photo by AdrianHancu via iStock
In this article, we will compare two giants among DSLR full frame cameras: the Nikon D810 and Nikon D850.
Both models are very popular among photographers, as they have shown to be a great companion and worthy money-making equipment.
The D810 was already established as one of the best semi-pro cameras at the time of the release of its successor, the D850. Many users fell in love with the D810 and almost five years later, they are still not willing to replace it with any other camera.
The D850 was released in 2017, as the successor to the D810. It comes with many improvements over the older camera but at a higher price. While you can buy the D810’s body for just under $2,800.00, you will need to spend $3,300.00 for the Nikon D850.
In this comparison article, we see if the D850 is a worthy replacement of its older sibling or if it is better for you to save $500 and opt for the D810.
Nikon D850 vs Nikon D810 Body Comparison
If you put the Nikon D850 and D810 beside one another, you will hardly notice any difference in their design. They are both weather-sealed and mostly built of magnesium-alloy which makes them capable of enduring harsh weather conditions and gives them a longer lifespan.
Both cameras weigh around 2 pounds without a lens or accessories attaches, and although the D850 is a bit heavier, it will be hard to notice this difference in reality.
Generally speaking, both models are professionally built and they feel good in hand because of the deep grip and intelligent ergonomics.
Although there are few minor differences in button positions, if you are already familiar with the D810, you will get accustomed to the D850 in no time.
The main physical difference between the D810 and D850 is that the newer camera lacks a pop-up flash which was a nice feature enjoyed by users of the D810.
On the other hand, the D850 incorporates a tilting LCD display instead of the flat screen that could be found on the older model. The new display in the D850 also adds touchscreen technology and offers a higher resolution as well.
Get a detailed hands-on review of this camera in the video above by Park Cameras.
Nikon D850 vs Nikon D810 Features
Although they closely resemble each other, the D850 is a worthy upgrade to the Nikon D810 as it adds a lot of new features while improving the old ones.
To start with, the D850 offers a 45.7MP full frame sensor which is an impressive upgrade over the already astonishing 36.3MP sensor that is in the core of the D810.
Additionally, there are huge differences in video recording capabilities between these two models. If you are more into making movies than into taking stills, you will definitely need to stick to the D850.
The Nikon D850 offers 4K UHD (3840 x 2160p) video recording at frame rates up to 30fps and full HD footage at up to 120 fps. If you compare it with the D810’s capability to capture Full HD footage at up to 60p, you will understand why it can’t compete with video features offered in the D850.
Decide which camera better suits your needs by watching the video above by Finding Middle Earth.
The cameras also differ in terms of speed.
The Nikon D810 offers 5fps continuous shooting. This is an average speed, but the D850 improves it even more, as it offers 7fps continuous speed and up to 9fps with an optional battery grip.
Along with speed, the D850 also carries improvements in autofocus technology.
While there is a 51-point AF system with 15 cross-type points in the D810, there is now a 153-point AF system with 93 cross-type points in the Nikon D850.
Additionally, the D850 works better while focusing subjects in low-light conditions, as it can focus down to -4EV, in comparison to the D810 that can focus as low as -2EV.
Nikon D850 vs Nikon D810 ISO Comparison
At the time of its release, the D810 was one of the best DSLR models on the market because of its 36.3MP full-frame sensor with no low-pass filter.
Five years later, it is still a major player and there are only a few new cameras that offer a bigger resolution for the same amount of money as you would need to spend on the D810.
Although it provides superb image quality, the D810 hardly competes with its successor that offers a stunning 45.7MP back-illuminated, full-frame sensor.
The back-illuminated (BI) sensor technology in the D850 improves its low-light performance, while a larger amount of megapixels allow you to preserve more details if you decide to crop your images or make huge prints.
The D850 also tops out its predecessor in terms of offering a better ISO range.
The Nikon D850 has a native ISO range from 64 to 25,600 (expandable to 32-102,400) in comparison to the D810 that offers a native ISO range from 64 to 12,800 (expandable to 32-51,200).
For another hands-on look at these cameras, check out the video above by Matt Granger.
Nikon D850 vs Nikon D810 Long Exposure Photography
Before you ditch your D810 because of higher ISO capabilities and bigger amount of megapixels in its successor, bear in mind there are no substantial differences in image quality produced by these two cameras.
While the D850 offers a better ISO range and higher image quality at high ISO, both cameras produce noise on high ISO settings so you will want to stick to the lower levels.
At the low end of ISO, both cameras produce similar results and it will be hard for you to find any differences in quality between images.
To get a better understanding of what we are talking about, you can watch the video below by Attilio Ruffo, where he tests long exposure photography on both camera models.
Nikon D850 vs Nikon D810 Lenses
If you own a Nikon D810, it is a good thing that you can use your old lenses if you decide to switch to the D850.
Both cameras have the same Nikon F lens mount, and this gives you a possibility to choose among 400 different NIKKOR products.
The type of lenses you decide to attach to your camera should match your photography style.
One of the best options to choose from is definitely the Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens because of its mix of versatility with affordable price ($946.95).
The Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR is a bit more pricey ($2396.95), but aimed to produce great results in any situation.
Nikon D850 vs Nikon D810 Comparison
At the end of the day, the choice between these cameras is quite close.
In terms of performance, the D850 has some chits in its favor, but the D810 is certainly no slouch.
If you're into shooting video, the D850 is a better choice, but if you're on a tighter budget, the D810 is the better option.
Either way, both of these full frame cameras offer tons of features and versatility and will be a rock-solid camera for you.