Nikon Gets Serious About 4K DSLR Video with New Nikon D850

Last month, Nikon announced the development of their next-gen full-frame DSLR – the Nikon D850, and now we have the full specs and features. And Nikon are not messing about when it comes to shooting 4K video with this beast. In the mainstream photography world it has been a Nikon and Canon game for a long time, but in the world of video it is a different story today, with Panasonic and Sony grabbing huge chunks of the once 5D II spear-headed market niche, which spread like wildfire. Nikon has had 4K video in their DSLRs before, as well as solid Full HD capture, but it has never been seen by most people shooting video for money as a “go-to” DSLR camera that you can shoot solid photos and videos with – something that a 5D mark III or Sony A7s were, and still are to some degree to video folks.

The Nikon D850, in my opinion, seems to try and change this perception. For starters, the Nikon D850 offers full-frame capture in UHD at 30p. As a Canon 5D Mark IV owner, I never cared for the fact that my 5D crops to a massive 1.74x when I flip the video mode into 4K, but having a full-frame FOV when in 4K seems to be a big concern and wish for a lot of people. Well, if you are on team Nikon, you now get that too.

In addition, the new D850 can do 1080/120fps video at a DX crop, something the 5D mark IV cannot do as the resolution drops to 720p in 5x slow motion – a resolution not deemed for a professional level in 2017 and relegated to “home movie” land.

Here are the major features that I am sure Nikon photographers, who double in video would surely appreciate.

Nikon D850 Highlights

  • 45.7MP FX-Format BSI CMOS Sensor
  • EXPEED 5 Image Processor
  • Video Features:
    • 4K/UHD Full-Frame video at 30p
    • 1080p/120fps in a DX crop
  • 3.2″ 2.36m-Dot Tilting Touchscreen LCD
  • 153-Point AF System
  • Native ISO: 64-25600, Extended: 32-102400
  • 7 fps Shooting for 51 Frames with AE/AF
  • 8K Time-Lapse, Negative Digitizer Mode
  • 180k-Pixel RGB Sensor, Focus Shift Mode
  • SnapBridge Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
  • XQD and SD media
  • Price: $3,297 (B&H, Adorama)

Sadly, there is no information yet on whether Nikon have implemented any sort of flat picture profile, or details on the picture profiles and bit rates for video.  Much like in the world of Canon DSLRs, there is no peaking or zebras.

First Impressions: 4K Video

The Nikon D850 features a new 8K UHD time-lapse movies mode. Check out the first impressions of this mode presented by nature photographer Marsel van Oosten below.

Certainly a beast for stills as all Nikon Full-Frame DSLRs, the new D850 does have the potential, at least on paper, to get photographers more involved in video as they do get a lot of requests to shoot video as well as a stills.

However, at $3300 as expected for a top-end FF DSLR, the D850 lacks basic pro monitoring video features (it is a DSLR, I know, but still – we’re in 2017, not in 2012) and a robust codec (otherwise it would have been mentioned in the press release) so, I don’t see it as anything but another DSLR for photographers who dabble in video as opposed to video professionals who dabble in stills. At least for now. I hope Nikon prove me wrong, but at the end of the day, you guys decide with your wallet.

You can read more about the Nikon D850 here.

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  1. Bjørnar Posse Sandboe August 29, 2017
  2. VTC Media August 29, 2017

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