There are few opportunities to surprise and delight customers; the majority of the time, you would do well enough merely to satisfy them. The Nikon D800/800e surprised people; the D810 will have served its purpose if it merely satisfies them. To understand why the second time around is so tepid, it helps to think back to the end of the D700 era. The D3s had just been announced, with an unexpected high ISO bump that took many by surprise. Naturally, the fanbase wanted the D3s in the D700 body; it's not hard to image that such a camera would have sold well. But the problem with marketing is that there is a disconnect between what customers say they want, and what they actually end up buying. If Nikon had indeed delivered on the hypothetical D700s, it would seem a little long in the tooth compared to the Canon 5D Mark III of today.
Nikon basically re-aligned their high-end full frame lineup with the D800. Gone went the D2x/D3x style pro-body, leaving only the high-speed D4 and D4s to maintain the high end of the professional market. Not by coincidence, Canon went through a similar re-alignment at the same time. Why? There isn't one particular reason, by a mixture of a number of factors:
- Professional level APS-C cameras for professional use has waned with the increasing affordability of full frame cameras. Whereas semi-pros were using Nikon D300's and Canon 7D's before, it would be harder to maintain professional competitiveness today without full frame.
- Conversely, casual users of semi-pro APS-C cameras have been slowly drifting downard to smaller and lighter alternatives. The crowd that was previously using the Nikon D300 and Canon 7D for non-paid use now has alternatives in cameras like the D7100 or 70D.
Though the 36mp resolution of D800 turned off some people when it was first launched, history has shown that it was more or less the right decision for Nikon in the long run, as the combination of ultra high resolution and extremely wide dynamic range made for industry-leading image quality. Up until the D810, the D800/800e was the best camera on the market from an image quality standpoint. Had the D810 not been launched, that would not have changed. However, in business, standing still means moving backwards, so
The headline specs are:
- 36.3MP snsor
- 3.2" LCD 1.3m dot screen:, new split-screen leveling mode
- Expeed 4 image processing engine
- 5 fps in FX mode
- 7 fps in DX mode with battery grip
- No optical low pass filter (OLPF)
- sRAW option
- ISO 64-12800 native
- Shutter speeds: 1/8000-30s
- Electronic first curtain shutter option
- Group Area AF mode from the D4s
- Video now to 50/60p, no 4k
- Stereo microphones
- "Zebra Stripes" video exposure aid
- New "flat" picture controls for video
- New shutter shutter/shutter balance mechanism for reduced vibration
- Metering mode button now on main control dial
- Redesigned grip