Nikon D850

45.7 full-frame CMOS sensor | 153-point AF system | 4K video capture

What we like:

  • Excellent image quality and dynamic range
  • Excellent autofocus when shooting through the viewfinder
  • 7 fps burst shooting
  • Good quality 4K video

What we don't:

  • Poor autofocus in live view / video mode
  • SnapBridge wireless suite a bit basic for high-end camera
The Nikon D850 is a professional grade full-frame DSLR. At its heart is an all-new 45.7MP sensor with backside-illuminated technology. This sensor offers excellent image quality throughout the ISO range and maintains the useful ISO 64 setting from the previous D810 for expansive dynamic range.
The grip on the D850 has been redesigned to be both slimmer and deeper, making this full-size, weather-sealed camera very comfortable to hold. The new AF joystick on the rear helps you get the most out of a 153-pt autofocus system inherited from the flagship D5, and the D850 is capable of firing at 7 fps (9 fps with an optional battery and grip). A redesigned shutter mechanism has all but cured the with mirror / shutter shock issues that we saw on the D810.
The D850 is the most well-rounded DSLR currently on the market
That 153-pt AF system makes the D850 an incredibly flexible tool, allowing you to shoot sports nearly as effectively as a full-blown professional sports camera. The only hiccup is that the D850's subject tracking mode, 3D Tracking, works very well for single shots, but can stumble or hang up in burst shooting. Switching over to zone or single point focus remedies this. Face recognition through the viewfinder, particularly when using the 'Auto' area AF, remains a Nikon strong point.
Image quality from the D850 is impressive. The base ISO value of 64 allows the D850 to continue to measure up to some digital medium-format competitors in terms of dynamic range, and despite the high megapixel count, noise levels remain very well-controlled at higher ISO values. The JPEG engine has been tweaked, offering pleasing color and better sharpening and noise reduction.
The D850 isn't likely to be anyone's first choice as a pro video camera, but Nikon's been hard at work beefing up its features. It's the first Nikon DSLR to offer 4K video using the full width of the sensor, and slow-motion 1080p options have found their way into the camera as well. There are now zebra highlight warnings and focus peaking, though the latter isn't available when shooting 4K. The biggest issue plaguing Nikon at this point is poor autofocus performance in Live View and video, which may limit the D850's appeal to run-and-gun video shooters.
The D850 is, in our opinion, the most well-rounded DSLR available in late 2017. It is a remarkably versatile tool that, when used properly, can result in class-leading imagery. ISO 64 offers excellent dynamic range and general image quality, and when it's properly calibrated, the D850's autofocus system offers impressive precision, even at 46MP. As a full-size DSLR, the D850 remains a bulky option and while video is improved, it could be improved even further. Despite these shortcomings, it's hard not to recommend the D850 for serious amateurs and professionals looking for one stills camera to do it all.

Studio Test Scene | Specifications Compared


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