Is The Nikon D850 Good In Low Light?

The Nikon D850 is a professional-grade DSLR camera that has received rave reviews since its release for its remarkable features, including exceptional low-light performance. Its capabilities stretch far beyond the average, offering an extensive range of features, including a high-resolution sensor and broad dynamic range that make it an excellent choice for various photographic genres, including landscape, portraiture, and astrophotography. One of its key strengths is its performance in low light conditions.

Sensor and Processor

The Nikon D850 is equipped with a 45.7-megapixel full-frame (FX-format) BSI CMOS sensor and EXPEED 5 image processor, which together contribute significantly to its exceptional low-light performance. The Back-Side Illuminated (BSI) sensor structure allows more light to reach the photo-diodes, increasing light sensitivity and reducing noise in the resultant images, especially when shooting in low light conditions.

ISO Range

The Nikon D850 has a native ISO range from 64 to 25,600, which can be expanded up to ISO 102,400. This broad ISO range allows photographers to capture clear and detailed images even in challenging lighting conditions, with well-controlled noise up to ISO 12,800 in most situations.

Autofocus System

The camera’s 153-point autofocus (AF) system, including 99 cross-type sensors, significantly contributes to its low-light capabilities. The system can focus down to -4 EV (with the center point) and -3 EV (with all other points), enabling the camera to focus in darker conditions than many of its competitors.

Low-Light Metering

The Nikon D850’s impressive 180K RGB metering system provides accurate exposure in low light situations. This helps to ensure your shots are well-exposed, even when dealing with challenging lighting conditions.

Category Specification
Sensor 45.7-megapixel full-frame BSI CMOS
Processor EXPEED 5
ISO Range (Native) 64 – 25,600
ISO Range (Extended) 32 – 102,400
Autofocus System 153-point AF, including 99 cross-type sensors
Low-light Focus -4 EV with center point, -3 EV with all other points
Metering 180K RGB metering system

In summary, the Nikon D850 is exceptionally equipped to perform in low-light conditions, owing to its high-resolution BSI sensor, broad ISO range, and superior autofocus and metering systems. Whether you are capturing landscapes under the stars or shooting indoor events with limited light, the D850 is well-prepared to meet these challenges.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How does the Nikon D850 compare to other cameras in terms of low light performance?

In terms of low-light performance, the Nikon D850 competes exceptionally well with other cameras in its class. Its high ISO capabilities, excellent dynamic range, and low-light autofocus system allow it to perform excellently in low light conditions.

2. What kind of photography is the Nikon D850 best suited for?

The D850 is versatile and well-suited for many types of photography, including landscape, portraiture, wildlife, and astrophotography. Its exceptional low-light performance makes it a great choice for indoor event photography and low-light outdoor shooting.

3. How does the Nikon D850 handle noise at high ISOs?

The D850 manages noise well up to ISO 12,800, maintaining detail without too much grain. However, like any camera, noise will increase at the highest ISO levels. It’s always advisable to try to use the lowest ISO that lighting conditions will allow.

4. Can I use the Nikon D850 for video in low light conditions?

Yes, the Nikon D850 is capable of 4K UHD video recording and has the same ISO range for video as it does for stills. Its excellent low-light capabilities translate well into video performance.

5. What lenses should I use with the Nikon D850 for low light photography?

Using a fast lens, one with a wide maximum aperture such as f/1.4 or f/1.8, can help to improve low-light photography as it allows more light into the camera. Nikon offers a wide range of such lenses compatible with the D850.


In conclusion, the Nikon D850 stands out as a high-performing DSLR in various aspects, not least in its impressive low-light capabilities. Its combination of a high-resolution BSI sensor, wide ISO range, and an advanced autofocus system allows it to deliver exceptional images even in challenging lighting conditions. Whether you’re an amateur enthusiast or a professional photographer, the Nikon D850 could well be the perfect companion for your low-light shooting adventures.

Author Profile

Antony Ratcliffe
Antony Ratcliffe
Antony has spent a quarter of a century travelling the globe during which time he realized there is an invisible elastic band which connects him to Asia, a place where he has spent many years living in India, Indonesia, Japan and Malaysia to name a few and presently uses the U.K. and Indonesia as home bases.

Has had images printed in Magazines has been previously commissioned to shoot Portraits for Book Covers, Weddings and Product Photography, whilst constantly shooting and working on a stream of Travel Stock Images and Videos for his Website.