Located right next to Australia, New Zealand is teeming with picturesque landscapes just waiting to be photographed. Be it spectacular sunsets or majestic shots of the milky way, this island nation has it all. For most landscape photographers, a high-resolution camera such as the D850 is always welcome as it can help them capture the scene in even greater detail. Read on as we pit the Nikon D850 against the postcard-worthy backdrops of New Zealand. (Report by Jon Chiang)
D850/ AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED/ FL: 14mm/ Manual exposure (f/2.8, 30 sec)/ ISO 3200/ WB: Manual
Using the impressively wide AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED lens, I could capture the famous Church of the Good Shepherd against the awe-inspiring backdrop of the night sky lit up with the Milky Way Galaxy. The D850’s excellent high-ISO performance made it possible to capture clean low-light images, while the class-leading autofocus can focus in environments as dark as -4 EV, which is remarkable considering that this is part of the International Dark Sky Reserve.
D850/ AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED/ FL: 14mm/ Manual exposure (f/8, 1/40 sec)/ ISO 64/ WB: Manual
With the Nikon D850’s tilting screen, I could easily compose this scene from atop a tall tripod using Live View and get the wooden walkway to lead into the scene without it taking too much space in the foreground. The combination of these features made framing landscape scenes a breeze, and the Touch Shutter was pivotal in preventing camera shake that could otherwise be caused by depressing the shutter button.
D850/ AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED / FL: 24mm/ Manual exposure (f/5.6, 30 sec)/ ISO 64/ WB: Manual
For this image, I used the AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED lens and angled the camera upwards to capture more sky and fast-moving clouds. The Nikon D850's base ISO of 64 allows the camera to capture an extra 2/3 stops of light as compared to the usual ISO 100 of other cameras. This extra amount of light gathering capability grants the camera a very wide dynamic range and clean image output at the base ISO, which is critical for fine art and landscape photography.
D850/ AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED / FL: 70mm/ Manual exposure (f/8, 1/160 sec)/ ISO 100/ WB: Manual
Evening in New Zealand is an ideal time to photograph landscapes, as golden light from the setting sun gives contrast and texture to the landscape. I used the AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED lens to frame the shed, mountains and flowers to give a layered effect to the landscape. The high resolution of the D850 enabled me to capture even the finest details in the frame, such as the individual petals on the flowers in the foreground, in high definition.
Viewing the postcard-like landscapes of New Zealand is a truly breathtaking experience. In order to reproduce this splendor accurately in photograph, one would need a high resolution camera to capture all the minute details in the scene. This is where the Nikon D850 really shines, since every bit of extra resolution and dynamic range counts towards reproducing the sublime beauty of the natural world. The D850 truly delivers in that aspect, with raw files that are rich in both tonal information and detail, allowing me to capture the subtle shades of light within a scene.
The D850’s generously deep rubber handgrip made it more comfortable to hold the camera for long periods of time. The tilting touchscreen LCD screen and the expanded dynamic range at the base ISO of 64 allowed me to be more flexible in my compositions . With the tilting LCD screen, I could easily compose scenes where it was inconvenient to use the viewfinder, and the improved dynamic range allowed me to capture images rich in lifelike tonality.
The ability to focus down to -4 EV in very dark scenes is also greatly appreciated among landscape photographers such as myself, and is especially helpful in astrophotography. This allowed me to obtain focus accurately in nearly complete darkness without having to resort to manual focus. In addition, the illuminated back buttons made navigating the camera’s menus and reviewing images in the dark a convenient affair.
The D850 is indeed a no-compromise camera that truly delivers impeccable image quality that professionals around the world demand. With my D850, I am always assured of capturing the full range of tonality in a scene.
Jon is an award-winning, Singapore-based landscape and architectural photographer who has been documenting his pet genres for the past ten years. He was the overall winner for the 2016 Singapore Young Photographer Award. His works have been published on various print and online platforms, both locally and abroad. He also writes reviews on photography products on local photography community forums.