Nikon D810 Wedding Portrait

It has been a long time coming, but since the wedding season is dwindling down I now have time to put this together.  This is not a technical review, this is just my thoughts based on using the Nikon D810 for weddings and other shoots.

Nikon D810
Nikon D810 w/ Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art
Nikon Wedding Gear D810
My Typical Session Kit, D810, Nikkor 85mm F1.4, Nikkor 17-35mm F2.8, Sigma 35mm F1.4, broken Nikon 50mm F1.8 for freelensing, Nikon SB700, and accessories.

I purchased the D810 to replace my D700 backup and pushed my D800 to my second camera/backup. The reason I love the D810 (and the D800) is the amazing dynamic range.  If you have seen my work, which I am guessing most of you have, is based on colors and contrast.  This camera provides that.

To get this out of the way, the file sizes of both the D810 and the D800 do not bother me, they may be large but I feel that is no problem.  Storage is cheap relative to providing the images I want to provide to my clients.

Nikon D810 Wedding Portrait

Physically there are some changes between the D810 and the D800, the main being the grip.  This slight change has really added a comfort level that makes this camera easier for handling all day.  For my method of shooting a wedding, I use one body all day except during ceremonies where I have two primes (normally a 35mm and a 85mm) on the D810 and D800.  I use these cameras without a grip and with these prime lenses the camera is nicely balanced.   If you were using it with a 70-200 or something similar I would definitely consider putting a grip on to balance the weight.

The shutter on this thing is amazingly quiet.  When I use it side by side with the D800 I am embarrassed on how loud the D800 is.  It is amazing, great for ceremonies and during speeches.  It has got to be one of the quietest shutters around.

Focus on this D810 has been spot on.  Works well in dark receptions and in shooting in direct sunlight.  It can seem a little soft sometimes, mainly due to the enormous resolution highlighting any slight misses, but viewing it at what most people do (8-10 inches or so) you could never tell.  This is not really an issue and my shots are almost always tack sharp.

I shoot with the outside focus points a lot throughout the day and the camera has always come through for me.  Using single point & 3D tracking with AF-C it is spot on.  Which is most important in those key moments.

Nikon D810 Wedding Photograph

Live view has been smoothed out since the D800. So much easier to use.  I still wish it had live exposure preview, but with this resolution getting as smooth as Nikon has, has been very helpful.  I am not a huge live view user only when shooting above my head or low to the ground, and of course when freelensing, but when I do it does it job well.

ISO on the camera has been slightly improved over the D800. It still doesn’t push as high as I would like (like the DF or D4s) but it has been perfect for me in any situation I have met.  I shoot in 3200 or even higher a lot (no more than 6400 normally) and while pushing it too far in LR can cause red banding you just need to be more careful on shooting your exposure.  I do like that the low range has been expanded for shooting in sunlight to ISO 64.

Nikon D810 Wedding Portrait
1/30 sec @ F2.8, ISO 3200

Back to the dynamic range, I am a photographer who exposes for highlights and then brings the shadows back up in lightroom and this camera allows me to shoot dark.  Really dark.  On a sunny day, I shoot in ISO 64 and I can bring back the shadows a full 5 stops and recover all the details.  It is amazing.  This dynamic range gives the color look I love as well.  It is amazing what you can do with these low ISO files.

Out of Camera
Nikon D810 Wedding Portrait
After pushing the exposure +4

The D810 ups the shutter speed from 4 on the D800 to 5 fps.  I still wished it was faster but it is fast enough that I never feel I missed a moment because of the shutter speed.  The only time I really wished it would shoot slightly faster is when doing Brenizer panos but thankfully the buffer is so much better on the D810 than the D800 and it doesn’t fill up while I am shooting them.

Finishing off, the D810 is a great camera to shoot with.  It works for my style and flow very well.  It still could be improved on ISO and speed but for the dyanmic range alone this camera is worth it. With the addition of the D750, which I have not gotten my hands on yet, I think using the D810 with the D750 might be the perfect weapon for weddings especially when trying to pack light.  The only issue is that the D750 controls are not the same as the D810.  The photographs I have been able to produce with the D810 not only have impressed myself, I am sure my clients do agree.  Take a look at a few more examples below.

Nikon D810 Wedding Portrait
Nikon D810 Wedding Portrait
Nikon D810 Wedding Portrait
Nikon D810 Wedding Portrait
Nikon D810 Wedding Portrait
Nikon D810 Wedding Portrait
Nikon D810 Wedding Portrait
Nikon D810 Wedding Portrait