eXtensions - Saturday 14 April 2018
eXtensions - Moving up to Nikon D850 (1): Rationale
By Graham K. Rogers
The H6D-50 is clearly out of my range, although I did wonder about the X1D for a while. I have thought about a move to mirrorless cameras several times (all the major camera makers have excellent examples), but one of the drawbacks for me would be the need to buy new lenses. With the Hasselblad, these are high priced. Also, with my current Nikon D7000 producing RAW files of around 22 MB, I would prefer to improve output. There is always Leica of course, but the initial cost and new lenses put that out of my reach for now
One of the other reasons I had not moved to mirrorless cameras is the lack of a viewfinder. Even with the smartphone, peering at the rear screen trying to focus a scene with the device at arm's length seems alien to me. I tend to bring the screen closer to my face and squint at the image through my glasses. That arm's length stance has never worked for me.
Not long after it arrived, I made the decision, cleared the decks on the credit card and walked into one of the stores selling this in Siam Paragon at 124,900 baht. One interesting point is that although the retailers normally put the cameras on display, only the sealed D850 box was shown in the shops and I had to ask the price.
Rather than reinvent the wheel, here are links to a couple of articles on the D850 that I found useful:
The next day I went back to the store (I needed advice on settings too), but the shop did not have the XQD cards as yet. The cost of the card was refunded minus a fee as I had opened the package. The XQD card is available on Amazon, but I will shop around first to see if I can pick one up here.
The manual in the box was in Thai (unsurprisingly) and I downloaded an English version at home. I noticed the battery was the same shape as that in the D7000 (EN-EL15) but was told by the assistant that it would not work. The manual disagrees although indicates that the EN-EL15a cell will allow more pictures to be taken.
I initially started setting up the camera the old fashioned way, with the left-right buttons and pressing OK (there is a second OK button too), but found that the touch screen made changes and data entry much quicker.
Photo taken with D850 at ISO 64
Photo taken with D850 at ISO 25600
I initially tried to link the camera to the Mac using this connection, but nothing seemed to work, so I used the old-fashioned method and put the SD card in the Moshi card reader I have. Initially images did not appear. I tried a second time and that was fine: it has been OK since, so perhaps I missed something in my initial try.
With that Hasselblad I had on test, image size was 8772 x 6200 (54,386,400 MP) but these were saved as TIFF with a file size of around 70-80 MB. As it was a test model, I did not set the camera up and it may be that RAW images would have been larger. Those on the D850 are slightly smaller at 8265 x 5504 (45,441,024 MP) with my settings, but with a file size of around 95MB. This may need me to rethink my workflow. More on this in Part 2.
After taking a few test images, it was time to view them on the MacBook Pro I use. I tried the direct camera cable to computer link initially, but that did not seem to work. No disk was shown on the screen and there was no evidence that this was connected. I tried a number of permutations, but eventually removed the SD card and downloaded the files to the Mac. I am using Photos at the moment, but this is beginning to eat space.
But the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and the D850 does make exceedingly good photographs. . . .
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. After 3 years writing a column in the Life supplement, he is now no longer associated with the Bangkok Post. He can be followed on Twitter (@extensions_th)
For further information, e-mail to
Back to Home Page