Nikon D850: my first thoughts

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Stephen1729 New Member • Posts: 19
Nikon D850: my first thoughts

Five days ago I acquired a D850, second hand but in excellent little used condition.  I am very pleased with it, though there are some niggles, and I still have some work to do to make my technique good enough to get the absolute best out of the camera.

First off, I am a bird, wildlife and landscape photographer; also I photograph antique firearms, for friends or others, for insurance and sales purposes.  I got the D850 for the wildlife and landscape photography.  I have been using a D7500 for nearly three years and intend to keep it as as I still see a use for it where the D850 would be overkill.

First of all, technique.  This camera is a demanding taskmaster.  The first 100 wildlife pictures I took were awful.  I just wasn't getting the eyes pin sharp.  I realised that my focussing technique, of using d9 & d25 on stationary targets with AF-C back button focus wasn't working, though it had yielded acceptable results on the 7500.  Once I switched to single point I started getting far more acceptable results.  I have configured the PV button to switch to d71 + focus so I am instantly ready if a bird takes off suddenly.Now I am getting pin sharp stationary pictures but still have work to do on in flight birds.  The picture looks much better on my PC than it does uploaded.

500mm, 1/1600, f6.3, ISO 2000 - still too fast a shutter speed, I think, but I like to keep my options open if it moves suddenly

It needs great lenses.  I was getting very good results with a 50m 1.8 af-d prime on my 7500.  Less so with the D850.  The 105 af-s 2.8 macro beats the 50mm prime by a much much wider margin on the D850 than it did on the 7500!  Fortunately I have most of the high quality lenses I need.  Will get the new 24-70 VR sometime later this year.

Niggles.  I miss the U1 and U2 presets on the D7500.  Nikon could fix it on the 850 with a firmware update but I doubt it sees any commercial reason to do so.  You can't zoom the picture in the monitor in live view, which would help in focussing.  Focussing is very slow in live view, but once it gets there, it is very sharp.  The focus stacking could have been implemented better by allowing the user to set start and end points.  But it is something to have it at all.  The results I got last weekend were good but it will take a lot of practice to get it right for macro work.  There does not seem to be a way of keeping the full frame aspect ratio but stepping down the resolution - which I would do for intensive 100+ exposure focus stacking - unless you go to reduced quality JPEG.

As there is a national covid lockdown here, I am limited to my garden for wildlife photography; but I am looking forward to getting out with the camera in Spring/Summer.

I would be interested in any techniques I should improve to get the best results out of this camera, if any old hands with this camera can suggest things.


Nikon D7500 Nikon D850
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