Nikon D810 Performance


Timing and Performance

Good performance for its class, with improved burst modes.

Startup/Play to Record

Power on
to first shot

~0.5 second

Time it takes for camera to turn on.

Play to Record,
first shot

~0.8 second

Time until first shot is captured.

Startup including taking a shot was fast, but Play to Record and taking a shot was oddly a bit slower. Still pretty fast, though. (See below for buffer clearing.)

 

Shutter Response (Lag Time)
Optical Viewfinder

Full Autofocus
Single Point
(Center) AF

0.212 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture using optical viewfinder. All timing performed with a Nikkor AF-S 60mm f/2.8 Micro lens.

Full Autofocus
Single Area AF, Flash enabled

0.235 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture. Auto Flash enabled.

Full Autofocus
51-point Auto Area

0.302 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture using optical viewfinder.

Manual focus

0.056 second

For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused".

Prefocused

0.054 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

Live View

Full Autofocus

0.875 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing shutter button, waiting for focus confirmation, then fully pressing shutter button in Live View mode.

Prefocused

0.158 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button in Live View mode.

In terms of the Nikon D810's ability to determine that it's properly focused when shooting the same target multiple times (with no change of focus setting between iteration, to remove the impact of lens AF speed), its speed was good for an enthusiast model and very similar to the D800/D800E, but a little slow compared to professional models. The D810's AF shutter lag measured 0.212 second using single-area (center) AF mode, 0.235 second with flash enabled, and 51-point Auto Area AF lag measured 0.302 second. Some consumer DSLRs are actually faster in this test.

Manual focus lag was 56 milliseconds, a bit slower than the D800's 44ms. When prefocused, shutter lag was only 54 milliseconds, which is very good though again a bit slower than the D800/D800E's 43ms.

As expected, the Nikon D810's Live View mode adds considerable AF shutter lag, though it tested quite a bit faster than the D800/D800E. We measured 0.875 second for full autofocus lag, compared to 1.735 seconds for the D800/D800E.

Once prefocused, shutter lag in Live View mode was 0.158 second, also faster than the D800/D800E's 0.184 second, which is pretty good but still quite a bit slower than using the optical viewfinder.

To minimize the effect of different lens' focusing speed, we test AF-active shutter lag with the lens already set to the correct focal distance.

 

Cycle Time (shot to shot)

Single Shot mode
Large/Fine JPEG

< 0.3 second

Time per shot, averaged over a few frames (we no longer test for buffer depths in single-shot mode).

Single Shot mode
RAW + L/F JPEG

< 0.3 second

Time per shot, averaged over a few frames (we no longer test for buffer depths in single-shot mode).

Early shutter
penalty?

No

Some cameras don't snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous Hi mode
Large Fine JPEG
(Optimal quality)

0.20 second
(5.09 frames/sec);
57 frames total;
12 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 57 shots, then slowed to an average of 0.39s or 2.54 fps with a full buffer, but with a lot of variation.

Continuous Hi mode
14-bit RAW (Lossless compressed)

0.20 second
(5.09 frames/sec);
23 frames total;
10 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 23 shot buffer, then slowed to an average of 0.54s or 1.84 fps with a full buffer.

Continuous Hi mode
14-bit RAW (Lossless) + L/F JPEG

0.20 second
(5.03 frames/sec);
18 frames total;
14 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 18 shot buffer, then slowed to an average of 0.92s or 1.09 fps with a full buffer.

Continuous Hi
DX Crop Mode
15.4MP JPEG
(Optimal quality)

0.17 second
(6.06 frames/sec);
100 frames total;
3 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over set buffer length of 100 shots.

Continuous Hi
DX Crop Mode
15.4MP 14-bit RAW (Lossless compressed)

0.16 second
(6.12 frames/sec);
57 frames total;
7 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 57 shot buffer, then slowed to an average of 0.27s or 3.68 fps with a full buffer.

Continuous Hi
DX Crop Mode
15.4MP 14-bit RAW (Lossless) + L/F JPEG

0.16 second
(6.12 frames/sec);
31 frames total;
10 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 31 shot buffer, then slowed to an average of 0.42s or 2.38 fps when buffer was full, with a lot of variation.

Flash recycling

2.2 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 128GB 100MB/s UDMA 7 CompactFlash card except where otherwise noted. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Single-shot cycle times were so fast that they were difficult to accurately measure as they depend on the tester's dexterity and ability to maintain an optimum rhythm, so your results may vary. (Note that we no longer test single-shot mode with just RAW files, as the results are usually somewhere in between JPEG and RAW+JPEG.)

Continuous Hi burst mode has improved over the D800/D800E. We measured just over five frames per second, compared to 4 fps for the D800/D800E. In DX Crop mode which captures 15.4MP images, frame rate increased from almost 5 frames per second from the D800/D800E to just over 6 fps. According to Nikon, DX Crop mode performance can be increased up to 7 frames per second when using the optional MB-D12 Multi-Power Battery Pack equipped with AA batteries, however we did not confirm that.

Buffer depths have also improved over its predecessor. We captured 57 versus 54 Large/Fine JPEG frames before the camera started to slow, and that's with a difficult-to-compress target. You'll likely do much better with typical scenes. In 14-bit lossless compressed RAW mode, we captured 23 versus 18 frames per burst, and with 14-bit lossless RAW + Large/Fine JPEGs we captured 18 versus 14 frames. (Switching to 12-bit lossless RAW increased buffer depths to 36 for RAW and 25 for RAW+JPEG.) In DX Crop mode, buffer depths also improved over the D800/D800E.

Buffer clearing was pretty fast given the file sizes, but can be lengthy. We measured 12 seconds after 57 JPEG frames to 14 seconds after a 18 RAW+JPEG burst, versus 9 and 20 seconds for the D800/D800E respectively, but keep in mind the latter's slower burst mode and shallower buffers.


Bottom line, the Nikon D810 is pretty fast in most respects for its class, with noticeably improved burst mode performance over its predecessor, though AF speeds are still a bit slow compared to pro models.

Battery

Battery Life

Excellent battery life.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Lithium-ion rechargeable battery,
(CIPA standard, Optical Viewfinder)
1,200
Lithium-ion rechargeable battery,
(CIPA standard, Live View LCD)
Unknown

The Nikon D810 uses a custom rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack for power, and comes with both a single battery and charger. The CIPA-rated 1,200 shots per charge using the optical viewfinder is excellent for its class, and a significant improvement over the 900 shots per charge from its predecessor. Unfortunately, Nikon does not seem to publish battery life results for when Live View mode is used, but it's a safe bet that it's considerably shorter.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of on fully-charged battery, based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

 



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