Nikon D850 Autofocus Tracking Not as Good as D5, Test Finds

Nikon’s marketing says the $3,300 D850‘s autofocus components are the same as the $6,500 D5, but how do the two cameras stack up in real-world autofocusing? Photographer¬†Matt Granger¬†decided to put the systems to the test, doing a shootout to see how the two cameras’ focus and tracking abilities compare.

First, Granger made sure both of the cameras were set up exactly the same way, shooting 7 frames per second.

For his first test, he shot in low light (with 4-figure ISO speeds) in the studio as his model kicked and spun around. He gave both cameras 2 attempts, and while the D5 retained sharp focus across both, the D850 only kept up with her on 1 of the 2 occasions.

The outdoors testing was even more interesting. Running straight at the camera, the D850 only got about 60% of the shots in sharp focus – 40% of them were just missed slightly. The D5, however, nailed the focus perfectly on 80-90% of the frames.

Then he tried handholding the lens, following model Steph around who was running in a zig-zagging motion.

For the D5, there was a 100% hit rate — all perfectly in focus. The D850 lost it pretty much immediately, and never caught up again.

Granger notes that the D850 needs to start tracking in good light but just seems to lose it when moving between areas of good and bad light. However, for the D5, this just doesn’t pose a problem.

Check out the full video above to see the test in action, including a view straight into the viewfinder of each camera to see it “live.” You can also find more of Granger’s videos by subscribing to his YouTube channel.