Is the Nikon D850 for Men Only?

Is the Nikon D850 for Men Only?

The Nikon D850 is quite the beast of a camera. It holds a massive 45.7-megapixel full-frame sensor that can record 4k video and create 8k time-lapses. It can shoot at a blazing fast seven frames per second and has an enormous 51 image buffer when shooting 14-bit raw images. The focus speed is insanely fast, deadly accurate, and offers 153 focus points with 130% more frame coverage than the older Nikon D810. The only problem with such an amazing monster of a camera is that Nikon thinks it’s too much for women to handle.

I know what you are thinking. No way Nikon would ever make such a claim. It seems absurd that only men could handle the D850. I myself can think of a large number of women photographers that would be more than capable of producing spectacular images with any camera, let alone this camera. But when Nikon created a team of 32 professional photographers to be the faces of the Nikon D850, they didn't choose a single woman photographer.

When building a list of 32 photographers, you basically have to go out of your way to not include a single woman. The problem here though is not just with Nikon, but instead with the entire photo industry. Brand ambassadors are filled with mostly men and entire conferences are filled with only male speakers. It would seem that the majority of photographers are men or maybe it's just too hard to find a woman that's not busy cooking and cleaning. 

Or is it feasible that the D850 is in fact for men only and Nikon plans to release a pink and sparkly D850w for women to use?

Jason Vinson's picture

Jason Vinson is a wedding and portrait photographer for Vinson Images based out of Bentonville, Arkansas. Ranked one of the Top 100 Wedding photographers in the World, he has a passion for educating and sharing his craft.

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I'd go a little further on one point even if I agreed with everything else you say here--Nikon certainly *has* done better elsewhere, for example. The Ambassadors are closer to being representative, without a doubt.

But I'm not really willing to let a marketing department off for doing something "unintentionally". Not doing stupid crap "unintentionally" is literally their "one job", and ... well, do I even need to complete the meme?

Do we know that none were invited? Maybe they had to decline for other reasons?

Matthew, the physical differences in gender have nothing to do with what has happened here. This is a matter of complete and utter bias and ignorance on Nikon's part since women make up 50% of the people in the photography business. I've been around the photo world almost 50 years and I've heard and witnessed some of the most absurd attitudes and behaviors among men. What I've concluded is that women are a formidable threat and, for *some* men, a way to deal with that threat is exclusion on the level that Nikon did for this ad. What we have long-called "the good ol' boy network."

Yes, Peggy, it does have at least a *little* to do with what happened here, maybe even a lot.

Let me ask you this: Do you think that this 50% women in the photography industry are 100% equally obsessed with geeking out about numbers and measurements and fanboy-ing?

I haven't been in the industry for 50 years, only 10-15, but today we're not talking about the sexism that surely did exist in yesteryear. We're talking about the last 5-10 years, tops.

And, simply put, I've lost count of how many men I've come across who go wild with fanboy measure-bating, and I've also lost count of how many women I've met who just roll their eyes and laugh at this male compulsion.

I'll grant this: maybe there's the SAME level of sexism in the photo industry as there is in the rest of the corporate world, and society in general.

If anything though, I suspect there's less sexism, at least in western society, when it comes to the real-world recognition of photographic talent, compared to the recognition of the accomplishments in the corporate world.

So, I'm not here to dispute the fact that 32/32 is a glaring error. As J Decker stated, the ONE job of a PR department is to make sure this kind of backlash doesn't happen. They dropped the ball. They might even be partly sexist, whether outright or just subconsciously. But, the operative word there is PARTLY.

Even if you yourself currently live in Japan and can speak to this specific, CURRENT environment of exclusion, must still admit that there is a biological difference when it comes to which gender is more obsessed with gear. The two conditions are not mutually exclusive.

I keep hearing this "western world" stuff. Here is the thing. Nikon, Canon, Sony, Fuji are all Asian / Japanese products. Male centric may be, but they have done a very good job in promoting their talent in making state of the art cameras which we all love to buy. In some respect....our buying habits have contributed to this scenario.

Formula One and Le Mans is an European car manufacturers dominated sport. If the West is so much better in promoting gender equality, why are there very few women drivers? A hint of western male bias perhaps? Just fruits for thoughts.

If memory serves me right, commercial airlines pilots, army generals, rear admirals, jet fighter pilot, politicians, are all male dominated occupation...even in the west.

We could of course talk forever about each of those occupations, and discuss where sexism may or may not exist in each of them. How many female executives does Nikon have?

In some cases, maybe women are equally *interested* in pursuing that line of work, but are being discriminated against.

However, maybe, just maybe, some lines of work, women just aren't INTERESTED in, as much as men.

If you're a woman and you want to be a famous photographer, or a fighter jet pilot, then go for it. I hope you achieve all your goals. But if you're a female pixel-peeping, test-chart drooling, camera brand-loving fanGIRL, ...then you're in a minority. And it's partly biological.

Only a matter of time we get to the biological bit. I think you will find it has already been discussed millions of time most recently at Google and the gentleman in question no longer work for them. So good luck with your theories....

Personally, I have a young daughter in University and she is doing very well without my male condescending view.

What can I say, it is the future for man to know when to shut up and listen.

Why is it so condescending to say that men and women are not alike? That's all I'm saying. I'm not disputing that sexism exists. I'm entirely in favor of it being eliminated from society. But, let men be men, and let women be women.

Keep going Mathew. I think Amy would like to know more.....yes, tell us more.

I've made my point clear enough.

BTW I suspect that the gene for trolling is also largely male-dominant. I bet that's one gene that women DON'T want to adopt! :-P

Please, Matthew, tell us more about the scientific and biological "fanboy/nerd" genetics that only men with man parts (and in your words only a tiny amount of women in the minority possess). Please, link us to the droves of scientific research you've done and studied on this biological sex driven "gear, nerd, numbers" gene. And before you say it's just obvious that men are more into that side of thing than women so it must be mostly biology, pause for a second in your entirely sexist and uneducated explanation of men and women and their interests, to educate yourself on the impact gender roles have on these types of phenomenons. We've got enough work to do make sure women are equally encouraged at a young age to get as excited about "nerdy" stuff as boys are without you spreading misinformation about fictional "biology driven interests."

No. If you've observed an identical trend of preferences between genders, then why not give your own personal account?

I never mentioned scientific research, because I only have my personal experience in meeting thousands of photographers.

Of course, if any and all proof is automatically disqualified as an "ingrained-from-birth gender role" ...then neither of us should bother.

I won't argue about the existence of gender roles, or the importance of raising your kids "gender-neutral". Obviously, if I ever have both a son and daughter, I'm not going to shove Barbies at my daughter while I buy my son a camera. I'll take both my kids on adventures in the outdoors, teach them both to climb trees, and probably try to teach them so much about cameras that they both tell me to give it a rest.

Similarly, I doubt that YOU are going to panic if you have a son who *doesn't* want to play with Barbies.

Clearly since I've gone and brought Barbie into the equation, this discussion is not going to get much further. All I'm saying is that some things are at least partly genetic. Partly. (BTW, I got the photography "gene" from my mother. Hah.)

Mathew, nothing personal here. My daughter figured out how to use a camera focus button before she was 5 years old...and I also know a 50 year man having difficulties with that very simple concept. For me it is all about access. Good early education and access to world class information does wonders for a child's development as a human being regardless of gender. Nothing super clever about pressing a shutter button that only man can master. It is simple as that.

At the very beginning of this discussion, I already said that there are many talented female photographers. That's clicking the shutter.

There's a difference between being very good at clicking the shutter, and obsessing over gear. I doubt your daughter trolls other photographers with exact DXO chart measurements.

Enjoy your photography.
more to add on this subject.

Yes, Asian countries are more male centric. We all knew that.

Try looking at the U.S site.

Oh yeah, soooo many women! A whole 7 out of 24.I suppose since they included 7 women to the 17 men they have it's fair?

Why are you so focused on the women? There are also no

Gender Queer
Gender Variant

7 women, 17 CIS males but literally dozens of other minorities not represented at ALL! We need so much more inclusion. Clearly Nikon is run by Nazi white supremacists. We must RESIST!

*golf clap* Nice super sarcastic shit spewing.


Fair? What in life is fair? Why does life have to be fair? You didn't get the job because you're a woman, you didn't get the job because you're a white man. It happens. What is fair is anyone can set a goal and work their butt off to accomplish it. If I wanted to be an ambassador, I'd work on upping my photography game. I would study the ambassadors and see what they are photographing and teaching. I would hang out at the Nikon booth at conventions and try and make connections. I would try and get to know as many ambassadors personally and ask how they got there. I would try and teach at my local PPA events and camera store. And I bet a lot of people here aren't even Nikon Pros, it's so easy to be judge without any effort (and I admit, I'm judging this entire article and the comments from my computer...without knowing if anyone was personally discriminated against, though it doesn't sound like it by the comments)

Hear! Hear! Sick of whiners crying because they didn't get a trophy for participation. Call me what you will.. Thank you Lisa

It seems to be an industry problem, and Nikon actually appears to be doing better out of all the major brands (with Sony being the worst):
Sony -
50 Men
8 Women
14% Women, 86% Men

Canon -
32 Men
8 Women
20% Women, 80% Men

Nikon -
17 Men
7 Women
29% Women, 71% Men

Olympus -
10 Men
2 Women
20% Women, 80% Men

(wrong reply...)

@Ben, you're in denial. Casual (and occasionally overt) sexism in the industry is pervasive and obvious to anyone who cares to look.

I guess she missed picture day.

This article is total nonsense.

Why? Because it doesn't affect you one way or the other?

Assume too much. D850 is an intellect piece of photographic kit, unfortunately I cannot say the same about the argument put forward by this article. What ever view I have, I will pass it on to Nikon....the right place for complaints.

Because your gender is represented 32 times?

By all means discuss that point intelligently. What has women being "too busy cooking and cleaning" has anything to do with it. And since Nikon's explanation is missing in this discussion, we are all left with the perception of the said photograph.

I spend 25 years raising these types of issues. Had this article been written by a woman, we would have had a different prospective.

"It is vital that we have women's voices heard on women's issues." British Member of Parliament.

As a woman photographer, I wholeheartedly agree with this! We are completely guessing at how the list was chosen and who was invited to participate and who declined. I personally would want to be chosen based on my ability, not my sex to make a quota.

It is not at all difficult to find amazing women photographers. Nikon chooses it's ambassadors - to suggest that there are not enough women to choose from, or that the very few that are are chosen are to fulfill a quota is all sorts of ridiculous. This is a conscious choice by this brand and other camera brands to be exclusionary.

same point as below....

A conscious choice implies a deliberate act. In the absence of direct information, one cannot be sure of this. We can only speculate.

Calling someone's views "ridiculous" is not helpful.

A sub 4-minute mile is for men only too.

and child bearing is for women only - does either of those make one gender better at testing a camera?
look female photographers. Cherry pick your information much?

Shame on Nikon! At least Fuji had a woman at the debut of their "Medium Format" camera. Oh, wait...she was a topless "model". Nevermind. Carry on.

That's why I said, "The problem here though is not just with Nikon, but instead with the entire photo industry."

Thank you for writing this and making that comment.

I'm curious whether you consider this site to be part of that problem?

Many of the fstoppers "editor's picks" feature models more scantily clad than the one that got Fuji into trouble. The shots Fuji ambassador Wayne Johns took to demonstrate the GFX at that workshop would be really tame compared with the NSFW content found here.

nikon had women in the role out of the camera and in testing. So that isn't a fair statement. They just aren't in this group listed above

I find that comment interesting considering the photography you produce. Your gallery contains models in a similar state of undress, and from the look of it you run workshops with similar content to the one that caused so much anger when the GFX was demonstrated.

Would you turn down the opportunity to be an ambassador for a camera company, and refuse to demonstrate their new products, because of the "problematic/sexist" content of your own work?

I was being sarcastic. I'm totally fine with a woman, or man, agreeing to shoot in various states of undress.

Anyway, looking at the photos below, it would hardly seem that this is the site to get all excited about women's rights. It's more about objectification....

yeah, those silly women and their request for equality...

awwww, here comes the self importance...wonder if we'll start playing mansplaining bingo soon...

Don't worry, Bob. As soon as you learn what mansplaining is, you'll have an opportunity to enlighten us on that too.

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