NIKON D850

Ar­guably Nikon’s best SLR of all time, the D850 strug­gles to re­tain its crown against mirrorless com­pe­ti­tion

Digital Photograper - - Group Test -

For many en­thu­si­ast and pro­fes­sional pho­tog­ra­phers, the D850 is the per­fect pack­age. It has a 45.4Mp im­age sen­sor that can cap­ture in­cred­i­ble fine de­tail and tex­ture, a fast and ac­cu­rate 153-point aut­o­fo­cus sys­tem and a high-tech me­ter­ing sys­tem, both of which are shared with the top-flight D5. How­ever, the D850 has a more man­age­able size and weight, more than twice as many megapix­els, and still man­ages a de­cent burst rate of 7fps (9fps with the op­tional bat­tery grip and D5 bat­tery).

How­ever, while the aut­o­fo­cus sys­tem has ex­cel­lent per­for­mance for viewfinder-based shoot­ing, it’s down­right slug­gish and prone to hunt­ing in Live View and movie cap­ture modes. The im­age sen­sor is the main cul­prit, as the D850 is the only cam­era in this group to lack phase-de­tec­tion sites on its sen­sor. Even so, a plus point shared by both Nikon cam­eras is that they don’t crop 4K UHD movies, as do the Canon cam­eras.

while the D850 is ca­pa­ble of cap­tur­ing ul­tra-fine de­tail, it can be a chal­lenge to make the most of what’s on of­fer. De­spite hav­ing a smooth ac­tion com­pared with the re­flex mir­rors of many SLRs, vi­bra­tions can still be a prob­lem. The Z7’s mirrorless de­sign and its built-in sta­bil­i­sa­tion, to­gether with Nikon’s su­per-sharp new Z-mount lenses, sim­ply en­able sharper shots in more wide-rang­ing shoot­ing sce­nar­ios.

An­other fac­tor is that up-mar­ket F-mount lenses tend to be rel­a­tively big and heavy.

For ex­am­ple, cou­ple the D850 with Nikon’s lat­est 24-70mm f2.8 zoom, and the com­bined weight is about 2kg. A big­ger fly in the oint­ment is that im­age noise can be all too no­tice­able when shoot­ing at high ISO set­tings un­der low light­ing con­di­tions. The Canon cam­eras’ im­ages are much cleaner and, more sur­pris­ingly, the Z7 also out­strips the D850 for noise sup­pres­sion while main­tain­ing good lev­els of fine de­tail and tex­ture.

Right The D850 is a con­sum­mately pro­grade cam­era THE LAY­OUT OF BUT­TONS AND DI­ALS IS CLAS­SIC PRO-GRADE NIKON, WITH IN­STANT AC­CESS TO PRETTY MUCH ANY SHOOT­ING SET­TING YOU MIGHT NEED

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