Sensor resolves exceptionally fine detail
Super-fast autofocus and silent shooting in Live View
Inherits AF toggle from D500 for fast AF point positioning
Impressive battery life with EN-EL15a battery
Lacks on-chip phase detection AF in Live View
Touchscreen doesn’t allow users to adjust key exposure settings
SnapBridge connectivity requires improvement
By far the most recent model in this roundup, the Nikon D850 is a high-end full-frame DSLR designed for professional photographers. It combines high-resolution, speedy performance and impressive low-light performance in a robust, weather-sealed body.
The D850 succeeds the 36.3-megapixel D810 released in 2014, bringing numerous improvements to what was already an excellent DSLR in it own right. In terms of hardware, the highlight is the 45.7-megapixel sensor, which brings the D850 into line with direct competitors such as the Canon 5DS (50.6 megapixels) and Sony A7R II (42 megapixels).
For those who either don’t require the D850’s full 45.7 megapixels for a particular shot or just want to save memory card space, there’s also the option to shoot at either 25.6 megapixels or 11.4 megapixels.
The D850’s new high-resolution sensor is paired with a powerful EXPEED 5 processor, as used by both the D500 and flagship D5 models. This combination gives the D850 plenty of processing power, and ensures noise is kept to a minimum when using higher sensitivity settings. Continuous shooting maxes out at 7fps, although connecting the D850’s optional MB-D18 battery grip (£369) and EN-EL18b (£179) battery increases this to 9fps.
The D850’s 153-point Multi-CAM 20K autofocus system has also been lifted directly from the D500 and D5. It’s a proven AF module that’s both fast and accurate, thanks in part to the inclusion of 99 cross-type AF points.
The central AF point is sensitive down to -4EV, which should ensure accurate focus, even when light is in short supply. Elsewhere, the D850 also becomes the first Nikon DSLR to support 4K video capture at up to 30fps, with separate microphone and headphone inputs located on the side of the camera.
Construction is – as you’d expect of a £3500 pro-spec DSLR – pretty much bombproof, with the D850 securely housed inside a weather-sealed magnesium alloy body. Buttons and controls are plentiful, as are customisation options. The back of the camera is fitted with a 3.2-inch, 2.36m-dot tiltable touchscreen, and above this the 100% viewfinder is described by Nikon as the largest the company has ever made.