Nikon D850 Review

Dear DSLR loyalists,

We haven’t forgotten or abandoned you. In fact, we’re still one of you, we promise.

After a couple recent articles that maybe kinda/sorta talked about Mirrorless, you may be thinking that we’ve turned to the “darkside” on you, that we’ve forgotten just how great DSLR technology has been, and continues to be.

I assure you that we haven’t forgotten. And to prove it to you, we’re going to do a short review here of the Nikon D850.

Two words come to mind… Simply amazing.

In reviewing a camera we should decide first what exactly is important in a camera body.

There are an assortment of technical specs we could look at, but writing that sort of review feels like an exercise in regurgitating a bunch of information that would cause most of our -not all- eyes to glaze over as we read. For those tech spec lovers out there, click here for all the glorious specs on the D850, provided by Nikon.

So, what are the important stuff that we’re looking for? The following is a list of what we feel are important. You might have your own, and we’d love to hear about it in the comments section below.

Here we go:


This controls how sensitive the camera’s sensor is to light. By increasing the sensor sensitivity you’re able to shoot in darker conditions without a flash. The D850’s ISO is incredible and one of the best parts of this camera body.  This camera has the lowest base ISO of any DSLR (or mirroless for that matter) on the market. At 64-25,600 the Nikon D850 is a great tool for any photographic need. Especially landscape and wildlife photography. Shooting in low-light situations, something we are all familiar with as we wait for the golden hour in the early mornings, and brave the onset of night while tracking an allusive critter of some sort out in the wild.

Megapixels (MP)

Megapixels are a measure of the resolution of a camera, and the greater the number of megapixels, the larger the high quality, sharp print you can make. The D850 is rocking 45.7 megapixels, which is crazy good! With only a mear 20MP you can create high quality 12×18 inch prints, so you can imagine the capability of 45.7 MP!

Auto Focus (AF)

The Nikon D850 has excellent autofocus reliability. The combination of the Multi-CAM 20K AF sensor, 181,000-pixel RGB sensor, fast EXPEED 5 CPU, as well as a dedicated AF engine certainly help in providing superb autofocus accuracy, no matter what AF mode you are using. In our book This seems to us to be one of the best autofocus systems we’ve seen on any camera. It features an impressive 153 AF points, of which 55 are user-selectable, while 99 are the more sensitive cross-type points for even greater precision. That’s not all – AF sensitivity goes all the way down to -4EV for the central AF point (with the remainder focusing down to -3EV), which should enable the D850 to focus pretty much in almost complete darkness.


How does this camera feel in your hands? Count us as fans of the D850 grip. It feels deeper and more comfortable, which worked well with our big hands. Weight should be a consideration, and is normally not DSLRs strong suit, but the D850 comes in at only 32.3 oz. Not bad at all, slightly heavier than the Canon D5, which weighs 32 oz. We found this camera to be very durable, as well, holding up in a variety of interesting – to say the least – environments, which we are nearly always dealing with while out in the wild country that we operate within. Whether it be in the damp, wet Costa Rican rainforest, or the dry, dusty, burning heat of the Grand Canyon, the D850 performed admirably for us.

Last, but not least, all the extra features such as focus stacking, tilting touch-enabled LCD screen, illuminated buttons, built-in WiFi and Bluetooth, weather sealed construction and dual card slots show that Nikon has produced a wonderfully versatile camera body with the D850.

We could go on and on with details and specs, etc. But we won’t.

Our estimation is that the Nikon D850 is an unbelievably balanced camera.

It’s awesome.

With a price tag hovering around $3,300 it is not exactly cheap, but this is  a professional, full frame camera, and one of Nikon’s finest efforts.

If you are looking to move into a more professional camera body, and do choose to try this camera on one of Backcountry Journeys upcoming tours, you’ll not be disappointed with what you’ll be able to do with it.

You bring the camera and your willingness to learn and work hard for your images. Let us do the rest!

Kenton Krueger







Kenton Krueger has spent the past several years guiding guiding backpackers, hikers and photographers into the wild places of the American West such as Havasu Falls, Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Parks as well as in the Grand Staircase Escalante in southern Utah. In addition to backpacking and camping, his adventures include rock climbing, exploring the slot canyons of southern Utah, mountain biking, and bagging 14ers in Colorado’s San Juan Mountain Mountain Range. Kenton is a trail runner, former pilot, newspaper photographer and writer. Kenton looks forward to utilizing his years of guiding experience, combined with his passion and experience behind the lens to provide memorable and unforgettable experiences at the wild places we will visit together.

3 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.