Additional Features

Time-lapse

As with previous Nikon cameras, the D850 has intervalometer functions built in, so that you can capture time lapses without any external accessories. This feature can be combined with the camera's silent shutter live view mode, to avoid vibration or excessive wear on the mechanical shutter, though with the risk of rolling shutter.

The camera can either assemble the images together in a 4K video or retain the full resolution files, to allow you to create a full resolution time-lapse in third-party software. Nikon uses the camera's high resolution to brand this second capability as "8K Timelapse," since the images exceed the 7680 × 4320 dimension of that video format.

Like previous Nikons, the intervalometer lets you specify the number of shots and the delay between them but now adds the ability to create a new folder and reset the file numbering for each time lapse sequence, so that the files can easily be isolated and transferred to 3rd-party software.

Focus shift

The D850 can also use this 'new folder and reset the counter' approach for another of its features. The Focus Shift mode prompts the camera to shoot a series of photos at different focus distances. You can specify the number of images, the size of the distance steps and whether there's a delay between each shot. Unlike the similar feature on Olympus and Panasonic cameras, the Nikon can't combine the resultant images, but it can place them in a separate folder to make it easy to import them into 3rd-party focus stacking software.

We're told the focus steps will be selected on a dimensionless 0-10 scale, presumably because the distance of the increments will vary depending on the type of lens you use.

SnapBridge

The D850 includes Nikon's SnapBridge connectivity system. This establishes a full-time Bluetooth LE connection between the camera and compatible smart devices. This is a step forward from the D810, which had no built-in wireless options, however, we have not found the SnapBridge system to be a good match for high-end systems in the past.

The D850 does have Wi-Fi but it's only accessible through the Bluetooth-led smartphone app, the current version of which offers a fairly simplistic feature set.

Existing implementations of SnapBridge lean very heavily towards using the Bluetooth connection to transfer images (unlike Samsung and Canon's approaches, which use it just to keep lines of communication open, so that Wi-Fi communication can be established more rapidly). The camera can transfer every image it shoots automatically either at 2MP or in full resolution, but only over Bluetooth. Select the images on the camera and those will be sent (slowly) over Bluetooth, too. The only way of accessing Wi-Fi and its greater transfer speed is to use the app to browse your memory card and select from there.

Without a significant reworking of the SnapBridge app, we are concerned that the combination of a high-speed 46MP camera and a primarily Bluetooth-based connection with no ability to send Raw files will be inappropriate for the typical D850 user.