Those who read this site for photography know that I recently upgraded from my Nikon D600 to a Nikon D810. In my Nikon D810 Review, I wasn’t short on praise for the camera, calling it “possibly the most well-rounded DSLR ever” and saying that “it’s a camera that exceeded my high expectations and I feel is a very worthy upgrade for many serious photographers, even at its price-point. I can already tell that this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
Well, I’ve had the camera for a couple of months now, so I thought I’d report back on how I feel about it. First, the bad. The files are huge. There are ways to deal with this and use some of the smaller size settings (as I touch upon in the review), but I’ve been afraid to use them. They would be perfect for mundane photo tasks like taking photos of food (don’t exactly need a 36MP photo of a churro), but I’m scared that I’ll forget to switch back when I have to take “important” landscape photos.
The only other downside, if you want to call it that, is that Nikon recently announced the Nikon D750, a “lower” level full frame DSLR that has a tilt screen, which would be great for me since I take a lot of photos at ground level. Looking at that feature plus the more conservative MP count, plus lower price actually makes me want to try out that camera. (Why couldn’t Nikon include the tilt screen in the D810?!) On the other hand, the controls on the Nikon D810 are better plus dynamic range, image quality, durability, and a number of other things are all better on the Nikon D810. Even though I love the Nikon D810, if both were announced at the same time, I think I would have opted for the Nikon D750 and $1,000 in my pocket. It would be a tough call.
The upsides? Literally everything else. Dynamic range is great, the controls are great, image quality is exceptional, and, in addition to several other things, the camera just flat out performs and is fun to use. Maybe it’s a good thing both the Nikon D750 and D810 weren’t announced at the same time, because I have no regrets about buying this camera, and it’s probably a good thing I didn’t go the cheaper route. Your mileage may vary on whether it’s worth the money–for many people the D750 (or models even lower than that) will be more than enough camera. I understand that most people do not need a professional-grade DSLR, so this post is relevant to only like 2% of you, but hopefully it’s helpful to that 2%!
Since that first post only really had boring photos of my pets, the city of Indianapolis, and random junk around my house, I thought I’d follow up on that post with some real world images that I captured at Walt Disney World to demonstrate what the camera is truly capable of accomplishing. Keep in mind that–for the most part–since I’m trying to show how the camera performs when pushed to the limits, these aren’t going to be your standard “pretty” photos (most of my tripod night shots don’t really challenge the camera). Below each photo I’ll provide some technical details.
If you are not a photographer but are a Walt Disney World fan looking for some photos, you can scroll past all of the jargon and simply enjoy the pictures…
Shot with the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8, this is basically just a nice night photo of Les Chefs de France in Epcot. Having ISO 64 for these night photos is GREAT!
This shot was captured at 200mm with the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR. At “only” ISO 900, this doesn’t seem like it technically pushes the limits of the D810, but grabbing auto-focus on this performer in the dark in continuous mode is something I couldn’t do with the D600 (I know–I tried this shot a few times!).
Here’s another night photo captured handheld with the 70-200mm. “Handheld” “night photo” and “70-200mm” are normally not words that go together.
A shot from Oogie Boogie’s show at the Villains Unleashed event. The detail and clarity in this photo shot at f/2.8 really highlight the camera’s incredible image quality.
I think this shot pairing the D810 with the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 lens at f/1.4 pretty much speaks for itself. Go ahead and pixel-peep on the full size image here. This is a drool-worthy combo…
Handheld. At night. With a 70-200 at 200mm. From a moving boat. While I was juggling knives. Okay…just kidding on that last part.
Here’s one for all you Maelstrom fans. Polar bear at ISO 12800.
With the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 (read my review of this lens) again, at f/1.4 and ISO 9000. This is a shot that’s possible with lower-level and older cameras, but what’s notable here is that you can see more detail in this photo than you can with the naked eye. There’s some noise due to the shadows being bumped up, but I did not apply any noise reduction to the photo (my personal preference is not applying noise reduction and instead keeping both noise and maximum sharpness).
Here’s the D810 with the Nikon 14-24mm again (read my review of this lens). The amount the shadows have been brought out to show detail on this ISO 4500 shot inside Be Our Guest Restaurant is pretty significant, showcasing the great low light and dynamic range performance of the D810.
Just a cool shot, I thought.
If you don’t like carrying a tripod, this is the camera for you. This was handheld with my Zenitar fisheye lens at f/8 and ISO 8000.
With the 70-200mm lens again. Nothing astonishing here, just what I think is a cool photo.
This shot actually highlights the quality of the budget Zenitar lens (read my review of this lens) as much as the D810. Despite this being a sub-$250 full frame fisheye lens, it is not-resolved by the D810!
All in all, I’ve been impressed with the Nikon D810. Obviously it is a lot of camera and a costly one at that, but if you are considering making a move to full frame, or upgrading your existing full frame camera, I think it’s a great option.
What do you think of the results the Nikon D810 produced? Are you interested in the Nikon D810? Have you already bought it? Have any additional questions? Please ask or share below, and I’ll offer my feedback!