Proving that speed and resolution can indeed coexist, the Nikon D850 is a multimedia DSLR that brings together robust stills capabilities along with apt movie and time-lapse recording. Revolving around a newly designed 45.7MP BSI CMOS sensor and proven EXPEED 5 image processor, the D850 is clearly distinguished by its high resolution for recording detailed imagery. The back-illuminated design of the sensor is able to acquire greater detail and clarity when working in low-light conditions, and the sensor also forgoes an optical low-pass filter for improved sharpness. Working in conjunction with the sensor is the EXPEED 5 image processor, which together afford a 7 fps continuous shooting rate for up to 51 consecutive frames, an expandable sensitivity range from ISO 32 to 102400, and 4K UHD video recording using either a DX crop or the entire area of the full-frame sensor. An 8K time-lapse recording mode is also available, as well as additional specialized recording modes for digitizing film negatives and for focus stacking applications. Benefitting the imaging capabilities is an advanced Multi-CAM 20K 153-point AF system, which debuted with the flagship D5 and offers 99 cross-type sensors for refined focusing accuracy in a variety of lighting conditions. Checking off a number of boxes for multimedia image-makers, the D850 positions itself as not only a high-resolution DSLR but also as a camera for speed, movies, and low-light shooting needs.
Balancing the versatile imaging features, the D850 is also equally refined in its physical design. A large optical pentaprism offering a wide field of view and 0.75x magnification affords photographers a bright, clear, and realistic view for critical shooting needs. Conversely, a 3.2″ 2.36m-dot LCD touchscreen is also available for live view shooting, playback, and menu navigation, and features a tilting design to suit working from high and low angles. A weather-sealed design is also employed, to suit working in a variety of environmental conditions, and the optional MB-D18 grip can be added to boost overall shooting times and continuous shooting rates. Additionally, built-in SnapBridge allows for wireless sharing of low-resolution imagery and remote live view use on a linked mobile device, and an optional WT-7a Wireless Transmitter can also be used for faster wireless transferring of files.
- 45.7MP FX-Format BSI CMOS Sensor and EXPEED 5 Processor
- A first for Nikon DSLRs, a 45.7MP BSI CMOS sensor is used for high-resolution shooting, impressive low-light quality, and fast readout speeds to benefit continuous shooting, movies, and time-lapse recording. The back-illuminated design of the sensor affords noticeably cleaner high-sensitivity output for reduced noise when working at high ISO values, up to a native ISO 25600, as well as vivid and smooth quality at sensitivities as low as ISO 64. The sensor’s design also omits the conventional optical low-pass filter in order to achieve the greatest sharpness and resolution from the sensor.
Benefitting the sensor is the apt EXPEED 5 image processor, which affords a wealth of speed throughout the camera system, including the ability to shoot continuously at 7 fps for up to 51 consecutive 14-bit lossless compressed raw files in a single burst. When working with the optional MB-D18 grip and EN-EL18a/b battery, this shooting rate can be increased to 9 fps, and up to 30 fps shooting is possible when working in a DX crop mode during Silent Live View.
- 153-Point Multi-CAM 20K Autofocus System
- Complementing the rendering capabilities and speed of the image sensor is the robust Multi-CAM 20K AF system, which features 153 total phase-detection points, including 99 cross-type sensors for improved subject recognition, and 55 of the points are selectable for greater compositional freedom. Benefitting the use of super telephoto lenses and teleconverters, 15 of the points, including nine selectable points, are compatible with an effective aperture of f/8, and all 153 points support working with effective aperture of f/5.6 or brighter.
Managing the abundance of focusing points is a dedicated AF engine, which offers quick response times to benefit tracking fast and randomly moving subjects, even at the top 7 fps shooting rate. The AF engine also contributes to enhanced focusing sensitivity, with all points capable of focusing -4 EV for working in very dark, low-contrast situations.
Furthering the versatility of the focusing system, different AF-area modes can be selected to support varying types of subject matter:
- Single-Point AF: The camera uses a single point to find focus.
- Dynamic-Area AF: Available with 25, 72, or 153-point selections, this mode uses a primary single focus point to lock onto focus, and then makes use of the surrounding points for maintaining focus while tracking erratically-moving subjects.
- Group-Area AF: This mode treats smaller groups of AF points as a single point for a wider field of recognition, and is well-suited to tracking faces or other detailed subjects.
- 3D-Tracking: Using a subject’s color information, this mode utilizes all 153 points to maintain focus on a moving subject while half-pressing the shutter button.
- Auto-Area AF: This mode makes use of all 153 points to quickly identify the main subject, and then prioritizes recognized faces as portrait subjects in any AF servo mode.
Lastly, a unique auto AF fine-tune function can be employed to ensure the best possible focus for each mounted lens. Rather than relying on photographing distance charts, this function lets you achieve precise focus manually in live view, and then have the AF system calibrate itself to the fine-tuned focus position in order to alleviate front- and back-focusing issues.