Photographers everywhere loved the Nikon D800 and D800E, and now comes the Nikon D810 as the firm's latest high-resolution workhorse camera. Is it a worthy successor? Callum McInerney-Riley finds out in our Nikon D810 review
Resolution, Dynamic Range and Noise
Nikon D810 review – Resolution, Dynamic Range and Noise
Nikon D810 – Resolution
The D810 resolved around a maximum 4000 lp/ph on our applied imaging test chart, which is a stunning result. This test was shot at f/5.6 with the Sigma 105mm f/2.8 Macro lens, which we use for all our testing and have in all available fittings – this is the best performing aperture for the lens. At ISO 6400, the resolution is still high at 3600 lp/ph, but at higher sensitivities noise reduction inevitably reduces the sharpness that is achievable, with 2800 lp/ph a more realistic figure.
Nikon D810 – Dynamic Range
The D810’s sensor delivers superlative results. At ISO 50, the peak dynamic range is 12.9EV, and the sensor is still performing well at ISO 3200 with a range of 9.7EV. This is comparable to the Nikon D800 and Sony Alpha 7R, but shows improvements in settings above ISO 3200. It means the D810 is very capable of capturing a wide range of tones in shadow areas, particularly from raw files. It’s still important to avoid highlight clipping and to reap the benefits of the full, available dynamic range.
Nikon D810 – Noise
The grey-card images shown above are JPEG files shot with the D810’s default noise reduction and colour settings applied. The 300ppi images are shown at 100% magnification to reflect the noise that would be experienced when printing an image at maximum size. The results show the D810 has acceptable, well-controlled luminance noise up to ISO 3200. It is more apparent at ISO 6400, but by ISO 12,800 colour and luminance noise are beginning to kick in, with ISO 25,600 and ISO 51,200 significantly worse. However, there will always be situations where the extended settings will obtain shots not otherwise achievable.
Nikon D810 – Colour
This 3D graph compares the colour shift from the reference colour to the photographed chart: the higher the peak, the greater the shift from the original colour. In the default JPEG colour setting, colours are well rendered across the range with slight saturation increases in the blues. The balance of colours indicates that skin tones will be particularly well rendered. Test images display good natural colour rendition with average contrast in standard JPEG mode. Colour settings can of course be adjusted in the picture control menu settings.
Nikon D810 – JPEG and Raw
The images above have a resolution of 300ppi and are shown at 100% magnification, reflecting a full-resolution print size. The resulting images indicate that smooth, good-quality images from raw files are obtainable up to ISO 3200, and that JPEG files with in-camera processing are similar, with noise patterns slightly more visible. At ISO 6400, the raw image starts to show more luminance noise in the shadow areas. I would be very happy to shoot raw and JPEG images at sensitivities up to ISO 3200, with middle range from ISO 3200-12,800 which I’d use while being very aware of their limitations. The extended ISO 25,600 and 51,200 settings are still usable for low-light emergencies.