Nikon Z7ii vs D850

Dedicated cameras are amazing for their ability to take a flexible shot out of your subject or scenery. They can be a great tool on the right hand and more often it is all about personal preference or type of application such as the Nikon Z7II Vs D850 that are not only capable of taking amazing pictures but also versatile for general application. The two popular FX formats are separated in price point so let’s see below to understand how they are different to each other.

In this comparison, we are going to talk about:

  • Why Choosing Full Frame Cameras
  • What are Nikon Z7II and D850
  • How are the Design of Nikon Z7II and D850
  • How are the Specs of Nikon Z7II and D850
  • How are the Viewfinder in Nikon Z7II and D850
  • How are the Autofocus in Nikon Z7II and D850
  • How are Nikon Z7II and D850 for Video Recording
  • How are the Nikon Z7II and D850 for Wildlife and Sport
  • Nikon Z7II Vs D850

Full Frame or Cropped Frame

When it comes to cameras there are numerous specs that can be very confusing for most people, especially those who are not used to one. One of the most important and probably what you will see first on a product is the sensor type and this is typically separated into full-frame or cropped sensors. If you buy a Nikon camera then terms like FX and DX are used to call the same type of sensor. There is no absolute answer for everyone because both are just as good.

Your digital camera will have a sensor and this is to replace the old film roll in our more traditional camera. It is the photosensitive surface and is probably the center of a digital camera as it will be the one recording the scene as you take a picture. It will detect light waves and turn the information into electric signals which eventually becomes the image. In a glance, the bigger the sensor, the higher its resolution and the lower its noise level as well.

A full-frame need higher cost to make so this is why the cameras tend to be more expensive than typical APS-C. A full-frame sensor is based on the actual size of film photography so they are measured at 36 x 24 mm and any camera with this sensor size are called as full-frame while anything less are called cropped such as APS-C or DX-format like  the Sony Alpha A6600 Vs A6500. As you can expect, the two have their own pros and cons to match with the application.

What’s tricky is the lenses you put on the camera will play a role too in affecting the image and how the scene is captured. The issues may not be very prominent with telephoto lenses but can be prevalent with wide angles because lenses that will project a wide-angle on a full-frame will be cropped to act like standard lenses which can give a wide-ish impression. To overcome the issue we can choose lenses designed specifically for cropped sensors.

Another common drawback is the nicely blurred backgrounds or also called bokeh which cameras with larger sensors can capture or achieve more easily than anything smaller. With the same lens in comparison you will get a more impressive and smooth bokeh with a full-frame sensor. Low-light photography also benefits from a full-sensor because the surface that is exposed to light is wider thus less noise when capturing image at night or with minimum lighting, making users confidently raise the ISO to a higher number.

Nikon Z7iiNikon D850

Product Dimensions5.28 x 2.74 x 3.96 inches
5.8 x 3.1 x 4.9 inches
Shipping Weight1.9 pounds
2.02 pounds
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About Nikon Z7II and D850

However, cropped sensors are also popular for reasons such as being more affordable, lighter, and give you a closer look into the subject in which beginners, travelers, or sport and wildlife photographers may prefer better. At the end it is about personal choice since there is no bad option between the two. But, if you are here then we assume that a full-frame is your choice and it means you also have prepared the budget because they tend to get quite expensive.

The option is all yours and it is probably time to start looking at what the market has to offer especially now in 2021 when you get so many different cameras from various brands like Nikon. This company arguably has some of the most advanced and widely beloved DSLRs but they also carry the more compact mirrorless that surprisingly are competing with each other. This is probably because either are optional and alternatives to each other yet it is also interesting for the fans.

Some of the hottest cameras to consider today if you are in for full-frame are the Nikon Z7II and D850. We Are sure you are familiar with these two already because they have been around for quite some time, and recently the Z7 is getting an upgrade with the second iteration from the series which makes it on par with the hugely respected D850 but now it is mirrorless instead of DSLR. Being set apart for almost 4 years, the new Z7 comes with some improvements too.

The price for both used to be the same at around $3,000 yet, now the gap is attractive enough for users to pick up the older D850 instead. In comparison, both Nikon Z7II and D850 are equally reliable but they will have their own advantage over each other and these can be your base to decide which you like better such as the viewfinder systems or the overall control layout from these cameras.

Nikon Z7II and D850 Design

Before digging a little bit more, let’s see the unit of Nikon Z7II and D850 first and as you can expect, the Z7II is significantly smaller than the D850 despite using the same sensor size. There are two arguments to think about however, if you are used to a thicker camera or used to the heavier lenses, it will probably feel more comfy to hold the D850. On the other hand if you like lighter cameras and more effective lens capacity to size, then Z7II is more promising.

The screen of D850 can flip up to 90 degrees however so it is a great plus if you often take pictures among a crowd, just to make sure we can see properly when placing the camera above the head; the Z7II strangely only allowed it up to 45 degree. Another great plus from the brilliant design of D850 is the buttons are backlit so we can see better when shooting at night while in general the control layout is more thoughtful, robust, and comes with better personalization than Z7II.

Nikon Z7II and D850 Specs

Now for the most important part, let’s see the basic specs of Nikon Z7II and D850 and compare whether they are actually on par with each other. The two are full-frame mirrorless and DSLR respectively with a maximum resolution of 8256 x 5504 and side by side 45 and 46 megapixels in effective pixels. They are using CMOS sensor combined with Expeed 6 image processor but, the new Z7II is already using dual processor system to bring the more advanced photography tech into the camera.

Nikon Z7II and D850 Viewfinder

Comparing Nikon Z7II and D850 feels like comparing the inherent qualities of mirrorless and DSLR so we want to talk about the viewfinder. With DSLR, it is like seeing two previews in the same camera and this is because they use optical viewfinder so while the preview we get from the viewfinder is amazing, the screen will not be the same; in most cases not as good. In mirrorless, what you see through for example the Z7II will be the same as the one on its screen and what you will capture.


Nikon Z7II and D850 Autofocus

Next we want to mention the autofocus on these cameras and one of the differences is due to the double processing power, it has better focus especially in eye detection which is lacking in the D850. The older DSLR also uses a different face detect and in most focus modes it doesn’t have the face detect function while in wide autofocus it will prioritize the face. The Z7II carries some of the best AF in the market and there are a whopping 493 AF points in this camera instead of 151 in D850.

This makes focusing much easier with Z7II because you can choose from so many points and what you need to do is just pressing the screen to select the area. But, in terms of ease of use, the D850 can change between all AF or single AF using just two buttons near the screen which with Z7II require few presses and selection from the menu.

Nikon Z7II and D850 Video Recording

On the video side, we can say that between Nikon Z7II and D850, the former is a great choice for hybrid users. One of the main reasons is due to the impressive tracking AF which keeps the focus on your subject even when it or they are moving around, something that the D850 can’t keep up with as it keeps losing the focus and refocusing during the filming. Additionally the mirrorless is supporting 4K at 60fps instead of 30fps, so we will get a smoother footage.

Nikon Z7II and D850 Sport and Wildlife Performance 

Lastly we want to mention the performance when using these cameras for sport or wildlife because many users are interested in the category. In this area the D850 will be much better and faster at focusing and capturing the subject while they are moving around. Z7II seems to track and lose it so in one continuous shot not all of the results can be used. The 3D tracking in D850 is impressive as it keeps focusing on the subject that you have chosen.

Nikon Z7ii vs D850

In comparison, it all depends on what you will be using the camera for. Since the Z7II is newer, it has the higher processing system and better autofocus as well as better video recording ability, moreover with its internal image stabilization so we don’t have to buy stabilized lenses which you will need with D850 for shooting handheld. But, in sport and wildlife generally DSLR is still better and this is also the same case with D850; it keeps the focus on your subject across the sensor.

- Every little detail matters. 45.7MP. Powerful AF performance. NIKKOR Z lenses. Intuitive functionality.
- Subject acquisition with speed and precision. 3.3x more buffer capacity than the original Z 7.
- Dual card slots (CFexpress/XQD + UHS-II SD). Flexibility and peace of mind when shooting important moments or on assignment, such as wedding and event photography.
- Vertical Grip Ready. Now compatible with the new vertical battery grip for those in need of more power and easier shutter operation when shooting vertically.
- Nikon designed back side illuminated (BSI) full frame image sensor with no optical low pass filter
- 45.7 megapixels of extraordinary resolution, outstanding dynamic range and virtually no risk of moiré
- Up to 9 fps1 continuous shooting at full resolution with full AF performance
- 8k6 and 4k time lapse movies with new levels of sharpness and detail; file system : DCF 2.0, exif 2.31, Pict bridge


All in all it is a tough choice but we do think if you are a hybrid user and won’t be taking wildlife or sport photos then the Z7II is the better investment but if you are going to do a lot of work with sport or wildlife, we can spend on the D850. 

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