Nikon D850 Sensor Review: First DSLR to hit 100 points

DxOMark Sensor

Nikon has been something of a trailblazer in super-high-resolution DSLRs, chucking a metaphorical hand grenade into the market in 2012 with the launch of the 36.3Mp Nikon D800. Since then, plenty of others have caught up, with a growing number of super-high-resolution models available, including the Sony A7R series, the Pentax K-1, and the Canon 5DS series.

Launching the fourth-generation D800-series camera, the 45.7Mp D850, Nikon again looks to knock the competition for a loop. It’s the first Nikon DSLR to feature a full-frame backside-illuminated (BSI) sensor, and is the second-highest resolution DSLR available, behind the 50.6Mp Canon 5DS series. BSI sensor technology, in theory, enables the pixels to capture light more efficiently, giving a boost to dynamic range, color, and signal-to-noise performance, particularly at high ISOs. What’s more, omitting an optical low-pass filter on the D850’s sensor (historically used to reduce unwanted moiré effects on high-frequency details) gives the D850 a further boost for sharpness. To be fair, this is less of a big deal, as leaving out the low-pass filter isn’t unusual on high-resolution chips nowadays, since they’re able to capture very fine detail without moiré. But it all adds into the mix: combine the D850’s massive resolution with improved light-gathering capabilities, and we should see some exceptional image quality.

Add to all that the 153-point autofocus system from the flagship Nikon D5, a 3.2in 2.4m-pixel touchscreen LCD, 4K-video, 9fps burst shooting with added battery grip, dual QXD and SD card slots, a weather-sealed magnesium alloy body, as well as an electronic shutter option for silent capture, and the Nikon D850 looks on paper like one hell of a camera.

Key Specifications:

  • 45.7Mp BSI CMOS full-frame FX sensor
  • No optical low-pass filter
  • Expeed 5 image processor
  • Native ISO 64-25,600 (expandable to ISO 32,000-102,400)
  • 153-point multi-cam 20K autofocus
  • 7fps burst shoot (9fps with battery grip)
  • 4K@30fps & 1080p@120fps video

Overall image sensor performance

The Nikon D850’s first full-frame BSI sensor breaks new ground for image quality as the first DSLR sensor to achieve an overall DxOMark score of 100 points.

The D850’s key strengths are its outstanding color (Portrait score) and dynamic range (Landscape score) at base ISO where it again ranks as the number one among all commercially available cameras we’ve tested for these attributes. Offering outstanding dynamic range of 14.8 EV and color depth of 26.4 bit at base ISO, combined with its massive 45.7Mp resolution, the D850 is a mouthwatering prospect for landscape, studio, portrait, as well as high-end editorial or advertising photographers who are  seeking top-notch image quality for large-scale reproduction and display.

Its low-light ISO (Sports score) of ISO 2660 doesn’t quite live up to its other scores, but it’s still a very acceptable result, and taking into account sensor size, resolution, and resulting pixel pitch, the D850 fairs pretty well for ISO performance.    

Image quality compared

At base ISO, the Nikon D850 image quality for color is unrivaled for a DSLR, although the mirrorless Sony A7R II and full frame compact RX1R II comes pretty close. The D850’s color is on par with the best results we’ve seen on medium-format sensors, such as the Phase One IQ180 digital back, and fractionally ahead of the Phase One P65.

Click here to open our interactive DxOMark image sensor ranking tool

Although its low-light ISO performance (Sports score) doesn’t quite live up to its other high rankings, the D850’s score of ISO 2660 is very respectable. Packing such high resolution on a full-frame sensor, the Nikon D850 pixel pitch comes in around 4.35µm. That’s still good, but compared to a whopping 8.4µm on the lower 12.2Mp resolution full-frame Sony A7s, the D850 can’t match the signal-to-noise ratios at high ISOs that sensors with greater pitch offer. That said, with the Sports score based on an analysis of noise on unprocessed RAW files, photographers can be confident of low noise up to around ISO 3200 on the D850, and well beyond that with effective noise reduction in post-production.


Click here to open our interactive DxOMark image sensor ranking tool

In-depth comparisons

For a more detailed examination of sensor performance, our in-depth analysis takes a closer look at the Nikon D850’s scores, compared to the high-resolution full-frame competitors from Canon and Sony, as well from previous Nikon sensors.

Portrait (Color Depth)

Using print results in which the image quality of different resolution sensors are normalized to a 8Mp 8×12” print at 300dpi for fair comparison, there is no discernable difference in color depth between the Nikon D850, the D810, and the D5 as ISO sensitivity is increased. All three sensors display excellent color (over 20 bits) up to ISO 1600, and very good color (over 17 bits) up to ISO 6400.

Viewing images on-screen, the lower-resolution D5 offers an advantage, particularly at mid to high ISO sensitivities, where it offers acceptable color of over 14 bits at 12,800, compared to ISO 6400 on the D850 and the D810, thus giving the D5 a one-stop advantage when viewing images electronically.

Differences in printed color are a little starker among the competitor high-resolution sensors, however. At lower ISOs, the Nikon D850 and Sony A7R II are pretty comparable up to ISO 400 and offer around a one-stop advantage over the Canon 5DS R, with color of 24 bits compared to 22.4 bits for the Canon. As sensitivity is increased, the Nikon D850 dips a little for color in the mid ISO range compared to the Sony, however. So while the 5DS R achieves excellent color of 19.3 bits at ISO 1600, you get the same color on the D850 at ISO 3200 and even better color (20.4 bits) on the Sony at ISO 3200.

Landscape (Dynamic Range)

While the D850 and the D810 offer the same phenomenal dynamic range of 14.8 EV at base ISO, the D850’s BSI sensor helps it pull away a little as sensitivity is increased. This gives it a one-stop advantage at mid ISOs, recording around 11.6 EV at ISO 1600, compared to the same dynamic range on the D810 at ISO 800. The D5 doesn’t come close to competing for dynamic range at low ISOs, but the key strength of Nikon’s flagship DSLR are the mid to high sensitivities. So as sensitivity is increased, dynamic range stays fairly consistent on the D5 from 12.2 EV at ISO 100 to 11.1 EV at ISO 3200. This results in the same dynamic range on the D5 at ISO 3200 as the D850, which is a stop better than the D810.

A further boost for the D5 at higher ISOs means that good dynamic range of around 10 EV is possible up to 12,800 ISO on the D5, compared to 6400 ISO on the D850 and 3200 ISO on the D810. So if you’re looking for the best dynamic range at low ISOs for studio or landscape work, the D850 has the edge, but the D5 gives you more consistent results as sensitivity is increased and better dynamic range at the mid to high ISO settings.

Against the Sony A7R II and Canon 5DS, the Nikon D850 offers an advantage at base ISO of around one stop against the Sony, and a massive 2.5-stop advantage over the Canon. The gaps narrow as sensitivity increases, though, so from ISO 1600 and above, the D850 and Sony A7R II offer broadly the same dynamic range, with the Sony just edging them. The Nikon and Sony both continue to offer around a one-stop advantage over the Canon for dynamic range between ISO 1600 and over the Canon 5DS’s top sensitivity of ISO 12,800. So good dynamic range above or around 10 EV is possible on the Sony and Nikon up to ISO 3200, compared to ISO 1600 for the Canon.

Sports (Low-Light ISO)

In printed results there is very little difference between these sensors in terms of signal-to-noise output. All five offer well-controlled noise with good SNR 18% ratios of around 32 dB up to ISO 3200.



The introduction of the first BSI sensor in a full-frame Nikon DSLR with a super-high 45.7Mp resolution puts the Nikon D850’s image quality on par with, and often better than, medium-format cameras. The first DSLR to hit 100 points — rather apt for Nikon’s hundredth anniversary year — puts the Nikon D850 in a class of its own for image quality. At base ISO, it’s unrivaled for color in the DSLR class, and its headline dynamic range score is outstanding, too. Against the competitor high-resolution options from Sony and Canon, the D850 offers either better or close to comparable image quality throughout the ISO range. Although its headline ISO score doesn’t quite achieve the same lofty heights overall, it’s still a very capable performer at high ISO sensitivities, too. So if you’re looking for the best image quality at low ISOs, at significantly less cost than a digital medium-format camera, the Nikon D850 looks like the camera you’ve been waiting for.

In this review we have compared the Nikon D850 to its most direct rivals from other brands and among Nikon’s own lineup. As usual, you can create your own comparisons and in-depth analyses using our interactive image sensor ranking tool.

  • TinusVerdino

    So it takes the lead on colour sensitivity, perhaps the least visible one to the average human eye. The lower sports score puzzle’s me a bit.

    • Marc W.

      I didn’t find the 645Z on the sensor database.

    • Fran

      Baby, what’s the sensor size of the Pentax 645z?

      • Chirag Parikh

        44 x 33 mm

      • TinusVerdino

        Baby yourself. It’s a dslr, it has a pentaprism and a great big flappy mirror.

    • David Norton

      If you have a lazy $10K in the bank, $6K 2nd hand

    • David Gottlieb

      I’m glad you said perhaps, becasue I think color perception and sensitivity is actually very visible to the human eye. On this we politely disagree!!!!

      • TinusVerdino

        The human eye can see about ten million colours. The number of colours a 14bit raw can represent is 2^14*2^14*2^14 = 4,398,046,511,104 colours. It is the human brain the can see differences where there are none.

        • David Gottlieb

          You are correct on that. But can we see or sense differences in the color interpretation by different sensors?? This is waht really needs to be measured…. Can it be measured, or is it subjective, which really means little…

  • Anoop Kumar

    Nikon strike back with 100 out of 100. but lowlight is little disappointed.

    • TinusVerdino

      The score is not a percentage.

    • Chirag Parikh

      even the BSI sensor technology couldn’t improve ISO because of 46 MP,
      rather it worsened compared to D810. So i wonder how is there an
      increase of 3 points from 97 to 100 (overall score), when ISO performance has not
      seen an improvement, and even the landscape ratings are the same too ; only a slighty
      improved portrait depth causes 3 points to shoot up ? only DxO can

      • MSchuver

        I have to admit, comparing high ISO with my D800, I don’t think my D850 is any better handling noise, and in some respects may be slightly worse. But on nearly every other scale it outdoes my old D800.

        • Photoman

          Interesting. I was planning to upgrade from the D800 with the expectation of better high ISO performance.

      • K5TRX

        No, my D850 is much better than my D810. Seriously, try the D850 before you compare it. I shot last night at 10k-25k ISO comparing them side-by-side and the noise is less than half of my D810. I would never shoot the D810 above 6k ISO.

    • flodxomark

      Hi Anoop. FYI, our test scores go from 0 to infinity. So, this is not a score of 100/100, and no reason that other cameras can’t go over 100. Regards

      • Marc W.

        Like the Pentax 645Z? What happened to that?

  • Yassine Eraman

    Is the score is just 100/100 ? Or something (little more) ?? I mean 100/120 or something like that

    • RMJ

      DxO has no upper limit for the score. It’s from 0 to infinity.

      • Yassine Eraman

        Aha thanks for the info

    • flodxomark

      Hi Yassine. Our test scores go from 0 to infinity. So, here is nothing magical about the score of 100, and no reason that other cameras can’t go past it. We’re sure the time will come when they do!

      • Yassine Eraman

        Ok thanks for the info

  • EugeneBye

    Just wait until DXO is forced to add gender equality attribute in their measurements 😀
    Base ISO against Sony… A bit perplexed since 64 vs 100 is not an apples vs apples comparison.

  • Al Eisen

    So it’s A LITTLE better than the 810 for landscapes, studio, etc. I’m interested in wildlife, and this doesn’t look like anything special. Low light ISO is not impressive compared to what’s already available, and the really interesting thing is, if you view the image at 1:1, it has more pixel-level noise than than the D500 (a DX camera!). Cropping ability is also very important for wildlife, and when you crop and 850 shot down to DX size, again, it’s noisier than a D500. No thanks, Nikon.

    • John A. Koerner II

      Genius. Nikon has the D5 for low light (and it sucks at base ISO). The D850 is for the best base ISO camera available.

    • David Gottlieb

      Then you are losing out. You haven’t even mentioned the remarkable focusing system from the D5 incorporated into the D850. That’s the best focusing system on the market for active shooting – whether it is catchin a lion as it makes a kill of a buffalo or capturing the diving catch of a shortstop. You aren’t going to go wrong with the D850 for any type of shooting you choose to do. This is a remarkable camera.

    • K5TRX

      No, my D850 is much better than my D810 especially for landscapes and portraits. For portraits, I control the off-camera lighting and try to stay at 32 or 64 ISO where the D850 is unmatched. Just like the charts show, portraits out to 800 ISO are stunning. For landscapes, I have always tried to use a small tripod. The chickenfoot is my favorite now letting me go to slower f-stops to get low ISO. But even handheld with a 4 stop VR lense you can go low ISO. Seriously,

    • For wildlife I love the extra 2fps & faster focusing (and additional focus modes) over my D810. Potentially 4fps difference with the vertical grip.

  • Exynos

    A7r iii

  • Ken Hoffman

    I was all “Good Job Nikon..” Then I looked at the actual tests and… DXO a sympathy score for Nikon Really? This is how DXO loses credibility. One could make a call for a tie with the A7RII one is better in bright light one is better in low. But to get a better score you would need to be better in all scores and this sensor is not better in all not better where you see the difference, my cell phone takes great shots in sunlight.

    • Alexander Gray


      Rii is only 1/3 of a stop better at high iso. 850 is a FULL stop better at base iso. That doesn’t quite even out.

      And your phone doesn’t have the same color or dynamic range.

      Stop it.

      • Ken Hoffman

        Point was that in daylight at BASE ISO differences are less noticeable. And not a place where you get too many “Make or Break” situations, lots of option often to adjust exposure. Its low light where you shutter speed is being sacrificed for IQ that you want that cleaner sensor. Sony took hits for years for being 1/2 stop behind in noise… So now suddenly it doesn’t matter when Nikon is lagging.. Sorry just not the case. Clearly not BETTER overall, one could make a case for a trade off to a tie. 100 was about getting more web hits at DXO.. marketing trumps precision…again

        • Alexander Gray

          The difference is very noticeable. That’s why they’re comparing it to medium format. It is a measurably superior landscape and studio camera.

          • The main issue is that they are comparing to old CCD medium format cameras. And none of the recent one. IQ180 and P65 are 7 years old cameras… Anyway, it still looks like a good camera – Nikon users should be delighted !

  • Hello, Canon. Are you there? Helloooooooo!

    • The 5D4 is a much better performer, actually beats the D850 for high ISO DR, but DxO decided not to include that in this comparison and instead use the 5DsR which uses the much older fab line.,Nikon%20D850,Sony%20ILCE-7RM2

      • RPN
      • Alexander Gray

        Yeah, that 9th of a stop low light difference is KILLER! Not within he margin of error of the test at ALL…

      • John A. Koerner II

        Wishful thinking.

      • Blair and Meg

        The real performance go the 850 is at ISO 64. I shoot weddings and rarely go above 6400 and many pros, if not most, won’t care too much if it went to over a million ISO like the D5. Those are just marketing numbers anyways that sell cameras to non-pros. Why would you shoot above 12.8k anyways?

      • Stan Chung

        comparing with a much lower mp camera. ha ha ha. special kind of stupid

      • K5TRX

        Dxo did compare the D850 to all other cameras they have ever tested. Use their comparison tool to see. Ranked at number 17, the 5d Mark 4 is the best camera Canon has ever made:

      • Jay

        5D4 also has lower color depth at native ISO, substantially less dynamic range at base ISO, and substantially lower resolution. 5D4 is a great camera, but this article isn’t about the 5D4. They are talking the strengths of the D850. Not the few, relatively small and extremely specific shortcomings it has. Personnally, I’ll take higher maximum dynamic range, color depth, and resolution at base ISO over better dynamic range, but still underwhelming overall, at high ISO. But that’s my personal preference.

        • All of these responses seem to completely miss the point I was responding to, the original article used the 5DsR as a comparison to make Canon’s current state look much worse than it is. Also as an aside, you should be a little wary about the color depth comparison between the two as all that metric represents is color noise in pushed shadows. Color metamerism is the more important metric in general and the D850 is actually a fairly poor performer at 79 vs 85 for the 5D4 and A7RII. (Note: Big disclaimer as we don’t really have any sense of how precise these measurements are but I suspect they’re not that great as DxO claims a score of 82 for the 5Ds but 74 for the 5DsR. Just like their transmission scores, I suspect the color response measurements have huge uncertainty values that DxO fails to disclose.)

          • Jay

            Well, I’m not sure how you expected everyone to deduce your meaning when you basically just said 5d4 is better. DXO used the 5DSR for comparison, I believe, because it is much closer in resolution and is the most current high res offering from Canon. If resolution is not of great importance to you, the Nikon D5 has better high ISO dynamic range than the 5D4 as well. Everything is relative. If you don’t think DXO mark has good measurement tools and consistency, thats fine as well and is certainly worth addressing, but that certainly doesn’t mean automatically the 5D4 is better. I would add that DXO is far from unique in their findings and praise for the D850. Seems to be pretty universal among sites and organizations that measure these types of things. I personally really like the 5D4, but I really have to disagree with your broad conclusion that it is better than the D850 which is very objectively better in several metrics, which may matter more to others than you, including resolution, frame rate, and low iso dynamic range. I totally agree that the 5D4 has some great qualities and advantages, but let’s not get carried away.

          • “but I really have to disagree with your broad conclusion that it is better than the D850 which is very objectively better in several metrics”

            I’m not saying the 5D4 is better than the D850 in any broad sense, I was saying it’s better than the 5DsR in a broad sense and that it edges out the D850 at high ISO.

  • Ruy Penalva

    DXOMARk loves to make merchandise of Nikon and Sony. This apparent increase is related to pixels increase. But in the real life you will never see it. Or you will practice only in the lab?

    • Marc W.

      Or do you think it’s possible that within these test that Nikon and Sony are doing pretty well.

    • Blair and Meg

      You see it in real life, trust me… Go shoot one and you’ll be amazed, the D850’s images are indistinguishable from my Hassy H5D-50; it’s insane to even say that this $3,300.00 body even comes close to the performance of a $35,000.00 body but it actually outperforms it in many ways.

    • K5TRX

      Ruy, you have not shot with the D850 or you will understand.

    • Jay

      I shoot both Canon and Nikon. Both have their strengths. I can definitely see the differences and do not believe they are as subtle as you suggest. Flexibility and forgiveness of the D850 are, in my opinion, unmatched.

  • Gerdy

    Canon has done for the moment ! What will they try now ?

    • zorg

      Hopefully 150Mpix foveon gangsta style 😛

  • As usual- just get out and shoot. There is no sense tying personal identity into any of these brands… if you learn to use them, they will all make outstanding images. A one point difference- or 5- or whatever is insignificant in real-world use.

    • Jay

      And yet, here you are on a website entirely dedicated to measuring these minute differences and telling people to just go shoot instead of just going and shooting. Some people like to obsess over these little details. Some people don’t care about camera specs at all and seem happy to shoot polaroids. To each their own.

  • David Gottlieb

    I was shocked, and of course pleased, when I tested the D850 at the photo shop in Nairobi. The 3200 ISO portraits were clean and very usable. And the color was simply stunning. Even at 3200…… so I take these Dx0 tests with some grain of salt and a bit of caution….

    I think it doesn’t really matter which of these top cameras we use. Some people prefer Canon (there’s no explaining it, but it works for them) and others choose Nikon.

    We have come a long way since the D3 (which i sold, but kept the D700.) Now I am toying about selling my D700 and even the D800. Keeping the D4 but might purchase a second D850 body.

  • SimenO

    “First DSLR to hit 100 points” DxOmark lying again. The 3,5 years old DSLR Pentax 645Z hit 101 points, but DxO decided to hide the results.. Wonder how much they got paid to selectively hide it.. Trust is something to be earned. DxOmark have sold theirs.

    • Steinar Knai

      You are making serious accusations without an ounce of proof. DXO is comparing same size sensors. False accusations are a dime a dozen and come at the price they are worth; zero.

      • SimenO

        DxO compares different size sensors as well. They boldly claim D850 is the first DSLR to 100 points. 645Z is a DSLR too and it scored 101. I wonder why they try to cover up that leak and even censor my reminder of that episode. Did I step on a soar toe? Why is it so soar?

      • SimenO

        BTW, I live in this century and refuse to use and even understand any units outside the metric system, except for historical references to how messed up units was back then.

  • HUGE Nikon fan here and congrats Nikon for topping the charts… BUT… for the life of me… I can’t understand why this camera got such a high score
    with just average (full frame) low ISO scores. My D600 beat this handley… and wont be parting with it because of that… 😉

    • Sasz

      Given that it’s clearly not perfect at low light, the 100 on Nikon’s 100th seems to be an interesting coinky-dink…

      • shaun

        He said low ISO, not low light but even then, low light the D850 does really well. You can’t let a graph make your decisions for you, you have to see real world results.

        • Jay

          Thats what he said, but he probably meant high ISO/low light because that is one of the very few marginal tradeoffs the d850 appears to make. The D850 appears to be one of the best, if not the best, low ISO cameras ever made.

    • shaun

      It doesn’t “beat it handley”. It beats it marginally on a paper test. If that’s you’re reasoning for keeping the D600, you don’t need an upgrade to begin with. The D850 in real world tests show stunning low ISO results.

      • K5TRX

        That’s my experience with the D850 as well. The D810 was too grainy to be used at ISO 10k. The D600 was too grainy to be used at ISO 5600. The D850 has been grainy at ISO 20 K2 25k. Of course this is nowhere near the quality of iso 32 or 64. But it is usable.

    • Jay

      Unfortunately, any time you compress so many metrics into a single score for the sake of simplicity, there will be some anomalies and nuances. If you value high iso performance more than color depth, dynamic range, and resolution, then the DXO mark score system may not be entirely representative of your use case. I must say it is quite representative of my use case and I can say confidently that the D850 is the best camera I have personally ever used relative to the multiple Canon and Nikon bodies I have owned over the years.

    • Rene van Koll

      If your camera does what it needs to do, why upgrade at all? If it’s still functioning, supported by lenses, covers your needs nicely, I would see no need to upgrade (other than the ‘oooooh, new gizmo!’ factor of course 🙂 ). Additionally, it was also stated that the d850 doesn’t top all scores. So, you may find situations where another camera beats it. And finally, like others have said here as well: you need to take a camera out and play with it to see if it’s actually better for -you-. As an example, I own a d750 and never even looked at the d810 as an option since it doesn’t suit my shooting style. Paper statistics do not a great camera make.. That said, I am keeping an eye on my savings account and the prices for the d850. This is actually a camera that could be an interesting step up for me.

      • Ionut Constantin Ionescu

        I agree, the camera in itself is a tool, how you chose to use that tool is up to you, except very particular cases you won`t be needing the 1K – mp that it offers

  • Gerdy

    And now Nikon ? Up to the 100 with the lenses ? Congratulations !!

  • Bruce Campbell

    Where does the next camera to surpass the D850 go from 100% ?

    • Jay

      The rating is not a percent. Previous sensors have had scores over 100, (see score of Red camera sensors 108), and subsequent sensors will have ratings of 100+.

  • SimenO

    Comparing D850 to K-1, it seems like D850 uses artificially low ISOs (about 1/3 stop), and thus will score better in most ISO comparison tests that dont take into account the ISO scale pushing.

  • John A. Koerner II

    Well-written article, especially the opening 3 paragraphs.
    Some factoids were omitted in the comparisons, but if was an enjoyable read overall.
    Nicely done.

  • Tom Cass

    The medium format Pentax 645z scored 101 and it is definitely a DSLR. Maybe you should change the title to the first Full Frame DSLR to score 100.

    • Ionut Constantin Ionescu

      well, I think you tried to say something else there, although the 645z and the d850 are both a dslr( digital – single lense reflex, which means that the image that you get in the viewfinder is the one from your lense) there is the matter of the difference between sensors, one is medium format and the other is full frame, the difference beeing that the medium format is 48×36 mm and full frame is 36×24 so a bigger sensor means more fotoreceptors and thus the formation of the image is better from a depth standpoint as opposed to the full frame one which is smaller, not to talk hear abut the dof that getts thinner on the medium format

  • Phil Temmer

    Not specifically about the D850, but are you planning to review any of the vintage Nikon lenses like the 50mm/f1.14, 105/2.5 and 85/2.0. Ienses?
    I used these for many years with my Nikon F2A cameras and the sharpness and contrast, particularly on Kodachrome (RIP) 25 ASA slides, were excellent. Wondering how the newer stuff compares.

    • Martin Hirsch

      Please, this is an absurd question.

  • Patrick NICOLAS

    C’est visible …

  • OSCE-NYSE General

    No wonder this camera can’t remain in stock anywhere. Keeps selling out, and restocking takes a few weeks. D850 is a darn good camera, only to get better with firmware tweaks, adding more features.. boosting current features and constant improving

  • Robert Schwartz

    When is DXOmark going to publish test results of lenses with the D850; the camera was released months ago!

    I will not purchase one until I see the data as I believe the ongoing shortage has more to do than just manufacturing capacty.

    • John Eckert

      Robert. I agree with you. I have the money in CASH in my pocket BUT I won’t buy a D850 until I see lens data. DXOMARK needs to start posting the data SOON.

      • Miguel Calatayud

        Yes. An bit strange

  • Hans J

    Don’t believe the hype. The D850 is much better.

    • Groox

      I am not “believing” anything, just making an observation. In fact reading this article made me think the hype is about D850, not vice versa. Sony a7R II was released 2 years before D850, and now that a7R III is out, you can but a7R II for ~1000 USD less than D850.

      So what’s the hype about a camera which, according to image samples and DxO measurements seem to perform almost the same as a 2 year old camera? And the latter is also cheaper and lighter as a bonus?

      For example, what’s your argument for D850 being “much better”? Not just slightly better, but “much” better?

      • Hans J

        Image quality aside, they are both indistinguishable, the Sony’s brake all the time.

        • Robert Schwartz

          “Break” not “brake” (like the brakes in your car). Where is the data supporting your statement? I am a Nikon user and I am constantly sending my camera back for repair; most recently, the lens release failed and the camera was at Nikon for 3 months before they got the repair right. Nikon service is awful, although I hear that Sony service is no better.

          • Hans J

            If you drop your cameras like an amateur they will “brake” 😉

          • Robert Schwartz

            If you write like an illiterate no one will take you seriously. Seriously.

          • Hans J


  • Robert Schwartz

    It would be great to hear DXOmark’s explanation as to why they haven’t published any lens data for the D850. Perhaps they were waiting to test the A7rIII first to ensure that the D850 data were superior ……if you know what I mean.

  • Mohsin Nawaz

    D850 can AF down to -4EV. The AF is so good in low light that they removed the AF illumination light from the D850 😁

    • Richard Snow

      The AF illumination light is part of the built-in flash system. Since there’s no built-in flash, there’s no AF Illumination light. See also D1 through D5, D500 and now D850. You can actually trace this back into film cameras like the F3, F4, and F5. These are/were all clearly Pro bodies, including the D500 and D850, simply without the built-in grip. No Nikon Professional body has ever had a built-in/pop-up flash, hence no AF illumination light.

      As for the D850 itself – I’ve had mine now since late October and I miss neither the pop-up flash or the AF Illumination light. They were always a nuisance on my previous Nikon DSLRs and were always turned OFF. Anyone complaining that the D850 is missing the AF Illumination light and/or the pop-up flash is either trolling or is simply not part of the audience Nikon is targeting (professional photographers and hard core hobbyists).

      I don’t know a single photographer worth their salt that ever used the pop-up flash for anything other than a trigger for off-camera flash systems. (Nikon CLS or any other system with an optical trigger)

      • FWIW, I do miss the pop-up flash for the reason you mention at the end. I convenient way to trigger other flashes without dragging out a commander. Especially nice when traveling and trying to keep gear to a minimum. That said, I love my D850 and am perfectly okay with the tradeoffs.

      • Robert Schwartz


        Could you please do a brief compare of the D850 with the other nikon cameras mentioned?

        Thank you.

        Robert Schwartz

        • Richard Snow

          You want a compare of the D850 to which? The D5 and D500? Maybe the D4? Certainly not the D1, D2, D3, and F series?

          There are plenty of reviews out there and many “comparison” sites, so I’m not sure what additional you can get from me giving you a specs comparison that you can’t get somewhere else.

          • Robert Schwartz


            I will simplify the question: from the perspective of landscape (low and adequate light) and portrait photography, is the 850 the best of the Nikons that you have shot?

            Thank you.

          • Richard Snow

            Ahhh. Now that’s a much easier question.

            The short answer is yes, it is by far the best landscape camera I’ve shot for any time of day. It’s been bitter cold in Maine this winter, so I haven’t had it out as much as I’d like for pre-dawn and dusk images, but the ones I have taken are spectacular. And if you’re in to video, the time lapse is amazing.

            For extremely low light, it doesn’t perform as well as the D5, but I am getting very usable images on the D850 using ISO 12400. On top of that, the AF system is identical to the D5. I always found that the D810 hunted a lot in low light, but the D850 is spot on to about -3 EV and is much faster to focus than the D810.

            I don’t shoot the D500, but I expect it’s AF performance to be as good as the D850 and it’s low light performance to be similar as it has a lower pixel density than the D850.

            I don’t know how DXO Mark measures High ISO Noise – but in my experience the D850 far outperforms every Nikon body except the D5.

          • Robert Schwartz

            Thanks Richard this is very helpful!

  • Martin Hirsch

    Please, DXOmark, at least some lens data is needed…
    Can the reason be that your test setup throws up odd results with the D850 that didn’t exist with (say) the 51MP Canons?

    If you need assistance, I’m a physicist with a strong mathematical bent.

    • Robert Schwartz

      I have heard that the problem is that the testing protocols used by DXOmark are biased towards mirrorless cameras (I don’t have the details and don’t understand the nature of the problem) so DXOmark has had to revise the testing procedures to even the playing field. That is why the process is taking so long.

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