Nikon D810 sensor review: New DxOMark leader

By Kevin Carter - Thursday July 24 2014

Sensor Review
Introduction | Nikon D810: New leader in our database | Nikon D810 versus Sony A7R versus Canon EOS 5D Mark III: D810 has slight advantage over nearest rival | Nikon D810 versus Nikon D800 versus Nikon D800E: Outstanding performance | Conclusion
Nikon D810 sensor review: New DxOMark leader

Nikon has enjoyed phenomenal success with both the Nikon D800 and D800E models, and particularly so with latter model with its unusual optical low-pass filter that cancels out the anti-aliasing effects. So it comes as little surprise to see the usual mid-term update, the D810, consolidates the two by offering a newly developed full-frame 36-Mpix sensor without optical low pass filter. We’ve had the opportunity to put the new camera through its paces this summer in our Paris-based labs. Read on to find out how well the sensor in this new revamped model performs.

The Nikon D800 has been one of the most successful cameras for the company in recent times, despite the relative high price and lofty aspirations. What’s perhaps even more remarkable is the more specialist more expensive version, the D800E with its unusual optical low pass filter sans anti aliasing properties has seen demand outstrip supply since its introduction two years ago.
Although not unexpected, this new mid-term upgrade consolidates the two previous offerings with the familiar exterior and 36-Mpix FX format sensor into a single model but does away with the image blurring optical low-pass filter completely. While the pixel count remains the same Nikon claims the sensor is a new model and surpasses its predecessor as the benchmark for high-resolution images.

Besides the sensor the revamped model boasts a number of other refinements. First is the adoption of the new EXPEED 4 level processor introduced with the flagship D4s that with the new sensor permits a lower ISO 64 native sensitivity and a new upper limit of ISO 12,800, plus expansion to ISO 32 to 51,200. The more powerful processor also means the D810 has new higher 5fps burst capability (7fps in DX crop mode) and offers the new Group AF feature of the D4s. Video is naturally another data intensive function and the new model can capture 1080p video from ISO 64 in FX and DX-formats at higher 50/60p rates, useful for slow-motion techniques. There’s also manual exposure control, focus peaking and zebra pattern display options for exposure warning plus audio monitoring while filming (displayed in live view mode).
 also adopts a new 3.2-inch 1,229k-dot RGBW LCD that promises a brighter display for improved visibility outdoors. Nikon also state the D810 has a new, re-designed mirror box and shutter assembly with electronic first curtain for reduced vibration found on several rival models from Canon and Sony, and which is crucial addition for photographers looking to maximize the potential of the sensor and lens. The new camera is available for pre-order at $3,296 body only.

For more information, please see our preview of the Nikon D810

Key specifications

•    36.3-Mpix FX-Format CMOS Sensor
•    No optical low pass filter
•    EXPEED 4 type image processor
•    3.2" 1,229k-dot LCD monitor
•    Full HD 1080p video at 60/30/24 fps
•    Continuous shooting to 5 fps in FX mode
•    Expandable sensitivity to ISO 51200
•    51 point Multi-CAM 3500FX AF sensor
•    Electronic front curtain shutter
•    External mic and headphone inputs

Nikon D810: New leader in in our database

Nikon D810 versus Sony A7R versus Canon EOS 5D Mark III: D810 has slight advantage over nearest rival

Nikon D810 versus Nikon D800 versus Nikon D800E:  Outstanding performance