My latest no-nonsense camera review looks at the Nikon D850 vs Nikon D810 DSLR. Which is better for you depends on your personal preferences, budget, needs, and expectations.
These two beauties look similar in all but price tags; one costing notably more than the other. The question is this: can Nikon get you to upgrade and part with yet more of your hard-earned cash?
It’s a good question and you’ll have your answer by the end of this down-to-earth review. Let’s begin with the new and improved Nikon D850 which sports a lot more than just its superior color depth.
Nikon D850 Most Notable Advantages
- Improved sensor resolution
- More focus points
- Longer battery life
- Articulating LCD touchscreen
- Illuminated buttons
- Remote control function
- Built-in wireless connection
Heck, this is the camera with MORE of everything. The all-new sensor resolution provides 27% more pixels (46MP) than the D810. There are 102 more focus points and 84 more cross-type focus points.
The articulating higher resolution LCD touchscreen is another huge improvement. It certainly gives easy access to all the main functions. It’s something you’ll wonder how you ever managed without.
The illuminated buttons are both practical and novel. They are especially helpful for shooting in dim or dark conditions. And the remote and Bluetooth control gives lots of easy wireless connectivity options.
A few other features I have to mention are the Max ISO (100% higher) and low light autofocus. Heck, we’ve even got 15 points f/8 aperture autofocus with teleconverters and focus bracketing to boot.
The battery life provides an impressive 640 extra frames per single charge folks. That’s huge. And compared to the D810 continuous shooting mode it’s a whole 2 fps faster.
Finally, there’s the video which sports a higher resolution and you can even experience 8K for time-lapse videos. There’s more to explore, but these are the major differences between the two DSLRs.
Is the Nikon D850 the upgrade you’ve been waiting for? Well, only you can answer that. But if you already own a Nikon D810 and it does everything you need it to then stay as you are.
Let’s take a look at a few of the negatives for this amazing camera.
Nikon D850 Cons and Minor Gripes
- No sensor-based image stabilization
- No built-in flash
- Quite big and fairly heavy
- Spotty WiFi and Bluetooth
- High price tag
No sensor-based image stabilization might surprise some of you. It’s more of a minor gripe than a serious disadvantage though. After all, 55 available lenses do have Optical Image Stabilization (OIS).
The absence of a built-in flash is a disappointment for me personally. An unobtrusive little flash is so handy in low light situations yet the Nikon D850 doesn’t have it. They could have done better here!
At 1005g (2.2 lbs.) the Nikon D850 is no featherweight. This has to be a consideration for any semi-professional photographer. It’s a particular concern for those who lug stuff around for long periods.
There are a few reports of spotty WiFi and Bluetooth but it’s not something I experienced. Even so, there are still some users who find Nikon’s Snapbridge technology clunky at times.
The final con is with the price tag for the Nikon D850. Yes, it’s an amazing camera with plenty of bells and whistles. Alas, its high cost puts it out of reach for many enthusiastic photographers.
Nikon D810 Top Selling Advantages
- Handy built-in flash
- Low light ISO
- Lighter than the D850
- Lower price tag
- Stood the test of time
The built-in flash is a minor issue for those of you who are happy to attach an external flash to the hot-shoe. But it’s invaluable for opportunists who shoot at a moment’s notice in low light situations.
Although the D850 has good low light ISO it’s not as low as the Nikon D810. This difference is only important if your photographic demands require less sensitive light settings.
These cameras may not weigh a lot compared to a brick but they can feel like one after long periods. Prosumers and semiprofessionals on the go always need to consider the weight of their equipment.
The weight difference between the Nikon D810 and D850 is just 35g. That’s not going to be notable in the short term. However, it could be an issue if you’re on the go for hours at a time.
The price of the Nikon D810 is around 500 bucks cheaper than the D850 at the time of writing. That’s not loose change but then the D850 does have more of everything (see review above).
The Nikon D810 digital SLR camera has been around for a few years now and stood the test of time. It’s also an Amazon’s Choice camera with a high star rating and lots of glowing reviews from users.
If you don’t need or can’t justify what the D850 offers then stick with the D810. It’s an amazing product as any enthusiast will testify. And its 36MP full-frame CMOS sensor is no small feature.
There’s no articulating touchscreen but the 3.2″ fixed type display does the job. Other worthy specs are the pentaprism viewfinder, 1920×1080 video resolution, and 5fps continuous shooting.
The weather-sealed body and clever ergonomics make this a surefire winner in my book. Don’t forget the huge range of Optical Image Stabilized (OIS) lenses too.
Nikon D810 Cons and Minor Gripes
- Lacks WiFi
- Shorter battery life
- Exposure delay mode hidden in menu
- Sensitive to lens performance
Built-in WiFi is either something you need or something you’d like. If that latter you should be able to live without it. If the former, the Nikon D850 has all the wireless connectivity options you could want.
The D810 has a shorter battery life compared to the newer D850. It has 640 fewer frames on a single charge and that’s significant. The battery life is not terrible—it’s just not as good as the D850.
The exposure delay mode is something photographers exploit a lot or not much at all. The annoying thing about this on the Nikon D810 is that it’s well-hidden in the camera’s menu and I’m not sure why!
Another gripe is the camera’s poor automatic white balance or AWB. These smart algorithms are supposed to correct ambient light. The D810 is okay, but that’s about all it is in AWB situations.
The last moan is the price even though the Nikon D810 Digital SLR is more affordable than the D850. Alas, it’s still out of reach for most enthusiasts and semi-pros on a tight budget—more’s the pity.
To be honest I’m nitpicking here because overall there’s much more to like than to moan about.
The differences between the Nikon D850 and Nikon D810 are not glaring at first glance. But as you get more under the hood those differences are stark to the savvy photographer.
Different doesn’t always mean better. Product enhancements are only beneficial if they benefit YOU and YOUR photography. There’s no reason to invest in bells and whistles you have little or no use for.
I love both these digital SLRs BY Nikon. For me it has to be the D850 though. It just has more of what I need (see review), but both these cameras are worthy contenders.Back to Top