It can be difficult to decide when to upgrade your camera setup since Nikon upgrades their DSLR cameras every few years. This Nikon D850 vs. Nikon D4S guide should help you decide if the differences between the old and new models warrant a change.
The Nikon D850 is over three years newer. However, there are several features that the Nikon D4S has that make it more attractive for some photographers. One of those is a continuous shooting speed of 11 frames per second. In addition, it has a battery life that’s almost twice as long.
On the other hand, the D850 has significantly higher sensor resolution. It also has better video capabilities and more built-in extras for nearly half the cost.
Here’s what we cover in the review:
The Nikon D4S is 28% larger than the D850. It measures 160 mm x 157 mm x 91 mm, vs. 146 mm x 124 mm x 79 mm. It also weighs significantly more, at 1350 grams vs. 1015 grams. That makes it a less portable camera for travel or for long walking trips.
Both bodies are made from magnesium alloy and are weather sealed. That makes them durable and resistant to dust and moisture.
Both DSLR cameras have the same lens mount. So, any D850 compatible lens will also work with the D4S. That makes it easy to upgrade from one to the other.
The D4S has a battery grip built in. That allows for easier portrait orientation photography and provides additional battery power. The longer battery life is one of the best features of the D4S. It goes almost twice as far on a single battery charge when compared with the Nikon D850.
For photographers who prefer the Nikon D850 but like the added battery grip and extended battery life of the Nikon D4S, the MB-D18 vertical battery grip can be purchased and added to your setup to achieve the same functionality.
The Nikon D850 comes with the added bonus of an articulating LCD screen instead of a fixed screen. Neither body comes with an on-camera flash. Therefore, you will have to purchase an off camera flash if you plan on shooting in situations where you need to add light.
The Nikon D850 has a better minimum ISO, at 64 vs. 100. However, both cameras have the same maximum ISO of 25,600.
The Nikon D4S has a far superior continuous shooting speed, though. It is 11 frames per second vs. 7 frames per second. If you choose to purchase the MB-D18 battery grip, the Nikon D850 can achieve 9 frames per second.
The D850 does have a significantly higher max sensor resolution. It is 46 MP vs. just 16 MP. The D4S does still take high quality images.
However, the lower resolution does make cropping significantly impossible without also dealing with distracting noise pollution. The D850 is also the clear winner when it comes to the autofocus system.
The D850 has 153 AF points, with 99 of those being cross-type points. That gives 22% coverage of the scene you see in the viewfinder.
The D4S on the other hand only offers 17% coverage. It has only 51 AF points and 15 cross-type points. The less robust AF system is a problem in low light situations or environments where there is less contrast to focus on.
The Nikon D4S can shoot in full HD (1080p at 60 frames per second). On the other hand, the Nikon D850 can capture 4K video (2160p at 30 frames per second).
The D850 can also capture 8k time-lapse video sequences. That can be a neat feature for professional and casual videographers alike.
Both DSLR bodies come with a built-in microphone and headphone port, allowing you to capture superior audio and monitor it as you record. The Nikon D850 comes with wireless capabilities and Bluetooth built in, which allows you to operate your camera from your smartphone or tablet. Neither camera comes with GPS for geo-tagging your images and videos, though.
Both Digital SLRs also come with dual image storage card slots, which allows you to store a still and video card or two cards for one purpose so you don’t have to worry about running out of space while you are on location. The added battery life on the D4S does make it last considerably longer while shooting video, but, again, you can accomplish this battery life on the D850 if you prefer that body by adding the battery grip.
Both cameras have built-in microphone and headphone ports for recording and monitoring audio, and optical pentaprism viewfinders. While both also have 3.2” LCD screens, the D850’s screen is articulated and can tilt or pull away from the camera body.
The D850 also features a touch screen, allowing for fewer buttons on the camera body and better focusing abilities in live view mode, which can come in handy when shooting video.
The Nikon D850’s LCD screen has a significantly higher resolution, at 2.359k dots vs. 921k dots. This makes the D850 screen 156% clearer than the screen on the D4S. It can also support UHS-II, while the D4S does not.
Both camera bodies also have an external flash shoe to be used in place of an on-camera flash, face detection focus, environmental sealing, a top LCD display that allows you to adjust settings more quickly, and illuminated buttons. While none of these features alone may be reason to choose one camera over another, they are very useful and become hard to live without once you get used to them.
Longevity is one area where the D4S far outperforms the D850. In the short term, the camera’s battery lasts almost twice as long on a single charge, with a battery life of 3020 shots vs. 1840 shots. While you can achieve a similar battery life with the added battery grip on the D850, it is nice that you don’t have to purchase an accessory for this functionality on the D4S.
In the long run, the D4S should last twice as long as the D850, with a shutter life expectancy of 400,000 cycles vs. 200,000 cycles. While this is definitely a positive aspect of the D4S, the price does reflect the longevity, with the D4S costing just under twice as much as the D850. The price jump certainly offsets the benefits of the longer life expectancy, since you could purchase two D850 DSLR camera bodies for the same price.
Given the upgraded, more recent technology in the D850, this camera body is a particularly great deal for the lower cost. Again though, the answer to which is better will depend on how you plan on using your camera and how long you plan on keeping your set up for.
If you want a reliable, high performance camera for daily photography, portraiture or everyday photography that you can rely on for many years to come, the D4S may be the better option for you.
While the D4S has a much longer battery life, a life expectancy that is twice as long and a higher continuous shooting speed, it is nearly twice the price for technology that is over three years older than the D850. The D850’s sensor resolution is more than twice that of the D4S, it can record 4k video and it comes with a significantly more robust auto focus system. While both cameras are great options, we think the D850 is a much better deal given the significant price difference.Back to Top