D850: a very brief hands-on sharing

Longed for many years, Nikon has finally responded her supporter with something impressive. Months before the arrival of D850, Sony released another pioneering product A9. It unveils the true potential of mirroless who not only be attractive in size but also capable to keep up the fast moving subject like DSLR.

So what Nikon can offer? It is pretty obvious that the next Nikon Flagship must processes distinctive feature by integrating extra high pixel count and fast shooting ability.

Before D850, Sony A99ii is the only DSLR equipped with extra high MP (>40MP) and fast shooting ability (e.g. 12fps). Now D850, is the only rival that can compete with A99ii head to head in the market.

The stock of D850 runs out immediately when it arrives HK, unless you are willing to pay additional 30% premium. So, like many other D850 enthusiast, the only place that I can feel the D850 is the official Nikon showroom. After testing for 30mins, I think I have acquired some basic and preliminary understanding to this new gear.

1. It is bulky
Bulky and heavy are the first impression that D850 gives me. I recall, the last big-guy I use is D810 but D850 definitely weights more. There is no way you can ignore this when you hold it in your hand even without a vertical grip.

Per my experience of D810, her specially designed hand grip improves the hand-held experience alot. However if you shoot intensively, the heavy weight of D810 still hurt. That’s why I pay extra attention to the ergonomic design of D850 who weighs even more than D810. The hand-grip of D850 is shadow when compared to D810, and personally speaking, the design of D810 is the better in this regard. However if you have a big hand, the weight and hand grip of D850 may not be a problem to you.

Maybe some people will not seriously value the ergonomic design like me. However, as an outdoor and sport camera, each shooting session may last for half or even a day. Therefore I need to make sure if D850 is a feasible gear for me in light of physical strength and habit of shooting (I don’t use tripod/monopod when birding)

When compared to A99ii (849g), the D850 (1,015g) weights around 20% more. Of course D5 is the real beast which i finally gives up considering the weight which I can’t handle.

2. Excellent AF that you can trust
In my perception, the AF system of DSLR is always trust-worthy and D850 is no exception. Accuracy and speed are both excellent. Her 3D tracking is very snappy too. Although the 153 AF point of D850 cannot cover the whole screen like A9, it is good enough for photographer to compose and capture fast moving subject.

nikon-d850-vs-nikon-d810-vs-nikon-d750-af-coverage-area-comparison

The shutter sound is gentle like D500. It is not completely silent even shooting in silent mode. I think it is okay, complete silence is not a must for everyone.

Without the vertical grip, D850 can continuously shoot up to 7 fps. This limit can be pushed to 9 fps when paired with vertical grip. 7 fps is being on the low side when compared to the other sport / action camera. The leader is A9 (20 fps) while D5(without vertical grip) and A99ii both can do 12 fps. I think 7 fps is marginally enough for action shooting. However, for birding, I think pushing to 9 fps is needed despite this will lead to extra weight on your system.

3. Live view, flipping screen with touch 

touch-monitor

Live view shooting has become an inevitable part of DSLR today. The flipping screen of D850 makes low angle (e.g. pet running) shooting accurate and easy.

However, when switching to liveview, the AF response will obviously be slowed down. In addition, during my liveview test, the D850 will apparently freeze between shots. Although it only lasts for 0.5s – 1s approximately, that’s enough to miss some precious shots. Therefore, if you are working on an action shooting,  liveview mode is not a preferred choice instead traditional OVF is a better option to go.

The laggy respond in liveview seams so common across DSLR. Personally, I encounter such delayed respond in D500, 6II, 5D4 as well as the latest D850.

dsc01829-acr

Sony A99ii

On the other hand, A99ii performs seamlessly in liveview shooting. In fact such comparison is not fair, A99ii as a mirrorless camera, is designed to shoot liveview natively while OVF is stills the primary option of DSLR.

 

Conclusion

D850 is a great camera. Her image quality, high MP and AF system are top of the line. As an user of Nikon, I am glad to see the innovation and dedication in it.

The development of DSLR has come to a crossroad, there are lots of uncertainty whether camera manufacturer will invest continuously in DSLR or shift to mirrorless. Recent years, mirrorless has proved to be the way to go that’s the fact undeniable.

 

As the stock of D850 is limited, it seems review from user will come a bit later. I have found some useful review on the web produced by some renowned KOL, they should give you some idea how this camera is working in real.

“NIkon D850: Best Wildlife Camera EVER?” from Tony & Chelsea Northrup

 

“I used the Nikon D850 and lived to tell about it!” from TheSnapChick

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