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D500 vs D850

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Old Thursday 14th November 2019, 00:36   #1
Intercooler
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D500 vs D850

I'm using the D500 with a Sigma 150-600C currently. Deals are out there now on the D850 and it might get sweeter BF! So the 850 can go DX among other things. Wouldn't that make it a much better piece to have than just the D500? You could do both with the 850 and possibly have better photos. Is the focus better with the D500, or possibly lower noise with the D850? I'm thinking about going for one.
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Old Thursday 14th November 2019, 01:19   #2
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I'm using the D500 with a Sigma 150-600C currently. Deals are out there now on the D850 and it might get sweeter BF! So the 850 can go DX among other things. Wouldn't that make it a much better piece to have than just the D500? You could do both with the 850 and possibly have better photos. Is the focus better with the D500, or possibly lower noise with the D850? I'm thinking about going for one.
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Old Thursday 14th November 2019, 01:22   #3
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Old Thursday 14th November 2019, 01:31   #4
marcsantacurz
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Hello,

I used to have a d750 + d500, but sold both and now have only a d850. I use it with the Tamron 150-600 G2 and the Nikon 500mm f/5.6 PF for birds. I also use the battery grip (vello 3rd party) w/ the EN-EL18c (D5) battery to get 9 FPS.

I like the image quality of the d850 better than the d500. It also crops better, I think, even if cropping below the DX size. I almost always shoot in FX mode -- the in camera crop to DX only saves you file size. I also shoot raw not jpeg, as I find that gives me better crops. The dynamic range is a little better with the d850.

Having the FX viewfinder makes it easier for me to find subjects and track them than with a cropped DX viewfinder.

Without the battery grip, the native 7 FPS is a big drop from the d500 10fps. For action and BIF, I would not use the d850 without the EN-EL18c battery. The Vello 2nd gen grip for the d850 works great and is much less expensive than the Nikon original. But you need the 2nd gen to get the 9 fps, not the 1st gen.

I shoot other things besides birds and for that I like a full frame camera for the better DoF blurring. If I was only shooting action or birds, I'd probably stick with the d500. Compared to the d850 + grip, the d500 is much more compact and lightweight.

I do knot know which has the better AF. The d850's AF is constrained to the center a bit more than the d500, but I find both very good and fast.

I do not think there's a significant ISO performance difference between them. It's not like going a lower MP FX like the d750 or a d4 or d5 or Z6. I can shoot the d850 at pretty high ISO, maybe 3200 - 6400, and crop quite a bit in raw and get good results using apps like Denoise AI.

If you have enough light or are using flash, the native ISO 64 of the d850 is beautiful. It works well for product shots, and macro shots with off-camera flash, among other things.

So, to summarize, I wanted to consolidate a d750 + d500 into a single d850, and that has worked out for me. But for action/sports/BIF, the d850 needs the 9FPS battery grip to stay competitive with the d500. If I did not want FX for other types of shooting (portrait, wide angle, landscape), I would have stuck with just a d500.

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Old Thursday 14th November 2019, 03:27   #5
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Old Friday 15th November 2019, 01:03   #6
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Ahh... BH has a deal going right now with the $396.00 battery pack included. I didn't know if it would get any sweeter on BF over that.
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Old Monday 9th December 2019, 23:47   #7
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Two other things to consider when comparing D500 and D850. As mentioned earlier, the D850 needs an external battery grip to get similar FPS performance which also means that D850 configuration is bulkier and heavier. If you're planning on trekking through the woods on long excursions, that extra weight is something to consider.

The other item to consider is the file sizes of the photos (for RAW files). I don't own a D850 so I can't comment accurately about that but at over 40mp resolution, I got to believe it's significantly larger. If true, this may require you to upgrade your memory and computer to handle the larger files if you plan to do any post processing of the photos. Perhaps Marcantacurz can answer that question.

Last edited by montynj1 : Monday 9th December 2019 at 23:52.
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Old Tuesday 10th December 2019, 03:45   #8
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Two other things to consider when comparing D500 and D850. As mentioned earlier, the D850 needs an external battery grip to get similar FPS performance which also means that D850 configuration is bulkier and heavier. If you're planning on trekking through the woods on long excursions, that extra weight is something to consider.

The other item to consider is the file sizes of the photos (for RAW files). I don't own a D850 so I can't comment accurately about that but at over 40mp resolution, I got to believe it's significantly larger. If true, this may require you to upgrade your memory and computer to handle the larger files if you plan to do any post processing of the photos. Perhaps Marcantacurz can answer that question.
The d850 is about 45MB per file (12-bit lossless compression, large size). The d500 is about 20MB or 12.5 MB in 1.3x crop mode. It is a lot of extra data! I use the 128GB XQD cards. But yes, everything in post editing is slower -- I use a MacBook Air and it's marginal for working with those files. And trying to use AI-enhanced features (e.g Topaz Labs) is very slow due to the size and the Macbook Air not being up to it.

That extra resolution really is fantastic. The d500 is clearly a better sports/action camera, but the image quality on the d850 is beautiful.

You can shoot the d850 in DX mode. I sometimes do that, but usually not. It does make the raw files a lot smaller, but I don't have the number handy. It's probably a little bit smaller than the d500.

And yes, with the battery grip it is big and heavy compared to the d500 w/o grip. But that EN-18c battery lasts like forever if you're shooting stills without liveview.

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