Nikon D500 vs. D850.

If you have a D500 and buy a D850, keep the D500.

—Peter. 

12 thoughts on “Nikon D500 vs. D850.

  1. Gary Benson says:

    “At this point, I know I will be criticized for my outright gushing over the D850.”
    I guess the outright gushing phase is over.

  2. Stefan says:

    If you have a M9 and buy a M10, keep the M9.

    More of an ‘and’ than a ‘vs’. Works across brands too 😉

    Money matters unfortunately.

    Having said that, I do appreciate your blog Peter, and respect your opinions.

  3. I own both now and am curious about your reasons. Obviously I get the advantages of crop sensor for sport and nature photography. I bought the D500 as a back up camera to my D800E. Why would I use the D500 over my D800E? Now that I have a D850, I am trying to decide why I need the D500 for other than a backup. The truth of the matter is that I take my A7R2 with me when I travel rather than Nikon gear. Just ordered the Sony A7R3 and other than the ability to use my Nikon lenses, I am not sure I need my Nikon gear any longer for the type of shooting I do.

    • I bought the D500 for sports, and it is a lovely camera for that.

      Before buying the D850, I entertained selling the D500 since they reportedly share the same focus module, and the crop factor of the D850 is almost equal in MP to the D500… so the D850 could theoretically serve the same function as the D500, albeit with a slightly reduced frames-per-second count.

      Ultimately, I decided to keep the D500 because, as I said above, it is a lovely camera that is a joy to use and I’ve learned the hard way that when you have something that “just works”, you should think twice before parting with it.

      As it turns out, I find the D500 to have an advantage in focus acquisition and subject locking. It’s not dramatic, but it’s perceptible. Let me be repeat that: it’s not dramatic, but it is perceptible.

      The D850 autofocus is indeed wonderful (as I stated in my initial impressions post) and solves the main problem I had with the D810 (the D810 struggled to hit focus in dim light with wide aperture lenses).

      Given the D850 AF is almost identical to the D500 AF, and given the D850 files are more malleable than the D500 files, if I could only have one camera, it would be the D850. But I would be sad to see the D500 go… it’s really that good.

      I am fortunate to have both.

  4. greg g49 says:

    Interesting. I wondered about that… I mean it wasn’t keeping me awake nights, but the question had occurred a time or two.

    I thought maybe you’d find an advantage in the 850’s crop mode where (as I understand it) you see the full frame while using the crop lines, and thus effectively see “outside the actual image” a bit like a rangefinder thus allowing maybe a tinch (sorry for the technical terms) more anticipation on your baseball action shots.

    Maybe you’ll try that and see or maybe the 500 with its corner to corner focusing prowess out weighs that possibility.

    Not that it’s a comment on yours exactly, but my recent experience trying to shoot an important event (to me anyway) with my Fuji X Pro2 revealed so many shortcomings in my photographic abilities that I’ve responded in the only sensible way possible… I’m testing new gear.

    We are a strange lot, or maybe it’s just me… but I suspect not… 🙂

    • Very perceptive comments Greg. The possibilities and potential of the pseudo-rangefinder crop view of the D850 did cross my mind, but ultimately I think I’m too enamoured with the D500 frame-per-second rate, as well as focus acquisition and tenacious (for lack of a better word) AF tracking.

    • Andy Gemmell says:

      Greg seems you might be experiencing what i did when owning the XPro 2 for ….mmm…4 days I think! Too much money for the shortcomings in my opinion. Particularly if wanting a RAW file output. I do own the x100F but entirely different context in how i use it vs. money paid (jpeg only, throw in the bag smaller travel camera).

      Hard to go past the calm of a good rangefinder when purely thinking “to enjoy the process of using a camera.” But it isn’t as simple as that!

      • Andrew, still searching for the Holy Grail I see!

        It’s difficult to replace that rangefinder, I know.

        You know where I’ve settled recently… I’m curious to know what path you’re following.

        • Andy Gemmell says:

          Lets just say I’ve fallen off the wagon (the photography one that is!).

          I have an x100F for a walk around, anytime camera (take it in my bag every day to work). I kept my Mamiya 7 for a film option and then the D750 for my charity work and I also take that travelling. It allows me to get a genuine 60 x 80cm print of quality.

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