So, is the Nikon D850 the only camera you need?
In my opinion the answer to this question is the same as the answer to most photographic questions: it all depends. I do think the D850 is a great camera. And if I could only own one current camera, it would be my choice. But should it be your choice? In my opinion your decision should take in hand these questions:
- What do you do with your photographs? By far, most images taken are either shown on a smart phone or tablet, or posted on the Web. At these image sizes any camera works great, witness the fact that the vast majority of all images shot today were taken with a phone.
- Do you really need all those megapixels? Do you make large prints? Really? Do you make prints at all? Do you own the computer power to process large files (and a D850 file with a few layers in Photoshop quickly swells to over a GB).
- Are you primarily a bird and wildlife photographer? The D5 definitely yields better high ISO performance at ISO 6400 and up, while both the D5 and D500 offer faster frame rates. Sure, at roughly $950 you can soup up the D850 to 9 fps, but you end up with a camera that is slightly larger, and slightly heavier, than the D5. Are weight and size considerations for you?
- Do you see the D850 offering you more cropping possibilities? The D500 is basically the same pixel density as the D850 at a considerably lower price. If you’re thinking about the D850 in order to crop heavily, perhaps the D500 makes more sense, especially when you could put the difference in price toward additional lenses, or a better tripod, or a photo trip.
- Can you give some specific reasons why getting a D850 will improve your photography? What will it allow you to do that you cannot do with your present equipment?
- And of course, can you afford the purchase price of the D850, along with new cards or computer drives or other additional expenses?
OK, I guess there is one more point than comes into play, which certainly did for me when I ordered the camera. I rationalized that at my age I deserved a treat. I’m not so young anymore (in all honesty, I’m in the “duffer” or “geezer” or “old guy” category), I’m not a car fanatic (although I love my truck and camper), nor am I a druggie or drunkard (although I do like a single malt in the evening). So I figured I could indulge myself. Yep, a rationalization for sure. But I definitely like the D850!