Hands on the D810

This week I got to try my first Nikon. I’ve been hearing how good it is from various sources over the last year, so getting to try this high end model was a pleasure. Or was it?

I was given a quick tutorial on button locations and various menu features so that I wouldn’t need to spend the weekend reading the manual.
The biggest piece of advice was ‘Everything is backwards to Canon’, but really how different could it be?

In addition to the body I was provided with the D810 and three fixed lenses to try for the weekend.

Shown above 35mm, 85mm, and 50mm respectively.

First task Video challenge.
[videojs mp4=”http://davebennett.photography/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/D810-1.mp4″]

Well not impressed, camera was unstable, hard to focus, sound although stereo picked up all kinds of odd distracting elements.

To be fair some issues may be operator.

Ok so no big deal I want a DSLR for stills anyway, let’s move onto image quality… I was a bit discouraged at this point, so I just took pictures from my desk.

51 points of auto-focus, massive ISO, and dynamic range… and this is the image I get.

I’m so glad I didn’t buy this gear and that it’s only a loaner… I’m crushed I have no idea how to get a decent image out of this camera.

When I was told everything was backwards… I should have taken that to heart. My instincts kept kicking in and I would reach for buttons in different locations etc etc. Hard to wrap my mind around new button location. But no matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t get used to using my left hand.
I now understand why less than a 1/3 of photographers use Nikon, they must be left handed, or ambidextrous.

By this time I got a bad case of the Netflix and needed to rest a bit. I read the manual and exercised my left hand in preparation for trying the D810 again.

Starting fresh in the morning I still had no success, images were still out to lunch. Not even going to post them.

It was at this point I decided perhaps it was the lenses?

So I grabbed one of my personal lenses, I heard wide angle was better for video,
and fortunately I had my 10-22mm on hand.


With a bit of effort it clicked nicely into place.
The auto-focus doesn’t seem to work now, but didn’t expect it to, regardless I was able to get some good images, and quick sample video looked promising.

Fortunately I got this all sorted before my planned shoot.

I know we got a new underwater camera, but I couldn’t remember if the D810 was that camera. It looked fairly robust to me but as a precaution I filmed the next video through a Ziplock bag* as my Canon lens isn’t fully weather sealed.

[videojs mp4=”http://video-js.zencoder.com/oceans-clip.mp4″]

So it turned out it was the lenses that were the issue, the Nikon D810 did extremely well with video and a Canon lens*. It’s a good thing as well… as the next person to use the kit will find my lens still attached (I couldn’t get it back off). Travel and edit time for the video ate up to much time, so next time I’ll see if I can get some better images to post.

*Disclaimer, personal results may vary, I do not suggest or endorse the use of a Canon lens on a Nikon body, and obviously one Ziplock is not enough to protect your camera for underwater filming. Two minimum, but again I do not recommend you try test that as you will likely destroy your camera. I accept no responsibility for your actions.

If you have a tip you’d like to cover next week drop me a line.