Compared to the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
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Compared to the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Compared to the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, the D850 is likely to be superior in almost every measurable respect, as both a stills and video capture device. It is faster, offers greater resolution, wider Raw dynamic range, probably better high ISO image quality, a much better autofocus system, more versatile ergonomics, and a more practical 4K video capture option (as well as focus peaking for HD video capture). The D850 also features a clever electronic first-curtain shutter mode which should effectively get around the problem of shutter/mirror-induced vibrations.

The EOS 5D IV offers Canon's peerless Dual Pixel autofocus in live view and movie modes, which is a major advantage

But importantly, the EOS 5D IV offers Canon's peerless Dual Pixel autofocus in live view and movie modes, which is a major advantage over the Nikon and makes it a much more usable camera in some situations. The D850's live view AF is clumsy by comparison.

I'd also note the fact that Canon is on a roll with its current high-end zoom lenses. Newer L-series zooms, like the EF 11-24mm F4, EF 16-35mm F2.8 III and 24-70mm F2.8 II are truly excellent. Nikon's equivalent wide zoom options aren't quite as good (and in the case of the 14-24mm F2.8 just plain old) by comparison. Less quantifiable but still worth noting is that many photographers simply prefer Canon's control interface.

Points in D850's favor:

  • Greater resolution
  • Wider dynamic range
  • Better autofocus
  • Faster continous shooting
  • Tilting rear LCD
  • Full-frame 4K

Points in 5D Mark IV's favor:

  • Dual Pixel autofocus in live view and video
  • (Arguably) more user-friendly user interface