Nikon D850 ISO Performance Seems Much Improved Over D810

The Nikon D850 features a completely new sensor developed in-house by Nikon. It's also the first backside-illuminated sensor in a Nikon full-frame DSLR. That allows it to perform up to one stop better than the D810, despite the higher pixel count, according to Nikon. But the latest tests look even better. It's now possible that the wealth of positive reviews of the D850 are about to get another, albeit small, addition.

While we can't show them to you here, has the first high-ISO comparison shots between the D810 and the D850. While the color noise has significantly dropped, it seems the luminance noise is still there and even slightly more pronounced, perhaps. But I find this to be more pleasing, as it looks more like natural film grain than unsightly digital noise.

Regardless, it's hard to discount the obvious improvements across the board, especially at the higher ISOs. As the D850 reaches the upper limits, it seems to hold the files together even more than the D810 did at a stop lower. Furthermore, the detail and color rendition in the files seem much improved.

Head over to and see for yourselves. What do you think? Impressed, or not so much?

[via NikonRumors]

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Fritz Asuro's picture

I've said it in NikonRumors and I will say it here again:

To our usual "complain everything about everything" people. Take some time and embrace the fact that it's a 45.7MP vs 36.3MP. For a higher megapixel sensor, those files look clean to me.

Tony Northrup's picture

They're JPGs, so it does't necessarily translate for raw shooters, even with NR off. But they do look a bit better!

Anonymous's picture

I agree the quality of the noise that is present is more appealing. I always thought Canon's noise looked more like film grain and this seems to have closed that gap. Well done, Nikon.

Andy Findlay's picture

D810 Noise reduction Off vs. D850 Noise reduction Normal.

Apples vs. Oranges.

Spy Black's picture

When was the last time you updated your eyeglass prescription?...

Andy Findlay's picture

Oops! You are quite right right. As it happens I'm recovering from cataract surgery so I'm using cheap (and nasty) readers at the moment. I'll try and be more careful!

Troy Phillips's picture

I just looked at it with my phone but I liked the d810 a little better. But the color I liked better from the d850. The 810 does always have that slight yellowish tint. I shoot low light high ISO all the time with the d810 and d500

Anthony Cayetano's picture

Well, for starters, the sensor is BSI (Back side illuminated) so no trace wires interfere with the light reaching the photosites. In addition, the photosite area is much closer to the surface and microlens that colour crosstalk (i.e. red information bleeding into the greens) is significantly reduced. Take that into account and the 45.7MP won't take much IQ hit when compared to the D810's 36MP.

filmkennedy's picture

It seems like the tried and true "larger pixels" doesn't equate to better low light sensitivity like back in the day. It's exactly the same with my Helium Weapon: newer and smaller pixels are equating to better signal to noise ratios.

Adam Ottke's picture

Larger pixels will always technically equate to better low-light sensitivity. But an older sensor with larger pixels is not necessarily better than a newer camera with smaller ones given certain technical improvements. Of course, I think you know that and are just remarking on how much better the tech is getting in spite of higher-resolution sensors (and with those, smaller pixels)...and it is remarkable... ;-)

filmkennedy's picture

And it's not just sensors but better internal hardware which gets better results out of existing sensors. Like how Alexa's Alev III sensor is 9 years old and still preforms better then anything else, and like the D810 v. D800