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Nikon D850 Real World Review

Now a Reality

The Nikon D850 SOLD out during pre-orders mostly due to all the CANON people jumping ship and placing their orders! I say come to the Nikon side...  I say this jokingly.

We Nikon users usher in the last Nikon 8 series with the D850 release and what an excellent way to end this line with an excellent example of engineering and workmanship in the D850. Nikon did a great job including many enhancements pulled from the D5  and D500, and like many of you, I am glad to see this finally come to fruition.  

If you want a bottom line - In my opinion, the D850 is a D500 with a larger sensor for FX users + improvements. Rear buttons and Top buttons are identical, and the front buttons are almost in the same spot, the D850 has a slightly different front mount with the PV and FUN1 buttons being more recessed -  if you trained your fingers using a D500 you will have memory muscle and nothing more to learn to play this instrument. The bottom line is if you love the D500 you will also love a D850, the Nikon D850 is an improvement to the FX line just as was the Nikon D500 to the DX line. What you get in addition to similarities in focus but a better sensor with higher resolution and lower noise at higher ISOs, the D850 is a better more polished DSLR with similarities to the D5 and D500.

Many people ask when the D500 was released alongside the D5 if it has the same XYZ features as the D5 should I need to spend for a D5? Simplest of responses are - Nikon's three top-shelf cameras center around a specific photographic use case and each camera helps photographers in their areas of need.

We are nearing the end of 2017 and now have 3 of the best DSLRs choices to consider ever.  Nikon has done an excellent job at providing all photographers high levels of quality optics and cameras. 

What is my 3 favorite enhancemenT found in the Nikon D850?   The added focus sensors with improved focus speed and accuracy,  the increased spread of focus points across the sensors, of course, the excellent larger viewfinder, and of also finally the touch flip screen.

Now that I have the Nikon D850: I like all the improvements over the D800 and D810. However, both the D800 and D810 are very lovely DSLRs.

  • The Tilt Touch screen is a winner.  Like the D500, I use the touch-tilt screen all the time, and it makes my photography so much more fluid out in the field,  only now this touch screen has menu inputs at your fingertips.  Big, Bright, and as sensitive as any smartphone, the responsiveness of my touch inputs are quick and fast. The lag is near gone but remain in some menus like going from menu to picture view - but not that troublesome or annoying.'
  • The large roomy viewfinder.  WOW! Looking through the viewfinder is amazing, the eye-relief and field of view through the pentaprism reminds me of my F5 only better. Very bright with a large view of what you are looking at - almost perfect 1:1 framing with a 1%  error on the side of capturing more than what you see - which is good.   The D500 has a similar concept; your framing adds about 1% more to the image than what you see - this is great when you have critical compositions, errs on the side of safety.
  • 4K Video. Now full frame 4K at 8 bit. Be prepared to get your shots close to perfect using this codec @ 4gb files. Although I am not a video-centric person I do appreciate the addition of this feature,  I like bringing home a few clips of wildlife in high resolution - amazing.  More to come on the video features.
  • The Silent Mode. This might be the one reason you wanted a mirror-less camera, but Nikon figured how to do it with an optical DSLR and makes your shooting silent.  But don't be fooled, you trade something in return - like the real-time optical feedback and rely on electronics, but I am still glad this feature is available.
  • Compatibility. Nikon retains the history and culture of it are customers.
  • Speed.  Well, to maximize speed you need a $400.00 battery grip + $350.00 charger = $850.00 which is still on back-order. 7 fps is nice and reasonable considering the file sizes
  • Timelapse. Built-in and allows you to edit the files outside the camera.
  • Low ISO.  Nikon understands photography, and the legacy of film, ISO base setting of 64 is a blessing - Thank you! Clean images.
  • Focus. 100 cross with over 153 total focusing points across the sensor, same as the D5.
  • Back-lighted buttons.  Finally, finally yes, you can see the buttons in dim light. The D500 added this to the stack, and I love it.
  • WiFi and BlueTooth. Great to see this added for those who need it, I am not one who depends on either but glad it is there.
  • Focus Stacking. Do you do Macro? Good news - bad news. Yes, it is available in the camera, but some images and sizes may persuade you otherwise. I found this to be more trouble than it is worth. Hopefully, Adobe adds a native focus stacking feature in Lightroom or Photoshop otherwise this is too much work.

My ambitions for this camera: 

  • Overall better image quality
  • Better low light shooting, this camera will finally motivate me to get me out at night
  • Improved nature and landscapes
  • Awesome Macro images due to higher resolution and image stacking

Stuff I hope Improves:

  • Step up improvement of the quality of the image vs more megapixels,  Focus on cleaner images, not more pixels.  The D850 made a leap forward - please continue in this are as Priority Nikon.
  • Pricing. Photographers should be seeing decreased pricing- I think Nikon gear across the board is a bit much. I recently purchased a new PCE and it was over 3K, I know - people are not buying specialized lenses - but 3K for a 19mm?
  • Mixed Media - I am not sure whay using mix storage media on a camera would be a nice end-user feature. I rather just buy two of the same type of media cards - work on it Nikon.

The birth of the new mirrorless hybrid Nikon 900 will be in two years and this will be an FX mirror-less hybrid; the Nikon 900 will trump everything before in performance and will advance Nikon shooters to Nirvana, stay tuned.


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Author: TrueToad
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I live at the edge of the forest in semi-moist locations, I enjoy larva, and other delights. Although I am toothless and mostly warty, I am a sight to see.

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