Looks like the Internet is already buzzing with some information from the upcoming release of the Nikon D810 tonight. According to our friends at Nikon Rumors, a UK website “Expertreviews” published information on the Nikon D810 pre-maturely, along with some photos of the camera. Although we’ve made the decision to stay away from the rumor talks (we’ll leave it all to rumor sites), I decided to post this information, because it is verified and we know that the D810 is coming tonight.
It has been over two years since the Nikon D800 and D800E cameras were announced, so a refresh of the D800 line was expected sometime this year. Although Nikon is not doing anything revolutionary this time, some of the updates and changes to the D810 when compared to the D800/D800E are pretty attractive. First of all, the sensor has been replaced with a different, more advanced unit with no optical low pass filter (OLPF). This means that both the Nikon D800 and D800E are being merged into a single camera, the D810. Despite the fact that the resolution remains the same at 36.3 MP, the base ISO of the sensor has been lowered to ISO 64, with boost level going down to ISO 32! This is a significant change, because the lower ISO value most likely translates to much higher dynamic range. As you know, the Nikon D800/D800E have been dominating in dynamic range when compared to other cameras for a while now and it looks like the Nikon D810 will take that spot from now on. High ISO range has been expanded by one stop to ISO 51,200, which probably means that we should see some improvements in noise performance. I don’t expect to see much difference at low ISO values, but there should be visible differences at ISO 1600 and above. And with the integrated sRAW format support, you will be able to make images at 3680×2456 resolution, which is equivalent to 9 MP of very clean, noise-free images, even at very high ISO levels!
The processor is also being upgraded to EXPEED 4, which translates to faster throughput and better autofocus performance. Speaking of which, the D810 will feature the same autofocus system as the Nikon D4s, with Group Area AF mode. In terms of speed, the D810 will shoot at 5 fps in full resolution (compared to 4 fps on the D800/D810), 6 fps in DX mode and 7 fps in DX mode with the MB-D12 battery pack. Yes, the old MB-D12 battery pack will work with the D810! Another really interesting feature is the new redesigned shutter with new kevlar/carbon fibre-composite unit which supposedly reduces shutter lag and results in quieter operation. A quieter shutter is certainly welcome, but I wonder if Nikon actually dampened the mirror mechanism, since the mirror slap is typically the loudest. Another hugely important for me personally is the addition of electronic front-curtain shutter capability, which completely eliminates shutter vibration before the exposure starts – something that will be a must-have for testing lenses in my lab! I struggle with this one quite a bit and although I do rely on the Exposure Delay mode all the time, sometimes even 3 second delays are not enough for testing super telephoto lenses. The way this would work, is that you would basically launch Live View, then press the shutter release (or use a remote) and the exposure will start silently. At the end of exposure, the shutter curtain closes and ends the exposure, eliminating shutter vibration completely.
The LCD screen is the same size, but its resolution has been bumped up to 1,299K dots from 921K. Supposedly there is a new “split-screen mode”, but I don’t know what that actually means yet. Unfortunately, there is no 4K support for recording video, but Nikon did push Full HD recording up to 60p.
Lastly, the ergonomics of the camera went through some changes – the metering switch that used to be below the AE-L/AF-L button has been moved to the top left dial, while the bracketing function has been moved to the front of the camera, similar to what we see on other Nikon DSRLs like D610/D7100. The grip is also said to be slightly improved for more comfort.
As for price, the Nikon D810 will be released at $3,299 in the US (same price as the Nikon D800E) and £2,700 in the UK.
What do you guys think? Is this the upgrade you have been waiting for? Stay tuned for a detailed announcement tonight!