Friday, 27 June 2014

Nikon D810 DSLR Promises Finer Detail in Stills and Video

Nikon has focused on bringing better image quality and improved video capabilities to its latest pro-level DSLR, the D810. Selling for $3300 in July, the full-frame camera is the successor to the D800 and D800E models (though Nikon will continue selling those models, as well). 

Among the D810’s updates is a newly designed 36.3-megapixel, full-frame CMOS sensor. As with other model updates (such as the D5300), Nikon has done away with the optical low pass filter (OLPF), which slightly softens images to avoid a few problems with a too-crisp photo, such as the appearance of wavy patterns known as moiré. Nikon has found it can eliminate this feature to get sharper images without defects like moiré.

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Equipped with Nikon’s latest image processor, the Expeed 4, the D810 promises a 30 percent increase in performance. This shows up most clearly in higher continuous shooting speed. Despite the challenge of cranking out 36-megapixel images, the D810 is capable of shooting up to 5 frames per second in full resolution. Its native light sensitivity begins at ISO 64, which should be free of any noise (graininess), and goes to a high of 12,800 for low-light shooting. Users can also extend the ISO range down to 32 for taming very bright light and up to 51,200 — for both still and video shooting. 

Other features of note include the ability to adjust the Clarity of the various Picture Control options for improved midtone details. A new Flat Picture Control Profile will allow photographers to pull out more details and dynamic range when processing images in software such as Photoshop.

The incorporation of the Nikon D4S’s group AF technology should improve autofocus performance. With group AF, the user selects a single focus point and the camera activates four others — one above, one below and one to each side — for faster and smoother focusing. 

The D810 ups the full HD (1920 x 1080p) video frame rate to 60 fps (aka 60p), in addition to the 30p and more cinematic 24p that the earlier cameras support. Additional video updates include a built-in stereo microphone and the ability to output uncompressed video via HDMI while also recording H.264 files to the memory card. ISO auto and smoother exposure changes will help both regular and timelapse video quality by avoiding sudden and extreme shifts when lighting changes dramatically.

Physically, the camera remains pretty much the same but with a slightly slimmer grip and a higher resolution, 2560 x 1920 RGBW LCD. A few buttons have been changed but Nikon shooters will still feel at home when picking up the D810.

Writer and photographer Theano Nikitas has been covering photography for almost 20 years and has reviewed hundreds of digital cameras as well as other digital imaging hardware and software. Follow her @TheanoN and on Google+. Follow us @TomsGuide, on Facebook and on Google+.

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