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Nikon D850 vs Z9 Comparison

Storage & Battery

Nikon D850

Nikon D850

Nikon Z9

Nikon Z9 camera
Nikon D850
Nikon Z9
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.
August 23, 2017
October 28, 2021
Camera Type
Camera Size
Camera Weight

The Nikon Z9 takes the lead with a score of 87/100, while the Nikon D850 trails behind at 82/100. Both cameras share similarities in their brands and announcement dates, with the D850 being introduced in 2017 and the Z9 in 2021. The Z9’s higher score is due to its mirrorless design, which offers a more compact body measuring 149 x 150 x 91mm and weighing 1340g. This makes it easier to handle, despite its higher launch price of $5500 compared to the D850’s $3300.

The Nikon D850, as a DSLR, has a slightly smaller body at 146 x 124 x 79mm and weighs less at 1005g. While the D850 may be more affordable and lighter, the Z9’s superior performance and mirrorless design make it the better choice for photographers seeking cutting-edge technology and convenience.

Weighing the pros and cons, the Nikon Z9 outperforms the D850 in terms of technology and design. However, the D850 still holds its own with its lower price and lighter weight. Ultimately, the choice between the two cameras depends on the photographer’s priorities and budget.

Nikon D850 vs Z9 Overview and Optics

The Nikon Z9 outperforms the Nikon D850 in optics, scoring 88/100 compared to the D850’s 79/100. Both cameras share some specifications, such as having a CMOS sensor, a full-frame sensor size, and similar megapixel counts (46 for the Z9 and 45.7 for the D850). However, the Z9 has several advantages that contribute to its higher score.

The Nikon Z9 has a faster shooting speed of 30 frames per second (fps) compared to the D850’s 7 fps. This allows the Z9 to capture fast-moving subjects with more accuracy and precision. Additionally, the Z9 features the more advanced Expeed 7 processor, which results in improved image processing and overall performance. Although the D850 has a slightly higher DXOMARK sensor score of 100 compared to the Z9’s 98, the difference is negligible and does not affect the overall optics performance significantly.

The Nikon Z9 also has built-in image stabilization, which the D850 lacks. This feature is beneficial for reducing camera shake and producing sharper images, particularly in low light conditions or when using slower shutter speeds.

On the other hand, the Nikon D850 has the advantage of using the Nikon F FX lens mount, which has a larger selection of compatible lenses compared to the Nikon Z mount of the Z9. However, this advantage is less significant, as Nikon offers adapters allowing the use of F-mount lenses on Z-mount cameras.

In comparing the Nikon D850 and the Nikon Z9, the Z9’s faster shooting speed, advanced processor, and image stabilization make it the superior choice in optics. The D850’s advantage of a larger lens selection is mitigated by the availability of adapters, and its slightly higher DXOMARK sensor score does not significantly impact overall performance. The Nikon Z9 is the clear winner in terms of optics performance.

The higher the number of megapixels, the more detail the cameras sensor can capture.
45.7 MP
46 MP
Image Resolution
Image resolution is measured in pixels and megapixels, width by height. The higher the number, the higher its resolution.
8256 x 5504 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.
23.9 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.
7 fps
30 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 Z
Image Processor
The image processor in the camera converts the information collected on the sensor for digital storage on the memory card.
Expeed 5
Expeed 7
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
900 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/ 32000 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)
Viewfinder Resolution
3,686,400 dots

Nikon D850 vs Z9 Video Performance

The Nikon Z9 outperforms the Nikon D850 in video capabilities, scoring 100/100 compared to the D850’s 70/100. Both cameras share some common specifications, such as having built-in time-lapse functionality. However, the Z9 surpasses the D850 in terms of maximum video resolution and maximum video frame rate.

The Z9 boasts an impressive 8K maximum video resolution with dimensions of 7680 x 4320, doubling the D850’s 4K maximum video resolution of 3840 x 2160. This higher resolution results in significantly more detailed and sharper video quality, making the Z9 a superior choice for videographers and professionals who require high-resolution video capturing.

Additionally, the Z9 offers a maximum video frame rate of 120fps, four times the D850’s 30fps. This increased frame rate allows for smoother video playback and higher-quality slow-motion footage, providing more creative possibilities for filmmakers and content creators.

Despite the Nikon D850’s lower video score, it still offers reliable video performance with 4K resolution and 30fps. For users who do not require the highest video resolution or advanced frame rate options, the D850 remains a solid choice for capturing high-quality video content.

Comparing the video capabilities of the Nikon D850 and Nikon Z9, it is clear that the Z9 excels in both video resolution and frame rate, making it the superior choice for those in need of advanced video features. However, the D850 still offers respectable video performance for users who may not require the cutting-edge video capabilities of the Z9.

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.
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.
3840 x 2160 px
7680 x 4320 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
120 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.

Nikon D850 vs Z9 Features and Benefits

The Nikon D850 and Nikon Z9 both score 87 out of 100 in terms of features, showcasing their strong capabilities as professional cameras. They share several specifications such as a 3.2-inch screen, touchscreen functionality, WiFi, and Bluetooth connectivity. However, there are differences that set them apart and make them suitable for different users.

The Nikon Z9 excels with its flip screen and GPS functionality. The flip screen allows greater flexibility when framing shots, particularly in challenging angles or when capturing self-portraits. Additionally, the GPS feature enables photographers to geotag their images, which is useful for travel and nature photography. These added features make the Z9 suitable for those seeking versatility in their shooting experience.

On the other hand, the Nikon D850 has a higher screen resolution of 2,359,000 dots compared to the Z9’s 2,088,960 dots. This results in a sharper and clearer image display, which can be beneficial for photographers who require precise focusing and image review. Despite its lack of a flip screen and GPS, the D850 remains a strong contender for those who prioritize image quality in their photography.

Both cameras are highly capable, and their identical feature scores reflect their competitive standing in the market. The Nikon Z9 is ideal for photographers who value flexibility and location-based features, while the Nikon D850 is better suited for those who prioritize image clarity on the camera’s screen. Ultimately, the choice between these two cameras depends on the specific needs and preferences of the photographer.

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.
2,359,000 dots
2,088,960 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.

Nikon D850 vs Z9 Storage and Battery

The Nikon D850 wins in storage and battery with a score of 84/100, compared to the Nikon Z9’s score of 79/100. Both cameras have two memory card slots and accept SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-II compatible) and XQD cards. However, the Z9 also supports CFexpress cards, providing more storage options.

The D850 outperforms the Z9 in battery life, offering 1840 shots with its EN-EL15a battery, while the Z9 provides 740 shots using the EN-EL18d battery. This means the D850 lasts more than twice as long on a single charge, making it more reliable for extended shooting sessions.

On the other hand, the Z9 has the advantage of USB charging, allowing for easier and more convenient charging options, especially when traveling or in the field.

Considering these factors, the Nikon D850 is the better choice for photographers who prioritize longer battery life and reliable performance. However, the Nikon Z9 may be more appealing to those who value versatile charging options and additional storage compatibility with CFexpress cards.

Storage and Battery
Storage and Battery
Memory Card
SD / SDHC / SDXC (UHS-II compatible), XQD
CFexpress, 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.
1,840 shots
740 shots
USB Charging
Photography Genre
Graded from the first-hand experience of one of our writers
Beginner Friendly
Sports and Action
Value for Money
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.'
26.4 bits
26.3 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.'
14.8 EVs
14.4 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'

Alternatives to the Nikon D850 and Z9

Nikon D850 vs Z9 Comparison image.

Are you still undecided about which camera is right for you? Have a look at these popular comparisons that feature the Nikon D850 or the Nikon Z9:

User Scores
B&H photo video
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