Nikon Announces the Nikon D810

Another famous late-night announcement brings us news of the long-awaited successor to the camera that brought medium-format resolutions to the masses. With its all-glorious 36 megapixels, improved low-light performance, and a new processing engine, the Nikon D810 is finally here... Update: Pre-orders are open at B&H.

A new processing engine (combined with a few other possible internal changes) increases ISO performance by one stop. The low-sensitivity end of the D810's ISO also gained some latitude as it drops to ISO 64 natively (ISO 32, expanded). That, along with the now-permanent removal of an anti-aliasing filter (aka AA or optical low-pass filter) should bring unprecedented quality to the full-frame DSLR segment yet again. Meanwhile, the price will probably follow suit with the silly CF/SD card slot combination as it should stay around the same price (with a possible slight bump) as the D800E when it was introduced at $3300. Update: Price is confirmed at $3299.95. Update 2: Pre-orders are live! Pre-order the D800 now for $3296.95 at B&H.

In addition to the body-only kit, Nikon has put the D810 together with three lenses, the Ninja 2 external video recorder, 2 extra batteries, an ME-1 microphone, a Nikon HDMI cable, and some Tiffen variable neutral density filters for $4996.95, which will save over $800 on the individual purchase price of everything in the kit.

nikon d810 1

Nikon D810 Specifications:
- Price: $3299.95
- ALL-NEW 36.3 megapixel, full-frame sensor (not just the same one, but tweaked)
- No optical low-pass filter (no AA filter like the D800E)
- 64-12800 ISO (expandable to 32-51,600)
- 5fps full-frame, 7fps in DX mode (using an APS-C crop of the sensor)
- Expeed 4 image processing engine
- Improved AF including Group Area AF mode from D4s
- 1080p video, up to 60p (too bad, no 4k -- really)
- New kevlar/carbon fiber composite shutter that reduces lag and shutter noise (more in line with the D4 shutter)
- 3.2" LCD display 1,992K dots with new split-screen mode with color-balancing settings
- "Approximately" 100% viewfinder coverage (OLED elements in the in-viewfinder display)
- Improved grip and "optimal layout of operations controls"
- Metering button moved to main control dial
- Standard 1/8000-30s shutter speed
- Electronic front curtain shutter to reduce vibrations pertinent for sensors with so many pixels
- Added "Flat" Picture Control setting for capturing as much highlight information as possible with the intention of editing for greater dynamic range and color depth in post (more flat than "Neutral")
- Raw "Small" shooting

Nikon also has the D810 "microsite" page for the D810 ready here. NikonUSA link here.

Full press release after the videos, or head over to the original link here.

Nikon D810 Announcement

June 26, 2014

An effective pixel count of 36.3-million pixels for the sharpest, best image quality in Nikon history

TOKYO - Nikon Corporation is pleased to announce the release of the D810, a Nikon FX-format digital SLR camera.

The D810 is a digital SLR camera that boasts incredibly superior definition and image quality made possible with a new Nikon FX-format CMOS sensor with no optical low-pass filter, adoption of the latest EXPEED 4 image-processing engine, an effective pixel count of 36.3-million pixels, and a standard range of sensitivities from ISO 64 to ISO 12800. Not only does it offer extremely accurate AF, but vibrations generated inside the camera have been reduced to maximize the resolution of its 36.3-million pixels for sharp and clear images. The camera also supports recording of smooth, extremely sharp 60p full-HD (1920 x 1080) movies. What's more, high-speed continuous shooting at up to 5 fps with the FX-format image area and up to 7 fps* with the DX-format image area is possible for excellent response to a wide variety of scenes.

*When powered by the AC Adapter EH-5b or the Multi-Power Battery Pack MB-D12 with batteries other than the Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL15.

D810 Development Background

The D800 and D800E, added to Nikon's lineup of Nikon FX-format cameras in March 2012, drew great attention from professional and advanced amateur photographers as digital SLR cameras offering superior image quality nearly equal to that of medium-format cameras. The performance of these two cameras was well received around the world, earning them a number of prestigious awards, including a respected Technical Image Press Association (TIPA) Award 2012 and a European Imaging and Sound Association (EISA) Photo Award presented to the D800. Developed with this background, the D810 offers the best image quality in the history of Nikon, as well as functions that increase the certainty and reliability of this superior image quality, to respond to the expectations of photographers who demand superior clarity, sharpness, and image quality from their photos.

D810 Primary Features

The first digital SLR camera in Nikon's history to offer a minimum standard sensitivity of ISO 64 at which superior clarity and image quality with rich tones is achieved

A minimum standard sensitivity of ISO 64, at which the same broad dynamic range available with ISO 100 is possible, was achieved through the adoption of a new FX-format CMOS sensor and by increasing the volume of light information that can be accumulated. This enables suppression of loss of detail in highlights (blown highlights) and beautiful rendering of subjects with rich tones, even when a fast lens is used in bright surroundings. In addition, collaboration with the same EXPEED 4 image-processing engine adopted for the D4S achieves a broad range of standard sensitivities up to ISO 12800 (Lo 1, Hi 1, and Hi 2 settings are also available).

Further increases in imaging flexibility: The Picture Control system, Nikon's exclusive advanced system for image processing

A new "Flat" Picture Control option has been added with the D810. Less in-camera processing is applied to images captured at a Picture Control setting of "Flat" than to those captured at a setting of "Neutral", enabling maximization of the amount of subject information acquired. The "Flat" setting prevents loss of detail in highlights and shadows, as well as over-saturation of colors, enabling adjustment of image quality and post-processing for richer tone characteristics, including contrast and colors. In addition, a "Clarity"*1 option has been added to adjustment settings for each Picture Control, allowing users to make images sharper or softer without over-emphasizing outlines and edges in images, and each setting can be adjusted in increments of 0.25 step*2, enabling more precise adjustment that makes it easier to achieve imaging that better reflects user intent.

*1Can be applied only to still images.
*2Does not apply to Quick Adjust.

Extremely precise AF and superior vibration suppression that maximize the resolution of the 36.3-million-pixel effective pixel count

In order to make the most of the incredibly high pixel count of 36.3-million effective pixels, the precision of the 51-point AF system has been increased with adoption of the Advanced Multi-CAM 3500FX autofocus sensor module and improvements to the focusing algorithm, ensuring exact autofocus acquisition on the intended portion of a still subject. In addition, mechanical operation of components such as the mirror and shutter has been improved for significant reduction in the amount of internal vibration generated. The end result is a system capable of maximizing the superior rendering performance of NIKKOR lenses and the superior definition of the D810's CMOS sensor.

High-speed continuous shooting at approximately 5 fps in FX format and approximately 7 fps* in DX format makes capture of a broader range of subjects possible

Adoption of a new CMOS sensor and the EXPEED 4 image-processing engine makes high-speed continuous shooting at approximately 5 fps in FX format and approximately 7 fps* in DX format possible with the D810. This makes capture of a broader range of subjects/scenes possible with excellent response with not only still subjects, but also moving subjects such as wildlife and sports scenes.

*When powered by the AC Adapter EH-5b or the Multi-Power Battery Pack MB-D12 with batteries other than the Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL15.

Full-HD movie recording with which picture quality and operation has been significantly improved

The full-HD movie recording function, capable of recording extremely sharp and clear movies exhibiting significantly fewer moiré patterns and jaggies, and less color aliasing, supports 60p recording for smoother expression of subject movement. In addition, operation has been improved with Auto ISO Sensitivity Control in M exposure mode, enabling exposure control with aperture value and shutter speed locked and automatic adjustment of only ISO sensitivity, as well as a highlight display that shows the brightest areas of the frame in which detail may be lost with display of slanted lines. Beautiful time-lapse movies with which variations in exposure between frames are controlled can also be generated in-camera.

D810 Additional Features

- An electronic front-curtain shutter that prevents blur in images with minimization of vibration resulting from the operation of mechanisms with shooting
- Highlight-weighted metering, with which exposure values that reduce loss of detail in highlights (blown highlights) are determined, convenient for capturing theater scenes and the like
- The first Nikon FX-format camera with an OLED viewfinder display; an optical viewfinder with frame coverage of approximately 100% that offers better light transmissivity and colors, and makes it easier to achieve the optimal focus when fast lenses are used
- A 1229k-dot LCD monitor with bright RGBW array equipped with the "Monitor color balance" function that allows users to adjust monitor colors
- A "Split-screen display zoom" function that displays enlarged views of two separate areas of the frame side-by-side for checking level if the building is aligned with the horizon with live view photography
- Advanced Scene Recognition System, which utilizes a 91K-pixel RGB sensor, for highly precise automatic control over auto exposure (AE), autofocus (AF), and auto white balance (AWB)
- RAW recording at an image size of "Small"
- Multi-area mode full-HD D-movie that allows users to choose between two movie formats (image areas), FX-based and DX-based
- Improved movie sound quality with "Wind noise reduction" and "Frequency response" ("Wide range"/"Vocal range") settings
- Optimal layout of operational controls, and a grip sized and shaped for a firm, steady hold even when large lenses are used
- Effective sealing for superior resistance to dust and water

*Except where noted, all specifications provided apply to use at an ambient temperature of 23° C (± 3° C) with a fully charged battery, in accordance with Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA) standards.

For more information

The information is current as of the date of publication. It is subject to change without notice.

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66 Comments

Noam Galai's picture

I guess the major change is the ability to shoot in small-raw. And 1 additional frame per second (5 instead of almost 4). If you ask me, I would expect to see some more groundbreaking features... but... maybe it's only me

I was expecting more too. Perhaps it's the GH4 and the A7 series which really rattled everyone.

Adam Ottke's picture

I think a lot of people were. The thing to remember is this isn't and I don't think was ever meant to be a "D900." it's an incremental boost to bring the D800 up to the second half of the decade -- and in that respect, it does it. It's just not the newest killer that no one expected and is always hoping for every year, despite the knowledge of the reality of these product cycles.

It's just like the D4 and D4s: a reason to buy the new one if you have the old? No. A reason to buy now if you've been holding out? Absolutely.

Right. I'd get it in a heartbeat if it will be around $2k.
With the other options out there now I just can't justify going above $3k anymore for stills, unless it's for monster speed like a D4s/1Dx/equivalent.

yeah - like a smaller body option and the option to choose a smaller sensor ... but that would be waaaaay too "groundbreaking"!!

I heard that when you shoot sRAW you loose dynamic range and some other data, so it does not make sense. Ok, if you shoot events, wedding etc. where you need to deliver 1000 photos it maybe ok, but I dont understand why someone shoot events with a 36MP camera? D800 is the best in studio shooting portraits, commercial, fashion and low ISO, no need to dive into medium format comparison now but I have images that I bet very few can differentiate with a medium format. There is no way I would use sRAW.

I think the only good update is 50/60fps at 1080p I wish I had it in D800 to shoot sharper slowmotion

I am glad i didn't wait for this. With the size of Sony a7r, things have changed. Nikon, stays... the same.

It would be nice if they made the "small raw" option available to current D800 users via a firmware update. I recently picked up a brand new, in the box D700 with 18 shutter actuations for $1,100, and added the MB-D10. I actually prefer its ergonomics over the D800 and MB-D12 that I have been using over the past two years. It's new, if it's new to me lol.

Michael Brinkerhoff's picture

Unlikely. Nikon rarely supports discontinued products. Its not that I wouldnt like the idea, because I have a D700 and I love it. The very last firmware update which came as a shock to everyone brought new life back into the camera.

Its a shame we don't have a "magic lantern" community for Nikon cameras.

I love my Panasonic GH4, I had switched from the d5100 and d3200 to this rather than going full frame or choosing the d7100. This update, the camera, for this price.... really not fair to the consumer. Come on NIKON!!! IMPRESS US!!!!!

Congratulations on your purchase!

Christopher Nolan's picture

The GH4 is not the same type of cameras that the D800(e)/D810 are, ... not even close. The GH4 is for someone interested in focusing on video, and stills. The D800 series is a camera meant to be in the studio with lots of light, .... very different. The D800 series offers a quality that is seen in no other DSLR at all, nothing comes close. Now, being a person that owns a D800, and someone who is also considering picking up a GH4 (purely for video only), I can saw i most likely will not upgrade, as the D800 is fantastic. Although I see features i would want, the new processing engine, the added stop, particularly the ISO64, . . . . I guess that is about it.
In terms f the price for this camera, the amount of money I have made with the D800, it is nothing, because in the end, when the D900, or D910 comes out, I will replace it, . . . . heck, it is only $3500, that is 1 or 2 commercial jobs on the weekend, . . . PAID FOR!
I never understand why people get so angry when they come out with upgrades, people did the same thing with the D4s, heck, people complained about the D4 over the D3s, . . . i love the D4, and D4s, there are very noticeable differences, but still both great cameras.
I use all 3 of my bodies a lot, and love them!

Noam Galai's picture

Features I wanted to see:
- better ISO (the improvement is kind of minor and we all know they have the ability to give us more).
- voice recording on images (like the D3/D3S/D4/D4S)
- better rubber that wont come off after a year
- Even faster FPS (6 could be awesome for a camera like this one).
- something useful like built-in wifi.
- Mode button like in the D7000 where you can set different settings and toggle easily.

Adam Ottke's picture

It will do 6fps in DX at about 15 megapixels, I believe. At least that's something. But yeah, that would be better. And anyone that shoots sports/news assignments would kill for audio recording like the flagship series...it's one silly button -- do it already! I left my D800 for a D4 partially for this alone...

I don't think they'll ever increase ISO by more than one stop in a single step up. Never say never...but really. Twice the light sensitivity is a lot to do already every couple years... We'll see...

Historically, these are more of a model "refresh" releases. Like a refreshed Camry, sporting chrome fenders, adaptive cruise control and blind spot warning system. Same old engine, chassis and drivetrain. I'm sure the D900 will sport a much fancier feature list.

Still no option for a smaller sensor in a professional body w/o battery grip of a D4 (i.e. D710)
Still no wheel that allows you to flick through images, focal points, and settings quickly like Canon bodies
Still no professional smaller body full frame DSLR (except the Df whose handling is flawed due to "retro look), that could compete with the mirror less threat from Sony

Great going Nikon.

The only good decision is to NOT include 4K video recording - that would simply be idiotic - but I'm sure it'll come in the next updates, as amateurs think 4K will improve their video recording skills...

I don't think anyone was ever expecting Nikon to add a wheel on their camera, I'm pretty sure Canon would attempt to sue Nikon if they did.

I'm personally looking forward to seeing samples of photos shot in SRAW (9MP) on this to see what what noise is reduced and what dynamic range is lost compared to a full size RAW, if noise is well controlled and minimal dynamic range is lost then this could be an amazing camera for low light/event shooters.

Michael Brinkerhoff's picture

I agree. I miss the wheel from my time in the Canon camp, but the rear dial does the same job, albeit not as quickly.

I am very interested as well. My work thrives in the very conditions you describe. Looking forward to the reviews.

Ha! I didn't even think of that - you're right nowadays companies sue each other for re-inventing wheels :)

I understand what Nikon is saying with sRaw - but to me that's just a quick fix, not a true replacement of a smaller sensor. That said it may be good enough for your needs. Personally, I know my weaknesses and I will probably have the sRAW setting on when I need full RAW and full RAW on when I need sRAW. I'd rather have a dedicated workhorse like the 5D. If Nikon can built a 24 MP into a DX body, surely they could do the same with an FX-body. There's not even the need for development - just spit it out as an option! Why not have both a D710 with 22/24 MP and a D810 with the 36MP…

Is the screen still green-yellow? :D

Adam Ottke's picture

Even if, you can now adjust it -- white balance and all. That's a solution whose end result is better than if the problem weren't even there, in my opinion... We'll have to see, but maybe you can actually get this screen close to your monitor/print -- not that it'd matter much...don't we all do SOMETHING in post?

Sure we do something in post, but D800's screen is total crap. Nothing you see there is close to reality :D I hope they've changed it with a better one.

I read at DPR that the D810 also includes full manual control over video. Wow! What will Nikon think of next?

Nikon is certainly late to the video game, but they've at least added all the right tools. Not sure if the Canons have focus peaking, but little things like that add up. The video package isn't a bad starter kit either, if you're just getting into it. Well, OK, the mic is comical...

still no 4k :( why zebra and no peaking? i think that nikon needs to look at what others are offering ... they are waaaaaaay behind the competition WAKE UP NIKON!!!

Michael Brinkerhoff's picture

Focus peaking is a listed feature.

I am not sure it is worth to update ... all they do is trying to sell us new cameras every 2-3 years. The only things I am excited about are 50/60fps at 1080p to get sharper video while making slow motion and maybe this new shutter.

By the way I am already happy with the existing AA filter, with D800 I already have enough sharp images and enough problem with moire (some moire you cannot remove by lightrooms moire brush!!!)

Fritz John Asuro's picture

Honestly, I like what I see with the features of the D810 and most likely to get one. Until now I am using D700 and never look up for D800/e as an upgrade due to it's specifications, I wasn't satisfied. I am looking for a D4s specs but in a D800 body, unfortunately Nikon didn't want to go for a product like it.

With the D810, features like sRaw, wider ISO range, and new sensor - I AM | BUYING THIS CAMERA

Michael Brinkerhoff's picture

Other than it having a ridiculous amount of megapixels in this camera (and file sizes), it finally feels like the worthy upgrade to the D700.

Fritz John Asuro's picture

Yes indeed. Well with the sRaw, it gives users the option to cut down the file size. And 36MP is not that bad especially when you crop, shoot commercially for big prints, and detailed photographs

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