The Nikon D850 is the “baby Nikon D5 camera”


Based on the information we have so far, the recently announced Nikon D850 DSLR appears to be the new "baby Nikon D5 camera" I have been reporting for a while. I did receive some tips that the D850 is based on the D5 and not on the D810. There are several D850 discussions online that confirm that statement. For example, this set of D850 specifications reportedly comes from Nikon Austria (source):

  • 10 fps (without battery pack)
  • Together with fast AF this will be a sports capable camera with 46 Megapixels resolution (appears to adopt something of the D500 concept for FX)
  • NOT compatible with MB-D12, there will be a new dedicated battery-pack
  • They expect the first samples to be available in October
  • Pricing will be about 1,000 Euros above the D810 which will remain available in parallel (D810 currently sells for EUR 2,149)
  • D850 will use EN-EL15 batteries but there is a new version out now (the third one) the EN-EL15a

Additional D850 coverage can be found here. For Facebook users: visit and like the new Nikon D850 page. Post picture by Broxibear.

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  • ISSUE: While I like the idea of a “Baby D5” and based on the rumored specifications there’s a lot of versatility in it’s potential usage: sports, landscape, and studio. However my ISSUE is the 300 pound gorilla in the room that I’ve yet to read any discussion which is — Lens. Is there a are narrow list of lens that is anticipated for use with the D850 that is recommended similar to the D800/810 list?

    • Michiel953

      In due course.

  • decisivemoment

    Looks like an incredibly versatile body. Hope Nikon has an equity interest somewhere in the hard drive and server industry. Hope the JPEGs and the compressed RAWs are the height of awesomeness so people don’t even worry about messing around with smallRAW. Hope they also don’t punt on the PDAF on-sensor.

    • Allen_Wentz

      IMO sRAW is a waste of a setting space. Lossless compressed works quite well.

  • Amir

    900 comments on this posting!Oh,man!No wonder why!People are getting more laid off and they are getting more accumulated here!

  • Tom Lopez

    I’m wondering if it will truly have this new hybrid evf / ovf and focus peeking, etc. on the new D850 or not…if it doesn’t then I see no reason for me to switch from my D810.

    • paige4o4

      There is no “new” hybrid EVF. It’s all speculation. There’s no reason to believe the D850 has one.

      • Tom Lopez

        Thanks for clearing that up…so since you seem to know everything about the new D850 already, why don’t you tell me all the other specs before Nikon announces them??

        • Michiel953

          Bad hair day? This is a rumors site, and our invaluable admin has stated, more than once, there is no info at all on EVF or hybrid.

          You can choose to follow your own beliefs of course.

    • Ric of The LBC

      DRINK!

  • Wolf33d

    One more steps towards all my comments warning you about loss of dynamic range towards d810. All people laughing at me. This is a baby D5. Be prepared for the loss at base ISO.

    • Herra Kuulapaa

      This is exactly what I’m expecting (fearing) as well.

    • Antonio

      So, shall we take your words and consider that the new camera will loose dynamic range because is a baby D5?
      Is there something as camera DNA that transmits some characteristics from “fathers/mothers cameras” to their “baby cameras”? 🙂

      • JEFF M

        Isn’t DR primarily a function of the sensor? The D5 sensor is 21 MP. The D4 was 16, and the D3 was 12. The D800/D800e/D810 sensors are 36 MP. The D850 sensor is rumored to be in the neighborhood or 46 MP. I don’t think that pixel density necessarily equates to DR but I could be wrong. However, it sounds to me like much of the D850 guts are derived from D5 except that the sensor appears to be following the pixel density progression of the D8xx series. It doesn’t make sense to me that Nikon would create an 8xx series camera that doesn’t improve the qualities that its user community values most. For me as primarily and night and astrolandscape photographer, that means better high ISO performance and decent battery life – all other things being equal. And for daytime landscape photographers, that probably implies better low ISO performance. I really don’t give a rip about any video capability whatsoever, or higher FPS. It annoys me that I’m probably paying 25% of the cost of the camera to get these features that are useless to me.

        • Antonio

          I asked those questions because I found the argument of a lower DR due to the reason advance by Wolf33d and all this talk “baby this, baby that” as a non sense.

          Of course the sensor is the main factor determining DR and there is no relation between the one of the D5 and what is expected for the new camera on one hand and on the other even things like the pixel density and the size of the photosites and the way they gather light are subject to technologic changes from sensor generations.

          Nobody knows for sure what D850 will take from other cameras including from the D5 even if we say it is a “baby D5” and we can’t take that designation so literally that it will have to show its defects the same way we can’t expect the same regarding qualities and we have to foresee D850 and its specifications on its own and hope it will meet our best expectations.

        • Michiel953

          Get an 810. There should be discounts by now.

          • JEFF M

            I just rented one for 10 days shooting mostly nights and it’s an awesome camera. But I really don’t want to buy old technology when the new stuff is just around the corner. I still had to shoot quite a few HDR sequences to capture full dynamic range in some cases. I realize that I’m still probably going to need to some the same with a D850 since we are likely to see a couple of stops improvement in DR at most.

            • Michiel953

              A couple of stops is, technically speaking, very unrealistic. Same at base ISO, half a stop better further up sounds more realistic.

              And the term ‘old technology’ doesn’t mean anything to me; results do.

            • Allen_Wentz

              I shoot with a D2x, a D3 and a D500. The D3 versus D2x then the D500 versus D3 showed me that the term ‘old technology’ does mean something. I am now looking to upgrade my FX to newer tech like D5, D850, D5s or D5x.

            • Michiel953

              I’m still feeling (sort of) sorry I sold my D700 over four years ago… Some very fine big prints on my wall, made with that thing!

        • RC Jenkins

          Pixel density is related to DR in most sensor configurations because not all of the surface area of the pixel is photosensitive (except in BSI), but this is one of the things technology improves.

          This picture may help illustrate this concept.
          http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_PsITwyTOc4Y/S_KNHbHq2hI/AAAAAAAAAfY/l07XK0puGl4/s1600/3rd+Generation+A-Pix.jpg

          Imagine if you had more pixels–you’d have less ‘yellow’ photosensitive area than if you had a single giant pixel.

          Most people speculate (I think correctly), that the D850 sensor will be a larger cut of the D500 sensor–that it will have identical pixel density and a larger surface area. If this is the case, it will have far better ISO performance than the D810 across the board.

          • Allen_Wentz

            A pic is worth a thousand words…
            Thanks for that!

        • tomskyphoto

          The new sensor is most likely going to be a Sony design – Aptina, Renesas and Toshiba as sensor suppliers are gone or belong to Sony now – and I’d expect it to be a design of similar capabilities – minus OSPDAF – as Sony’s current 42 MP sensor in the A7RII has and that’s not a bad thing at all:

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a9c15e37a8194130163adba432870c73d41eb55b7693203175cba57888329c53.png

          I own both cameras and at base ISO their results are pretty much indistinguishable from each other. From mid to high ISOs the A7RII gains an advantage over the D810 and goes into regions previously thought impossible for high-resolution sensors with an amazingly good IQ. The slight edge Nikon’s NEF files still have in post is probably more owed to Nikon’s better RAW engine than the sensor itself.

          Also an interesting comparison – D810 DX vs. D810 FX vs. D500 DX:

          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f8c373ef70587dfdc13ee356c88c0166dec54b27cd519bffcc1a1bb9569fca8a.png

          This actually indicates an improvement in DR for a D500 sensor design upscaled to FX. Not to forget that despite the general slowdown in sensor development improvements still happen and the D850’s 40+ MP Sony sensor is a brand new development. It will also benefit from Nikon’s excellent RAW pipeline that has worked so well with Sony’s 36 MP sensors in the D800 series so far.

          • JEFF M

            Less than 12 EV dynamic range is downright horrible. My D5500 has 14 EV DR. The D810 has 14.7.

            • tomskyphoto

              You did notice that most of these diagrams are including the D810, didn’t you? The PDR value given in these is different from the total DR as in DxO’s measurements.

              Your 14 EV DR D5500 has a PDR of about 10.8. Go to Bill Claff’s website photonstophotos(.)com and check it out for yourself.

      • Wolf33d

        No. You should take my words cause latest 3 Nikon cameras went down in DR. Including D7500 which went down with a spectacular 0.6 stop in base ISO DR. A bummer when you know the D7200 had the best DR of any APSC of all time.
        D810 is best FF all time for base DR. D850 is gonna be slightly less good than D810 at base ISO, and this is a huge bummer since considering the price tag we should expect actually a bump in DR. They compensate with high FPS but landscape photographers which are a huge market for D810 do not care about FPS. Neither do we about D5 AF system. Losing DR and paying 1000 more than the old one for more fps? No thanks

        • James R Mercer

          DR is a function of the sensor chip capabilities. We won’t know anything about that until we see more data, so your conclusion – while logical – isn’t really based on anything concrete.

          For example – If the Sony 46 MP sensor is the one used in the D850, then DR will be better, not worse.

        • D700s

          You are correct. I guess I should start buying cameras based on .0001 better specs so I can brag mines better.

        • Antonio

          So, you indicate 3 new models including 2 APS-C sharing the same sensor and the one that is FX (D5) completely different from the sensor to be used in the D850 and from there you establish a kind of “law of decreasing dynamic range” but you don’t advance any other kind of rational as a base for your thesis that it will be “slightly less good than D810 at base ISO”.

          In theory you could be right when you say landscape photographers don’t care about FPS but reality is different and some may already do as you seem to forget the ones using auto bracketing either to merge multiple shots or to process HDR.

    • Ric of The LBC

      How much loss of DR at base ISO? 2%? 5%? 85%?

      • Wolf33d

        1% is too much of a loss. It should gain DR not loose it. Why people are now educated to pay premium to actually loose performance and be happy with it? This is ridiculous.

        • Allen_Wentz

          No, what is ridiculous is agonizing over tiny amounts of DR that are only measurable in a lab and cannot be observed in normal image capture.

          What we pay premium for is improved ability to “get the shot.”

          • Ric of The LBC

            Agree.

            The photographic community has become so spoiled by the excess of technological riches that we have all be come Varuca Salt. I WANT MORE!!!!

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/65095d45ca619f335e2d390736be0da523944d785e11ee1f9cb7945335c684d0.jpg

            • silmasan

              Ric, I hate to break it to you, but it’s “Veruca”, not Varuca.

            • Ric of The LBC

              Are you a spelling peeper now!. 🙂

              Fixed it. Thanks

          • Wolf33d

            Improved ability to get the shot. LOL. Now explain what that means when shooting landscape on a tripod? How exactly this will get you the shot better than the d810???
            What I am saying is the D810 is an amazing camera. And as a landscape photographer the only reason for me to upgrade is IQ improvement, one main aspect for my work being usable DR (as I cannot bracket because of shooting timelapses).

            • Bob Thane

              I mean, I love DR, don’t get me wrong. But what’s more important, 1% less DR, or 28% more megapixels? I think most landscape photographers would happily trade 1% of DR for those extra megapixels.

            • Wolf33d

              You are right, I prefer 28% more mpx for 1% less dr, the thing is that more mpx = more DR contrary to most belief as the A7S, A7R, D810 and so on proved. The usual trade of us not less dr for more mpx, but less dr for more dr at high iso which most landscaper don’t care.
              Now the thing is that Nikon cannot get the Sony sensor like on the d810 that’s why on the last cameras they go down in DR.

            • sandy

              Let’s wait for the announcement and tests before we decide it’s better or worse. Looking at the D500 numbers, I think it will be fine. We shall see.

            • Bob Thane

              The D5 and D500 both use Sony sensors. But yeah, more MP does equal more DR, assuming all else is equal. But if they kill of ISO 64, and use this different sensor tech, I could definitely see a slight hit to max DR happening despite the pixel bump.

            • silmasan

              The D5’s sensor (it’s actually ex-Toshiba, so not from the family of Sony Exmor) seems more like an evolution from the D3S’ sensor if you compare the DR on Bill Claff’s chart.

              Now the D500 does use a Sony Exmor sensor, only perhaps tuned slightly to the high ISO, yet at low ISO it is already better than the D7000 (the ‘base’ of the FX 36mp sensors).

            • silmasan

              “Nikon cannot get the Sony sensor like on the d810”

              I voiced the same concern just before the announcement, but now let’s see, which sensor does the D500 use? And if you’ve been paying attention to the oft-quoted “8L Time-Lapse”, “45-46mp”, “High Resolution” and so on, then tell me where do you think that’s coming from?

              And now, do you understand the relationship between D8xx/A7R’s 36mp sensor and D7000’s sensor? Now compare the DR between D500 and D7000. What’s your conclusion?

              The reference “baby D5” (which I don’t really agree with) probably comes from just the fps alone, but the sensors are totally different.

            • Allen_Wentz

              I am talking about the general performance of a new body, not whether or not you should upgrade from your old body for some very specific personal usage.

              You seem to think ability to get the shot is funny:
              “Improved ability to get the shot. LOL. Now explain what that means when shooting landscape on a tripod?”

              Examples of “Improved ability to get the shot” that might apply to even your very precise described landscape needs could perhaps include things like:
              1) Auto-bracketing within timelapse imagery
              2) Improved viewfinder
              3) Better Live View focusing
              4) Better image leveling
              5) More pixels captured
              6) Better body ergonomics
              etc.

              Your commentary implies that you have all the time in the world for setup, but I find that light changes fast, so even in landscape photography (for me), things like AF, focus points, joystick, etc. are new positives that help my ability to get the shot before light changes; perhaps create additional time to change lenses or whatever.

              And there are some things that, depending on personal style, may reduce one’s ability to get the shot. Loss of AE-L/AF-L button for instance.

    • D700s

      Soooo, you are pixel peeper. Not a photographer.

      • Wolf33d

        Ok

  • outkasted

    D5s may have the new RGBW sensor?… or will they wait for the D6 to implement that technology.

  • JEFF M

    In one of the earlier articles it was mentioned that a D850 will be on display somewhere in October. Does anybody have an idea of what this implies for a general availability date?

    • Nika

      Before Xmas

      • JEFF M

        That’s what I was afraid of

  • Dr. Richard Head

    Might we be wrong about megapixils in the 40’s? If it shoots more than 8 fps at FX size, getting that all onto the card is a task. If it’s the Baby D5 then the smaller than 40’s Megapixil size might make more sense?

    • RC Jenkins

      It does 8K time-lapses, so it’s definitely at least 40MP or so.

      It writes to buffer before it writes to cards.

  • JB3000

    holy crap

  • The decision Nikon made to make the D5 more of a specialist camera than it was. That clinched that as a street photographer I would not buy it.

    When I bought the Idsiii, D3s, D4 and D4s for street use it was because they had certain advantages as all around cameras. Making the D5 a specialist sports and night camera ruled it out. No more big bodies going forward.

    The D850 is moving in the opposite direction than the D5 did. It is becoming even more of an all around camera than the D810 is. If it becomes as good in low light as the D750, I will only use that when a smaller body is desired.

    For me, all around is good, the more all around the better. On the street, you never know what you will find.

    • James R Mercer

      I completely agree. 🙂

    • D700s

      I use my D5 for everything. I don’t fall victim to photography blogs.

      • Allen_Wentz

        Yeah. I used the DX D2x for most types of commercial work then did the same with the FX D3. All the single-digit bodies rock, FX or DX.

        Then the D500 came along and it rocks too. If the D850 handles like the D500 Nikon will have another winner.

  • @NikonRumors:disqus anything else coming this year? I need to upgrade my camera for work. I have a D7100 and slowly but surely, it’s aging and seeing wear and tear. I’d love to see a D750 replacement. Any chance? If not, I’ve all but decided to go D500. I’d rather go full-frame, but I’m already a crop guy, and the few times I’ve used a D500, was very impressed.

    Ugh.

    • James R Mercer

      The replacement for the D7100 is already out – it’s the D7500. (Or the D500, if you prefer that.)

      D750 is unlikely until 2018, IMHO. And it’s an interesting question whether or not the D750 replacement will be extended upward in terms of capability, or moved more toward consumerism, as the D7500 was.

      • Haven’t thought about the move towards consumer. No, I’m done with the 7000 series. I need to ease into full-frame or go pro crop.

        I’ve even given thought to jumping ship, but Canon’s 6Dii was NOT the answer. Sony gear is great, but limited and costly lenses. I’m a staff photographer and social media guy, so I do this for a living, but not enough to justify or pay for an 850, though I wish I could.

        • James R Mercer

          I’m in a similar boat – I’d love to see an enhanced and affordable successor to the D750, but from the description of the D850, I think that’s where Nikon is trying to compromise with enthusiasts and pro’s, price/capability wise.

  • Erics

    Well, this is pretty cool, if true! But the price… ugg.

  • SkyMeow

    Now I am less excited with D850 because of this “baby D5” thing. I have been considering a new high-res to use it side by side with my D5. Of course not sure until official spec is announced, but I’m leaning even more toward Fuji medium mirrorless.

    • James R Mercer

      Calling this a “baby D5” is – in my opinion – a disservice by the NR author. I’m not going to go into an exhaustive analysis between the two (nor against the D810, either).

      From what I can see thus far, the D850 stand up on its own. It’s neither an incremental upgrade to the D800/810, nor is it a “baby” (which would mean weaker, with less capability) D5.

      A better way to look at it would be as a temporary strategic step to slow down (or stem) the bleeding of DSLR’s to Sony or Fuji mirrorless, while Nikon gets ready to (hopefully) leapfrog all other mirrorless offerings.

      Given today’s information about Nikon 1, that seems even more likely.

      • I explained that several times already – I was calling it baby D5 for months before we even know what was going to be. This is how this camera was described to me back in December last year. I will continue to call it baby D5 just for that reason.

        • James R Mercer

          I know, and I understand what you meant – but some are taking it a face value. They think the camera is just a watered-down D5, which – as you and I both know – isn’t the case. 🙂

  • Ed Hassell

    The D800 was never a “baby” D4. If it were to be considered a baby, it would be to the D#x or D#h series cameras; but even that isn’t accurate. Since the D3/D300 and now the D5/D500, it is patently obvious that the D300/D500 is the baby of the series. The D800/D810 has been more a generalist, high-definition, portrait, studio camera; and, as Thom Hogan has deemed it, probably the single best all-around DSLR on the market.

    It looks like Nikon is attempting to make it even more, beefing up its few weaknesses in the sports and wildlife arena. That still doesn’t make it a specialist at sports — the D5 (or its baby sibling, the D500). It is clearly slated to the Nikon’s attempt to blow the market away with the best EveryMan’s camera ever.

    • sandy

      IF it is really 10 FPS, and has the D5 AF, then it could certainly be used as a D5, to some degree.
      I think it’s more a FF D500.

      • Ed Hassell

        That’s kind of the way I perceive it as well. However, given the pixel count, I suspect we may end up with “greater than 8-fps” in DX mode rather than in FF mode, leaving the D5 room to reign as the sports king a short while longer.

        The D5 is built to do serious action sports all day (& night) long. My feeling about the D850 is that it’s more an “also” do sports (and do it well). However, sports is one place where 45+ megapixels might not even be wanted on a regular basis. It simply isn’t needed for most high turnaround sports publication needs. The D5’s 20Mp is far more suited to that particular application.

  • azur

    How come a high resolution FX D850 is now suddenly regarded as a baby version of the low resolution FX D5 ?

  • He says he thinks it will probably be “a scaled D500 sensor”. I agree but it isn’t certain. Where do you get the idea that this will be achieved by simply changing the size that is being cut? Honestly, that really isn’t possible but if you want to believe it then there isn’t any point trying to explain how semiconductor fabrication works.

    NB I started work in that field in 1973.

    • Adam Brown

      If you thought I was saying you simply take a scissor and cut a different size…. No, that’s not what I was saying.
      But it would use much the same existing production of wafers for the D500, with some adjustments. Much cheaper than an entirely new design.

      • I thought you would at least use a laser …

        I do agree that it is likely that the design will be based on the design of the D500 sensor with the same size photosites. I don’t know enough about all the other circuits on the sensor (such as horizontal and vertical scanning) to know how easy it would be to scale it up from DX to FX. For sure it will require different lithography.

  • Nika

    Nikon website says
    The D850 is the successor to the D810, which has been highly praised by its users for offering extremely sharp and clear rendering, with rich tone characteristics. This powerful new FX-format digital SLR camera is engineered with a range of new technologies, features and performance enhancements that are a direct result of feedback from users, who demand the very best from their camera equipment. The D850 will exceed the expectations of the vast range of photographers that seek the high resolution and high-speed capabilities that only a Nikon of this caliber complemented by NIKKOR lenses can offer.

  • Nika

    The D850 will be a formidable tool for creators who will not compromise on exceptional image quality and versatility, including both aspiring and professional photographers as well as hobbyists who capture landscapes, weddings, sports, fashion, commercial imagery and multimedia content creators.

  • Jeffrey G. Bank

    Angry Photographer Ken is bitching about the expected Dynamic Range of the D850 compared to the D810. Care to comment? Thanks.

    • Yes, I can comment – his whole online existence is based on creating controversy and fake stories with the hope that you will watch his videos and make a “small” donation. This is no different than any of the other stories he has made up in the past. He has no clue if the D850 will have a better or worse DR. This is why we don’t discuss him or his videos here. The more attention he gets, the more garbage he will spit in the future.

      • nolan

        thank you peter, i LOVE your comment, he which will not be named or talked about is such a dick

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