Nikon released the D850 in September of 2017, and it has remained a heavy-hitting flagship in their product lineup since. This full-frame professional DSLR has established itself as one of the titans of its domain despite its relative age and is considered one of the best pro cameras money can buy, especially for action photography.
This 45.7 megapixel camera excels in pretty much every area. Nikon’s 3D tracking autofocus does a fantastic job and the seven frames per second that it shoots—together with a huge buffer—ensures that you’ll capture the moment. The dynamic range and low light performance of the camera are stunning.
The battery life on the D850 is another advantage. I can easily exceed a thousand shutter snaps per charge, and an additional battery grip with full control is available. The controls are intuitive and easily mastered, and feature additional programmable buttons. The D850 uses the F-mount that has been around since 1958.
A must on any professional camera is multiple memory card slots. Nikon has you covered here with slots for a lightning-fast XQD card and an SD card for backup. As a professional photographer, my number one fear is losing irreplaceable images, like race bikes crossing the finish line. This feature is non-negotiable!
Digital SLR camera development has slowed in the past few years due to the advent of the mirrorless camera. Similarly to electric vehicles facilitating the slow death of internal combustion, many have projected the same fate for the digital SLR. Mirrorless cameras are the future of professional photography and are very good, but they have a long way to go before rendering their flappy mirrored predecessors obsolete. The D850 will be a relevant shooter for many years to come.
Nothing is Perfect
There is no such thing as a perfect camera. The D850 does have some drawbacks. Chief amongst them is the price, with a hefty MSRP of $2,999.95 for just the camera body. Considering the least expensive F-mount lenses are priced at several hundred dollars, it’s a serious investment. Another downside is the size. Even though it’s classified as a mid-size camera, the D850 is quite large if you are planning to transport it in a small tank bag. Also, I’d like a USB-C connection but alas, USB-C was not as prevalent in 2017. Another weak point is video. The camera will produce beautiful video, but I’d look elsewhere for a high-speed 4K video camera, since the D850 only shoots 30 frames per second at 4K resolution.
If you’re not bothered by the price tag and size, and are looking to produce some absolutely stunning images, this camera is hands down one of the best money can buy right now. Is it overkill for most who want to document their rides? Probably. I definitely wouldn’t suggest this as a first camera, but if you know what you’re doing and are looking to upgrade to a full-frame camera for capturing the beauty of your riding adventures, the Nikon D850 is king.