Nikon has spoken, and the world has listened. Kind of. Say hello to the Nikon D810: Everything the D800 was meant to be. And good luck selling that old D800. You'll need it.
In general, people aren't freaking out about the D810. It's a great camera, but I think most look at it with an "it's about time" mentality. It's basically the camera we expected the D800 to be.
I think the D810 deserves a little more recognition though. This is the first time we've had the chance to buy a D800 series camera without having to worry about sensor malfunctions, nauseating white balance, green tinted screens, etc. Sure, Nikon fixed the early problems, but not before releasing thousands of bad apples into the world. Some of those bad apples are still floating around out there (i.e. eBay). Don't do it!
I didn't buy a D800 or D800e. They're great cameras, but something was off. The technology was there, but it was weak. I decided to wait for Nikon to sweep up its mess and try again. No way I was taking a $3,000 chance on a jacked up camera. Even if I picked up a solid version, there's still that disappointment of knowing the camera was part of a shabby line released when Nikon was more concerned with winning the megapixel race than they were with quality control. Nikon D800: Bandaid Edition! Enticing? I'm all about some resolution, but not at the expense of quality. Kind of defeats the purpose.
At least these flaws were unintentional. I wish I could say the same for everything else wrong with the original D800. Ever heard of an OLP filter? Also known as anti-aliasing filters, the OLP filter is a barrier installed in many digital cameras to prevent or reduce moire. Moire, for those who aren't familiar with the term, is that annoying patch of wavy lines that often occur on highly detailed surfaces in photos.
The OLP filter essentially blurs your photograph. It's installed to lessen moire by blurring finite details before the image hits the sensor. Not all cameras have it, but the D800 does. So tell me, why would I purchase a 36mp camera that can't record 36mp worth of resolution? I wouldn't.
That's where the D800e comes in. I wouldn't say it's a bad camera, but it's definitely a brain fart. The D800e was released for those who didn't want an OLP filter. But! Instead of removing the it, they installed yet another filter. The second filter was introduced to counteract the effects of the original filter. Yes, you understand correctly. Yes, it is ridiculous. So, if you own a D800e, your camera has an anti-anti-aliasing filter. Your camera is a double negative.
"So what do I do if my camera is a double negative?!" Nothing. Nobody cares. It doesn't hurt anything. It's just pointless. Nikon installed a filter in a camera that does absolutely nothing. It's about as useful as this thing:
Lets face it, it was probably cheaper/easier to add a second layer to the D800's OLP filter than to build a whole new filter-free line of cameras. Not exactly a power move. It screams "poor decision making."
Keep in mind, I'm not comparing the D800 to other full-frame cameras. Most of them are inferior. I'm comparing it to what it could have been and what the D810 actually is. Even with the OLP filter and the quirky white balance, the D800 destroys the competition in both resolution and dynamic range. The latter of which I find to be most important. Megapixels are great, but dynamic range… thats where digital starts closing in on film.
The D800 series is one of the biggest steps in digital photography. It's basically medium format quality in a small camera for a fraction of the price. Below is a side-by-side image comparison between a D800 and a Hasselblad H4D. Even with the OLP filter, I'm seeing more detail in D800 shot. That's insane. The Hasselblad is a $14,000 camera. $11,000 more than the camera that just buried it. Now imagine what the D810 could do. No OLP filter. Lower ISO. Better processor. Higher in protein. The D810 would kill the H4D. Thank you, Nikon. You are a gentleman and a badass.
If you own a D800, is it time to upgrade? Yes. That OLP filter has got to go! It's a great camera, but that filter does kill the detail. Noticeably. Should D800e owners upgrade? Probably not. You're camera may be a double negative, but it's still a beast.
So, who is this camera for? Probably easier to first mention who it's not for. This camera is not for the sports photographer. It's not super fast. The files are huge. The battery life is average.
The Nikon D810 is the perfect landscape camera. It's also great for wedding photography, portraits, street photography and pretty much everything else. Will meet your needs? Yes. Will is blow your mind? Yes, and your and it'll blow your mind. See?
Is it better than the D600 and D610? Yes. Is it better than the Canon 5D Mark III? Yes. Is it better than Canon, the entire company? I'm kidding! But, yes it's better. Is it better than your dog? Yes. I sold mine to buy it. Thanks for reading and keep shooting!
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