D800 vs D850 (real world usage) update

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sts2 Contributing Member • Posts: 806
D800 vs D850 (real world usage) update

I tire a little of the onslaught of posts comparing the D850 to other cameras based solely on noise, IQ, resolution, sharpness or what have you. If you're like me and you actually want to go out and use it, rather than shooting in a lab, here's some insight that might help you.

So far I've been able to use the D850 on several sessions, including a personal project, event/seminar coverage, and a commercial shoot (which included lifestyle, product, and indoor architecture). With and without strobe lighting. All paid jobs except the personal project of course.

My observations so far (D800 vs D850):

- Hard to tell a difference in IQ (duh). 45mp isn't all that different from 36mp and this should not be the reason to buy the camera. It's a tidbit sharper than the D800 but that's probably due to lack of AA filter. You probably won't notice that vs a D800E/D810

- High ISO performance is a LOT better, easily by 1 stop

- Leverage to work with RAW files is the same. The D800's ISO-invariance was one of the reasons why I love that camera, and it's still there

- I do have mixed feelings about colour accuracy. Feels a bit different from the D800 (worse, in my opinion), and it takes some more work to get them to my liking. This could also be because I have to convert NEF to DNG before importing to LR, for now.

- My keeper rate has increased substantially. I shoot sports and sports-related events/seminars. Especially in the latter, getting the right shot where all the pieces fall together takes a lot of effort in timing, experience, and luck as well. The higher FPS and far more solid focusing system help me out tremendously here. The AF in particular just feels like it's from another planet. More dependable and more solid than the D800.

- The metering/AWB feels much more accurate. It's all correctable in post, but saves time to get it right from the start of course.

- Battery life has indeed improved. It just keeps on shooting

- The tillable screen in combination with touch AF is a blessing. Never thought I would use this, but when doing product/architectural shots on a tripod this made my life so much easier it's not even funny. The fact that live view AF is still a bit slow doesn't matter at all in such cases. The greatest pain for me was moving the focus point around, and that's now solved.

- The dual AF button (joystick / AF button) setup is perfect. You get to pre-program two (or even more) focusing modes so you don't have to switch between modes as often.

- You can rate files with 1-5 stars in-camera, and that will actually import into LR. Makes it much easier to find those couple of perfect shots that you marked during the shoot.

Probably missed a few things, but my simple conclusion is this:
All of the little/big changes Nikon made add up to make this an even more usable and dependable camera than the D800/D810 already was. I'd argue that if pixel-level IQ is all you care about, you don't need it. But if you want a reliable workhorse, it's an incredible upgrade. I'll probably order a second one soon.

Hope this (too long) post is helpful and may grant you additional wisdom If you have any specific questions I'd be happy to answer if I can.

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 sts2's gear list:sts2's gear list
Nikon D7000 Nikon D800 Nikon D850 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED +13 more
Nikon D800 Nikon D850
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