in many ways, the d850 feels like the ultimate all-rounder, and Nikon’s most attractive dsLR of all time
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
Column x3 SLIGHTLY NOISIER
image noise is more of a problem in the d850, when shooting at sensitivities of
iso 6400 and above