Nikon D810 Hands On Review

Nikon D810 Front View

In an interesting yet expected announcement, digital imaging giants Nikon announced that there will be a successor to the D800/D800E DSLR which raised many eyebrows due to the popularity of those cameras. Called the D810 which indicated this will be more of an upgrade within the same line, the first question to hit many was how do you improve or upgrade something that is already producing top class images?

So intrigued with this new release from Nikon that POPCulture Online decided to get 3 of its photographers, Alex Tan, Ken Koh and Kenneth Wong to spend some time with it over at the Singapore Toys, Game & Comics Convention (STGCC) 2014 to see how the Nikon D810 performs.

The first thing that comes to mind is that, while the overall feel of the Nikon D810 is familiar (this coming from users of both D800 and D800E), there were definitely tweaks done by Nikon to improve how the camera feels in the photographer’s hands. The grip is deeper and thinner which will fit more hands more comfortably and the location of the function buttons to the right, just under the finger tips, is a great move. This combination not only allows for better comfort when shooting long hours but also allows the photographer to make quick setting changes when the situation demands it.

Nikon D810 Top View

The Nikon D810 also feels well built and tat is something professionals will appreciate, especially for those who frequent the photopits and media boxes where things happen so quickly your equipment will definitely need to be able to take a few knocks and still survive for the next assignment.

With a comfortable fit, operating the Nikon D810 is a breeze as we put it through its paces, capturing the sights of STGCC 2014. Even with a huge 36 mega pixel sensor, photos came out nice and sharp thanks to the removal of the optical low-pass filter. The EXPEED 4 processor also means that photographers now have a 5 fps (1 more fps over the D800 series) at their disposal which will come in handy for fast changing situations like stage coverage.

Nikon D810 ISO 51200
Pushing the ISO to 51200 on the Nikon D810

Image quality is also top notch with high grade lens such as the AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED that can bring out the best in the 36 mega pixel sensor. Images come out sharp with most, if not all, the details retained even when zoomed in. ISO sensitivity has also been pushed to 51200 which would give photographers more options especially in extreme low light situations. While we wouldn’t recommend shooting at such crazy high ISO unless needed, the results produced look very decent considering the extreme range.

Nikon D810 STGCC 2014 Stage Autofocus

Those looking to use this camera for shooting subjects that move about quickly like running kids or stage performances will be glad to know the D810 inherits the D4 series autofocus which brings it among the top range in the Nikon DSLR line. Even in low light situations, the autofocus is dead on and rarely do we get an out of focus image. Although it must be said that photographers coming up from the consumer line may want to spend more time learning the autofocus system and its wide array of options before bringing it on assignments.

Nikon D810 Back View

Overall the Nikon D810 is in a class of its own even among the D800 series. While sharing common traits with the D800/800e, it is a clearly a step up. From better ergonomics to a better autofocus system and even better battery life, Nikon has definitely produced a winner with the D810.

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