Nikon has officially announced the newest addition to their lineup of DSLR cameras, the D810A, designed specifically for astrophotography. The camera appears to be a modified version of the D810 camera announced last June, but with a few new features that are designed with astrophotography in mind. Soon to be the only camera of its kind on the market, the D810A will likely be the camera king of astrophotography.
The camera’s defining feature is its new optical filter designed to enhance hydrogen alpha (H-alpha) wavelength sensitivity to four times that of the D810. The H-alpha wavelength is a deep-red visible spectral line emitted by gaseous hydrogen found in nebulae. Enhancing sensitivity to this wavelength will enable astrophotographers to more vividly capture the reds produced in nebulae and galaxies in their photos. Whereas standard DSLRs suppress this wavelength of light to optimally reproduce colors in typical portrait and landscape photography, the D810A contains what is known as an IR-cut filter for enhanced H-alpha transmission.
While the camera would likely fair well in the majority of situations, Nikon advises against using the D810A for general photography, citing a possible unusually red cast to photos when shooting under light sources with a significant amount of near-infrared wavelengths, or capturing common subjects exhibiting high reflectance at near-infrared wavelengths.
An additional new feature brought to the D810A is the extension of the maximum exposure time in a new special manual (M*) mode. This new mode allows for shutter speeds as long as 900 seconds (15 minutes) and support an unlimited number of shots with continuous shooting, unlike the traditional manual (M) mode’s 100-shot limit for continuous shooting of long exposures. This mode will make creating star trail composite images far more convenient.
Nikon has not yet released pricing for the new camera, so any pricing at this point is speculative. However, it can be expected that the price will exceed that of the D810.
Update: The D810A is available for pre-order for $3,796.95 and is expected to ship out May 28th, 2015.