First Nikon D810A review

The Swedish astrophotographer Göran Strand published the first review of the Nikon D810A camera on his blog. The ISO comparison between the D810, D800E and D3s clearly shows the advantages of the D810A (click for larger view):

Nikon D810A review ISO test
Nikon D810A review ISO test 2
Here is Göran's conclusion:


  • Very good high ISO performance
  • More sensitive in H-alpha
  • No need for a computer when doing astrophotography
  • Boosted live view
  • Long exposure M* mode
  • Electronic Front-Curtain Shutter
  • Good battery life


  • No tiltable LCD
  • No backlit camera buttons
  • Boosted live view can be a bit noisy
  • Higher sensitivity to red light could cause some problem for general daylight photography

The Nikon D810A camera is still not available in the US. According to Amazon, shipping will start on June 8th, 2015.

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  • mok

    did not expect so big difference from 800E to 810…

    • Louis-Félix Grondin

      The difference must come from noise processing in camera. I’m pretty sure there’s not much more details or contrast in the D810 file, the purple noise is just turned down a lot.

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    • Fly Moon

      Same here. Hmmm. Time to sell my D800E and upgrade to D810

      • Louis-Félix Grondin

        Before you do that I’d try to find High ISO raw files from the D810 and process it yoursel to really compare it to a D800E file that’s been processed to remove color noise.

        I really doubt that after editing it trough a decent noise reduction engine both cameras don’t give practicly the exact same result (it’s the same sensor after all)

        • jmey

          Show me the information that they share the same sensor, from what I have read they seem not to.

          • Louis-Félix Grondin

            They certainly are different in some aspects (cooling mechanism and the integration of the electrical circuit for instance), but I’m pretty sure it’s not a “new” design they made to end up sticking to the exact same resolution and similar performance. The difference in performance might come in part from hardware, but I’m pretty sure the main part of the sensor (pixel matrix and micro-lenses) is the same. Otherwise they really like to throw money out of the window.

            But I don’t have any hard proof other than common sense (wich is often wrong I’ll admit) to support this.

            • Andrew

              Don’t forget that the high ISO performance of the D750 is equally impressive.

        • akkual

          You are forgetting here that those are 30s exposures on very high ISO. I would assume very few people actually have done such exposures with D800e and D810 before, as no other needs them except the astrophotographers who try to see in the darkness.

          D810 and D800e maybe quite the same on normal exposure times with well lit results, but apparently D810 kicks ass, when all the possible juice is pushed out of the sensor. Alone simply better cooling can cause that difference, as ISO6400 uses high amplification and produces more heat and therefore more internal thermal noise than ISO200 in long exposures.

          • Louis-Félix Grondin

            Yeah that’s why I said that part of the difference might come from hardware; at these settings it’s true that simple mechanical changes can make a difference. But looking at these picture, what I see is a big difference in terms of color noise, but not so big of a difference in termes of details.

            But I’d have to see the entire picture and manipulate the raw file myself to get a clear idea of the difference.

      • Mitchell Cipriano

        Unless you are doing a lot of low light & long exposures, you will not see much difference.

        • Fly Moon

          Yes I do

      • Dickey Singh

        I just did that and am much happy with D810. Note first 810s have had long exposure noise issues. Mine does not but the above D810, seems to have the issue (no way to confirm)

    • bgbs

      They said that D810 fixed the red glow at higher ISOs that was visible in D800

      • Steve Griffin

        My D810 still produces that purple/pink amp glow garbage, but not quite as much as my two D800e’s. My K-5 & K-01 however produce absolutely none that I can find.

        I’m looking forward to comparing Pentax’s new FF later this year.

  • Well my old fashion D3s still rocks for long exposure at night 🙂

    • Maji

      yup, the D3s and now the D4s are the low light champs… don’t forget the lowly Df though. However, the D3s don’t have the pixels if you are looking for aggressive cropping before printing large.

      • Max

        The DF actually has the best lowlight performance of all Nikons. According to DXO..

        • HF

          Just checked it, D4s has a small edge at higher ISOs in DR, S/N ratio is almost equal.

        • Andrew

          That 16 MP image sensor is really cheating 😉 You always win with lower megapixel sensors. At least you did not have to pay $6,000 like the D4 to get that level of performance.

          I am looking forward to what Nikon will give us with the D820 though that may be another year from now. I don’t think it will come with a radically new body though like the D750. If they do that, I will be all over it.

        • Brett A. Wheeler
      • no cropping in my case, sooc compositions 100% times 🙂

    • Matt_XVI

      Totally agreed. The D3S is a ridiculously awesome camera.

    • Will Austin

      Yes, this article should sell a ton of D3s’s!

  • neversink

    I’d like to see it compared to the D4….

    • AnotherView

      D3s results will be better than the D4.

      • neversink

        And what makes you say that? I sold my D3S and purchased the D4 and as far as I can see, D4 beats D3S for noise and IQ….

  • T.I.M

    Great job !
    Now I’m waiting for the D810UV, D810Xray, D810IF (infra-red), D810PL(polarized light), etc…
    Nikon must have too many D810 in stock (it’s not easy to replace a D800 “made in japan” by a more expensive “made in Thailand” D810)

  • Blagoya D.

    On NikonHacker there is already a “Dark Current” fw patch for the D800 that enables this. I’m not into astro photography but I believe this is more fw related than actual light path updates.

  • I’m glad the blog post included samples of daylight shooting, showing us both landscapes and people. It looks like despite Nikon’s claims otherwise, this camera could be totally usable for general purpose shooting.

  • Fly Moon

    Same here. Hmmm. Time to sell and upgrade

  • bgbs

    Well that was a short review. Where are Astro images? How did this review slide through editors and get published without images? The “publish” button must have been clicked accidentally. Just saying.

    • Tharaphita

      Click on the link “on his blog”

      • Jeff Hunter

        And scroll down quite a bit.

    • captaindash

      I hear you. This is like those benchmark tests for computer brains. They don’t always translate into real world results.

  • decisivemoment

    The ISO range on this camera is shifted. There’s a huge improvement in high ISO noise, but base ISO rises from 64 to 200, which — I suspect not coincidentally — is almost exactly the same (1 2/3rd stops) as the improvement in high ISO noise.

    • Andrew

      Theoretically a shift should not occur if the image sensors are the same size and the pixel densities are the same.

      • Tharaphita

        The iso shift came because of less filtering in front of sensor.

        • Andrew

          Which means that the sensor design has been enhanced. That is one possibility that makes a lot of sense. Usually when Nikon says they have a new image sensor, the press doubts them and thinks that it must just be better image processing (with the EXPEED processor and improved algorithms).

          The Press often forms opinions without evidence. Not very scientific is it? But Nikon has obtained patents on new image sensor designs; and the addition of better electronics throughout the entire signal path can make sizable improvements in image quality (IQ).

  • Tharaphita

    Please don’t spread of the videos of internet troll begging for donations. Brett. DXO needs some deeper reading then just headlines they have, and their headlines suck. Thats all.

  • If it weren’t for the base ISO bump from 64 to 200, I’d consider this camera to be a complete D810 replacer, for those who have the extra cash and shoot both landscapes and astro. The red shift in the daytime samples is looking pretty minimal…

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