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Thoughts on Nikon D810

Pre-order the Nikon D810 at B&H Photo.

Some of my thoughts were captured yesterday in the Nikon D810 announcement with commentary.

The lack of an EVF option is a gross tactical and strategic error, because it is the EVF that can bridge the gap to mirrorless! Seen in that light, it’s borderline suicidal in today’s camera market, what with Sony encroaching fast. The EVF makes a DSLR into a larger mirrorless-like camera, which is half the battle. Mirrorless is about size (sure), but it’s also about the EVF and its many benefits.

See Why an Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) is Not Optional, and Not Sufficient Either and Old Geezers Need an EVF: the Rear LCD and Presbyopia are a Bad Combination For Aging Eyes. The EVF solves so many issues that an optical viewfinder does not that its omission is a big let down.

I am hoping that the D810 is the end of the line in the sense that all future DSLRs from Nikon (and Canon) will have an EVF option. At some point (end of 2014), it’s beyond stupid to not offer this valuable feature.

Regarding image quality, a true 14-bit file with excellent electronics means that the game is all about lenses for the D810, notwithstanding Nikon’s hyperbole about amazing NIKKOR lenses (hint to Nikon: buy Sigma).

Nikon NIKKOR lenses are certainly very good (some are excellent), but all ƒ/1.4 Nikon lenses have relatively low micro contrast, which impairs autofocus accuracy (or focus by eye), regardless of how good the AF system is. Which is why I am looking forward to seeing how the Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon benefits from a better sensor and (presumably) better sensor cover glass design. And also the autofocus Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A, due soon.

The D800E has always been a workhorse camera for me, so a D810 that raises its game in several key respects is welcome. Proven design proven results. But it’s far from enough to stave off the onslaught of mirrorless cameras; Nikon (or Canon) cannot afford to see market share eaten away steadily.

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