Nikon Officially Unveils the D810: Touts the ‘Best Image Quality in Nikon History’


There are two ways to look at an incrementally improved DSLR: either the company missed an opportunity to improve something that has fallen behind the industry standard, or they are leaving well enough alone and not ‘fixing it if it ain’t broke,’ so to speak.

Nikon’s replacement for both the D800 and D800E, the D810, falls into that latter category: an incrementally improved DSLR that probably won’t receive too much flack for it.

Of course, by ‘incrementally improved,’ we don’t mean to say there aren’t features worth upgrading for, and D800 owners in particular will be tempted. Nikon is quick to point out that the D810 and its all-new 36.3-megapixel FX CMOS sensor without Optical Low Pass Filter (OLPF) offers the ‘best image quality in Nikon history.’


Beyond the new sensor and the COMPLETE lack of an OLPF (the D800E had one, but the anti-aliasing properties had been ‘canceled’), Nikon also packed the D4s’ powerful EXPEED 4 processor inside the updated camera, making sure that moire is suppressed as much as possible to make up for the missing filter, and pushing the hardware to greater heights.

ISO now runs from an impressively low 64 all the way up to 12,800 (expandable to 32-51,200) with the same noise reduction performance Nikon was boasting about for the D4s. The camera is also said to run 30% faster thanks to the new processor, while simultaneously saving battery.

And speaking of speed, the new processor coupled with the Multi-Cam 3500-FX AF sensor module (15 cross-type points and 51 points total) and some fancy focusing algorithms first seen in the D4s push the burst mode performance up to 5fps at full-res, 6fps at 25.1 megapixels (1.2x mode) and 7fps at 15.4 megapixels (DX mode).


Finally, the last of the notable updates to the much-loved Nikon D800/E duo includes the ability to shoot space-saving 12-bit sRAW (a highly-requested feature that alone might push some people to upgrade), bumping the 3.2-inch LCD screen up to 1229K-dots, and the addition of 1080/60p video capability.

The button layout and ergonomics have also been changed ever-so-slightly to make for a more comfortable experience, but none of those changes are overly dramatic.



For a full rundown of the new features — including lots of fun press speak that calls the D810 everything from ‘the next benchmark in D-SLR image quality’ to ‘the ultimate in versatility and capability’ — head over to Nikon’s Press Room.

The Nikon D810 will become available in late July at a suggested retail price of $3,300, but you can already get your pre-order in today by clicking here.

  • vivanteco


  • ThinkAhead

    Like that they have priced right and not lose money. They really got burn financially of the last version. And offcourse the D600 fiasco.

  • Alessandro Aimonetto

    meh + placement of Photometry slider now is ridicolous (and ISO button is still a joke)

  • OtterMatt

    Do want, as the kids say. Being broke sucks sometimes. :

  • reignoffire

    where is D400 nikon?

  • persona_non_grata

    I think this may have been a bit of a mis-step on Nikon’s part, releasing a fairly vanilla evolutionary update to the D800 when it seems like Canon is going to be revolutionizing the 5DIII with some new sensor tech in the next year.

    Also, what is Nikon doing holding on to their outdated, early-2000s control layout with that requires two hands just to change WB and ISO. By now most cameras have evolved ergonomics beyond that, and you can do most shooting with only one hand. Honestly this makes the camera crippled for shooting in the field. That said if I personally was a studio pro not shooting medium-format then I would go with an A7R, which almost certainly uses the same sensor, for the better compatibility in using a range of different glass.

    I do appreciate that they fixed some of the issues of the D800 by upgrading the autofocus and speeding it up to at least match the current generation of entry level DSLRs.

  • jordeninghamego

    my classmate’s
    mother makes $81 hourly on the internet . She has been out of work for 6
    months but last month her income was $15910 just working on the internet for
    a few hours. see wℴℛks77.ℂℴ­­­ℳ

  • Theo Lubbe

    Oddly enough, my main motivation for even opening this article to read about a camera I’ll never afford was to read about the 12-bit sRAW. I’d love to have the ability to shoot smaller much-smaller raw files on Canon DSLRs, seeing as I’m already significantly invested in the brand.

  • ckoerner

    Thankfully in the last firmware update you can map the red “Record” button to ISO controls.

  • ckoerner

    I read else ware that the sensor in the D810 was new. Are you inferring that what Canon is poised to bring out is even more impressive? Honest question, no sarcasm.

  • arachnophilia

    i’m waiting to read the reviews and such, but…

    on the D4s, sRaw is 11-bit (not 12) and essentially a really poorly compressed TIFF image. it scraps 3/4s or the resolution, bakes in WB and tone curves and gamma, and isn’t actually raw. and i’m going to put this next part on a new line, because it’s the part that really matters in all this:

    sRaw files are BIGGER than full resolution 12-bit lossy compressed actual raws.

    oh, and you get less buffer, too.

  • Theo Lubbe

    In my usage, less buffer would be acceptable, but the other points you raise wouldn’t be.

    I was under the impression, or hoping if you will, that they would be a sensible alternative to using jpegs with painstakingly set-up styles suited to the desired result. Not essentially using bloated jpegs for which one has to set up styles…

    So much for my hopes.

  • Ken Elliott

    I don’t grasp why you are trying to compare a brand new camera with a non-existent model. This model makes slight improvements on the D800 models, which have little that need improvement. We don’t know what the next 5D will be like. And we don’t know what Nikon plans for next year, either.

    BTW – I prefer Nikon’s controls to most. Not a fan of the ISO control, but they’ve got everything else pretty well done.

    The Sony A7R seems to have some image issues, and not up to the level of the D800, much less the D800e or D810. Yes, you can fit more lenses on the Sony. No, you don’t get better image quality. Corners seem to be a real issue for many who use non-Sony lenses on the A7R.

    That being said, Sony is pushing eCams (mirrorless) hard. Nikon is experimenting with the Nikon 1 series, as it lets them try new things without risking DSLR sales. Sony has less to lose, and is a component supplier for eCams. In the long run, eCams will win due to much lower cost, and ability to do things via software. Nikon is not strong here, and I believe they know they better get their FX eCam right, or it will start a mass exodus that will be hard/impossible to recover from. Seeing what happened to Pentax, Minolta, Konica, Bronica, and other camera companies must surely concern everyone at Nikon. They made it through the SLR evolution, AE, AF, digital and FF digital evolutions. I suspect they have something big for us soon. I hope it is a modular eCAM.

  • 4124234


  • 4124234

    the sensor is not new it´s “tweaked”

  • Jeffrey Friedl

    The file-size thing is really surprising, given the number of pixels is a fourth of the actual raw data. Would you happen to have a reference handy that shows some examples? (The other items are also surprising for a format with the “raw” moniker, but, sadly, believable in a marketing world.)

  • Forest Funk

    D810 Expeed 4: 25MP@6fps; 15,4MP@7fps
    D7100 Expeed 3: 24MP@6fps; 15,4MP@7fps

    So, Expeed 4 helps to make it that much faster. Besides that, I’m quite sure, Nikon could make the D7100 film in 1080p60 via firmware update, if they wanted to. They even advertised the D7100 with the ability to make great slow-mo with 60i, called it the DX-flagship. Soon after, the lowest end DSLR in their line up, the 3300 came out with the exact same sensor and this one can shoot 1080p60. That’s fooling your customers.

  • Patrick Downs

    I know. Actually it sucks all the time!

  • willgoring

    Got a D800, and quite happy with it, certainly not worth an upgrade.

  • Jay Scott

    I also prefer their control layout. I understand what people are saying about wanting to be able to do everything one-handed, but for me, with paralyzed hands, their layout is ideal. Of course, I know that’s not ideal for the average person but it’s one of the reasons that I chose Nikon’s design for my uses. The less recessed shutter button design was especially a selling point for me. Coming from a D700 I’m particularly thankful for the locking focus mode switch, which the D800 already had.

    I hope that the new shutter design has no issues because I would not want to be involved in something like the D600 fiasco.

    I’m pretty sure I’ll be an early adopter. Shooting with bargain-basement ND filters last night made me pretty thankful to see that ISO 32. Still would’ve liked to have seen built-in Wi-Fi, no use for GPS on my end but I understand how a lot of people might prefer that built-in versus the overpriced external unit. However, a friend of mine has killed his battery more than a few times by forgetting to turn off his GPS when the camera was not in use. Apparently Canon’s models still drain battery even when the body is switched off if the GPS is enabled. At least, that’s what seemed to cause his battery drain.

  • Gabriel Kaplan

    I have the D800 and I love it. Initially, the camera had some focus issues but I sent it back to Nikon and they did some cleaning for free. The only thing I would have loved them to improve is Video. Staying relevant for me (everyone has different needs) means staying on top of the video performance of other cameras. Because of this, I will hold out for the D900.

  • jarmatic

    Are you trying to coin the term eCam? I read a lot and have seen that term before. Its not accurate at all.

  • ninpou_kobanashi

    Well, I was looking for a D800 backup and was considering the D600/D610. I might get this and use my old D800 as the backup.

  • ninpou_kobanashi

    For people complaining about the S model, it’s entirely consistent with Nikon’s past roadmap history. It also may push folks that were on the fence about getting a D8xx into becoming owners. Nikon just breathed some more life into an awesome camera model line.

  • Nate

    Do I see Peeeee mode?!

  • Ken Elliott

    I’m lazy. It’s easier to type eCam than mirrorless.

    It is a long-standing tradition to name a camera form factor by it’s format and viewfinder. As in 4×5 rangefinder, 6×6 twin lens reflex, 6×6 single lens reflex, 35mm rangefinder, 35mm single lens reflex. Along comes digital and now it’s a Digital Single Lens Reflex (dSLR). All of these conventions reflect the viewfinder that design uses – because it was a huge issue back in the day.

    So what does “mirrorless” really mean? Is a Leica M mirrorless? Fujifilm X-Pro1? My Sinar 4×5 studio camera has no mirror, but it would be confusing to call it mirrorless.

    A couple of years ago, there was a move to call mirrorless cameras “Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens” (EVIL) but the acronym isn’t something vendors want to use. So I shortened EVIL Camera to eCam. That’s all.

    So how is this “not accurate at all” when the viewfinder and medium are both electronic?

  • Goldengirl Layla

    Wow, I have totally drenched my keyboard with saliva!

  • Goldengirl Layla

    Being responsible sucks too!
    I take picture almost everyday. And certainly think about it …., dam I got old!
    I could buy it with the trinity, my wife would know only by my glee, but my skill or purpose doesn’t warrant such an expense.
    My extravagant at the time, humbled by time, D7000 is more than capable of producing photographic art. Even with the handful of D-glass primes I employ.

  • ninpou_kobanashi

    As a current D800 owner, I totally would use these new features:

    No OLPF, since I do not have an E
    Lower Base ISO
    1080 60p
    Flat Picture Control
    Group Area AF
    Highlight Weighted Metering
    Better Power Usage
    Redesigned Sequencer for IS
    Simultaneous Recording
    Interval Timer – Exposure Smoothing

    Need to read more about:
    Electronic Front-curtain Shutter

    I think most people only look at MP and FPS these days. I’m drooling already. Just need to decide if I want to bleed on the edge or wait a few months.

  • Goldengirl Layla

    “all new” is Nikon’s claim. What constitutes a “new” sensor?
    64 ISO capable does it for me.

  • Goldengirl Layla

    What do you want in a D400?
    Where does a D400 fit in Nikon’s lineup?
    I think the answer is Nikon decided to issue the Df instead.
    It doesn’t appear the Df has gotten much “unpaid” attention. The “retro” group may just opt for the Sony Alpha 7 lineup.
    I guess the D400 is our generation’s retro group?

    I don’t see room in the market for a D400. The D300 was swamped by the D7000. We have the D7100.

  • David Liang

    You make an interesting point.

  • MikeT

    Bought a D800e as a backup to my D3S and love them both. Once they have 4k video on the D800 I’ll switch one out.

  • wilmark johnatty

    You must mean the “best nikon” dslr without a built in oil reservoir. Sorry Nikon, but you are too much trouble in case with this prettiness and extra features needs your attention (recalls, service etc). Dont tarnish the word “Best” – when your after sales service sucks.

  • Brendan

    There is a rumour going around that Canon are testing a fovean type sensor, so a bit more significant than a slight ISO improvement if true.

  • ninpou_kobanashi

    “Note on Availability: Due to high demand we anticipate being unable to fulfill all customer orders with our first allocation. Product supply from Nikon is very limited. Your place in line will be maintained, and we will not charge your credit card until we ship the product.”

    Looks like maybe I’ll wait (^_^)

  • ninpou_kobanashi

    Canon much?

  • Abel Perez Arita

    Do other Nikon cameras have I SO buttons on top? Best image quality or not, but I dont think I would enjoy that very much.

  • Gloria Perez

    my classmate’s
    step-sister makes $69 /hr on the computer . She has been fired for ten months
    but last month her paycheck was $20765 just working on the computer for a few
    hours. Look At This

  • arachnophilia

    yesterday’s reply seems be stuck in the spam filter, because it included a link to a reference. but if you go to the rawdigger site, click over to articles, the first one at the moment is about sRaw on the D4s. all of the information can be found there, including samples.

  • willgoring

    Probably a good move. I’m still using a D700 as backup. TBH there’s not that much difference in quality using the same lenses.

  • jarmatic

    Now that you explain it, it barely makes sense. You really believe the term “mirrorless” means anything but a digital camera without a mirror? Your invented phrase “eCam” will initially make people think “electronic camera” which is so vague it becomes inaccurate.

  • Ken Elliott

    Electronic Camera is exactly what it is. Electronic viewfinder, and electronic image capture. Sorry, but I fail to grasp why this is vague. My Sinar 4×5 is mirrorless, as is my point-and-shoot. Perhaps you could explain why “mirrorless” is more accurate?

    Why define a camera by a device it does NOT have?

  • Kurt Langer

    D7100 is an awesome camera.

  • jarmatic

    Every camera that takes a battery is an electronic camera. Your title is too vague. I’m not sure what’s so difficult to understand. Your 4×5 already has a name that sets it apart from other cameras. It won’t be confused. It is clearly removed the running. Mirrorless is more accurate because that is what everyone now knows and understands to be a digital camera that is not a DSLR and is not a point-and-shoot and that usually has interchangeable lenses. That word is now in the photographic lexicon and is common terminology. Trying to make a new, very vague term that is also just as likely as being picked up by vendors as EVIL” at this point, is just ridiculous. My apologies for the run on sentences. I’m just too lazy to make perfect sentences.

  • Jeffrey Friedl

    Thanks for the reference. It’s pretty boggling that 1/4th the pixels doesn’t result in a much smaller file, as if the small-raw format is not compressed or something. Bewildering.

  • arachnophilia

    it’s not that mind boggling when you realize that the bayer mosaic is already very effective compression. raw data is one 14 bit value per pixel, and each pixel is either is either R, G, or B. if you’re going to toss away 3/4 of the pixels, you have demosaic it, which means each pixel gets 3x the information.

  • Steve Griffin

    Have the fixed the lousy Amp Glow that the D800E suffered from?