Weekly news flash #443 Nikon D850 edition (with D850 vs. a7r III comparisons)

→ New: screen protector and sunshade hood for Nikon D850 cameras.

→ New: Markins camera plates for the Nikon D850 (Markins products are sold at Amazon).

→ Check out the latest Nikon D850 books at Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR.

→ Nikon D850 vs. Sony A7r III comparison at Photonstophotos (click for larger view).

Pixel Dynamic Range 8MP Print Dynamic Range
Nikon D850 (ISO 64) 13.78 15.03
Sony a7R III 13.63 14.84
Nikon D850 (ISO 100) 13.27 14.53
Sony a7R II 13.21 14.41

→ Dpreview: "Sony a7R III dynamic range improved, nearly matches chart-topping Nikon D850":

While the Nikon D850 is the top performer here, its important to note that this is only the case if you can give the D850 the extra ~2/3 EV light it needs at ISO 64 (which you often can if you're shooting bright light or a landscape photographer on a tripod). At ISO 100, the a7R III dynamic range actually exceeds that of the D850, thanks to incredibly low read noise.

Keep in mind, though, that if you can give the D850 the extra exposure to take advantage of its ISO 64 dynamic range, all tones in your image benefit from the higher signal:noise ratio—even midtones and brighter tones will be more amenable to post-processing and sharpening thanks to being more 'clean' and less noisy to begin with. The D850 is able to tolerate as much total light as the medium format Fujifilm GFX 50S. That's what allows one to get unbelievably crisp, 'medium format-like' like files from a Nikon D810.

Imaging Resource: eye crops from the Fujifilm GFX 50s, Nikon D850, Sony a7RIII, and Canon 5D Mark IV.

→ Sony a7R III vs. Nikon D850 video by Tony & Chelsea Northrup.

Related posts:

Sony A7R III vs. Canon 5D Mark IV vs. Nikon D850 specifications comparison

Sony a7r III pre-orders not even close to the number of pre-orders the Nikon D850 got in the first 24 hours

Photons to Photos Preliminary Dynamic Range Results Are In Sony a7RIII vs Nikon D850 vs Fujifilm GFX vs Canon 5D Mark IV

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  • Sony trolls will be banned without a warning…. come on, make my day 🙂

      • all those discussions (and a few more) were started in the Nikon dpreview forum probably by the same troll (“The Rash”) I banned last week…

        • Luca Motz

          Don’t feed the trolls Peter. You’re simply giving them a platform by posting those screenshots. I really feel like you are overdoing it a little. Almost as if you were scared that there is some truth in their statements.
          Let’s face it Sony is currently gaining more momentum than Nikon. Mostly by marketing. But also by creating amazing cameras that can stand up to the brilliant tech Nikon puts out.
          If simply comparing the best of the best cameras from both sides? Currently Nikon wins hands down. But the gap is closing and Nikon should grow some balls and get their marketing right.
          And while Nikon tries to sort their marketing out and Sony tries to play some more catch up with Nikon we camera users should just chill out and realise that as long as we are comfortable with our equipment not a single person will ever be able to tell the difference between modern cameras from any brand when used correctly.

          • I prefer to ban them before they do any damage here. This is the reality we have to deal with and I don’t see why I should not address it here. Many people go online looking for an advice and may not be aware all this even exists. I believe this is a serious problem that I need to address. There is so much misinformation online that it is not even funny…

            • SteveWithAnS

              Go Peter. Long live Nikon!

            • I am ready with my finger on the red button… 🙂

            • Luca Motz

              Yes I totally agree with you hence I’m confused why you just spread some of that misinformation by posting those screenshots.

            • To make people aware. Some may take those headlines seriously, so I want to make sure they won’t.

            • Luca Motz

              Your call obviously. I believe it does you and us more harm than good. Anyways bed time around here (actually way past it) so good night! 😀

            • Look, my post is neutral, I just posted a comment in the comment section to make sure readers are aware. Did you see what the Russian trolls were able to achieve trough social media? Don’t you have a problem with this?

            • It’s a shame you have to waste so much time and energy reading all this stuff and deciding what to do with it. Wish the folks atFB and other SM outlets had exercised as much diligence with the election meddling. Making a $3,300 mistake on a camera purchase is one thing, electing an idiot to run the country is another.

            • So, honest question(because eff these guys) – where do you think these people are coming from? Bitter dullards who have nothing better to do, or paid miscreants…because we have seen both lately and I would be chagrined to see them transcend politics and now be maneuvering around more corporate interests…
              The Al Franken-Facebook exchange was just dumbfounding.

            • They are getting paid to do this – I have no other logical explanation for this behavior. Just my opinion. This level of trolling doesn’t exists with any other brand. Not even close.

            • Sadly this is a thing now. And I can’t see it getting better anytime soon. Sony has a HORRIBLE track record of running clean ship – I will never forget the rootkits!

            • Amir

              This seems to be a new marketing strategy:push a product(such as camera body) to the market,hire unofficially some paid trolls to do the damage by doing negative marketing towards opponents.The worst case scenario is that some of them run Youtube channels with thousands of subscribers and they claim that they have no affiliations with that company!

            • AlphaStatuz

              Disagree, Peter. Trolling is its own reward to people. I’m a long time poster on a mixed martial arts forum and the trolls there are true artists. They literally become the idiot they portray themselves as being. Hyping up fighters who don’t warrant the praise merely to be annoying; disparaging the greats; generally just acting like children. Why? Don’t know. Most likely, because they’re losers.

            • ZoetMB

              I have a hard time believing that. Do you truly believe that Sony is paying trolls to badmouth Nikon? I think these are fanboys who have fun trolling or who are insecure about their own purchasing decisions. You see that all over the web on just about any topic. You don’t think there’s tons of trolling against Apple, for example, as well as the fanboys who defend Apple no matter what?

              There are people who have a made a religion out of the brands that they buy. Quite silly, but you see it all the time. And we shouldn’t be too surprised because in a capitalist, consumerist society, we’ve made acquiring things our religion and brands our gods. What is Christmas about? It’s about buying stuff. For most people, it’s certainly not about the teachings of Jesus. Somehow, I can’t picture Jesus lining up to get a cheap game player at Walmart.

              This has been the case at least since the end of World War II, but it’s social media that has brought it all out into the open.

            • I have not seen any Fuji or Olympus trolls here. There are all from the Sony camp and they are all very serious about trolling. My opinion is only based on running several photography websites for over a decade – I have never seen something like this and Sony has a history of doing similar things in the past. So yes, it is definitely possible.

            • ZoetMB

              Fine, but considering their sales, there are probably a lot fewer Fuji or Olympus users, which means there’d be fewer trolls. Also, I think one could argue that because Fuji and Olympus are not the dominant brands, their users are probably not so invested in brand worship and therefore, there’d be fewer trolls as well.

              But, let’s say I’m wrong and Sony is using paid trolls. It reflects bad on Sony, but so what? Anything that looks like trolling should be removed, paid or not. If a post has clearly invalid information, I wouldn’t post it or keep it, if someone else has posted it.

            • I agree, its just my opinion. I could be wrong. But to your point – I have not seen any Canon trolls here for yers and they currently have the largest market share. You see how this whole thing just doesn’t make any sense?

            • ZoetMB

              Sure, but Canon, being an old and established brand, probably has more secure (and like Nikon, older) users. They generally like what they have and there’s no need for them to bash Nikon.

            • Could be.

            • bushkov

              I’d call this social media comment about alleged Russian trolls ordinary trolling.

            • ZoetMB

              Not to get into politics too much, but since you brought it up, even if the Russian trolls (which both supported and attacked both candidates since the purpose was to create dissension) changed some votes, I have a hard time believing that it turned a state (as opposed to a single voter) from blue to red. Pro Trump (or anti-Hillary) trolling was targeted at people most likely to vote for Trump anyway (and vice-versa).

              The four usually blue states (FL, MI, WI and PA) that Trump surprisingly won would have been Hillary’s if a percentage of voters in each of those states didn’t throw their votes away on Gary Johnson. If 26% of Johnson voters in WI, just 7% in MI and 48% in PA (or 58% in FL + one of the above) had voted for Hillary instead of Johnson, she’d be in the White House now. She didn’t need a single additional Trump vote to win. Now I suppose one could argue that anti-Hillary trolling caused those people to vote for Johnson instead of her, but I think most of those voters were disgruntled Bernie supporters and therefore, really wouldn’t have been affected by trolling.

              And assuming that Trump is still in office in 2020 and runs again, if Democrats play the same stupid games: staying home or voting for a candidate who couldn’t possibly win, because their favorite candidate didn’t win the nomination, Trump will win again.

              As for the camera trolling, I’m in the camp that favors ignoring it (if it’s truly a troll and not just a dissenting opinion for which the poster makes a cohesive argument) rather than pointing it out.

            • I did not take any political side, I just reported the fact that it happened – confirmed by multiple agencies plus Facebook and Twitter. Everybody should be concerned about that no matter if they achieved their goal or not.

            • WoodyM

              Peter I would like to thank you for running NR. I enjoy reading the comments and opinions of others on NR, learn something everyday.

            • Thanks for being a reader!

          • Duncan Dimanche

            well I think that you don’t realize the amount of
            cleaning Peter has to do… and ever more explaining why…

            So this is a quick way to informe everyone without waisting his life away 😉

            • Correct, I just want to inform my audience about the existence of this issue because I now see it all over the Web.

            • mikeswitz

              Peter, are you having a problem with your waist…? Seriously, I don’t think you need to justify reposting those screenshots.The readers of NR, etc, are, for the most part enthusiasts, sophisticated enough to recognize a troll when they see one. You banned The Rash from NR and I’ll bet no one complained. The best thing about the screenshots is reminding everyone of the very apropos name.

          • Wildness

            The reason the Cult of Sony comes on so strong is because they know that while their cameras are as good as Nikon at capturing the photographs, they are as about as user friendly as a piece of consumer electronics can achieve. I mean really, it took them until the third generation to put an AF-ON button on their “professional” cameras.

            • Luca Motz

              Well I believe that is because they were originally designed for different needs. But yes it’s very true that for professional use the current DSLRs handle much much better. But for convenience for holiday photography or the like the Sony offerings are much better.

            • Wildness

              For needs like holidays or street photography or the like, I prefer the Fuji X-T2. It has the same kind of ergonomics as I expect out of my Nikons… in some ways better when you compare it to the Df (If there make a Df2, they need to rip off the X-T2 design.).

          • akkual

            There is some side effects though. Sony A7 series are still (at least A7r II) very poorly made for professional use. No weather sealing, overheating, bad to use etc. I have hard times to grasp these Sony fan boys, especially as I recently saw people commenting from switching from Fujifilm and Canon to Sony based on some very awkward points, which made me feel like they were led into miss by someone. Yes, Sonys take excellent pictures and are full of tech, but they have way overpriced their bodies compared to how they are built. I really like people like Matt Granger who were bold enough to report the problems they saw on field with Sony A7 series. After all, they are very expensive systems for most and it is bismal that for the price of 3-4k you get a body that cannot withstand lightest rain nor dust.

            • Luca Motz

              And this is exactly the reason why most of the professionals working outside the studio still use Canikon. I’d say the ergonomics are the easiest thing to fix though and according to Thom Hogan they have almost caught up with the A9. I’d assume we’re facing the end of the camera duopoly with Sony getting even with Nikon for a 15/20/60/5 Nikon/Sony/Canon/Rest distribution. If Nikon finally finds some kids to do some decent marketing they might be able to stay in 2nd place. It’s obvious that actual performance does not matter at all because Canon is a joke compared to Sony or Nikon in terms of performance but they still are at the top rather comfortably. It’s marketing and paying people in the scene and Sony is #1 at that and Canon a distant #2 but they hold their own by sheer market share dominance. If you wanted to put Nikon on that list you’d have to put them on some negative place because they mess up their credibility by paying people like Moose Peterson who make a video every time some Nikon lens comes out just to say that this is their new favourite lens and the best there’s ever been.
              Would be so easy for Nikon to get friendly with Matt Granger and Jared Polin (two pretty famous Youtubers that shoot Nikon) and give them tonnes of free stuff and sponsor shoots and trips of theirs to get the Nikon brand name out there. No need to pay them and restrict what they say. Simply make sure they keep using their Nikon gear. But nope let’s keep that Moose Peterson guy!

            • akkual

              I personally like Fujifilm at the moment. Just because they have balls to give a freaking 2 year warranty over here, which no other manufacturer manages to do. Which kind is stupid, because EU legistlation actually enforces manufacturers to be responsible for manufacturing defects for 2 years. Also, Fujifilm seems to push out firmware updates that actually are cool and improve the product even if it is several years old. I like that kind of support. I still shoot Nikon as my main camera, but I am seriously considering switching to Fuji’s GFX (mainly because the lenses are epic!).

    • animalsbybarry

      I think it would be helpful if you defined trolls and defined your “rules”
      I am certain we all have different ideas of what these terms mean, and a clear explaination of what kind of behavior is not acceptable would be usefull to everyone.

      • see the examples I gave with the screenshots from dpreview – I think it is pretty obvious and doesn’t need any explanation

      • FountainHead

        I think it would be helpful if Peter banned you.

        • animalsbybarry

          If you only want to hear from people who think exactly like you….you should only be talking to yourself.

    • Ali Moradi

      Brand preferences aside, honestly I would be shocked if the average person could tell the difference between that 0.1 dynamic range difference. At some point you just have to pick the camera you like the most and feels most natural to you, and go with it. Most people’s (including my own) skills in photography are not so great that they would notice such small differences. I usually just stick with Nikons because I love the ergodynamics.

      • Excuse me that 0.15 DR advantage that-could-easily-be-testing-error-or-sample-variability-skewed-and-be-wrong that is touted? That makes my E-dick 0.15 inches longer than yours. You don’t stand a chance. Bow down before thee.

        (some people actually think this way sarcasm aside!)

        • Amir

          Middle eastern trolls are everywhere!They are all almost in the vicinity of Russia,the center of worldwide trolling! That 0.15 DR is very important when I take photos of some products in almost dark,not even dim studio and I need to recover shadows from black background or different black parts of my shooting product.So,it is very important to me,at least, when I am working on it for earning $$.

          • Thom Hogan

            Seems doubtful. I would guess that if your standards are that exacting, you’d be more worried about linearity of response then breadth of response.

          • Max

            No you will not notice the difference.

      • Wildness

        Exactly… image quality is indistinguishable … usability-wise Nikon wins hands down.

      • akkual

        The camera system is so much more than just the sensor. The old Canon defence, but it is true:
        – the most important part is the lenses. PERIOD. Sony has some great zooms. Prime wise, one need to go some hefty Zeiss glass. However, they are all big. Ridiculously big compared how small and unwieldable the body is.
        – the second most important part is the usability – this divides to several subsections:
        * how the body feels on your hand
        * how the specs meet what you like to shoot
        * is the AF at the level you need
        * is there any special things that match what you need and often use
        * battery life if you need it
        * weather sealings etc?
        * and there is plenty of other stuff that are typically very subjective – like the menu systems
        – the third most important part is the reliability and the customer service, e.g. Fujifilm is the only one giving 2 years warranty where I live – on the other hand, only Canon and Nikon are easily serviced here… for Sony – yeah, good luck with that.

        I can easily see why some people go with Sony – they boast the best tech and never fail on sensors and there is some good lens options especially on zooms. Yet, I personally find Sony (after owning one of their cameras… RIPieces that one) fail at all the other aspects.

    • Allan

      ” …. come on, make my day”, punk.


    • I have no pbm with banning trolls, it is a good short term solution, mostly when false information is given.
      A good long term solution also is to remember and bear in mind that any comment we read speaks the truth about its author, rather than being true facts.

    • thundrrd

      Hi Peter. Appreciate you taking the time to post this information.

      Saw the Northrup video when it first came out and thinking they were both big Canon shooters, so was surprised to hear the high praise they gave the Sony A7riii in their video. They almost sounded like fanboy’s, but maybe I misinterpreted their opinions.

      This to me may be the most interesting time in the camera world we’ve had in a long time. Nikon created an amazing update (IMO) with the D850, but I also think Sony did the same with the A7riii.

      Here is where I think the Sony keeps getting it wrong on the A7 series – Ergonomics.

      Right after the A7riii was announced, I was really interested and leaning toward picking one up – I still might, I just need to wait and see how it really handles – but I was disappointed they cannot come up with a better designed camera body.

      With the small buttons and complaints I’ve heard from those who use one for long periods, you would think Sony could do a better design. Still, I am considering the A7riii and also the D850.

      May end up picking up one and then later maybe the other. Just haven’t decided and Sony has made my decision tough because their camera still has flaws, but not quite as many as it had before.

  • Duncan Dimanche

    They did improve the LCD but is it brighter ? and is it less prone to glaring ? I really hope so 🙁

  • Eric Calabros

    A7m3 sensor is exactly same as A7m2, they just improved the read noise in base ISO, by only 1e https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f6038b2ef3e397abb9ce18896a02fa20c77beda505dcbf6b01e544091395dadf.jpg

  • I will wait for Thom’s book. When is it coming out Thom?

    • Allen_Wentz

      Me too.

  • This is now down to lenses and ergonomics and in my view, Nikon wins on both fronts. However, that distinction will continue to blur overtime. However, even then, with over 20 lenses in my kit (from half a dozen AIS lenses that I use for landscapes to the 400 2.8E), Nikon really has to blow it for me to switch.

    • ZoetMB

      Right and it would also be difficult for someone to switch like myself, with four pro-level Nikon lenses that were a lot less expensive than today’s lenses when I bought them. But industry-wide, there are only 1.6 lenses sold per body and there are many people who own only the lens they bought with the camera. For my shooting, there is no way I’m ever paying the big bucks for the esoterics anyway (unless someone was paying really big bucks for the images), so the fact that Sony doesn’t have those lenses would not be a factor if I was considering switching. They already have the lenses I need – they’re just way too expensive.

      Also, if one has never used a DSLR, they’re far more likely to go with a mirrorless. As I’ve posted many times before, I think a lot of this is generational. Younger photographers don’t want “their father’s camera”.

      IMO, all the people who are badmouthing the Sony will be proven hypocritical if Nikon releases a mirrorless body that has pretty much the same attributes as a Sony, including the same faults. As I’ve posted before, go to photo posting sites and what you’ll see is that every manufacturer makes cameras that are capable of really amazing images. It’s silly to argue over which hardware is “best”. People are too focused on hardware and not focused enough on the substance of their images.

  • What’s the deal with 100% crop comparisons? Is the sony doing some kind of extra sharpening or focussing is just off on the others? Or is it that sony is influencing the test somehow?

    • PAfido

      Different lenses. The Sony 24-105f4 is really really sharp so the test is weird.

      • I didn’t think the difference could be so much more.

  • Amir

    Hey Peter,I should personally thank you for updating that buying guide section.

    • Sorry for the delay.

  • This is a very serious issue and I have seen some concerning evidence here on the blog. Do you remember the guy who just opened an account to post that he canceled his D850 order so he can buy the a7r3? He did that on several websites. He deleted his account immediately after I asked him if he gets paid by Sony. Now, a “regular” troll will never delete its own account, they will go all the way with the insults before they get banned and then open a new account. I have seen a few “strange” cases like that and they are all related to Sony only. This is the place where I have to say that I am not a fan of conspiracy theories, but this is just something to think about…

  • Ashraf Botros

    this couple in that video (Tony & Chelsea Northrup) for sure on Sony payroll big time.
    sad to see accomplished photographers resort to that kind of garbage

    • Allan

      I watched the video. Tony points out what he prefers in the D850 and what he prefers in the Sony.

      It’s a quick review of a new camera.

    • Greg Smith

      They talked about strengths and weaknesses of each. The Sony A7R III looks to be an amazing camera — as is the D850. Tony has been a fan of EVFs for some time, but did not consider the A7RII ready for prime time. They even mention in the video that they never really stuck with shooting the A7R II for very long. Hardly a sign of paid shills. And the fact that they reported that they didn’t see a DR improvment over the A7R II? Pretty sure Sony isn’t paying anything for that script.

  • Hans J

    The minute the Sony A7riii was announced I put an order in for the D850.

  • Wildness

    Anyone have any thoughts on that screen protector/sun shade combo?

    • Allen_Wentz

      That shade for the D850 looks like a total kludge, but those folks who like to super-protect everything may love it. My premise is to only buy tough hardware, then use/abuse it.

      It took me about two weeks to decide the screen protector on the D2x was a PITA waste of effort. I have never used those things since then.

  • akkual

    The imaging resource comparison is made over JPEGs. So it is basically useless comparison, as all the camera manufacturers have so different JPEG engines in them. Also, it is weird that on the Fujifilm GFX, the eye is actually smaller than on D850 or A7rIII and Canon seems to boast the biggest eye. It should be other way around, because Fuji still boasts the biggest amount of pixels and Canon the least amount. Like WTF, man? I no doubt that Sony has the best tech (as they pretty much do all the sensor tech for Fuji and Nikon, so you would expect them to be step ahead), but that is just poor testing practice.

  • Allen_Wentz

    Barry said: “I think we are at the point where the reletively sales volume of these two cameras will be a fair test of whether people preffer mirrorless or DSLR.”

    I disagree. These are both high-end cameras, and sales at the high end are _not_ a meaningful test of folk’s overall preference mirrorless versus DSLR. High end sales only reflect the high end. And IMO comparing two bodies only really reflects on those two bodies anyway.

  • IanMak

    Sorry to bother but i have been contemplating to buy a D850 for the past month. I decided spending so much money was a waste when i already have a camera. It wouldnt be revolutionary since i dont even do photography for a job. I just trade stocks.

    Well apparently my sister dropped my D500 which cracked the sigma 18-35 and cracked the body and pushed the lens mount into the body slightly which threw off the spacing and forever screwed the focus.

    Im not sure if they repair cameras like that but id imagine it to be expensiveeven if they did. Im looking for an upgrade anyway. Is a D850 what i want for sure? If i can even find one in Canada that is

  • I know you are. I was just thinking. Most probably you would be burned at a stake or would be given a high priority on a death list. LOL.

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