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2017.08.24

Having teased about it last month for their 100th anniversary, the new Nikon D850 has just been unveiled. This new high-resolution flagship full-frame DSLR expands the family by a significant leap.

The Nikon D850 is built around a 46 megapixels BSI-CMOS sensor that captures more light per pixel than previous sensors used on Nikon DSLRs. This sensor features a high-speed read-out which allows for full-width 4K Ultra-HD video. It can equally output full-resolution images at a maximum of 9 FPS, although the optional battery-grip is needed for that. Otherwise, it can capture a respectable 7 FPS at 46 MP and 51 RAW files in their maximum 14-bit quality. Doing down to 12-bit RAW files, makes it possible to capture 170 frames per burst.

This DSLR inherits two key components from the top-of-the-line D5 reviewed here. One is the EXPEED 5 processor which performs exceptional rendering of JPEG images and processes information at an outstanding velocity. This time, the D850 does not have an Anti-Alias Filter, so we should expect even more critically sharp output from this camera. The other is the incomparable 153-Point Phase-Detect AF system seen in the D5 and also the D500. It features 99 Cross-Type Points, 15 usable at F/8 and with a maximum sensitivity of -4 EV.

The headline-grabbing 8K Time-Lapse Feature deserves some explanations before covering the rest of the D850 highlights. Nikon has been producing in-camera Time Lapse Video since the D600 yet they had an Interval Timer feature a considerably long time before. Given its high resolution of 46 megapixels, the D850 captures images slightly over 8K. The Interval Timer  can drive the camera to capture almost 1000 such images which can be assembled into a Time Lapse Video. It will not do it internally. 4K Time Lapse Video though is fully supported and results in an Ultra-HD video produced in-camera.

Nikon designed to D850 is their ultimate combination of resolution and speed. Reaching 46 megapixels, this is their highest resolution camera yet and the omission of an Anti-Alias-Filter makes sure that the maximum amount of details can be extracted from its sensor. With a top-speed of 9 FPS, it is also among their fastest DSLRs. It is of course supplanted by the 14 FPS drive of the D5 in this area but is only a little behind the 10 FPS of the D500. When a battery-grip is not used, 7 FPS is still sufficient to capture fleeting moments for portraits, street photography and some action. Along with such speed, the D850 has endurance to last for 1840 frames on a single battery-charge.

Usability is critical for professional cameras and NIkon has improved things where it counts the most by offering the largest viewfinder ever made into a DSLR. New optics achieve a 0.75X magnification while maintaining 100% coverage and leaving room for a built-in shutter. The body has been redesigned with a deeper grip than on the D810 and buttons on the left side of the body are now illuminated to provide usability in the dark. The top status LCD also has a back-light, as in high-end DSLRs. The body of the D850 is equipped with dual memory-card slots, one accepting XQD cards and the other SDXC UHS-II ones. Top performance requires the use of an XQD card.

Making its debut on the Nikon D850 is a focus bracketing feature designed for stacking. The camera can capture up to 300 frames with 10 different focus step sizes between each frame. These potentially large sets of images are stored in their own directory for easy of assembly by third-party software.

The Nikon D850 has  a suggested retail price of $3,299 USD or $4,399.95 CAD and will be available some time next month. Amazon, Adorama and B&H Photo are already accepting pre-orders. This camera is expected to sell out fast since it represents such a significant leap from its predecessor, so pre-order yours today! Using the links here gives you the same low price and reputable service as usual while helping us support Neocamera.

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