Nikon D850 FX Review

When the D800 and D800E DSLRs were announced five years ago, their 36 MP sensors put them ahead of other full frame cameras in terms of resolution. They were succeeded by the Nikon D810, which was soon surpassed Canon EOS 5DS R and Sony Alpha 7R II. This saw the launch of the Nikon D850. In addition to upping the resolution and shooting speed, Nikon boosted the sensitivity range. It is probably the most capable all-around DSLR camera, with the ability to handle almost any subject. Keep reading this Nikon D850 review to learn more about other improvements made to the camera.

nikon d850 dslr camera

General Specifications

The Nikon D850 has plenty to offer the beginner and experienced photographer thanks to a combination of great features. Some of them are listed below.

Type: Full-frame DSLR

Resolution: 45.7 megapixels

Image sensor: FX,CMOS, 35.9 x 23.9mm

ISO:

  • Native ISO: 64 – 25,600
  • Extended ISO: 32 – 102,400

Shutter speed: 1/8000 to 30 seconds

Continuous shooting rate: 9 frames per second

Size: 146 x 124 x 78.5 mm

Weight: 1005 grams

Media Storage: XQD, SD, SDHC, SDXC

Pricing Options:

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Key Features

The Nikon D850 packs a whole lot of features that professional photographers will appreciate. A major highlight is the 45.7 megapixel sensor that is equipped with gapless on-chip micro lenses. The backside architecture is illuminated to ensure maximum light capture, hence minimal image noise. Nikon uses the Expeed 5 processor to deliver delicate tonality and vivid images. Whether it lives up to the promise of being a camera for all disciplines really comes down to implement. So can this high-end camera deliver exceptional performance? Is it capable of exceeding customer expectations?

Image quality and performance

The Nikon D850 offers an unprecedented combination of dynamic range, processing power, ISO and resolution. Its 45.7 MP sensor does a good job of harnessing maximum power from the NIKKOR lenses with clarity as well as tonality. A wide ISO range means that you benefit from a wider dynamic range as well as low-noise image capture.

As one would expect from a $3000+ camera, the level of detail is quite impressive. There is minimal luminance noise and you don’t have to worry about chroma noise either. Luminance noise is, however, a little more noticeable at ISO 6400 but the results are very acceptable.

Given the wide dynamic range, chances of underexposing a shot and being able to recover shadow detail without unwanted noise encroaching on the shot are high. The introduction of a focus shift photography function has made it easier to stack up to 300 frames while automatically shifting focus from the starting point to infinity.

Design and controls

The Nikon D850 boasts a tough magnesium alloy body with weather seals for added protection against the elements. Nikon omits a pop up flash to make the camera sturdier, hence its ability to withstand rigorous use.

As for the controls, the shutter button sits above the ISO button, a configuration that makes it easier to adjust single-handed. There is a small joystick towards the back that you can use to easily choose the preferred focus point. You can also use the eight-way controller at the back of the camera for the same purpose.

Majority of the controls of the Nikon D850 and top plate LCD light up when you rotate the on/off switch beyond the on position. This is quite a useful feature as it allows you to change settings in low light conditions. The screen is touch sensitive and you can use it change menu settings, set focus in Live View as well as browse through images in playback.

Pros

The upsides of the Nikon D850 include;

  • Incredibly detailed images
  • Ability to capture 4K UHD footage at 30, 25 and 24 frames per second
  • Wide dynamic range
  • Built-in wireless capabilities
  • Articulating screen
  • Bluetooth and NFC connectivity
  • Up to 153 focus points
  • Optical built-in viewfinder
  • 45.7-megapixel high-resolution CMOS sensor
  • Fast continuous shooting rate of 7 frames per second
  • Environmental sealing for added protection
  • Allows for time-lapse recording
  • Features two storage slots
  • Long battery life of up to 1840 shots
  • Magnesium alloy body elements
  • Variety of Auto White Balance options

Cons

There is very little not to love about the Nikon D850.

  • At more than $3000, this camera is very expensive
  • Lacks image stabilization technology
  • Weighs 1015g, which is quite heavy by today’s standards
  • Remote control app is limited
  • Slow live-view focus speeds

Recommendations

For someone whose main goal is to venture into professional photography and doesn’t mind splashing on their equipment, the Nikon D850 makes a good purchase. The 45.7-megapixel high resolution is one of the factors that makes it a most anticipated release of the year. It handles well and the image quality is everything a professional photographer would wish for.

Whether you specialize in wedding, landscape or sports, this camera will prove invaluable what with precision at every turn. What’s even better is that you can control the look of your videos by taking advantage of the Picture Control System, which allows you to spend more time being creative and less time post-processing. You can switch RAW file sizes depending on the workflow and the rugged design means that you don’t have to worry about damage.

Verdict

At almost $3500, the Nikon D850 is one of the most expensive full frame DSLR cameras on the market. But if there is anything that this Nikon D850 review has taught us, it is that it worth every penny. Fast shooting speeds, high resolution, ability to control the look of your shots via Picture Control System, excellent noise performance and rugged construction are some of the attributes to love about this camera. And while you may have to purchase image stabilized lenses, the quality of the images and footage will still be acceptable. The ability to shoot at high speeds and with high resolution is something few cameras have to offer.

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