Alas it was time to talk more about the D810 now that I am over 1000 clicks into using it. That’s not really many, however, I am rather stingy about actuation these days making sure for the most part I really want to take the picture.
I suppose many would wish for me to tell you miraculous tales about how awesome this camera is, however, I am not going to do that as no tall tales are needed. Its awesomeness comes from its actual simplicity as an upgrade to the D700 and perhaps other models which I can’t really comment on other than the DF. Its a camera for which my appreciation has slowly built into awedom!
There are minor differences however, your not apt to notice them for long, this is of course from the D700 upgrade perspective. I have referenced that before, however, now that I am almost a month into the D810, ones perspective smooths and levels into something more realistic and worthy of commenting. So lets break it down a bit!
More Pixels Equals Problems
Hard Drive Space: Its true, your going to eat more HD space and that is just a simple fact. I have filled my existing drives and am now storing to secondary drives. Lets not make excuses, this is just how the D810 world spins.
Better Technique Required: Its false as its not more difficult to shoot, lots of urban myths out there and so most of what you read about it being a tripod camera, needing higher shutter speeds, need to improve your holding and shooting techniques.. its all pretty much BS in my humble opinion. I’ll give one small caveat though, I have always followed the 2X shutter verses FL rule, ie 100mm lens requires a 1/200 speed to freeze normal slow action and keep you picture sharp. If you follow this as I have, there appears to be know different in shooting and results.
Requires Better Glass: True and False! If you want to use your existing glass its not going to necessarily make your photos better or worse than what you took on your D700. You may notice more due to the increased resolution and want better glass as a result, usually when pixel peeping. That said, if you want to leverage the full capability of your D810, better glass is going to help. Here again you’ll want to sort through what better means, I am simply referring to better resolution and clarity and contrast. Bokeh doesn’t really change here so we are truly talking about aspects that encompass the higher resolution sensor in this discussion item.
Addiction to Pixel Peeping: Potentially true, once you see what you can see, its utterly amazing to look at the detail!
Don’t let yourself get sucked into all that talk and while this will surely tick people off, the bottom line in photography is in most cases you get what you put into it and so good technique is always going to help you make better images.
Shooting with a D810
Its actually quite a pleasure to work with. Off the cuff you won’t feel lost on a D810, has basic Nikon menus and controls. A few new items and a few things have moved around. Its all part of discovery when getting the D810 and I can’t think of anything negative really. Its a highly competent camera, easy to transition to from the D700 and other than larger files, pretty much all positive!
These two images above/below were taken walking around Weston MO with a Sigma 35. Lots of fun shooting with the D810, albeit it a tad heavy considering I also have the much smaller lighter DF.
AF is better, the shutter is quieter, the camera feels better in the hands, the camera seems a tad lighter. Live view is clear and responsive enough. Maybe a tad slower than the D700. There are the two card slots, battery seems to drain a little faster and the hood/cover on the popup flash scratches easier, so take care to protect it if you don’t want your camera to show wear!
Dynamic Range: Its notably better in a few ways! Colors are better maintained when lifting them (shadow recovery) as is detail and recovered images are less grainy.
There is notably more Dynamic Range. I test this by shooting a scene with the sun at F22 -3EV and then lift the shadows to bring the picture to regular daylight. An image lifted like that exhibits a mild magenta color cast, however, the result is rather amazing as compared to other cameras. You can see the DR in such shots like the one below as well.
Acuity: The clarity that the D810 can deliver is simply amazing. I would refer to the D810 sensor as highly acute and hands down blowing any other camera I have used away.
Metering: Overall very accurate, you can see my recent blog post on metering differences, color, skin tones, ect… overall all very good!
Regarding Size and Weight
While the D810 is not as large and heavy as a D# series, it is heavier than the D6## and DF Series cameras. Its a little more than a quarter pound heavier than the D610, so not a lot, however, it is significant and just noticeable enough over the course of a day when lugging it around.
Size wise its smaller than a D700 and weighs a few ounces less. All to say that verses a D700 you are not going to notice much other than the body looks and feels just a little bit better.
There you have it for this time around! My D810 is off to Nikon to fix the white spot issue. I highly advise you have your camera serviced if it’s impacted and in this case I highly recommend you keep your early SN D810 and have it fixed verses returning it and getting a later number. I cannot legally comment on my rationale so of course it’s totally up to you wink wink! Regarding the fix itself, it won’t be addressed as easily in a future firmware release unless Nikon provides a utility to profile your cameras sensor and then write the profile to your cameras NRAM. The new FW release allows he camera to read the noise profile that Nikon individually created for each camera when you send it in. Truly the best way to resolve this and impressive on Nikons part to spend the money for you to send it in.. Wink wink!
Till next week!