The Nikon D850 offers the best of all worlds: extreme resolution, fantastic image quality, fast shooting, and an exceptional build. It’s our favorite pro SLR.
The D850 follows the same basic design paradigm as the D810 and other models before it. It’s a traditional SLR without a built-in vertical shooting grip (an add-on is available), with a body design that’s about the same size (4.9 by 5.8 by 3.1 inches, HWD) and weight (2 pounds) as its predecessor. The portion of the body between the grip and lens mount is a bit slimmer, which gives the grip a deeper feel, without having it jut further out from the camera. Because of this, the D850 feels just a bit more comfortable in the hand, improving on the D810’s excellent ergonomic design. But it also strays in a few key aspects. First, it eliminates the flash that Nikon previously included in the D700 and D800 series. Pro photographers don’t typically utilize a pop-up flash to shoot events or portraits, but it’s a useful tool for wirelessly controlling off-camera Speedlights. You’ll need to mount a flash to control off-camera units that take commands via an optical signal, or invest in a radio control system for your flashes. If you currently use a pop-up flash as a wireless commander, it’s an extra expense to consider when mulling an upgrade.
Losing the flash isn’t all bad. For one thing, it improves durability and weather protection, putting the D850 on the same level as the DX flagship D500. It also means there’s more room for the viewfinder, which Nikon has taken advantage of. The magnification has been improved to 0.75x, palpably larger than the D810’s 0.7x viewfinder, and image quality has been improved using a new aspheric element and condenser in the eyepiece. I’ve not had the chance to use the camera side by side with the D5 or Canon’s flagship 1D X Mark II, but the D850’s viewfinder is a noticeable step up from the D810.
But it also strays in a few key aspects. First, it eliminates the flash that Nikon previously included in the D700 and D800 series. Pro photographers don’t typically utilize a pop-up flash to shoot events or portraits, but it’s a useful tool for wirelessly controlling off-camera Speedlights. You’ll need to mount a flash to control off-camera units that take commands via an optical signal, or invest in a radio control system for your flashes. If you currently use a pop-up flash as a wireless commander, it’s an extra expense to consider when mulling an upgrade.