Nikon D850 vs D810: Features compared

Nikon D850 vs D810: Viewfinder and LCD

The D850's pentaprism viewfinder offers 0.75x magnification, next to the D810's 0.71x magnification, although both display 100% of the scene
  • Nikon D850: 100% pentaprism with 0.75x mag / 3.2in tilting touchscreen, 2.36million dots
  • Nikon D810: 100% pentaprism with 0.71x mag / 3.2in screen, 1.23million dots

Each camera is fitted with a 3.2in rear display, but there are big differences between them. 

While the D810’s display is fixed and only offers a resolution of 1,229k dots, the D850 features a tilting, touch-sensitive screen with 2,359k dots in total. 

The D850’s tilting screen will no doubt simplify setting up awkward low- and high-angle compositions, and photographers looking to move further into video should find the tilting screen helps too, although it could be argued that you could easily add an external monitor if you really need it.

Nikon D850 vs D810: Build and design

Both cameras make use of magnesium alloy in their construction. The above image shows the shell of the D850

Both full-frame cameras have a durable magnesium-alloy shell and enhanced weather sealing to ensure they can be used in the toughest of environments. 

The older D810 is slightly lighter at 980g vs 1005g (with the battery in place) and there is little difference in body dimensions. Some buttons have been moved around, such as on the top plate of the D850, but the layout is generally the same, and D810 users will have no problem familiarising themselves with the newer model. 

One clever feature on the D850 is illuminated buttons, which makes the camera easier to operate in low-light situations. The D810, by comparison, does not offer this.

Nikon D850 vs D810: Other features

The D850 accepts both XQD and SDHC/SDXC-type cards, whereas the older D810 supports CompactFlash in addition to SD formats

Having been released in 2014, it’s no surprise the D810 can’t quite match the D850 for cutting-edge features. 

Noteworthy functions on the D850 include an electronic shutter that allows photographers to capture images in silence, which has obvious benefits to wedding photographers that want to shoot without attracting attention or disturbing the ceremony. 

Macro photographers haven’t been left out either as there’s an impressive Focus Bracketing mode, which automatically takes up to 300 shots that can be subsequently merged together to create a single image with front-to-back sharpness. 

Using a 45MP sensor will fill up memory cards quickly and put more demands of your computer when it comes to processing the images, so it's good to that the D850 allows users to select the size of Raw file. 

The options are 45.7MP (Large), 25.6MP (Medium) and 11.4MP (Small), with both Medium and Small being 12bit lossless compressed.

The D850 also records to either XQD and SDHC/SDXC formats, whereas the older D810 opts for SDHC/SDXC and CompactFlash slots. The use of XQD also helps that camera to offer a 51-frame burst depth when shooting Raw files, next to the D810's 26 burst depth.

The D850 also offers Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth, whereas the D810 lacks all three.

Nikon D850 vs D810: Battery life

  • Nikon D850: 1,840 frames per charge
  • Nikon D810: 1,200 frames per charge

The D850 is likely to be very popular with landscape and wildlife photographers and, as these two genres typically take place in remote locations, good battery life is essential. 

The D810 lived up to this demand, with the battery lasting 1,200 shots between charges. However, the D850 has raised the bar significantly as its battery is said to be good for 1,840 images between charges.

If that's not long enough for you, you'll be pleased to know that both cameras can also be used with separate battery grip. Using the D850 with the MB-D18 grip and EN-EL18b battery (in addition to the camera's own battery) takes this to a staggering 5,140 frames between charges.

Verdict

Despite being three years old, the D810 is still a very competent DSLR, one that caters for many professional landscape and wedding photographers among others.

It delivers high-quality images that are rich in colour and detail, and if all you capture are stills, you may be better offer sticking with the D810 for another year or so until prices for the D850 drop a little. After all, 36MP is more than enough resolution for most enlargements, or for the demands of magazines and even stock libraries. 

However, there’s no mistaking that with the D850 Nikon has produced one of the most impressive cameras of 2017. With the competition from the likes of Canon and Sony, nothing else would have done! 

The D850 makes far more sense for videographers, but when you consider the full range of changes elsewhere – better autofocusing, silent shutter, more flexible screen, better burst depth and so on – you can see there's still more than enough to keep stills photographers after the most recent tech happy too. 

Read more: Nikon D850: Specs, release date and price confirmed