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Top 10 sample galleries of the year #8: Nikon D7500

17 Nov

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We’re counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. At the #8 spot we have the Nikon D7500, which launched in the spring of this year.

This enthusiast DSLR is very well suited for all forms of still photography – read how it won one of our editors over – thanks to excellent subject tracking, a fast burst rate, deep buffer, good image quality, and solid ergonomics. It sits right below the APS-C flagship Nikon D500 (read how the two stack up) and borrows a few key components from it and the Nikon D5.

We gave it a silver award in our review – it also scored a bit higher than its closest Canon competitor, the EOS 80D (read how the two compare). So take a peek around our gallery and see why we think this camera rocks.


Top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017:

#10: Sigma 14mm F1.8 Art
#9: Fujifilm GFX 50S
#8: Nikon D7500
#7: To be revealed on 11/18
#6: To be revealed on 11/19
#5: To be revealed on 11/20
#4: To be revealed on 11/21
#3: To be revealed on 11/22
#2: To be revealed on 11/23
#1: To be revealed on 11/24

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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This Kickstarter wants to revive the Ihagee Elbaflex film camera in Nikon F-mount

16 Nov

Despite the gigantic volume of second hand film bodies in existence there remains, it seems, a demand for new 35mm SLRs with a retro feel. The latest is what the manufacturer is calling a remake of the Ihagee Elbaflex, which was the name for Exakta cameras sold in West Germany during the late sixties and early seventies. This remake, however, comes with a Nikon F mount.

The new model will have a fully mechanical shutter with speeds of 1/2sec to 1/500sec + B, and a single stroke wind-on crank. It will be fitted with a PC socket for flash, a hotshoe, and a flash sync speed of 1/60sec. The use of the Nikon mount obviously allows it to use old and modern lenses, though there’s no mention of the extent of the aperture coupling.

The camera doesn’t need batteries to operate as it has no built-in meter (the company says users can use an app on their phone instead), but there is an ISO dial around the rewind crank just in case.

The new camera is said to be the result of a collaboration between German and Ukrainian engineers, and the camera will be built in the Arsenal factory that made the Kiev cameras. The use of the Nikon lens mount is perhaps an echo of the Kiev 17 35mm film camera that also used the Nikon mount.

It’s hard to be certain what the new camera is actually based on as it uses a wooden grip and modern looking buttons and dials. The new manufacturers suggest it is an Exakta Varex llb, but it has none of the distinctive body styling, antique knobs or interchangeable pentaprism/wasitlevel finder—and the Varex llb was out of production by before the name change occurred in 1969.

The Elbaflex name was introduced to get around lawsuits by the original Ihagee owner to force the East German Ihagee East (as the company became known after the war) to pay him royalties for use of his brand. The use of the name Elbaflex is once again being used to avoid conflict with the current owners of the Exakta brand name.

The manufacturer expects the body to retail for $ 1500 when it ships in August 2018, but early backers can get it for $ 530. You can get the camera in a choice of four colors, and there’s also a special deal that includes the Meyer Optik Trioplan 50mm or the Lydith 30mm.

For more information, visit the Ihagee Kickstarter campaign page.

Press Release

Kickstarter Launches for the Rebirth of the Ihagee Elbaflex 35mm Analog Camera

New Analog Camera Has a Nikon F Mount

(Dresden, Germany) The famous Ihagee camera brand is making a comeback, launching a Kickstarter campaign today for its first offering, the Elbaflex, a 35mm analog camera with a Nikon F mount, stylish wooden grip and a full two-year guarantee.

The Elbaflex has a simple, yet beautiful design that is aimed at the photography purist. Its designers say the fully-manual camera is intended to make a statement that the art of photography is about taking your time and making each frame meaningful.

Early Kickstarter backers can get the Elbaflex for pledges that start at $ 529, as well as bundles that will include either the Trioplan 50mm or Lydith 30mm, both of which are fully-manually and made by German lens manufacturer Meyer Optik.

The camera is expected to be shipped to Kickstarter backers in August 2018, though the first 100 cameras are expected to ship to early Kickstarter backers by July 2018. The Elbaflex, which will be handmade, is expected to have a retail price of $ 1,500 and be on the market in the fourth quarter of 2018.

The company takes its name from the German camera pioneer that in 1936 produced the famous Kine-Exakta, a camera which eventually became known as the Elbaflex in the 1970s.

The new Ihagee Elbaflex is a collaboration between a team of German and Ukrainian engineers. The German side includes former engineers and technicians who have many years of experience in the production of analog and digital cameras, as well as lenses, for Leica and Schneider Kreuznach. They will provide the engineering and design leadership, while the Ukrainian side, which includes former members of the famous Arsenal factory in Kiev, will oversee production.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Ten Nikon D5 DSLRs will arrive at the International Space Station tomorrow

14 Nov

Back in August, NASA’s love affair with Nikon cameras made the news when the space agency ordered 53 unmodified Nikon D5 DSLRs that it would use on the International Space Station and for ‘training purposes’ here on Earth. Ten of those D5 cameras are scheduled to make it to the ISS this week.

Packed aboard the Orbital ATK OA-8 Space Station Cargo Resupply Mission that took off this Sunday at 7:19am Eastern time, and are scheduled to arrive at the ISS tomorrow morning around 4:50am (you can actually watch live coverage of the rendezvous on NASA TV starting at 3:15am).

Nikon tells us that NASA is “reusing Nikon lenses and accessories previously launch with the Nikon D4 and D2Xs cameras,” and are planning to keep the D5 cameras in circulation for 12-18 months. With any luck, the astronauts aboard the space station will use them to capture more images like these:

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NASA’s relationship with Nikon began in 1971, when the Nikon Photomic FTN (a modified Nikon F) went to the moon with the astronauts of Apollo 15. Fast forward to 2008, and NASA ordered its first digital cameras for use in space, a set of six Nikon D2XS DSLRs, followed by an order for 11 Nikon D3S cameras in 2009, 38 Nikon D4 DSLRs in 2013, and another 10 D4s in 2016.

The only question now, I suppose, is when is the Space Agency going to replace its glass? NASA’s latest order of Nikon glass was placed in 2010, when 64 NIKKOR lenses were delivered to the space agency. If astronaut photographers are anything like us Earth-bound folk, that means they’ve been drooling over ‘better’ lenses than they currently have since about… three days after they got those lenses.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Nikon will shut down all sales operations in Brazil at the end of 2017

07 Nov

Just last week, we learned that Nikon was shutting down operations in China, including closing a factory responsible for producing some of the company’s compact cameras and DSLR lenses. But if you thought that was going to be the only closure in the Nikon portfolio this month, think again.

Announced earlier today, Nikon has decided to cease all e-commerce operations in Brazil, where the company ONLY sells its wares via e-commerce. Translation: Nikon will no longer sell cameras, lenses or accessories in the country. Brazilians’ only option will be gray market gear.

The news was announced in a press release that is linked prominently at the top of the Nikon Brazil website. It reads (Google translated and edited for clarity):

As of December 31st, 2017, Nikon do Brasil Ltda. will end the sale of cameras, lenses and photographic accessories in the Brazilian market, currently marketed exclusively through its e-commerce arm, the Nikon Store. The company’s other business segments, including customer service and technical assistance, will continue to operate normally.

The change is part of ‘global scale restructuring’ of the company’s R&D, Sales and Manufacturing, and at least appears to be the first step in pulling out of Brazil entirely. For now, products under warranty and those purchased through the Nikon Brazil Store before December 31st will continue to have access to warranty services and customer service.

Owners of out-of-warranty gear will receive service “where possible” and “based on costs approved by the owners.”

Press Release

Nikon do Brasil Ltda. announces the closure of e-commerce in Brazil

Nikon Corporation is optimizing R & D, Sales and Manufacturing structures in a global scale restructuring.

As part of this process Nikon do Brasil Ltda.—as of December 31st, 2017—will end the sale of cameras, lenses and photographic accessories in the Brazilian market, currently marketed exclusively through its e-commerce arm, the Nikon Store. The company’s other business segments, including customer service and technical assistance, will continue to operate normally.

Products under warranty, including those marketed by Nikon Brazil’s e-commerce through December 31st, 2017, will continue to honor the warranty periods. For out-of-warranty products, where possible, technical assistance will be provided based on costs approved by the owners.

São Paulo, November 6, 2017.

Auster Nascimento
President – Nikon do Brasil

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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Sony a7R III dynamic range improved, nearly matches chart-topping Nikon D850

01 Nov

Sony has claimed 15 EV dynamic range from its newest ILC iteration: the a7R III. Is it true, or is it like Sony’s odd claim that the a7S had 15 EV dynamic range? Turns out: Sony has some strong grounds for its claim here.

The Sony a7R III retains its dynamic range even in bursts. That’s a big deal for a Sony ILC

At the launch event in NYC, we were able to gather enough data to measure the ‘engineering dynamic range’ of the a7R III.* And boy is it impressive. Possibly even more important: for the first time the a7R III retains this dynamic range even in continuous drive. That’s a big deal for sports and action photographers. But how true is Sony’s claim?

The Sony a7R II already had impressive Raw dynamic range, with the ability to expose short enough to keep highlights from blowing, but with low enough sensor noise to lift shadows without too much noise. The a7R III improves on this.

Oh and think this image is too dark? Wait till you view it on a HDR display, which is another can of worms altogether the stills industry should be discussing.

Photo: Rishi Sanyal

Sony has found a way to reduce shadow (or ‘read’) noise in its files such that the final output has higher dynamic range, and cleaner shadows if you need them, than files from its predecessor. To summarize it in a number at base ISO: 13.6 EV at the pixel, or for a 42.4MP file. Or 14.8 EV if you like to compare to DXO numbers (and only generate 8MP images from your 42.4MP camera). Either way, that’s a nearly half-stop improvement over its predecessor. See our table below, which also compares the a7R III to the full-frame chart-topping Nikon D850, ranking based on highest performer:

Pixel Dynamic Range 8MP ‘Print’ Dynamic Range
Nikon D850 (ISO 64) 13.78

15.03

Sony a7R III 13.63

14.84

Nikon D850 (ISO 100)

13.27 14.53
Sony a7R II 13.21 14.41

While the Nikon D850 is the top performer here, its important to note that this is only the case if you can give the D850 the extra ~2/3 EV light it needs at ISO 64 (which you often can if you’re shooting bright light or a landscape photographer on a tripod). At ISO 100, the a7R III dynamic range actually exceeds that of the D850, thanks to incredibly low read noise. That’s impressive for a camera constantly running its sensor in live view.

At ISO 100, the a7R III dynamic range actually exceeds that of the D850… impressive for a camera constantly running in live view

Keep in mind, though, that if you can give the D850 the extra exposure to take advantage of its ISO 64 dynamic range, all tones in your image benefit from the higher signal:noise ratio—even midtones and brighter tones will be more amenable to post-processing and sharpening thanks to being more ‘clean’ and less noisy to begin with. The D850 is able to tolerate as much total light as the medium format Fujifilm GFX 50S, as we showed here. That’s what allows one to get unbelievably crisp, ‘medium format-like’ like files from a Nikon D810 (just zoom in to 100% on that shot and tell me you’re not impressed).

But the Sony a7R III gets you nearly there. While in some circumstances the Nikon D810/D850, or medium format, may afford you slightly cleaner more malleable files, the a7R III takes a significant step at closing the gap. And that’s nothing short of impressive for a mirrorless ILC constantly running its sensor for a live feed (and all its benefits).

As for Sony’s marketing, it sounds like the claim of 15 EV is believable, but only technically if you consider how your images look when shrunk to 8MP files. To be fair, there’s some benefit to comparing dynamic range figures after resizing camera outputs to 8MP, since it’s a common basis for comparison that doesn’t penalize cameras for having higher resolution (and therefore smaller pixels).

In depth vs. a7R II

Let’s take a deeper dive. Here are our ‘engineering’ dynamic range measurements of the a7R III vs. the a7R II. ‘Engineering’ dynamic range means we are measuring the range of tones recorded between clipping and when the shadows reach an unacceptable noise threshold where signal is indistinguishable from noise (or when signal:noise ratio = 1). Have a look (blue: a7R III | red: a7R II):

The a7R III shows a 0.42 EV, or nearly a half a stop, improvement in base ISO dynamic range over the a7R II. That’s not insignificant: it will be visible in the deepest shadows of base ISO shots of high contrast scenes. How did Sony do this given the already low levels of read noise its known for? Possibly by going to better or higher native bit-depth ADCs, something Bill Claff had suggested based on our largely 12-bit findings of the Sony a9’s output. But let’s save that for the PST forums.

Suffice it to say the a7R III improves on low ISO dynamic range, without sacrificing anything on the high end

It’s worth noting our a7R II figures are higher than DXO’s published 12.69 EV (13.9 EV ‘Print’) figures, possibly because they tested an older unit prior to uncompressed Raw and improvements to Sony’s compression curve. We retested it literally today with the latest firmware, and get figures of 13.2 EV or 14.4 EV normalized for ‘Print’ (Bill measures 13.3 EV, which you can see by clicking the camera name in the legend). See our 8MP, or ‘Print’ normalized, dynamic range figures below. These are more comparable to what DXO might report, for the benefit of your own comparative efforts (blue: a7R III | red: a7R II):

You can see the Sony a7R III encroaching on the ~15 EV rating of the Nikon D850 at ISO 64, but achieved at ISO 100 on the Sony, thanks to lower read noise. Impressive, though keep in mind again that the overall image quality improvement of an ISO 64 file from a D850 is due to total captured light (and it’s all about total captured light, which you can read about here).

Independently, our friend Bill Claff has tested the a7R III and also shows a similar 0.3 EV improvement over the Mark II (you can see the dynamic range numbers by clicking on the relevant camera in the legend at the upper right). He also shows the slight advantage of the Nikon D850 over the a7R III, which comes in at 13.7 EV vs. the a7R III’s 13.6 EV at the pixel level.**

Sony: a job well done. And all this at no cost to high ISO performance (we have comparisons coming showing parity between high ISO a7R III and a9 performance). Now please offer us visually lossless compressed Raw so we don’t have to deal with >80MB files for no reason. 🙂

ISO-Invariance

A camera with such great dynamic range performance suggests it’s probably fairly ISO-invariant, but is it?

Well, yes and no. It’s ISO-invariant in exactly the way it should be, but not so in the ways it shouldn’t be. Confused? Read on.

The a7R III, like many Sony predecessors, has a second gain step at the pixel level that amplifies signal, at the cost of higher tones, to preserve higher signal, and less noise, in dark tones. But it does so at a higher ISO—640 to be exact. At this point, the camera has amplified its signal in the analog domain so much that any remaining noise barely affects it.

That’s why the camera shows no difference between amplifying that ISO 640-amplified signal digitally (in-post) or in the analog domain in-camera. While we’ll have a more rigorous and controlled ISO-invariance test coming soon, you can see even in our cursory test at the launch event below that comparing ISO 6400 vs ISO 640 shot at the same exposure but raised 3.3 EV in-post to maintain the same brightness as ISO 6400 shows no difference at all in noise performance.

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What’s the advantage to the latter? 3.3 EV of highlights you otherwise lose by amplifying to ISO 6400 levels in-camera, but that you don’t lose if you ask ACR to digitally brighten 3.3 EV in post (anything that gets blown from that 3.3 EV push can easily be recovered in ACR since it’s there in the Raw file).

Below ISO 640 there’s some extra noise to, say, shooting ISO 100 and boosting 6 EV in post as opposed to shooting ISO 640 and boosting 3.3 EV. But there’s simply no excuse to the camera’s traditional ISO 6400 method of shooting ISO 6400-appropriate exposure and then amplifying the analog signal 6 EV in post to get ISO 6400 levels of brightness; instead, 2.7 EV of that push could be done in the analog domain by switching dual gain to ISO 640 levels, but the remaining 3.3 EV push should be saved for Raw conversion in order to retain 3.3 EV (or more) of highlight detail. Indeed, this is easily seen in Bill Claff’s ‘Shadow Improvement’ graphs that show little to no benefit to analog amplification above ISO 640 on even the Sony a7R II (or ISO 400 on the Nikon D850). And only a highlight cost of stops, upon stops, upon stops, since tones get amplified above the clipping point of the ADC at higher ISOs.

I’m going to use this as an opportunity to ask manufacturers like Sony, Nikon and the like: please accept the digital revolution that even your video departments have accepted (in their ‘E.I.’ modes). Please stop throwing away highlight data for almost no shadow benefit to ostensibly stick to poor antiquated ‘film’ analogies, or to work around CCD/CMOS read noise limitations that no longer exist. We’ve been singing this tune since 2014 when we designed our ISO-invariance test, and it’s even more relevant today with dual-gain architectures. ACR understands digital ‘push’ tags and you can brighten the image preview (and JPEG) as necessary. This is not to single out Sony: Nikon, Olympus and Panasonic are just as easy to blame, if not Canon of late after having modernized its sensor architecture to catch up with the rest.


Footnotes:

* Sony’s claim that the a7S had 15 EV dynamic range was patently false, as even the a7R II which has been measured to have less than 15 EV dynamic range performs better. But since there’s no standard for dynamic range measurement, it’s hard to say whether or not anyone’s claim is right or wrong – manufacturers can claim whatever they wish.

** But again, that’s not the whole story until you consider the higher signal:noise ratio of all tones at ISO 64 on a D850 compared to ISO 100 on any other full-frame at ISO 100.

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Nikon shuts down camera factory in China, blames ‘the rise of smartphones’

31 Oct

Earlier today, the Nikon board of directors announced plans to close Nikon Imaging (China) Co., LTD (NIC)—a subsidiary based in Wuxi City, Jiangsu, China, where NIC employed some 2,500 workers at a factory that produced compact digital cameras and DSLR lenses. The closure, says Nikon, is due to “the rise of smartphones” and the “rapidly shrinking” compact camera market.

Nikon’s announcement of the closure lays the blame for this cut squarely on the shoulders of the smartphone revolution.

In recent years […] due to the rise of smartphones, the compact digital camera market has been shrinking rapidly, leading to a significant decrease in operating rate at NIC and creating a difficult business environment. In this context, the Company conducted rounds of thorough reviews and discussions on the global manufacturing structure optimization measures stated in the company-wide restructuring plan announced by the Company in November 2016. The Company has decided to discontinue operations of NIC.

Nikon says expenses related to the closure of the factory and “discontinued operations of the consolidated subsidiary” are expected to reach about 7 Billion Yen (~$ 62 million USD).

Of course, the end of Nikon Imaging (China) doesn’t mean the end of Nikon cameras in China. According to Nikkei, Nikon controls 30% of the digital camera market there, and Nikon itself says it will “continue proactively developing business and services in China.” This move is simply in keeping with a harsh if unsurprising (and “old news”) reality: the smartphone has killed the entry-level compact.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

 
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More Nikon D850 samples images added

22 Oct

Our review process is based both on studio testing and real-world shooting. We make sure every camera goes through the hands of several photographers and is shot in a variety of circumstances, to give a broad representation of how the camera will perform.

All those images and experiences are considered as we draw our conclusions about a camera. So, even if you’ve looked through the D850 gallery before, you may well find there are shots you’ve not seen before. Take a look, and be sure to check out the full review if you haven’t already.

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Godox XPro-N wireless flash trigger for Nikon boasts TTL, HSS and more for just $70

18 Oct

Godox has launched a Nikon version of the XPro-C 2.4GHz wireless flash trigger it announced for Canon last month. The new model—aptly titled the XPro-N—is equipped to control Godox’s X1 system, and is currently listed by online retailers as available for pre-order with shipping planned to start on October 31st.

This Nikon version will be joined by models for Sony, Fujifilm, and MFT throughout the remainder of the year.

As with the Canon version, the new XPro-N model sports a large dot-matrix LCD alongside five physical buttons. The display shows five groups, one group per physical button, as well as data pertaining to each group. The trigger supports HSS (up to 1/8000), TTL, and manual (1/1 – 1/256) control. There’s also support for TTL-Convert-Manual (TCM) functionality, which allows you to meter flashes in TTL, then switching to manual mode with the settings automatically adjusting to keep an equivalent output.

The XPro-N is listed for pre-order at $ 70 on Amazon.

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Nikon D850 Review

16 Oct

Nikon D850 Review

The Nikon D850 is Nikon’s latest high resolution full-frame DSLR, boasting a 46MP backside-illuminated CMOS sensor. But, in a fairly radical departure for the series, it is also one of the company’s fastest-shooting DSLRs. This combination of properties should significantly widen the camera’s appeal to high-end enthusiasts as well as a broad range of professional photographers.

Key Specifications:

  • 45.7MP BSI CMOS sensor
  • 7 fps continuous shooting with AE/AF (9 with battery grip and EN-EL18b battery)
  • 153-point AF system linked to 180,000-pixel metering system
  • UHD 4K video capture at up to 30p from full sensor width
  • 1080 video at up to 120p, recorded as roughly 1/4 or 1/5th speed slow-mo
  • 4:2:2 8-bit UHD uncompressed output while recording to card
  • 1 XQD slot and 1 UHS II-compliant SD slot
  • Battery life rated at 1840 shots
  • 3.2″ tilting touchscreen with 2.36M-dot (1024×768 pixel) LCD
  • Illuminated controls
  • 19.4MP DX crop (or 8.6MP at 30fps for up to 3 sec)
  • SnapBridge full-time Bluetooth LE connection system with Wi-Fi
  • Advanced time-lapse options (including in-camera 4K video creation)

High resolution

The use of a backside illuminated (BSI) sensor means that the light collecting elements of the sensor are closer to the surface of the chip. This should not only increase the efficiency of the sensor (improving low light performance) but should also be expected to make the pixels near the edges of the sensor better able to accept light approaching with high angles of incidence, improving peripheral image quality.

Like the D810 before it, the D850 continues to offer an ISO 64 mode, that allows it to tolerate more light in bright conditions. We will be testing whether this gives the D850 the same dynamic range advantage as the D810, as soon as a production version arrives but our initial quick looks suggests it does, meaning it should be able to compete with the medium format sensors used in the likes of the Fujifilm GFX 50S and Pentax 645Z.

A BSI sensor with ISO 64 setting should be able to match the D810’s low ISO DR while also offering improved performance in at high ISOs.

The D850 has gained a more usable electronic front curtain shutter option (EFCS), which can now be used quiet shutter modes, as well as live view and Mirror-Up mode. To get the full benefit, though, you need to turn on exposure delay (which has had two sub-second delay settings added). However, exposure delay persists across all shooting modes. Thankfully, and presumably thanks to a redesigned shutter and mirror mechanism, our quick check with a pre-production model suggests that mirror/shutter shock may not be much of an issue, even without engaging it EFCS.

The D850 has no anti-aliasing filter, which should allow for slightly finer detail capture but with added risk of moiré, if any of your lenses are sharp enough to out-resolve a 45.7MP full-frame sensor. There’s still no sign of the clever design Nikon patented so, unlike the Pentax K-1 or Sony RX1R II, you can’t engage an anti-aliasing effect if you do find false color appearing in densely patterned areas.

High Speed

In addition to the increased speed, the D850 also gains the full AF capabilities of the company’s flagship sports camera: the D5. This includes all the hardware: AF module, metering sensor and dedicated AF processor, as well as the full range of AF modes and configuration options, which should translate to comparable focus performance combined with high resolution.

Given the D5 possessed one of the best AF systems we’ve ever seen and could continue to offer that performance in a wide range of conditions and shooting scenarios with minimal need for configuration, this is an exciting prospect.

As part of this system, the D850 gains the automated system for setting an AF Fine Tune value. It only calibrates the lens based on the central AF point and for a single distance, but it’s a simple way to ensure you’re getting closer to your lenses’ full capabilities, which is handy given you’ll now be able to scrutinize their performance with 46MP of detail.

Add the optional MB-D18 battery grip and an EN-EL18b battery, and the D850 will shoot at 9 frames per second.

Impressively, the D850 can shoot at nine frames per second if you add the optional MB-D18 battery grip and buy an EN-EL18b battery, as used in the D5. As well as increasing the camera’s burst rate, this combination also ups the battery life to a staggering 5140 shots per charge. You don’t get this same boost in speed or endurance if you use a second EN-EL15a in the grip, though.

An MB-D18 plus an EN-EL18b is likely to set you back over $ 580 over and above the cost of the camera body ($ 399 for the grip, around $ 149 for the battery, $ 30 for the BL-6 battery chamber cover plus the cost of a charger).

The D850 also includes a sufficiently deep buffer to allow fifty-one 14-bit losslessly compressed Raw files, meaning the majority of photographers are unlikely to hit its limits.

Video capabilities

In terms of video the D850 becomes the first Nikon DSLR to capture 4K video from the full width of its sensor. The camera can shoot at 30, 25 or 24p, at a bitrate of around 144 Mbps. It can simultaneously output uncompressed 4:2:2 8-bit UHD to an external recorder while recording to the card. Our initial impression is that the video is pixel-binned, rather than being resolved then downsampled (oversampling), but we’ll be checking on this as part of the review process. This risks lowering the level of detail capture and increases the risk of moiré, though it’s a better solution than line-skipping. There also seemed to be a fair amount of rolling shutter, but again these are only first impressions from a camera running non-final firmware.

At 1080 resolution, the camera can shoot at up to 60p, with a slow-mo mode that can capture at 120 frames per second before outputting at either 25 or 24p. The 1080 mode also offers focus peaking and digital stabilization, neither of which are available for 4K shooting.

The D850’s tilting rear screen will make video shooting easier, though we doubt many will use its contrast-detection tap-to-focus system when they do.

The D850 doesn’t have any Log gamma options for high-end videographers, but it does have the ‘Flat’ Picture Profile to squeeze a little extra dynamic range into its footage, without adding too much to the complexity of grading. It also offers full Auto ISO with exposure compensation when shooting in manual exposure mode, meaning you can set your aperture value and shutter speed, and let the camera try to maintain that brightness by varying the sensitivity.

As you’d expect from a camera at this level, the D850 also includes the Power Aperture feature that allows the camera to open and close the lens iris smoothly when in live view mode. There’s also an ‘Attenuator’ mode for the camera’s audio capture, that rolls-off any loud noises to avoid unpleasant clipping sounds.

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Nikon D850 in-depth autofocus test

13 Oct

We’ve spent some serious time assessing the autofocus system on the D850; from portraits to bicyclists, we’ve found out just how precise this camera’s focus is, and how well its subject tracking will keep up. Check it out for yourself in our updated First Impressions review.

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