Since the beginning of human history, the celestial bodies have intrigued and fascinated people. Songs, poems, research papers and a variety of visual, auditory and written works have been produced solely revolving around the awe-inspiring beauty of the galaxies.
Before the advent of cameras, capturing the stars used to be a retrospective exercise. You looked up at the sky during a clear night away from the city lights and mentally took a picture with your mind. When the first few cameras came out, astronomy enthusiasts valiantly pointed their devices to the sky only to be disappointed time and again by the quality of the pictures. Many of them had to customised their equipment and manipulate and process the images to produce a snapshot that resembled the galaxy’s majesty.
The first full-frame DSLR designed exclusively for astrophotography, the D810A has been specially engineered to make it easy for photographers to shoot starry-filled skies. We’re talking minimal noise in low-light conditions, which helps greatly when taking long-exposure photos, and a special optical filter that quadruples the transmission of Hydrogen Alpha light. For the uninitiated, that’s the specific wavelength of light emitted by nebulae and other distant galaxies.
One of the nicer touches Nikon has employed in the D810A, which we thoroughly enjoy, is the intelligent live viewfinder. Previously, framing the night sky in your camera was usually a hit-and-miss affair, as the images reproduced in most camera’s live view functions were often too dark for the human eye. The D810A offers a brighter and clearer preview of the image when the shutter speed is set at 30 seconds or more, which gave us an easier time in focusing and framing the starry subjects.
We’re also glad that the D810A is made for the rough and tumble. After all, taking an unblemished image of the galaxy usually involves trekking into the deep wilderness, away from the glaring city lights and annoying digital interferences. It’s comprehensively sealed to prevent dust and water droplets from wreaking havoc on the insides and also adopted the robust and weather-resistant design of its non-astrophotography-specialised counterpart, the D810. Good stuff.
If you’re all set to splurge on the D810A and start shooting, Nikon does warn potential buyers that the DSLR is not made for general photography, as your potential subjects will likely be rendered in an excessively red hue. However, for astrophotography enthusiasts, get your credit cards on the ready. The D810A will be out at the end of this month.
Opening image © Johannes Schedler