Considering Upgrade - D500 to D850 - DX to FX

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mtboze

New member
I've played around with the idea of moving from DX to FX over and over for years, but due to cost, I've stayed with crop-sensor cameras, from D50 to D70 to D90, and now a D500. Lately, I have repeatedly been coming across references to what a great camera the D850 is, and the subject has come to life again. I've read about technical differences between DX and FX, and between these two cameras specifically, and noted price drops apparently due to people moving to mirrorless.

I see some clear reasoning for moving up, but also some wisdom for just keeping what I have (all my lenses are FX, by the way). I'd really love to hear what others have found as the justification for THEM to make , or not make, such a move.
 

Woodyg3

Well-known member
Supporting Member
I have two D500 bodies and am quite happy. 95% of my shooting is wildlife, and most of that is in situations where I need A lot of reach. The D500 has great AF and 10 fps, and these are quite welcome for wildlife, as well. I would gain image quality for close subjects, landscapes, etc with the D850, but I do very little of that type of shooting. Even when I do, I am quite happy with the IQ from the D500 for printing and certainly for online posting. With prices on used D850 bodies coming down, I might grab one one of these days, but for me it would be as an extra body, not as a replacement or upgrade.
 

mtboze

New member
Thread starter
What are you shooting? Do you typically fill the frame of the D500? If not, then maybe there is no need for the D850. Are you typically shooting 10fps? If yes, you many be disappointed with the 7 fps of the D850.
Both great questions to consider!
I have two D500 bodies and am quite happy. 95% of my shooting is wildlife, and most of that is in situations where I need A lot of reach. The D500 has great AF and 10 fps, and these are quite welcome for wildlife, as well. I would gain image quality for close subjects, landscapes, etc with the D850, but I do very little of that type of shooting. Even when I do, I am quite happy with the IQ from the D500 for printing and certainly for online posting. With prices on used D850 bodies coming down, I might grab one one of these days, but for me it would be as an extra body, not as a replacement or upgrade.
And, my difficulty will be determining if there is a bonifide need right now for what I might get with the 850, or is it just wanting to take advantage of the current used camera climate, to accommodate what I want/need in the future.

Thanks for the perspectives.
 

Strodav

Well-known member
I have been using both a D850 and D500 for nature and wildlife, especially birding, for quite a while now. When I can fill the frame, I use the D850, when I can't I use the D500. Even though I have a Z9, I will not be getting rid of either for the foreseeable future. I used the D500 for the recent lunar eclipse. The 1.5x crop factor is really helpful when you need that little extra reach, but the IQ of the D850 just can't be beat.
 

Bennvdm

Member
I am in similar boat, but also have a z6 ii with some fx z lenses. Kept D500 for fast action & BIF, but have not used it much since getting z6 ii in Dec 2020.

Allmost all of my long glass is f-mount, 200-500, 500mm pf, sigma 120-300 os, tamron 70-210 f4. Only have dx lenses for when wanted to travel light, but z6 ii with z 24-200 is now smaller than D500 with 18-140. Also still have a sigma 17-50 and 70-300 af-p in dx.

Torn between selling D500 & remaining dx glass & getting an used D850 or Z7 i. Z7 will also be compatible with my std Z lenses (24-200, 24-70f4 & 35mm). I will likely also sell 200-500 as have not used at all since getting 500mm pf.

Teleconverters work better with Z mount, so get similar reach as on dx with tc14e 1.4x on 500pf.
 

mtboze

New member
Thread starter
I guess I should mention that replacing my D500 with the D850 would not actually be a complete move away from DX for me. I managed to obtain a D50 from KEH that was listed as being in "AS-IS" condition, i.e. might work, might not, no warrantee, with a note that the grip covering was "sticky". I took a chance, bought it for $20, including shipping. I was able to completely resolve the stickly grip issue with rubbing alcohol and patience, and found that the camera had only 3800 shutter activivations. It looks and works like a new camera. So, I do have a viable DX machine for those tasks that would require one, thus making some DX vs. FX arguements moot.
 

Darrellhar

Well-known member
The one question I haven’t seen anyone ask you is what lenses do you own? If you own all FX glass the switch is easier. If you only or mostly use DX glass then you wouldn’t be taking advantage the D850’s full frame. D850 in DX crop mode is basically a D500 from a sensor usage perspective. Another thing to keep in mind is frames per second. Native D850 is 7Fps so if you want to get close to D500 you also need to purchase battery grip and larger battery and charger. All things to consider when making the switch. D850 with grip and larger battery is really big and heavy. I owned the D850 for 4years and absolutely loved every second so I’m not trying to talk it down in any way. I just want you to be aware of these other things if you had not already thought about it. I truly believe the D850 is the best all around DSLR ever built.
 

mtboze

New member
Thread starter
The one question I haven’t seen anyone ask you is what lenses do you own? If you own all FX glass the switch is easier. If you only or mostly use DX glass then you wouldn’t be taking advantage the D850’s full frame. D850 in DX crop mode is basically a D500 from a sensor usage perspective. Another thing to keep in mind is frames per second. Native D850 is 7Fps so if you want to get close to D500 you also need to purchase battery grip and larger battery and charger. All things to consider when making the switch. D850 with grip and larger battery is really big and heavy. I owned the D850 for 4years and absolutely loved every second so I’m not trying to talk it down in any way. I just want you to be aware of these other things if you had not already thought about it. I truly believe the D850 is the best all around DSLR ever built.

Yes, all FX lenses. I had factored that in. Also, I do have a grip for the D500, so the swap will entail both components. I expect, though, it will most often be utilized while on a tripod or monopod, so I don't expect the extra weight to be much of a factor.
 

Butlerkid

Moderator
Supporting Member
FWIW.....I used a D5 and D850 for many trips to Africa and wildlife in general. I had a D500 and sold it because I found that if I needed a bit more reach than the 1.4 tele could give me, that cropping the D850 raw file gave me at least as good an image as the D500. And I much preferred the resolution and rendering of the the D850 files. I found the AF acquisition and tracking abilities of the D850 just very slightly behind those of the D5.

Plus the D850 is a fabulous landscape, architecture, macro, etc. camera body.

In short, the D850 is the best all around camera I have ever used.
 

mtboze

New member
Thread starter
FWIW.....I used a D5 and D850 for many trips to Africa and wildlife in general. I had a D500 and sold it because I found that if I needed a bit more reach than the 1.4 tele could give me, that cropping the D850 raw file gave me at least as good an image as the D500. And I much preferred the resolution and rendering of the the D850 files. I found the AF acquisition and tracking abilities of the D850 just very slightly behind those of the D5.

Plus the D850 is a fabulous landscape, architecture, macro, etc. camera body.

In short, the D850 is the best all around camera I have ever used.

I confess to be, at best, a moderately experienced hobbiest, and imminently unqualified to offer more than just my opinions. As such, I have wondered why cropping an image from the D850, considering difference in resolution, is not mentioned more often. It would seem obvious to me.
 

Bennvdm

Member
D850 dx crop is 19.4mp vs 20.9mp of D500, so identical for all practical purposes.

Only drawback is that dx crop is only indicated with frame in view finder afaik, so is small in viewfinder. Most just shoot fx and crop as need be in post processing.
On mirrorless, it zooms in for dx field of view to still use whole electronic view finder.
 

Woodyg3

Well-known member
Supporting Member
I guess I should mention that replacing my D500 with the D850 would not actually be a complete move away from DX for me. I managed to obtain a D50 from KEH that was listed as being in "AS-IS" condition, i.e. might work, might not, no warrantee, with a note that the grip covering was "sticky". ...

The D50 is only 6 MP in resolution. Pretty different from the D500 :)
 

ricardo00

Active member
The one question I haven’t seen anyone ask you is what lenses do you own? If you own all FX glass the switch is easier. If you only or mostly use DX glass then you wouldn’t be taking advantage the D850’s full frame. D850 in DX crop mode is basically a D500 from a sensor usage perspective. Another thing to keep in mind is frames per second. Native D850 is 7Fps so if you want to get close to D500 you also need to purchase battery grip and larger battery and charger. All things to consider when making the switch. D850 with grip and larger battery is really big and heavy. I owned the D850 for 4years and absolutely loved every second so I’m not trying to talk it down in any way. I just want you to be aware of these other things if you had not already thought about it. I truly believe the D850 is the best all around DSLR ever built.
Hmm, maybe no one asked because in the original post he said "all my lenses are FX, by the way."
 

PMcMillan

New member
I shoot both the D850 and D500. Regarding wildlife, I have found that at close range, I can consistently put longer bursts on target with the D500 (time not captures) and I believe it is due to my 850's LOUD mirror slap disturbing the animal. That said, if I could only keep one it would be the D850. Its file rendering is clearly superior to the D500 and the extra space around the subject occasionally comes in handy as source material for background cloning. You can't yet appreciate what you can do with deep shadows until you have experienced the D850's ISO 64. If feasible keep the 500 and add the 850. You will be glad you did.
 

Craig Yuill

Active member
I recently bought a D500, and I think it is the best camera for stills that I have used to date. It produces really nice images. And it operates like a champ in bright-light and low-light situations, IMO. The D850 might be able to produce better overall images, but really how much better?

I have thought that it might be nice to get a full frame camera for a different look when using wide, normal, and short-tele lenses. But I would probably use such a camera as a complement to the D500 rather than an out and out replacement. As suggested by at least one other here, perhaps get a D850 as an additional tool for use alongside the D500.

Best of luck with making a decision.
 

mtboze

New member
Thread starter
I recently bought a D500, and I think it is the best camera for stills that I have used to date. It produces really nice images. And it operates like a champ in bright-light and low-light situations, IMO. The D850 might be able to produce better overall images, but really how much better?

I have thought that it might be nice to get a full frame camera for a different look when using wide, normal, and short-tele lenses. But I would probably use such a camera as a complement to the D500 rather than an out and out replacement. As suggested by at least one other here, perhaps get a D850 as an additional tool for use alongside the D500.

Best of luck with making a decision.

Thanks. Several have suggested the benefit of having both. I've really appreciated the D500, but circumstances have irrefutably pointed me toward the D850, and finances keep me from the luxury of owning both. Don't ask me how well I'm doing in managing my herd of tripods and monopods, though. The surprising acquisition of the D50 has made it easier to part with the D500, but I'll miss it.
 

Pxlwz

New member
I had both, The D500 and the D850. the D500 gives you 10fps with or without battery grip. The D850 is 7fps, buth with the right battery grip and a EN-EL18 Battery can do 9fps. The D500 is a little less noisy, but sometimes a little noise can even be helpful: When I shot these raccoons, at first there were only 3 of them visible. But after the first short burst, another one stood up, and after another burst one more stood up, to see what's going on (try that with mirrorless, lol). Anyway, when I bought the Z7II, I sold the D500. My reason was, that when I could fill the frame, the D850 files are just nicer (but then again, I had a 108MP Betterlight Scan back in about 2002, and I am a pixel peeper). Just before receiving the Z9 I sold the D850. Both, the D500 and D850 are great cameras.

Markus
Raccoon-8794_Ed-2.jpg
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Griffym

Active member
Supporting Member
I think I prefer full frame cameras but the D500 was a relative bargain for someone who shoots wildlife. I did try the D850 but then realised I needed to add a grip and battery to up the frame rate, then the focus area only covered some of the viewfinder. I sort of made it a rule that if spent extra cash it needed to offer a LOT of extra value. I wasn’t convinced the D850 would, even though it’s a fabulous camera. I stuck with the D500. Then the Z9 came out and……….. problem solved………….. but………………budget blown!
How patient are you? What will you think if the mythical Z8/Z7iii suddenly bounces onto the market in late November?
 

StefanSC

Well-known member
Just an idea:

The D810s are rather cheap used these days and still have stunning image quality.

One could go with a D500 for wildlife and a D810 for landscape, macro, portraits and so on (even ocasional portraits of wildlife when you can fill the frame and get all that 36 Mpx goodness).

At least that's what I did and I am quite happy :)
 

Doug Herr

Well-known member
... sometimes a little noise can even be helpful: When I shot these raccoons, at first there were only 3 of them visible. But after the first short burst, another one stood up, and after another burst one more stood up, to see what's going on (try that with mirrorless, lol)...
The sound can be turned on (and more importantly, off) with mirrorless.
 

Pxlwz

New member
The sound can be turned on (and more importantly, off) with mirrorless.
You are right, at least with some mirrorless cameras (the turning on part). But I would have never thought of doing it for the raccoon picture, nor would I have had the time to do it.
Markus
 

Soopahmahn

Member
I am in a similar boat, but I will not sell my D500. I love it to death and it's such a stellar tool. I am looking to acquire a D850 to enhance my "focal length" options and take advantage of my 14-24 (it's kind of silly using that lens on DX haha). I like the idea of having a prime tele bolted to the D500 and a shorter zoom on the D850, with TCs as options for either.

I hope you end up with what you want! It's a journey... and the more you shoot the more you'll realize what you need vs what you want or what looks good on paper.
 
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