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Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?

  
 
Eric214
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p.5 #1 · p.5 #1 · Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?


jwolfe wrote:
The D500 and the D850 have the exact same AF system. The only difference is the speed.


So do the D500 and the D5 and there D500 isn't quite as good as the D5.

But not going to go back and forth. There is a difference with and without the grip with the D850. It's certainly noticable and more that a few have said it was well. It's not placebo.



Jun 30, 2022 at 10:23 PM
jwolfe
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p.5 #2 · p.5 #2 · Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?




Eric214 wrote:
So do the D500 and the D5 and there D500 isn't quite as good as the D5.

But not going to go back and forth. There is a difference with and without the grip with the D850. It's certainly noticable and more that a few have said it was well. It's not placebo.


You’re splitting hairs. Unless you’re shouting something extremely demanding if there is a difference it’s not going to be noticeable. The biggest difference in capturing action is the fps between the two bodies.



Jun 30, 2022 at 11:23 PM
Sauseschritt
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p.5 #3 · p.5 #3 · Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?


As I understand it, the D500, D5 and D850 are very close in autofocus performance.

Mind autofocus is not exactly an area of which I care too much about, but pretty reliable sources like Steve Perry said so.



Jul 01, 2022 at 01:46 AM
jbear
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p.5 #4 · p.5 #4 · Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?


I never use a body without a grip, so I can't speak to that, but...shooting the 850 and 500 side by side quite often...I don't notice any practical difference in AF. They may exist and may perhaps be situational, but if the D850 shutter wasn't so freakin' loud...I wouldn't know which camera I was shooting with my eye to the VF.
Note: With regard to performance-demanding AF...most common scenario for me...Sigma 500mm f4 OS Sport on one body and 300mm 2.8 VRI on the other (tc's when necessary).



Jul 01, 2022 at 11:51 AM
ACEG
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p.5 #5 · p.5 #5 · Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?


I’ve read many times that there’s no difference in AF performance between the three cameras.

In my experience the D5 is in another league!

Sauseschritt wrote:
As I understand it, the D500, D5 and D850 are very close in autofocus performance.

Mind autofocus is not exactly an area of which I care too much about, but pretty reliable sources like Steve Perry said so.




Jul 02, 2022 at 08:12 AM
trenchmonkey
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p.5 #6 · p.5 #6 · Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?


As someone that actually shoots with all 3 (D5/D850/D500)
...there is no discernable AF difference.



Jul 02, 2022 at 08:39 AM
Rimpson
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p.5 #7 · p.5 #7 · Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?


trenchmonkey wrote:
As someone that actually shoots with all 3 (D5/D850/D500)
...there is no discernable AF difference.


Agreed. I owned all three at the same time and shot similar subjects in similar conditions. If I didnt have to go over 640 ISO I ALWAYS chose the D500. When the light was low I chose the D5.



Jul 02, 2022 at 10:27 AM
groob
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p.5 #8 · p.5 #8 · Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?


I think the AF in the D500 is a bit more responsive, but the D850 is plenty capable. I don't know that there are any shots my D500 would've gotten that the D850 didn't.

As to the other active debate, I have not noticed any difference in AF function when using a grip on a D850 versus no grip.



Jul 02, 2022 at 02:52 PM
ACEG
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p.5 #9 · p.5 #9 · Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?


So did I, and in my opinion there’s a clear advantage in favour of the D5.

Much more «power» and better «tracking».

Golden eagles in low light….D5 24/7!

It’s the same story with the D3 and D700. Even though some like to think otherwise (yes, I’ve used both a lot 😉.

trenchmonkey wrote:
As someone that actually shoots with all 3 (D5/D850/D500)
...there is no discernable AF difference.




Jul 02, 2022 at 06:29 PM
Lee Saxon
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p.5 #10 · p.5 #10 · Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?


I know several local pros who agree with me that the D850 autofocus is actually kind of slow and the D5 meaningfully better particularly at tracking. I think it goes to show how much your particular setup*, skill, and shooting style makes a huge difference? Or maybe there's some sample variation problem with the D850?

*For example, I don't know what 3D Tracking mode is supposed to be for, but following action ain't it. For that you MUST use one of the Group AF modes. This forum taught me that last year when I was trying to learn BiF and it made a stunningly huge difference.



Jul 05, 2022 at 05:44 PM
 


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ACEG
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p.5 #11 · p.5 #11 · Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?


I dont find AF performance of the D850 slow, instead I find it rather fast and accurate. Of course, one has to use the right AF mode for the situation.

There’s always been a step up regarding AF performance for the single digit bodies (no matter what others want to believe). Faster, more accurate and not least; more dependable.

Lee Saxon wrote:
I know several local pros who agree with me that the D850 autofocus is actually kind of slow and the D5 meaningfully better particularly at tracking. I think it goes to show how much your particular setup*, skill, and shooting style makes a huge difference? Or maybe there's some sample variation problem with the D850?

*For example, I don't know what 3D Tracking mode is supposed to be for, but following action ain't it. For that you MUST use one of the Group AF modes. This forum taught me that last year when I was trying to learn BiF and
...Show more



Jul 06, 2022 at 12:21 AM
CanadaMark
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p.5 #12 · p.5 #12 · Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?


I think the D5 AF being slightly better than the D500/D850 is mostly due to the shorter blackout times, so the AF sensors get exposed to the subject longer, which in theory would make it track better. According to Nikon anyway, the AF module and dedicated AF processor are literally identical in all 3 bodies, so I think the D5 being slightly better is just down to it being a slightly faster camera overall and all the little things adding up. Maybe they also clock one or both of the processors higher and don't tell anyone, we'll never know for sure.

The D500/D850 are identical in AF performance as far as I've ever been able to tell but the D5 feels ever so slightly better. I do think the fact that the camera is faster and snappier contributes to that feeling, placebo or not. I've shot all 3 quite a bit and they are so close that it's hard to tell what is a noticeable difference or if knowing that the D5 is supposed to be the best influences that perception. It's a heavier camera with a faster frame rate and better ergonomics so you are naturally going to get more keepers anyway, all else equal.

I'd say just buy for the sensor or frame rate you want and don't worry about the rest, they are all close enough and get incredibly high hit rates that the photographer is more likely to be the weakest link anyway.



Jul 06, 2022 at 01:02 AM
hans98ko
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p.5 #13 · p.5 #13 · Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?


@CanadaMark
I am with you all the way except for the part for running at a higher clock speed.
The reason for some to perceived that the D5 or D500 is running or locking onto focus faster than the D850 is because of the larger D850 file size, heavier work load on the image processor (and filling the buffers faster thus the delay for continuous shooting) which you have explained clearly. I truly doubt that either the D5 or D500 is running at a higher clock speed because it will bring in another variable and that is heat, which will increase digital noise and will be a negative rather than a positive advantage. This is based on all else are being equal.
But to be frank we are really splitting hairs here because it is almost impossible for anyone to be able to tell the difference between 1/1000s to 1/1125s, that is about 10%, or go a little more extreme 1/1000s to 1/1250s at 20%. The delay between shots will be confined by the frame per second (fps) we have selected. And this will never go higher than 20fps for electronic shutter, which means 1/20 of a second. That will be more than enough for acquiring focus in good light for continuous tracking. I don't think anyone can tell if one camera is acquiring focus faster than the other with a shutter speed of let's say 1/1000s and an interval of 1/20 of a second. How do we know which is causing which? Delay due to acquiring focus or the fps interval holding it back, but still falling well within the interval. The next thing is proper settings on the camera will also make a difference like someone already mentioned here. AFFT, AF Mode, AF Points, exposure mode, WB...all make a difference. More preset settings require less computation and processing because it has already been defined.
Then there is the difference in AF motor speed for different lenses even for the same made and model.
The more I think about it the more I said to myself that it sure is difficult to pinpoint the source.

I used 1/1000s because we are talking about shooting something that is moving fast like airplanes, birds and cars (ABC).



Jul 06, 2022 at 04:55 AM
CanadaMark
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p.5 #14 · p.5 #14 · Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?


hans98ko wrote:
@CanadaMark@
I am with you all the way except for the part for running at a higher clock speed.


I very much doubt it as well, I was just throwing it out there as a wild guess. Regarding heat though, the D5 should be able to cool itself better than either of the smaller bodies. We see this in the Z9 as well, and to a much higher degree as it can shoot 4K/120 and 8K/60 internally which generate a lot of heat. They can use the extra body size to turn the camera into a giant heat sink basically.

Any AF differences between the cameras are extremely difficult to quantify or measure, so everything is anecdotal (including my own experience). This opens the door for other things to influence people's opinions, such as how they might think it *should* be performing relative to something else based on the cost being much higher, for example. I'm not saying that's necessarily the case, but objectively evaluating the AF between these 3 models is nearly impossible with how many uncontrolled variables there are. Personally I believe Nikon when they say they have the identical AF system, and I think it's the sum of other small improvements that lead to a better experience on the D5.



Jul 06, 2022 at 09:57 AM
Spectro
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p.5 #15 · p.5 #15 · Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?


I still use D5 and D850 and was a D500 owner before I bought the D850. I don't hesitate to use either camera for sports often on deadline and I often prefer the D850 in certain situations. My point is that I would not use AF speed as a deciding factor for which one I purchase.


Jul 06, 2022 at 10:17 AM
Denny JetTone
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p.5 #16 · p.5 #16 · Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?



I’m late to the party, but …

I have two of these “muzzlers” (below) for quiet concert work — D850, D800 (very noisy), D750, D7200. Not perfect, but effective. I have never used the part made to cover the lens.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1334667-REG/camera_muzzle_muz_001_sound_muffling_enclosure_for.html/reviews?ap=y&ap=y&smp=y&smp=y&lsft=BI%3A6879&gclid=Cj0KCQjw5ZSWBhCVARIsALERCvw_TRnTbktfQU8pcDLf-xZ9TJKubuW_4mqMnErxUC1bUMIXDVj-Bd4aAjB0EALw_wcB

You’ll need to know some of your controls by touch. You’ll have to remove any straps on the camera body. Firm foam blocks are used to seat and stabilize the camera inside the bag.

The clear, plastic view windows are good enough to be functional.

There’s enough room in the bag for a remote shutter receiver.

—Denny



Jul 06, 2022 at 06:25 PM
hans98ko
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p.5 #17 · p.5 #17 · Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?


Just got myself a 3rd brand new D850 today 2022/07/07 at a really good price from a shop that I have been patronizing since the early 70s and also the largest in Singapore.
For the next couple of weeks I will be busy setting it up as well as calibrating 20 of my lenses from my collection. Well 20 is the maximum number it can store on camera.
Preparing for the big shootout at the end of the year.
When the war is hot there is no time to load and unload batteries or change barrels of lenses.
Even if it Ends of Life tomorrow I really don't care because I really enjoy using them.
This is the 2nd time in my life that I own 3 identical cameras at the same time, the last time was with the F3HP/T which I still retain and use the F3T these days. Perfect cameras, well balance, tough and works well.



Jul 07, 2022 at 02:14 PM
CanadaMark
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p.5 #18 · p.5 #18 · Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?


hans98ko wrote:
Just got myself a 3rd brand new D850 today 2022/07/07 at a really good price from a shop that I have been patronizing since the early 70s and also the largest in Singapore.
For the next couple of weeks I will be busy setting it up as well as calibrating 20 of my lenses from my collection. Well 20 is the maximum number it can store on camera.
Preparing for the big shootout at the end of the year.
When the war is hot there is no time to load and unload batteries or change barrels of lenses.
Even if
...Show more

Be careful with your lens calibrations - the D850 can only calibrate any given lens at a single focal length and subject distance combination, so unless the lens is "out" by the same amount at every combination (of which there can be many), improving it at one combination can make it worse at some or all others. This is why the Sigma dock, for example, allows 16 combinations of AF fine tune which is the right way to go about it, but is extremely time consuming and lenses really shouldn't need AFFT in the first place. In my opinion, you are far better off exchanging a lens if it needs any significant amount of AFFT, but obviously do whatever is working for you I've seen lots of people AFFT lenses that didn't need it and they just end up frustrated or thinking their gear is defective.



Jul 07, 2022 at 04:02 PM
hans98ko
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p.5 #19 · p.5 #19 · Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?


Thanks Mark for the heads-up with respect to lens calibration. Yes, it can do more harm than good if one is not familiar and just do it blindly without knowing the backgrounds.

Because I am on my way to a couple of appointments today I will write up a more detailed advantageous and disadvantages about AFFT once I get back this evening.
For those who didn't know that sending their lenses to Nikon for calibration is more disadvantages than advantages compared to one done by oneself because it cannot be reverse and caused the performance curve to be distorted or skewed. Nikon Service calibration is not factory calibration, they are very different.



Jul 07, 2022 at 07:23 PM
hans98ko
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p.5 #20 · p.5 #20 · Is it worth buying a Nikon d850 for wildlife in 2022?


Why AFFT our lenses with cameras? Because all cameras and lenses coming out of factories have tolerance due to component selections for cost vs volume, profit vs performance, test equipment tolerance, stack-up tolerance and human error.
Nikon set their AFFT limits to +/- 20 but many a times we found that our lenses with respect to our cameras are very close to its limits or are actually out of range.
For a tolerance of +/- 20 Nikon would have to set their internal tolerance to no more than +/-10, preferably at +/-5 for both their cameras and lenses. But after testing many of Nikon’s cameras and lenses I found that they are actually setting it at +/-10.
With this limits there are lots of opportunities for their products to be at the border or out of specs due to stack-up tolerance, test equipment tolerance and poor QC judgement.
Let’s take an example of a lens with +/-10 and a camera also at +/-10.
If the lens is at -10 and the camera is also at -10, then it will be at the border. Test equipment also has its own tolerance, if it is also towards the negative side than the AFFT will be out.
On the other hand if the lens is at -10 and the camera is at +10, then it will cancel out and ends up dead center. Even with some test equipment tolerance, it will still be within the tuning range.
AFFT actually involves both the camera and lens and not just the camera or the lens as some would have believed as in one of the recent post where people are sending in just their lens or camera to be calibrated for $98 or more to Nikon USA. Even by sending both the camera and lens, the calibration will only work with that combination. Using the calibrated lens on another camera will have very different outcome. Not only that there are times that you will never be able to calibrate it to another camera because the performance curve has been skew to one side. What is worst is that there is no way to reset it to its original settings because it has been set by Nikon, not like we can reset the AFFT to zero if we are doing ourselves. So users with multiple cameras be warned.
What are the possible adjustments that Nikon do to the camera and lens? The adjustment of the tilt angles of the primary and secondary mirrors, inspection of the AF module on the camera, and the stepper control of the motor in the lens. So now you see why the calibration only works for the calibrated pair and not across the board.
I had noticed that some people like Trenchmonkey/William, Steve Perry and many others are doing it the right way and are getting positive results, but many did not and complains about it.
There is no sure fix, each has its advantages and disadvantages.
Take William’s way of using a ruler set at 45º at the distant where he will be shooting, this is definitely going to work 100%, but will have to perform the AFFT every time he shoot at a different location. Since he already get so used to it, it works for him but might not to others who are new.
Then there is Steve’s method of performing multiple sampling and then dropping the highest & lowest values and then taking the average value. This I will said works 90% of the time with some margin of errors.
Then there are industrial and commercial software that some are using, myself included. It will perform a very comprehensive test that will take into consideration lots of variables like across aperture range, resolutions, sharpness, MTF, vignetting, chromatic aberration, astigmatism, color, focus shift and lots more. Many are proprietary, expensive extremely time consuming, while the commercial ones are still fill with errors. One has to have some related technical knowledge to interpret the multiple charts and curves to come to a conclusion.
Here the industrial ones are at 95% - 99% performance while the commercial one are at around 90% same as the one used by Steve but with a lot less information about the lens.
Note: I intentionally not to name those commercial products because they are still fill with errors, and I don’t want anyone to blame me for them spending lots of money and not getting results.



Jul 08, 2022 at 01:42 PM
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