The Nikon D850 is the highest resolution and most advanced DSLR camera Nikon made so far. It is the top tier of Nikon’s full-frame camera series that was first released in August 2017. It was intended to follow its predecessor the D810 with even higher resolution, better performance, more features to offer, and also a higher price.
With its 46.0MP full-frame sensor the Nikon d850 will be able to generate up to 8256 × 5504 px images at full-frame which is the highest resolution Nikon DSLR cameras have reached and noticeably higher than the 36.3 MP sensor in the d850, giving more freedom for photographers to capture breathtaking images and pleasing details. The sensor size is identical to that of the D810, measuring 35.9 x 23.9 mm while the d850 offers a backside-illuminated sensor and neither camera has an optical low-pass filter.
Backside-Illuminated (BI) is a redesigned sensor type that rearranges the sensor layers to move the photocathode layer closer to the surface, that changes in layers’ order reduce the number of layers through which light travels to reach the photocathode which increases the chance of input light photons being captured and thus improving the camera performance in low-light conditions.
Fast Continuous Shooting
Despite its high resolution, the camera boasts an excellent continuous shooting speed at full resolution which is up to “7 fps” and can be increased to “9 fps” with a battery grip attached making it one of the fastest Nikon DSLR cameras in burst mode which is good news for sports and wildlife photographers. (Generally, DSLR cameras have limited continuous shooting rates due to their mechanical shutters which require physical components movement as opposed to electronic shutters in other different camera types like mirrorless cameras but manufacturers still keep it optional because it has its cons and can cause flickering and banding, especially when used with artificial lighting).
See also the less expensive Nikon d750
Electronic Front Curtain Shutter (EFCS)
EFCS is an optional and important function added in modern cameras that make the shutter partly electronic. Normally, the shutter has two mechanical curtains one open to begin the exposure and the other end it, so with EFCS enabled in Mirror-Up mode, the camera will end the exposure electronically which is useful in long shutter speeds where sensitive camera stabilization is needed to increase the image sharpness and avoid blur, therefore, EFCS reduce camera vibration caused by the mechanical shutter (Known as shutter shock) and commonly used in astronomy photography. It also cannot be utilized as the primary shutter mode due to its limited shutter speeds and can cause image distortion in some shooting scenarios.
In terms of ISO sensitivity, the d850 comes with the same ISO 64 as the d810, allowing a native sensitivity range of ISO 64-25,600 and boosted range of ISO 32, 51,200, 102,400 while the d810 is limited to 51,200. In both cameras, the ISO performance received many positive feedbacks from many experienced photographers on how good it is in handling low light scenes and reducing noise in high settings.
The Nikon D850 is powered by the best Autofocus technology ever seen in a DSLR camera same as the Nikon’s top camera for hardcore sports photography D5 and benefit from its full AF features. It comes with a 153-point autofocus system driven by an advanced 181,000-pixel RGB metering system which is more than what any photographer needs to cover the entire frame with a fast and precise focus on the target subject even in the most advanced photography categories.
If you put the two cameras in a real-world test, the Nikon d8580 is still not as good as the D5 in terms of tracking fast-moving subjects even though Nikon has added a dedicated processor for the AF system in order to handle these high specs and give photographers an exceptionally fast, responsive, and accurate AF system but it fairly easy for the camera processor to handle the 20.8 MP sensor in the D5 compared to 46.0 MP in the D850 so the D850 did a great job in reaching close performance.
In terms of video capabilities, the d850 benefits from its new EXPEED 5 processor and is able to record 4K Ultra HD (3840×2160) videos at FX making it the first Nikon DSLR to be able to shoot full-frame 4k videos although it is still restricted to 30fps (like most DSLRs). Also slow-motion videos are available at Full HD 1,920×1,080 30p (x4) (equivalent to normal 120fps) and 4k & 8k timelapse movies are also available.
The Nikon d850 comes with a surprise gain in terms of battery life. The estimated battery life is 1840 shots per charger (vary depending on usage) means 640 more frames than its predecessor. Not only the battery is better but also the camera’s power consumption became more efficient despite its high-end specifications. So with battery grip attached, you may confidently skip recharging the battery on heavy-duty days.
The d850 body construction is composed of a complete magnesium-alloy frame similar to the d810 that is very solid and sturdy that withstand reasonably hard treatment for a long time. The camera itself weighs 1005 g with battery compared to the d810’s 980g, d750’s 840g, and the most entry-level d3500’s 415g so it’s not relatively a lightweight camera compared to these models, the grip is redesigned to be deeper and more curved to the left side than the d810 making it more comfortable to hold and the camera’s body, buttons, and openable doors are ergonomically constructed with weather-sealed in mind to survive bad weather situations.
There are other important upgrades regard to the camera LCD display. The screen is not 2.359k dots vs 1.229k dots in the d810 which is a 91% higher resolution making it more obvious to the user with crisper text and richer colours. It also offers a tilling mechanism (not completely articulated) that can tilt up and down for more flexible vertical positions shooting which is always good to see in any camera compared to the d810’s fixed screen. Both LCDs are 3.2″ in size and support fast and responsive touch input sensitivity for LiveView controls as well as easier and faster navigation in its intuitive interface.
Where To Buy
See the best Nikon d850 bundle deals for different package options that come bundled with important lenses, gears, and accessories.