in many ways, the d850 feels like the ul­ti­mate all-rounder, and Nikon’s most at­trac­tive dsLR of all time

Digital Photograper - - Head To Head -

Go­ing all out for sheer re­solv­ing power, while min­imis­ing cut­backs in other ar­eas of per­for­mance, the d850 is based on a 45.7MP im­age sen­sor and eXPeed 5 pro­ces­sor. as with most cur­rent and re­cent Nikon dsLRs, the anti-alias fil­ter is omit­ted, to max­imise cap­ture of ul­tra-fine de­tail and tex­ture. a vari­able ex­po­sure de­lay mode and op­tional elec­tronic first cur­tain help to min­imise cam­era shake from mir­ror bounce and shut­ter bounce, which can de­grade ul­tra-high-res cap­ture.

the d850 matches the 7fps max­i­mum drive rate of the low­er­res­o­lu­tion 5d Mk iv, and you can boost it to 9fps by fit­ting an MB-d18 bat­tery pack and eN-eL18b bat­tery. Com­pared with the pre­ced­ing d810, the d850 is more of an all-rounder, be­ing bet­ter suited to ac­tion sports and wildlife, in ad­di­tion to more static gen­res of pho­tog­ra­phy.

Raw file data sizes are of­ten about the same as those of the 5d Mk iv. how­ever, the d850 of­fers the choice of 12-bit or 14-bit cap­ture, with loss­less or lossy com­pres­sion. File sizes only re­ally jump up when se­lect­ing tiFF or 14-bit un­com­pressed Raw op­tions, which re­sult in files of around 135MB and 92MB re­spec­tively.

the lay­out of con­trols will be in­stantly fa­mil­iar to pho­tog­ra­phers who have used pro-grade Nikon dsLRs in the past, but might come as some­thing of a shock to oth­ers. For ex­am­ple, the con­ven­tional shoot­ing mode dial is re­placed by a Mode but­ton, which gives ac­cess to PasM modes. Like on the 5d Mk iv, there’s a joy­stick-alike ‘sub-se­lec­tor’ but the Nikon adds a higher-res­o­lu­tion touch­screen with a tilt fa­cil­ity, prefer­able for shoot­ing live view and movies from tricky an­gles.

whereas the 5d Mk iv has three cus­tom modes read­ily ac­ces­si­ble on its shoot­ing mode dial, the d850 has four ded­i­cated ‘banks’ of set­tings in both of its shoot­ing and Cus­tom set­tings menus. they give you greater ver­sa­til­ity but are a little more fid­dly to get at. sim­i­larly, while the touch­screen works well for se­lect­ing fo­cus points and shoot­ing in Live view mode, it lacks the in­tu­itive na­ture of Canon’s ex­cel­lent Quick menu.

the 3d Colour Ma­trix Me­ter­ing iii sys­tem is based on a 180,000-pixel sen­sor and gives very good re­sults even for tricky, high-con­trast scenes, es­pe­cially when used in con­junc­tion with Nikon’s ex­cel­lent ac­tive d-Light­ing fa­cil­ity.

aut­o­fo­cus is based on a highly advanced sys­tem with 153 aF points, 99 of which are cross-type. how­ever, only 55 aF points are man­u­ally se­lectable, and a mere 15 are avail­able at f8, for ex­am­ple when us­ing a 2x tele­con­verter with an f4 lens. aut­o­fo­cus works well for track­ing mov­ing sub­jects and it’s pos­si­ble to cus­tomise the track­ing be­hav­iour, but the Canon’s ‘Cases’ menu for track­ing op­tions is sim­pler to use. For live view and movie cap­ture, the d850’s sen­sor-based aut­o­fo­cus per­for­mance is vastly in­fe­rior to that of the dual Pixel aF Canon.

de­spite its high megapixel count, the d850 almost matches the 5d Mk iv for dy­namic range, al­though it drops off a little more at sen­si­tiv­ity set­tings above iso 6400. im­age noise is much more no­tice­able than from the Canon at high iso set­tings, but that’s the price you ex­pect to pay for hav­ing ex­tra megapix­els.

Both cam­eras are well-con­nected, fea­tur­ing UsB 3.0 and wi-Fi. the Nikon adds Blue­tooth, whereas the Canon adds NFC and GPs. the d850 wins out for stamina, with around 1,840 shots avail­able from a freshly charged bat­tery.

Far right CLEAR AND BRIGHT Com­pared with the 5d Mk

iv, ma­trix me­ter­ing takes more ac­count of the whole scene, in this case giv­ing a

slightly brighter im­age


im­age noise is more of a prob­lem in the d850, when shoot­ing at sen­si­tiv­i­ties of

iso 6400 and above

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