Photography News Issue 49

Camera test 34

Photography News | Issue 49 |

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Nikon D850 Nikon, with product recalls, cancellations and delays, has recently been in the news for all the wrong reasons. The launch of the D850, however, is very much good news – or is it? Join us for a close look at one of the year’s biggest launches


Price £3499 body only Sensor

45.7-megapixel backside illuminated CMOS, 14- or 12-bit capture, EXPEED 5 image processor Sensor format FX format 35.9x23.9mm, 8256x5504 pixels. MediumRaw 25.5-megapixels 6192x4128, and Small Raw 11.3-megapixels 4128x2752 also available ISO range 64-25,600 native, expansion to ISO 32 and 102,400 Shutter range 30secs to 1/8000sec, flash sync at 1/250sec Native 200-12,800, expanded 100- 51,200 (expanded speeds only with mechanical shutter) Shutter range Mechanical shutter: 30secs to 1/4000sec plus B Electronic shutter: 30secs to 1/32,000sec Drivemodes Continuous high at 7fps. 51-frame burst in Raw Metering system RGB sensor with 180K pixels with 3D Color Matrix III with G, E and D lenses, Color Matrix III with other CPU lenses, centre-weighted, spot, Exposure compensation +/-5EV in 0.3, 0.5 and 1EV steps Monitor 3.2in 2359K dots, tilting touch sensitive screen, 100% coverage Viewfinder 100% coverage in FX, 0.75x magnification Focusing Multi-CAM 20K AF sensor module, AF detection -4 to 20EV Focus points 153 focus point, 99 cross type and 15 support f/8. Single point, 9-, 25-, 72- or 153-point, dynamic area AF, 3D tracking, group area AF, auto area AF Video 3840x2160 (4K, UHD) 30p, 25p, 24p, 1920x1080, 1280x720, 1920x1080 (slowmo). MOV and MP4modes. 4K UHD and Full HD time lapse movie Connectivity SnapBridgeWi-Fi, USB 3.0, HDMI C, Electronic silent shutter in live view at 45 megapixels and 6fps, 30fps in DX format, JPEG normal, built-in Raw processing Storagemedia 1x XQD, 1x SD Dimensions (wxhxd) 146x124x78.5mm Weight 1005g body with battery and card Contact Try the Nikon D850 at Cameraworld Live on 28October, See this month’s news for more details Bluetooth, audio in/out Other key features Focusing range 30secs-1/8000sec ISO range highlight weighted Exposuremodes PASM

Words and images byWill Cheung

Most of us already have more than enough megapixels for our photographic needs, yet the thirst for even more seems insatiable. Nikon has seen Canon and Sony romp ahead in the megapixel race, so the introduction of the D850 is very welcome. The D850 is a full-frame 45.7-megapixel DSLR designed to appeal to a broad spectrum of photographers, whether they are social, scenic or sports photographers. That appeal is broadened even further with 4K video and a new focus shift shooting mode. Let’s start with the sensor, a backside illuminated CMOS 35.9x23.9mm unit. A backside illuminated sensor is in effect an inverted conventional front illuminated sensor with light reaching the sensitive diodes without having to travel through the sensor’s circuitry. This is more efficient and, helped by the use of copper wiring, promises to give a quality high ISO performance. Resolution is maximised by the sensor being optical low pass filter free. So unlike the Nikon D800E and Canon EOS 5DS R which have a cancellable OLPF, the D850 does not have an OLPF in the first place. Nikon users, especially of the D800/810, will immediately feel at ease with the D850 in respect of its handlingbut there have been several notable changes. The articulating touchscreen is a big one, but so too is the placement of an ISO button right next to the shutter release. In the previous models you could reassign a convenient button to give similar functionality, but here it is even more handy. In exchange, the mode control has gone to the four-way cluster on the left side of the body. Howoftenyouadjustyour ISO is a personal thing. Many photographers prefer auto ISO settings with a suitable top limit set while others like to manually tinker. I belong to the latter so the dedicated ISO button will get plenty of use fromme. This, together with the nearby exposure compensation control, means two important and regularly used controls are placed for quick and easy use even with the eye up to the viewfinder eyepiece.

Above The D850’s overall design follows in the footsteps of previous full-frame Nikons but in the case of the D850 the integral flash has gone. Below The introduction of a tiltable touch monitor is very welcome.

Another serious change is the welcome addition of a focus joystick to make shifting AF zones even more simple low-light sensitivity and better performance with long lenses, particularly when fitted with light- sapping teleconverters. The actual working area, though, is much less than what we are seeing from top- endmirrorless cameras wheremuch more of the image format is covered in AF points. Autofocus itself is fast and accurate in all sorts of lighting

Another serious change is the welcome addition of a focus joystick tomake shiftingAF zones evenmore simple. Having grown used to focus joysticks and the enhanced handling they offer, this is very welcome. Speaking of AF, the D850’s system is out of the flagship D5, so you are getting the best system that Nikon has to offer. So there are 153 zones, 99 cross type and very good

levels. I mostly used the single zone and group zone settings with much success and few failures and any that occurred was usually user error. The autofocus menu offers fine- tuningoptions so, for example,menu a3 lets you vary focusing tracking lock and a4 offers 3D-tracking face detection. Working dynamic AF areas can be adjusted too so you can have 9, 25, 72 or 153 points available. While viewfinder AF proved almost wholly reliable I had more failures with touch AF and live view. Touching the screen where focus was required, the red AF box went green to confirm correct focus as it should do but on occasion the result wasn’t sharp. This is not to say touch focus doesn’t work, because it does; it just needs careful use for spot-on results. In a Nikon promo video a pro is seen handholding a D850 fitted with a 70-200mm f/2.8 using touchscreen AF with the silent shutter and of course getting ace results. Doubtless it is possible but you’d need rock-steady hands and more than one shot, I’d suggest.

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