The Nikon D850 series is a high performance full frame Digital SLR camera body designed for still photography. The D850 offers stills capabilities along with apt movie and time-lapse recording. Revolving around a newly designed 45.7MegaPixel BSI CMOS sensor and proven EXPEED 5 image processor, the D850 is clearly distinguished by its high resolution for recording detailed imagery. The back-illuminated design of the sensor affords great performance in low-light conditions, and the sensor also forgoes an optical low-pass filter for improved sharpness.
The Nikon D850 is capable of shooting full frame high resolution video up to 4K Ultra HD with both standard SD cards and Nikon high-speed XQD cards. Operators will need to purchase their own cards. This camera requires a high-speed SD card with read/write capabilities of 90MB/s or higher to utilize the higher resolutions. It is suggested that to have a card with a minimum of 32GB capacity. If shooting in FX mode at 4K resolution, a 32GB SD card will hold approximately 380 images. If the intention is to shoot stills at 4K, especially if intening to shoot video, the SD card will fill up quickly!
First, get to know the contents of the camera bag.
Included in the camera bag is:
Two Batteries (given upon checkout)
Wireless Microphone Kit – It's possible to attach a wireless mic to the D850 for gathering audio.
Explore the camera to find the following:
- Sensor cap and Lens cap (don’t lose these!)
- SD/XQD card slots
- The power switch (top of body by shutter)
- The LV (Live View) button
- The menu button
- The recording button (next to power switch)
- The focus and zoom rings (depending on lens selection)
- Mode button (press and spin the back wheel to cycle modes)
- Mic input/headphone jack
- The Vari-tilt LCD screen
These are just a few parts that will become more familiar to with use. However, before starting to use the camera in the field, we suggest spending some time getting to know how it works. Take the camera out for a 'test drive' and actually shoot some photos or record video and audio. Don’t wait to learn how to use the camera when doing an assignment. The more time spent with the camera, the less time spent on troubleshooting.
Inserting the Battery:
The battery compartment is located on the bottom of the camera. Take care not to drop the battery as such impacts could reduce its ability to hold a charge.
Make sure the power switch is set to Off. Find the battery door on the bottom of the camera and open it by sliding the latch towards the center of the camera body. Align the battery with the leads and insert it into the slot until it clicks into place. A small yellow clip will engage over the battery securing it in the slot.
Removing the Battery:
Make sure the power switch is set to Off. Inside the battery compartment, there is a small yellow battery latch. Slide this latch to the side out of the way of the battery, and the battery will slide out.
Turning the Camera On/Off:
The power switch is located on the top right of the body, it sits around the shutter button. Slide the switch to the right into the On position. The backlit screen on the top of the camera will illuminate. Press the LV button on the back of the camera to the right of the screen. This will turn on the LCD Display allowing access to the settings, menu, and view of the camera.
To turn off the camera, slide the power switch to Off.
The shutter button is located on the top right side of the camera. The shutter depresses both on a half and a full push. A half press will trigger the autofocus servo and a full press will trigger the shutter. To operate the continuous shutter feature, the shutter wheel must set to either CL, CH, or QC. If continuous shutter is turned on, then holding the shutter button will take rapid-fire images until it is released.
The Nikon D850 has only one Rec button, it can be used both to start and stop recording. It is the red button located next to the shutter button and power switch.
Make sure the lens cap is removed before recording starts, and store the lens cap in the camera bag to prevent loss. Press the red REC button, located next to the shutter button and power switch, to begin recording. Press again to stop recording. During recording, a countdown on the LCD screen informing will alert how much longer the record will be able to take.
Focus on the subject and compose the shot. Begin recording. Step back from the camera and count to 10 seconds. Then stop the camera and find another shot to compose and record.
Press the Mode button located on the settings wheel on the left side on top of the camera and spin the back wheel to toggle between camera modes. Programmed auto with flexible program (P); shutter-priority auto (S); aperture-priority auto (A); and manual (M).
To view files, press the preview button located in the top left corner on the back of the camera. Then, use the arrow keys to navigate.
LCD Touch Screen:
To toggle the LCD Screen on and off, press the LV button.
Video can be monitored using either the LCD Touch Screen or the Viewfinder. To toggle between the two, spress the LV button.
Pull out the LCD screen gently from the bottom and tilt gently to the desired angle. (Tilting it up or down can assist with Low and High angle shots.)
The LCD Monitor displays the camera’s status, media information, focus pattern and various other indicators during shooting.
On the back of the camera, there is a Menu button that can be used to find and enter new settings for the camera. For the most part, the settings should be fixed for normal camera operation and don’t need to be changed. Experienced users may then change settings, but remember – this camera is used by other operators, so anything changed might affect the recordings made by future operators. It’s best to return the settings back to what they were when finished using the camera.
Pressing Menu button again will exit from the Menu display.
Use the arrow keys button on the back right side of the screen to select menu items. Press the center circular button to make a selection or to make changes to a selection. In Live View Mode, the arrows can be used to move the point of focus for the autofocus feature. Also, pressing the center button will snap the focal point back to the center of the frame if it has been moved elsewhere.
There are certain advantages to using the Viewfinder rather than the LCD screen. For example, it’s easier to get sharper focus of the lens when looking into the eyepiece. Though before focusing the lens, first focus the viewfinder to the operators eyesight. Doing so will adjust the data code and display inside the viewfinder so that it looks sharp to the eye.
Focus the Viewfinder using the eyepiece corrector, also known as the Diopter, located on the right side of the eyepiece. Remember, this is not focussing the image in the lens itself. Once the Eyepiece is set to the data code in the Viewfinder, then focus the lens.
Formatting (Initialising) the SD Card:
When using an SD or XQD card for the first time with any camera it will become necessary to format the card. Formatting will always erase existing data that is left on the card. Make sure any existing files on the card are copied to a portable drive before formating.
How to Format the Card:
Make sure the camera is Off and the open the card port cover to access the SD/XQD card slots.
Make sure to insert the card as shown in the diagram on the bay door. Insert the card as far as it will go until it clicks into place. (To remove the card press it in until it clicks again and it will pop back out of the slot).
Power up the camera, and press the Menu button. Navigate to: Menu > Setup-Menu > Format Memory Card and select which slot to use. The camera will prompt that everything on the card will be deleted. Press the OK button on the right of the screen. Once OK is pressed, the card will be formatted.
Formatting is complete when Complete is displayed on the monitor and the camera returns to the Format screen.
Removing the SD Card:
Check that the SD slot indicator isn’t accessing data. It is displayed on the LCD as a Red card symbol.
Push the SD card in and remove it from the slot
Close the card port door when not in use.
Tips to Avoid SD Card Problems:
Do not get into the habit of using the memory card to store other projects or files. The media card should never be used as a substitute for a portable drive. If the camera detects other files, such as Adobe Premiere project files, it might give a recording error. The likely solution to the error will be to format the card, which will delete all the existing data.
Every shot taken must be properly focused, which is crucial in any professional production. Soft focus shots, unless used for artistic effect, will not be accepted under professional standards. However, when shooting stills, to have high quality images an operator must learn how to properly manipulate and control focus settings and rings.
Getting the focus right means having to judge the focus properly using the Eyepiece. The LCD Monitor doesn’t have enough pixels to render the image as sharply as the actual lens (even at Full HD). Focus errors are more obvious in high-definition, but fortunately there are ways to get the best focus possible.
The Nikon D850 is equipped with numerous autofocus settings and options. Autofocus (AF): Single-servo AF (AF-S); continuous-servo AF (AF-C); predictive focus tracking automatically activated according to subject status. Also, Manual focus (M): Electronic rangefinder can be used.
To toggle AF On and Off, use the switch located within the AF button on the front of the camera under the lens (see photo). This button activates Manual focus.
To switch between auto focus modes with AF turned on, hold the AF button and spin the back wheel left or right.
To change AF settings such as number of focus points and style of focus, hold the AF button and spin the front wheel left or right to cycle through options. For Example, 3D focus is the continuous subject tracking mode. This mode is great for continuous shutter mode with a moving subject.
The arrow keys can be used to change the position of the focal point on the autofocus system. Once it has been moved, press the center arrow key button to snap the focal point back to the center of the frame.
Setting the White Balance:
While in live view, changing the white balance settings manually can be done by pressing the WB button located on the settings wheel, and using the arrow keys to adjust up, down, left, or right. To select the white balance preset, navigate to: Menu > Photo Shooting Menu or Movie Shooting Menu > White Balance > Select an option. If unfamiliar with white balancing, auto is a good place to start. Please do explore different white balances and their effects however in order to become acquainted with its features.
White Balance Errors:
The Nikon D850 uses a built-in microphone, but it has an additional TRS (AUX) input for other microphones such as wireless microphones.
Using Wireless Microphones:
These accessory microphones can be connected to the ⅛ inch TRS input. The stick and the wireless microphones are ideally suited to record voices during interviews.
For the clearest, sharpest reproduction of voices, it’s important to always consider first using the stick and wireless and only use the internal as a last resort.
First, make sure the microphone transmitter and receiver both have batteries in them. Connect the wireless receiver to the mic input and attach it to the camera’s hot-shoe (top track on the camera – see picture). Make sure the receiver is connected securely to the camera.
Next, attach the transmitter to the subject and position to lav microphone so that it is in a comfortable and logical position. Turn both the transmitter and receiver on. Make sure they are set to the same correct channel. Begin recording.
Audio Input Settings:
Once connected to the external microphone (and even if using the internal mic) and headphones, navigate to the audio settings by pressing Menu > Movie Shooting Menu > Microphone Sensitivity. Adjust the audio levels so that there is no clipping and the audio sounds correct.