Nikon D850 – features I found interesting
While I don’t believe in upgrading cameras all that often, I’m a huge fan of technological advancements and new features that camera manufacturers come up with.
Some features are “new” for a particular brand whereas some features at times are revolutionary for the camera industry.
Nikon recently launched the D850 and it made quite a splash in the DSLR arena with people talking about frames per second (though it still doesn’t stand close to the Sony A9) and megapixels so I thought it made sense to do a small write up on what I found interesting in this camera from a features perspective apart from the high frames per second and megapixel bit.
Sensor - Nikon has been using a Sony sensor in most of its models including the D850’s predecessors like the D810 & D800. Some models like the D4, D5, Df and the D700 have had Nikon sensors. I was expecting Nikon to use their own sensor in the D850 however they’ve chosen to go with Sony.
I do remember reading somewhere that Nikon said that they’ve designed this sensor on their own even though it’s manufactured by Sony. Perhaps in this era of outsourcing this is the right thing to do – use a technology expert like Sony for the sensor.
One advantage that I’ve found these sensors have over other manufacturers like Canon is the ability to turn out a raw file where you can easily pull out details from shadows while post processing.
Focus stacking – this is a trick that some macros photographers use to get end to end focus. How this works is that you have to take lots of photographs while focusing on different parts of the subject (without changing the aperture).
Photographers have been doing this manually for quite sometime though some traditional macro photographers are not very happy with the idea of focus stacking and do not consider it as the right thing to do. (One example of a photographer who uses focus stacking well is Thomas Shahan and you can see some of his images at http://thomasshahan.com )
The D850 has automated this focus stacking to make it easier (though you still need to post process by using software to stack the images)
LCD that tilts / turns – For some reason camera companies haven’t given this feature in top end models and I was happy to see the D850 had an LCD that moves.
My current full frame camera doesn’t have this feature inspite of the fact that I spent around a lakh and half for just the body. I feel like an idiot every time I see a kid with an entry level camera using the tilt / swivel / turning LCD to take shots at ground level while I have to lie flat on the ground and contort my body into painfully awkward angles to get the same shot.
Focus Peaking – I first used this feature sometime ago on a Sony mirror-less camera using a vintage voigtlander lens and I was impressed with how easy it was to use manual focus and I’m happy to see this feature on the D850.
Will be useful for people like me who have a large collection of old manual focus Nikon lenses as well as for photographers who have to resort to manual focus in challenging situations especially for macro work.
Negative Scanning – this feature allows the user to “scan” 35mm film. It saves the files as jpeg though and not RAW. I still shoot film and this sounds like a good to have feature in the camera. I wasn’t very successful with a DIY set up that I tried out using a macro lens and it was hard work so I’ve been outsourcing this to a vendor who has a film scanner.
Silent Shutter – the camera has an option where you can shoot silently. In live-view mode it uses mirror lock up with an electronic shutter so you don’t get that “thwap” sound while taking a photograph even at 6 frames per second. It sounds very useful for situations in the field when the shutter sound can be a hindrance.
So those are some of the features that I found interesting in the Nikon D850. As more and more people get this camera, it will be interesting to have a long term review of field usage. Happy Clicking!