Cameras

Nikon D850 Review

Even though it has been on the market for over three years, the Nikon D850 is still among the best digital single-lens reflex cameras (DSLR) that money can buy.

The stunning 36.3-megapixel Nikon D810, favored for a long time by professionals and amateurs alike, was replaced by the D850 in July 2017. It undoubtedly had huge shoes to fill, but it could do so owing to features such as burst shooting at seven frames per second and superb performance at high ISO settings.

There is little question that mirrorless flagships such as the Sony A7R IV have now lifted the performance bar once again for high-megapixel cameras. Still, the Nikon D850 is much more affordable than Sony’s 61MP all-rounder.

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Nikon D850 Features

Although the D810 maintained the exact 36.3-megapixel resolution as the ground-breaking Nikon D800/D800e, it was eventually overtaken in terms of resolution by the Canon EOS 5DS (50.6 megapixels) and the Sony Alpha A7R II (42.2 megapixels). The D850, on the other hand, was equipped with a brand-new 45.7-megapixel full-frame back-illuminated sensor (BSI), which represented a significant increase in pixel count compared to the D810 and was only slightly lower than the 5DS.

The light-collecting components in the BSI design are positioned closer to the sensor’s surface than in prior sensor designs, which should allow it to give an improved low-light performance.

In the same way, as we saw with the D810 (and the D800e), the D850 does not include an anti-aliasing filter. This means that even more detail may be squeezed out of the sensor, even though there is an increased chance of moiré patterning.

Nikon D850 Build Quality

Although the Nikon D850 and the Nikon D810 may have comparable dimensions, the D850 is significantly different from the D810.

If you are upgrading from a D810 or D800, the redesigned handle will be the first thing that jumps out at you when you pick up the new camera. It is now much more pleasant to grip than its predecessor, particularly for extended periods of time, due to its increased depth.

In an effort to make the camera even more durable than the D500, Nikon also deleted the pop-up flash from this model. Some people may be disappointed to learn that this function will no longer be available; we’ve used it in the past to activate remote Speedlights, but it’s always seemed like a weak link on a professional-grade DSLR.

In addition, there is no pop-up flash on the D850; the body is made of magnesium alloy and has weather seals to protect it from the elements. These features combine to make the D850 seem like the professional DSLR you would expect it to be. This camera is exceptionally well crafted, and there is no doubt that it can withstand the rigorous use required in a professional setting.

Nikon D850 Performance

The Nikon D850 has a burst shooting speed that has been boosted from 5 frames per second to 7 frames per second. This makes it an even more versatile piece of equipment, even though it has a decently increased number of pixels compared to the Nikon D810.

Additionally, if you insert a big EN-EL18B battery into the D850 and utilize the optional MB-D18 battery handle that comes with the camera (which is also used in the D5), you may boost the rate to 9 frames per second.

When considering the amount of data that the D850 has to process, the 51-shot buffer (at 14-Bit raws) is also highly outstanding. This compares well with the 5fps shooting speed of the Canon EOS 5DS and the Sony Alpha A7R II.

The EN-EL15 is the primary battery that comes with the Nikon D850. This is the same power pack used by the D810, but Nikon has managed to wring even more life out of the battery to give a stunning 1,840 shots per charge.

To put this into perspective, if you wanted to attain anything close to the battery capacity of the D850 with an Alpha A7R II, you would need seven NP-FW50 batteries, and if you wanted to do the same with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, you would need two LP-E6N batteries.

Nikon D850 Image Quality

The Nikon D850 can resolve an astounding degree of information, which can be expected from a sensor that contains 45.4 million individual pixels. You will be able to create big prints packed with detail; however, it goes without saying that you will want the highest quality glass to get the most out of the sensor.

Again, the D850 doesn’t let you down regarding how well it handles noise at high ISO settings. At an ISO of 3200, there is scarcely any luminance (grain-like) noise in the photographs, and there is not the slightest indication of chroma (color) noise in the images. The images reveal outstanding levels of detail with minimum noise up to ISO3200.

If you push it to ISO 6400, you’ll see that the luminance noise is somewhat more noticeable; nonetheless, the image quality is still quite acceptable, and we have no problem shooting at this sensitivity. Even at ISO 12,800 and ISO 25,600, the noise is still well managed, and the results are more than satisfactory. Even though the noise is more apparent, it is still well-controlled.

Above that, we recommend staying away from the two extended settings, as they result in a slight loss of saturation. However, with some adjustments in Lightroom or another program of a similar kind, it is possible to achieve a picture that is passable at ISO51,200.

Nikon D850 Specs

Body typeMid-size SLR
Body materialMagnesium alloy
Sensor
Max resolution8256 x 5504
Image ratio w:h1:1, 5:4, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels45 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors47 megapixels
Sensor sizeFull frame (35.9 x 23.9 mm)
Sensor typeBSI-CMOS
ProcessorExpeed 5
Color spacesRGB, Adobe RGB
Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
Image
ISOAuto, 64-25600 (expands to 32-102400)
Boosted ISO (minimum)32
Boosted ISO (maximum)102400
White balance presets14
Custom white balanceYes (6 slots)
Image stabilizationNo
Uncompressed formatRAW + TIFF
JPEG quality levelsFine, normal, basic
File formatJPEG (Exif v2.3)TIFF (RGB)Raw (Nikon NEF, 12 or 14 bit, lossless compressed, compressed or uncompressed)
Optics & Focus
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Phase DetectMulti-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View
Autofocus assist lampNo
Manual focusYes
Number of focus points151
Lens mountNikon F
Focal length multiplier
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDTilting
Screen size3.2″
Screen dots2,359,000
Touch screenYes
Screen typeTFT LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeOptical (pentaprism)
Viewfinder coverage100%
Viewfinder magnification0.75×
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed30 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/8000 sec
Exposure modesProgramAperture priorityShutter priorityManual
Built-in flashNo
External flashYes (via hot shoe or flash sync port)
Flash modesFront-curtain sync (normal), Rear-curtain sync, Red-eye reduction, Red-eye reduction with slow sync, Slow sync
Flash X sync speed1/250 sec
Drive modesSingle-frameSelf-timerQuiet shutterQuiet continuousMirror-upContinuous lowContinuous high
Continuous drive7.0 fps
Self-timerYes (2, 5, 10, 20 secs)
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedHighlight-weightedSpot
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, 1/2 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV steps)
WB BracketingYes (2-9 exposures in 1, 2, or 3EV increments)
Videography features
FormatMPEG-4
Modes3840 x 2160 @ 30p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 25p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 24p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 120p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 60p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 50p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 30p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 25p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 24p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1280 x 720 @ 60p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1280 x 720 @ 50p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
MicrophoneStereo
SpeakerMono
Storage
Storage typesSD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-II supported) + XQD
Connectivity
USBUSB 3.0 (5 GBit/sec)
USB chargingNo
HDMIYes (mini HDMI)
Microphone portYes
Headphone portYes
WirelessBuilt-In
Wireless notes802.11b/g + NFC + Bluetooth 4.1 LE
Remote controlYes (wired, wireless, smartphone)
Physical
Environmentally sealedYes
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionEN-EL15a lithium-ion battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)1840
Weight (inc. batteries)1005 g (2.22 lb / 35.45 oz)
Dimensions146 x 124 x 79 mm (5.75 x 4.88 x 3.11″)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingYes (4K movies or ‘8K’ stills)
GPSNone

Nikon D850 Verdict

More recent mirrorless flagships may be superior to it in terms of power and video capabilities, but the Nikon D850 is still among the most excellent DSLRs that photographers can purchase.

The D850 will fulfill your photographic needs, whether you want to take pictures of weddings, landscapes, portraits, action, or wildlife. It is justifiably considered a modern classic as a result of its remarkable performance as well as its bombproof construction.

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