It looks like there’s a new sheriff in town when it comes to the best DSLR on the market.
Though there are plenty of excellent DSLRs out there – and mirrorless cameras, too – nothing beats the Nikon D850. At least not according to DxOMark…
Where the Nikon D810 used to be the champion of DxO scores for DSLR cameras with an astonishing score of 97 on a 100 scale, the D850 outperforms even that.
In fact, the old top dog on DxO’s performance indicator – the Sony A7R II, with a score of 98 – still can’t match the D850.
And since the D850 got a perfect score of 100, there won’t be another camera that ever beats it!
Let’s have a closer look at DxO’s comments and dive into some of the D850’s top specifications.
DxOMark Gives the Nikon D850’s Sensor the Best Marks Ever
DxOMark didn’t just hand the D850 a perfect score. Instead, the D850 earned it.
In fact, DxOMark indicated in their report that the D850 “breaks new ground for image quality.”
That’s saying something given the competition in the high-resolution market like the aforementioned Sony A7R II and the Canon 5DS and 5DSR.
DxOMark goes on to say that the D850’s primary strengths are its “outstanding color and dynamic range” which results in high marks for both portraiture and landscape photography.
More specifically, its portrait score ranks among the top of all cameras DxO has tested, and its dynamic range of 14.8 EV results in impeccable image quality.
DxOMark Nikon D850 Scoreboard
But don’t think that the Nikon D850 is just for portraits and landscapes…
DxOMark offers the analysis that with its color reproduction, dynamic range, and ISO performance that this camera is ideally suited for studio work, high-end editorial photography, and even sports photography as well.
But DxO takes it a step further and claims that the Nikon D850 is virtually on par with medium format cameras, saying that “if you’re looking for the best image quality at low ISOs, at significantly less cost than a digital medium-format camera, the Nikon D850 looks like the camera you’ve been waiting for.”
That’s not a bad endorsement if you ask me…
Essential Features of the Nikon D850
- 45.7-megapixel BSI CMOS FX sensor
- Expeed 5 image processor
- 153-point autofocus system
- ISO range 64-25,600 (expandable to 102,400)
- 7fps burst shooting speed (9fps with optional battery grip)
- 4K video at 30fps and 1080p video at 120fps
Just one look at the list above and you can quickly see that the D850 means business.
This camera outperforms its predecessors in just about every way imaginable, and that’s saying a lot considering how good the Nikon D810 is. I should know, I have one!
Here’s a quick chart that shows some of the ways the D850 represents such a huge upgrade over its predecessor:
For starters, the D850’s back-illuminated sensor (a first for a full frame Nikon) helps generate incredible image resolution that helped earn this camera such high marks from DxO.
But the high-resolution sensor is just the beginning…
It has a larger ISO range, a much-improved autofocus system with more points and an improved autofocus detection range, and a faster continuous shooting rate.
On top of that, the D850 has a larger viewfinder, silent shooting mode, a faster processor, and better battery life.
But there’s more…
The D850 has support for UHS-II SD cards as well as XQD cards, 4K video capabilities, and a tilting touchscreen LCD.
This thing also has built-in focus peaking, focus stacking, and RAW processing. Its buffer can handle 170 RAW files, too.
Its buttons are illuminated, it has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth built in, and it has silent timelapse video shooting as the cherry on top.
But it’s not just the guts of the D850 that are different from the likes of the D810 and the D800 before it.
The D850 doesn’t have a pop-up flash, which helped in making the weather sealing of this camera even better.
Additionally, the familiar Mode button has been moved to near the dial and instead an ISO button has taken its place. If that sounds familiar, it’s because this is the layout of the Nikon D500.
Another change is in the grip.
It’s not deeper, making it a more comfortable experience to hold the camera, especially if you have bigger hands.
The back of the D850 shows many departures from the D810 as well.
There’s a joystick below the AF-ON button, which can be used to quickly move through focus points while you’re shooting.
As a result of the joystick placement, the AE-L/AF-L button has been removed. If you love the functionality of the AE-L/AF-L button, you can assign it to one of the function buttons, like the new Fn2 button that’s to the left of the LCD.
Speaking of the LCD, it’s now touchscreen-enabled and tilting. With swipe capabilities and a pinch-to-zoom feature, you can easily scan through the images you’ve taken and zoom in on them to check things like focus. When shooting in Live View, you can even use the LCD to select a focus point.
Wrapping It Up
So, the Nikon D850 is packed with features, has an incredible sensor, and offers up performance that blows away the competition. That’s a lot to like!
I have no doubt that this camera will become one of Nikon’s best performers. I also have no doubt that it will convince shooters from Canon, Sony, and other manufacturers to jump ship over to Nikon.
After all, you get medium-format quality and 21st-century bells and whistles in a mass-market DSLR that starts at about $3,300.
What’s not to like about that?
For an in-depth hands-on review of the Nikon D850, check out the video below by Tony and Chelsea Northrup: