D800/D810 or D850 - help me make a call?

Started 4 months ago | Discussions thread
rednefed Contributing Member • Posts: 852
Re: D800/D810 or D850 - help me make a call?

I've only used a D800E very short term, so can't comment on it with any authority. I did remember that it's not very comfortable in my hand, though. But I bought a D810 shortly after it came out, and was very happy with it for years until GAS kicked in and I got a D850.

I don't think there are substantial IQ differences between the D800 and D810. The D810 may add ISO 64 capabilities, but it's more or less shifting its dynamic range curve to the left (i.e. it actually has on-paper worse DR at higher ISO). For low ISO shooting, this is great. Not that I would say the D810 is anywhere near bad at least up to 6400 ISO. I did not like the output very much at 8000+ ISO, but 12800 is good for emergency use.

With every generation of the 800 series, the high ISO amp glow was reduced, so in practice I believe the D810 output more or less matches the D800/E at higher ISO. Really, you'll be happy with either of them.

The D850 improves on the D810 in almost every way, except for losing the flash. It's more comfortable to hold. AF joystick and touchscreen are huge ergonomic pluses as well. The viewfinder and AF are much better. Live view performance for still life is excellent (terrible on the D800, noticeably last-gen on the D810), although there's no PDAF as you know. The entire camera feels fast and snappy; in isolation, one wouldn't think the D810 is sluggish, but the D850 makes it feel that way.

But is the D850 worth the extra $1000+? Probably not, if the D800/E will make you happy enough.

 rednefed's gear list:rednefed's gear list
Nikon D850 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm F4G ED VR Sigma 20mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 Art Sigma 135mm F1.8 Art +1 more
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