17 May Nikon D 850 Week – Part Four – The Pro Features
I’m wary these days of writing about ” pro ” features for two reasons; I’ve seen what pros dress like and I’ve seen what their gear looks like. No names, no pack drill, but I want you to consider the word ” battered “. And I suspect that some of them buy their clothing and camera equipment ” pre-battered “…
But here goes:
a. Pro cameras have big hand grips. The Nikon has this. You don’t have to buy an accessory aluminium grip to get it in horizontal mode. If you want a vertical grip you will be paying out for it, but it’ll contain extra batteries and a repeat of the camera controls. Consider it if most of your shots are vertical ones, but remember you’ll pay for the idea with more weight.
b. Pro cameras can get to the BTNCF* easily from the outside of the camera. You do not need to button-stutter your way through a menu to change white balance or mode. The D 850 gives you this and many more as external collars, dials, or buttons. Wise professionals arrange their lighting and recording so that they do not need to keep changing things, but life in the photographic trade will always have its ” Oh Dear Goodness, now what? ” moments. Amateurs will enjoy pushing buttons in the field and then compensating for their mistakes later with sliders in Lightroom…They’ve got the time.
c. Pro cameras will have several ways to fire a flash. The Nikon D 850 has a hot shoe with TTL contacts and a front PC socket with a central ” I know what I’m doing. ” contact and a locking thread around the periphery. The only thing it lacks is an in-built transmitter but then so few cameras have them.
Pros who never use flash may still get some use from these sections if they are going to trigger anything else.
d. Pro cameras have a readily accessible stop-down button to let you check the effect of small apertures. It is in the same place – under the right middle finger. There’s a lot of things you can do with that finger – particularly if you take pictures of drag race cars – but the stop-down is one of the more useful ones.
e. Pro cameras let you format the wretched card or cards without having to navigate five menu planes. Nikon does this with two external buttons and I think they are angels for it. Add to that the fact that they let you into the card slots without wrenching the body off a tripod, and that is all you need to say. I am undecided about the provision of two different slots – one for SD and one for XQD – but that is what they have decided to handle the heavy bursts of data that this camera is capable of handling.
f. Have I got any memory left? ( I mean in the camera…my brain has long since ejected its card…) The Nikon D 850 shows it constantly on the top LCD screen. That is mega-useful.
g. A pro camera lets you see the sort of exposure metering that is going on and lets you change it at will readily. The Nikon and the Fujifilm are about equal in this, as far as their dial controls go. You never realise how much of a difference this can make until you get into a changing lighting situation and find yourself hopping back and forth between spot and matrix. You can save hours of slider slinging in Lightroom by picking the right mode.
h. This pro camera, as opposed to my X-Pro1, has a hard command position to crank in the self timer and keep it in – even if you switch the camera off and on. The other way – a ” Q ” command that vanishes when power ceases – is a continual pain when working in a studio. Self-timer is a perfectly valid way of triggering a camera when you are using a tripod and solid lights.
I. Is ” pro ” really only to be reserved for 24 x 36 full-frame cameras? No. But this one’s full-framed anyway. Rejoice at the resolution and ability to get shallow depth of field.
J. No onboard flash? ” Pro “? Possibly, but I’ll bet everyone out there has wanted a spritz of light instantly sometime or other, and would welcome the solution that Fujifilm have provided with their clip-on accessory flash that draws power from the camera battery. It’s limited, but sometimes that’s all you need.
* BTNCF…Bits that need changing frequently.