MonthSeptember 2017

D850 – the shutter counter in silent mode


Nikon has hidden two additional counters in the metadata of the Image file. Updated shutter count programs will be able to show actuations by physical shutter, silent mode exposures and images total.

A first application is already available here:

The main indicator for age or wear of a DSLR has been  the shutter counter, hidden in the metadata of an image file.

This will most likely change in future. With the D850, Nikon implemented a “silent mode” for the first time, which utilizes an electronic shutter in live view mode. A picture is taken without any movement of the physical shutter.

Unfortunately the hidden counter in the EXIF data is inremented for every exposure, even when the physical shutter did not move. This is rather strange, as it was before identical to every open/close cycle of the shutter. Activating live view without taking a picture increments the counter also.

The addition of silent mode turns this counter now into a simple total images taken indicator, no matter how they were taken.

High ISO performance – the progress slows down

Sample RAW files of the D850 are now readily available and Capture NX-D has been update to process those RAW files.

This allows to disable noise reduction and to have a clear look on the high ISO performance of the new 45 MP sensor.

The hype regarding the noise performance above ISO 3.200 should be gone rather quickly. Looking at the RWA files without any NR, it becomes quite clear that the D850 does not perform any better than a D800/D810. This is in itself is a progress, since we are having now almost 10 MP more on the same sensor area. However, this is an evolution and not a revolution. We should expect a certain kind of maturity in sensor technology, big jumps in performance are now a thing of the past.

For me the D800 is perfectly usable up to ISO 3.200 and with care up to ISO 6.400. My D4 gets used up to ISO 12.800. The same should apply to the D5. This difference of one stop (or a bit more) should hold up for the foreseeable future. Low resolution sensors will retain an ISO advantage for the time being.

Sometimes it is also argued that downsizing a high-res picture will lead to a better picture than that from a low resolution sensor. The direct comparison between D850 and D4 at ISO 12.800 show quite an advantage for the D4:

The D850 is an excellent camera and worth the upgrade for many owners of D800 and D810. However, high ISO performance should not be the criteria to spend the money.

© 2024 Dennis Saßmannshausen Photography

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