These Nikon D850 Alternatives are Great Cameras and Cost Much Less Too
- 45.7-megapixel BSI CMOS FX sensor
- Expeed 5 image processor
- 153-point autofocus system
- ISO range 64-25,600 (expandable to 102,400)
- 7fps burst shooting speed (9fps with optional battery grip)
- 4K video at 30fps and 1080p video at 120fps
- 36.3-megapixel CMOS FX sensor
- Expeed 4 image processor
- 51-point autofocus system
- ISO range 64-12,800
- 5fps burst shooting speed (7fps with optional battery grip)
- 1080p video at 24p, 30p, and 60p
- 42.2-megapixel CMOS full frame sensor
- Bionz X image processor
- 399-point autofocus system
- ISO range 50-102,500
- 5fps burst shooting speed
- 4K video at 30fps
- 36.3-megapixel CMOS full frame sensor
- Expeed 3 image processor
- 51-point autofocus system
- ISO range 100-6400 (expandable to 25,600)
- 4fps burst shooting speed (8fps in DX mode)
- 1080p video at 24p, 25p, or 30p
I think the Nikon D850 is one of the best cameras on the market today.
In fact, I think it's one of the best DSLRs ever made. I'm not alone in that thinking, either.
I've written several articles on the D850 specs (which you can see here and here) in which I heap praise on its sensor, build quality, image quality, and other features.
But there's a problem - it's expensive. Like really expensive. As of this writing, the D850 price is around $3,300 for the body. Yikes.
So, if you're in the market for a Nikon D850 but you don't have the budget to buy one, consider these capable alternatives.
Nikon D850 Specs
For detailed discussions about the D850, check the links I provided in the introduction.
For the sake of comparing the D850 to less expensive alternatives, here's a few key specs to note:
The Nikon D850's closest relative is the Nikon D810, its predecessor in Nikon's FX camera lineup.
Released in 2014, the D810 is just four years old, so it's not like it's an ancient camera by any means.
I have the pleasure of owning both a D810 and a D850, and I can tell you that if something happened to my D850, I wouldn't hesitate to shoot with my D810. It's still a really good camera.
Specs-wise, the D810 has the following to offer:
Clearly, the biggest differences between the D850 and D810 are in the autofocus system, ISO performance, and video.
But the D810 more than holds its own with an incredible sensor with excellent resolution, a very capable 51-point autofocus system, and burst shooting speed that still rivals much newer cameras.
In other words, this is an excellent choice for Nikon shooters that want a full frame camera with professional-level capabilities but without paying the huge price tag of a D850.
In fact, at the time of this writing, you can get a pre-owned D810 in excellent condition for well under $1,800.
Sony a7R II
In terms of performance and features, the Sony a7R II is actually a little closer to the Nikon D850 than the Nikon D810.
That's due in part to the fact that the a7R II is a year newer than the D810, and as such, has more modern features. This includes:
As you can see, the Sony has nearly the same megapixel count at the D850 and also offers 4K video like the D850.
It has a more advanced autofocus system, too, with nearly 400 AF points to help you get clear, crisp, focused images.
Of course, since it's a Sony, the battery life is not what you get with either Nikon model described earlier.
However, if you can get around the poor battery life, the a7II is a top-notch camera, and with pre-owned models running under $1,900 at the time of writing, they're a good buy, too.
An even less expensive alternative to the Nikon D850 is the Nikon D800.
Released in 2012, the D800 is two versions older than the D850, so it has the top-flight lineage that the Nikon 800-series is known for.
At the time, it was as groundbreaking of a camera as the D850 is today, so even though it's getting on in years, the D800 is still a great rig.
The specs include:
Naturally, the D800 shows its age in some categories, namely in the image processor, ISO capability, and video performance.
However, it has an excellent sensor with a high megapixel count, the same 51-point AF system that's in the D810, and respectable burst shooting speed.
But at this point, the best feature of the D800 is its price, which at the time of writing is under $1,200, and in some cases, under $1,000.
That's a spectacular price for a full frame camera that was once the top-of-the-line model.
You really can't go wrong with any of these Nikon D850 alternatives. It just comes down to your budget and whether you want to stick with the Nikon lineup or opt for the Sony.