D850 to ... Z7 - what improved (that mattered)? Locked

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OP PHXAZCRAIG Forum Pro • Posts: 17,064
Re: D850 to ... Z7 - what improved (that mattered)?

For me, the D850 has been the best travel camera simply because it is so versatile.  There is almost never a shooting situation it can't handle, though I sometimes don't have the right lens.

The most challenging shooting I do is underwater in a dive housing.  Some of the shooting conditions are extreme, and a slight edge between cameras can become greatly magnified.   The autofocus speed (and accuracy) improvement between the D810 and the D850 made getting certain shots massively simpler.   I'm thinking of shooting small blennies peeking out of holes in shallow depth with 3-5 feet of current surge.  Moving subject, but massively moving camera.   With the D810, I once shot 30 times and got 2 in focus.  With the D810 in the same situation I got a ratio more like 1 bad out of 30.  It was so obviously nailing the focus that I only needed to try 3-4 times to know I'd gotten the shot  every time.   The equivalent is like sitting on a swing moving 4-5 feet back and forth trying to get a closeup of a hummingbird just off a feeder at the precise moment of closest approach.

Dynamic range is another big item for me when post-processing underwater images.   It's the flip side of the high-ISO coin.   At base ISO, the D850 (and D810) have massive dynamic range, and you can do a lot to tame highlights and pull shadows.

Those capabilities are critical to me, and I wouldn't buy a camera to replace the D850 that wasn't at least equal.

On the other hand, trying that same scenario with video on the D850 was hopeless.  No way it was keeping up.   Then too I rarely even try video.

Changing cameras for underwater shooting is also a big financial commitment, in the area of $3500-4000 for a new housing.   I shot my D810 for 4 years, including 3 where I also had the D850 but couldn't justify a new housing.   When I did upgrade, it sure was nice to have AF that nailed subjects I could not previously.

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Phoenix Arizona Craig
"In theory, practice and theory are the same. In practice, they're not."

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