I have owned the Nikon D800 for a few years now - it's the camera I use for 'serious' photography (OK let's call it professional). Needless to say, I am completely familiar with the camera by now. This full-frame DSLR was updated in the shape of the D810 and now, five years on, we have the Nikon D850.
The Nikon D850 could well be the only DSLR that professionals ever need.
Compared to its predecessors, the D850 is quicker in virtually every way, it handles better and it offers higher-resolution images, at 45.4-million-pixels.
Nikon or otherwise, there is no other DSLR quite so comprehensive. High-speed and high-resolution makes it a true all-rounder. The Nikon D850 could well be the only DSLR that professionals ever need. Whether the DSLR is the crème de la crème of the camera world anymore is another subject.
For me, 36.3-million-pixels from the D800 was already plenty enough. But 45.4-million-pixels opens up the DX crop mode (APS-C) as inherently more useful. You'll get 19.4-million-pixel images at a 1.5x magnification.
Nikon's latest metering system is used. I have found exposures consistently spot on. Perhaps more surprisingly (and satisfying-ly), colour rendition looks better. You can read more about this in a feature I have written on using the D850 for portraits.
The grip is more defined and gives a firmer hold. Key buttons illuminate - no more fumbling around the camera controls at night with torch in the mouth. The through-the-eye viewfinder is Nikon's largest yet, while the 3.2in tilt-touchscreen is vibrant.
Let's pause there. The large design of a DSLR is centred around a through-the-eye (optical) viewfinder. Comparable mirrorless cameras are smaller by using an electronic viewfinder. So the big question is how much is an optical viewfinder worth it for the extra size/ weight? In this case, with 100% coverage and 0.75x magnifiation, it is. It really is. Back to the summary.
Focusing is quicker and seemingly more accurate. There's 4k video with no sensor crop. There's a new silent electronic shutter (obviously in live view mode). Battery life is insane - at 1,840 shots no other camera comes close.
I could go on. What I'd say is that the D850 ticks all the wishlist boxes, bar one. In my opinion, autofocus in live view mode for video could be improved. It's a little better than previous Nikon's, but no match for the competition.
With the optional battery grip and MB-D18 battery inserted, the performance gets even more impressive. 7fps max high-speed shooting is boosted to 9fps. That's a lot quicker than the D800! Battery life is propelled to 5,140 shots.
Those two factors alone would make me really want to get the additional grip, yet with all the extras you're looking at £600 on top of the cost of the camera. (Not to mention needing to fork out for the XQD and SD UHS II cards to make the most of those high-speed modes and 4k video. Oh and a couple of the latest high-resolution lenses.)
So what do I make of the camera? Well, the Nikon D850 is surely an early runner for camera of the year and if I had a minimum £4,500 spare I'd go for it. I know the camera would serve me well down the years for landscapes, action and everything in-between.