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Nikon Announces Its New Flagship DSLR: the D810

5D Mark III Competitor Adds 60p HD, External Recording via HDMI to Video Feature Set

Nikon has upped its DSLR game with the new D810, which improves on the previous D800 and D800E with a new 36 megapixel (7360×4912) full-frame sensor that eliminates low-pass filtering to increase effective picture resolution. The camera's new image-processing engine is designed to reduce moiré and other color artifacts, increase noise-reduction, and broaden the camera's ISO range from 64 to 12,800.

Nikon has been less aggressive than Canon in catering to the professional videographer, but it is paying attention, and this 5D Mark III competitor includes some new features that will make it more usable when shooting 1080p HD video. Chief among them is the addition of a 60p recording mode, including the ability to output uncompressed 60p to an external recorder via HDMI while recording to memory cards. Also new are exposure-smoothing for time-lapse, zebra pattern display in live view, and a built-in stereo mic (as well as an external mic input). Maximum video recording time is 20 minutes at the highest quality, or 29 minutes, 59 seconds at normal quality. 

The main thing the D810 does not provide pro shooters is 4K acquisition, a la Canon's EOS-1D C or competing mirrorless cameras (Panasonic's Lumix GH4 and Sony's a7s). As a direct competitor to Canon's 5D Mark III, which also shoots video in HD resolution, maybe it doesn't need to. The D810 is designed first and foremost as an exceptional stills camera, with video a welcome sideline.

Here's a short film provided by Nikon that showcases the D810's video capabilities with a few different shooting styles.

The D810 is expected to ship later this month with an SRP of $3299.95 for the camera body alone.

Additionally, Nikon is offering two special kits. The Filmmaker's Kit ($4,999.95, a $993 savings over retail pricing) throws in three Nikkor f/1.8G lenses (35mm, 50mm, and 85mm), two additional EN-EL15 batteries, an ME-1 external stereo mic, an Atomos Ninja-2 for recording via HDMI, and 67mm and 58mm Tiffen eight-stop variable ND filters. And the Animator's kit ($3,995.95, a $750 savings), aimed at stop-motion animators, includes one AF-S Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 ED VR lens, the EH-5b power adapter, and the EP5B power supply connector, as well as stop-motion software and a USB keypad controller from Dragonframe.

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