The D850 is Nikon's highest resolution DSLR to date, boasting a new 45.7 Megapixel full-frame sensor, coupled with the flagship D5's 153-point AF system, and fast burst shooting at 7fps, boost-able to 9fps with the optional battery grip. The long-awaited successor to the D810 looks set to appeal to both those who desire the highest resolution images as well as wildlife and sports shooters who demand fast bursts and top-end autofocus. Movie shooters will also appreciate the presence of un-cropped 4k as well as a tilting touch-screen, but unlike Sony and Canon, Nikon continues to lack embedded phase-detect AF on its DSLRs, so video and live view still relies on a contrast-based AF system. There's also SnapBridge wireless connectivity, dual card slots, backlit buttons and a long battery life. I'll update this preview with lots more details when I've spent some quality time with a final-production D850.

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Nikon D850 preview

The Nikon D850 is a full-frame DSLR aimed at photographers who desire very high resolution images without compromising burst shooting. Announced in August 2017, this long-awaited successor to the D810 sports a new Nikon-designed back-side illuminated full-frame sensor with 45.7 Megapixels, no low-pass filter and a base sensitivity of 64 ISO, and boasts continuous shooting at 7fps, boost-able to 9fps with the optional battery grip.

The D850 inherits the 153-point AF system of the flagship D5, sporting 99 cross-type sensors and low-light sensitivity down to -4EV; 15 AF points also work at f8. Coupled with 7fps burst shooting and a buffer of 51 frames in 14-bit RAW or 170 in 12-bit lossless compressed RAW, the D850 will be as attractive to sports and wildlife shooters as it is for those who seek the highest resolution Nikon body. Meanwhile, everyone will appreciate the 1840 photo battery life, backlit buttons, twin card slots (XQD and SD), and weather-sealing. There’s also Nikon’s SnapBridge wireless connectivity, driven by an always-on Bluetooth link with Wifi for faster image transfer if desired.

The D850 can also film 4k video up to 30p with no crop, along with 1080p up to 120fps. The 3.2 screen tilts vertically and is touch-sensitive, allowing you to tap to pull-focus, albeit only with a contrast-based AF system in Live View – sadly no embedded phase-detect for movies or Live View shooting. Strangely while focus peaking is available, it’s only for 1080p, not in 4k. A built-in interval timer also generates timelapse movies in-camera at 4k or 8k resolution. I’ll add much more information on the D850 when I’ve had a chance to spend some quality time with the body – check back soon! Expect the D850 in September at a body price of $3299 USD.

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