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Nikon has announced the D810A: the first full-frame astrophotography-specific camera. This is the largest sensor to appear in a consumer astrophotography camera, bringing improved light capture capabilities to the discipline. It’s essentially a Nikon D810 with a modified IR-cut filter to ensure the camera can capture light emitted by nebulae and additional features to support long exposure photography.

Most cameras’ Infrared filters are rather broad-ranging and filter out some visible red light, as well as IR. The filter on the D810a is much more precise, meaning the camera is around four times more sensitive to long-wavelength red light than an ordinary DSLR. This makes it much more able to capture the Hydrogen Alpha spectral line (656nm): the precise color emitted by the hot clouds of Hydrogen gas that occur in emission nebulae. The modification won’t make much of a difference when shooting sunlight reflected off the moon or planets and is likely to give a reddish tinge to ordinary photography.

The camera’s full frame sensor means it’s able to offer better high ISO performance than previous consumer astrophotography cameras that used smaller sensors.

Additional features include a Long Exposure M mode that provides selectable shutter speeds from 4 to 900 sec (15 minutes), before having to use bulb or time mode. A virtual exposure preview in bulb and time settings, similar to Olympus’ livetime mode, lets users essentially see in the dark, so that they can frame and focus. And a dark frame subtraction mode (called ‘astro noise reduction’ in Raw), should help to keep noise in check when aiming for the stars. Other changes come in the form of a red virtual horizon, so as not to interfere with night vision, and the ability to dim the viewfinder’s OLED.

The D810A will be available in late May, 2015 for $3,799.95.


Press Release:

STELLAR RESOLUTION: THE NIKON D810A CAPTURES THE COSMOS IN EPIC DETAIL

MELVILLE, NY (February 9, 2015 at 11:01 P.M. EST) – Today, Nikon Inc. announced the new D810A, a DSLR optimized for astrophotography and other scientific applications. By modifying the infrared cut filter for the hydrogen alpha wavelength, Nikon has created a camera that gives photographers the ability to capture the diffuse nebulae in the night sky and to create colorful, breathtaking celestial images. The D810A shares its architecture with the powerful and professional high-resolution Nikon D810 DSLR and includes other new features designed uniquely to help capture the cosmos, letting users achieve sharp and vibrant images of the universe.

“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.”

I AM Star Struck: DSLR Optimized for Astrophotography
The Nikon D810A provides hobbyists as well as professional stargazers with a powerful combination of impressive resolution and features specifically created for astrophotography and scientific applications. 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. The resulting images capture the brilliant red hues of diffuse nebulae and constellations in striking detail and fidelity. While not recommended for general photography, the D810A is an excellent option for photographing the universe with either NIKKOR lenses or third-party adaptors for telescopes.

In addition to the optimized IR cut filter, the D810A adds other features that are useful for astrophotography applications. A new Long Exposure Manual Mode is implemented, giving users 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. Building upon the D810’s excellent low-light capabilities, the ISO range has been optimized from 200 to 12,800 (Hi-2 51,200), for maximum sensitivity with the optimal signal to noise ratio.

The Best of Both Worlds
The Nikon D810A is based off of the Nikon D810 architecture and retains all of the features that make it a powerful tool for creating images. Users will be able to produce photos of the heavens in super high resolution thanks to the 36.3-megapixel CMOS sensor. The image sensor works in tandem with Nikon’s exclusive EXPEED 4 Image processing engine to deliver images with low noise and a dynamic range that is nothing short of stellar. The D810A also features an Electronic Front Curtain Shutter Mode, letting the electronic front curtain act as a shutter when in live view or first composing through the optical viewfinder in mirror-up mode. This feature minimizes vibrations to attain maximum sharpness when shooting subjects at very slow shutter speeds. The camera also features a durable magnesium alloy body that is sealed against dirt and moisture, giving users peace of mind when getting away from the city lights means a trek off of the beaten path.

The Nikon D810A is compatible with a wide range of high quality NIKKOR lenses and accessories, including wireless infrared remotes, cable releases and the new WR-1 wireless remote system. Additionally, Nikon’s Capture NX-D software is available as a free download, and it will feature a new option for Astro Noise Reduction for use with D810A image files.

Nikon D750 Filmmaker’s Kit
For users who are looking to take advantage of the Nikon D750’s advanced video capabilities, Nikon is now offering a Filmmaker’s Kit that includes everything needed to get started in the world of cinema.  The kit contains 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 stunning HD clarity and excellent depth of field control for filmmakers. The kit also contains two additional EN-EL15 batteries, an ME-1 Stereo Microphone, one Atomos Ninja-2 External Recorder, and Tiffen® 67mm and 58mm Variable Neutral Density Filters (8-Stops) for superior control of light. In addition, the Nikon D750 Filmmaker’s Kit features custom foam inserts, which are ideally sized for use in a hard case for transporting equipment to your next video production.

Price and Availability
The Nikon D810A will be available in late May 2015 and pricing will be announced at a later date. The Nikon D750 Filmmaker’s Kit will be available in late February for a suggested retail price (SRP) of $3,999.95*. For more information about the Nikon D810A and other Nikon cameras and products, please visit www.nikonusa.com.


Nikon D810A specifications

Price
MSRP $3799
Body type
Body type Mid-size SLR
Body material Magnesium alloy
Sensor
Max resolution 7360 x 4912
Other resolutions FX: 5520 x 3680, 3680 x 2456; 1.2: 6144 x 4080, 4608 x 3056, 3072 x 2040; 5:4: 6144 x 4912, 4608 x 3680, 3072 x 2456; DX: 4800 x 3200, 3600 x 2400, 2400 x 1600
Image ratio w:h 5:4, 3:2
Effective pixels 36 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors 37 megapixels
Sensor size Full frame (35.9 x 24 mm)
Sensor size notes RAW (NEF) available at 12 or 14-bits, lossless compressed, compressed, uncompressed, large or small size.
Sensor type CMOS
Processor EXPEED 4
Color space sRGB, AdobeRGB
Color filter array Primary color filter
Image
ISO Auto, 200-12800 (expandable to 100-51200)
White balance presets 12
Custom white balance Yes (6 slots)
Image stabilization No
Uncompressed format RAW + TIFF
JPEG quality levels Fine, normal, basic
File format
  • JPEG (Exif 2.3, DCF 2.0)
  • RAW (NEF)
  • TIFF (RGB)
Optics & Focus
Autofocus
  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • Phase Detect
  • Multi-area
  • Center
  • Selective single-point
  • Tracking
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Face Detection
  • Live View
Autofocus assist lamp Yes
Manual focus Yes
Number of focus points 51
Lens mount Nikon F
Focal length multiplier 1×
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCD Fixed
Screen size 3.2
Screen dots 1,229,000
Touch screen No
Screen type TFT-LCD (RGBW)
Live view Yes
Viewfinder type Optical (tunnel)
Viewfinder coverage 100%
Viewfinder magnification 0.7×
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed 30 sec
Maximum shutter speed 1/8000 sec
Exposure modes
  • Program
  • Shutter priority
  • Aperture priority
  • Manual
  • Long exposure
Built-in flash Yes
Flash range 12.00 m (at ISO 100)
External flash Yes (via hot shoe, flash sync terminal, wireless)
Flash modes Front-curtain sync, slow sync, rear-curtain sync, redeye reduction, redeye reduction w/slow sync, slow rear-curtain sync
Flash X sync speed 1/250 sec
Drive modes
  • Single-frame
  • Continuous low-speed [CL]
  • Continuous high-speed [CH]
  • Quiet Shutter Release
  • Quiet Continuous Release
  • Self-timer
  • Mirror-up
Continuous drive 5.0 fps
Self-timer Yes (2, 5, 10, 20 secs for up to 9 shots)
Metering modes
  • Multi
  • Center-weighted
  • Highlight-weighted
  • Spot
Exposure compensation ±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 1 EV steps)
AE Bracketing ±5 (2, 3, 5, 7 frames at 1/3 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV steps)
WB Bracketing Yes (2-9 exposures in 1-3 increments)
Videography features
Resolutions 1920 x 1080 (60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, 24p), 1280 x 720 (60p, 50p)
Format MPEG-4, H.264
Videography notes Uncompressed output over HDMI with simultaneous writing to memory card
Microphone Stereo
Speaker Mono
Storage
Storage types SD/SDHC/SDXC, CompactFlash (UDMA compliant)
Connectivity
USB
USB 3.0 (5 GBit/sec)
HDMI Yes (mini-HDMI)
Microphone port Yes
Headphone port Yes
Wireless Optional
Wireless notes via WT-5A or Eye-Fi
Remote control Yes
Physical
Environmentally sealed Yes
Battery Battery Pack
Battery description EN-EL15 lithium-ion battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA) 1200
Weight (inc. batteries) 880 g (1.94 lb / 31.04 oz)
Dimensions 146 x 123 x 82 mm (5.75 x 4.84 x 3.23)
Other features
Timelapse recording Yes
GPS Optional
GPS notes via GP-1 or GP-1A