Nikon D850 Review

September 14, 2017 | Mark Goldstein |
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Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 45.7 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 25Mb.

Noise

The base sensitivity of the Nikon D850 is ISO 64 but you can go down to ISO 32 (L1.0) if you wish. At the other end of the scale, the highest native sensitivity of the Nikon D850 is ISO 25600, but two boosted settings, ISO 51200 and ISO 102400, are also available.

JPEG RAW

LO 1EV (ISO 32) (100% Crop)

LO 1EV (ISO 32) (100% Crop)

iso32.jpg iso32raw.jpg
   

ISO 64 (100% Crop)

ISO 64 (100% Crop)

iso64.jpg iso64raw.jpg
   

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

iso100.jpg iso100raw.jpg
   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

iso200.jpg iso200raw.jpg
   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

iso400.jpg iso400raw.jpg
   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

iso800.jpg iso800raw.jpg
   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

iso1600.jpg iso1600raw.jpg
   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

iso3200.jpg iso3200raw.jpg
   

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

iso6400.jpg iso6400raw.jpg
   

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

iso12800.jpg iso12800raw.jpg
   

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

iso25600.jpg iso25600raw.jpg
   

HI 1EV (ISO 51200) (100% Crop)

HI 1EV (ISO 51200) (100% Crop)

iso25600.jpg iso25600raw.jpg
   

HI 2EV (ISO 102400) (100% Crop)

HI 2EV (ISO 102400) (100% Crop)

iso102400.jpg iso102400raw.jpg

File Quality

The file quality settings available on the Nikon D850 include Basic, Normal and Fine for JPEGs, and the camera can also shoot 12- or 14-bit NEFs (Nikon's proprietary raw file format) and 8-bit TIFFs.

Fine (21.8Mb) (100% Crop)

Normal (12.0Mb) (100% Crop)

quality_fine.jpg quality_normal.jpg
   
Basic (4.34Mb) (100% Crop)

Raw (91.6Mb) (100% Crop)

quality_basic.jpg quality_raw.jpg
   
Tiff (135Mb) (100% Crop)

 

quality_tiff.jpg  

Night

The Nikon D850 lets you dial in shutter speeds of up to 30 seconds and has a Bulb mode as well for exposure times of practically any length, which is very good news if you are seriously interested in night photography. There is an optional long-exposure noise reduction function that can be activated to filter out any hot pixels that may appear when extremely slow shutter speeds are used, though we found no need for this when taking the photograph below at a shutter speed of 30 seconds, aperture of f/11 at ISO 64. We've included a 100% crop for you to see what the quality is like.

Night

night1.jpg

Active D-lighting (ADL)

D-lighting is Nikon's dynamic range optimisation tool that attempts to squeeze the full dynamic range of the sensor into JPEGs. Active D-lighting works “on the fly”, before the in-camera processing engine converts the raw image data into JPEGs. The available settings are Off, Low, Normal, High and Extra High.

Off

adl_01.jpg
 
Low
adl_02.jpg
 

Normal

adl_03.jpg
 
High
adl_04.jpg
 

Extra High

adl_05.jpg

HDR Capture

The Nikon D850 offers the ability to shoot two differently exposed images in rapid succession, which are then blended in-camera to form a single, high-dynamic-range image. The exposure differential can be 1, 2 or 3EV, and you can choose from three different levels of smoothing (low, normal and high; with normal and high producing more realistic results than the low setting). Note that this feature is only available when shooting JPEG.

Off

hdr_01.jpg
 
1EV
hdr_02.jpg
 

2EV

hdr_03.jpg
 
3EV
hdr_04.jpg

Picture Controls

Nikon's Picture Controls are akin to Canon's Picture Styles in being preset combinations of sharpening, contrast, brightness, saturation and hue. All Picture Controls can be tweaked to your liking, then saved and transferred to other cameras.

Standard

picture_controls_01.jpg
 
Neutral
picture_controls_02.jpg
 

Vivid

picture_controls_03.jpg
 
Monochrome
picture_controls_04.jpg
 

Portrait

picture_controls_05.jpg
 
Landscape
picture_controls_06.jpg
 
Flat
picture_controls_07.jpg

Crop Modes

The Nikon D850 is an FX camera but it can also shoot in one of four crop modes, including a 25-megapixel 1.2x crop mode, a 15-megapixel DX crop mode, a 30-megapixel 5:4 mode that uses the full height of the sensor but trims the sides, and a new "1:1" square mode. The boundaries of the cropped areas are denoted with thin black lines in the viewfinder, which otherwise continues to show the full FX view, allowing you to see what's happening outside the cropped frame - perfect for sports and action shooting.

FX
crop_mode_01.jpg
 

1.2x

crop_mode_02.jpg
 
DX
crop_mode_03.jpg
 

5:4

crop_mode_04.jpg
 

1:1

crop_mode_05.jpg