I'm using D750 and mostly doing nature (birding, wildlife) along with landscaping and portraits. Also planning to do product photography in near future. Now wanted to upgrade to a better body. Colleagues are recommending D500 (Dx) and keep D750 for landscaping, portraits etc. However, I'm also considering to get D850. On multiple forums, I see talks about its Dx mode which is used to do the cropping in camera.

  1. Can we compare its Dx mode with D500? (with the exception of high fps in D500 i.e. 10fps)
  2. Overall, any recommendations for buying D850 over D500?

Thanks a bunch

  • D850 in FX mode and crop in post processing? – Alexander von Wernherr Apr 13 '18 at 11:55
  • "Now wanted to upgrade to a better body." WHY? What, specifically, do you expect to gain from a new body?Please see: When should I upgrade my camera body? up vote – Michael C Apr 13 '18 at 16:44
  • @MichaelClark, As I mentioned, planning to do some product photography, D850 has more megapixels, which gives much better quality. Plus I've heard about AA filter in 750, which affects the sharpness. In addition, the details of picture while birding or wildlife is also awesome, at least, I've find it better than 750 (Just watched some videos and samples, never tested myself). – Farrukh Waheed Apr 17 '18 at 10:40
  • Unless you are planning on making large poster sized displays of your products for showroom display, you don't need 45+ MP for product photography. Your final results will likely be downsized to web sized images that are rarely larger than 1-2 MP, right? Product photography is all about lighting, not resolution. Birding/wildlife is all about reach and fast handling/AF, not resolution (although resolution does give you more room to crop, it does so at a price of signal-to-noise ratio at the pixel level). – Michael C Apr 17 '18 at 20:52
  • If you don't know how to answer this question yourself, there's no need to upgrade at all. When you really need to upgrade you'll understand exactly what you need that your current gear does not give you and will know what to look for in a camera/lens/lighting component to give you what you need. – Michael C Apr 17 '18 at 20:54

I own a D750 and a D850, and this is what I base the following response on.

The D750 is more than competent. In fact, I'd say there is almost no technical reason to upgrade if one of the features you need isn't calling out (And same for the D500).

Reasons I would choose the D500 over the D850: Cost - Save ~$1000 USD Sports / wildlife - Get a nice bonus from shooting in Dx of 1.5x. 10FPS without spending an additional $800 (from memory) on a grip, and battery.

Why I picked up a D850 to go with my D750: Backlit buttons.

I do mostly landscapes / architecture. Standing around in the dark or near dark the buttons are a feature I have been dreaming about since my D90. Full frame for ultra wide angle / wide angle are what I like, so the D500 wouldn't have worked as well.

My recommendation would 100% be: If you don't see a must have feature then your current camera is fine. And even my D750 has features I prefer over the D850 for what I shoot.

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    Don't forget the faster, more expensive memory card also needed in addition to the expensive grip and more expensive battery to get the max frame rate with the D850. – Michael C Apr 13 '18 at 16:41

The D850 being a DSLR, the cropped mode doesn't enlarge the image in the viewfinder. You'll compose your image with a full-frame viewfinder with a visual indication that part of the image will be cropped away. On most DSLR this would be just a rectangle displayed on the image. The D850 can restrict the field of view with a darkened mask:

croped frame masking

As a consequence, the field of view in the D850 will be 1.5 times smaller in DX mode than in FX mode. So, the very good viewfinder of the D850 (0.75x magnification) becomes a rather poor one (0.5x magnification, compared to 0.65x of the much cheaper D500; even the cheapest Nikon DSLR, the D3400, beats it with 0.55x).

IOW, the D500 will give you more comfort for composing your images in the viewfinder than the D850 in cropped mode. I don't think you'll want to use the cropped mode more than occasionally. Obviously, the FX mode of the D850 is something the D500 doesn't have, OTOH.

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  • The D500 is a crop sensor (DX) camera, it cannot have an FX mode by design, since the FX stands for Full Frame ;) – Alexander von Wernherr Apr 13 '18 at 13:12
  • Err, yes, that's what I meant by "Obviously, the FX mode of the D850 is something the D500 doesn't have, OTOH.". Perhaps the "obviously" wasn't enough and I should have added a smiley... – Matthieu Moy Apr 13 '18 at 13:32
  • Magnification factor of the viewfinder does not change, only the angle of view it displays does. That's why a FF camera with a .72X viewfinder has a larger viewfinder than an APS-C with a 0.95X viewfinder. 72% of 35.9x24mm is larger than 95% of 23.5x15.5mm. It's just like lenses. The size of the sensor does not change the focal length of the lens, it only changes the FoV. For viewfinder magnification to change, the entire FoV would need to be shrunk to fit the smaller rectangle, not cropped so that only part of the original FoV is seen. – Michael C Apr 13 '18 at 16:36
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    In fact, the cropped portion of the D850's viewfinder is 0.75X of the 23.5x15.5 area of DX mode compared to 0.65X of the same 23.5x15.5 area. So the angular size of the Dx area in the D850's viewfinder is still 15% larger than the angular size of the Dx area in the D500's viewfinder. It's just not 73% larger like the full viewfinder of the D850 compared to the full viewfinder of the D500 is. – Michael C Apr 13 '18 at 16:58
  • The relevant viewfinder magnification is obviously for FF equivalent (i.e. compared to a lens that gives you the same image as a 50 mm on a FF). It's the one that gives you the angle of view in the viewfinder, and that's what you see as a human being. For D500 it's 0.65x (but that'd be 1.0x if you don't make it FF-equivalent). For D850 it's 0.75x. IOW, without cropping you get a 15% larger image when viewing through the D850, and once you reduce this by a cropping factor of 1.5 I don't see how it could still be bigger. – Matthieu Moy Apr 15 '18 at 16:48

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