“The Nikon D850 represents the first digital camera in 10 years that finally has me switching from Leica back to Nikon. Without hesitation.”
—Peter | Prosophos
Nikon has certainly been on a successful roll over the past 18 months. They got it right with the APS-C (crop) sensor D500 (a camera that just works) and the 105mm f/1.4 and 28mm f/1.4 lenses.
And now they’ve done it again with the D850.
That’s all you need to know… but I feel compelled to say more.
As many of you are aware, I’ve been a Leica rangefinder photographer for the last 10 years, shooting with both Leica M8 and M9 bodies. During this time, I’ve made several attempts to go back to DSLRs, for many reasons including Leica‘s tenuous grasp of modern electronics, corroding CCD sensors, SD card incompatibilities, drifting rangefinder focus, loosening strap lugs, unique Tomato Face™ sensor technology, overheating cameras, disengaging ISO dials, etc., etc., etc. Need I say more? However, DSLRs have always come up short with respect to image quality and even autofocus (for f/1.4 lenses anyway — I’m looking at you D810… which is a camera that arguably has comparable image quality, but what is the point when at f/1.4 imprecise focusing often creates blurry images?). Moreover, I prefer photographing with rangefinders so they are always at an advantage for my attention over their DSLR brethren. However…
The Nikon D850 represents the first digital camera in 10 years that finally has me switching from Leica back to Nikon. Without hesitation.
Paired with one of the newer Nikon prime lenses, the D850 image quality is the best I’ve seen in the 35mm digital format, and I’m saying this even though so far I’ve been limited to working with JPGs. I can’t wait to coax more out of the RAW files once Lightroom is updated to handle them.
And like its little brother the D500, the D850 gets every detail right: a beautiful viewfinder, accurate autofocus, superior build quality (it is seriously impressive), a just-right grip, illuminated buttons, true-to-life colours out of the sensor, accurate white balance, etc. (I can go on and on.) More importantly, it blends all of these attributes together in a seamless manner and just gets out of the way when photographing and this is what matters most to me.
At this point, I know I will be criticized for my outright gushing over the D850. But keep in mind that I buy my own gear and do not receive compensation from any of the camera manufacturers, so my opinion is mine alone.
As is always the case, your needs/wants will likely differ from mine. For my own use, however, the D850 will be my full frame digital camera of choice for the foreseeable future.