PROS: A high-resolution sensor produces detailed and clear images when cropped or enlarged.
CONS: This camera lacks additional features.
Nikon’s D810 is the pinnacle of image quality and resolution. It lacks connectivity and the creative shooting modes of its peers but delivers an unparalleled level of detail, color accuracy and dynamic range.
At 36.3 megapixels, Nikon’s D810 is the highest resolution professional DSLR on our lineup. Although all the cameras on our lineup have adequate resolution for the majority of applications, higher-resolution images give you even more freedom when cropping or enlarging images.
The D810’s sensor performs better than any other camera reviewed in the categories of color depth, dynamic range and low-light performance. This means your images are not only large and detailed, but accurately colored, clear and well balanced. These attributes, coupled with outstanding performance and design, make the Nikon D810 an excellent choice for professional photographers and an easy pick for our Top Ten Reviews. Read more Best Professional DSLR Camera
Unless you are heavily cropping your photographs or printing large-scale images, the D810’s impressive 36.3 megapixel resolution shouldn’t be a large part of your image-quality calculations. Although it easily bests our category average of roughly 23 megapixels, the difference simply won’t be noticeable in most circumstances.
The truly impressive aspect of this camera’s ultra-high resolution sensor is that it still manages to score the highest in DxOMark’s tests for color depth and dynamic range and third highest for low-light performance. This is impressive, because due to the smaller size of each individual pixel, ultra-high resolution cameras often struggle with grain at elevated sensitivities.
The D810 also boasts the same high-quality video found in Nikon’s other recent professional DSLRs. It offers a maximum resolution of 1080p at up to 60 frames per second. Though other types of cameras offer faster frame rates and higher resolutions, this is as good as it gets for pro DSLRs.
Nikon omitted an anti-aliasing filter. While this increases the chance of moiré, it also means that you utilize the full sharpness and resolution of your sensor in every image you take.
In continuous drive mode, the D810 can shoot up to 6 frames per second, a standard speed for professional DSLRs. If your shooting style dictates faster speeds, you may want to consider the Nikon D4S and Canon 1D X.
The D810 offers a total of 51 focus points, 15 of which are cross-type. While the total number of points is solidly above average, the D810 lags behind a bit in terms of cross-type points.
Cross-type points are useful, because each point focuses best on lines running perpendicular to it. If your autofocus sensor runs both horizontally and vertically as cross-type points do, you have a better chance of capturing an accurate focus. For this reason, cameras like Canon’s 5D tend to focus more quickly in low light.
This camera also has respectable maximum ISO and shutter-speed specifications. With the D810, you can shoot natively at up to 12,800 ISO and up to 51,200 when expanded. Although some cameras offer higher ISO settings, the D810 handles elevated ISOs better than almost anything else and is therefore a good choice for low-light shooting.
Being able to shoot at up to 1/8000 also gives the D810 an advantage over cameras like the D610 and D750, especially when shooting in bright light. In order to compensate for bright lighting conditions, photographers often have to narrow their aperture. Unfortunately, this limits the depth of field that you have to work with. If instead, you can increase your shutter speed to something like 1/8000s, you have more freedom to work with wider apertures and narrower depths of field.
The D810 weighs an average 31.1 ounces and has a typical professional DSLR design. It is comfortable to hold and features all the buttons a pro-shooter needs. Additionally, it has a built-in flash, a high resolution LCD and dual card slots.
If this is your first time buying a professional DSLR, a built-in flash might seem like a no-brainer. Due to the nature of how flashes are used in professional photography, however, they are very commonly left out. The Nikon D810 is equipped with a built-in flash.
You can review photos and navigate menus using the camera’s 3.2-inch high-resolution display. Unlike the Nikon D750, however, this display is fixed, which means you can’t angle it towards you when shooting above or below eye level.
The D810 has two card slots. One of the slots supports the use of an SD card while the other is CF-card compatible.
In analyzing the additional features of professional DSLRs, we evaluated five major categories: Wi-Fi, GPS, time lapse, HDR and panorama. Wi-Fi and GPS represent the connectivity of each camera while time lapse, HDR and panorama represent special shooting modes.
The D810 lagged behind much of its competition in this category, offering only HDR shooting. Wi-Fi and GPS are fairly new features in the pro-DSLR landscape; still, the added connectivity would be useful to many shooters. While you can capture time lapses and panoramas in other ways, built-in options would be much more convenient.
Help & Support
A one-year warranty covers any defects in construction or materials. Should you run into any manufacturer-related issues during that time, you can return your camera for repair or replacement. This is the average warranty period for professional DSLR cameras.
To find answers to questions, an online manual or firmware updates, you needn’t look further than Nikon’s own support site. If you can’t find the information you’re looking for in the Knowledgebase, you can contact Nikon by phone or email.
The Nikon D810 offers greater image quality and resolution than any other camera we reviewed. With its high performance 36.3 megapixel sensor, you can be sure your images have the detail, color accuracy and dynamic range required to produce professional quality photos. Despite its lack of additional features, the D810 is one of the best cameras out there and the best choice for high-resolution photography.