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Best lenses for the Nikon D810: Exceptionally high sharpness and detail but no advance over D800E

By Kevin Carter - Wednesday October 15 2014

Lens Recommendations
Introduction | Best Primes on the D810 | Best Zooms on the Nikon D810 | Conclusion
Best lenses for the Nikon D810: Exceptionally high sharpness and detail but no advance over D800E

Nikon’s mid-term refresh of the firm’s hugely popular D800 and D800E models resulted in a single model, the D810. Like the D800E it aims to maximize the resolution of the full-frame 36-Mpix CMOS sensor and omits a modified AA filter completely. We’ve analyzed the image quality of over 100 different lenses mounted to the new camera to discover how well this new model performs.

Announced back in 2012 the full-frame 36-Mpix Nikon D800 and D800E version with its essentially zeroed out AA filter could hardly be called outdated but such is the rate of progress, and following the example set early on in the conversion to digital Nikon felt the two models required a refresh. The upgrade is perhaps not unwarranted with Sony using a related 36-Mpix full-frame chip sans AA filter in its highly popular A7R mirrorless model; it’s not too much of a stretch to think Nikon may have felt under pressure to enhance the D800 models.

 

The result is the D810 with the familiar body, the Expeed processor from the D4s with the potential capabilities that brings as well some improved operational features including and the much-anticipated electronic first curtain. The attention-grabbing news though is a new sensor completely devoid of an AA filter. Although it adopts the same pixel count as the previous models, the lack of an AA filter allows the imaging sensor to capture a higher frequency signal and should offer similar or perhaps even slightly better resolving power than that of the D800E.

 

We’ve tested the optical quality of over 100 different lenses on the Nikon D810 to see just how well the sensor performs and if there’s that much difference in the resulting sharpness between it and the tried tested D800E. As always, we’re evaluating the Raw data between the two models, not the in-camera image processing that results in JPEGs and which almost always differs (and usually improves) with every iteration.

Best Primes on the D810

Best Zooms on the Nikon D810

Conclusion