Nikon D850 Review

The Nikon D850 is perhaps the most advanced SLR camera to date; the Nikon D850 will appeal to a wide range of professional users: from the wedding and sports photography to landscape and commercial photography.



After months of anticipation and rumours, Nikon D850 finally announced and it was worth it to wait for this camera. With the remarkable D810 remaining in the market without heritage now it has come to the successor.

The successor of the high-resolution D810 model appeared on the market after more than three years. It has been quite a while that Nikon could make significant improvements, but as we all know, many manufacturers make changes pretty carefully.

Fortunately, Nikon D850 introduced a camera that is not only a transition of the earlier models but the real revolution in the world of SLR cameras.

The D850 Nikon SLR camera is a real monster, which drew even photographers, tightly bound to other systems. It is not surprising that powerful technical features make it the most versatile device on the market.

The camera has received not only functions, which had hitherto not seen DSLRs, but also due to the excellent balance of the characteristics she has a chance to claim the title of the universal camera on the market.

Judging from the Nikon D850 characteristics, it will live up to the radiant expectations. This review article is only a preliminary review of novelties, but now it is called “perhaps the perfect SLR camera to date.”


  • The ability to shoot highly detailed pictures.
  • High quality and proven autofocus system.
  • Large and bright viewfinder.
  • DX crop mode.
  • Long battery life.


  • More Expensive than the predecessor Nikon D810.


  • 45.7-megapixel sensor.
  • Multi-touch swivel screen with a diagonal of 3.2 inches and a resolution of 2 359 000 points.
  • Video in 4k.

The D810 and the D800/D800e have a revolutionary 36.3-megapixel matrix, but also Canon EOS 5DS, and Sony Alpha A7R II surpassed it regarding megapixels (50.6 and 42.2 megapixels respectively). Unlike its predecessor, the new D850 45.7-megapixel sensor reverses circumstances since this is a significant increase in comparison with the D810 and only slightly less than the EOS 5DS. However, the Nikon 5DS cannot boats DX mode.

You can close the Nikon D810 perimeter frame to provide the image field as SLRs with the APS-C format. Image resolution is less because you are using only part of the matrix, but the sensor resolution D850 is so high that even in this mode allows you to take 19.4-megapixel photos. And it is very close to 20.9-megapixel frames that give D500 or D7500. Besides, there is the possibility to shoot in 1:1 format, with a size of pictures 30.2 megapixels.

In comparison with the D500 and D5, the D850 has a modest ISO range (64-25600). That fact is not surprising, given the number of megapixels in the matrix. But it can be extended to values equivalent to ISO 108 400 (Hi2) and ISO 32 (Lo1). This feature will most certainly please landscape photographers.

D850 boasts and new optical viewfinder with magnification 0.75 x. This measure is the most significant increase in DSLRs Nikon FX format, as well as slightly more substantial than 5DS (0.71 x). Unlike the D810, D850 also receives touch swivel screen with a diagonal of 3.2 inches and a resolution of 2 359 000 points. It has the same screen as the D500 camera, but it gives more options in managing the camera: you can use it to work with the menu, choose focus touch, lower the shutter view pictures, etc.

D850 can shoot video in a format 4k UHD without cropping the frame with up to 30p that maximizes the field of view lens. There are lower resolution video formats, for example, Full HD with up to 60p, as well as the ability to shoot in 8k UHD. Electronic vibration reduction system compensates for jitter when shooting video with your hands. There are ports for external microphones and headphones.

Little change has occurred regarding supported media. Instead of two SD slots, like the Nikon D500, we get one QXD slot and one SD card slot. It is a mischance that the manufacturer has not made the D850 like the D5 (2 XQD CARD slot or slots CF). For reasons of convenience, photographers choose to work with one type of cards in most cases. Not to mention the more value the card XQD CARD and an individual reader. The manufacturer refused to support memory cards CompactFlash format in favor of cards format XQD CARD (at the moment, Nikon is the only company that uses this format cards in their cells). There is a slot for SD cards supporting UHS-II.

For the wireless transmission of images and the remote camera control system, the camera uses SnapBridge.

Design and ergonomics

  • Magnesium alloy casing.
  • Protection against weather conditions.
  • Weight-1005 g.

It is crucial to note that there are changes also regarding ergonomics and systematics in camera operation, although at first glance it is not apparent.

As with the D500, the Nikon D850 abandoned the built-in Flash to avoid a more sturdy structure. The casing is made of magnesium alloy and has protection against varying weather conditions, as expected from a professional camera. In your hands, the 850 feels very convenient and leaves a great sensation.

The Nikon D850 model has changed almost everything, including the design. The camera has a sturdy magnesium alloy, correctly fitted and assembled chassis, and virtually identical chamber dimensions as its predecessor (146 x 124 x 78.5 mm compared to 146 x 123 x 81.5 mm). With this new SLR camera, the weight is slightly more massive (1005, compared with 980 g), but much better in hand because of the better capture profile under your thumb on the back panel.

As with most of the cameras, the management body of the D850 is like the D500. You can highlight settings (extra screen on top panel) to make it easier to change the settings under poor lighting conditions. To do this, you just have to turn the disc to the required position.

Nikon also somewhat changed the controls compared to the D810. Now the upper panel is arranged in the same way as the D500, so photographers who plan to use both of these cameras will find fewer difficulties in transition between them. ISO settings button is now located immediately behind the shutter button, for the convenience of working with one hand. The location is better than the D810, where the ISO button is on the left. The D850 arranges the shutter button on the right in a group of four buttons with an unlock button shooting mode.

Significant impact on comfort is also a more balanced mode button as typical Nikon cameras mode dial on the top panel. It transfers to the ISO button. This position can appear as a small change, but after taking the camera into your hands, you can quickly assess its usability. The AE-L/AF-L button disappeared from the back, and we get an additional function button under the buttons on the left. The manufacturer installed built-in Flash, although it is difficult to judge if it is necessary for the price segment.

Another significant addition and critical innovation is a small joystick to adjust the AF point, allowing faster and more convenient to work, allowing the camera to compete with the leading Fujifilm XT2. You can do the same using the controller on the back of the camera.


  • 153 points, 99 cross.
  • 55 points at user’s choice.
  • Large frame coverage.

The 153 densely arranged focus points (55 selectable) produce over 130% of the D810 coverage, while it organizes optimally 99 cross sensors with important detection.

Accurate focusing is crucial to large-pixel-count pictures. The D850 comes equipped with the same robust 153-point AF system as the D5.

The AF system makes it possible to achieve pinpoint focus on a small area, but is also designed to acquire fast immediately, often random movements and track them tenaciously.

The D850 has the same AF lock-on organization menu as the Nikon D5. That helps focus more precisely on subjects going toward the camera.

Moreover, the central point uses -4 EV and the other focus points -3 EV, this is due to the Multi-CAM 20K autofocus sensor module, developed to keep noise to an ideal minimum, and allowing precise AF in defying light.

Photographers who shoot sports and action, will not be disappointed with the autofocus of the Nikon D850. The autofocus is speedy and very accurate.


  • Speed shoot-7 fps (9 FPS with battery-grip).
  • The buffer on 51 RAW file format.
  • 1840 pictures on one battery charge.

Nikon D850 increases the number of pixels compared to the D810, shooting speed at Nikon D850 is more than 7 fps (5 fps at D810). Also, if you install the battery handle MB-D18 with battery EN-EL18B, you can get up to 9 FPS. This point is a definite improvement over the 5 fps that offer the EOS 5DS and Alpha A7R II. And given the size of the files, which handles D850, the buffer on 51 snapshots (14-bit raw) is also very impressive.

The availability of electronic shutter for a silent shooting is pleasant for photographers who work at weddings and events. In Live View mode, you can take a series of 6 frames per second. Need more speed? Choose DX mode and make 8.6-megapixel photos at a rate of 30 fps.

The D850 uses the same exposure metering sensor as the D5 (180 000 pixels, sensitivity to -3 EV). Thanks to him, the photographers who shoot on long exposures and with ND filters, can rely on auto exposure and autofocus system, without having to take off the filter screen.

D850 offers three types of auto white balance:

  • Auto 0 will play white in any sources of lighting,
  • Auto 1-the balance of the original object’s color and ambient light,
  • Auto 2-shift the focus on warm tones.

Image quality

  • ISO range of 64-25 600 (expandable to 32-108 400).
  • More RAW formats, average (25.6 mp) and small (11.4 mp).
  • Focus bracketing mode.

With D850 you cannot shoot in RAW format, only in JPEG, but the 45.7-megapixel sensor is not disappointing. It copes well with noise even at high ISO values and stores a large number of details.

The preliminary verdict

The D850 Nikon is worth considering. The D850 has a vast number of possibilities and characteristics, but all this does not weaken diversity performance. Autofocus system is one of the best of all existing and speed shooting 7 fps makes it even more versatile than its predecessor, and its nearest competitor, the D810.

The D850 will undoubtedly attract a vast range of professional users: from wedding and sports to landscape and commercial photographers. We can already say that the D850 is one of the most sophisticated SLRs to date.

James Heidel

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