Nikon D850 Review; ‘I am the difference maker’ by Mark Seymour

A Nikon D850 Review

Nikon D850 Review

Let me introduce the “Difference Maker”, my Nikon D850 review, my experience, thoughts and images of the latest camera launch from Nikon by Nikon Ambassador Mark Seymour.

I always get asked about what equipment I use for my documentary wedding and street photography, and for over twenty years as a professional photographer and latterly an ambassador for the brand, I am a Nikon user, like a stick of rock, I’m Nikon through and through.

The D4s has been my workhorse for several years, teamed with Nikkor prime lenses 24, 35, 85 and 105mm, reliable, if not aesthetically beautiful, would I change it? I thought not, but now………

I was lucky enough to be invited to attend the launch of the D850 at Nikon UK London, as part of the 100th anniversary of Nikon, and they got my attention; I couldn’t wait to have the chance to give it a full road test at my next wedding, and work it alongside my trusty and faithful D4s.

This review is based on real-life shooting experiences over a few of my most recent weddings, where I used the camera as a second body alongside the D4s. All the images are taken using only natural ambient light, with no flash or modifiers.

Nikon D850 Review 1Making the difference count:

Taking hold of the D850, there’s a sense of familiarity, although substantially smaller than the D4s, attach in the battery extender and the feel is very similar with great ergonomics that naturally fit the hand.  There’s a weight to the camera that represents its’ quality and professionalism, weather-proof magnesium sealed body with standard layout of buttons and wheels for direct access to key menu functionality. It’s going to work in rough conditions and it will hold up against some brutal treatment; obviously not recommended, but when you’re changing cameras and lenses at a pace at a wedding, you need a robust camera that you can rely to not need a delicate touch, hence my previous reluctance to upgrade my D4s..

The vari-angle monitor is fabulous, I used it capture reflections on the puddled paving stones at Cliveden House and to shoot from overhead to take advantage of the stunning fall away backdrop of the gardens along with ceremonial pictures at a Jewish wedding.

The touch screen with 2.3 million dots and swipe functionality is great for zooming in to check the quality of the image which is as intuitive as using your tablet or mobile screen. Live view allows you to auto spot focus and take the photo in one simple action by holding your finger where you would like the point of focus to be and in one quick action it both focuses and takes the picture, done. You can also access the menu system and change it both the traditional button way or by using your finger on the touchscreen.

The low light high ISO is fabulous for candle-lit rooms and dancing in the evening and the Natural Light Auto White Balance is perfect for simple beautiful outdoor bridal portraits, check out my dropbox link at the end of this review to view some RAW images.

The quality of the images is awesome, depth of colour and range of tonality and I ask myself, why wouldn’t I want to deliver the best possible images to my clients? I love the fact that when shooting my ‘wow’ bridal portraits, I can shoot at 47MP, however that’s far too large for shooting the complete wedding day, so the option of shooting RAW at 25MP is the perfect size. It also has a third option of 11MP.


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The silent shooter option is perfect for ceremonies, particularly with those vicars who are not too accommodating of wedding photographers within their church. The registrar at Cliveden House casually asked if I had taken many pictures and after I had done a superb sales pitch for the D850, remarked how nice it was not to have that loud clicking going on throughout her service. I’m sure that silent shooting will become the expected practice in the future at weddings and sporting events.


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The viewfinder is the biggest optical viewfinder produced for a Nikon FX camera at 0.75x and is beautiful and bright.

Focusing, in a word, is quick, using the same 153-point AF system as the flagship D5, with an auto focus system so fast you can have absolute pinpoint focus on the smallest details. Sports photographers have praised the system with live action photography, so no real issues for wedding photographers capturing fast paced Jewish wedding dancing or a bride walking down the aisle. It features 99 cross-type AF points and is capable of focusing in conditions as low as -4EV, that’s darker than moonlight, so great for dramatic sunset pictures.

There is no built-in flash like the D810 or D750, I’m guessing that is to give us that beautiful big viewfinder. But includes an option for built-in wireless flash triggering with Nikon supported speed lights.

Nikon excels with their battery life; up to 1,840 shots with the standard battery or if you add the optional battery grip (that uses the same battery as the D4s and D5) you can keep shooting up to 5140. Also with the standard battery, the camera shoots up to a respectful 7FPS, and with the optional grip, it increases to 9 FPS.

I’ve never been concerned with the buffer facility, having been using both the D4s and D750, but on the D850 it’s around 51 images at full resolution.

The illuminated buttons are a nice little feature and a real help when you’re making adjustments at night or in a low-light situation. They light up at the turn of a dial and increase the visibility allowing easy shooting in a dark venue.


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Nikon D850 Review 6Nikon D 850 Review techie stuff:

Precision: 153-point AF system offers sensitivity down to -4 EV at the central point, (ISO 100, 20 °C/68 °F) and metering down to -3 EV

Sensor Size: 35.9 x 23.9 mm

Resolution: 45.7 megapixels of effective resolution, 45.4 MP files, 8256 x 5504, Back-illuminated FX-format CMOS sensor with no optical low-pass filter

Speed: Shoot at 7 fps, Shoot full-resolution images at 9 fps using the optional MB-D18 Multi-Power Battery Pack (with the EN-EL18B battery)

Light sensitivity: EXPEED 5 image processor ISO range of 64–25600, extendable from 32 to 102400 (equivalent), Full ISO range for 4K video

4K video: Record full-frame 4K/UHD movies at 30p, with no crop-factor limitations, Shoot more than three hours using the MB-D18 Multi-Power Battery Pack

Monitor: Vari angle, 3.2”, Touch screen with 2,359,000 dots

Exposure modes: Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Picture Modes, Manual

White balance mode: Auto, Manual, Preset, White Balance Bracketing, Custom

Lens fitting: Nikon F Mount

Storage: SDXC, XQD Cards, SD Card, SDHC Card

Connection type: USB 3.0, HDMI


Do I? I do:

So will I take this camera to have and to hold, from this day forth….. Ok, let’s be honest, it is a camera that comes with a price to match its’ hype; £3499 for the body alone, £3800 with battery grip, so it is not going to be bought on a whim, but as an investment in your photography and your business, as a professional photographer I would say ‘I do, I do, I do’.


Nikon D850 Review Wedding Photographs


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Nikon D850 Review Low light photograph underexposed by 4 stops

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Nikon D850 Review 16Resources: 

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NIkon D850 Review Real RAW images

Check out some more RAW images I shot of this bad boy D850 here:


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