Nikon D810a for astrophotography announced

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Nikon has announced a very interesting camera specifically for astrophotography – Nikon D810a. It has everything of the D810, as well as an additional optical filter adopted to enable beautiful reproduction of vivid reds in images of nebulae that emit H-alpha light , something very difficult with run-of-the-mill digital SLR cameras. The optical filter on the front surface of the image sensor is capable of four times greater transmission of H-alpha light than is that used with the D810. This enables clear and vivid reproduction of the strong red H-alpha light emitted by nebulae and galaxies. There are a number of new features added to the D810A to make astrophotography easier and more enjoyable. New features include the addition of a long-exposure manual (M*) mode that supports exposure times up to 900 s, and a live view preview function that makes focusing and composing images easier with display of a preview at a shutter speed of 30 s when an exposure time longer than 30 s is specified. the D810A has inherited a number of functions from the D810 that are convenient for astrophotography, including the ability to enlarge the view through the lens displayed in the camera monitor during live view up to approximately 23x to facilitate accurate focusing, an electronic front-curtain shutter that thoroughly suppresses mechanical shake, and a continuous shooting function with no limit on the number of shots possible for creating beautiful star trails (apparent motion of stars around the Earth).

Check out the full resolution image samples here.

Order your Nikon D810a here

Specification highlights

  • Optimized for Astrophotography
  • IR-Cut Filter Passes H-Alpha Wavelength
  • 36.3MP FX-Format CMOS Sensor
  • No Optical Low Pass Filter
  • EXPEED 4 Image Processor
  • 3.2″ 1,229k-Dot LCD Monitor
  • Full HD 1080p Video at 60/30/24 fps
  • Sensitivity to ISO 51200, 5 fps Shooting
  • Long Exposure Manual Mode to 15 Min.
  • Virtual Live View Exposure Preview




D810A Primary Features

  • Equipped with an optical filter designed for astrophotography for capture of the vivid reds of nebulae that emit H-alpha light

    As common digital SLR cameras are designed with consideration of portrait and landscape photography, the transmission of light nearing the red range of visible light is suppressed for optimal reproduction of colors in those types of scenes. Therefore, images of nebulae and galaxies that emit H-alpha light often appear pale when captured with these cameras. In response to this issue, the optical filter (IR-cut filter), positioned on the front surface of the image sensor, adopted for the D810A has been modified with revision of transmission characteristics for four times greater transmission of H-alpha light than that used with the D810. This enables astrophotography with clear reproduction of the vivid reds emitted by nebulae and galaxies.

  • Offers smooth and enjoyable shooting with new functions specialized for astrophotography

    Long-exposure manual (M*) mode that supports shutter speeds as slow as 900 s
    In addition to the usual P, S, A, and M exposure modes, the D810A is equipped with a new long-exposure manual (M*) mode. The shutter speeds available in long-exposure manual mode differ from those available in normal M mode in that the 100-shot limit with continuous shooting is eliminated with exposure times of 4 s or longer. Users can select a shutter speed of 4, 5 ,8, 10, 15, 20, 30, 60, 120, 180, 240, 300, 600, 900 s, or Bulb or Time, all of which support an unlimited number of shots with continuous shooting. Because the selected shutter speed represents the actual exposure time, calculation of total exposure time is simple, making this mode especially convenient for creating composite images using a lighten blending mode.

    Viewfinder display that considers nighttime photography
    Information necessary with shooting is displayed in the viewfinder so that images can be framed without taking your eye off the subject. In addition to shutter speed and aperture settings, a virtual horizon, which is always illuminated in red when enabled, can be displayed to help keep the camera level. Features like this allow the user to focus on shooting.

    A live view preview function that makes focusing and composing images easier with display of a preview at a shutter speed of 30 s when exposure time is longer than 30 s
    When exposure times longer than 30 s common with astrophotography are specified, a preview at a shutter speed of 30 s is shown in the live view display (preview exposure is not the same as that of the actual image). What’s more, just as with the D810, the live view display can be enlarged up to 23x, making precise focusing easier.

  • The best image quality in the history of Nikon digital SLR cameras for incredibly sharp astrophotography

    The D810A offers the same effective pixel count of 36.3-million pixels and Nikon FX-format CMOS sensor with no optical low-pass filter as the D810. The best image quality in Nikon digital SLR camera history combined with the latest image-processing engine, EXPEED 4, achieves sharp and vivid colors, as well as rich tones that render the nuances of delicate and smooth shading in three dimensions. The D810A also supports a broad range of standard sensitivities, from ISO 200 to ISO 12800, with additional reduction as low as the equivalent of ISO 100 (Lo 1) and expansion to the equivalent of ISO 51200 (Hi 2). A broad dynamic range is preserved at each sensitivity setting, and noise is effectively suppressed and the detail possible with the effective pixel count of 36.3-million pixels is demonstrated even when high sensitivities or long exposures are applied for shooting subjects exhibiting little contrast.

  • Features convenient for astrophotography inherited from the D810
    • An electronic front-curtain shutter that effectively suppresses internal mechanical shake that can be troublesome with astrophotography, especially when photographing the surface of the moon
    • When a shutter speed of 4 s or longer is specified, the number of shots possible with continuous shooting is limited only by memory card capacity and battery charge. As images can be captured in rapid succession, photos that can be used to create composite images of smooth star trails can be taken.
    • The superior performance of the Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL15 reliably supports astrophotography with shooting of many photos over an extended period of time. A power-saving design has been adopted, enabling capture of up to 3,860 still images with a fully charged battery.*
      • *When the built-in flash is not used, and images are not viewed immediately after capture.
    • Nikon Integrated Dust Reduction System that includes the Clean Image Sensor function, which vibrates the optical filter at various frequencies to remove dust and foreign matter that may have adhered to it
  • A rich variety of accessories that support creative astrophotography
    • The Remote Cord MC-36A (sold separately) can be used to apply interval timer and long time-exposure settings, and is especially effective with continuous shooting with exposure times of 4 s or longer.
    • The Multi-Power Battery Pack MB-D12 (sold separately) enables capture of up to approximately 10,660 still images*

Full Specification

Lens Mount Nikon F
Camera Format Full-Frame (1.0x Crop Factor)
Pixels Actual: 36.3 Megapixel
Effective: 37.09 Megapixel
Max Resolution 7360 x 4912
Aspect Ratio 3:2
Sensor Type / Size CMOS, 35.9 x 24.0 mm
File Formats Still Images: JPEG, RAW, TIFF
Movies: MOV, MPEG-4 AVC/H.264
Audio: Linear PCM
Bit Depth 14-bit
Dust Reduction System Yes
Memory Card Type CompactFlash
Focus Control
Focus Type Auto & Manual
Focus Mode Continuous-servo AF (C), Manual Focus (M), Single-servo AF (S)
Autofocus Points 51, 15 cross-type
Viewfinder Type Pentaprism
Viewfinder Eye Point 17.00 mm
Viewfinder Coverage 100%
Viewfinder Magnification Approx. 0.70x
Diopter Adjustment – 3 to +1 m
Display Screen 3.2″ Rear Screen   LCD (1,229,000)
Screen Coverage 100%
Diagonal Angle of View 170.0°
Exposure Control
ISO Sensitivity Auto, 200-12800 (High Sensitivity Mode: 32-51200)
Shutter Type: Electronic & Mechanical
Speed: 900 – 1/8000 seconds,  Bulb Mode
Mirror Lock-Up Yes
Metering Method 3D Color Matrix Metering, Center-weighted average metering, Spot metering, Highlight Weighted
Exposure Modes Modes: Aperture Priority, Manual, Programmed Auto, Shutter Priority
Metering Range: EV 0.0 – EV 20.0
Compensation: -5 EV to +5 EV (in 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV steps)
White Balance Modes Auto, Cloudy, Color Temperature, Direct Sunlight, Flash, Fluorescent, Fluorescent (Cool White), Fluorescent (Day White), Fluorescent (Daylight), Fluorescent (Natural White), Fluorescent (Warm White), Fluorescent (White), Incandescent, Preset Manual, Shade
Flash Modes 1st Curtain Sync
Rear Curtain/Slow Sync
Rear Sync
Red-eye Reduction
Slow Sync
Slow Sync/Red-eye Reduction
Built-in Flash Yes
Maximum Effective Flash Range Up To 39′ (11.89 m)
Guide No. 39′ (11.89 m) ISO100
Max Sync Speed 1 / 250 seconds
Flash Compensation -3 EV to +1 EV (in 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV steps)
Dedicated Flash System iTTL
External Flash Connection Hot Shoe, PC Terminal, Wireless
AV Recording
Video Recording Yes, NTSC
File Size 1920 x 1080p (Full HD)
1280 x 720p (HD)
Frame Rate @ 1920 x 1080: 60 fps, 30 fps, 24 fps, 50 fps, 25 fps
@ 1280 x 720: 60 fps, 50 fps
Exposure Control Auto: Shutter Speed, Aperture, ISO
Manual: Shutter Speed, Aperture, ISO
ISO Sensitivity 64 – 12800, Expandable to 51200
Focus Auto
Continuous Auto
Video Clip Length 1920 x 1080
@ 60 fps: 20 min.
1920 x 1080
@ 50 fps: 20 min.
1920 x 1080
@ 30 fps: 29 min. 59 seconds
1920 x 1080
@ 25 fps: 29 min. 59 seconds
1920 x 1080
@ 24 fps: 29 min. 59 seconds
1280 x 720
@ 60 fps: 29 min. 59 seconds
1280 x 720
@ 50 fps: 29 min. 59 seconds
Audio Recording Built-in Mic: With Video, Stereo
Optional External Mic: With Video, Stereo
Continuous Shooting Up to 5 fps
Start-up Time 0.12 seconds
Shutter Lag 0.052 seconds
Self Timer 2 seconds, 5 seconds, 10 seconds, 20 seconds
Custom: 1-20 seconds at 0.5, 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 second intervals
Number of Shots: 1-9
Interval Recording Yes
Connectivity 1/8″ Headphone, 1/8″ Microphone, HDMI C (Mini), USB 3.0
Wi-Fi Capable Yes (with Optional Transmitter)
Battery 1x EN-EL15 Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery Pack, 7.0 VDC, 1900 mAh
AC Power Adapter EH-5b (Optional)
Operating/Storage Temperature Operating
32 to 104°F (0 to 40°C)
Humidity: 0 – 85%
Dimensions (WxHxD) 5.7 x 4.8 x 3.2″ / 146.0 x 123.0 x 81.5 mm
Weight 31.04 oz / 880 g

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About Kent Yu

Kent is a professional wedding and portrait photographer based in Wellington, New Zealand. He and his team specialise in modern and contemporary weddings. Kent has his work published in international magazines and is a regular author to a number of photographic publication. He is fascinated by photographic equipment and enjoys showcasing the gear used in creating his images. You can find him on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Google+
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