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Optimising Resolution and Speed: Creating the Nikon D850

Think full-frame DSLRs, and high speed and high resolution immediately come to mind.

These two factors are thoroughly considered by photographers when choosing their workhorse camera to purchase, alongside ISO and AF performance. Typically, this choice is also dependant on the photographer’s genre specialisation (e.g. wedding, landscape, sports).

For instance, commercial photographers for landscape, fashion and wedding genres would seek out cameras with high-resolution performance to deliver sharp and ultra-high image quality especially for enlarging print purposes and performing extreme crops.

On the other hand, sports photographers would require fast continuous shooting speed and strong ISO capabilities especially in the high-sensitivity range to capture high-action sports photography.

Oftentimes, these features were present in cameras at the expense of each other. A spectacularly high resolution would be paired with a lower speed simply because its core audience – the landscape, fashion and wedding photographers – would not require high speeds to capture stunning shots, but would prefer a higher resolution; and vice-versa for a lower resolution and higher speed combination.

With this as a backdrop, the D850’s entry into the market is one that has been lauded as a ‘photographer’s dream’ because of its unmatched balance of high resolution and high speed, and a remarkable dynamic range alongside other features.

But, how has Nikon’s continuous innovation over the years with significant improvements made to its professional FX system line-up led to the creation of the D850 – and how has it managed to balance its heritage with the need to ensure its technology is at the forefront of change as seen through the evolution of key models in recent years?

Resolution reigns with the D810

With the commercial photographer who requires high-resolution performance in mind, Nikon launched the D810 in 2014 to much excitement and offered the best image quality in the history of Nikon with its effective pixel count of 36.3MP and standard range of sensitivities from ISO 64 to 12800.

It was also Nikon’s first D-SLR to offer a minimum standard sensitivity of ISO 64 at which superior clarity and image quality with rich tones is achieved – a drop from the industry standard of ISO 100 for cleaner images at a high resolution, with a further extended range of ISO 32.

A new milestone in speed and image quality with the D5

With several milestones in place here, the D5 was launched in 2016 to offer photographers thrilling new levels of speed, low-light performance and image quality. Featuring a new Nikon developed 20.8 megapixel CMOS sensor, Nikon’s latest EXPEED 5 image processor and all new 153-point AF system, the D5 is able to capture images at 12 FPS with full AE and AF ensuring decisive moments are captured in crystal clarity and absolute sharpness. In addition, it offers an unprecedented native ISO range from 100 to 102400, and remarkable image quality in the high-sensitivity range between ISO 3200 and 12800, a range favored by sports photographers

D850's EXPEED 5 image-processing engine

D850's Multi-CAM 20K AF Sensor

D850's backside illumination FX-format CMOS sensor

D850's 180K-pixel RGB sensor

The changing needs of photographers

The needs of photographers have continued to evolve and expand continuously. Photographers are constantly seeking to push their creative boundaries through exploring various photography genres to differentiate their style and identity.

In addition, with the emerging trend of hybrid photography – a mixture of photo, audio and video – photographers are now expected to shoot more than still images, with demand from clients in the wedding and fashion photography genres. Thus, photographers are experimenting with different mediums as well.

With such increasing demands, photographers require a camera that can offer uncompromised and versatile performance to enable them to embrace their creativity and support their work.

Getting the best of both worlds with the D850

Introducing Nikon’s latest D850 FX-format D-SLR, the next frontier in full-frame, high-resolution, high speed DSLR.

The D850 doesn’t simply surpass the incredible image quality of the D810; it pairs it with a new level of versatile, uncompromising performance. With an unmatched balance of 45.7MP high-resolution and high-speed continuous shooting up to 9 FPS (with MB-D18 Multi-Power Battery Pack and EN-EL 18a/EN-EL18b Rechargeable Li-ion Battery), alongside a native ISO 64 to 25600 range and the 153-point AF system used in the flagship D5 – the D850 is well equipped to deliver exceptional image quality and versatility for professionals who capture landscapes, weddings and fashion photography, sports as well as multimedia shooting.

Catering to the growing demographic of hybrid photographers, the D850 is the first Nikon FX-format DSLR camera to feature full-frame 4K ultra high definition (UHD) recording. The high resolution of the D850 also allows for 8K time-lapse movie production even under extremely low light and a RAW batch processing dramatically improves the time-lapse movie production efficiency.

Bringing all these capabilities together and matched with an extensive range of the finest NIKKOR lenses, the D850 truly represents Nikon’s dedication to innovation amidst its heritage and to cater products to its core of professional customers and aspiring pro-photographers.