Review: Nikon D850 (A Fantastic DSLR, But I’m Over DSLRs)

The Nikon D850 surely has to be one of our new favorite DSLRs.

If you look around at various reviews of the Nikon D850 on the web, they’ll most likely rate it as one of the best cameras ever made thus far. In truth, it really does perform very admirably and it absolutely does have a great sensor at the heart. Professional photographers considering making some sort of move since the Nikon D810 hadn’t been updated in awhile have an option that is going to last them a few more years before the industry changes yet again. That statement is more or less the basis of my review. The days of being able to know that your camera won’t be updated for four years are probably gone, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to take great photos with it long after it has been updated by some shiny new thing. The Nikon D850 is a fantastic image taking device and tool in the hands of the right photographer. It has a lot of great technology at the heart, but a part of me is wondering about its futureproofing.

One of the biggest features of the Nikon D850 is the 8K timelapse. Photographers these days need to sometimes shoot more video in some way or another, but there hasn’t been a total convergence of the mediums yet. So very personally, I wonder how long 4K video will be around, and when 6K or 8K video may be the new thing. The Panasonic GH5 does 6K video already, and at the heart of it all I really wonder how fast technology is going to try to progress as these manufacturers try to outdo one another while constantly trying to disrupt the industry and provide less and less stability to the creators they’re targeting. Of course, it’s up to us creators to adapt. And we do. In biology, this is called cladogenesis–and it’s the process of rapid evolution to keep up with an environment. Just think about it: two years ago we were stricken by the Canon EOS 5DSr. But now we’re all in love with something else. That’s marketing and evolution for sure, but I think we need to remember there may never be some sort of stability again. Nikon D850 owners/buyers should remember this as mirrorless cameras continue to grow and capture more market share.

Pros and Cons

Trying my hand at a painterly technique with the Nikon D850

Pros

  • Fantastic image quality
  • Built like a tank
  • Buttons that light up
  • Touch screen makes the menu navigation so much better
  • Great color depth and versatility
  • Wifi and Bluetooth
  • Putting the ISO button on the right side of the camera by the grip is the better long term strategy
  • Weather sealing
  • Lots of video options
  • Dual Card slots
  • The best viewfinder of any DSLR that I’ve used, but still not as great as many older medium format DSLRs and SLRs.

Cons

  • Slower autofocus than the Nikon D810 in some situations
  • I wish the white balance levels were a bit more adjustable. Many of you may groan about fixing it in post and I know photographers who would want to smack you, accordingly. But I maintain the judgement that having a consistent, film-like white balance can help you in the editing process so much more when it comes to both exposures and working with color channels.
  • Sort of shocked the dual card slots aren’t both SD; I don’t know anyone that used XQD. Sony, the developer of the card, doesn’t even use them in their still cameras.
  • I’m over DSLRs at this point except if they’re medium format. The viewfinders are bugging me now.

Gear Used

We used the Nikon D850 with the 28mm f1.4, 24-120mm f4, 16-35mm f4, and the new Irix 15mm f2.4 Blackstone. The Nikon SB500 was also used during certain shoots. For video, I used a Rode Shotgun microphone.

Tech Specs

Launch Time and Date Thursday, August 24, 2017 at 12:01 A.M. EDT
Product Name Nikon D850
Type Single-lens reflex digital camera
Lens Mount Nikon F bayonet mount
Effective Pixels 45.7
Sensor Size 35.9mm x 23.9mm
Image Sensor Format FX
Total Pixels 46.89 million
Dust-reduction system Image sensor cleaning
Image Dust Off reference data (optional Capture NX-D software required)
Image Area (pixels) FX-format
(L) 8,256 x 5,504 (45.4 million)
(M) 6,192 x 4,128 (25.5 million)
(S) 4,128 x 2,752 (11.3 million)
1:2 format (30 x 20)
(L) 6,880 x 4,584 (31.5 million)
(M) 5,152 x 3,432 (17.6 million)
(S) 3,440 x 2,288 (7.8 million)
5:4 format (30 x 24)
(L) 6,880 x 5,504 (37.8 million)
(M) 5,152 x 4,120 (21.2 million)
(S) 3,440 x 2,752 (9.4 million)
1:1 format (24 x 24)
(L) 5,504 x 5,504 (30.2 million)
(M) 4,128 x 4,128 (17.0 million)
(S) 2,752 x 2,752 (7.5 million)
DX-format
(L) 5,408 x 3,600 (19.4 million)
(M) 4,048 x 2,696 (10.9 million)
(S) 2,704 x 1,800 (4.8 million)
FX-format photographs taken during movie recording
(L) 8,256 x 4,640 (38.3 million)
(M) 6,192 x 3,480 (21.5 million)
(S) 4,128 x 2,320 (9.5 million)
DX-format photographs taken during movie recording
(L) 5,408 x 3,040 (16.4 million)
(M) 4,048 x 2,272 (9.1 million)
(S) 2,704 x 1,520 (4.1 million)
File Format Still Images NEF (RAW): 12 or 14 bit, lossless compressed, compressed, or uncompressed; large, medium, and small available (medium and small images are recorded at a bit depth of 12 bits using lossless compression)TIFF (RGB)JPEG: JPEG-Baseline compliant with fine (approx 1:4), normal (approx 1:8), or basic (approx 1:16) compression (Size priority); Optimal quality compression available

NEF (RAW) + JPEG: Single Photograph Recorded in both NEF (RAW) and JPEG Formats

Picture Control Auto                                                                           Flat
Landscape
Monochrome
Neutral
Portrait
Standard
Vivid
Storage Media 1 XQD card and 1 Secure Digital (SD) card
SD
SDHC (UHS-II compliant)
SDXC ( (UHS-II compliant)
XQD Type Memory
Card Slot Either card can be used for primary or backup storage or for separate storage of NEF (RAW) and JPEG images; pictures can be copied between cards.
File System DCF (Design Rule for Camera File System) 2.0
EXIF 2.31 (Exchangeable Image File Format for Digital Still Cameras)
PictBridge
Viewfinder Eye-level Pentaprism Single-Lens Reflex Viewfinder
Viewfinder Frame Coverage FX (36×24): Approx. 100% Horizontal and 100% Vertical
1.2x (30×20): Approx. 97% Horizontal and 97% Vertical
DX (24×16): Approx. 97% Horizontal and 97% Vertical
5:4 (30×24): Approx. 97% Horizontal and 100% Vertical
1:1 (24×24): Approx. 97% horizontal and 100% vertical
Viewfinder Magnification Approx. 0.75x (50 mm f/1.4 lens at infinity, –1.0 m–1)
Viewfinder Eyepoint 17 mm (-1.0 m¯¹)
Viewfinder Diopter Adjustment -3 to +1 m¯¹
Focusing Screen Type B BriteView Clear Matte Mark VIII with AF Area Brackets (grid lines can be displayed)
Reflex Mirror Quick-return type
Lens Aperture Instant-return type
Electronically Controlled
Depth-of-field Control Yes
Pressing Pv button stops lens aperture down to value selected by user (A and M modes) or by camera (P and S modes)
Lens Compatibility at a Glance*** AF-S or AF lenses fully compatible
Metering with AI lenses
Compatible Lenses AF NIKKOR lenses, including type G, E, and D lenses (some restrictions apply to PC lenses), and DX lenses (using DX 24 x 16 image area), AI-P NIKKOR lenses, and non-CPU AI lenses (exposure modes A and M only).IX NIKKOR lenses, lenses for the F3AF, and non-AI lenses cannot be used.Electronic rangefinder can be used with lenses that have a maximum aperture of f/5.6 or faster (the electronic rangefinder supports 15 focus points with lenses that have a maximum aperture of f/8 or faster, of which 9 points are available for selection).
Shutter Type Electronically controlled vertical-travel focal-plane mechanical shutter
Electronic front-curtain shutter available in quiet shutter-release, quiet continuous shutter-release, and mirror-up release modes
Shutter Speed 1/8000 to 30 sec. in steps of 1/3, 1/2, or 1 EV, Bulb, Time, X250
Fastest Shutter Speed 1/8000 sec
Slowest Shutter Speed 30 sec.
Flash Sync Speed 1/250 sec.
Synchronizes with shutter at 1/250s or slower
Auto FP High-Speed sync supported
Bulb Shutter Setting Yes
Shutter Release Modes Continuous high-speed [CH] mode
Continuous low-speed [CL] mode
Mirror-up [Mup] mode
Quiet Continuous Release
Quiet Shutter Release
Self-timer Mode
Single-frame [S] mode
Continuous Shooting Options Up to 9 fps With an EN-EL18b Battery inserted in a MB-D18 Power Pack:
CL: 1-8 frames per second
CH: 9 frames per second
Quiet Continuous Mode: 3 frames per secondOther power sources:
CL: 1-6 frames per second
CH: 7 frames per second
Quiet Continuous Mode: 3 frames per second
Top Continuous Shooting Speed at full resolution 7 frames per second
Self-timer 2, 5, 10, 20 sec.; 1 to 9 exposures at intervals of 0.5, 1, 2, or 3 sec.
Timer duration electronically controlled
Exposure Metering System TTL exposure metering using approximately 180K (180,000) pixels RGB sensor
Metering Method Matrix: 3D Color Matrix Metering III (type G, E, and D lenses); Color Matrix Metering III (other CPU lenses); Color Matrix Metering available with non-CPU lenses if user provides lens dataCenter-weighted: Weight of 75% given to 12 mm circle in center of frame. Diameter of circle can be changed to 8, 15, or 20 mm, or weighting can be based on average of entire frame (non-CPU lenses use 12-mm circle)Spot: Meters 4 mm circle (about 1.5% of frame) centered on selected focus point (on center focus point when non-CPU lens is used)

Highlight-weighted: Available with type G, E, and D lenses

Metering Range ISO 100, f/1.4 lens, 20 °C/68 °F
‘-3 ± 20 EV (Matrix or center-weighted metering)
2 to 20 EV (spot metering)
0 to 20 EV (Highlight-weighted metering)
Exposure Meter Coupling Combined CPU and AI
Exposure Modes Aperture-Priority (A)
Manual (M)
Programmed auto with flexible program (P)
Shutter-Priority Auto (S)
Exposure Compensation ±5 EV in increments of 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV
Exposure Bracketing 2 to 9 frames in steps of 1/3, 1/2, 2/3 or 1 EV
Exposure Lock Yes
Mirror Lock Up Yes
ISO Sensitivity ISO 64 – 25,600
Can also be set to approx. 0.3, 0.5, 0.7, or 1 EV (ISO 32 equivalent) below ISO 64 or to approx. 0.3, 0.5, 0.7, 1, or 2 EV (ISO 102,400 equivalent) above ISO 25,600; auto ISO sensitivity control available
Lowest Standard ISO Sensitivity 64
Highest Standard ISO Sensitivity 25,600
Expanded ISO Sensitivity Options Lo-1 (ISO 32 equivalent)
Hi-1 (ISO 51,200 equivalent)
Hi-2 (ISO 102,400 equivalent)
Long Exposure Noise Reduction Yes
High ISO Noise Reduction Low
Normal
High
Off
Active D-Lighting Auto
Extra High
High
Normal
Low
Off
D-Lighting Bracketing 2 frames using selected value for one frame
3-5 frames using preset values for all frames
Single-point AF Mode Yes
Dynamic AF Mode Number of AF points: 9, 25, 72, or 153 point dynamic-area AF, 3D-tracking, group-area AF
Auto-area AF Mode Yes
Autofocus System Nikon Advanced Multi-CAM 20K autofocus sensor module with TTL phase detection and fine-tuning, and 153 focus points (including 99 cross-type sensors and 15 sensors that support f/8), of which 55 (35 cross-type sensors and 9 f/8 sensors) are available for selection
Detection Range –4 – +20 EV (ISO 100, 20 °C/68 °F)
Lens Servo Autofocus (AF): Single-servo AF (AF-S);
continuous-servo AF (AF-C); predictive focus tracking automatically activated according to subject status
Manual focus (M): Electronic rangefinder can be used
AF-area mode 9, 25, 72, or 153 point Dynamic-area AF
Auto-area AF
Single-point AF
3D-tracking
Group-area AF
Focus Lock Focus can be locked by pressing shutter-release button halfway (single-servo AF) or by pressing the center of the sub-selector
Focus Modes Single-servo AF (AF-S)
Continuous-servo (AF-C)
Predictive focus tracking activated automatically according to subject status
Manual (M) with electronic rangefinder
Face-Priority AF
Full-time Servo (AF-F)
Normal area AF
Wide area AF available in Live View and D-Movie only
Maximum Autofocus Areas/Points 153
Autofocus Sensitivity –4 – +20 EV (ISO 100, 20 °C/68 °F)
Autofocus Fine Tune Yes
Built-in Flash no
Flash Bracketing 2 to 9 frames in steps of 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, or 1 EV
X-Sync Speed 1/250 sec
Top FP High Speed Sync Up to 1/8000
Flash Control TTL: i-TTL flash control using RGB sensor with approximately 180K (180,000) pixels; i-TTL balanced fill-flash for digital SLR is used with matrix, center-weighted, and highlight- weighted metering, standard i-TTL fill-flash for digital SLR with spot metering
Flash Sync Modes Front-curtain sync (normal)
Rear-curtain sync
Red-eye reduction
Red-eye reduction with slow sync
Slow sync
Flash Compensation -3 to +1 EV in increments of 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV
Flash-ready indicator Lights when built-in flash or optional flash unit is fully charged; flashes after flash is fired at full output
Accessory Shoe Yes
Nikon Creative Lighting System (CLS) CLS Supported
Flash Sync Terminal Yes
White Balance Auto (3 types)
Choose color temperature (2500K–10000K)
Cloudy
Direct Sunlight
Fine-tuning
Flash
Fluorescent (7 types)
Incandescent
Natural Light Auto
Preset manual (up to 6 values can be stored, spot white balance measurement available during live view)
Shade
White Balance Bracketing 2 to 9 exposures in increments of 1, 2 or 3 EV
Live View Shooting
Photographjy Mode (Still Images)
Movie Mode (Video)
Photography Live View Mode
Movie Live View Mode
Live View Lens servo Autofocus (AF): Single-servo AF (AF-S); full-time-servo AF (AF-F)                                                     Manual focus (M)
Live View AF-area mode Face-priority AF
Wide-area AF
Normal-area AF
Pinpoint AF
Subject-tracking AF
Live View Autofocus Contrast-detect AF anywhere in frame (camera selects focus point automatically when face-priority AF or subject-tracking AF is selected)
Movie Metering TTL exposure metering using main image sensor
Movie Maximum recording time 29 minutes 59 seconds
Each movie will be recorded across up to 8 files of up to 4 GB each. The number of files and the length of each file vary with the options selected for Frame size/frame rate and Movie quality.
Movie File Format MOV
MP4
Movie Video Compression H.264/MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding
Movie Audio recording format Linear PCM, AAC
Movie 4K UHD 3,840×2,160 / 30 fps
4K UHD 3,840×2,160 / 25 fps
4K UHD 3,840×2,160 / 24 fps
Full HD 1,920×1,080 / 60 fps
Full HD 1,920×1,080 / 50 fps
Full HD 1,920×1,080 / 30 fps
Full HD 1,920×1,080 / 25 fps
Full HD 1,920×1,080 / 24 fps
HD 1,280×720 / 60 fps
HD 1,280×720 / 50 fps
Slow-motion: Full HD 1,920×1,080 30p (x4)
Slow-motion: Full HD 1,920×1,080 25p (x4)
Slow-motion: Full HD 1,920×1,080 24p (x5)
Actual frame rates for 60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, and 24p are 59.94, 50, 29.97, 25, and 23.976 fps respectively
Quality selection available at all sizes except 3,840 x 2,160 (when quality is fixed at high) and 1,920 x 1,080 slow-motion (when quality is fixed at normal)
Movie Audio Built-in microphone, stereo
External stereo microphone (optional)
Microphone sensitivity can be adjusted
Monitor Size 3.2 inch
Monitor Resolution 2,359,000 dot
Monitor Type Tilting TFT touch-sensitive LCD
Monitor Angle of View 170 degrees
Monitor Adjustments Monitor Adjustments Manual 5 level
Virtual Horizon Camera Indicator Yes
Also visible in LiveView Modes
Also visible in Viewfinder
Playback Functions Auto Image Rotation
Full-frame and thumbnail (4, 9, or 72 images)
Highlights
Histogram Display
Location Display
Movie Playback
Movie Slideshow
Photo Information
Photo Slideshow
Picture Rating
Playback with Zoom
Playback Zoom Cropping
In-Camera Image Editing Distortion Control
D-Lighting
Filter Effects
Image Overlay
Monochrome
NEF (RAW) Processing
Perspective Control
Red-Eye Correction
Resize
Side-by-Side Comparison
Straighten
Trim
Trim Movie
Image Comment Yes
Voice Memo Function n/a
Interface Audio input: Stereo mini-pin jack (3.5 mm diameter; plug-in power supported)
HDMI Output: Type C mini-pin HDMI connector
Headphone Connector
SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.0 Micro-B connector); connection to built-in USB port is recommended   Ten-pin remote terminal: Can be used to connect optional MC-30A/ MC-36A remote cords, ML-3 modulite remote control sets, WR-R10 (requires WR-A10 adapter) or WR-1 wireless remote controllers, or GP-1/ GP-1A GPS units
Wi-Fi Functionality Standards: IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g
Operating frequency: 2412–2462 MHz (channels 1–11)
Maximum output power: 8.5 dBm (EIRP)
Authentication: Open system, WPA2-PSK
Bluetooth Communication protocols: Bluetooth Specification Version 4.1
Operating frequency: Bluetooth: 2402–2480 MHz
Bluetooth Low Energy: 2402–2480 MHz
GPS GP-1 GPS unit, GP-1A GPS unit
Save/Load Camera settings Yes
Total Custom Settings 55
My Menu Yes with customization
Recent Settings Yes
Supported Languages Arabic
Bengali
Brazilian Portuguese
Bulgarian
Chinese (Simplified and Traditional)
Czech
Danish
Dutch
English
Finnish
French
German
Greek
Hindi
Hungarian
Indonesian
Italian
Japanese
Korean
Marathi
Norwegian
Persian
Polish
Portuguese
Romanian
Russian
Serbian
Spanish
Swedish
Tamil
Telugu
Thai
Turkish
Ukrainian
Vietnamese
World Time Setting Yes
Battery / Batteries EN-EL15a Rechargeable Li-ion Battery
Battery Life (shots per charge) Stills: 1,840 shots per charge
Approx. 70 minutes of HD footage
AC Adapter EH-5c/EH-5b AC Adapter; requires EP-5B Power Connector (available separately)
Battery Charger MH-25a Quick Charger
Tripod Socket 1/4 in.
Approx. Dimensions
(W x H x D)
Approx. 5.8 x 4.9 x 3.1 in. (146 x 124 x 78.5 mm)
Approx. Weight Approx. 2 lb. 0.3 oz. (915 g) camera body only
Operating Environment Temperature: 32 to 104°F (0 to 40°C)
Humidity: Less than 85% (no condensation)

Ergonomics

If you look at the Nikon D850, you’ll notice a fair amount of changes to a camera that is still more or less the same shape as the Nikon D810. But there are a few key updates you’ll note more when you hold it, use it, and bring it up to your eye. For starters, there’s the Nikon D850 branding on the top front side.

When you look at the top of the Nikon D850 you’ll see the pentaprism shape is now different. The reason for this is because Nikon removed the pop-up flash. Everything up top here will all look familiar to a seasoned Nikon shooter.

At the top right of the Nikon D850 you’ll spot the multi-control wheel. There are buttons for metering modes, camera modes, white balance and quality. Then below this is a wheel for drive modes.

On the top right side of the Nikon D850 you’ve got a big LCD screen to look at and change a variety of settings. Nikon also opted to put ISO control here as opposed to the left side–which we’ll get to in a bit. Video recording functionality is also here as well as exposure compensation. In use, this makes a lot more sense.

To the left of the Nikon D850 you’ll spot a whole lot of ports and connectivity. There is USB 3.0, HDMI, a headphone jack and a microphone jack. When you combine all this with Nikon’s newest initiative to give their lenses an electronic diaphragm, you’ll get something more tailored to video shooters. However, Nikon still has to compete with both Canon and Sony on that front.

 

Turn to the right side of the Nikon D850 and you’ll spot the dual card slots. It takes SDXC cards and an XQD card. For what it’s worth, I don’t know a single photographer who actually uses XQD cards. Lots of computers still have SD card slots, but not XQD slots.

Turn to the back of the Nikon D850 and you’ll spot some new tech here. The LCD screen tilts up and down as well as comes out. In addition to that, there are a few buttons on the right and a number of buttons on the left of the screen. New to the Nikon D850 is this FN2 button which can be programed to do various things. There is also direct flash control wired into another button.

Of course, there is also the big, beautiful viewfinder. Nikon’s viewfinders have always impressed me more so than Canon’s and part of this comes from the fact that I’m still legally blind. With my Mamiya RB67, I use a -4 diopter, and the fact that the Nikon D850 goes down to -3 will make it a bit easier to work with–though this viewfinder is nowhere as large as the massive prism on the Mamiya.

Build Quality

At one point during the Nikon press trip, the Nikon D850 took quite a splash from the whitewater river. But it survived with no issues; my shirt on the other hand… In addition to that, I took the Nikon D850 and the 28mm f1.4 out into a small rainstorm here in NYC. They both survived with no problems. I’m very confident that the Nikon D850 will survive most of what you throw at it as long as it has all the ports closed shut.

In the hand, the Nikon D850 feels really great and surprisingly never hurt my wrist at all carrying it all day long. It’s amazing that Nikon was able to pack this much into a camera like this. Professional photographers looking for a solid DSLR will find it with the Nikon D850 for sure.

Ease of Use

What Nikon did to really up their game in the ease of use area starts with the placement of the ISO button. With previous high end Nikon cameras, the mode button was on the right. But the ISO button is there now and it makes the experience of shooting without leaving the viewfinder so much more straightforward right out of the box. Putting the mode button along with the white balance and quality buttons on the top right is a welcome change.

Then there’s the other big part: the touchscreen. Navigating Nikon’s menus is so much faster now. Nikon’s menus were always pretty simple and this lets you cut to exactly where you want to go. Plus when shooting video or some stills, you can touch the LCD screen and shoot immediately. People who are brand new to photography and have some disposable income that want to buy the Nikon D850 and shoot it in auto will not only earn the scoffs of many photographers, but also may have a tough time with it due to its higher levels of complexity and there being no auto mode. but veteran Nikon shooters and photographers who are coming over from Canon may find things here that they really like.

Nikon also added two ways to move the autofocus point around: there’s a little joystick and there’s the D pad. That’s quite a bit to give photographers!

Autofocus

Now here’s where I was scratching my head for a bit until I showed it to a veteran Nikon shooter and he agreed with me. The Nikon D850 in my opinion is slower to autofocus than the Nikon D810 by just a bit. You won’t notice it unless you’ve shot a lot with the Nikon D810. But it’s also not always as accurate. There were times that it has missed the focusing for sure but to its credit, the Nikon D850 was trying to focus in very difficult lighting conditions.

Believe it or not though, I think that the Sony a9 has a better focusing system than the Nikon D850. Yes, crazy right?

Tracking focusing for the Nikon D850 worked very well, however. And in situations where you want to get even closer to the action, the DX crop mode is really great.

Metering

The Nikon D850 follows the Sunny 16 methods of metering to a T more or less. But as I was working with the camera, other journalists started to think that the Nikon D850 needed to be underexposed a bit to get the best results for editing. That way you’d be able to pull in more from the highlights and push the shadows. That’s more or less what I did in really contrasty lighting situations. But otherwise, I relied on the Nikon D850’s great RAW files to get what I wanted and needed out of Capture One Pro.

Image Quality

Image quality from the Nikon D850 across the board is absolutely solid. DXOMark confirms this and the Nikon D850 has a sensor with results that are very forgiving providing that you know what you’re doing. Most photographers may use Adobe Lightroom; Lightroom will do a good job but not as well as Capture One Pro–which can be set up to be just like Adobe Lightroom more or less but with more emphasis and focus on certain parts of the photo.

One thing that I should really talk about first and foremost is the square crop mode. I love it and I’ve always been in love with square photos due to the simplicity that they can pack into an image. They’re both the simplest and the most complicated images to make.

Before I go on, here are some other images that I really like.

Video

So if you haven’t subscribed to our YouTube channel, you should really do so right now! Part of my testing with the Nikon D850 involved shooting these two videos of Kevin Mullins and David Hobby over at the Fujifilm festival.

Granted, these are pretty simple, journalistic videos. But they go to show that anything and everything these days are more than good enough and that all that matters is the content. This is something that I always want to reiterate to photographers and creators.

RAW File Versatility

Edited

I purposely chose this scene because it encompasses what a lot of photographers will be looking for in the Nikon D850. This image of Mike from Steve’s Digicams was shot using a Speedlight in HSS mode. It showcases dynamic range and skin tones both. If you’ve gone so far as to edit color channels, you’ll understand that this is difficult because his skin tones are associated with the dirt in the background and his LL Bean logo. Plus his hair isn’t far off and the greens in the hat aren’t far off either. However, by tweaking the dynamic range of each color channel and then the overall scene, I was able to get this photo above.

Original

Here’s the original. The original image isn’t so bad either.

High ISO Output

ISO 12,800 on the Nikon D850 is very usable and in my experience, I haven’t really needed to go above that practically. But the High ISO output from the Nikon D850 is indeed very good. I haven’t been able to make prints with the files though but I’m very confident that I’ll be able to make big 11×17 inch prints with no problems at all.

Extra Image Samples

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Conclusions

Likes

  • Image Quality
  • Nikon’s best attempt at an OVF
  • Handling

Dislikes

  • Big size
  • I’m over DSLRs at this point despite the fact that I acknowledge them as fantastic image making devices.

 

The Nikon D850 is an absolutely fantastic camera in so many ways. Need great image quality? The Nikon D850 arguably has some of the best on the market though I’m not sure how much of a difference photographers will notice vs the Nikon D810 and the Nikon D850 when you look at the images as a whole. Your clients surely won’t notice. The only way that anyone will truly notice at this point in photographic technology is by printing a whole lot. Besides the imaging sensor though there are a lot of nice touches to the Nikon D850 like the fact that the buttons now illuminate when you activate the LCD light, the ISO button, the touchscreen, 8K video, and Nikon’s attempt at their best viewfinder yet. Then there is the weather sealing, etc. Where I feel lke it falls a bit short though is on autofocus.

Photographers and professionals will do great work with the Nikon D850 for sure.

But on a personal level, I’ve taken this into consideration very carefully. On a recent Canon press trip, a Canon rep was touting how mirrorless cameras were needing to become sizes of DSLRs and make lenses are big as the offerings from DSLRS. But he didn’t incorporate the weight at all, and how they’re still smaller overall. And that’s what I’m all about these days. the Nikon D850 is very capable but it could have been done smaller, with an EVF, etc. Even if it was still F mount, I would’ve considered springing for it and even switching my Sigma glass mounts and my lights. But DSLRs take up so much room in my camera bags when I need to go on gigs and go shooting. As I shoot more medium format film, I’m shocked at how comparable they are in sizes. Personally, I still get more from medium format film for the size and weight factor. I’d rather go a bit heavier and get a larger negative. Plus, EVFs let me do so much more at this point.

Sony and Fujifilm at the moment have my heart; but Nikon was very close.

Either way, my personal feelings don’t at all negate the fact that the Nikon D850 is a fantastic camera.

 

The Nikon D850 wins five out of five stars and our Editor’s choice award. Want one? Check out Amazon for the latest prices.