Nikon D850 from a D810 Owners Perspective *initial thoughts and full res pictures*

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primeshooter
primeshooter Veteran Member • Posts: 4,186
Nikon D850 from a D810 Owners Perspective *initial thoughts and full res pictures*
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So today I received a Nikon D850. I have included some pictures SOOC jpgs from the standard profile (neutral and flat are too dull for SOOC for me). If people want the RAWS I will consider a dropbox link so let me know. What I will say is I have never been a SOOC shooter, I shoot RAW and process every shot but I am seriously wondering why - the SOOC shots are great from this body.

Disclaimer: Yes nothing I have posted below picture wise really tests the D850 in terms of AF which I will talk about a lot here, but my other half did not want tracking shots of her walking towards the camera at speed so you'll have to wait on another review / preview for that. Needless to say it does very well at this.

So how to begin, my initial look around the body was positive - the grip is better (think of D800 bad, D810 better, D850 perfect). It's deeper and better contoured. It feels heavy but has a quality in the hands. You will have to excuse me getting positive about button movement, as the ISO button being on the right ala D500 users have had for a while is just excellent for on the fly shooting and will be helpful for my wedding work. The viewfinder is massive, it feels almost like when I stick my eye through I need to look around, which means shooting very pleasant indeed. The lack of a pop up flash is also very welcomed by me, no noises when shaken or a weak spot in the body up in this area now. Buttons on the back are well placed and tactile, we have an extra customisable Fn button at the lower left. What's more is so many buttons can be customised, as well though. The new nipple is excellent, infact I need to stop myself using the D-pad to move the focus box around as I am in that habit, but again, something that makes shooting a lot more responsive (more on this later). Most of the buttons are the same as the D810, infact from my initial checks it seems only the mode button as moved on to the top left now, which means to current D810 users this layout will feel very familiar. The flip screen feels more sturdy than the D750 (and it is).

24mm 1.4G at sunset, Perthshire, Scotland - SOOC standard picture profile (ISO 80 my mistake)

So how is shooting with this big chunk of camera? Well I am not someone that suffers from new toy syndrome so I am not going to jump up and down, wet myself then have to get a diaper change, but I have to say that in all seriousness the focus system completely allows me to focus on the subject again.What do I mean by that? Every other camera I have used I've always felt I was literally moving AF boxes around, distracted from framing the shot sometimes in order to find contrast to get an AF lock or track a subject so that I would get accurate pixel level focus. Shooting weddings when flash isn't always allowed (I do use flash aswell) means that AF systems are pushed to the limit, and the worst feeling is a lens searching around at these events. I'm sure there will be people nodding their head reading this part. I came from a D90 D700-D800-D810-to now D850 so I know something about this struggle. The nipple allows much faster movement to the subject, and the AF tracking is much improved over the D810 - it just finds and holds your subject in the brief tests I've done so far. The camera has so many focus points that D-9 looks much smaller on screen than it did on the D810, so sometimes I am using D-21 to cover the subject. There are so many options regards to focus it will take time to master it all of course. So, looking through the finder, composing, focusing and shooting just works. I have bought a 128GB sandisk 95mb/s card and I get approx 20 shots before the 7FPS fills the buffer and I get slow down. I'll be lucky if I ever use the speed (reason I bought a bigger capacity but slower card) but it's impressive at this resolution to be able to do that. Wildlife guys are gonna love this thing. The LCD screen is much higher resolution (see the specs) but even without looking at the specs I noticed this, the touch screen works so well and being able to just hit the screen and take a picture, and the silent mode is going to be a game changer at weddings for me. PS tip for the threads I've seen on here saying they cannot get focus peaking - you have to turn your AF-S lens to M on the barrel I noticed the shutter sound is a little louder, it sounds how do I say, snappier? But nice, not unpleasant. I already like it. I walked about at the farm with the 24mm 1.4G nikkor attached this evening...

SOOC - standard picture setting

I also attached my 85mm 1.4D prime and found that it was a bit noisier, noticeably so in focusing (yeh it was never quiet on the D810) but it's louder on the D850 - which I suspect is due to the added magnesium causing reverb when the motor is accessed. Something to keep in mind, my 135mm f/2 DC felt similar. The other thing to note, with this new AF system the advantages for AF-S lenses seem to be even greater than before, now the very far left and right 2 banks of AF sensors are cross type with these lenses! Now that is pretty great, from reading the manual it appears that with AF-D primes it will only be the central cluster. Even this aside, I suspect the new system will still beat the D810 with an AF-D prime attached but I will test for this. What I did notice, is the 24mm 1.4G is alot less twitchy than on the D810. I found with the D810, if I used the far left and right sensors to focus with this lens that unless contrast was ridiculously high (and I'm talking in bright sunlight) it would never get pixel level type focus. And that was annoying because I obviously don't want to put everything dead centre do I? So now, that seems to be gone, even in low light I was astounded at using the far left or right point it pulled focus (I was at ISO 6400 1/50 and f/1.4 with it and contrast was ridiculously low - it still nailed it. Now I could absolutely not do this with the 810. I'm shooting AF-C, back button AF btw, switching to AF-S sometimes in low light). The illuminated buttons for night work are just a great addition - should have been in their since the D700 days. I always felt with the D810 that this lens demanded a better AF system, to get an f/1.4 wide focused well just seems to require it so I was happy about that as you can imagine. The D800 was certainly not perfect with fast primes, the D810 improved on this greatly, the D850 nails it IMO. I will be doing much more testing in low light soon to really see the limits of this camera, but I have always been very pleased with D810 image quality - I mean it is still class leading all these years later so of course I would be.

Almost nothing in focus here due to fading light and therefore wide aperture

I knew I was going to like this camera. If I was honest I would have probably skipped if had the D810 focused better, i've come to the point I see past hype etc and only upgrade for need but the focus system I cannot praise enough here, it's something that will practically help me get better shots, all the other parts add up to something really important, and from what I've seen so far a very capable machine indeed. Regarding the D810, seriously, those are a quality 36M, great DR pixels that can do a lot and I mean that. But shooting things that move meant that sometimes it wasn't perfect - very few things in life are of course, and I can accept that and don't want to be too harsh on it as I have enjoyed using it. If you shoot landscapes and are happy with your resolution, the D810 makes sense, also if you are in other controlled environments like studios, I probably would not upgrade (although that flip screen is just great for different angles without having to lie on sand ). It can also be had for a great price and is a lot of camera. So I am now having to figure out what to do. Because I always like to have x2 bodies I am going to run the D850 alongside the D810. But i'm seriously considering just getting another one of these when the discounts come round and selling the D810. It's just for now the D810 is worth more to me than it is sold, and I require it to do weddings. But going back to it today felt much more monotonous and not just because I have a new toy - because the new toy just works better in mostly every way, it's clear that this camera is the culmination of many many years of DSLR design, a truly refined piece indeed.

Leica X2 Nikon D500 Nikon D700 Nikon D750 Nikon D800 Nikon D810 Nikon D850 Nikon D90
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