Exploring Georgia with Nikon D850
I was invited to take part in the Nikon Premium Members’ first-ever photography tour on board their trip to Georgia in November 2017.
For two reasons, this trip was exciting to me: first, I can play with the Nikon D850, a camera that has quickly become legendary amongst the photography community. Secondly, I get to see Georgia again, a place I find inspiring…
Nikon Middle East enrolled me as an honorary member of their Nikon Premium Member Program (NPM). I am one of the first members in the Middle East. This qualifies me to avail of the program’s many benefits, one of which is a gear loan. Nikon generously lent me the new D850 (I have to say “generous,” because everybody wants to borrow this camera!) and the Holy Trinity of lenses: 14-24mm f2.8, 24-70mm f2.8, and 70-200mm f2.8. Naturally, I wanted to familiarize myself with the D850’s interface, so I got the gears a week before our trip. But honestly, it only took me 30 minutes to figure it out because the menus are very user-friendly and the buttons on the camera are all very smartly placed
The photo above shows how good the dynamic range of the Nikon D850 is (move over to the image to see the unedited shot). In a high-contrast scene like this, having a camera with excellent dynamic range is very important. This gives me flexibility in choosing shots. With a dynamic range of 14.8 EV and the low noise capability of the D850, it is almost impossible to mess up a shot. The camera gives you a lot of things to work with.
The following image exemplifies how the right tool can empower one’s creativity. I wanted to get this specific shot of the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral in Mtskheta, but the 24-70mm on the Nikon D850 wasn’t helping me get the exact frame I had in mind. Switching to a 70-200mm made all the difference. It allowed me to create more distance from the subject (around 300 meters) and compose a shot with all the architectural elements I wanted but still had a clear focal point.
The above photo is one of my favorite shots from this trip. It was taken inside the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. Again, the excellent auto-focus of the D850 was a huge factor in nailing this shot. It’s pretty dark inside the church, but because the D850 can focus up to 4 stops (-4ev), the low light wasn’t an issue. Usually, I would have had a hard time articulating the details of a heavily shadowed shot like this, but it was a cakewalk with the D850 –again, because of its shockingly good dynamic range.
Stepping up at Stepantsminda (aka Kazbegi)
On day 2, we went to the gorgeous mountain province of Kazbegi, widely admired for its amazing views. It is lush and green in the summer, but the mountain is covered in crisp white snow in the winter. Besides the beautiful sights, tourists can also participate in high adrenaline activities such as snowboarding and paragliding. That’s where I got to test the D850’s capabilities in capturing sports.
The Nikon D5 is the more popular camera for sports photography, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that the D850 can also hold its own in this area. The D850 has the same Expeed 5 processor as the D5 and has memory card slots for both XQD and UHS-II-compliant SD. Moreover, full auto-focus is available at seven frames per second, giving you 51 full-resolution images in a single burst. This, coupled with 45.4-megapixel power, a 153-point AF system, the support of fast memory cards, and the option of attaching a battery pack, makes the D850 a reliable instrument for capturing action.
I am more comfortable using Sony cameras if you follow my blog. But having experienced the D850’s specs first-hand, I can honestly say that it has more than earned the admiration of photographers worldwide, including mine. It is truly The King of DSLRs. It’s mindblowing to me how Nikon has managed to pack the most sought-after features in just one camera. If anything, it’s almost TOO good.
I was also greatly impressed by Nikon’s NPM program. The support that Nikon gives to its customers is praiseworthy. It’s a way of saying to the customers, “We are as invested in you as you are in us.” It creates a mutually beneficial, long-term relationship between the consumer and the brand. NPM members get massive discounts on photography tours, access to exclusive workshops led by the best instructors in the region (if not the world!), borrow lenses, and take in their gear check-up and cleaning services for free. If this sounds good, head to the NPM website ASAP: http://www.npm-mea.com.
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