Nikon Learn & Explore

D850: Special Delivery

The D850 continued to not only surprise me, but inspire me.
D850 photo of a beach and shoreline shot from a helicopter overhead by Andrew Hancock

© Andrew Hancock

Andrew took to the air over Chicago for some of his early shooting with the D850, getting images of marinas, basketball courts, baseball fields and, here, a lakeshore beach. "I wanted to see how the camera resolves from the air; what kind of details you can crank out of 45-plus megapixels and how well I could crop into a file. The D850 continued to not only surprise me, but inspire me."

The D850, with it's 45.7 megapixels and nine-frames-per-second capability, could be a camera that was custom-made for Andrew Hancock. It wasn't, but it coulda been.

"I'm doing pictures for teams, collegiate and pro that they're putting on the sides of stadiums, on billboards and on buses, in addition to going in media guides and programs and on tickets," Andrew says, "and I need a file that's going to hold up across all those platforms."

Which means that for Andrew, resolution is key. "The D850 had what I was hoping for: a great sensor and a high megapixel count. Then they told me the frame rate—seven-per-second, nine with the battery grip. To be able to shoot at that resolution at that speed—that's cool!"

Andrew Hancock photo of Cyrus Gray of the NFL, shot with the D850 in high key

© Andrew Hancock

Cyrus Gray was with the Atlanta Falcons in the 2016 season and was a free agent when Andrew photographed him. "I have a short list of really good athletes who are fun to work with as models for commercial shoots," he says. "I made this in the studio by light streaming in through a window behind him. I wanted to push the D850 in all the things I'd be doing, and see how well it was going to handle highlights and shadows, and how much I could pull and push an image."

Andrew is not a photographer awed by the numbers; everything is evaluated in terms of what those numbers actually deliver for his photography. "The D5 has a faster frame rate," he says. "It's insanely fast, but it's more than I need. Sure, I'll put 12 and 14 fps to use—I'll always find a purpose for that—but when it comes to action work, my best picture tends to be the first or second picture; it's my instinctual reaction, the peak-moment capture. The ball on the fingertips of the receiver running down the sideline is usually the first or second frame; everything after that at a high frame rate is just gravy."

D850 photo of a swimmer, shot from overhead by Andrew Hancock

© Andrew Hancock

Zane Grothe, photographed from the ten-meter platform at Indiana University's outdoor pool. "I did seven FPS sequences, back and forth, to show off as much of a stroke as possible and also to test out the buffer, which was also a surprising thing about the camera: to handle that kind of resolution and frame rate. We went through a lot of data in a hurry."  

And sports isn't all he does. "I'm most known for my sports work," he says, "but I do everything. I've always rejected the notion that you have to find your niche and milk it for all it's worth. I'm a photojournalist by trade, and when you work for papers you have to be able to do everything. I want to be the best at everything—action, portraits, landscapes—it's how I'm wired."

D850 photo of a waterskiier shot by Andrew Hancock

© Andrew Hancock

"Cale Burdick is one of the top slalom skiers in the world," Andrew says. "I was in the boat, shooting at seven FPS, and I just ripped it off at 1/8000 second. We had great light, and I wanted to see how much detail I could get and how well the camera would hold onto the highlights as the water fans out and seems to go white. He's moving at an incredible speed, and I was tracking it all from the boat."

He believes the D850 "changes the landscape for photographers" with its combination of pixel count and high frame rate. Referring to Nikon's 100th anniversary this year, he says, "They've got a hundred years into this camera. That's one of the things that makes it special."

All the features and tech specs of the extraordinary Nikon D850 are right here.

Andrew Hancock photo of Cyrus Gray of the NFL taken outdoors at night, shot with the D850

© Andrew Hancock

"For this environmental portrait of Cyrus Gray, I was doing something I don't normally do," Andrew says. "For portraits I’m almost always using big lights, and a lot of them, but this one was with the SB-5000." He also used the D850's tilting touch screen for the low-angle view of Cyrus, the stadium and the sunset.   

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