Nikon D850 FX-format Digital SLR Camera Body Review

If you ever thought that you can’t get high speed and great resolution in one single camera, it’s time to think once again. The NIKON D850  is a multimedia DSLR that combines both rugged abilities, apt movie and time-laps recording.

Presenting a fresh design for the 45.7MP BSI CMOS sensor and an improved EXPEED 5 image processor, the NIKON D850  does stand out from the crowd with its high resolution when it comes to recording detailed imaginary.

The sensor is back-illuminated which explains why it’s able to get even more details and clarity, even if you’re shooting in poor-lit areas. The sensor leaves the optical low-pass filter behind, getting better sharpness. The 45.7MP BSI CMOS sensor is great for the high-resolution shooting and the amazing low-light quality, but also gives quick readout speeds for the movies, continuous shooting and time-lapse recording.  The noise is minimized when working at high ISO values, up to ISO 25600, whereas the quality remains smooth and vivid for sensitivities as low as ISO 64.

The Expeed 5 image processor does an amazing job working with the sensor, so that you get 7fps continuous shooting rate for even 51 consecutive frames. The sensitivity ranges from ISO 32 to 102400, whereas the 4K UHD video recording allows you to use the DX crop or the whole area of the full-frame sensor.  The shooting rate may be raised to 9fps if you’re using the MD-D18 grip and EN-EL18a/b battery. If you’re working in DX crop mode, the shooting rate may get up to 30fps shooting, during Silent Live View.

The list of functions is great and you may use 8K time-lapse recording mode or the specialized recording modes when digitizing film negatives/ for focus stacking applications. We do have to underline the imaging abilities and the improved Multi-CAM 20K 153-point AF system that gives you 99 cross-type sensors for better focusing precision, no matter the lighting conditions.

The NIKON D850  is a camera for speed, movie and low-light shooting needs and isn’t just about the high-resolution DSLR.

The rendering abilities and the high speed of the image sensor are highlighted by the tough Multi-Cam 20K AF system that comes with 153 phase-detection points, including 99 cross-type sensors for better subject identification. We also have to mention the 55 of the points that you may select for impressive compositional freedom. The telephoto lenses, nine selectable points, tele converters, and 15 of the points work with aperture of f/8, whereas the 153 points support work with aperture of f/5.6 or brighter.

You get fast response times thanks to the focusing points and the AF engine, so you may track fast and randomly moving objects, even in case of 7fps shooting rate. The AF sustains the better focusing sensitivity and all points are able to focus -4EV when shooting in dark and low-contrast situations.

The versatility of the focusing system allows you to select various AF-area modes:

  • Single Point AF when the camera uses only one point to find focus
  • Dynamic-Area AF

You get to use 25/72 or 153-point selections and the mode uses a primary single focus point to lock onto focus. It continues to use the surrounding points to keep focus, as it tracks erratically-moving subjects at the same time.

  • Group-Area AF

The mode uses smaller groups of AF points as a single point for a wider field of identification and it’s great to use for tracking faces or detailed subjects.

  • Auto-Area AF

The mode uses all 153 points to recognize fast the main subject and then puts on the first place the face recognition as portrait subjects in any AF servo mode.

  • 3D-Tracking

The subject’s color information is used in this mode and all the 153 points to hold focus on a moving subject. You only need to half-press the shutter button.

Another great feature of the NIKON D850  is the auto AF fine-tune function that you may use to get the best focus for each mounted lens. You may obtain accurate focus in live view, whereas the AF calibrates on its own to the fine-tuned focus positon later on, solving the problem of the alleviation front and back focusing.

As for the video performances, we notice that the full HD 1080 p video recording is supported up to 120p for slow motion playback and you may save the files to the in-camera memory cards. If this doesn’t suit your needs, you can always save it as an uncompressed file to an optional external recorder using the HDMI out.

The designated power aperture button (Pv) lets you have smooth and continuous exposure transitions when going from light to dark areas. You can have a consistent brightness when working in variable lightning situations thanks to the Auto ISO feature.

The list of features continues with the Focus peaking and Zebra Stripes- the last one helps you identify the over-exposed areas within the frame.

The built-in stereo microphone lets you audio record while handholding the camera. If that’s not enough for you, you can also add an external mic via the 3.5mm stereo jack.

The NIKON D850  comes with a large optical pentaprism that gives a wide field of view and 0.75x magnification for a bright and clear view of the more challenging shooting sessions.

The 3.2” 2.36m-dot LCD touchscreen is great for playback, live view shooting and menu navigation, whereas the tilting design allows easy working in both high and low angles. The design is weather-sealed, whereas the optional MB-D18 grip gives more speed when shooting and ensures continuous shooting rates. The magnesium alloy chassis is rugged and dust and weather resistant at the same time, taking the use in more challenging conditions.

The built-in Snap Bridge helps you wirelessly share the low-resolution imagery and remote live view use on a linked mobile device. If you’re interested into fast wireless transferring of files, you can always rely on the optional WT-7a Wireless Transmitter.

The NIKON D850  comes with one XQD memory card slot and one SD memory card slot so the file saving abilities are impressive, sustaining continuous recording, in-camera file-duplicating. You may also separate raw and JPEG files between the two cards.

The grip is ergonomic and the camera’s shape allows you holding it for long time with minor strain on the hand. The anti-slip materials and joystick for seamless settings are also important for easing the use. Most of the rear buttons are illuminated so it’s easy to notice them even in poor lit conditions.

The NIKON D850  comes with Scene Recognition System and Exposure Metering so it easily analyzes a scene (brightness, contrast, scene colors, subject distance) so it identifies fast and easy precise exposure and white balance setting. All the information is once again checked against onboard reference images so that the image is consistent to image in regard to exposure, i-TTL flash settings, white balance and subject-tracking performance.

The language support is impressive and the NIKON D850  covers so many countries out there.

Putting up a list of main features is a challenging task, but there you have it:

  • The camera is easy to handle even after long time
  • It comes with XQD memory card slot and one SD memory card slot
  • It includes many modes
  • The backside-illuminated CMOS sensor is efficient
  • It’s 4K and gives great performance in low light conditions, while on the move

Even though there are so many great things about it, we do have our comments:

  • You may experience a learning curve when it comes to using the touchscreen
  • The battery charger doesn’t come with an extension cord (at least some didn’t get theirs, anyways)
  • It doesn’t include a GPS
  • If you’re only doing landscapes, this may be a bit too much for you

Regardless of the minor issues, for the ease of use, great video performance and so many other good things, you should take a leap of faith and put your money at stake with this one.

See pricing and reviews for the Nikon D850 FX on Amazon