It’s brand new, it’s beautiful, and above all, it has arrived at our photo lab: the Nikon D850. And what a joy it is! It’s enough to make us happy to have returned from holidays. And we are full of energy and motivation as well as curiosity: so, how does its 45.7 megapixel BSI CMOS 45,7 sensor stack up against the current kings of high definition?
It was not difficult to make a selection of cameras able to compete with the Nikon D850 as its only serious competitors are: its predecessor – the D810, the Sony Alpha 7R II and the Canon EOS 5Ds R. In order to avoid favoritism, for the purposes of this test, all of these cameras will be mounted with a Sigma Art 35 mm f/1.4 DG HSM lens (one with a Nikon F mount and one with a Canon EF mount). The two questions we will be asking are: what can Imatest tell us about the resolving power of the Nikon D850? And, how does the camera behave at high ISO sensitivity values?
Imatest: a well-designed 45.7 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor
The Imatest software, in association with SFRplus chart, is able to measure the resolving power of a given lens relative to a given sensor. In other words, while using the same lens, this test will determine a camera’s ability to distinguish very fine details in three distinct zones: the center, periphery, and edges of the frame. The graphs it produces are very easy to read: the higher the curves, the better (as far as resolving power is concerned), and the closer the three curves are to each other, the better (in terms of the lens’s homogeneity at a given aperture opening). You can click on the images below to enlarge them.
Compared to the D810, the D850 is more precise at wider aperture, despite being equivalent at f/8. However, the D850’s increased definition makes it more susceptible to diffraction effects. If you commonly operate at f/11 and beyond, the D810 would probably be better suited to your needs.