Image quality: A brilliant all-rounder
The amount of detail that the D850 is capable of resolving is simply fantastic. It’s not particularly surprising, given that the sensor boasts 45 megapixels, but seeing it in the flesh is still pretty staggering.
The camera’s all-purpose metering system does well to produce well-balanced exposures. You may find that dialling in some exposure compensation is necessary in certain conditions, but it’s certainly no more than we’d expect.
Dynamic range is great, with bags of detail resolved in both shadow and highlight detail. Colours are rich and punchy too, having a very nice level of vibrance without being unrealistic.
Higher resolutions often mean that high ISO performance suffers. And It’s telling that, unlike the D5, the D850 has a relatively restricted ISO range, topping out at a native speed of ISO 25600.
Still, the good news is that you can very happily use mid-high speeds of ISO 6400 and ISO 12800 without sacrificing too much detail. ISO 25600 is perhaps best reserved for times when you really need to get the shot, but if you’re only likely to be printing or sharing at small sizes, even that speed is more than usable.
Automatic white balance copes well with a variety of different shooting conditions, including artificial light and cloudy conditions. It’s likely that you’ll have the confidence to leave it in auto white balance for the majority of shots, but there are of course other specific modes you can use if you prefer.
Nikon D850 verdict
If you’re need pro-friendly features and can stomach the price tag, the Nikon D850 is the best DSLR you can buy today.
It has a ton of fantastic features that will appeal to anyone who’s looking for a workhorse of a camera that can shoot in pretty much any situation, be it landscapes or fast action.
Negatives are few and far between. Using XQD and SD cards may be disappointing to those who already have a stack of CF cards, plus XQD cards are expensive - but they are so fast, it’s worth it if you need ultimate speed.
Having the focus points clustered around the centre is sometimes a little annoying as you have to focus and recompose, but that’s something which is common to pretty much all DSLRs.
While it may not be able to compete with the Sony A9 when it comes to fast frame rates, a very capable AF system and a range of other features mean that for those who already shoot Nikon, this is a dream upgrade.
The D850 is also much cheaper than the Sony A9, while Nikon’s range of lenses remains (for now at least) much more versatile.