A Pleasure to Work With
I recently sold my D800 body and replaced it with the D810. I do not typically upgrade cameras this quickly but I hoped that the D810 would be a little more refined in certain respects than the D800. So far this has proven to be the case.
UPDATE 8-11-2014 Spent two weeks shooting landscapes and wildlife in Maine. The new group auto focus setting was amazing for shots of birds. The focus tracking was amazing and I was able to secure the best eagle pictures I have ever taken and all the credit goes to the D810. My D200, D800 and even D4 would have had trouble tracking these subjects. The auto focus improvements are extremely substantial and have immediate real world benefits.
The big headline to me regarding the D810 is the shutter and mirror assembly. The sound of the camera is completely different than the D800 or the D4 for that matter. The D810 sounds like there has been a lot of work done on damping the mechanical vibrations that occur when the shutter is tripped. In my initial testing I found that with the Nikkor 105VR Micro that there was a noticeable reduction in the slight blur that I had always attributed to mirror slap on the D800. Holding the camera when it triggers, one feels less bounce going on inside the body.
UPDATE 7-23-2013 Shooting macro with the 105VR I definitely saw an improvement in focus acuity and it seemed that the combination of improved focus and VR yielded noticeably better results than the D800.
Having had a D800 and going through the experience of having to return several due to the "left focus issue" before I found a good one, it was one of the first things I tested. I am happy to report that I found no evidence of variability in focus across the range of focus points. The new group auto-focus feature descended from the D4s is very nice. There is no focus hunting and the focus system seems quite snappy and sharp.
One of my only quibbles thus far is with live view focusing. There is still more hunting than I would like. I would score live view focusing on par with the D800.
UPDATE 7-23-2014 I have worked a bit more with the live view focusing and it is definitely the most glaring minus so far for the camera. It is no worse than the D800 but compared to the improvements in the rest of the focusing system it is still lagging behind.
Image quality is spectacular. Color, and detail are outstanding. I shoot RAW and have been using the Camera Raw 8.6 Release Candidate from Adobe to process my files. They look near perfect without any adjustment. I do hope that Lightroom is updated for the D810 soon as it would not recognize the files I tried to import. I guess Adobe Bridge isn't dead after all.
The D810 does seem to shoot faster than the D800 as advertised. No one will mistake its speed for a D4s but that isn't really the expectation. It seems fast enough that I would definitely keep it in the bag for wildlife photography even though it might not be the "A" body for that kind of work.
The viewfinder is really clear and I may be mistaken but I think the data in the viewfinder is presented with a slightly different technology than the D800. Whatever is being used is crisp and very readable.
The menu system for Nikon cameras has always seemed very intuitive to me. I own a couple of Sony and Canon cameras as well and the Nikon menus seem just a tad easier to deal with. Sony has come a long way but there is still a noticeable difference.
I find the placement of the controls very intuitive and easy to manipulate. I know some users will prefer Nikon's older system for selecting autofocus modes but I find the current set up quite intuitive.
One miscellaneous item is that the batteries and charger from the D800 work with the D810. I was happy for once that I didn't have to buy all new batteries. SD and CF cards are of course the same but some newer cards like the Lexar 1066X work that would not in the D800 (officially)/
Video quality is excellent as well. This is not a feature that is terribly important to me but I think that many users who value DSLR video will really like it. The spec sheets spell out the specific improvements. I have done a fair amount of production using high-end ENG cameras with external camera control units. Out of the box the D810 compares well but I do wish that there were easier ways to access traditional CCU functions on a DSLR.
I don't know that everyone who owns a D800 or D800E will want to upgrade to the D810. For me it is a decision that I am happy with and feel I have received adequate additional value from the new body. I will be taking the camera out soon for some extended nature photography sessions and will update this review after that. Thus far to me the D810 is a worthwhile upgrade that addresses some of qualities of the D800 that were important to me. If you are looking for an upgrade from a D700 or a DX camera I believe the D810 is very suitable.
UPDATE 7-24-2014 Today I put the D810 on a tripod with the 105VR Micro-Nikkor and the R1-C1 macro flash kit. I shot pictures of some flowers around the house at near 1:1 and the results were amazing. I used the timer to release the shutter snd minimize shake. These are by far the sharpest photos I have ever taken. I am normally not one to pixel peep but the results were truly a quantum step beyond what I had been able to accomplish with any other set up.
Update 8/1/2014 - Shooting landscapes today when light rain started. Even though the D810 and the lens I was using are "weather-sealed" I am never quite sure what that means. I wish all brands of cameras used the widely accepted IPXX system of rating this across product lines. Bottom line is that the D810 shrugged off the shower and continued to function perfectly. My confidence in its ruggedness just took a step up.
Worth upgrading from the D800 in my opinion
I have a D800 and have just purchased the D810. I was a bit nervous from reading "previews" that the difference in performance between the two bodies were not enough to justify the purchase of this new body. I am glad to say that at least for me, I am very happy and have not touched my D800 except once since purchase. The differences are subtle, but they make the package. It's sort of like driving a Toyota Camry, and then jumping into a Lexus. You still get there, and the Camry's not bad, but the Lexus just makes the drive so much better.
First of all, and I think most important of all is the autofocus is so much quicker. I was demonstrating it to my friend by just turning the camera to anything and press the shutter and it instantly focus and takes the picture. I set the menu mode for shutter release on focus only. On the D800, you will get the focus just a bit slower. Although this may not sound like a big difference, it allows me to get "that" picture with more confidence. I was never able to to use autofocus "c" mode to follow a flying bird because it is just not fast enough, or maybe I am not good enough of a photographer. However, on the D810, I was able to follow a dragonfly buzzing around my backyard and out of 6-7 pictures, I got 3 excellent in focus one. One of the picture looked like 3D because it was so clear!
The second difference, which I think is just as important to me is the improvement of ISO performance. I compared the noise level between ISO 800 - 12800 on both cameras. On the D800, I could definitely see annoying noise, even with noise reduction turned on by 1600, and by 3200, it was definitely unacceptable. On the D810, I could definitely see noise by 2500, and by 8000, it was definitely unacceptable. So, I can see that the improvement is about 2/3 -1 stop better. On the D800, I limit ISO to 1600. On the D810, I now limit it to 2500, although I think that ISO 3200 is comparable to ISO 1600 on the D800.
If you think this is not important, it is 1 stop difference. On my 24-70mm f2.8, with a 1 stop increase, it's like an f2.0! On my 24mm 1.4, that's like f1.0! I was at a restaurant the other day with the family and was able to click away many pictures without flash! The pictures were at ISO 2500, and looked amazing!
Another difference is the much quieter shutter click. It's not a big deal to me, but it sounds much better than the D800.
I have noticed though, that some of my pictures are not as sharp as I am used to on the D800. I would retake the picture, but I would slow down; breath out, and kept everything super steady, and then the picture would be supersharp! I think the D810 is so sharp without the low pass filters, that any subtle shakes will show. I guess this can be a "minus" if you want to consider that a minus. :))
Another thing I like on the D810 is the "group focus". This is 4 squares instead of one square to focus. So instead of aiming to focus with one square in the viewfinder, the D810 can be programmed to have 4 square next to each other. It is my opinion that this may result in better focus than the one square focus. The one square focus option is still there.
Overall, I really like the D810. I would definitely recommend this body, even if you have the D800 if you want that extra advantage. This is what the D800 should have been. :)
First Impression of D810 Upgrading from D7000
I upgrade from D7000 with 17-55mm F2.8 to D810 with 24-70 mm F2.8. So most of my comparison will be compared to my old D7000. I had D810 for couple of weeks but did not shoot much due to busy schedule until yesterday. I brought two kids out to play mini golf and to the play ground yesterday. Had a great time shooting 300 photos in like 3 hours. My fast CF card is on the way so I used Transcend SDHC 32 GB Class 10 rated 18 MB/s write speed, I had no problem in shooting raw, lossless compressed in 14 bit photos, about 40 MB/s per photo. I shoot about 1 frame per second for maximum 5 photos continuously. Really impressed by the buffer of D810.
My D7000 and 17-55mm combination was good and I shoot lots of photos with it so I thought I will never have the desire to upgrade to full frame body. But boy I was so wrong. After yesterday, I realize the full frame bokeh and feel of the photo is much better than on DX body, indeed as people claimed. I used group focus most of the time since the kids were moving all the time. The focus was fast, got it right 97% of the time I would say. Much better than the single focus point of D7000 since the group focus has bigger focus area so you do not need to change focus point often. I use AF-ON button to focus, which is much better laid out than D7000. The AE-L/AF-L button on D7000 is so badly designed that I found it unusable.
Other impression with the D810 is that Pixels DO matter! It makes me not afraid of cropping the photo. Meanwhile I believe the photos look much sharper on my screen, comparing to D7000 and 17-55mm F2.8. Yes, the lens and no AA filter increase the sharpness on D810, but I believe the huge chunk of pixels squeeze on the screen makes it look sharper too. And I feel more pixels make spot healing in PS easier too. My computer (AMD 3.5 GHz, 10 GB ram) feels much slower, not as some people claimed that D800/E photo editing on regular daily home computer is enough.
The D810 combination is much heavier than D7000 combination, not expected. I do not feel much better ergonomics as lots of people claimed because the weight basically canceled out the improved ergonomics for me. The build quality even the buttons quality feel much better, which I like. Besides liking the AF-ON button, the MODE button is pretty convenient to change M/A/S/P mode. The battery is ok, I shoot about 900 frames and still one of six battery grid left. Did not test, but feel D7000 consumes less battery. Hoya polarizer filter makes obvious little vignette.
Overall, I love the D810. It will be a solid performer for years to come.
Stunning image quality if you're a skilled photographer who cares
I'm a longtime, part-time (old) professional photographer. I've extensively used large format, medium format and 35mm in the film days, and DSLRs in the last decade. This is by far the greatest camera I've ever owned. But, as much as I love it, I wouldn't recommend it to everyone.
A camera is a tool, and like most tools, the best one for the job depends on the type of work being done, the skill of the operator, the budget available, and how perfect the final product needs to be. For me, this is the perfect camera. The photography I do is mainly for high quality print publications and large exhibition prints. I don't shoot thousands of pictures a month, but I do spend many hours post processing the images that's are selected and sold.
Image quality is most important to me, and nothing short of medium format digital will match the D810, period. The dynamic range at low to medium ISOs--best brought to life with Lightroom--is astonishing. The end-product sharpness, with excellent lenses and good technique, is thrilling. The color rendition is perfect. The file size allows for generous cropping.
Second most important to me, is pro-oriented handling. The D810 feels and works perfectly for my style of photography. The grip fits my large hands better than any other camera I've ever held. The controls are intuitive and fast especially if you're familiar with Nikons. The autofocus is excellent. The weight isn't a burden, and the shutter and mirror mechanism are so quiet and vibration free. The camera is very customizable through its menus so that it can be adapted to many different shooting styles.
Then why don't I recommend it for everyone? If your needs are less demanding or your style of shooting more casual, you might be happier with a D750 or D610, or an APS camera. With the D810, it's more necessary to use good glass and good technique to produce superior images. I get slightly irritated when a photographer shows me their D810 images and complains that the camera can't do better than their old D610 or D5200. When that's the case, it's usually that they have reached the limit of their average lenses and/or poor technique. They also don't realize that when they look at a D810 image at 100 percent, they are looking at the equivalent of a four-foot wide print from one foot away. Downsize these average images to 24mp and they will look about like their D610 images, but no better. It also might not be the best camera for wedding and event photographers who shoot thousands of images in a weekend and don't have time or space to extensively post process and/or store 40+ megabyte images. Finally, if you regularly need the lowest noise at very high ISOs over much 6,400, a Nikon DF or D4s might be a better bet, although D810 noise levels up to 6,400 ISO are very acceptable to me.
That said, for me this is the best combination of image quality, handling, versatility, and overall performance I've ever experienced. This camera feels like it's an extension of my body and mind. Get it right, and it will blow your socks off!
Is D810 really worth the upgrade from D800?
I recently bought a D810 after reading the review and I still own a D800. I also own a D3S, D600 and D300S.
This review is about whether D810 is really that much better than D800 and whether it is worth it for us to spend the hard earn money for the upgrade.
A Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8 is used for the test. Location: outdoor where sunlight is plentiful. Time: 3.00 pm. Setting: f8; 1/250s; ISO: 100; EV: 0.
The first impression I have holding the D810 is that: it is almost identical to the D800. Well, almost. For a hardcore D800 user, the immediate difference is the bump that allow your thumb to hang on to when holding the camera. It is now more prominent and has better ergonomic. More comfortable to hold. Nikon obviously heard our complaint and fixed this problem.
I switched on the camera and pressed the shutter the first time, I noticed another difference from the D800 - the sound of the shutter click. The D810 is softer, similar to the D600/D610. I can feel that the mirror movement is less violent; logically, it should translate to less camera vibration.
Then I reviewed the image from the first test shot, the image from the LCD is noticeably sharper. D810 obviously has a newer and more advance Expeed 4 processor without AA filter. Also, the higher resolution of the LCD helped to reflect the sharpness.
Most of the buttons in the D810 are in the same location as the D800, except the following: -
i.) an "i" (information) button being added to the D810;
ii.) the metering button is now on the left hand side replacing the BKT (bracketing button); and
iii.) the BKT (bracketing button) is now on the side of the camera just below the flash and above the D810 logo.
Going through the setting by pressing the Menu button, again, most of the functions are at where the D800 are. D810 has some added functions, such as electronic first curtain shutter, auto focus grouping, small size Raw, just to name a few.
Other improvements: -
1.) D810 has faster frame rate per second than the D800. It is more well rounded. However, it is still not a fast camera. It won't replace the D3S or D4 for sport photography.
2.) D810 should have a better IQ due to a newer processor. However, other than being sharper, I cannot tell the image quality is really better than the D800. D810 has the same sensor as the D800.
3.) D810 should have a better white balance. However, Auto white balance produces a warmer image than D800. I cannot tell the white balance is better.
4.) D810 has a better and quicker autofocus. It locked quicker than D800 even when pointed at the darker area where D800/E would hunt.
The D810 definitely fixed most of the "problems" previously associated with the D800E. However, for people looking to upgrade from a D700 or Nikon's DX DSLRs, they do have the options of getting a cheaper (due to price drop) D800/E for almost identical level of IQ. In fact, D810 and D800/E share so many similarities, they are perhaps 90% identical (It uses the same battery as the D800/E; the RRS L-Plate that used by the D800 can also be used with the D810). However, D810 has made minor improvements in so many areas, it is a slightly better camera than the D800/E in almost every way.
This camera is still better suited for landscape and portrait photography. However, the improved frame rate per second means this is now a more rounded camera than the D800.
Nikon has done a great job this time by retaining all the great features of the D800/E and made improvements to the weaker areas. Nikon D800/E is already a really good camera, but D810 is a really really really good one, if not a great one.
PS: Last night, I used the D810 to shoot burst to test the frame rate with Nikkor 24-70mm f2.8G and Nikkor 50mm f1.4D.
I used a very high ISO (10000) to make sure I have sufficient shutter speed to prevent blur. I noticed that for every five frames, there are patches of tints and shades in frame 2 through to frame 5 and this patterm repeat again in frame 6 to 10, and so on and so forth. The problem is reduced when the ISO is lowered to 8000, and become unnoticeable at ISO 2500. However, when I used EV -1.0 with the ISO2500, the patches tints and shades reappeared again. The patches of tints and shades I refer to are simiar to the effect of using PL filter with a ultra wide angle lense.
I heard that it could be due to wave length of the light, but mine is not about the change of white balance. it is uneven distribution of colour and funny colour.
Do you have the same problem?
Perhaps the best camera I have ever owned
An absolutely stunning camera, perhaps the best I have ever owned. I'm an old guy and have used all kinds of gear from Sinar to Rolleiflex, Hasselblad, Leica, and Canon. ( I used Hasselblad for most of my 45 years as a professional.)
This Nikon is something special -- it is a quantum leap over all it's competitors, and is even approaching the image quality of medium format digital. In some situations it is better than say a Hasselblad, because of its low light capabilities, and it's good auto focusing.
I was previously using a Canon 5D mk iii, and have most of the L lenses, which is a considerable investment. Since getting the Nikon D810 I have not used any of the (excellent) Canon equipment. I have purchased nine Nikon lenses since purchasing the Nikon last month. It has been expensive, but productive.
If you want the best for under 40 grand, consider this truly excellent camera. It is superb.
Demanding Machine Producing Stellar Images
This camera is all I had hoped for and more. I held off from buying the D800e for several reasons, but jumped at this one for some landscape photo expeditions this fall. I print large "wall art" style prints for exhibition and sale. The images out of this machine are matchless. Your technique needs to be spot on and you had better invest in good glass if you want all that this camera can do. Otherwise, go with a more forgiving camera. I am an old Kodachrome film addict with a bias toward that color set, contrast, sharpness and tonality. The D810 features an ISO 64 capability, a new highlight-bias metering mode and a new shutter mechanism that lets me put that old Kodachrome feel into my landscapes with even better resolution and shadow detail. This is the perfect companion to the D800 which I use for hand-held work. There is going to be a lot more to say as I continue to use/learn this camera. But, my first week has been amazing.
BTW: I download, review and do my file conversions using Nikon View NX v2.10.0. I do minor adjustments to the raw NEF files in Lightroom 5,6 and then do TIFF conversions for creating my edit/print files in Photoshop CC (2014). All of these popular products support the D810. While there is a war of words and egos going on about the current state of software availability and utility for the D810, I would not recommend delaying your purchase of this camera and miss out on the improved image quality while waiting around for some future version of Capture NX-D to satisfy all the critics. It will come in good time and you will have built up a library of high IQ images with the D810 which you can use test the software. I am a working professional and I am quite satisfied with the available software and where it is going. Nikon will catch up eventually and the critics will move on to gripe about something else.
6-Month Update: I remain happy with my D810. I picked up a Nikkor AF-S 85mm f1.4G and am truly amazed at the resolution the camera can squeeze out of this lens. I am waiting for a new Nikkor AF-S 300mm f4E PF to add to the kit. From what I have seen in sample images, this will be another great combo.
Phenomenal camera! Perfect for landscape/portrait shots!
I upgraded from a D5200 to this beast after about a year of taking great shots with the D5200 and really sharpening my photography skills. BEST DECISION EVER. I was going to buy D800 a few months back and I chose to wait to see if maybe Nikon will release a new version and boy was the wait worth it! I mainly shoot landscape/scenario and some portraits. When I held the D800 and tried a good amount of test shots at a photo convention, I still was not convinced fully. It just didn't feel that great holding it in my hands for some reason. When I chose to enter the FX world, I wanted to go all out and not have any regrets. I was really tempted about the D750 and the D610. Every since I got this beast a week ago, I haven't been able to put it simply down. It makes you want to keep on shooting and shooting.
Brings still photography (especially portraits and landscape) to a whole new level from me. Coupled this with a Nikon 50mm F/1.4G and Nikon 14-24mm F/2.8, there are no words to describe the detail in each image and sharpness.
You get what you pay for. The camera feels tough and little heavier on the side, but feels pleasant to hold. Battery life is really great especially with the battery grip I got. To make the best use of this camera, you have to get the best glass for it. I chose to stick to Nikon glasses. I attached a picture of this beast in action with a Nikon 50mm F/1.4G using no flash. I am about to receive my Nikon 14-24mm F/2.8 this week so I'll be updating the review for the landscape portion soon. The controls/menu are great; Nikon made this camera controls feel like you have a film camera but it is actually digital. Really neat! With the D5200 the one issue I had was when I did HDR shots in the camera, I would have to go back to the menu and turn HDR back on for each shot (really annoying).
If you are like me who demands the best especially those that do larger print outs of photos like I do, and want a top quality camera with 36 MP that not only feels nice but looks like it's built like a tank, and you are have a good amount of money put aside to use this with top quality Nikon glasses, then do not hesitate. Forget the D600, D700, D800. I went to Samy's camera and tried them all with glass combo's and see what I liked most and the D810 just easily stood out from all the rest I tried especially with the Nikon 50 mm F/1.4 glass and the Nikon 14-24 mm F/2.8.
The D810 is a winner...
Having previously owned the Nikon D90, D7000 and D700, and currently shooting the D7100, I would like to compare the D810 to these bodies, particularly the D700. Obviously, with a five star review, I am really liking my experience so far.
First of all, the D810 is a very solid, well built camera, with a feel very close to the D700. I prefer the size with larger lenses, such as the 24-70 and 70-200 zooms. The smaller bodies are great with smaller lenses, and are lighter for better portability, but the larger lenses don't balance as well for me. Coming from a D700, I can say that the handling is so close that it only took a day or two to become completely familiar with the button layout and menu system. Having the D7100 also helped, since some of its controls are nearly identical to the D810...the focus mode lever and center hub button on the lower left come to mind as one of those similarities.
Auto focus was a concern for me, and kept me from really considering the D800/D800E cameras. The D700 was 98% accurate with AF, and I am happy to say that the D810 seems to have an equal hit rate. I prefer to use the AF-ON button and AF-C mode for focusing, which allows you to be in continuous AF as long as the button is pressed, or having the camera act like AF-S mode by releasing the button. You get both types of operation simply by pressing continuously or pressing to acquire focus and then releasing to keep it set. The D810 snaps into focus quickly and is deadly accurate. I look forward to trying the "group area" AF, as it is reported to work well for locking on and tracking fast moving subjects that may leave your selected point if only using one point. Group area uses 5 points in a circular cluster simultaneously, that may be moved anywhere in the focus array with the multi-selector. My lenses are all highly accurate and sharp, with only minimal fine-tuning needed on some of them. Video is equally impressive, with the 1080/60p setting producing absolutely beautiful quality. Live view focusing seems a bit quicker to lock, with less hunting than even the D7100.
Image quality overall is phenomenal. Super clean with great colors, accurate white balance, and with that beautiful FX look that cannot be matched by smaller sensor cameras. Better in every way over the D700, and I was always very happy with the silky look that D700 images had. The D810 just pushes all those great qualities to another level entirely. Dynamic range is one area that really blows the D700 away. And metering so far is the most accurate of any DSLR I have ever used.
Another impressive feature is the super quiet shutter mechanism. Easily less than half the noise that the clanky D700 shutter makes. I have also used the electronic first-curtain shutter on a few occasions, and found the shots to be very, very sharp. This is intended to eliminate any potential vibration from the shutter mechanism causing slight blur, and it certainly looks as if it works. The few tripod shots that I have taken have been crystal clear, no matter the shutter speed. Seems as though Nikon has effectively addressed some of the complaints that D800/E users had with shutter vibrations affecting image sharpness. Kudos!!
I love the 1.2x crop mode, which both speeds up the frame rate from 5 to 6FPS, and also reduces the files from 36 to 25MP. RAW file pixel count is also reduced, so if you need more manageable file sizes or need to fit more images on your memory card, you can switch to 1.2x crop. There is also DX crop, which cuts the image down to 15MP and gives you 7FPS, but I will probably not use that very often. The 1.2x mode, however, is going to be a great option for my dance competition shooting, where I am usually pretty far away, sometimes on a balcony, and could use a little more reach from my 70-200 lens. I crop many of these anyway, since the majority are taken at 200mm and still don't zoom in close enough. 84-240mm equivalent is very exciting for what I frequently shoot. Great for speeding up processing times when working with lots of files, too. I can see myself using this quite a bit. And it's easy to switch modes since you can program the top "record" button to be a crop mode button when you are in picture taking mode. You just press the record button and rotate the thumb wheel to change modes, which are visible in the viewfinder. Very cool! And you can set the menu to darken the unused area for a clear view of your image area.
Now for the high ISO comparison (and I can handle some noise, but don't like it to be too rough): none of the DX cameras can come close here. The D90 was ok up to about ISO800, D7000 to ISO1600, and the D7100 can be pretty comfortably used to about ISO2500. And I am comparing RAW output that has been processed with appropriate noise reduction. The D700, with its 12MP FX sensor could do about ISO5000 if shot RAW, but only 3200 if shot JPEG. The older processor did not handle the noise that well compared to ACR. It left too much noise and still smeared the image far too much above 3200. For comparison, I have already used the D810 for actual low-light action (stage show with dancers), and can report that ISO12,800 is perfectly usable, both RAW and JPEG. I was so blown away by the great colors and lack of noise, I nearly fell over when viewing them on my 24" monitor. At 100%, there is noise, but when viewed normally, or moderately zoomed in, the images are just astonishingly good. I would be perfectly comfortable printing a 24x36 poster of a ISO12,800 JPEG photo right out of the camera. Yes, they are really that good. I believe that the smaller pixels actually create a finer grain that is much less objectionable (and less visible) than the coarseness found in the D700 high ISO images. Quite a feat to go against the common belief that high pixel counts would equal high noise. I'm sure that advances in sensor design, as well as processor performance has a great deal to do with that. This is one amazing camera!
Needless to say, I am very happy that I went for the D810 as a FX replacement for my D700. I was going to wait for the D750 to be introduced before purchasing, but the more information that was "leaked" about it being a D610 sized body, and no AF-ON button, I went ahead and got this one. Yes, it's a pricey camera, but well worth it, as far as I'm concerned. I should be set for a very long time with the D7100 as a lighter everyday, wildlife, and backup camera, and the D810 as my main body for portraiture and low-light work. Really looking forward to putting this combination to work. Both cameras are working perfectly and ideally suited for my intended uses. Well done, Nikon!
Some improvements over the D800.
I upgraded from the D800, which I had owned since its release a while back. The main purpose for my upgrade was twofold: 1) ISO 64, and 2) The Flat Picture Control setting. I shoot predominantly landscapes/waterscapes as a hobby, and architecture and real estate for work. Pulling out dark shadows is something I do routinely...and being able to drop to ISO 64 is a welcomed advantage over the old 800.
ISO 64 decreases ambient noise, and this is especially helpful when pulling out darker shadows in Lightroom and PS. Additionally, the "Flat Picture Control" settling supposedly offers the shooter a setting which further distributes detail across a wider range of the histogram. In other words, in this setting, one should be able to get more detail out of the shadows, without forfeiting detail in the highlights. So far, any advantage in the Flat Picture Control Setting hasn't been significant, but overall, the D810 with ISO 64 does work with less noise in the shadows than its older brother, the 800.
The shutter assembly seems to be completely remodeled. It sounds lighter, softer, and better insulated than in the D800 or D4. The old assembly sounded like a metal clank...whereas in the 810 it has a more subtle click-clack. Battery life seems to be about the same as it was in the 800. The overall weight, and the use of controls doesn't differ noticeably from the 800, either.
My 810 was subject to the sensor malfunction issue...I'm no expert on sensors, but it supposedly created unusual noise in brighter areas on an image, especially in longer exposures. Given that I shoot long exposures regularly, this was of great concern to me. It's important to mention that I never noticed any issues with my camera BEFORE the recall, even though, according to Nikon, my camera's serial number fell within the range of those affected. I sent the camera in for the recall, and the camera still works as expected after the adjustment by Nikon.
Basically, the only reason I would recommend upgrading to the 810 from the 800 is if you seriously value bringing detail out of the darker ares of an image, with reduced noise.
For those of you upgrading from another camera...if you have not yet had the experience of shooting with a camera which offers the resolution the 810 (or 800) offer, you are in for a magnificent treat. I still remember the first time I shot with the old 800, and took a look at the shots for the first time in Lightroom. The amount of raw detail you can grab from an image is breathtaking...a characteristic which still amazes me to this day when I am in the studio. It's important to mention that, due to the sheer power of resolution in this camera, you must take great care in focusing and metering correctly, because, all that resolving power will make hiding mistakes very difficult. The slightest errors in focusing are easily picked up when zoomed in to 100%. It's a nagging trait that, once you get used to, becomes a wonderful advantage. When you nail focus on this camera, zooming in on an image gives you fine detail that no other full-frame or crop sensor camera in production can match, unless you step up into medium format (which is a totally different price point).
The detail in someone's face, the texture in rock, or in water, clouds, asphalt...you name it. The resolving power of the 800 and 810 is life-like...especially if your goal is to produce large posters. For a fraction the cost of a medium format camera, the 810 can hold its own against any of them.
For me, this is a "tripod-only" camera. Due to its incredible resolving power, I do not wish to work with it hand-held and risk the motion blur which will no doubt be an issue due to all those megapixels. For hand-held work, the new 750 is an excellent full-frame camera, as is the more basic 610.
If you work in long exposures, don't forget to try the noise-reduction setting on the 810. It doubles the processing time of an image, but, in my experience, this setting greatly aids the photographer in reducing unwanted noise, especially in the shadows and darker areas of the image.
Also, for long exposures, don't forget to use the viewfinder screen to block out any unwanted light from trickling into the sensor from behind. I learned that lesson the hard way...having that viewfinder screen is a wonderful option...without one, you are relegated to using your own method to blocking out light from hitting the viewfinder (i.e. draping a piece of cloth over it during exposures).
One more long-exposure option this camera (and most other Nikon DSLRs) provides: mirror lock-up. This setting allows you to choose how long the mirror stays flipped up before taking the exposure...you can choose between one to three seconds. This affords you the ability to mitigate any vibration that would be caused from the mirror flipping up before the exposure is taken. If you have this setting turned on...when you press the shutter release, you hear the mirror flip up, the camera waits the number of seconds you chose, then the camera takes the exposure. A standard option which helps reduce vibration (unwanted blur) in your image. With all those megapixels, I recommend doing everything possible to mitigate even the slightest amount of blur or noise. This camera goes a long way to helping you achieve that.