Before I start being accused of focusing too much on the D850's superb JPEG FINE file format, I felt that I better show what the D850's full resolution RAW file can achieve.
This sharing will focus on the D850's LOSSLESS COMPRESSED Full Resolution 14-Bit RAW file which is the RAW option that I normally use.
The image below shows how the original ISO800 RAW file looked with zero adjustments. As you can see, I metered this scene by balancing more of the exposure to "save" more highlights (sky) data which is normally how I photograph a high dynamic range scene.
The sky was about 1.5 stops too bright vs. the actual scene, while the shadow area was at least 2.5 stops underexposed from the exposure I wanted.
This screenshow shows my adjustments to the RAW file to get to the details that I wanted. As you can see the adjustments to the Highlight & Shadow sliders were pretty significant
The sky details recovery was very clean but how the did the 2.5 stops shadow details recovery do ? The next screenshot will show you how the shadow area looks like at 700% magnification after recovery. You can now clearly see the grain which is consistent and void of any multi-colored noise dots that should not be there and this is viewed at 700% magnification.
This next screenshot (again at 700% magnification) would then show what what a single application of my favourite 3rd party Noise Reduction software (NEAT IMAGE) can do. Details are still mostly retained with a now significantly reduced noise level. The other thing to note is that NEAT IMAGE generated a noise reduction profile file which had a 99% quality level (for this image). This also in a way shows that the grain present was very consistent and "good"
This image has now gone through a simple Camera RAW converter adjustment and a single pass of NEAT IMAGE noise reduction. The image does look much more interesting with all that recovered details. Of course it could still go through a bit more post processing to make it look even better but then that's another blog for another day.
In summary the D850's 45.7MP RAW file has that awesome Dynamic Range and superb Shadow Recovery capability as my benchmark D810 (a 36MP Full Frame sensor) in the real world however the D850 bests the D810 in terms of resolution and details capture capability which I will share in a future blog.
D850 users, we are definitely a fortunate that Nikon has produced such a fine DSLR.