The D810A could be the best low light/high ISO DSLR camera Nikon has ever made *UPDATED*

Nikon D810a DSLR camera for astrophotography 1
I received this from a reader - two striking findings about the Nikon D810A camera:

1) It *IS* appropriate for general use photography, indoors or outdoors.  There is not an obvious color cast, at least not one that is as pronounced as the coloration differences that occur when you change from say a Zeiss lens to a Sigma or Nikon lens.

2) This might be the best low-light/high ISO DSLR Nikon has ever made - see the attached screenshots and linked RAW files comparing the D810A with the D810 (both taken with the Sigma 50/1.4 Art @ 1/200, f/2.8, 9000 ISO):

Update: sorry, one of the photos was taken with NR on which could explain the difference in ISO performance.

Nikon D810 sample (NEF download link):

Nikon D810 high ISO test
Nikon D810A sample (NEF download link):

Nikon D810A high ISO test
Here are the current top 3 low light/high ISO cameras according to DxOMark:

best low light camera
The Nikon D810A is currently in stock at Adorama, Amazon and Jessops (UK).

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  • neonspark

    I didn’t see as much of the red tint many people here were freaking out even without ever shooting the camera. It seems yet again, internet hysteria and stupid internet rolls were out in force. While the reviews do show some strange colors in some images, to be honest, it was far from the doomsday scenario many described as shooting with an IR camera.
    freaking trolls.

  • Sorry, but if I am comparing the two images, I see software de-noising algorithms working on the second one (810A). See sharpness and edges…

    • Spy Black

      The autofocus system focusing on a different location. It is focusing to the rear on the D810 shot, and to the front on the D810A shot. Remember, it’s a50mm f/1.4 lens, wide open.

      • If you are right, than the comparision has no sense… I will wait for official measurements. But, anyway, I do not care, I am using D750 😉

        • BrainBeat

          I have a 750 too and can’t see how a camera with more MP can compete with it unless there has be more improvements in the sensor.

          That said I am sure it is a great camera for what it is designed for.

          • a 36MP sensor can’t compete against a 24MP sensor if both are zoomed in to 100% and presented side by side.

            But if you resize that 36MP image down to 24MP, (or print out both images on the same size paper) and look at them side by side, then the 36MP will have the advantage – noise cancels itself out while signal remains.

            This is how Dxo does it’s tests.

            • I did not compare 810 vs. 750. I talked about comparison 810 vs 810A. And finally I said, that I do not care about these results, because I have D750

          • true

            you have to remember that D810a isn’t ordinary 36mp camera. it picks more spectrums of information?

          • I did not compare 810 vs. 750. I talked about comparison 810 vs 810A. And finally I said, that I do not care about results, because I have D750

      • Max

        not wide open. F2.8

        • Spy Black

          Oops, you’re correct. Still opened enough to make a depth of field difference however.

  • Josh

    Noise reduction was on on the 810A.

    • aah, did not check that – I guess this is an invalid test

      • neversink

        Hi Peter – I believe the headline needs to be changed so it is not misleading.
        How about something like “A Spurious and Flawed Test Does Not Prove that the D810A ….(etc, etc, etc.)”

    • I think the same. Spy Black is arguing, that there are different focus points – it is supposedly focusing to the rear on the D810 shot, and to the front on the D810A shot. I do not know… I think, that the de-noising algorithm is running on the second shot.

      • Spy Black

        I’m merely going by what I see in these images relative to your initial comment. I don’t know anything more about them.

        • Read Citizen Kang post below…

        • neversink

          Time for a little humility and admit that your first comment and conclusions were wrong. You can do it. It will set you free. 🙂

          • Spy Black

            Maybe you should read the comments again.

            • neversink

              My comment was strictly humorous… I understand your comments… No worries….

    • markdstump

      Where do you see that?
      I believe it…someone else is saying it too,

      But Flickr and the page above didn’t show me enough EXIF data.

  • Citizen Kang

    I believe these images came from the same DPReview thread I was reading last night ( The D810A was found to have the noise reduction turned on and the D810 was found to have the noise reduction turned off. In other words, it wasn’t a valid test. I’m not saying the D810A isn’t remarkable in low light, but this test shouldn’t be used to verify it’s noise levels at high ISO because of the flawed test.

  • This is hardly surprising. The D810A’s native ISO is 200, vs ISO64 for the D810, so you’re getting a 1.5 stop advantage at any given ISO (i.e. the D810A is effectively set 1.5 stops less sensitive than the D810.

    • neversink

      I’m trying to understand your reasoning. What makes you think that ISO 200 on the D810A is equal to ISO 64 on the D8810. It is absolutely NOT. The D810A was designed for astro-photography and therefore no need to have a “brighter” ISO on it. ISO 200 on the D810A is the same light sensitivity as ISO 200 on the D810 or on any other camera.
      Your theory is wrong as well as your conclusion.

      • The D810A lets more light through to its sensor giving it an effective higher base ISO — this is hardly controversial, it’s in the camera’s specs.

        The base “ISO” of a sensor simply reflects the level of exposure that will produce the optimal distribution of sensel data for a given scene. In film terms, all sensors have a base (real) ISO but can be pushed above and below it when processing the sensor data.

  • Ric

    Df BABY! All you haters out there. 🙂

    • Elvir Redzepovic

      Great sensor, ergonomics and design are a effing JOKE. Did you pay for that monstrosity willingly ? Why would you do that to your self ?

      • Ric

        Because I liked it.

        • Elvir Redzepovic

          People “like” Britney Spears as well, but her music is still garbage.

          • Ric

            so is Kraftwerk.

            So what?

      • HF

        I love the ergonomics.

      • Max

        I don’t have it, but i like it. It feels great.

    • Elvir Redzepovic

      Great sensor, ergonomics and design are a effing JOKE. Did you pay for that monstrosity willingly ? Why would you do that to your self ?

    • Brett A. Wheeler


      • Ric


    • neversink

      There is absolutely no way that the Df can be better in low light than the D4, given that they both have the exact same sensor. So much for completely trusting the DxO tests

      • Will

        there’s sample variation in the sensors of course, the likely possibility is that the particular sensor in the DF tested by DXO is marginally better than the D4 sample they had

        This does not represent all the DFs and D4’s on the market

      • Ric

        DXO says it is so it must be true.

        “What difference does it make?” H. Clinton.

  • Open both NEF files in RPP and compare the results… they certainly don’t show the same results as above.

    • bgbs

      What do they show?

        • Spy Black

          Noise aside, the acuity of the images is pretty impressive. There does appear to be ever so slight better chroma noise in the D810A, but certainly nothing to write home about.

          It’s amazing however how great modern sensors can work with just a little post processing.

          • I’m not an expert, but I guess that the differences are likely due to the colour sensitivity of the cameras under this lighting condition… Would tungsten lighting not favour the D810A over the other?

            • Spy Black

              Hard to say.

      • It seems my reply with a screenshot comparison was removed…

  • saywhatuwill

    I want!

  • markdstump


  • Louis-Félix Grondin

    Would there be any problem using the D810A for “normal-everyday” photography?

    • neonspark

      Based on what I’ve seen, if you don’t need to ensure that the color and tones remain as “traditional” as possible, then it should be quite usable. You can probably correct most of it in post if you need to. What interested me was the camera’s ability to capture data that more traditional bodies like the 810 cannot. I’m looking forward to seeing how the landscape crowd explores it for daytime scenes. I’ve already seen some really cool looking sky images where atmospheric phenomena light up way stronger in the 810A. Example: sun halos. I’m sure we’ll see what else.

    • MiniFanatic

      If there is any issue, it’d be quickly remedied by using a decent UV+IR cut filter. (No IR-cut-only filter exists.)

  • Stve

    Not liking the current DXO Mark site so I did some digging & the link to list view is

  • HF

    When the D810A came out, many people ridiculed it and made fun of Nikon. Wrote, it is unusable for normal shooting. Now that some people tested and tried it out, they see that they can get very good results out of it. Why not first wait before judging so fast? It may be a speciality camera, but the feedback is better than expected.

    • Ric

      just like the Df.

  • Aldo

    It’s pretty obvious the images from the A are softer? I didn’t have to look very hard to notice.

    • neversink

      Yes, that is because of the noise reduction. I wonder if there was any other post processing like sharpening that occurred. Anyway, this test is flawed.

  • Meh. If D810 high ISO files are better without ANY NR or post, I will buy it. Otherwise, my D3s is (arguably) still the best ISO performer out there. (Yes, I have tried a D4s. JUNK)

    • JJ168

      If you do not need to upgrade, it is completely fine. But why need to bad mouth other options. No one is asking for your justification for your choice.

    • neversink

      Sorry – I traded in my D3s for the D4 and never looked back. Much, much better in low light than the D3s, but the D3s was no slouch. However, keep the D3s if you wish, but I am glad I upgraded. Ciao.

    • captaindash

      You have tried the D4s, and you’ve tried comment hyperbole as well.

  • هاني كريم

    I think the good lens can change everything in our shoots

    I shoot with D810 & 810A
    I think nothing to lose more money in Cam instead of new lens

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