Initial impressions: Nikon D850



      Image sensor: 35.9 x 23.9 mm backside illuminated CMOS sensor with 46.89 million photosites (45.7 megapixels effective)

      Image processor: EXPEED 5

      A/D processing: 12 or 14 bit (for lossless compressed, compressed, or uncompressed NEF.RAW  files)

      Lens mount: Nikon F mount, (with AF coupling and AF contacts)

      Focal length crop factor: 1x

      Image formats: Stills: JPEG (DCF 2.0, Exif 2.31), NEF.RAW, RAW+JPEG, TIFF; Movies: MOV, MP4 with H.264/MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding

      Image Sizes: Stills ““ FX (36ø—24) image area (L) 8256 x 5504 ( 45.4 million) (M) 6192 x 4128 ( 25.5 million) (S) 4128 x 2752 ( 11.3 million) 1.2x (30ø—20) image area (L) 6880 x 4584 ( 31.5 million) (M) 5152 x 3432 ( 17.6 million) (S) 3440 x 2288 ( 7.8 million) DX (24ø—16) image area (L) 5408 x 3600 ( 19.4 million) (M) 4048 x 2696 ( 10.9 million) (S) 2704 x 1800 ( 4.8 million) 5 : 4 (30ø—24) image area (L) 6880 x 5504 ( 37.8 million) (M) 5152 x 4120 ( 21.2 million) (S) 3440 x 2752 ( 9.4 million) 1 : 1 (24ø—24) image area (L) 5504 x 5504 ( 30.2 million) (M) 4128 x 4128 ( 17.0 million) (S) 2752 x 2752 ( 7.5 million) FX-format photographs taken during movie recording (L) 8256 x 4640 ( 38.3 million) (M) 6192 x 3480 ( 21.5 million) (S) 4128 x 2320 ( 9.5 million) DX-format photographs taken during movie recording (L) 5408 x 3040 ( 16.4 million) (M) 4048 x 2272 ( 9.1 million) (S) 2704 x 1520 ( 4.1 million)

      Movie Sizes:  3840 x 2160 (4K UHD); 30p (progressive), 25p, 24p 1920 x 1080; 60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, 24p 1280 x 720; 60p, 50p 1920 x 1080 (slow-mo); 30p x4, 25p x4, 24p x5 Actual frame rates for 60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, and 24p are 59.94, 50, 29.97, 25, and 23.976 fps respectively; quality selection available at all sizes except 3840 x 2160 (when quality is fixed at “high”) and 1920 x 1080 slow-mo (when quality is fixed at “normal”)

      Image Stabilisation: Lens-based

      Dust removal: Image sensor cleaning, Image Dust Off reference data (Capture NX-D software required)

      Shutter (speed range): Electronically-controlled vertical-travel focal-plane mechanical shutter; electronic front-curtain shutter available in quiet shutter-release, quiet continuous shutter-release, and mirror up release modes, 1/8000 to 30 seconds in steps of 1/3, 1/2, or 1 EV, bulb, time, X-synch at 1/250 sec.

      Exposure Compensation: +/-5 EV in 1/3EV,  1/2EV or 1EV steps

      Bracketing options: Exposure, Flash, White balance, ADL

      Self-timer: 2 s, 5 s, 10 s, 20 s; 1 to 9 exposures at intervals of 0.5, 1, 2, or 3 s

      Intervalometer: Yes

      Focus system: Multi-CAM 20K autofocus sensor module with TTL phase detection, fine-tuning, and 153 focus points (including 99 cross-type sensors and 15 sensors that support f/8), of which 55 (35 cross-type sensors and 9 f/8 sensors) are available for selection

      Focus  modes: Single-servo AF (AF-S), Continuous-servo AF (AF-C) ; predictive focus tracking automatically activated according to subject status Manual focus (M): Electronic rangefinder can be used

      Exposure metering: 180,000-pixel RGB sensor with TTL metering;  3D colour matrix metering III (type G, E, and D lenses); colour matrix metering III (other CPU lenses, Centre-weighted and Spot metering patterns

      Shooting modes:  Programmed auto with flexible program (P); shutter-priority auto (S); aperture-priority auto (A); manual (M)

      Picture Control modes: Auto, Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait, Landscape, Flat ; selected Picture Control can be modified; storage for custom Picture Controls

      Colour space options: Adobe RGB, sRGB

      ISO range: ,ISO 64 to 25600 in steps of 1/3, 1/2, or 1 EV Can also be set to approx. 0.3, 0.5, 0.7, or 1 EV (ISO 32 equivalent) below ISO 64 or to approx. 0.3, 0.5, 0.7, 1, or 2 EV (ISO 102400 equivalent) above ISO 25600; auto ISO sensitivity control available

      White balance: Auto (3 types), natural light auto, incandescent, fluorescent (7 types), direct sunlight, flash, cloudy, shade, preset manual (up to 6 values can be stored, spot white balance measurement available during live view), choose color temperature (2500 K to 10,000 K), all with fine-tuning.

      Flash: Manual pop-up with button release and a Guide Number of 12/39, 12/39 with manual flash (m/ft, ISO 100, 20 °C/68 °F)

      Flash modes: Front-curtain sync, slow sync, rear-curtain sync, red-eye reduction, red-eye reduction with slow sync, slow rear-curtain sync, off

      Flash exposure adjustment: ““3 to +1 EV in increments of 1/3, 1/2, or 1 EV

      Sequence shooting: Max. 9 frames/sec.  

      Storage Media: Dual slots for XQD and SD, SDHC, SDXC cards (UHS-I and UHS-II)

      Viewfinder: Eye-level pentaprism with 100% FOV coverage, 0.75x magnification, 17mm eyepoint, -3 to +1 dpt adjustment,  Type B BriteView Clear Matte Mark VIII screen with AF area brackets (framing grid can be displayed)

      LCD monitor: 3.2-inch tilting TFT touch-sensitive LCD with approx. 2,359,000 dots, 170 ° viewing angle, approximately 100% frame coverage, and manual monitor brightness control

      Playback functions: Full-frame and thumbnail (4, 9, or 72 images) playback with playback zoom, playback zoom cropping, movie playback, photo and/or movie slide shows, histogram display, highlights, photo information, location data display, picture rating, and auto image rotation

      Interface terminals: SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.0 Micro-B connector); Type C HDMI connector; 3.5 mm stereo mini-pin jacks for audio in/out; ten-pin remote terminal

      Wi-Fi  function: IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g Operating frequency: 2412 to 2462 MHz (channels 1 to 11) Maximum output power: 8.5 dBm (EIRP) Authentication: Open system, WPA2-PSK; Bluetooth Low Energy: 2402 to 2480 MHz

      Power supply: EN-EL15a rechargeable Li-ion Battery Pack

      Dimensions (wxhxd): Approx. 146 x 124 x 78.5 mm

      Weight: Approx. 1005 grams with battery and XQD memory card but without body cap; approx. 915 grams body only

      RRP: AU$5,200 (body only)

      Initial impressions

      By Don Norris

      As is often the case with major launches, there were only two Nikon D850s in the country when Photo Review received a review unit. With so many reviewers waiting for a play, it meant that we could only have the camera for a weekend and so what follows are really only the most preliminary impressions.


      Angled front view of the new Nikon D850 with the  AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR lens. (Source: Nikon.)

      With a resolution of 45.7 megapixels and an Australian RRP of $5,200 (body only), the D850 is aimed squarely Nikon-using professional photographers looking for medium format level resolution. Doubtless there will also be a few well-heeled landscape shooters taking a closer look too.

      While most of the landscapers won’t care, the pros will appreciate the D850’s capacity to shoot full-frame (16:9) 4K video. This is quite a big deal because, apart from anything else, the field of view isn’t cropped down.

      Other highlights from the specification sheet include two card slots (one XQD and one SD), support for TIFF as well as 12 or 14-bit NEF RAW and JPEG file formats, mechanical and electronic front-curtain shutters options, 7 frames per second with the standard battery but up to 9 frames with an optional MB-D18 grip, an ISO range of 64-25,600, 153-point auto focus, 3.2-inch touch screen display and for macro fans, built-in focus stacking. Tipping the scales at 915 grams, the D850 is 500 g lighter than Nikon’s flagship D5 and about 165 g heavier than the D750.


      Top view of the Nikon D850 with the  AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR lens. (Source: Nikon.)

      In the Field

      As you can see from the sample pictures, I used the camera with a variety of lenses. The surfing and ocean pictures were shot with a Tamron SP 150-600 while the others in this gallery were taken with an AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR.  

      Any reasonably competent photographer could pick this camera up and start taking pictures immediately. The control layout differs from that of the D750, but a quick glance at the manual resolved most of my ‘how-do-you-x’ questions in a minute or two.

      What would take more time is to set the camera’s custom user modes up for the different ways you like to shoot. But that’s one of those tedious chores you generally only have to go through once.


      Angled rear view of the  Nikon D850 showing the tilting monitor.  (Source: Nikon.)

      It’s a chunky unit, but not so heavy that I could imagine it bothering your average pro – particularly those who might substitute this body for one of their D5s. I really liked the articulating display with its touch screen menus, the big bright viewfinder and the great battery life. I shot around 500 frames and the battery indicator was only one bar down – which is not surprising as it’s rated at 1840 shots (CIPA) per charge.

      On the post production side, those 8256×5504 files really gobble up the space when one’s shooting RAW + jpeg at maximum quality. If you aren’t already using 128 GB cards, you soon will be once this camera’s in your bag. As noted above I wasn’t able to process the RAW files, so I’m confident there are delights to be found once I have full access to the image data, but, that said, the jpeg files produced by the D850 are very good indeed (of course you have to nail the exposure).

      As for the video, well that will have to wait for another day as we were on too short a timeline to even begin to plumb the possibilities…





      Header, Cromer Park.


      Surrounded, Cromer Park.


      Gate, shadow, bricks, Brookvale.


      Parking lot abstract, Brookvale.


      Contrasts, Brookvale.


      Surfers and Dee Why headland


      Mid-air ballet, Dee Why beach.


      100% enlargement from the above frame gives you a sense of how much cropping leeway you get from an image.


      Throwing spray, Dee Why beach.


      Getting some air, Dee Why beach.


      Rainy night at ISO 8000