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Nikon D810 Review and sample raw images

Education

Nikon D810 Review and sample raw images

Robert Hall

 

Nikon d810 raw samples -small raw and full size .NEF files

Review of Nikon D810

Nikon's newest dSLR has challenged many buyers. While it boasts excellent build quality, a phenomenal sensor with the best dynamic range ever recorded, and superb low-light performance, many are left worrying that the gargantuan file sizes will hinder their workflow or find the high megapixels unnecessary to begin with.

So what's all the hype about, and is this camera right for you?

For starters, the camera's sensor and processor are about as good as it gets in the world of dSLRs. It can reach up to a class-leading 14.8 stops of dynamic range. It is powered by the EXPEED 4 processor that Nikon uses to power it's flagship D4S. And it is first dSLR to have the Optical Low-Pass filter removed completely (The Nikon D800E and D7100 both had a reduced OLPF for sharper images) resulting in the sharpest images possible from a modern dSLR. 

Click here for full specs of the Nikon D810

The D810 has many minor tweaks that make it a much better option than its predecessors, including:

- A shutter that is substantially quieter than previous models and other professional dSLRs.

- A lower base ISO of 64, 2/3rd 's of a stop lower than most cameras. It also has an expandable ISO range on the bottom end, going down to 32 at L 1.0

- Increased to 5 fps, and faster in reduced quality modes, or with the MB-D12 battery grip

- Small Raw - Nikon has taken a much desired aspect from Canon and implemented it into the Nikon D810. You can now get a 9 megapixel raw image. With the option of crop modes, you can even get various other sizes of raw images.

-Brighter OLED viewfinder

-Auto-ISO in video mode

-Group AF mode, in which you control 5 points at once to give a wider area to auto-focus on while still controlling the position.

There are many other tweaks made that make the D810 a far superior camera to the d800 and d800E family. There have been some reports that the body is even better than the d4s, when sharpness and recoverability are considered. I did my own test using both the full size RAW .NEF files, and the 9 megapixel small raw option. While the small raw is certainly a much better option than jpeg, it does not hold a candle to the full size .NEF files. Comparison table below.

D810 Full-size RAW recovery on underexposed image

Original

Original

recovered 5 stops

recovered 5 stops

D810 Full size RAW recovery on overexposed image

original

original

recovered 4 stops

recovered 4 stops

D810 Small size RAW recovery on underexposed image

original underexposed small raw file

original underexposed small raw file

recovered

recovered

D810 small size RAW recovery on overexposed image

overexposed

overexposed

attempted recovery

attempted recovery

As you can tell, the full size .NEF file is still the way to go to ensure you can recover as many details from clipped highlights and shadows as possible.

Overall, the Nikon D810 has fixed everything about the overzealous D800 and D800E. The EXPEED-3 processor was just not enough to handle the high file sizes. On the Nikon D810, you don't even realize the size of your files because the EXPEED-4 processor handles them so well (until you have to copy and edit them that is). Simple things like the viewfinder improvements, lower base ISO, better high ISO performance, group-AF, quieter shutter, all make this camera a tremendous upgrade. The complete removal of the OLPF leads to the sharpest images imaginable from a dSLR. After reviewing files from both systems, I can confidently say that the d810 has completely separated itself from the Canon 5d Mark III.

Here is a dropbox link to sample D810 Raw sample files if you would like to play with any full size images yourself.

Feel free to share with any friends or photography groups that you think may find this helpful, including the drop box link.

Thanks for reading, comment below if you have any questions!