Nikon today announced a variation on the flagship D810 DSLR, the D810A, a model optimized for astrophotography and other scientific applications. The camera, featuring a modified infrared cut filter, is designed to capture celestial bodies in all of their glory.
The D810A features long exposure modes ideal for capturing the stars with ultimate sensitivity. An all-new Long Exposure Manual Mode gives star shooters the ability to set shutter speeds from 4, 5, 8, 10, 15, 20, 30, 60, 120, 180, 240, 300, 600 or 900 seconds (15 minutes), as well as Bulb and Time settings. Based on the already-amazing D810’s low-light capabilities, the ISO range has been optimized from 200 to 12,800 (Hi-2 51,200), for maximum sensitivity with an optimal signal to noise ratio. The infrared (IR) cut filter has been optimized to allow transmission of the hydrogen alpha spectral line, resulting in four times greater sensitivity of the 656nm wavelength. In English, the filter optimization is going to result in images that truly capture the gorgeous hues of diffuse nebulae and constellations in striking detail and fidelity.
The D810A also goes above and beyond the D810 with a new Virtual Exposure Preview Mode, which basically performs a magic trick: it displays an estimated preview image for shots to be taken at shutter speeds longer than 30 seconds when in Live View. The brightened preview image represents how a 30 second exposure should come out, which will simplify shot composition and nailing the focus. This will help long exposure photographers to no end.
While Nikon isn’t recommending the D810A for general photography, the D810A is an amazing, option for photographing the universe. It will work equally well with either NIKKOR lenses or third-party adaptors for telescopes.
“The Nikon D810A is engineered exclusively to meet the unique demands of professional and hobbyist astrophotographers,” said Masahiro Horie, Director of Marketing and Planning, Nikon Inc. “The camera’s distinctive feature set and powerful imaging capabilities make it an appealing option for those who are ready to discover the fantastic cosmic features that are hidden among the stars.”
Based on the same architecture as the D810, the D810A uses a very high resolution 36.3-megapixel CMOS sensor, working with the Nikon EXPEED 4 Image processing engine. The D810A also features an Electronic Front Curtain Shutter Mode, which lets the electronic front curtain act as a shutter when in live view, or when first composing through the optical viewfinder in mirror-up mode. This feature also builds on the slow shutter speed capabilities of the camera, as it minimizes vibrations to attain greater sharpness when shooting subjects at very slow shutter speeds.
Astrophotography has been a popular hobby for some time, and is unique in that many enthusiasts have invested incredible amounts of time and money to develop knowledge on par with many of the professionals in their field. Home astrophotographers have created retractable roof backyard observatories, complete with vibration dampened telescope setups, built their own cameras from raw parts, and spent hours plotting trajectories for software applications that control their motorized telescopes, ensuring Orion’s Belt stays in a telescope's field of vision as the Earth rotates. This demand for detail and excellence is surely a driver in the D810A’s meticulous development.
While it may not be for everyone, in the right hands, the D810A should prove nothing less than stellar.
Pricing will be released on the D810A closer to it’s late May 2015 release date.
In other Nikon news, the D750 Filmmaker’s Kit is ready to hit the streets, and Nikon has loaded the kit with goodies. Start with the Nikon D750’s advanced video capabilities, and add in three NIKKOR lenses in popular focal lengths, including the AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED lens, the AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G lens and the AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G lens; all which provide killer HD clarity and creamy depth of field control. The kit also contains two extra EN-EL15 batteries, an ME-1 Stereo Microphone, an Atomos Ninja-2 External Recorder and Tiffen® 67mm and 58mm Variable Neutral Density Filters (8-Stops) for superior control of light. The kit also features some custom foam inserts for the case you’re going to want to buy to transport this amazing setup.
There is no reason to wait on price for this kit: The Nikon D750 Filmmaker’s Kit will be available in late February for a suggested retail price of $3,999.95. For more information about the Nikon D810A and other Nikon cameras and products, please visit www.nikonusa.com.