Not sure about my D810 IQ

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by justin_matsen, Apr 22, 2016.

  1. I recently purchased a Nikon D810 and I have been using previously the D7100 D300 and D200
    cameras. I don't think the image quality on the D810 looks very impressive compared to my previous
    cameras. I'm not sure how to even put my finger on the problem but when I take images they seem to
    come out flatter, not all that sharp, and not very colourful as I would expect from using a Nikon high-
    quality lenses. I'm using lenses such as the 14-24 millimeter and the 24 - 70 millimeter f/2.8 vrii lens in
    addition to other lenses like the 35 millimeter F 1.4. It just seems the image is flatter and not as
    colorful or contrasty as I would expect or am used to. And I'm not sure where to turn at this point
    because I don't know if it's the camera, or a setting, or the post processing that might be the problem. I
    wondered if anybody has advice on this and could point me to the direction that I maybe should be
    looking to try to get better images with the D810.
  2. I own a D810, previously D700 and think I may have two suggestions for you: First, as the pixel dimensions on the D810 are a lot smaller than the D700, care must be taken to use an appropriate shutter speed (higher) or mount on a tripod for less camera shake. Second, look into checking the micro focus calibration of all your lenses. Instructions are in the user's Manual or you can query online to find out how to accomplish this. Good luck!
  3. Justin, I recommend finding some photos to illustrate your dissatisfaction. Don't get me wrong, this forum loves to speculate. But you will probably get better advice if we can see examples you like from your old cameras and ones you don't like from the D810.
  4. Are we looking at jpg images from the camera or nef images developed via a sw in a pc?
    If jpg: then the simplest suggestion is to check Picture Control settings in the camera. Jpgs are ready made in the camera according to the selected Picture Control settings.
    A test: Take a couple of test shots changing Picture Control settings in the camera from flat to standard to vivid. Move images to the computer and see them via e.g. CNX-i. You see immediately how those settings effect. Additionally you can see what settings has been used for each image.
    If nef: Camera picture control settings are understood and supported by at least(only) in Nikon image programs CNX-i and CNX-d to guide rendering the image content. If you are using non-Nikon image sw, then you have to set input/development parameters correctly there (for nefs).
    With nefs you are able to change image processing settings later at will. Just change the used Picture Control in the CNX-d and see the effect.
    You might want to download one or both of the mentioned free sw tools (Nikon site) for testing purposes.
    I used to wonder the same thing after switching to digital. It turned out that the laptop display was not quite up to the task - flat colors, a bit low contrast.
  5. For me I experienced the same thing regarding flatness - the sensors in the D8XX models have such high DR that the default images are rather flat looking. But with some standard post processing they become alive and even better than my previous cameras (D700, D300, D80) by a wide margin.
    Now 36MP demand a lot of a lens, AF system, and camera operator if you are inspecting the your images at 100% viewing. After a while with my D800 I was able to eek out excellent sharpness from my lenses that were capable of it and those that were marginal at 12MP became even more marginal at 36MP.
  6. I guess I left out some things. My monitor is calibrated, I use Nikon Capture and View with PhotoShop
    CC (6). I always process .NEFs, but do also capture jpeg for speed of sorting. I will try to upload some
  7. I'm not sure about the latest version of Adobe ACR, but most RAW processors automatically apply the same tone curve, sharpening, WB, saturation, etc. as is set for the JPEGs. So I suspect all you have to do Justin, is choose a picture control setting in the camera that's more to your liking. At least it should cut down on the amount of post-processing you have to do.
    The RAW you see on screen isn't really "raw". It's had a tone-curve applied to at least bring it into line with whatever default colour space has been chosen. So that's another thing to look at. Files designated as AdobeRGB or Nikon RGB will look less saturated than those for sRGB, and if you choose the Prophoto colour space then it'll look flat and desaturated on any real life display device.
  8. Nikon capture nx2 will not process a D810 Nef. You need to use Nikon capture nx-d. Assuming you are using nxD, I
    second the suggestion to AF fine tune all of your lenses as that step is a necessity if your images are not super sharp in
    your browser. The next thing to do is use a tripod, mirror lock up, etc to do further testing. I now use higher shutter speeds
    on my d 810 than my d 700.

  9. "It just seems the image is flatter and not as colorful or contrasty as I would expect or am used to. "

    This has to do with your picture control settings and is easy to adjust.

    As far as sharpness goes, if your lenses were sharp before on your older bodies, they should be just as sharp on your D810 - the AF may need manual adjustment for each lens, again easy to do...
  10. It took me about three months to begin getting photos I liked with the D800E. The difference between what I was getting with D7100 and D800E is still not what I'd call huge by any stretch. I also found that using a tripod seems to be almost mandatory when I use this camera. It quickly shows the slightest blur.
    Kent in SD
  11. I took comparison photos with the D810 and D700 and found the photos were nearly identical at the same magnification. On one hand people would say Nikon failed to make the sensor better, but I looked at it as a way of Nikon being consistent with their image quality.
    As for your photos not looking flat and lifeless you might want to change some settings, such as taking it off neutral or flat setting and setting it to standard for jpg. I thought the same as you when I first purchased the D810 but over time I found the settings that gave me the images I liked and expected. Just keep at it and you'll find it's a really, really nice camera. Certainly one of the best made.
  12. I think expectations need to be set. I've heard that the main different between the D7100 (which I own) and the D810 (which I do NOT own) are the cropping ability and better AF in the D810. I've also heard that the D7100 has about 90% of what the D810 has minus the two I listed.

    Might I suggest if you like the IQ coming out of your D7100, try applying the same settings to your D810 if you've not already done so. HTH.
  13. I agree with most of the replies, having had a D800 since it came out and also for the last 14 months the D810,you do have to work differently on your Raws. But once you get set up correctly with your processing your images will astound you every time. The 810 is a wonderful camera and definitely the best Nikon yet for Landscape images.
    You will be able to get outstanding 30"x40" prints from the camera, spend time tweaking your camera body and put the time in on your Raw images, I definitely find the latest Adobe raw much better for the Nikon files,also using DXO optics pro 10 and getting amazingly detailed and sharp images.
  14. I too saw the same thing.
    As far as sharpness goes, if your lenses were sharp before on your older bodies, they should be just as sharp on your D810 - the AF may need manual adjustment for each lens, again easy to do...​
    This is what fixed mine. It is great now. In fact a little bit better.
  15. if your 810 doesnt work, will gladly trade for my aging d90.
  16. The dynamic range of my D800 (and the D810) are miles ahead of the D700, especially if you have to lift shadows at all. Even a marginal lens at 12MP (+AA filter) benefits from 36MP, but don't expect miracles. Even though roughly speaking that when using the same lens shot with the D700 and D800/D810 and viewed at low resolution they will look the same, the D800/D810 will allow a better final image due to being able to have a better sharpening process and being able to crop a lot if needed, which a 12MP image is not so capable of.
  17. It sounds like you might just need more "pop" in post. I don't know the Nikon software very well, but vibrance, saturation, sharpening and contrast are usually good starting points. With that camera and those lenses you should be able to get as much or as little of those as you want.
  18. I'm overwhelmed at the number and depth of your responses. Thank you! I just returned home today, but wanted to upload this jpeg made by importing from the D810 with Nikon Transfer 2, then opening with Photoshop CC, resized to 700px wide, and saved at max quality. This is with the 24-70mm f/2.8 vii. I also shot with a couple other lenses for comparison: 105mm f/2.5, and 200mm f/4 AI/s Nikkors. They look similar.

    This was during the golden hour tonight, and the image on the camera monitor looked spot on to what I saw in the finder and just viewing the scene.

    What I got was a cool, washed out image. There is no broad tonal range, it is cool, and a bit contrasty. The sky is washed out. It is possible I can use the camera raw (9.2) to adjust things to get close, but I'm still having trouble getting it even close to what I saw on the monitor or through the finder.

    BUT, HERE IS A PROBLEM I JUST NOTICED: All images shot later in the day (like the last 4 hours) indicate they are shot at +.3, when a) I almost never shoot overexposed, and b) I know I set many of the shots to either 0, -.3, and even a few at -.7. How can that be? It would explained the washed out look I see.

    One other thing: The NEF in Photoshop CC reads as 8bit, even though the camera is set to 14bit. Is that normal?
  19. Mmm.. Many good responses and thoughts above.
    I can only add some personal anecdotal information, I'm afraid.
    From working with D800, following D300 and D200.

    The D200 had a nice 'transparency' from it's 10Mpx CCD sensor (still does! ;-) ).
    The D300 added some - then - wonderful higher ISO capabilty, which came at the price of some persistent 'muddyness' from it's CMOS sensor. ..Not to say that I did not appreciate the camera! It has served me well.

    Then the D800 in 2012, which was a positive revelation in many respects!
    - 'back to' normal sensor (film..) size .. just when I was used to DX, haha! Shallower DOF, markedly.
    - a sheer endless resolution. Amazing! The closer you pixel-peep, the more there is to discover. Never ceases to amaze me.
    - a beautiful rendition of colours. Closer to the 'tranparency' of the D200. My only doubt was how it dealt with mixed lighting sources, where artificial light from above always seems to be somewhat 'blown out' on peoples faces.

    Now to your finding of (over)exposure. In fact, even with the 20xx 'modern' camera's, I always distrust automatic exposure and measure deliberately for highlights and/or shadows. These camera's are good .. but rarely THAT good in all situations.

    Enjoy your magic machine!
  20. O, and in addition: outdoors, I practically always use white-balance on 'sunlight'!
    Otherwise, your cool or golden light will be nicely compensated by your clever camera..

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