The First Nikon D-850 Image. Crop-ability. And Adding the Battery Grip to the D-850. « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

The First Nikon D-850 Image. Crop-ability. And Adding the Battery Grip to the D-850.


I met the second IPT group of seven for the free morning session early on Saturday morning. A half hour after sunrise things were shaping up to be as bad as Friday. Then a gorgeous pelican landed right in front of us but it was down a bit in a crevice. After ten minutes it popped up on a nice rock and posed for a long time. Then a second gorgeous bird landed down below to our right. I got everyone in position and we had another half hour of fun. Then a third gorgeous bird landed on perfect sandstone perch to the left of the first bird. I move everyone to sun angle and we enjoyed another great session. There were only about five birds total, but three of them very quite beautiful in excellent situations.

I am putting the finishing touches on this blog post while waiting for the group to arrive for our introductory program at 7pm on Saturday night.

The Streak

Today makes one hundred eighty-one days in a row with a new educational blog post! This one took about an hour to prepare. With all of my upcoming free time (or not …), the plan right now is to break the current record streak of 480 … Good health and good internet connections and my continuing insanity willing.


Booking.Com came through for me twice again recently with both the DeSoto Fall IPT and next July’s UK Puffins, Gannets, and Bempton Pre-trip room reservations. And all the rates were great. If you’d like to give Booking.Com a shot, click here and you will earn a $25 reward. Thanks to the many who have already tried and used this great service.

Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending BAA IPTs and dozens of folks whom I see in the field, and on BPN, are–out of ignorance–using the wrong gear especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads… Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail. Those questions might deal with systems, camera bodies, accessories, and/or lens choices and decisions.

This image was created on January 26 at La Jolla, CA with the hand held Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens (at 500mm) and the mega mega-pixel Nikon D850 DSLR.. ISO 800. Matrix metering probably at +2/3 stop off the blue sky: 1/3200 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode. AWB at 4:05pm on a clear sunny afternoon.

Group/Shutter Button AF. Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Brown Pelican, Pacific race, face-flight image

The First Nikon D-850 Image

Both Patrick Sparkman and I are head over heels in love with the D-850 image files. The colors, especially the Pacific BLUEs, are stunningly vibrant. The image quality is as good at it was with the Canon 5DS R. With the absence of an anti-aliasing filter, both produce incredibly sharp images with the megapixel edge going to the 5DS R (50 to 45). But the dynamic range of the D-850 is the better of the two as is high ISO noise control. And, as previously noted, when it comes to birds in flight, the AF system of the D-850 (and the D5) blow away anything Canon has ever produced. Note: in some simpler AF situations, both Nikon bodies run into occasional problems. As others have reported, I have not encountered and pixel shake/pixel smear problems with the D-850 that I had with the 5DS R (with birds and wildlife).

I chose to share today’s pelican face-flight shot with you first to illustrate the great crop-ability of the D-850 images. The converted TIF file here was 130 mb. After leveling and cropping, today’s featured image weighed in at 30mb. That works out to a paltry 23% of the original file size yet with 77% of the image cropped away, the optimized file is sharp, shows zero degradation, and features amazingly vibrant colors. I have actually varied my shooting style as a result of the crop-ability of the D-850, often working looser than usual while knowing the IQ will stand up to a healthy crop.

During this morning’s free session I was helping a client with their 5D Mark IV. I zoomed the wrong way and my brain could not remember how to change the ISO. I must be making ergonomic progress with my Nikon gear. πŸ™‚

Nikon D-850 AF and Frame Rate

At this point in time, I have a bit more confidence in the AF system of the Nikon D5 DLSR than I do in the AF system of the D-850 . That even though the AF systems are identical. I hope to get over those feelings because the file size and image quality if the D-850 are stupendous. The frame-rate of the D5 is an impressive 12 fps. With the D-850 out of the box it is 7 fps. But, you can add the Nikon MB-D18 Multi-Power Battery Pack and the Nikon EN-EL18b Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery and BL-5 Cover Kit from B&H and the Nikon MH-21 Quick Charger for Nikon EN-EL4 & EN-EL4a Battery from Bedford Camera to boost that to 9fps.

Alternatively, you can purchase the whole kit and kaboodle: Nikon MB-D18 Multi-Power Battery Pack with EN-EL18b Battery Kit. The latter option is perfect for those who do not own a Nikon D5 and/or those who will wind up with two D-850 bodies (for the price of one Nikon D5).

My immediate problem is that I am not sure if I will keep the D5 or return the loaner body and go with two D-850s. As yet I have not been able to get a BL-5 (battery) Cover for the Nikon MB-D18 Multi-Power Battery Pack so I have not been able to get the D-850 (7 fps) up to 9fps. This has made my decision more difficult … My gut feeling is that I will wind up with two D-850s. Note: Everything D-850 is in huge, huge demand, as in “pre-order only.”

The full frame original capture

The Full Frame Original Capture

I included the full frame image to depict the 77% crop. The image quality of the optimized version speaks for itself.

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Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the New BAA Online Store πŸ™‚

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

As always, we sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And please remember that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

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15 comments to The First Nikon D-850 Image. Crop-ability. And Adding the Battery Grip to the D-850.

  • Hi Artie

    I think you need to take off the Canon camera logo from top left hand side of your banner.

    Best and love


  • avatar James Saxon

    Just saw on that Adorama has the MB-D18 muliti grip and battery pack as well as the batteries in stock.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks. You can get that most everywhere. But none of it works without the BL-5 battery door πŸ™‚ I did manage to get one of those.

      with love, artie

  • avatar James Saxon

    Check the Nikon website to make sure your D850 has the latest firmware. Nikon just issued new firmware for the camera. I am not sure of the number.

  • avatar Jay

    Artie images are really great. As I am a Nikon shooter, I regret the fact that now I can’t blame my gear for poor IQ -:).

    Please can you comment on how you arrived at choosing group. Everything you do is based on solid theoretical foundation and experimenting in the field. So it will be good to know why you made this choice over other settings.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      All of the very best Nikon flight photographers I know said “Use group for flight.” It works like an amazing charm πŸ™‚

      with love, artie

  • Glad you are loving the Nikon gear…I can’t wait to see your Brown Booby flight images πŸ™‚

  • avatar Michael Eckstein

    I meant Olympus EM-1 MkII.

  • avatar Michael Eckstein

    Artie, I know what you are going through. After 20+ years using Canon gear, a few months ago I switched to Olympus for size and weight reduction. The Olympus EM-1 Mki has a very slow learning curve due to advanced features and a very complex menu system. I find the metering system more accurate for me than Canon was. To tell the truth I see no difference between the micro 4/3 results vs. ASP-C images. I also find the lenses are extremely good even the kit type lenses.

  • Hi Artie

    I am way out of my depth here with the Nikon system and all. But the Images our bang on the button for me, I like to keep things simple so I think they are ” top totty ” a UK expression.

    Best and love

  • avatar Bill Reichert

    The photos do not match the quality of what I have seen with your great stuff with Canon bodies.
    Maybe too many pixels has its limitations. Just like the Canon 50 megapixel bodies.
    Too much of a good thing!!
    Many photographers have enough problems just getting a good shot of larger birds. They need not worry about other issues such as Canon vs Nikon.
    I don’t think that is ultimately what your site is about.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Aside from disagreeing with you on the quality of this image, I will continue to do what I have always done here; let folks know what I am doing, what gear I used, and what I was thinking. πŸ™‚

      with love, artie

  • avatar Peter Noyes

    Artie, Inage quality of the crop definitely speaks for itself. This may ultimately reduce or eliminate the use of a teleconverter. What do you use for your AF setting (S, D9 etc., Group)?

  • avatar Marco

    Good stuff, Artie. Looking forward to see the first D850+600 f4 images.

    One thing to notice when speaking of autofocus, the modules should be, for what we know, the same but at 45mp the d850 will show any imprecision or softness much more than that workhorse that the D5 is.
    I noticed myself when moving to much more pixel dense cameras. My opinion obviously.