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Nikon D810, a super quiet powerhouse!

Sssshhhh, what was that? There it goes again, like a feint muffled click. That my friends, will be the beautifully quiet shutter on the Nikon D810, the highly anticipated replacement to the ground breaking D800/E.

Update: May 2017
Since picking up the D810 when it was first released, I’ve shot with it almost exclusively and actually added a second to my camera bag. Only more recently did I also add a D500 as a secondary body, but still favour the higher resolution sensor for the majority of my work. Beyond the original post below, I’ve been hugely impressed with the camera over the last few years and have taken some of my favourite images with it, including 90% of my Back Garden Safari photos.

Update: September 2017
The successor to the D810, the D850, now sits pride of place in my camera bag. A successor in every way. You can read my full review of the D850 here. Or, carry on reading my thoughts on why I also loved its predecessor so much.

Back to the D810 review…
Printed images look stunning and that includes at sizes of 8 feet tall. There’s no doubting it’s been a true workhouse and, when the time comes, I look forward to replacing it with whatever is next in evolution of the the high resolution lineup! The D810 also features in the cameras that shaped my photography. A look at my favourite models that I’ve shot with and used over the years, from the D100 onwards.

The D810: without doubt the best camera I've ever owned.Click To Tweet

Back to the original post…
I’ve barely had time to do much beyond aim it in to my back garden but initial thoughts are very positive. If you’re a D800 owner it’s probably a more tempting upgrade than if you’re a D800E owner, due to the lack of an optical low pass filter. However, either way, there is no denying the very quiet shutter (especially when compared to the joke that was ‘Quiet Mode’ on the older camera’s), double capacity buffer and slightly increased frame rate make this a very appealing upgrade for wild photographers who were already using one of the predecessors. My own D4 became my back up camera long ago for all but situations that require the very fastest speed and now, I fear it’s one step closer to being retired permanently (but it’ll be a sad day if it does come).

Nikon D810, 600VR, 1/640, f5.6, ISO 560

Nikon D810, 600VR, 1/640, f5.6, ISO 560

I’ve also had a brief run in with the fox that visits the garden from time to time. I’ve tried to photograph this skittish fellow (it’s not a city fox) with my D4 and the D800, both of which scared him off at speed as soon as the shutter fired. With the D810, he glanced over once or twice then had a good scratch before casually strolling off.

D810, 600VR, 1/200, f4, ISO 6400

D810, 600VR, 1/200, f4, ISO 6400

It was also a good first experience of the higher end of the native ISO range, being at 6400. It held up pretty well – although I won’t feel 100% happy processing images until I can settle back in to my Lightroom workflow!

Of course, initially it’s not all good. Early adopters are stuck with the usual lack of Lightroom support however Adobe has provided a release candidate for ACR 8.6 which will give D810 RAW files compatibility with Photoshop CC. More of a puzzle is what appears to be the decision from Nikon to not make the D810 compatible with USH-II SD cards, you know, the crazy fast ones that currently top out at 280mb/s. If that is the case it’s a missed opportunity! I could be wrong, but I can’t for the life of me see the extra row of contacts required in the SD card slot that would be required.

The Nikon D810, a silent powerhouse

The Nikon D810, a silent powerhouse

But other than, it’s all good. Very good. I expect the net will be flooded with early adopter reviews soon for everyone to feast their eyes over but for now, I’m going to get on with enjoying using mine for a bit. So this sadly isn’t a review, just a quick first impression and rather than a ton of sample images you’re stuck with just one. But the important thing is, I like what I see, and I like it a lot!


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About the author

Richard Peters is a Surrey based professional wildlife photographer, Nikon Ambassador, and one of the few British photographers to receive the accolade of European Wildlife Photographer of the Year. He is known for a style that often favours dramatic use of light, runs wildlife photography workshops and, from camera clubs to big industry events, holds talks about his work.

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