The Nikon D850 - BE EXCITED!

Started Oct 22, 2017 | User reviews thread
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russbarnes Senior Member • Posts: 1,660
The Nikon D850 - BE EXCITED!

There's been a bit of building discontent since the D850 launched. The pre-order lists are long, very long. Lloyd Chambers chimed in with a duff shout for a recall, Nikon sent out 99 different messages on recommended lenses and all of this has a tendency to switch some people off.

Here's my experience with the actual camera so far in one word: DAZZLING.

I mainly shoot landscape and to many people the D810 does the job well enough, I certainly thought so, but the D850 really does it a boat load better. For reference I have owned cameras like the D800E, D810, Df before now while I retain the D500 and an 720nm infrared converted D800 too.

Things I love about the D850 that I wasn't sure how they would work out:

- The Touchscreen. It's awesome. It took the D500 experience for those that have used it and built on it. Resolution is stunning, touchscreen is responsive, use in menus perfect. In fact it's so good, the touchscreen on my D500 now irritates me a little because it lacks all of the things the D850 got.

- Manual Focus. A really big deal this - as a landscaper I have four all manual lenses; three Zeiss offerings and a PC-e. Nikon's delivery on focus peaking gives different colour highlight options and makes it a breeze to use, particularly fantastic for Tilt Shift and narrow depth of field lenses like my all manual Zeiss 100mm f/2 and 85mm f/1.4. This is a total win because this feature has generally been reserved for mirrorless cameras until now - we finally have a high quality, high resolution DSLR where we get the best of both worlds. Forget the naysayers around the edge - if Lloyd Chambers had an issue with alignment, which I don't doubt, then it was limited to him by the looks of it. I checked all of my manual focus lenses at Infinity and they were ALL aligned perfectly.

Red and Blue highlight colours work particularly well

- XQD. For all the hand wringing on here lately, XQD makes the camera absolutely fly. I can't believe people would even think twice about buying XQD cards, the performance boost over the D810 is stunning, an experience replicated from my D500.

- Focus Shift. They should have just called it 'focus stacking' to avoid confusion, it's a poor use of confused terminology but otherwise this is an absolute boon for landscape. Critically this is a fully intuitive feature - as soon as you need instructions improvements like this are lost and thankfully Nikon implemented this well in my view. Photoshop hasn't entirely faired so well with the operation of stacking perhaps but Helicon Focus is the market leader here and worth investigating as the stacking tool of choice.

- Lens Performance. Bury all of those stupid lists - every lens looks better, just as they did when the D800 was originally released. Yes, inevitably there are lenses that particularly shine, in my case they are:

Zeiss 25mm f/2 ZF.2
Nikon 45mm f/2.8 PC-e
Zeiss 100mm f/2 ZF.2
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8E VR
Nikon 70-200mm f/4G VR

- Multiple Exposure. Nikon fully developed this and didn't say anything about it. It's finally on par with the Canon experience with a whole pile of new options and that's great news for trying more creative approaches. This is a genuinely unique implementation in the whole Nikon lineup, the D500 and D5 didn't get this improvement.

- Viewfinder. Just gorgeous. That is all.

- Auto AF Fine tuning. It's good for those that haven't seen the latest incarnation through the D500 but I found using manual focus peaking to tune was actually more accurate. It's worth spending the time on this, 7 of 9 of my lenses required an adjustment as I expected ensuring that results sing when out in the field.

- No Pop Up Flash. For landscapers everywhere they will be rejoicing at this. It adds up to better weather sealing and a less flimsy body all round. Absolute win.

- Overall Quality. This is a chunk of camera, absolutely gorgeous in the hand, fabulous grip and feel, extremely refined. It builds on all of Nikon's releases to date no question, there's no back-peddling and there's a sense of purpose and ambition about it. As an all-round experience it's wonderful.

Things I'm less sure about:

- Power. As with the D500 once again I have question marks over how long batteries might last. The new EN-EL15A doesn't seem to have a different rating or capacity to the EN-EL15 but my initial observations are it's consuming more power as a device than the D500 does. Nikon rated a longer shot capacity on the D850 but we all know those are often under optimum conditions. I'm personally expecting it to suck an extra battery ocassionally.

- Snapbridge. It's still an utter waste of time, but for photographers like me it always was a non-issue. I use the USB3 camera connection cable to download images which fly off the XQD and UHS-II SD cards. The only good news with this app is remote shooting which does, in my view, work rather well from a considerable distance with an iPhone.

Don't cancel that pre-order, you'll regret it later and miss out on an absolutely top drawer delivery from Nikon.

 russbarnes's gear list:russbarnes's gear list
Nikon D850 Nikon PC-E Nikkor 45mm f/2.8D ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G Carl Zeiss Makro-Planar T* 2/100 Nikon 24-70mm F2.8E ED VR +3 more
Nikon D850
45 megapixels • 3.2 screen • Full frame sensor
Announced: Jul 25, 2017
russbarnes's score
Average community score
bad for good for
Kids / pets
Action / sports
Landscapes / scenery
Low light (without flash)
Flash photography (social)
Studio / still life
= community average
Nikon D5 Nikon D500 Nikon D800 Nikon D800E Nikon D810 Nikon D850 Nikon Df
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