Nikon's D810, which has been designated by its manufacturer as a replacement model for both the D800 and D800E, both of which was announced in early 2012, is now hitting stores. With this camera, Nikon essentially combines the previous two, one of which had a low pass filter (D800) and the other had the effect of the filter canceled out (D800E) as a way to boost image detail.
So, what of the new camera?
If there's a headline feature with the D810, it's the absence of the optical low-pass filter. What is a low-pass filter, also known as an anti-aliasing filter? Long story short: the filter helps reduce artifacts like jagged edges on lines and false color moire in the image, but at the cost of fine details, and essentially resolution. On the other hand, by eliminating the filter, image sharpness (and effectively resolution) in increased but the photographer has to remove any artifacts in post-processing. By removing the filter from the D810, Nikon is aiming squarely at the professional segment of the market, where the thought of losing any image detail is unacceptable and post-processing is seen as just another part of the picture taking process. By looking at the way the D800E sold, there's clearly a market for such a camera.
Moving onto other features, the differences aren't all that great.
The D810 also gains the Expeed 4 processor found in the D4/D4s, which allows for faster processing (and an increased frame rate of 5 vs. 4fps) and, according to Nikon, better image quality. Additionally, the D810 has expanded ISO settings, with a (not surprising) extra stop on the high end that boosts the ceiling to ISO 51,200 but, as a surprise, extra low settings of ISO 64 as native and ISO 32 as a low base setting that can be set in the custom options. Additionally, the D810 has 6 (vs. 5) custom white balance settings.
On the video end of things, there are some refinements that a serious video shooter should appreciate. These features include a 60fps (vs. 30) frame rate in full HD video mode, a stereo microphone, and the ability to stream uncompressed video to an external monitor via HDMI while simultaneously recording to the memory card.
These upgrades aside, the D810 is virtually the same as the D800/D800E.
According to Nikon, the D810 will hit stores in July and will cost $3300 for the body-only option Additionally, Nikon plans to offer a pair of kits at yet unannounced prices. First kit: the D810 bundled with the f1.8 versions of the 35, 50, and 85mm lenses along with 2 extra batteries, a microphone, an external recorder, and neutral density filters. This kit is designed for videographers. The second option is designed for stop-motion photographers and includes the 105mm f/2.8G ED VR Micro lens, AC adapter, a power supply connector, and Dragonframe Stop Motion Software plus Dragonframe USB Keypad Controller.
Hint: preorder yours now before the 'line' gets too long!