D810; everything I'd hoped the D800 to be

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mgblack74
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D810; everything I'd hoped the D800 to be
3 months ago

I'll cut to the chase. The D810 is quite possibly the finest camera I've ever used.

Some history:
I was an early adopter of the D800. When it was announced I told my local dealer to put me on the preorder list. 200 people made their pre-orders at this store in Toronto and only 8 bodies arrived in the first batch. I got one of them. I also got the gremlins that came with the early units.

It taught me a lot about how I shoot. Coming from a D700 and using it along side a D3s, at the time, I quickly saw what changes I needed to make to my technique. As easy and "gets out of your way" as the D3s was, the D800 took some forethought. But even with it's gremlins and idiosyncrasies I was floored by the output. It took more effort to shoot with it, but the output was worth it.

But, I could never trust it. Could never trust that where I placed the AF point is where AF would be attained. All my lenses were at least +10 or more in AF fine tune. My 58 was unusable simply because I likely needed +23 and had no more room to adjust it. This was part of the slow down, and I had to work around it. I don't mind work arounds. As long as gremlins are consistent and predictable, I can work around them.

My D800 had been to Nikon HQ a few times to resolve AF. A new mount, micro shim, re-alignment of AF sensor, firmware made it better but not D3s perfect.

Queue the D810 rumours and subsequent announcement. I was intrigued and decided to wait for early reports from users. For me, the studio and real world samples were irrelevant. I knew what the 36mp sensor is capable of. Even if ISO stayed the same, it's damn fine up to 3200. And still good beyond. I started digital with a D80 where ISO 1250 was sketchy at best. So, with confidence, I can say the D800 is excellent at high ISO. I wasn't going to be concerned with the D810.

So, yesterday, I traded in my D800 for a D810. The host of small changes equaling a sum of a better, more refined package, was enough for me to pull the trigger. And it is quite possibly the finest camera I've ever used. Compared to /my/ D800, it's just so easy to use now. AF is dead on, and more confident. The grip more comfortable, the shutter is shockingly quiet even before quiet mode (and I'm one that likes a good shutter sound as part of the shooting experience), I've learned from my D4s how incredible group AF is and I have it again in D810. The work around of selecting quiet mode on the D800 to ensure a crisp shot (to reduce mirror slap induced blur) when conditions called for 1/60 shutter speed, or so, is... gone. The new secret sauce in the mirror/shutter is amazing.

The D810's refinement just makes an easier and more sophisticated camera to use. My decision to upgrade was purely on usability (refreshed warranty and tax write off were side benefits ). I hear and read that the D800 gremlins were ironed out at the factory level and unaffected users may have a different experience and may not find the upgrade necessary. But in mine it's very welcome. This feels now like a truer D700 lineage to me. The D8#0 line remains the king of flexibility. The D800 gave me incredible images. Now I have something more reliable and with a greater range.
--
"You're guaranteed to miss 100% of the shots you don't take" - Wayne Gretzky
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 mgblack74's gear list:mgblack74's gear list
Nikon D810 Nikon D750 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Nikon PC-E Nikkor 45mm f/2.8D ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G +7 more
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