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Nikon Z7 Vs Nikon D850 2020

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If you are a professional photographer or have taken up photography as a passionate hobby, you must have come across different types of cameras. Various kinds of cameras, with diverse features, have hit the market in recent years. 

Two types among them are the DSLR cameras and the Mirrorless cameras. While they differ in their functionality, they have unique features of their own. 

The Z7 model by Nikon is one of the most popular cameras from its Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens camera range. And the D850 is one of Nikon’s top-selling DSLR cameras. If you are confused about which one to pick, we have made that task easier for you. 

We have looked into all the features that the two cameras offer. In this article, we have brought to you a detailed comparison between Nikon Z7 vs D850.

Nikon: What Does The Brand Offer You?

Nikon, the Japanese multinational corporation has been a reputable and reliable name in the tech-market since its establishment. They have been introducing highly innovative optical gadgets for more than a century now. 

Nikon had launched its first camera in 1948. Since then, with the advancement of technology, they have launched numerous camera models and series. 

The Z Series

The Z-series cameras by Nikon are full-frame mirrorless cameras with interchangeable lenses. It is titled Z because of its revolutionary mount lenses that give you improved subject tracking operations. 

The Z-series cameras are equipped with a wider lens mount than any other subframe camera. The superior lens enables you to capture rich and vibrant shots.

The D-series

The D-series is a line of Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLRs) Cameras which carries the legacy of Nikon’s brand name. They are professional-grade full-frame DSLR cameras. With enhanced image sensors and a more improved image processor, the D-series cameras can give you premium image and video quality.

MILCs vs DSLRs

Before we compare Nikon Z7 vs D850, let’s look into what the two types of cameras entail. 

Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera (MILCs) features a single removable lens. “Mirrorless” implies that the camera does not use a reflex mirror or an optical viewfinder like the DSLR cameras. It employs a digital display system to view what the image sensor sees. 

A full-frame Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens camera comes with a digital sensor of equal size of a film (35mm format).

Full-frame Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLRs) cameras also have interchangeable lenses but they have reflex-mirrors instead of a digital display.

DSLRs use pentaprism reflex mirrors and combine the mechanism of Single Lens Reflex camera with a digital imaging sensor.  They employ an eye-level electronic viewfinder along with a rear Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) screen for a non-optical through-the-lens (TTL) view. 

The Nikon Z7 and Nikon D850 are two of the choicest cameras of their respective kinds. If you are not being able to decide on one, a detailed comparison of Nikon Z7 vs D850 will certainly prove to be of help. 

But before we commence with the character differentiation, let’s take a look into the specifications of each of the cameras to get a better perspective on them.

Nikon Z7 

Key Features

Nikon Z7 is one of the most well-rounded digital cameras with a mirrorless system. It was launched in August 2018. It is equipped with Nikon Z mount lenses.

It has a full-frame BSI-CMOS image sensor with a resolution as high as 45.7 MP. The sensor size is 35.9×23.9mm and offers a resolution of 8256×5504 pixels. It also offers on-sensor phase-detection too. 

Nikon is powered by an Exceed 6 image-processing engine, which can promise you highly improved performance. It also features 493 points Hybrid phase-detection Autofocus system, along with a built-in 5-axis mechanical image stabilizer.

The camera is built with high-quality magnesium alloy, which makes it both dust-proof and weather-proof. It weighs about 585g and the dimension is 134×100.5×67.5 mm. 

The Nikon Z7 sports an electronic OLED viewfinder. With a resolution of 3.69 million dots. The viewfinder offers 100% coverage and allows zooming up to 0.8x. The camera also has a touch-enabled swivel LCD screen, measuring 3.2″ with a resolution of 2.1 million dots. The native sensitivity range offered is ISO 64-25,600 which can be boosted to a range of ISO 32,51,200-102,400.

The self-diagnostic shutter is durable enough to withstand 200,000 cycles. The shutter speed is 1/8000 to 30 seconds. The camera also features a built-in intervalometer that enables you to take time-lapse shots. 

The Nikon Z7 captures images at a speed ranging from 5.5 FPS to 9.9 FPS. For videography, it offers a maximum speed of 30 flaps per second and stores movie files in both MP4 and MOV format. 

The camera also has built-in wifi as well as Bluetooth. It has only one slot for memory cards. The battery of the Nikon Z7 is of EN-EN15b type, which offers a battery life of 330 shots.

Pros

  • Magnesium body for excellent durability. 
  • Dust and splash resistant
  • Ergonomically designed and has an excellent grip.
  • Offers high resolution.
  • Has a touch-enabled tilting LCD screen
  • Has electronic OLED viewfinder with 100% coverage
  • Provides built-in image stabilizer
  • Has intervalometer that allows time-lapse shooting
  • High ISO Output
  • Has built-in Wifi and Bluetooth

Cons

  • No built-in flash
  • No GPS connectivity
  • Has a comparatively low battery life 
  • Single memory card slot
  • Offers limited buffer depth
  • Not so good low-light focusing
  • No intervalometer present does not allow time-lapse shooting.

Nikon D850

Key Specifications

Nikon’s revolutionary camera D850 is a full-frame DSLR, which was released in 2018. It is powered by an Expeed 5 image processor, which offers a fast burst shooting rate and high-resolution videography. The camera comes equipped with Nikon F mount lenses that offer a resolution of 45.7 MP.

D850 has a full-frame BSI CMOS Image Sensor that offers TTL phase detection and fine-tuning. It has an Advanced Multi-CAM 20K Autofocus sensor module with 153 focus points. Its working range is from EV -4 to EV 20.

The Nikon D850 also sports an optical eye-level pentaprism single-lens reflex viewfinder. It provides 100% coverage on view and allows magnification up to 0.75x. The camera also has a touch-sensitive tilting TFT LCD screen.

It measures about 3.2″ and has a resolution of 2359k dots. The screen provides 100% coverage and can allow a viewing angle up to 170°. It has an ISO sensitivity range of 64-25600 pixels and also allows auto ISO sensitivity control.

D850 allows continuous shooting at a speed of approx. 9 flaps per second and the still images are stored in RAW or JPEG format. It has a maximum speed of 60 FPS for movie shooting in full HD quality and stores files as MOV or MP4 formats. The camera allows live viewing with a frame rate of 60 FPS and TTL exposure metering using the main image sensor. 

Nikon D850 is manufactured with magnesium alloy and carbon fibers, which offers improved durability. The camera is weather-sealed and can operate at a temperature range of 0° to 40°C and in less than 85% humidity. It weighs around 915g and its dimensions are 146×124×78.5 mm. 

The camera supports a SuperSpeed USB connector and also has a stereo mini-pin jack, Type C mini-pin HDMI connector, and a headphone connector. It also has built-in wifi and Bluetooth and also supports GPS connectivity. 

For storage, D850 has dual slots for memory chips. XQD and Secure Digital type of memory cards can be used. 

The battery for D850 is a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, which allows an average of 1840 shots at one charge. It also comes with an MH-25a battery charger.

Pros

  • Weather-sealed Magnesium Body with improved ergonomics.
  • Has Excellent Dynamic Range
  • Full-frame backside-illuminated 45.7 MP CMOS sensor. 
  • Low vibration mechanical shutter
  • Offers fast 9 fps burst mode shooting
  • Has a large optical viewfinder
  • Has a swivel touch-sensitive 3.2″ LCD screen with high-resolution.
  • Excellent battery life
  • Built-in Wi-fi and Bluetooth.
  • It allows shooting slow-motion video at 120 fps. 

Cons

  • The optical viewfinder allows limited Autofocus point coverage. 
  • Has a 30-minutes limit for video clips.
  • No Autofocus illuminator
  • No built-in flash
  • Shutter speed is limited to 1/8000 second when using an electronic shutter.

Overview

Nikon Z7 has been in the market since 2015 while the D850 was more recently introduced in 2018. Both the cameras have weather-sealed bodies and excellent ergonomics. Both have a resolution of 45.7 MP. Both of the models are equipped with swivel touch-enabled LCD screens with good resolution. 

Both the cameras are great in their own series. They have plenty of similarities but differ in several aspects. Both cameras have impressive specifications. 

Here’s an elaborative comparison of Nikon Z7 vs D850 to help you make an informed decision about which one to pick.

How Are They Different? A Comparison Between Nikon Z7 Vs D850

nikon z7 vs d850

In the following part of the article, all have reviewed both the models and have compared them with respect to their physical characteristics, sensor, image processor, connectivity, and other important features. Keep reading further to understand the difference between the two high-end cameras from Nikon, and pick the one that appeals to you the most.

1. Comparison Of Design And Build

D850, being a full-frame DSLR camera, is much larger and heavier than Nikon Z7. The Z7 is a mirrorless camera and is therefore comparatively smaller as there’s no extra space needed for accommodation reflex mirrors. 

While Z7 is only 585g, the D850 model weighs about 915g. The former being the lighter one is easier to carry on-the-go. The D850 measures around 146×124×78.5 mm, while Z7 is 12 mm narrower, 23 mm shorter, and 11 mm thinner.

Both the models are weather-resistant as well as dust-proof and splash-proof, but D850 has been tested to show more tolerance in extreme conditions. 

2. Comparison In Image Processor

While comparing Nikon D850 vs Z7 we found, the image processing unit is one of the major features that has been improved in the latter model. 

Nikon Z7 is powered by a more advanced Image Processing engine, the EXPEED 6. This provides better noise reduction, colour accuracy, as well as improved processing speed, as compared to the EXPEED 5 Image processor in D850. It also gives a smoother performance than EXPEED 5.

3. Comparison In Image Sensor

Both Z7 and D850 have a full-frame sensor with a native aspect ratio of 3:2. They both have a similar resolution of 45.7 MP. But Z7 offers on-sensor phase detection pixels, which provide faster and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live viewing. 

4. Comparison In Sensitivity Range

The Nikon D850 has a native sensitivity range of ISO 64 to 25600, which can be extended to ISO 32 to 102400. Z7 too offers the exact same ISO settings. But on testing, it has been seen that Z7 has slightly better low-light sensitivity and can capture improved quality still images and videos even in a darker environment.

5. Comparison Of The Lenses

Nikon Z7 has a Z mount lens that is an interchangeable lens mount, while D850 has an F mount lens. Z lenses have a maximum angle of incidence of about 44.09° whereas Nikon F lenses have a maximum angle limited 12.1°.

6. Comparison In Image Stabilisation

One feature that gives Z7 an edge in the Nikon D850 vs Z7 comparison is its in-body Image Stabilisation. The Z7 has reduced the risk of hand-shake or camera-shake induced blurring. Nikon D850 offers no in-body optical image stabilization and cannot reduce motion blurring. It provides only lens stabilization. 

7. Comparison Of The LCD Screens

Both Z7 and D850 come equipped with 3.2″ swivel LCD screens which are touch-enabled. But Nikon D850 has a resolution of 2359k dots. This is higher than the resolution of the screen of Z7, which is only 2100k dots.

8. Comparison Of The Viewfinder

Concerning the viewfinder, Z7 has an electronic OLED viewfinder with a resolution of 3690k dots while D850 features an optical viewfinder. Both the viewfinder offers 100% coverage of the field of view, but the one in Z7 provides magnification of 0.8x, which is slightly better than D850. 

Also, the optical viewfinder offers a lag-free viewing and clear framing of the image, while the electronic viewfinder offers to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view.

9. Comparison In Image And Video Capturing

Both the Z7 and D850 have the same 46-megapixels BSI-CMOS sensor and produce images of up to 8256×5504 pixels in size. But due to the updated imaging processor in Z7, it produces much clearer images with lesser noise. 

Both the cameras capture videos at 4K UHD format at a speed of 30 flaps per second. But Z7 offers lesser motion blurring due to its 5-axis sensor-shift Image Stabilisation. 

10. Comparison In Burst And Continuous Shooting

Nikon Z7 features burst shooting at a speed of 9 Flaps per second while D850 offers burst shooting at 7 FPS.

11. Comparison In The Batteries

D850 is powered by the EN-EL15a li-ion battery, which has a better battery life than the EN-EL15b power pack battery of Z7. A single complete charge of the Z7 battery can take 330 shots while the battery of D850 is able to capture almost 1840 shots at one charge. 

However, the Z7 battery can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when traveling.

12. Comparison In Connectivity

Both the cameras have built-in wifi and also support Bluetooth connectivity. But D850 supports Near Field Communication (NFC) connectivity. This allows you to transfer your image and movie files easily, using your smartphone or tablet. 

13. Comparison In Time-lapse Shooting

The Nikon Z7 is equipped with a built-in intervalometer that enables you to take a time-lapse image and use it for video shooting, which is advantageous for wild-life and nature photography. But the D850 lacks the intervalometer. 

14. Comparison Of Shutters

Both Z7 and D850 have mechanical shutters but Z7 also has an additional electronic shutter. Electronic shutter offers complete silent shooting, which is helpful while shooting wildlife. 

15. Comparison In Storage 

The Z7 only has one slot for memory cards but the Nikon D850 offers dual storage slots to accommodate an XQD as well as a Secured Digital card. Two slots can add up to great advantage as it will help in storing more files and you would not have to worry about running out of storage space. 

Nikon D850 Vs Z7: Which One Should You Pick?

Despite some fundamental differences between the Nikon D850 and Z7, both of the models give good performance and capture good quality images and videos. Z7 being a more recent model is slightly expensive than D850, but the latter has some better features.

Why Should You Choose Nikon Z7?

If you are looking for a camera to use on walking trips, you might want the lightweight Z7 camera. It has a better Image processor and also has built-in image stabilization to minimize motion blurring. It also offers Focus Stacking with Autofocus of 493 points. 

Z7 has better low-light sensitivity as well as an anti-flicker feature. The viewfinder offers a slightly better magnification than D850. The camera also has a better speed for continuous shooting than D850. 

Why Should You Choose Nikon D850?

Although Nikon D850 is powered by an older image processor, it has quite a few advanced features over Z7. The LCD screen has a better resolution of 2359K dots than Z7, which has 2100K dots. The lens of D850 has a slightly better color depth and dynamic range. 

Nikon D850 has a much better battery life than Nikon Z7. You would be less likely to drain your battery on your trip.

If you are a nature photographer then you would love the built-in intervalometer that D850 provides which allows you to capture time-lapse shots. D850 has two storage slots, while Z7 has only one. It also supports the NFC connection for easy file transfer. 

FAQs on Nikon Z7 vs D850

Q1. Comparing Z7 Vs D850 For Landscape Photography

If you are thinking of picking a camera for landscape photography, then both Z7 and D850 cameras can be a good option. Both offer high resolution and have a full-frame sensor. Both Z7 and D850 provide environmental sealing and feature live-view operation. 

Q2. Is Z7 Better Than D850?

If you want to buy a camera for portrait photography or street photography then Nikon Z7 can be a better choice for you. Though both the cameras have 46.0 MP sensors, the Electronic viewfinder and the Image stabilizer in Z7 gives you an advantage.

But if you are a sports photography enthusiast, then Nikon D850 is a better choice for you. The 99 cross-type focus sensor and fast continuous shooting speed, along with high battery life, make it a better option.  The optical built-in viewfinder with 100% coverage enables you to track your subject even if it’s in fast motion. 

Q3. What Will Replace The Nikon D850?

Nikon has recently announced that it will replace D850 with the next generation DSLR camera D860. It is rumored to have a sensor with a high resolution of 60 MP. They might be releasing the Nikon D860 in 2021.

Conclusion

While both Nikon Z7 and D850 have exceptional features and are of premium qualities, they have some aspects that distinguish them from each other. Both cameras have some common strengths and also some shared weaknesses. 

While both Z7 and D850 have equal resolution with face detection focus and adjustable LCD screen, both lack built-in flash. Keeping in mind all the aspects, it would highly depend on what characteristics you think would be more suitable and helpful for your needs, when it comes to choosing between the two. 

While D850 can be excellent for sports photography, Nikon Z7 can give spectacular headshots or portraits. Z7 can also have great performance in street photography. 

We hope that this detailed description and elaborate comparison between Nikon D850 vs Z7 will help you to make an informed decision about which one to pick.