Nikon D850. The new Nikon Photographic BEAST!

Nikon D850. The new Nikon Photographic BEAST!

The new Nikon D850 was officially announced today and you can read all about it at B&H Photo HERE.

The D850 is the latest DSLR from Nikon and it’s a stunner. Yep, I have been reviewing only mirrorless here for a few years, and used to review some select DSLR’s (including the D800) but this one has my eye. It is a fact that one of my all time fave cameras is still the Nikon D700. I loved that camera to death back in the day and made many memories with it. The D700 and then D800 series to me, was always the Nikon I would go to if I were to consider a DSLR. While I am a mirrorless guy and use Sony, Olympus and Leica personally this new Nikon looks impressive and Nikon has been putting out some amazing cameras lately like the D500 ; ) I may not have written about them here but my eye has been on them for a while.

The new D850 has some impressive specs, so let’s take a look:

  • 45.7 MP Full Frame FX BSI CMOS Sensor – This back-illuminated design  is used for the first time in a Nikon DSLR, and this new design promises better high ISO performance with an extended ISO up to 102,400. Also, no low pass filter. Always good IMO.
  • EXPEED 5 mage Processor – Same one as used in the D5, this brings SPEED to the D850. 7FPS, 51 consecutive 14 Bit lossless RAW files. 9FPS possible with battery pack.
  • 4K UHD Video and 8K Time Lapse – 30P, 25P or 24P frame rates. Full 1080 HD is possible at 120FPS for slow motion playback and if you are in to time lapse, get ready for 8K which can then be sent out as a 4K movie. Wowzers.
  • Multi-CAM 20K 153-Point AF System – It’s fast, enough said.
  • Pro build and design – FULLY Weather Sealed, a Large 3.2″ touchscreen, and a 0.75x optical viewfinder. Dual memory slots and one XQD slot.

Price will be $3296. You can pre order the new D850 at B&H Photo HERE. Starts shipping September 7th 2017. 



  1. The D850, at 46mp and $3300 has just crushed the sales of Sony’s A9 at 24mp and $4500.
    If they were at the same price point the Nikon is still a much better value. Sony needs an A9R at the same price as the D850.

  2. Without an EVF even as an add-on, the D850 is obsolete before it even hits the street. I’m sure it’s a very nice camera in many respects. The sensor, AF, and video capabilities are no doubt excellent. But why on earth would anyone buying a high-end camera in 2017 not want the ability to nail the exposure in the viewfinder?

    • Use the 3.2″ viewing screen in Liveview Mode. One could fit a screen shade, perhaps one equipped with a magnifier, to facilitate viewing under bright light conditions. I acknowledge that this setup would be likely to include a tripod as well.

      • Liveview is not very workable when a heavy camera+lens is handheld.

        Trying to use the large LCD screen with a magnifier just doesn’t serve to replace the missing EVF for manual focusing because it is too awkward, heavy (with the center of gravity pushed forward away from you), and bulky — just too difficult to handhold.

        The missing EVF (and missing focus screen optimized for manual focus) is a huge design miss. Not going to buy (again) a D850 that doesn’t facilitate critical manual focus.

        If Nikon’s ignoring manual focus is an attempt to force me to buy autofocus Nikon lenses instead of Zeiss manual focus lenses, it is a failure because instead it is preventing me from buying the updated Nikon camera body that I want to use with my superb manual focus lenses.

    • DSLRs are far from obsolete and more people still prefer an optical viewfinder. It’s only mirrorless fans who ever make these kinds of proclamations. Working pros, for example, snicker at it, and relatively few of them use mirrorless for their day-to-day work.

      These are just facts.

    • Hi Doug,

      Because I have never had a Nikon fail on me, film or digital, tens of thousands of frames. Totally reliable. I have now had 3 high end Sony’s fail, and won’t buy another. Nikon’s matrix metering has been the most effective for many years

  3. Nice to see the D500 and now the D850 look like very good offerings from Nikon. Even though I now shoot Sony and Olympus, I shot film Nikons for so many years that I still feel an emotional bond with Nikon and hope they do well.

  4. I briefly handled the D850 last night at the Meet & Greet event in Utrecht, Holland, and stuck my 35/1.4G on it.

    It feels very similar to my D810, obviously and fortunately; it handles very well. What struck me and stuck out in those few minutes were the large and bright viewfinder, the very very rapid focus acquisition, the ease with which the AF joystick works, the (similar to the D810) smooth and relatively quiet mirror-shutter-mirror action, and that high res lcd rear display. Brilliant.

    • What I do not like IS AF coverage. Too small. On the d500 the same AF system fills the whole viewfinder, on full frame not enough.
      A pity. Otherwise a fine camera, just don’t see the huge difference to my d500.

      • Well, the same best AF system on a larger sensor and viewfinder automatically leads to a smaller percentage of the field covered. That’s just FX vs DX details. No huge difference? Well, I don’t know what people would call a 20 MP vs. 47 MP difference, to me that sounds huge indeed. That you don’t find many differences in UID, that’s just what I dreamt of all the time: an APS-C and a FX workhorse, each with its specific advantages, but both with the same UID. What more do you want? Nikon, I am back (after a longer excursion into mirrorless)!

  5. Hi,
    I fully agree about the D700, which was an amazing camera. D800 was deficient with mirror shocks (Nikon changed mine 3 times and it took me 1 year to have something working).

    I had also in my bag a Nikon DF, and this was a joy to use. I sold all my Nikon’s in beginning 2016 for a full migration with Sony.

    Since 18 month, I’m trying to tame the Sony A7RII and I have so many things to complain about this gear (MENUS, MENUS, body is to small, buttons, no joystick, no full touchscreen, EVF could be better, …). But, at the end of the list, IQ and all what is possible with this tool is really fantastic.

    Last month, I was thinking that a kind of return to the basics could be a great idea for my inspiration, so I bought a Voigtlander 58 SL-II S and a Nikon DF which I always regret to have sold. After one week having the DF in hand, I must admit that going to mirrorless is a non return affair. So, DF will go back to my dealer and I will return to my studies on the A7RII, hoping that the next iteration will align to the A9, and maybe go a step further (mainly a bigger body, so buttons could be more comfortable, and global ergonomics more efficient).

    My conclusion is that Nikon failed here with the D850 on the main point : no hybrid viewfinder. I will never return to a DSLR. Next Sony A7RIII or A9R, or maybe Leica SL II, but never a DSLR.

    Thanks Steve for the site and I wish to you and every reader a very nice day.

  6. The coolest part is the D850 is their newest film scanner. It has a mode that automatically corrects/inverts negative film captures.

    “Use the D850’s 45.7 MP back illuminated sensor and Live View for Stills Mode as a negative film scanner with the new optional ES-2 Film Digitizing Adapter on a compatible Micro-NIKKOR lens. You can copy slides or negatives one at a time. Digitize the gems from your film days.”

    “The ES-2 is a Film Digitizing Adapter that lets you easily convert your film images to digital. Taking advantage of the high-pixel count of the D850’s 45.7 MP, the Film Digitizing Adapter lets you convert both 35mm slides and negatives to digital files. Using a lens such as the AF-S Micro NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8G ED attached to the D850, the camera’s digitizing function automatically reverses the colors and stores them as JPEG images. This once time-consuming process involving a film scanner can be done much more quickly. For negative strips, use the FH-4 Strip Film Holder with the ES-2 and for slides, use the FH-5 Slide Mount Holder with the ES-2.”

    • Not sure why you find this ‘the coolest part’…
      No medium format scans possible… and why store them as jpegs? Any post work like dust and scratch removal and color correction is degrading the image in jpeg.
      I can scan 12 35mm shots in just a few minutes with my 7 year old Epson scanner. As the rest of the scans are being done, I can already start cleaning the first tiff files.

      Besides that, the D850 is an amazing camera. Let’s hope there are no issues with oily sensors and light leaks, as was the case with Nikon’s high end cameras in the recent past.

      • You’ll get much better scans using a DSLR over any Epson scanner.. Much higher rez in a fraction of the time. Live View auto focus so every image is pin sharp. No worry of dust getting stuck in the machine as Epsons are notorious for. Much better DR.
        And you can use the DSLR w/ a copy stand and light pad to scan any film size.

        p.s. you don’t have to use the Nikon’s film inversion feature. You can shoot in RAW and do it yourself.

  7. Can the D850 focus manual lenses handheld using a focus screen designed for manual focus, or with a electronic viewfinder? My D700 can with its Katz Eye focus screen. The Sony A7rII and A9 can with a lovely EVF.

    Nikon, I’m still waiting … are you every going to have another camera I can buy to use with my fabulous apochromatic manual focus F mount lenses, or are you going to force me to switch to Sony after 50 years of using Nikon camera bodies?

    • Why switch to Sony?
      Get a Leica M10 or SL and a Nikon-Leica adapter. You could even slum it and pick up an M240 and do the same.

  8. AGREE on the D700. I can’t imagine needing anything more although its 12 MP. I am 68. A bag of cement is heavy. A Nikon D700 is not. Tried mirrorless for a while, but they just felt more like computers than cameras. Great site.

  9. Is it about the fun shooting and the results or a technology? Think this one will be great to handle even though they should have done a x100 type hybrid viewfinder and improved AF in life view. One can’t have it all I suppose, but if the situation allows for a heavy dslr it is surely going to be great.

  10. Thanks for not giving up on DSLRs yet. The D850 looks like something I would get in the next 2 years when price drops. Currently, I own a D750 and an E-M1 and I had been eyeing the D810 for its ISO64 and amazing DR.
    D850 might just be the upgrade I am looking for

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