, but his books are outstanding, are as many of his classic images.

              • neversink
                October 6, 2014 at 1:05 am

                To Nasim – my previous email was wrong in the above comment… i have replaced it for you in this email…. You may erase this comment….

                • MartinG
                  October 8, 2014 at 3:42 am

                  Your comments are inconsistent with the respect people who post on this site are expected to observe. I am not sure why you believe I am incapable of forming my own views. I agree with you about Nikon cameras… I love them too. I had a Nikon 8700 before I bought my first D90. The two memory settings on it were useful. I missed them on the D90, but the D90 had so much more to offer in other ways. The Canon 50D – similar to the D90 had a couple of settings banks. I don’t own a Canon 50d but a friend does. I also used film and used an SLR and my 3 lenses for many years (1972 -2002) None of that invalidates my suggestion that Nikon should fix the memory setting options. I don’t read KR but he is entitled to his views you know, even when they are intended to be oddball. It is OK.
                  In Mastering the D800 by Darrel Young, you find a detailed examination of the Nikon d800 custom settings banks, along with the suggestion that a lot needs to be “rethought” when it comes to said custom settings banks.

  2. 2) Arka Mukherjee
    June 27, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    Hi Nasim,

    I want to buy the D810 later this year. I have some lens combi thoughts with the body so please suggest me which will be optically the best ( I basically shoot Landscape and Nature).
    i) Nikkor 24-85mm f3.5-4.5 VR ( as a kit if provided) + Tamron 70-300 f4-5.6 VC USD
    ii) Nikkor 24-120mm f4 VR + Tamron 70-300 f4-5.6 VC USD/Tamron 150-600 f5-6.3 VC USD
    iii) Sigma 24-105mm f4 OS + Tamron 150-600 f5-6.3 VC USD/Tamron 70-300 f4-5.6 VC USD

    I have seen in DXOMARKs website that the SIGMA 24-105 is optically better than the NIKON.
    Please review the Sigma 24-105 f4 OS latter this year when you have time and the D810 also.

    Thanks in advance

    • June 27, 2014 at 11:35 pm

      Arka, there won’t be a kit lens with the D810. Personally, I would go with Nikkor 24-120mm + Nikkor 70-300mm instead of Tamron. For long shots, the Tamron 150-600mm would be a good choice.

    • June 27, 2014 at 11:36 pm

      Also, unless the third party lens is drastically better, I would still stay with Nikkor lenses for future compatibility and resale value.

    • 2.3) yes
      June 28, 2014 at 2:40 pm

      Forget zoom lenses. All of them….Forget all teleconverters. U need 600mm ? Just buy Nikkor 300mm F4 and crop . Crop crop….. I m using D800E about 1 year. I sold all my zoom lenses 24-70: 70-200VrII. Useless -soapmakers all of them :D. My lens gear: Samyang 14 F2.8mm(14-24), Sigma 35mmF1.4(24-70) Art, Nikkor 85mm(70-200 ) and Nikkor 300mm F4. If u want D800E or D810 go prime…. All gear into the regular bacpak.

    • 2.4) umano
      July 6, 2014 at 8:44 am

      Try capture one 7, its sharpness and color correction are the best on the market. btw new dxo has the best noise remover (prime) and color fringing correction due to the extensive tests dxomark does on lenses and sensors. It does not simply desaturate borders like lr or cr dxo remove the fringes retaining original color.
      That’s why i use both :)

  3. 3) Anirban Basu
    June 27, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    Dear Nasim,

    Well accumulated article. This buffer size is really a boost forums who are using d800. Just curious wheat her zebra could be used in still photography. I have zeiss optics & really expect the zebra if it applicable in still photo shoot.

    • June 28, 2014 at 12:12 am

      I don’t think that option is designed for still photography – that’s for videography only, unless you want to take stills in live view mode…

      • 3.1.1) Anirban Basu
        June 29, 2014 at 1:35 am

        I definitely expect this in live view mode. I hope it will be available.

  4. 4) Λεωνιδας Κ.
    June 27, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    Great article Nasim as usual.
    But i will stay with my D800E for now and is will wait the ‘D900’ to come..
    This updates are minus for me.
    Have a nice day

    • June 28, 2014 at 12:13 am

      You are most welcome! The article is not meant to persuade anyone into buying – just informational collection of stuff that I have gathered during the past few days, plus answers to questions that we have received from our readers. I don’t think you want to wait until the D900 – perhaps D820 or D830? :)

  5. 5) Alun
    June 27, 2014 at 11:51 pm

    After trying Lightroom, Photoshop, Aperture, DxO Optics etc over the years I have still found that Capture NX2 is by far the best software to process Nikon RAW files. Actually superior by a long way. I want to upgrade my D800E to the 810 but it will only be compatible with their new software Capture NX-D. This worries me as if the beta version of NX-D is anything to go by it is lousy software to say the least. So any Capture NX2 users will have to use something else if they go for the 810.

    • 5.1) Chris Weller
      June 28, 2014 at 12:11 am

      Thom Hogan just posted about this in his 1DX mini-review the other day. He said that Nikon still does not release their “curves” to adobe, so lightroom cannot process .nef files as well as Canon’s .cr2 files, resulting in inferior raw conversions. This is very frustrating because I know they can look better and I’m not willing to use Nikon’s inferior software just to get their raw conversion. Nor do I want to integrate another program into my workflow. I have to do a lot more work to my raw files then I should. It’s really annoying. I’d like to just be able to select Nikon standard or landscape or vivid in lightroom and have it match Nikon’s processing exactly, then I can adjust the raw file from there. Would save be a ton of time.

      I wish Nikon would release it’s info to adobe. They do the same thing with their lens profiles, canon releases the exact specs, but abobe has to reverse engineer them, making them less accurate.

      With Nikon now giving away it’s software, I don’t see why they just don’t release the secret sauce to adobe. They are putting themselves as a disadvantage now.

    • June 28, 2014 at 12:17 am

      Alun, as far as I know, the reason why Nikon is dropping NX2 is because of licensing issues with Google over Nik software components. They just cannot continue developing NX2 for that reason. I have also tried Capture NX2 in the past and could not get used to it after Lightroom – for me it is the other way around. Yes, you do lose quite a bit of the embedded data, but you can do way more in Lightroom. Remember, Lightroom is not just for editing, it is a superb file management tool.

      • 5.2.1) Alun
        June 28, 2014 at 1:13 am

        Thanks Chris and Nasim. Very informative article Nasim. Thanks for the explanation Chris as this does explain why my RAW files processed and converted in Capture NX2 look so much better than the same files processed in Lightroom. I was disappointed as when I heard Nikon was withdrawing and further updates to NX2 I really wanted Lightroom to work for me. Maybe I need to spend more time with the software to see if I can improve the output. But your explanation speaks volumes Chris!

        • Chris Weller
          June 28, 2014 at 1:36 am

          You are most welcome, Alun. I really enjoy posting to and reading this board. It’s one of the few boards with respectful people who can share ideas, ask questions and get input without being insulted and harassed. I think it is a testament to Nasim and the way he corresponds with his readers.

      • 5.2.2) Rrisk
        July 31, 2014 at 8:09 pm

        A few clarifications are in order here regarding the raw conversion dilemma. Capture NX2 was developed by Nik for Nikon with all of the SDK’s/LUTS provided by Nikon engineers. Nothing was reverse engineered as both Lightroom and Capture One have had to do. So the best raw file developments is and always be the raw processor in NX2. The good news us that NXD uses the same raw processor. The software itself leaves much to be desired. The workaround.
        Process the 810 raw file in NXD to a 16 bit tiff. Open the tiff in Capture NX2 enabling control points,masking,etc. if Nikon gets with the program and improves NXD ( which I strongly doubt ) we may see some better global control. Don’t hold your breath.
        For those who are concerned with using control points on tiffs vs. raw data as you might think was happening in NX2. Only the global controls work on raw data. The control points work on the parsed file which is essentially closer to a tiff. When I compared files processed this way and examined them at 400% I saw no artifacts. The litmus test is to make prints. When I did via a RIP which prints at twice the resolution of PS ( 720 vs. 360 dpi ) again no visible artifacts. I then did the same thing with a D800E file and the final results were identical.
        If you process NEF files in either Camera Raw ( Lightroom or PS ) you get jpeg digital artifacts in the files. Better in Capture One but still there.

  6. 6) Chris Weller
    June 28, 2014 at 12:57 am

    Great Article Nasim!

    This is the type of deeper, more meaningful “beyond the marketing brochure” information that is most appreciated and often overlooked for the first several months after a camera is introduced. It’s the analysis of these small, sometime subtle enhancements, that can often make all the difference in a purchase decision.

    One thing I am curious to see is how the 1.2 crop is implemented. I tried the 2.0 crop in the d7100 and did not like it at all. It shows a red box inside the frame, I believe, and that is your actual framing. When I’m shooting BIF, I can’t tell what is in that frame and what is out and I clipped a lot of wings thinking I had a great shot at the time of capture.

    I plan on using this camera in the 1.2 crop to get 6 fps without grip, most often. I’m hoping the cropped area is actually blacked out, not just outlined with a box. You’re notes above indicate that the OLED is only found in one other camera the, D7100, which leads me to think that perhaps this cropping mode will work similarly, which is disappointing. Maybe I could get used to it. I don’t know.

    Very impressed with the camera as a whole so far, though.

    • June 28, 2014 at 12:59 am

      Thank you for your feedback Chris!

      What you are referring to is only possible with an electronic viewfinder :) An optical viewfinder can only show boundaries as overlays, but it cannot actually zoom in or black it all out completely. So when you shoot in 1.2 crop mode, it will be similar to your experience shooting with the D7100…

      • 6.1.1) Chris Weller
        June 28, 2014 at 1:33 am

        I see. That makes sense. Well hopefully I can get used to it. I’ll want the extra 1 fps. Believe it or not, I feel a really big difference between 5 and 6 fps. Even the 5.5 of my d600 feels noticeably slower than the 6 fps of my d7000.

        I’ll use fx for stationary subjects, but for anything moving fast 6 fps is bare minimum for me (on wildlife). For sports even 6 fps is very often not acceptable. I miss the peak action way too often. Going from my D4 with the 10 bps to 6 fps of my d7000 back-up is like going 85 on the freeway and slowing to 55. Feels like your standing still.

        • Chris Weller
          June 28, 2014 at 2:26 am

          I found this on Ken Rockwell’s site. Seems to indicate that the Dx line does treat the cropped area differently. I’ll have to confirm this when I have my D4 in front of me, but I seem to remember something like what he is saying here. I don’t recall having the same issues with just seeing the box when I cropped 5:4 (which I like to do for portraits sometimes). Somewhat difficult to follow without having the camera in front of me, though.

          From Rockwell site….
          Image Area Selection

          I often use the professional 5:4 aspect ratio, which crops-off “Oskar’s Folly:” the too-wide sides.

          Especially for vertical shots, the classic 5:4 ratio is better for what most of us shoot more of the time than the foolish 24×36 frame invented as a work-around by a guy trying to shoot movie film in a still camera.

          Anyway, most of the time, the finder only indicates the cropped area with lines, like a rangefinder camera, except that the lines are dark.

          Much better is how the D3 does it, which is to make the unused areas dark and fuzzy.

          To get the D810 to do this, set MENU > CUSTOM (pencil) > a5 AF point illumination > OFF, which then lets the outer areas go dark instead of just have a line around them.

          The D810 does this because it makes more sense to illuminated frame lines in the dark, and the D810’s AF area illumination isn’t with individual LEDs as it is in the D3 and D4; the D810 simply uses on LED that lights the entire finder’s LCD overlay.

          • neversink
            October 6, 2014 at 4:35 am

            There you go. Quoting Rockwell. Who I believe is a charlatan as he is the only reviewer to have reviewed the D810 before he had it in his hands and now he is telling you to “use the professional 5:4 aspect ratio, which crops-off “Oskar’s Folly:” the too-wide sides.”
            Chris, There is no best aspect ratio. There is no true rule of thirds. You need to pre visualize and then look at each individual photo and keep or crop as it pleases you the most when you view it. The impact of the image is what is important, how your eye flows across the print and that will determine whether or not your aspect ratio is “professional.”

        • Baf
          July 20, 2014 at 1:41 pm

          Chris, can you help with the Group AF? What is the main real world purpose of this feature? Can you explain it in detail?

    • 6.2) William Jones
      June 28, 2014 at 5:22 am

      On the D800E, if you adjust Autofocus item # 5 (AF Point Illumination) to OFF, then you have a shaded box for 1:2, 5:4 and DX, instead of just the lines. Should be the same in the D810.

      • 6.2.1) Anders
        June 29, 2014 at 6:24 am

        Thanks William, didn’t know it was possible to get the shaded box for crop modes.

      • 6.2.2) Chris Weller
        June 30, 2014 at 4:53 pm

        Yes, thanks for the info!

  7. 7) Michael Thornton
    June 28, 2014 at 2:05 am

    Hi Nasim,
    I quote from your article the following;

    The shutter is only lowered at the very end of the exposure, which obviously does nothing to introduce potential blur.

    And by the way, this mode will also work in Mirror Lock-Up mode, so it is not just limited to Live View!

    Can you please explain how the electronic shutter does not cause shake when it opens in Mirror Lock up mode.


    • June 28, 2014 at 2:12 am

      Michael, simple – you fire up mirror lock up, which raises the mirror. In this mode, you can wait indefinitely to completely eliminate vibration from the raised mirror. Next, you fire the shutter, which then silently starts it. The shutter is lowered at the very end of exposure and you get no shake of any kind!

      • 7.1.1) Michael Thornton
        June 28, 2014 at 2:27 am

        Thanks Nasim,

        That is the method I use with my D800 except I use the 3 sec shutter delay as well as the mirror lock up to prevent any shake due to the shutter opening.
        You are saying that initiating the electronic shutter does not cause any shake, therefore the 3sec delay will not be necessary on this operation.

        Regards and many thanks

        • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov Nasim Mansurov
          June 28, 2014 at 2:36 am

          Michael, I use that method too, but sometimes even 3 seconds of delay does not cut it when working with long lenses. With this electronic front-curtain shutter, you won’t hear the sound of the shutter at the beginning of the exposure at all :) So you can wait indefinitely if you want without being dependent on 1-3 seconds of delay.

  8. 8) Sash
    June 28, 2014 at 3:06 am

    “you will be able to shoot either in 1.2x or DX crop modes at this speed and if you need more speed, you can jump to 7 FPS with the older MB-D12 Battery Grip.”

    7 FPS in crop mode + grip? or the grip can boost to 7 FPS at 1.2/regular no crop, as well?

    Thank you for this awesome article, really simplifies everything !

    • 8.1) Chris Weller
      June 28, 2014 at 1:59 pm

      The only way to get 7 fps is with a grip with the correct batteries in DX mode (1.5 crop).

  9. 9) Pravin
    June 28, 2014 at 3:11 am

    Anyone have info on the bracketing capabilities of the 810? Number of brackets, inter-bracket intervals, etc.

  10. 10) Steve
    June 28, 2014 at 3:56 am

    Hi Nasim

    would be amazing if you could tell me which DX lens is better for an
    ultimative light FX travel kit! The fx zoom lens 14-24 no easy,
    affordable filter solution wonderpana too expensive!, 16-35 too bad
    performing and 18-35 not wide enough are no options!!! The 15 2.8 Zeiss is
    too expensive as well…..

    I am looking for the lightest, widest uww zoom lens with filter thread
    usable/would be used in fx and the 1.2/5:4 crop mode of d810…..still
    round about 22-25 mpx…..

    So only two options are left…..

    Tokina 11-16 2.8
    Nikon Nikkor 10-24 3.5-4.5 G

    Which one is performing better in fx and crop modes and which one is
    wider usable (without any vignetting )? Heard about 15-16 for the tokina
    would be amazing as a 16 2.8 fx prime lesn with filter thread but what
    aboiut the nikon??

    I think it is an interesting topic for a lot of your readers and every
    photographer traveling as light as possible with a ff dslr so maybe
    worth to make an article about (like
    http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/digital-wide-zooms/chart.htm) incl. the
    10-24 nikkor and with the focus on the use of the D800/810`s crop modes
    as well as on FX solely….

    Further I am still very interested about your Final/full review of 35 1.8 fx nikkor in comparison to the sigma 35 1,4 art ;)

    Let me know….thanks in advance!

    Keep shooting ! Take care!
    Amazing to have you and your site!

    Best regards!


    • June 28, 2014 at 4:36 am

      Steve, who said that the 16-35mm is a bad performer? You would be much better off with the 16-35mm, even if you have to crop out some corners, rather than buying a DX lens at half the resolution!

      • 10.1.1) Steve
        June 28, 2014 at 5:21 am

        THX for ultrafast answer!

        Sorry but thats not right and simply not so easy like your answer suggested! Its only 1/3 resolution mp less still 22-24 in 1.2 crop mode d800/d810….

        The tokina 11-16 2.6 dx lens is a true 16 2.8 fx prime w. filter (without filter 14/15mm even, with probably bit of vignetting) thread which doesnt nikon offer in their lens line up sadly so far….

        I just want to know how the nikkor 10-24 performs similar to the tokina or even fully wider usable on fx due to 1mm wider (10 vs. 11 dx native)

        every mm counts and has a huge impact on the fov and everybody wants to travel as light as possible having the most features…..but for landscape photography the use of easy filter threads are a key/essential imo….

        would be nice if you could test this (if you still having a nikon 10-24) when you make the review and try out the crop modes of the d810….so you could easily kill two birds with one stone;)



  11. 11) Tony Padua
    June 28, 2014 at 4:16 am

    Hi Nasim, thanks for doing the research for the Nikon D810. I’m comparing the Nikon to the Sony RX10, so I searched image samples for the Nikon.

    I’m not convinced the Nikon will out shoot the Sony. I know, I know, but the Nikon has a “better” image sensor.

    Then I compared price on amazon: $3,297 for the 810, plus Film Maker’s kit of two prime lenses for $4,997, for a total of $8,294 for the Nikon setup.

    Not too long ago $1,300 for the Sony RX10 was considered too expensive for a point and shoot camera. As a reminder the Sony uses a fixed zoom lens which will shoot 24-200mm at a constant F2.8 aperture throughout the range. The Sony will shoot up to 10 frames per second.

    • June 28, 2014 at 4:52 am

      Tony, comparing a 1″ point and shoot camera to a 36x24mm full frame DSLR is like comparing a motorcycle to a car :)

      I don’t know where you got the misconception about the pricing. The D810 is $3,299, not $8,294. The filmmaker’s set includes the camera and a bunch of lenses and accessories – most people won’t be buying that.

      Lastly, the 10 fps is a marketing gimmick – how long does that fps last? One second? :)

      Apples to oranges my friend!

      • 11.1.1) Tony Padua
        June 28, 2014 at 6:02 am

        Fine, Nasim, out of respect for you as a professional, I will grant you that.

        As a hobbyist weekend photographer, like most of your readers, I maintain that the D810 in the hands of an amateur like myself will not produce better image quality than the Sony RX10, for costs $1,000 less.

        In my humble opinion, as a D3100 owner, believing the D810 will make up for the lack of skill and somehow make you a better photographer is a serious misstep.

        • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov Nasim Mansurov
          June 28, 2014 at 6:16 am

          Tony, and I totally agree – a camera does not make the photographer! It is never about the camera, but the person behind it :)

          For your needs, the Sony RX10 seems to be more than adequate. For someone who shoots professionally, there is a huge difference between a point and shoot and a full frame DSLR. You won’t be able to get the same aesthetically pleasing image as what an f/1.4 portrait lens can do on something like the D810, with an f/2.8 lens on a 1″ sensor… again, just different gear for different needs.

          • Tony Padua
            June 28, 2014 at 5:26 pm

            Nasim, I agree with you when you say: In the hands of more advanced photographers, there are photographs that the 810 can make that are impossible to make with the RX10.

            This is my favorite image sample from a Sony RX10.


            I use this to make my point, that the 810 costs more than twice the Sony RX10 which is just a fancy point and shoot.

            Nikon insists on believing they are the only player in that space.

        • Chris Weller
          June 28, 2014 at 2:13 pm

          Tony, I don’t see where anyone said that the 810 will make up for a lack of skill and somehow make anyone a better photographer. No camera will make anyone a better photographer. However, more advanced photographers can utilize better equipment that a novice may not be able to utilize at that stage in their development. In the hands of a photographer who’s skills are more developed, there are photographs that the 810 can make that are impossible to make with the RX10.

          It wouldn’t matter one bit if I had a selection of the finest paint brushes in the world because I am a terrible painter. But in the hands of a master painter, they would make a big difference.

  12. Profile photo of Marco Epicoco 12) Marco Epicoco
    June 28, 2014 at 4:31 am

    I’d like to understand if the D810 brings any improvements to the performance of the Live View when shooting with low light, like for example at dusk. The LCD sports slightly better technical specs than the one on my D800E, but I’d really be tempted to switch if the actual rendering of the images on the screen would be noise free in those situations where the ambient light is really low, which now makes the overall shooting experience less enjoyable.
    An substantial improvement in the clarity and overall usefulness of the Live View would be a significant plus for anyone shooting landscape photography with filters, etc.
    I’d be happy for the D810 Live View performance to be on par with the one available on the 5DIII.

    • June 28, 2014 at 4:54 am

      Marco, if there is no light, you will always have more noise, since the camera has to bump up ISO in order to sustain moderately good refresh rates. All EVFs suffer from this as well. There is no way to make live view appear crisper when there is no light…

      As for live view performance compared to 5D Mark III, are you saying that the Canon is better?

      • Profile photo of Marco Epicoco 12.1.1) Marco Epicoco
        June 28, 2014 at 6:48 am

        Nasim, many thanks for your reply!

        While it is acceptable to have an increase of noise in the Live View whenever shooting in low light conditions, I would highly desire a better performance of the D810 since I can confirm that the 5DIII’s Live View is far superior when compared to the D800E/800.

        A few months ago, I was in Rocca Calascio (Abruzzo, Italy) shooting at dusk with a few fellow photographers and I basically had to stop using the D800E Live View, since it was way too dark and noisy. I had no other alternative than switching to the viewfinder, which means I could no longer get the benefit of checking the exposure preview in real time. Since I noticed that a friend close to me was keeping using the live view on his 5DIII, I leaned over his camera and I could not literally believe my eyes! His LCD was returning clear and crisp images… the difference between my D800E and his 5DIII was like night and day!
        I still remember his smile… which made me feel the need to quickly point out that it was the ONLY feature I’d wished to have on my D800E ;-)). I was not the only Nikon shooter that day and, of course, I could verify that all of us were experiencing the same problem…

        I’m sure this has been documented on a few websites, few months after the Nikon D800/E were released… I also remember of a comparison video, demonstrating the huge difference in performance of the two cameras live views.

        This is a highly desired improvement that would make the switch to the D810 much more appealing to me! Hopefully Nikon took the effort to adjust this not so ‘brilliant’ feature of the D800…

        • Profile photo of Marco Epicoco Marco Epicoco
          June 28, 2014 at 7:22 am

          As a follow up to my previous post, I would suggest to search on google for the following:

          5d mark III d800 live view low light

          If this has not been fixed in the D810, I will quite certainly not upgrade… :-(

          • Norbert
            June 28, 2014 at 8:48 am

            Yesterday there was a comment on Diglloyd from a reader that the life view magnification interpolation issue has improved. Maybe this holds also for low light situations

            • Norbert
              June 28, 2014 at 8:56 am

              I would like to add, that I use some Zeiss lenses on tripod with live view magnification for manual focus. It really sucks. My old Canon 5D II was way better than the Nikon D800 in this aspect. I understand, this is a question of interpolation which in other Nikon bodies isn’t an issue either. I would buy the Nikon D810 only if the live view has improved substantially.

            • Profile photo of Marco Epicoco Marco Epicoco
              June 28, 2014 at 10:21 am

              I could not reply to your second post, but I just wish to reiterate that I also would switch to the D810 only if the very poor performance of the Live View has been taken of by Nikon… otherwise I’ll most certainly stay with the D800E.

    • 12.2) Egami
      June 29, 2014 at 4:06 pm

      Me too i hope Nikon has fixed this issue in D810, at least to be comparable to MarkIII, i have seen this youtube video comparison you are referring to , yes Nazim it is documented that Mark iii is much better in the regard.

  13. 13) A J
    June 28, 2014 at 5:40 am

    As far as video goes, these improvements won’t stem the flow of people towards Panasonic’s GH4.

    “full HD” – why have HD when you can shoot in 4K at less cost?

    “In addition, there is now a new “Flat” picture control for a low-constrast look that can be later manipulated in post-processing (think of it as RAW for video).” – incorrect. The flat picture style preset is used by many DSLR photographers (and film makers with more expensive equipment). It is not RAW. That is something totally different.

    • June 28, 2014 at 6:19 am

      I never said that the video footage is RAW – I said “think of it” as something like RAW, because the picture control is specifically created for video post-processing.

      • 13.1.1) A J
        June 28, 2014 at 6:45 am

        Thinking of it as RAW is incorrect. Thinking of it as something that gives increased latitude for grading is correct and is usually used inconjunction with information regarding the bitrate that helps grading without break-up of the image. RAW is used for specific effects i.e. HDR in video. While they seem similar, they are not.

  14. 14) Clayton Igarashi
    June 28, 2014 at 6:01 am

    Hi, Nasim! Sorry for this silly question.
    This new battery will work in D800/800E?

    • June 28, 2014 at 6:20 am

      That’s a good question! It probably will, but I am not 100% confident. Might want to check that with Nikon :)

  15. 15) Arnaud
    June 28, 2014 at 6:56 am

    Hi Nasim,
    In section 18), I think “the D810 now has a total of 1,229,000 (same screen as on the D4s)” is not correct.
    D4s screen is described as a 921,000 Dots TFT LCD screen in spec sheet.
    By the way, very interesting post.
    Best Regards,

  16. 16) Dick
    June 28, 2014 at 7:23 am

    Great review Nasim

    I will stay with my ‘outdated’ D800 for now…..following my problems with focus issues on the earliest D7000 model, I knew to wait for the D800 to have bugs worked out. I wanted the E version but for the sale price, picked up the D800.

    I really like the D800 and think the new D810 sounds exciting.

    Great article.

    Cool June in AZ. My water is heater is still on. Usually turn off all summer, water too cold….Brrrr

  17. 17) John
    June 28, 2014 at 7:36 am

    I have the D800E and love the DR and image quality but am not thrilled with the AF. It works adequately but could be better.
    I plan on getting the D810 mainly for the improved AF but am worried that I’ll lose some IQ.
    The D800/e sensor is superb (probably the best DSLR sensor available commercially to date) but I’ll trust the reason it’s being replaced is that the new one is better and just not cheaper to produce.
    If no glass on sensor works better for older lenses will the newer lenses designed for a covered sensor have decreased IQ with a naked sensor?
    Do you think it’s worth while waiting a 2-3 months so that I’m not getting one of the first productions runs and most of the production issues are worked out?
    Thank you!

  18. 18) Robert
    June 28, 2014 at 10:13 am

    Hi Nasim

    i have one question which listed setup would yield to the shallowest depth of field?

    Olympus EM1 + 75 1.8 (ff equiv 150 3.6 fov)
    Fuji XT-1 + 56 1.2 (ff. equiv. 84 1.8 fov)
    Nikon D810 + 85 1.8

    So which factor has the most impact on the dept of field larger sensor, wider aperture or longer focal length (ff equiv. fov)????


  19. 19) Global
    June 28, 2014 at 3:13 pm


    If the D810 performs better with lenses that were not designed for glass between the lens and sensor, then does that imply that it may perform worse with lenses that -were- designed for glass between the lens and sensor?

    I recently read a review of the “speed booster” adapters where they performed poorly if specific thicknesses of glass werent between them and the sensor (being tested in a lab, the testers kept getting poor results, but the president of the speed booster company visited and indicated that they had forgotten the glass — after cutting a piece of glass of sufficient thickness for the specific brand of camera the speed booster had been designed for, the booster performed with excellence in the test.. a large and noticeable difference). The article later pointed out that speed boosters and other such might be improved by designing it per body and that performance would vary by body, due to sensor glass differences even in the same brand.

    I know that we are talking about corrections of light, where a filter has changed the path and a later filter corrected for it, but could not all “G” lenses still have been designed with this glass having meant to be in place? Like the speed boosters, could the absence of glass somehow have a similar negative effect?

    (Sorry, i am not a physicist; love your site btw!)


    • 19.1) Global
      June 28, 2014 at 3:30 pm

      By the way, if you look at their data results — for the Otus — you will see the dramatically Negative effect that the lack of glass had on image quality.


      With 4mm glass added:

      Source: Petapixel with Coastal Optics

    • 19.2) Guest
      June 28, 2014 at 6:29 pm

      What does any of this have to do with photography?

      (Boy, when they come out, they really come out in force, don’t they?)

      • 19.2.1) Global
        June 28, 2014 at 8:54 pm

        Optics and photography as a matter of interest, Guest. On a photography interest site. Not sure how hard that is to understand. And we thank Nasim et al for being around for the conversation. :-)

    • 19.3) William Jones
      June 28, 2014 at 9:26 pm

      In looking at Nikons’ website, the D7100 homepage (Overview) says “Nikon specially designed its 24.1-megapixel DX-format CMOS sensor without using an optical low pass filter (OLPF), resulting in the purest, sharpest images using D7100’s DX-format CMOS sensor.” Does this mean that the D7100 is like the D810, and does not have a OLPF at all?

      On Nikons’ webiste, the D800E homepage says “For the studio or nature photographer who looks for the ultimate sharpness, the D800E removes the “effect” of the optical low pass filter (OLPF) providing increased resolution in images.” We already know that for the D800E the low pass filter is “reversed”.

      Therefore, if the D7100 is without a OLPF, and it works with current glass, then the D810 should not have a problem with current glass.

      Or am I missing something?

      • 19.3.1) Global
        June 29, 2014 at 5:48 am

        Excellent point, if the case. The concept is one of ideals vs practical reality. Practically, it is 100% assured that the new cameras will have equal or better image quality, regardless of design. Ideally, however, one or another design is optimal. In other words, there can be no doubt that the D7100 and D810 work extremely well and will have lovely images, each. What is the (albeit esoteric) question is whether or not there was better image quality to have been had, if only for minor changes. Granted, this is not a practical inquiry and is not meant to cast doubt on the D810, which ive in fact pre-ordered. But it is academic and a question about tolerances and variance in the optical designs of the cameras, given the lenses are fixed for all bodies, but the bodies themselves have various optical formulas, so to speak. Thus — does more or less glass in front of the sensor affect image quality in ways OTHER than the diffusion of light, where removing glass can have simultaneously positive yet also additional negative effects (other than simply moire)?

  20. 20) Miguel
    June 28, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    Good article!
    Just one question. I planned to buy a canon 5d mark iii. My uses: milky way, nature and portrait photography. I’ll make a photobook of Peru archeological things. Now I’m not sure. :d

    Its nikon d810 better for this uses?

    Thamks in advance!

    • 20.1) Anirban Basu
      June 29, 2014 at 1:24 am

      The night photography technique will be improved with d810 as this camera has capability of firing 9999 shots in single exposure. Also this electronic front curtain shutter allow sharper shot in long exposure situation.

    • 20.2) Anirban Basu
      June 29, 2014 at 1:29 am

      The night photography technique will improve with d810 as this camera has capability of firing 9999 shots in single exposure. Also this electronic front curtain shutter allow sharper shot in long exposure situation.

  21. 21) Guy
    June 29, 2014 at 2:47 am

    I don’t suppose you know if the bracketing allows 2 stop increments (instead of just 1?)
    I have been hoping for this for years now… :)

    • 21.1) Sam
      June 29, 2014 at 1:44 pm

      Apparently yes it does! Up to 3 stops increments… I guess Nikon finally realized that 2-3 EV increments make way more sense with those amazing sensors in the D8xx:

      From Nikon’s official D810 specs:
      Exposure bracketing 2 to 9 frames in steps of 1/3, 1/2, 2/3 or 1 EV; 2 to 5 frames in steps of 2 or 3 EV

      • 21.1.1) zkbld
        July 3, 2014 at 6:03 am

        have seen many complains on web in the past about d800 allowing only 1 stop increment bracketing. According to d810 spec i assume 5 frames bracketing with 3 EV step (-6,-3,0,3,6) should be possible. I would really appreciate if somebody having d810 can confirm this.
        Thanks in advance.

  22. 22) Paul Szilard
    June 29, 2014 at 3:55 am

    Hi guys,
    I have a D4 and a Fuji X-T1 kit. I use the D4 for paid work where it’s speed is great. Now my dilemma is, should I swap the D4 for the D810? It is supposed to have the D4 focus engine, so would it be an ok swap? Concerned with the vibration/shutter question and if I am going to regret letting go of the D4!

    Reason to change is that the D4 resolution is the same as my Fuji and their is not sufficient benefit of the D4 over the X-T1 to keep it. The D810 however would provide extra res. Question is, would the D810 be ok for event shooting?

    • 22.1) Global
      June 29, 2014 at 5:59 am

      D810 will have the AF, but now the speed. Assuming you have moving subjects and if you miss any significant umber of shots, such that taking more than 5 pics per second in short bursts is helpful, then no, you should not. The D4 can fire 10-11 frames per second, ensuring you get the shot of a moving subject, the D810 can only do half that, which means that, effectively, you could miss the shot you need. Furthermore, the D4 is tried and tested and true, whereas the D810 is not only slower, but uses some untested technology in the newly designed shutter. Before you downgrade its wise to see how the D810 performs for 6 months following market reviews, not just marketing. If someone is upgrading they can take more of a chance, but this is at best a horizontal, and at worst, a downgrade move for a D4 user. Of course, if you need more megapixels and are unhappy with your larger prints and your subjects are slower moving, then you should pay attention to how the reviews go once it comes out. Its too early to tell right now.

      • 22.1.1) Global
        June 29, 2014 at 6:00 am

        *but “not” the speed.. (i erroneously wrote “but ‘now’ the speed”)

      • 22.1.2) Chris Weller
        June 29, 2014 at 11:04 am

        Interesting post. I don’t often see photographers who would consider replacing a Dx with a 8xx. Perhaps this is the first 8xxx that warrants this type of consideration. I myself will likely now begin using an 810 instead of a D4 or a D7000 for wildlife photography. Main reason is the increased resolution for cropping and secondarily for new Group Af. The speed will be missed,however.

        I’m not sure what type of event photography you shoot but my interpretation of that would mean a fair amount of indoor/poor lighting situations and fleeting moments where having superior low light performance and a larger sampling of shots to find the perfect expression would trump the extra resolution. In fact, I don’t see resolution being an issue at all with event photography. The slightly inferior AF shouldn’t be much of an issue, I would guess.

        Regardless of the ISO ranges, dxo lab etc…I’m still guessing the ISO range of the D4 will be better at native resolution than the D810. Downsampled to 8 mpix (like I believe they do for dxo), might be close, but I don’t think that is always the proper way to analyze iso performance.

        My advice, rent a d810 for a weekend where you have one or two events. I think you’ll know after that.

  23. 23) Photography Martin
    June 29, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    Must say that the electronic front-curtain shutter and the iso 64 are the most interesting aspects. I’m still keeping my d800, though :)

  24. 24) Egami
    June 29, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    Hi Nazim
    i read somewhere that the minimum light level for AF detection offered in D810 is -2EV, is that true ?,that will be same as d800 , right? , do u expect any improvement in focus performance under low light condition, i have experience struggling to catch the focus with D800 in such situation and this is one of the areas where i wish Nikon will improve D810 , Mark1ii performs much better here than d800

  25. 25) Matt
    June 30, 2014 at 1:35 am

    Regarding point #17, is there a new EN-EL15a? Or does the D810 just work smarter with a EN-EL15 to get the 1200 shots? I’ve not seen mention of a new battery elsewhere, including on the Nikon webpage. [If there is a EN-EL15a, it would be nice if it could be used with a D800…]

    • 25.1) Paul
      July 20, 2014 at 3:12 pm

      I noticed this too. The battery that came with my D810 is labeled “EN-EL15”, with “a” postfix. I also looked at the Nikon website and they say the 810 comes with an “EN-EL15” (not “a”).


    • July 20, 2014 at 6:16 pm

      Never mind my previous email. The new EN-EL15 battery IS different. Although mine has no “a” after EN-EL15, it says “Li-ion 20” vs “Li-ion01”, which means that the lithium technology used in the new battery is different. Wattage is the same in these batteries, so the new EN-EL15 CAN be used on the Nikon D800 / D800E :)

      • 25.2.1) John Vargas
        August 22, 2014 at 1:59 pm

        Hi Nasim

        Do you the difference between the MH-25 Charger (D800) and MH-25A Charger (D810); the specs on the back of the chargers appear to be identical? Are new and old EN-El15 batteries compaitble with both chargers?



  26. 26) Ron
    June 30, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    Hi Nasim,


    Thank you for taking the time to research and write about the D810. It is really helpful.

    I am truly excited about this camera! I shoot mostly landscapes and macro, and I shoot a D7000 with the release mode set to remote to use a remote release to lock the mirror up when I am shooting.

    This is what I would plan on doing with the D810. Will the Electronic Front Curtain Shutter still function when the mirror is locked up with a remote in remote mode rather than with the camera set to the Mirror Up mode? I hope so!

    Thank you,


  27. 27) Georges
    June 30, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    I placed my order a few minutes after pre-order was on-line based in improved high ISO 1 stop and sharpness enhancement over the D800 mainly. As it won’t ship before the end of July I still considered canceling the order in case first reviews proved the difference wasn’t worth the price of the upgrade. Your post here just closed the deal for me. The doubling of the buffer is size is, to me, the most appreciated enhancement. That with the improved AF accuracy fixes the only issue I have with the D800 when shooting birds.
    Thanks for your research and for sharing this.

  28. 28) Tomasz
    July 1, 2014 at 1:52 am

    Hi Nassim, thank you for your writing. I would like to ask the same question as John and then followed by Global:

    “If no glass on sensor works better for older lenses will the newer lenses designed for a covered sensor have decreased IQ with a naked sensor?”

    Thank you for your efforts of making us better informed.

    • July 20, 2014 at 6:08 pm

      Tomasz, yes, potentially that could be a problem with some lenses. The difference is too small to really matter for most people, but that will be a part of my investigation for the upcoming review. If I see decreased performance with some lenses, I will report soon.

  29. 29) Jason
    July 7, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    I heard it was made in Thailand, not Japan. Will it matter?
    I have D600 and already sent it to Nikon for two times due to oil spot issue and shutter stuck issue.

    • July 20, 2014 at 6:06 pm

      Nope, it will not matter – QA is the same no matter where it is made.

  30. 30) tom43
    July 8, 2014 at 7:25 am

    Hi Nassim, what is the source of the information, that the D810 sensor is NOT based on the A7R sensor?

    • July 20, 2014 at 6:06 pm

      Tom, the A7R has a base sensitivity of ISO 100, while the Nikon D810 has a base ISO sensitivity of 64. Hence, the sensor is not the same. Noise performance characteristics are also different on both.

      • 30.1.1) David Ahn
        July 21, 2014 at 1:56 pm

        Nasim, could you please do an A7r vs D810 comparison please? I was not compelled to switch from my D800E when the A7r was released, but now that the D810 is out (and you love it!), I was considering trading up. Then I thought, what about the Sony A7r? Now that I’m considering selling my D800E, suddenly EVERYTHING’S up for grabs. Especially since I haven’t bought too many lenses for the D800E so far (just 3 primes and a macro). The most compelling thing is the weight (14 vs 31 oz for the bodies), since I travel a lot. The lack of lenses is a real down side!

        Thank you in advance.


  31. 31) William Jones
    July 20, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    Nasim, slightly off target from this article, however I thought I would mention:

    In reading the manual for the D810, I found a new menu item that I really like: Page 314, Option A12, Autofocus Mode Restrictions. This allows me to make sure that I can only use AF-C, and never accidentally switch to AF-S (since I shoot almost all action photography this is a great option, as I once changed by accident).

    Perhaps an article on such “hidden gems” for this new camera? Get suggestions from other readers of the website.


  32. 32) Paul
    July 22, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    Hi Nasim,
    I have a D4s and have been using a EN-EL18a battery in my D800e grip to achieve commonality of battery between the two cameras and greater battery life for the D800e.
    However, I will be picking up a D810 on Monday to replace the D800e and wondering if I’ll have any advantage in still using the EN-EL18a battery in the grip to increase battery life?
    The new EN-EL15a battery gives approximately 1350 shots, did your testing bear this figure out?
    Looking forward to the Expeed 4 AF unit and hoping it matches my D4s in low light AF.

  33. 33) Baf
    July 24, 2014 at 12:07 am

    Here is shutter noise of 810 vs 800

  34. 34) Anirban Basu
    July 25, 2014 at 2:26 am


    DXO mark has just express their results on D810 sensor. It seems very slight improvement over D800/E. I must confess that i couldn’t understand the result & also merit of the same. How could the same sensor of D800 & D800E got different ISO performance. My best knowledge is if they check the sensor performance itself it shouldn’t affect whether the camera is without AA or with AA filter.
    Now this new D810 is actually perform less than D800E. I couldn’t believe it sorry DXO mark.


  35. 35) ken Toney
    July 25, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    Just received my 810 and it’s awesome, I have the 800 too and it’s a huge improvement.

  36. 36) DanTheMan
    September 29, 2014 at 1:33 am

    Have they fixed the issue where you can only change exposure a maximum of 1 stop in bracketing mode? I use HDR alot, and even the Nikon D600 would
    allow up to 3 stops per shot. Im aware you can take 9 shots with 1 stop increments say, but i would much prefer 3. So default exposure, and then + 2 over, and -2 under which is optimal for HDR, and saves space on my card and having to delete photos every time i want to bracket photos.

  37. 37) Guy
    September 29, 2014 at 1:37 am

    I asked the same question, and someone else posted here, that they have indeed changed this.
    great for HDR!

  38. 38) Marko Posavec
    November 26, 2014 at 11:37 am

    I’m also interested in HDR shooting… Will the camera keep the mirror and shutter locked in place while exposing multiple bracketed shots?
    It would be a revolution for hdr shooting not having the mirror slap up and down all the time! If anyone knows this I would appreciate it :D

  39. 39) Louise
    March 22, 2015 at 7:34 pm

    Great article. I received this camera as a gift and I am still learning how to use some settings since I am a beginner photographer.

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