Best lenses for the Nikon D810: Exceptionally high sharpness and detail but no advance over D800EBy Kevin Carter - Wednesday October 15 2014 Lens Recommendations
Best Primes on the D810
With the introduction of the Otus 85mm f1.4 (1,4/85 in Zeiss nomenclature) it will come as little surprise to learn that the best three lenses on the D810 come from Zeiss; unfortunately for the Nikon faithful, there are no Nikkors in the top three positions in our rankings.
Despite the absence of an AA filter, the Nikon D810 doesn’t outperform the earlier Nikon D800E. In some cases, notably with the Otus models, the D810 achieves a slightly lower overall DxOMark score, although the difference of 1-point (or less, as the scores are rounded) is in fact negligible.
However, you’re not likely to choose one over the other based on performance; you either like the focal length (field of view) or not. Despite that it’s worth noting that the 85mm Otus isn’t as sharp as the 55mm Otus or even the Apo Sonnar 135mm at their respective initial apertures – though that is often regarded as a plus for a lens intended for portraiture.
That may even count against the 135mm in some respects as that focal length is often chosen for outdoor portraits (though soft-focus filters are available to help with this, if it’s an issue).
The Zeiss Apo Sonnar 135mm f2 and the Nikkor 200mm f2 come in third and fourth place respectively, although the Zeiss has similnikar sharpness levels as the 85mm Otus, and just as importantly it has practically negligible CA which accounts for its incredible clarity and realistic rendering. The Nikkor AF-S 200mm f2.0G ED VR II is known for it’s outstanding image quality in Nikon circles and it performs very well indeed on the Nikon D810. It’s a bit niche-y though, given the versatility of the 70-200mm f2.8 and close to $6k it’s not going to appeal to everyone. Much the same can be said about the manual focus Otus models although the Zeiss 135mm looks tempting at $1600.
Fortunately, Nikon users have a choice of decent 85mm lenses. The more accessible f1.8 model is slightly ahead of the far pricier f1.4 in terms of aberration correction but the latter has higher sharpness levels and users swear by the descriptive properties of the faster model (although in fairness the f1.8 version is close in just about every regard).