Nikon Announces the D850... Sort Of

If you follow any rumor mills, the night before a product is announced, we almost always know what it's going to be and the main features behind it. Even a few photos might leak. Apple is the only company that can keep such a tight lid on its releases, and even they have trouble. So we should have known something wasn't quite right when we didn't have any good information on the new D850 that was supposedly going to be announced today. Instead, Nikon simply announced the camera's development.

It's always good that companies are developing new products, but it's also a given. The announcement of the development of the D850 is a letdown, because it means we won't see the actual camera for some time still. Furthermore, we barely have new details to share based on the announcement. In a statement that coincides with Nikon's 100th anniversary day, Nikon announced the "development of the next-generation full-frame, high-resolution, high-speed digital SLR cameras with the upcoming release of the highly anticipated Nikon D850."

The statement continues to share information about the types of scenarios you might expect to use the D850 to shoot:

The D850 will be a formidable tool for creators who will not compromise on exceptional image quality and versatility, including aspiring and professional photographers, as well as hobbyists who shoot landscapes, commercial sports, fashion and weddings, and multimedia content creators."

Thanks to the above teaser video, we also get to see some admittedly sharp-looking time-lapse footage, but it's not even uploaded in the 8K format that it sounds like the D850 will be able to do in-camera. Still, it's a nice tid-bit of information that lets us know it'll at least be 33 megapixels.

Perhaps the most interesting part of this is Nikon's highlighting of speed. Will this camera be a high-megapixel and high-frame-rate body? Will it merge the features of the D810 and the D750 with D500-like speed to create what would then surely be the highest selling DSLR in modern history? Perhaps that's why we're skipping the D820 moniker (D750 plus D810). Alas, that would be asking quite a bit.

Nikon could certainly simply be engaged in some basic marketing here in claiming that the D850 will be able to shoot just about everything. You could take a point-and-shoot camera and shoot sports, technically. But it's still interesting to consider the emphasis in both sports and high resolution.

Unfortunately, the big celebration that we could have had along with Nikon for its 100th anniversary isn't going to be happening when all we get is an announcement that they're working on something we would only hope they'd be working on.

Time for speculation. What do you think Nikon will build into the D850?

UPDATE: Some people are confusing 8K time-lapse capabilities with 8K video. To clarify, the 8K time-lapse functionality only proves the image sensor will feature a resolution that will cover 8K still images, at least. This camera will definitely not have 8K video (i.e. 8k at 24/30fps). It does, however, seem like it will have the ability to create in-camera time-lapses with great detail in low light...from still images.

[via NikonRumors]

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Adam works mostly across California on all things photography and art. He can be found at the best local coffee shops, at home scanning film in for hours, or out and about shooting his next assignment. Want to talk about gear? Want to work on a project together? Have an idea for Fstoppers? Get in touch! And, check out film rentals!

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Maybe they could just surprise everyone and go mirrorless! I'm dying to find out what this new one is. I have a great feeling that it'll come out this fall.

Me too! I have high expectations and am really hoping Nikon delivers here. I love my D750 but I miss the MP count I lost when moving to this camera. For me, the rest of the D750 features far outweigh any need for the extra MP but there are still features I'm hoping the D850 will improve on.

Right there with you.

I shoot with the D800, and was JUST about to snatch up a D810 until one of my peers told me to, "Be patient and wait." I need a new body, and the new one is hopefully really impressive. The cost is a factor, however... "Quality over quantity." is always my mantra!

Honestly they should just do that.

NOOO! Don't go mirrorless with the D850. Just do a separate mirrorless body if they must. Not everyone is on the mirrorless bandwagon.

NO! Not mirrorless. Not the D850. It would be cool if they made a mirrorless equivalent, but not for the d810 replacement.

I was hoping for mirrorless with focus peaking - but their description shows that it's an "SLR"

I doubt the D850 will be mirrorless. Nikon's full frame and APS-C frame mirrorless system will, hopefully, be their "EOS" moment. The F mount has served them well, but it is now limiting their optical design options. Nikon's shift to mirrorless will hopefully finally free them from the F mount and allow them to make optics they can't make now. However you have to give them credit regardless for making stuff like the gorgeous engineering work of art that is the 105 f/1.4.

I guess you missed the part where they told us it had a mirror? It won't be mirrorless.

"Digital SLR" right in their headline.

At this point, I'd take almost any tiny upgrade and re-release (the D800 still serves me well) -- but it's beat up from commercial work and I'd rather upgrade than replace it again!

My thoughts exactly. I love the resolution of the D800 gives. Maybe one of these days Nikon will allow me to do a review on the new camera. With all of the fitness athletes I photograph, it'll definitely get a great workout.

While competitors aim for the big masses: dual pixel af for faster live view focus, vlogger style flippy screen, touch screen lcd, and seeing its revenue dropping, even having a much better product, Nikon brings this ultra popular table turning mass aimed innovation: 8K time lapse.

Right, make an 8K camera that MOST people, if any can do anything with after capture. Most people still can't even take full advantage of 4K video. Why not just make a switch to go from 8K to 16K too?

8K timelapse does not equal 8K video...

I would prefer it if they focussed on high speed video. 300-600fps at 1080 would be a game changer. Most people will have no use for 4k+ video as it is processor intensive and most record for web viewing anyway. High speed video though is still sought after....

I am very happy with the D800 still. What will make me upgrade to D850 is 1) proper 4K video (who needs 8k on a DSLR?) 2) proper and much faster focusing and subject tracking during video. I don't need an overpriced DSLR camera with bells and whistles. I need a £2500 body with proper video capabilities for the next 3 years. 4K is more than enough, those who shoot 8K cinema should afford a £6000 - 12000 camera. To me, they are completely different markets.

I think the 8K is a teaser to the resolution of the images on the D850 will be capable of. they said it will be about 45MP no?

I think Nikon goofed with the d800. They made it so good that many users have not seen a need to upgrade in the 5 years since.

I agree that 4k video and proper video focussing would finally give many d800 users the impetus to upgrade.

However, Nikon need to ensure they don't make the same mistake again, and create something so good that d850 users hold onto it for many years. To achieve this, they'll need to cripple this camera somehow.

Unless they stick with old video technology in the d850, to cause many of us to ignore it and keep on happily using our old d800...

Well, if you have to buy the latest camera each time it comes out, do you really have photography skills? If what you have works for you, then you keep using it. Unless of course, you just like to have the latest thing out there and can afford it. To each their own.

The problem is the existence of planned obsolescence. Camera manufacturers make sure they slightly cripple every camera, to ensure there's a compelling reason to upgrade in future.

So "what works for you" in a camera usually means "what you can satisfactorily work around". I think Nikon may have got that wrong with the d800/810, because they actually do seem to be "what works" rather than "what you work around" for many users. In other words, they didn't introduce sufficient planned obsolescence into their product.

Except for video.

You are confusing 8K timelapse (collection of 33MP still images) with 8K video.

Perhaps it's a way for Nikon to say "yeah, we have nothing ready yet but wait because the D850 is going to be great, please don't by the A7RIII"

8k timelapse doesn't mean 8k video...

I can't wait to start seeing D810 prices drop more :)

This "announcement" is just weird. It's an announcement on your 100th birthday that at some unknown point in the future you'll announce a camera. I'm a Nikon shooter, but come on. Everyone already knew this camera was in development.

To me, the D800 was the "works as well as film" sensor that I had been waiting for, and everything since then is just a new "feature" that was nice to have. I am completely happy with my D800 and the quality of image it puts out, but I do miss shots due to slow and sometimes lacking autofocus, and I do find soft shots that I believe are partially due to the hard mirror slap. Why did I not upgrade to the D810? Same sensor, new "features", but only marginally better image quality. I don't do video, so they could slap 16K in there and I couldn't care less. Again, this is my own opinion, from my own perspective and the way I work. What WILL cause me to upgrade? New sensor, and features that drop my "miss" rate.

I moved to a D810 from a D800. No resolution bump (very minor due to no AA) but overall a better camera.

The question being "What do you think Nikon will build into the D850?" my answer is : Nothing that will wash away the disappointment created by this announcement which is not one. They are developing a camera ? It will be announced in 18-24 months ? Ship 6-12 months thereafter ? And they will fix the dust or oil problems that will mar the first shipments 6-12 more months later ? Forget it. Where's the nearest Canon dealer ?

I don't wanna sound like a dick, but let's not forget that a LOT of 1Ds MkIII were crippled with oil problems. Back when I was shooting with Canon, the studio in which I worked had a 1Ds MkIII which had major oil problems, we sent it back, it got "fixed", it came back just as bad, we sent it again, same problem afterward, luckily I had my 5D back then (which had a flaking sensor coating problem that did not affect mine). They all fuck up at some point and these problems should not impede the development of new technologies.
Nikon are sticking to their and recalled the bodies that were problematics. Shit happens and it happens everywhere.

You're correct, "shit happens". My main point, however, was the (increasing) delays Nikon has had at the various steps up to delivering cameras into the hands of customers (not to mention being forced to drop an announced camera). Nikon is loosing it.

Now, Nikon even delayed their Nikon D5 100th anniversary edition camera. <Beep Beep Beep> Ahh, must be the Canon representative calling back. Gotta go, guys.

I believe that the 8K time-lapse videos are created by using some version of the camera’s built in Time-lapse photography feature, found on the Shooting Menu, which uses multiple stills and not a “true” video.

What Nikon added with it’s D810 is Exposure Smoothing, and clearly the above promo is doing a good job with it. What the video shows off is seriously much improved better low light performance - note the lack of noise in the night images and even better Exposure Smoothing and “real” not 8K video capabilities.

Of course it's not 8K video, they are not claiming that. They are telling us it has 8K timelapse which is a collection of stills.

I upgrade my Nikon bodies every 3 years when they come out (or so) and will get the D850. I am sure it is not mirrorless. That mirrorless camera is coming from Nikon so they say. But for a bunch of folks to be disappointed when the D850 comes out because it's not mirrorless is kind of silly. I too want their mirrorless cam, but the D850's improvements will not include mirrorless. That said, I can't wait to see what it is. My needs (just me not you) are for better video functionality catching up to the other brands in video DSLRs. Other than that the D810 is so good I'll be happy with whatever improvements the D850 brings to stills.

I'm in the same boat as you. My D810 pretty much covers all my photography needs. I need a mirrorless 4k video camera from Nikon so I can use my Nikon lenses for video. Please make it with fully articulating screen, full frame, great live view AF. I don't want to go Sony or Panasonic for my video needs.