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Nikon D850: Nikon’s New Flagship DSLR – PhotoBite Investigates

- 7 years ago

As many of you will have seen here last week, Nikon is celebrating their 100th anniversary and in the same week, they announced the development of the highly anticipated D850

Rolling on from the D5600 & D7500 launches this year, news of the D850 comes as a breath of fresh air to those who’ve felt that the D810 has been in dire need of an upgrade. With competition from the likes of Canon, releasing the 5D Mark IV and the 6D Mark II, as well as Sony and the launch of the seemingly miraculous A9, it’s about time that Nikon show their hand.

So what can we expect from the new Nikon D850?

From the information we have directly from Nikon and our own tireless digging, it seems that the video capability is likely to serve as a big improvement with features such as 8K time-lapse being offered in the new model.

For those who aren’t technically minded the resolution on a current TV is 1080p, which is just short of 2 megapixels. 8K, however, comes in at around 33 megapixels. Yes, you read that right.

Nikon themselves describe the new model as follows: “The D850 will be a powerful new full-frame FX-format digital SLR camera, engineered with a range of new technologies, features and performance enhancements that are a direct result of feedback from users over the years.”

It looks unlikely that Nikon will be changing the sensor that can be found in the D810, but if you look at the market of high-resolution pro-consumer cameras, the current sensor still falls right in the middle with pixel counts ranging from 24-50 [megapixels]. However, Nikon may change to 42-50 megapixel sensor to keep up with the megapixel trend.

ISO improvements is a given but still desired by many photographers. Nikon as always done very well in this area so we look forward to see how they improve on this.

Looking at the D5 we can expect a few features to pass down to the D850

Another upgrade looks to be coming in the shape of illuminated buttons. Not just a flashy extra-for-the-sake-of-it, this is likely to be a nice feature for those low light photographers out there.

Looking at the D5 we can expect a few features to pass down to the D850 like the super speedy XQD cards. We don’t expect to see dual XQD card slots however we do see there being one SD card slot and one XQD. Given the trend we’re seeing in camera’s today, we’re pretty confident that the tilt screen will soon be making its debut in the D800 line.

Sports mode will a get boost so we’re expecting some blazing fast fps speeds. Something in the range of 8-11fps in DX mode [crop sensor] and 3-5fps in FX mode [full frame] in typical Nikon fashion.


Nikon’s Snapbridge is also a given. For those who don’t know about Snapbridge, it’s a Nikon-native feature, which saves additional [small] file versions of your pictures, for you to bounce onto your phone or tablet via a low-frequency Bluetooth connection, for social sharing. This solution is useful for photographers who work on site with clients and are wanting a more streamlined workflow that is tetherless.

What we’d like to see.

One issue Nikon used to suffer from was the inability to change the aperture in ‘movie mode’. As far as I can see, this problem seems to have been eradicated, which leads me onto the next big thing.

Video frame rates

Let’s get some slow-mo, please! As a filmmaker, nothing says icing on the cake like a sweet bit of slow-mo. It’s almost become a standard requirement in filmmaking these days and it’s one of the things Nikon really needs to jump on. Sony has made it to 120 fps at 1080p on the A7S II, Canon managed to squeeze 60fps of 4K video out their 1DX Mark II and Panasonic did the same with the GH5 as well as beating Sony with 180fps. Let’s see Nikon come, wipe the smile off their faces [maybe?] or at least stand strong in a field of cameras that can now do a great job in this area.

Lead. Don’t follow

With all this being said, we need to take into account that the mirrorless camera market is booming. It has been for some time.

Whilst the new D850 will certainly serve as a significant launch of a flagship model for the [now] 100 year-old brand, the appetite for such beasts has been in decline.

However, given the number of patents that Nikon have submitted for mirrorless systems, we can expect that 2018 could herald a comeback in stature. Let’s hope that that’s the case, both in photography and the videography world.

Watch this space for updates!

About the author

Read Nikon D850: Nikon’s New Flagship DSLR – PhotoBite Investigates

Simon Skinner

Co-founder // Editor

Having spent many years working in various pockets of the music industry, and always with a camera in hand, Simon has worked with organisations such as Warner/Chappell, Food Records and ultimately, co-founding the innovative independent record label, Izumi Records before moving fully into the world of publishing in 2007. Amongst numerous other projects in the last decade, he has been responsible for a number of specialist photo trade magazines and journals for the filmmaking and photography communities, along with a coffee table book entitled, "Great Britons of Photography' which he produced with Peter Dench and Leica. Now heading up PhotoBite, Simon and the team have set themselves a task of delivering informative and inspirational content for photographers of all levels, from the beginner, shooting with smartphones, to the seasoned photographer and filmmaker.