Nikon’s D850 Selling Well But, Is It a Worthy Upgrade?

It’s great to read that Nikon’s newest high-end DSLR, the D850, is apparently selling quite well. Last year and in 2016, I kept reading the opposite – that the DSLR market was in trouble. Apparently, like most markets, it just needed some innovation. But, how innovative is the D850?

As a long-time D810 user (I love this camera), like most other photographers, I waited with great anticipation at what Canon and Nikon were going to announce in new DSLRs. As a previous Canon user, I hoped they would fix the “muddy” shadows that I personally found displeasing. I didn’t see that happen. So, I next waited to see what Nikon would bring about. Would it be compelling enough to upgrade from the D810?

On paper comparing the two, the D850 has a lot more to offer. In terms of specifications, the one compelling point of upgrade for me is the built-in Wi-Fi for tethering purposes. Eventually, this may lead me to upgrade to it. For now, I’ve decided there is nothing else to convince me otherwise. This is because in the end, it’s about how good the photos look and the D810 still holds its own to any DSLR, new or old.

I compared and compared again RAW images online for the D850 with RAW images I produced with my D810. Not once did I come across an image from Nikon’s newest DSLR that stood out as superior to what the D810 can do. In some cases, I even preferred the D810. I even fought the potential that I’m just being biased toward my D810. Perhaps. So, I waited days and weeks to compare images again, trying to ensure I wasn’t being biased. It occurred to me I’m not that type of person to begin with. I’ve always been an early-adopted for technology that really innovates. The comparisons I was making in the images were real to me.

It’s not that the D850 isn’t a beast. As I said, I could barely notice differences in image quality between the D850 and D810 (on pristine 32” and 27” full 4K monitors). It’s just that the D810 is that much of a beast for image quality.

I suspect as other ancillary products and technologies come about, I’ll be forced to upgrade to the D850 as its feature set will become more compelling. But, we may be on the D900 or later by that time. I’m so happy with my D810. I am also glad for the D850’s success and capabilities. And for that, I must congratulate Nikon on the innovation.

Another reason that would compel me to upgrade is clean high ISO. Right now, in my opinion, any shot needing to exceed ISO 800 is non-commercial grade – on any DSLR or mirrorless. It’s just too noisy of an image. If any camera maker can combine the greatness of image quality that the D810 or D850 can do and keep that quality through ISO 1600, now that’s reason for an upgrade too.

Like with the D850, I’ll be paying attention for that.

Scroll to top