The D850 has surprised photographers around the world with its high level of basic performance. In this part of the series, I will focus on three aspects that contribute to the amazing shooting performance – high resolving power, high-speed continuous shooting and Silent Live View Photography. In the following, let us look at its capabilities through actual shots. (Text by Toshiya Hagihara)
D850/ AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR/ FL: 26mm/ Aperture-priority Auto (f/11, 1/4sec, EV +0.3)/ ISO 100/ WB: Direct sunlight
Compared to the 36.3-megapixel D810, the D850 boasts a resolution of 45.7-megapixels. Although the pixel count of the D810 is considered sufficient, the specs offered by the D850 are even more outstanding. If we check the enlarged portions A and B of two actual shots captured by both the D850 and D810, we can tell that the images produced by the D850 delivers a more delicate degree of apparent resolution than those by the D810 judging from the fine texture of the tree trunk and the details of every single leaf.
Not only so, the distinct edges of the subject add dimensionality and depth to the image, while a wide dynamic range is conveyed by the rich gradation from shadows to highlights. These user benefits are made possible because of Nikon’s newly-introduced backside illumination (BSI) CMOS sensor.
D850/ AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR/ FL: 70mm/ Manual exposure (f/8, 1/1250sec)/ ISO 450/ WB: Direct sunlight
Besides boasting a high resolution of 45.7-megapixels, which is comparable to medium-format digital cameras, the body of the D850 alone also offers a high continuous shooting speed of up to approximately 7 fps. By leveraging the high-speed continuous shooting performance and high pixel count, it is possible to capture moving objects such as wild birds, animals and trains as the photographic subject with an expansive landscape in the background.
The Continuous-servo AF (AF-C) feature excels at tracking moving subjects by making use of 153 focus points to accurately track subjects moving at a fast speed.
A bullet train that shot past me at a furious speed. This scene is ideal for demonstrating what a continuous shooting speed of about 7 fps is capable of. Besides a high resolution of 45.7-megapixels, the D850 also delivers an amazingly high level of continuous shooting performance.
By combining the use of the MB-D18 Multi-Power Battery pack, the D850 is able to deliver a maximum continuous shooting speed of approximately 9 fps. To do so, the EN-EL18b battery and BL-5 battery-chamber cover need to be used at the same time.
For D850 users who are mainly into photographing moving subjects such as wild birds, trains and athletes, this is a highly recommended accessory item.
D850/ AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR/ FL: 400mm/ Aperture-priority Auto (f/8, 1/30sec, EV -0.3)/ ISO 100/ WB: Natural Light Auto
Silent Live View Photography, as the name suggests, is a silent shooting mode that does not produce shutter sound. With two selectable modes – Mode 1 and Mode 2, this feature is available during live view shooting, which captures images with the electronic shutter while the mirror is flipped up and shutter curtains are open. No sound is generated during silent shooting since the mirror and shutter curtains are not moving. This feature can be used when you need to photograph quietly, such as during a wedding ceremony or stage performance.
In landscape photography, what user benefits does this silent shooting feature offer? As mentioned earlier, since there is no movement of the shooting mechanism, no vibration is produced due to movement of the mirror or shutter curtains. This allows for the effective prevention of mechanical vibrations that are generated in scenes where you are photographing at a slow shutter speed with a super-telephoto lens. Also, it is extremely useful for photographing scenes whereby you are forced to put a tripod in an unstable position, something that is commonly encountered by landscape photographers. Users are strongly recommended to make frequent use of this feature.
Mode 1 allows for RAW shooting in the FX format. The ISO speed can be set to a value between Lo 1 and ISO 25600. Make good use of this mode to prevent mechanical vibrations effectively.
Mode 2 allows for high-speed continuous shooting up to approximately 30 fps. The angle of view will be limited to that of the DX format in this mode. It is suited for subjects that can only be captured with an ultra-high shooting speed, such as sports activities or birds flapping their wings.