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Nikon D850: Best full-frame DSLR now in town

Japanese major Nikon, which is celebrating 100 years in business this year, has unveiled its high-end "Nikon D850" -- the first full-frame DSLR to earn a perfect score of 100 from the independent ratings website DxOMark on both colour and dynamic range coming from the sensor.

The FX-format (full-frame) camera has an impressive 45.7MP sensor (up from its successor D810's 36.3MP) with a native ISO sensitivity range of 64-25,600 and an upgraded 153-point autofocus system.

The device has seven frames per second (7fps) with continuous autofocusing (AF) which can be upgraded to 9fps with an additional battery grip.

Priced at Rs 254,950 (body only) and Rs 299,950 with the AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR lens, let us see what this mid-range model in Nikon's full-frame DSLR camera line-up and successor to D810 has to offer to photo enthusiasts.

Design: The body design of the D850 is similar to the earlier D810, but this time, Nikon has done away with the built-in flash -- keeping in mind the needs of professional photographers.

The D850 is undoubtedly one of the company's fastest-shooting DSLRs. The camera comes with a touch-enabled, 3.2 inch diagonal tilting LCD with 2,359K dots.

The weather-sealed magnesium alloy body is resistant to dust and moisture.

The camera weighs 915 gms with a dimension of 146 x 124 x 79mm. Nikon has designed back-side illuminated (BSI) full-frame image sensor with no optical low-pass filter.

Sensor: The D850 has Nikon's first-ever BSI full-frame image sensor (35.9 mm x 23.9 mm) with no optical low-pass filter which will improve the low-light performance and peripheral image quality.

The BSI CMOS sensor delivers superior image quality when compared to traditional CMOS sensors. The D850 offer the lowest base ISO (ISO 64) of any DSLR or mirrorless cameras.

Video shooting: The camera can shoot videos in full-frame 4K UHD with NIKKOR wide-angle lenses as well as full high-definition (HD), slow-motion video recording of up to 120fps.

Perfect for multimedia shooting, the D850 supports 4K videography and 8K time-lapse movie production with silent interval timer photography as slow as 0.5 seconds.

Videographers can easily fine-tune colour, exposure and brightness that is reflected in white blown-out areas with Nikon's "Flat" Picture Control, all without any hassle.

Card Slot: The camera has two card slots -- one XQD card and the other Secure Digital (SD) card.

Pros: Lowest base ISO, high-resolution and sharp details, new silent shooting mode, large viewfinder, tilt-angle touchscreen LCD, proven AF system, good battery life and 4K UHD video shooting.

Cons: No built-in flash, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connection lags.

Final Take: The D850 is probably the most well-rounded, full-frame DSLR camera from Nikon after Canon launched its 50 MPI (EOS 5DS) a few months back.

We, however, think Nikon has a slight edge when it comes to image quality.

The flexible shooting position and more focus points are helpful if you are covering fast-action games like football, hockey and badminton.

The continuous shooting mode is really fast and flawless with low sound. A small in-built flash could have make it much more attractive but the ISO expansion limit is so high and with good quality that the flash will not required in most of situations (at least in news photography).

The D850's key strengths are its outstanding colour and dynamic range at base ISO where it edges past its rivals.

Overall, we recommend hybrid photographers and multimedia creators to opt for the best DSLR experience so far in Nikon D850.

(P.S. Mitra can be contacted at ps.mitra@ians.in)