What a pleasure it is to have written these reviews for Samy’s Camera this past year. I have tried just about every camera brand and in all sizes and megapixels and have enjoyed them all. Some are very easy to use; a few others have a bit of a learning curve to navigate their extensive menu with so many features offered – a challenge for my pea brain.
Well, let me just start this Nikon D850 review with a bit of an analogy. I would say that most of us have been in one or more relationships over the years; many times dating someone and having a good time. But how about that one person that has come along you have dated and possibly married who was just right after all those other good or so-so relationships. This one person is beyond great and makes your life incredible and you live happily ever after.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Nikon D850, that one camera that will make you very, very happy. Simply put, it’s the one you’ve been waiting for. Just spoil the D850 with the best glass you can put on it. Believe me, it will reward you with some of the best images you have ever snapped.
Where do I start other than saying, “Wow!” The dampened shutter…..wow! The silent mode…..wow! The 4K and HD video and slo-mo options….wow!
Video: Ralph Elliiott Starkweather
The incredible 8K time-lapse…..wow! And, there’s so much more.
Video: Ralph Elliiott Starkweather
Yes, I was wowed by this new, most powerful 45 Megapixel warrior of a camera that would get me through any professional situation. But, it’s not just for pros. Amateurs and photo enthusiasts could take advantage of this beautiful camera as well in order to wow their friends and family. They will also stand above the rest at their photo club meetings, and stand out in photo contests. It’s that good.
I must say that this camera has so many useful options; but, it is so easy to navigate after a few days shooting with the D850. A couple of mystery placements such as the focus options selection; but once you know it, is so easy peasy and intuitive. This was not only designed by engineers; but, real photographers were brought in to help in the final design. So, you are not shooting with a complicated computer with a lens but a real, solid camera that will get you what you are after.
I can go on and on and on discussing how much I fell in love with this camera that is “The One!” The One we have been dreaming about that can satisfy your every need. I think instead, I will reprint the specifications from Nikon USA below. They can say it all in better words than I can. I will instead publish my photographs and videos and 8K (reduced to HD for publication). I hope you can see in my work what this camera is capable of.
In short, the Nikon D850 is a home run.
via Nikon USA:
- Nikon-designed back-side illuminated (BSI) full-frame image sensor with no optical low-pass filter
- 45.7 megapixels of extraordinary resolution, outstanding dynamic range and virtually no risk of moiré
- Up to 9 fps1 continuous shooting at full resolution with full AF performance
- 8K6 and 4K time-lapse movies with new levels of sharpness and detail
- Tilting touchscreen, Focus Shift shooting mode, outstanding battery performance and much more
- 4K Ultra HD video recording, slow motion up to 120 FPS at 1080p
- The lowest base ISO (ISO 64) of any DSLR or mirrorless camera
D850: Extreme resolution meets extreme speed.
- 7 FPSContinuous Shooting
- 64-25,600ISO Expandable to 102,400
- 4K UHD3840 x 2160 at 30/25/24p
Higher Resolution. Faster Speed. Greater Versatility.
Nikon’s first back-side illuminated (BSI) full-frame sensor with no optical low-pass filter
At the heart of the D850 is a Nikon designed sensor like none before it—a back-side illuminated (BSI) FX-format full-frame CMOS image sensor with 45.7 megapixels and no optical low-pass filter. A marvel of ingenuity, it achieves extraordinary image quality, enhanced light gathering efficiency, faster data readout and truer color. And with such a dense array of pixels, there’s virtually no risk of moiré.
Faster, richer, sharper processing
Faster than EXPEED 4, EXPEED 5 quickly processes all 45.7 megapixels of data for lower noise, wider dynamic range, subtle tonal and textural details, high-speed continuous shooting at approx. 9 fps1 and full-frame 4K UHD movie recording.
Sensitive to every little detail
The lower the ISO, the greater the dynamic range. Like the D810 before it, the D850 has the lowest base ISO of any DSLR or mirrorless camera2—ISO 64 (expandable down to ISO 32).
Full frame as it was meant to be
Nikon has been advancing the full frame format since the days of 35mm film photography with industry defining optics, legendary sharpness and the most impressive lens lineup available.
NIKKOR Lenses: The Gold Standard
Nikon has been setting the standard for full-frame lenses for over 80 years. Gold Ring Series NIKKOR optics are among the finest lenses available, drawing peak performance from high-resolution image sensors with stunning sharpness, edge-to-edge clarity and virtually no distortion or aberrations regardless of subject, environment or lighting conditions. The extreme resolving power of the D850, whether for stills or 4K UHD video, is brought to full power with these superb optics. To get the most from the D850 think Gold Ring. No adapter needed.
Precision at every turn
Flagship autofocus, metering and fast continuous shooting
Autofocus that keeps up
The D850 uses the same field-proven ultra-accurate AF system as the flagship D5. With 153 focus points, 99 cross-type sensors and a dedicated AF processor, the D850 delivers all of its 45.7 MP performance with NIKKOR lenses. Shoot in low light to -4 EV. Capturing the most elusive subjects will feel like second nature with the D850.
Focus in near darkness
Autofocus down to -4 EV lets you capture in low-light situations. Suddenly, fast NIKKOR primes and zooms can handle even lower light than before.
Greater frame coverage
153 focus points with 99 cross-type sensors—15 of which support f/8, a must for many sports and wildlife shooters—providing 130% more frame coverage than D800/D800E or D810. Acquire and track with unwavering accuracy.
Locked-on subject tracking
Nikon’s exclusive AF engine uses parallel processing with a sequence control microcomputer to realize high AF performance for fast-moving subjects even during high-speed shooting.
Nuance in high resolution
With up to 7 FPS at 45.7 MP, the D850 can capture the decisive frame of a bride walking down the aisle or a fashion model’s fluid pose. For nailing the shot at a high-speed race or of A-listers on the red carpet, try using the optional MB-D18 battery pack and shoot full resolution up to 9 FPS.
Shoot to your heart’s content
Even at 45.7 MP of resolution, the D850 captures up to 513 consecutive shots in 14-bit RAW (NEF) or up to 170 frames in 12-bit lossless compressed RAW (NEF). Hold down the shutter button and capture shot after stunning shot.
Versatile like you
Performance enhancements inspired by photographer feedback
Streamline your workflow
Seamlessly switch between RAW sizes of Large (45.7 MP), Medium (25.6 MP) and Small (11.4 MP), whichever fits your need or workflow. Save time with RAW batch processing right in the camera.
Connect with your vision
Only an SLR camera offers a true view through the lens, making the camera an extension of your vision. The D850 has Nikon’s highest magnification optical viewfinder ever, 0.75x. See the effects of NIKKOR lenses in real time—bokeh, fisheye, perspective control and more.
Do not disturb
When silence is golden—shooting golf, press conferences, weddings and more—turn on Silent Photography in Live View and capture without sound or mechanical vibration. In Mode 1, shoot for up to 6 FPS continuous at 45.7 MP. In Mode 2, shoot approx. 8.6-megapixel pictures in DX image area at approx. 30 FPS for up to 3 seconds.
Tilt and touch
The tilting touchscreen LCD screen makes it easy to get the shot, even from high or low angles. Use Touch AF, Touch Shutter control and navigate menus, playback and more as if you were using a smartphone. Zoom in during Live View shooting and use the new Pinpoint AF to put focus right where you want it.
4K UHD Movie Quality in Full Frame Glory
Cinematic movie recording
A multimedia powerhouse
Multimedia content creators rejoice. You are now free to record 16:9 4K Ultra HD (3840×2160) in full frame glory using the total width and resolution of the D850’s back-side illuminated (BSI) CMOS sensor. Take advantage of the large sensor size for clean output at high ISO and for shooting with zero crop factor with any full-frame NIKKOR lenses4, including wide and ultra-wide angle lenses.
Slow it down
Transform dramatic moments into dazzling fluid slow-motion sequences. Record 4x (shoot at 120p, playback at 30/25p) or 5x (shoot at 120p, playback at 24p) slow-motion at 1080p.
Quickly confirm focus
Confirm your manual focus with Focus Peaking5. Select high, medium or low sensitivity and red, yellow, blue or white highlights. Operates in manual focus mode with AF or compatible manual NIKKOR lenses.
Touch to focus
While recording video with Live View just touch where you want to focus.
Advanced video features for better movies
Auto ISO handles smooth lighting transitions from ISO 64 to the sensitivity of your choice (all the way up to Hi-2). Enjoy simultaneous external and internal recording, Flat Picture Control, highlight weighted metering, two selectable Zebra Stripes patterns, electronic VR (Full HD), a built-in stereo microphone with 20-step increment and attenuator adjustments and so much more.
Time-lapse in breathtaking resolution
4K and 8K Ultra HD time-lapse with smooth exposure transitions
4K time-lapse in camera
Create entire 4K UHD time-lapse sequences right in the camera—an exclusive to Nikon DSLRs. Use Silent Live View Mode to bypass the mechanical shutter and mirror movement, saving thousands of shutter cycles and improving the D850’s already outstanding battery performance.
8K time-lapse using Interval Timer
Render jaw-dropping 8K time-lapse movies by shooting sequences of up to 9,999 full-size stills, again using Silent Live View Mode. Using the D850’s Interval Timer Mode allows you to capture over 8K-size images with exquisite detail for time-lapse movie6creation. And with no shutter vibration, your sequences will be tack-sharp.
The most well-rounded Nikon yet
Next-generation features to help you perform at your peak
Light it up
When combined with the optional WR-A10/R10 transceiver (requires firmware version 3.0 or later), the D850 can control and wirelessly fire radio controlled SB-5000 Speedlights from another room, around corners or outdoors in bright sunlight.
Focus stacking made easy
Create images with extraordinary depth of field using Focus Shift Mode. Set focal steps from 1 to 10 for up to 300 automated shots, which get stored in a dedicated folder for easy identification when using 3rd party focus stacking software6. High resolution meets high magnification.
Fine tune your NIKKOR lenses
Live View AF Fine Tune lets you quickly and reliably fine-tune the D850’s AF system to your specific NIKKOR lenses, optimizing sharpness and avoiding the lengthy process of trial-and-error tuning.
Use the D850’s 45.7 MP back illuminated sensor and Live View for Stills Mode as a negative film scanner with the new optional ES-2 Film Digitizing Adapter Set on a compatible Micro-NIKKOR lens. You can copy slides or negatives one at a time. Digitize the gems from your film days.
Get a grip
Add the new MB-D18 Multi Battery Power Pack for improved handling with telephoto prime or telephoto zoom lenses, and increase your shooting speed to 9 FPS7 at full resolution. For shooting stills in continuous AF, the MB-D18 increases your total shot count to approx. 5,140 shots on a single EN-EL18b battery or up to 145 minutes of HD video. Water- and dust-resistant to match the D850.
Fast wireless transfers
When you’ve got a deadline, transfer speed can make all the difference. Transfer images and movie files to a PC or FTP server via wired LAN/wireless LAN using the optional WT-7 Wireless Transmitter. For tethering, Camera Control Pro 2 (optional) gives you remote control of the D850 from a PC for shooting, playback and menu operation during Live View recording.
Control in the dark
Illuminated buttons make control easy during star-trail shoots, wedding receptions, concerts or anywhere the light is fading.
No shortage of memory
The D850 offers two card slots, one XQD and one SD. The XQD card slot easily handles the camera’s incredible high resolution files as well as burst shooting capacity and keeps the buffer cleared. Using both XQD and SD, set the SD slot for back up, overflow or just as extra storage space.
Built for the elements
Built with rugged magnesium alloy and carbon fiber materials, and featuring dust and water-drop resistance you’ll have peace of mind even when shooting in extreme environments.
Optimal exposure in an instant
The camera’s 180K RGB Advanced Scene Recognition System pulls it all together and ensures each shot—whether using available light or a Speedlight—has optimal exposure, referencing a database of thousands of photos.
Square (1:1) image size
Compose with shading in the viewfinder around the image area and shoot beautiful 30.3-megapixel 1:1 square images right in the camera—great for weddings and portraits. Also select from FX (full-frame), DX, 1:2 and 5:4 aspect ratios.
Define your style
Control the look of your photos and videos with Nikon’s Picture Control System. Spend more time in the field focusing on being creative and less time post-processing. Select Auto Picture Control and let the D850 optimize the look for your specific shot.
Phenomenal battery performance
All day shooting shouldn’t require frequent battery changes. The D850 is extremely energy efficient and can shoot approx. 1,840 shots8 at full resolution or approx. 70 minutes of video on a single charge. Even when powering external monitors and working in extreme conditions, the D850 performs brilliantly.
Your images. The world. Connected.
Transfer your images to a compatible smartphone or tablet instantly using Nikon’s SnapBridge app. The app maintains a constant connection with the D850 via Bluetooth Low Energy for seamless transfers, sharing your favorite shots and even controlling the D850 for remote shooting.
1Up to 7 fps; use the MB-D18 Multi Battery Power Pack with the EN-EL18b Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery and shoot full resolution up to 9 fps.
2Among DSLR and Mirrorless cameras as of August 24, 2017.
3When using a 64GB XQD (Sony QD-G64E) card.
4DX NIKKOR also compatible.
5Available with Full HD or HD or in Stills Live View Mode.
6Requires 3rd party software.
7Requires EN-EL18b Rechargeable Li-ion Battery.
8Based on CIPA Standards.
± WI-FI COMPATIBILITY
This camera’s built-in Wi-Fi® capability can only be used with a compatible iPhone®, iPad®, and/or iPod touch® or smart devices running on the Android™ operating system. The Nikon SnapBridge application must be installed on the device before it can be used with this camera.
Using the SnapBridge App
Android 5.0 or later or 6.0.1 or later
iOS 8.4 or later, iOS 9.1 or later (latest version of iOS 8 or iOS 9 recommended) plus iOS 10.1 or iOS 10.2
A device with Bluetooth 4.0 or later (i.e., a device that supports Bluetooth Smart Ready/Low Energy) is required.