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.