Update June 2018 – why the Nikon D850?
Some people have asked me why I’ve added the D850 to the arsenal. The main driver is fairly straight forward: I’ve long been keen to move to a two camera system (I’m keeping the D810). The reasons for this are twofold.
Firstly, it’ll provide much greater flexibility in certain circumstances. Such situations include being able to take both short and long exposures in fast-changing light, or to avoid swapping out lenses when hanging out of a helicopter. 🙂
Secondly, a second camera provides a backup / insurance policy of sorts on longer missions. Having been in situations where my only camera has failed part way through a photography trip (apparently they don’t like being submerged in lakes), the photography part of a trip becomes a little difficult to achieve without a camera.
The D850 also presented the opportunity to upgrade to the latest and greatest tech available. Without being exhaustive, and without having yet tried some of these features extensively, here are some of the key advancements over the D810 that attracted me to the D850 (in no particular order):
- 25% bump in sensor resolution. The D810 admittedly already had a whole lot of pixels, but the D850’s 45.7 megapixels means even more detailed prints as well as greater flexibility for cropping in post-processing. The back-side illuminated sensor should also also make for better image quality at equivalent ISOs.
- Improved low light autofocus. The D850’s ability to autofocus in low light has been vastly improved, which is going to extend the time I can spend with AF before switching to manual.
- Focus peaking. An extra layer of visual information to show what’s in sharp focus while in live view is going to come in handy.
- Focus bracketing. Letting the camera take care of the multiple shots required to get a ridiculously large depth of field is something I don’t see myself using all the time, but is going make shooting some situations (e.g. lots of foreground detail close to camera) a lot easier.
- Tilting touch screen. I have old man’s knees so this screen is going to be great for the low shooting I often do; hopefully my time squatting in the mud has come to an end! The touch features are a nice, erm, touch (sorry), although not super essential for me.
- Wireless connectivity. Remotely controlling the camera via my smartphone and the Snapbridge app will be great for long exposures and situations where I don’t want to be directly behind the camera (seeing live view via the phone will also further assist squatting avoidance!). Plus the ability to geotag images (via the smartphone’s location services) and download pics to the phone will be awesome.
- 50% increase in battery life. Approx 1,800 shots per charge.
- Stating the obvious. I can use all my existing Nikkor lenses and other accessories across both cameras.
(The D850 also has some big improvements to shooting speed (frames per second) and video over the D810, but as a landscape photographer those features weren’t big draw cards for me.)
All the above being said, the D810 is still a beast of a camera and I have no doubt will still get plenty of use going forward.