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  • Andrew JK Tan

NIKON D850 - An All-Round Extraordinaire

I had been spending my October and November shooting tons of images for my clients. There were lots of lifestyle and architectural type shots in locations that have pretty dim lighting. Locations that do not allow the use of tripods as it could disturb their guests & of course locations with high dynamic range extremes.

The other requirement from the clients was speed in delivering the files. They wanted the final ultra high resolution images processed and delivered in 7 days. I had to photograph the assigned locations (73 different locations) all over Singapore with multiple perspectives. This would mean I had to hit at least 10 locations per day and post process to get the final images to meet the hard deadline.

My main camera was of course the new Nikon D850 as my clients also specified that they needed ultra high resolution files that could be printed up to mural size in other words really large. The 45.7MP ultra high resolution of the D850 was a huge plus here.

So how did the Nikon D850 do ?

NOTE : all images shared were captured hand-held as using a tripod was not allowed in many places and would also slow me down significantly

1. Superb Dynamic Range & Ultra High ISO Performance

RAW & JPEG FINE files were top notch in terms of Dynamic Range & Noise performance

Most times when conditions allowed it , I used JPEG FINE format and the image quality delivered was exceptional. Photographing in JPEG saved me a lot of time in post production and really helped in meeting the tight schedule.

ISO10,000 , 1/15s , f8 , 24mm

ISO3200 , 1/80s , f8 , 18mm

ISO3200 , 1/320s , f4 , 14mm

2. Overall speedy handling of the D850 was another big plus

The standard 7 frames per second (FPS) burst rate that you get from the D850 was so important to me. This capability allowed me to bracket hand-held confidently with minimal and in many cases no mis-alignment between frames. This allowed me to capture key moments with optimum exposure and can helped me greatly when I wanted to blend to recover highlights and/or shadow details.

ISO6400 , 1/80s , f8.0 , 24mm focal length

ISO100 , 1/60s - 1/1000s , f10.0 , 16mm fisheye , 3 frames bracket , distortion corrected manually

ISO200 , 1/250s - 1/1600s , f8.0 , 3 frames bracket - 2 stops apart , 14mm

ISO3200 , 1/160s , f5.6 , 14mm

3. Low light auto-focusing was so much improved

Compared to the Nikon D810, the focusing improvement was very significant. This made my job so much easier and faster. I did not require as many shots as before. Honestly focusing was rock solid with no missed shots.

ISO8000 , 1/50s , f4.5 , 48mm

ISO6400 , 1/200s , f8 , 14mm

Overall Summary of my experience

The Nikon D850 truly is an all-round extraordinaire. The significant improvements in handling speed , AF performance and the availability of real high quality 45.7MP resolution really adds up. Retaining the benchmark D810 performance in dynamic range & noise performance was also incredible - remember the D850 is a 45.7MP beast which is almost 10MP higher than the D810 !!

I am being qualitative here, but I find the D850 makes all my Nikkor lenses visibly sharper then when I used them with my D810 , D4 and Df DSLR. To me it is the 45.7MP resolution that is making the difference here.

Other new improvements like the addition of the articulated LCD screen , a slimmer more ergonomic grip , extended battery life and to me what felt like an improved JPEG engine plus the superb SRAW , MRAW and of course full size RAW capabilities all truly add up to make the D850 my main workhorse and the ultimate DSLR in my current line up.

Most importantly , I feel extremely confident using the D850 and having that confidence can do wonders to one's photography capabilities.

I hoped you enjoyed the read , till my next blog. Happy Holidays !!!!

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