In Fo­cus

Nikon’s shiny new D850 raises the stan­dard for full-frame DSLR res­o­lu­tion and speed – and throws in a new silent mode and 4K UHD video to boot

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WhILE the suc­ces­sor to Nikon’s D810 doesn’t set a new stan­dard for full-frame DSLR res­o­lu­tion – the 50.6MP Canon 5DS/R did that in 2015 – the D850’s com­bi­na­tion of still-ul­tra high res­o­lu­tion, speed and sen­si­tiv­ity raises the bar in per­for­mance at this level. The D850’s back-il­lu­mi­nated, op­ti­cal low-pass fil­ter free CMOS sen­sor is ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing 45.4MP files, while its stan­dard ISO range is 6425,600 – a one-stop im­prove­ment at the top end over the D810 – which is ex­tend­able to an equiv­a­lent sen­si­tiv­ity from 32 to 102,400. What’s more, its top shoot­ing speed is seven frames per sec­ond, which can be boosted to 9fps when fit­ted with the op­tional MB-D18 Multi-Power Bat­tery Pack (with EN-EL18B bat­tery in­serted). Such rapid con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing is en­abled in part by the ad­di­tion of Ex­peed 5 im­age pro­cess­ing and a fast XQD card slot, two fea­tures it shares with the Nikon D5.

An­other fea­ture in­her­ited from Nikon’s flag­ship pro body is its 153-point AF sys­tem, which of­fers

sen­si­tiv­ity down to -4EV at the cen­tral point. And while the D850 doesn’t of­fer the D5’s 60p 4K record­ing op­tion, it is ca­pa­ble of record­ing 4K UHD movies at 30p with no crop fac­tor re­stric­tion. Typ­i­cally, when record­ing 4K video you’re lim­ited to a smaller cen­tre por­tion of the frame, but the D850 en­able you to use the full an­gle of view of an at­tached lens – use­ful for wide-an­gle work in par­tic­u­lar.

As we re­vealed last is­sue, in-cam­era 4K time-lapse movies are also avail­able, while 8K time-lapse movies can be cre­ated in post-pro­duc­tion. Use­fully, the D850 comes with fo­cus peak­ing for Full HD video, as well as for stills in Live View mode.

New to the D8xx line is the op­tion to shoot NEF raw files at three dif­fer­ent sizes – Large (45.4MP), Medium (25.6MP) or Small (11.4MP) – with the lat­ter two op­tions de­liv­er­ing 12-bit loss­less com­pressed files. The D850 also in­tro­duces two ad­di­tional shoot­ing modes. Silent Photography of­fers true shut­ter noise-free shoot­ing at 6fps, while the D850’s in-cam­era fo­cusstack­ing mode is claimed to be a world first for a DSLR, and likely to pique the in­ter­est of macro pho­tog­ra­phers – as is the cam­era’s more pre­cise Pin­point AF mode, avail­able in Live View.

Other no­table in­clu­sions are an up­graded 181,000-pixel RGB me­ter­ing sen­sor, a ded­i­cated aut­o­fo­cus en­gine and raw batch pro­cess­ing.

fi rs t l oo k 3 bat­tery life The D850 is Cipa-rated for 1,840 shots – 640 up on the D810. 5 4 no flash Un­like the D810, there’s no pop-up flash. aut­o­fo­cus The D850’s 153 AF points in­clude 99 cross-type sen­sors and 15 that sup­port f/8. Only 55 or 15 are avail­able for se­lec­tion.

1 seal­ing As you’d ex­pect, the D850 fea­tures ‘ex­ten­sive’ weather seal­ing, and also gets the D5’s il­lu­mi­nated but­tons to en­able easy oper­a­tion in the dark. 2 3.2-inch mon­i­tor Un­like the D810, the D850 has a tilt­ing touch­screen.

dual card slots Nikon has ditched Com­pactFlash in the D850, opt­ing for XQD and SD. 6

con­nec­tiv­ity Wi-fi and Blue­tooth come fit­ted as stan­dard.

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