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Nikon D800 vs Nikon D850

Storage & Battery

Nikon D800 camera image

Nikon D850

Nikon D850
Nikon D800
Nikon D850
Refers to the year this camera was officially made available for sale.
Announcement Date
Refers to the date the manufacturer publicly announced the upcoming release and general specs of this camera.
February 07, 2012
August 23, 2017
Camera Type
Camera Size
Camera Weight

Nikon D800 vs D850 Overview

Whether you’re a professional photographer or just starting out, choosing the right camera can be challenging. So, is the Nikon D800 vs D850 a better choice for you? In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the key differences between these two cameras to help you decide which one is right for you.

nikon d800 vs d850 comparison image

From the outset, it’s clear that the Nikon D850 is the winning model. It is, after all, the updated version. Nikon released the successor to the popular D800 camera almost 5 years later. Camera technology is continuously evolving, so those 5 years go a long way. However, the D850 is significantly more expensive. If you are comparing the two models, you may be wondering if the upgraded version is really worth that extra cash. Should you upgrade?

Nikon D850
With excellent image quality, video and battery life, it’s still the best Nikon DSLR on the market

Spoiler alert: things might not be as clear-cut as they seem! Keep reading to learn more. (And don’t forget to check out our complete review of the Nikon D850!)

Nikon D800 vs D850 Optics

The first thing to note is that the D850 has higher resolution. It boasts an impressive 45.7 MP Full Frame sensor with 8256 x 5504 px resolution. However, the Nikon D800 36.3 MP Full Frame sensor with 7360 x 4912 px resolution still holds its own weight in comparison to many new cameras. The right choice for you depends on how important the number of megapixels is. If you are looking to print large photos or shoot in low-light conditions, then you will need a camera with more megapixels. In this case, you may consider the D850 more seriously. Read our full guide to understand megapixels and decide what you really need.

The D850 also has a higher frame rate. It shoots 7 fps in comparison to the D800’s 4 fps. They both fit the Nikon F FX lens range. This means if you are considering an upgrade you can still use your lenses from the D800.

The D850 also has much higher autofocus points to play around with.

The higher the number of megapixels, the more detail the cameras sensor can capture.
36.3 MP
45.7 MP
Image Resolution
Image resolution is measured in pixels and megapixels, width by height. The higher the number, the higher its resolution.
7360 x 4912 px
8256 x 5504 px
Sensor Type
The camera sensor captures light and records the image. Sensors vary in physical size, the number of pixels, and quality.
Sensor Size
The sensor size contributes to the overall quality as well as the dynamic and tonal range a camera can capture. As a rule of thumb, the more surface there is to read the light, the more information it will capture.
24 x 35.9 mm
23.9 x 35.9 mm
Sensor Format
Refers to the most commonly used sensor sizes.
Full Frame
Full Frame
Frame Rate
The number of sequential frames per second the camera can write to the memory card when shooting in burst or continuous mode.
4 fps
7 fps
Lens Mount
The lens mount will tell you what type of lens range you can fit onto the camera body. Often the same camera company will have different lens ranges for different cameras.
Nikon F FX
Nikon F FX
Image Processor
The image processor in the camera converts the information collected on the sensor for digital storage on the memory card.
Expeed 3
Expeed 5
Aspect Ratio
The aspect ratio refers to the proportional difference between width and height. The most popular aspect ratios are 3:2 and 4:3.
Minimum ISO (Native)
Refers to the lowest native (or 'base') ISO setting. Lower ISO are less sensitive to light but make a cleaner image.
Maximum ISO (Native)
Refers to the highest native (or 'base') ISO setting. Higher ISO is necessary for low-light situations or night photography, but higher ISOs often introduce grain or noise.
Minimum ISO (Expanded)
Expanded (or extended) ISO is a digitally enhanced feature available on some cameras. It allows you to push beyond the native ISO range if necessary.
Maximum ISO (Expanded)
Expanded (or extended) ISO is a digitally enhanced feature available on some cameras. It allows you to push beyond the native ISO range if necessary.
Minimum Shutter Speed
The minimum shutter speed will tell you the longest exposure your camera can take without using an external accessory.
30 s
30 s
Maximum Shutter Speed
The maximum shutter speed tells you the length inside 1 second the camera will capture. These can sometimes be extended with accessories such as extra external batteries.
1/ 8000 s
1/ 8000 s
Autofocus Points
Autofocus points show where the camera is focusing graphically as squares or brackets in Live View or on an electronic viewfinder. These points are also used for light meter readings.
In-body Stabilization
In-body Stabilization means the camera has a certain technology embedded that counteracts camera shake.
Viewfinder Type
The viewfinder type is either electronic or optical. Electronic viewfinders will have a small screen in the viewfinder. Optical viewfinders will use prisms and mirrors to look through the lens.
Optical (pentaprism)
Optical (pentaprism)

Nikon D800 vs D850 Video Specs

Again, the Nikon D850 appears to beat the D800 hands-down regarding its video capability. If shooting video is important to you, you really should consider the D850. It is the first Nikon camera to use the entire sensor width when shooting 4K.

Indicates if this camera is capable of recording video.
Max Video Resolution
The best resolution this camera can capture video in. Modern cameras can capture up to 8K video.
Full HD
Max Video Dimensions
Video resolution measured by the greatest number of pixels possible in each frame, width by height. A higher resolution means more detail or clarity in your video.
1920 x 1080 px
3840 x 2160 px
Max Video Frame Rate
How many frames per second your video will capture. Most cameras have options for multiple frame rates, depending on the resolution you shoot in. For a general video, 24p or 30p is the standard, but more serious filmmakers may need a higher frame rate for creative effect.
30 p
30 p
Time-Lapse Built In
A built in time-lapse mode will allow continuous shooting throughout a prolonged period of time to be compressed into a sped up video.
Video File Format
Different cameras can record in various video file formats. The File format you record in can impact how you edit and use the files.

Features and Benefits Comparison

A built-in flash is handy for photographers to continue shooting at night without extra gear. The D850 does not have a built-in flash, unlike the older model. Both cameras have hot shoe connections for external flashes, opening up more possibilities for additional lighting.

However, the D850 has much more advanced features than the D800. It has a touchscreen function which is pretty standard for new cameras. The D850 has significantly better screen resolution at a whopping 2.3 m dots.

It also has wifi and Bluetooth connectivity to allow you to easily transfer and share your images. Bluetooth uses less energy, so you can transfer when the battery is low.

Built-in Flash
A built-in flash will often be positioned right above the lens. This will automatically pop up when you activate it.
External Flash
External flashes are often connected through a hot shoe at the top of a camera, or a cable at the side of the camera.
GPS features in a camera will include location metadata to each of your photographs.
Weather Sealing
Weather sealing capabilities will give you more confidence when shooting in unfavourable conditions.
Screen Type
Touch Screen
Touchscreen allows you to change camera settings and access menus with a swipe of your finger, instead of using buttons.
Screen Size
Screen Resolution
Screen dots indicate the resolution of the LCD screen by including each sub pixel.
921,000 dots
2,359,000 dots
Flip Screen
A flip screen (or articulating screen) is a second screen which can flip out from the side or top of the camera. This rotating screen allows you more freedom to take photos at different angles.
Live View
Live View feature allows you to see a continuous live video of what is being seen through your lens.
Bluetooth capabilities allow you wireless control of your camera with other external devices.

Storage and Battery Comparison

Both the Nikon D850 and D800 have adequate storage and battery features for most kinds of photographers. However, the D850 comes out on top here again.

The Nikon D800 has a 900-shot battery life when fully charged. Pretty good. But the Nikon D850 has a much longer battery life at 1,840 shots. This gives you more than twice the amount of shots from a fully charged battery. Saying that, we always take the CIPA measurements as a loose guide. Why? It all comes down to the way you take pictures. If you take single shots, you might only take a few hundred. But most photographers shoot continuously. These figures will probably rise if you shoot in burst mode rather than a single shot.

When it comes to memory cards, both have dual slots which is really handy. The D850 uses the improved UHS-II compatible SD cards which are much faster. Read our full guide on camera memory cards for all the information you need to decide if that makes a difference to you.

Storage and Battery
Storage and Battery
Memory Card
SD / SDHC / SDXC (UHS-I compatible), Compact Flash
SD / SDHC / SDXC (UHS-II compatible), XQD
Dual Memory Card Slots
Battery Type
Battery Life
Approximately how long this cameras battery will last measured by how many photographs you will be able to take.
900 shots
1,840 shots
USB Charging

Nikon D800 vs D850 - Which Should You Buy?

So, Nikon D850 vs D800? Are the upgraded specs really worth the extra cash? In the end, it really comes down to what you’re looking for in a camera. For professional photographers, the D850 is still one of the best DSLR choices around. If you are less serious about photography but still want a great DSLR, the D800 might be just as good.

Nikon D850
With excellent image quality, video and battery life, it’s still the best Nikon DSLR on the market

Still not sure? Check out our other popular camera comparisons:

Nikon D810 vs Nikon D850

Nikon D750 vs Nikon D850

Nikon D780 vs Nikon D850

Nikon Z6 vs Sony a7 III

Nikon Z9 vs Sony a1

DXO Mark Scores
Sensor scores tested by DXOMARK
Overall Score
DXOMARK overall sensor score.
Portrait (Color Depth)
As described by DXOMARK 'The Portrait score in our camera sensor reviews defines color depth performance and its unit is a number of bits. A color depth of 22 bits is excellent; differences below 1 bit are barely noticeable.'
25.3 bits
26.4 bits
Landscape (Dynamic Range)
As described by DXOMARK 'The Landscape score in our camera sensor tests defines the maximum dynamic range of the camera sensor and its unit is an exposure value (EV). A value of 12 EV is excellent with differences below 0.5 EV usually not noticeable.'
14.4 EVs
14.8 EVs
Sports (Low-Light ISO)
Described by DXOMARK as 'The maximal value of ISO sensitivity needed to reach a given value of Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR). The greater the value, the better'
User Scores
B&H photo video
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