Video: D850 versus D5 subject tracking
Photographer Matt Granger’s YouTube channel is chock-full of videos that run the gamut from fairly technical testing to fun challenges and prize giveaways. But we took particular notice when, last weekend, he pitted his new Nikon D850 against his Nikon D5 in terms of autofocus tracking. (What can we say; we’re nerds.)
But why even bother? After all, the D850 and D5 purportedly have the exact same autofocus hardware—performance should be virtually identical. In fact, in our conversations with Nikon, we were told that the D850 includes an additional processor to handle autofocus calculations, just like the D5; they also claimed this processor was omitted from the D500.
More importantly, we were told flat out to expect ‘D5 levels of performance’ from the D850.
So why is it that, during an early shoot with the D850, Granger said, “I felt like I was getting more [images] well-tracked with the D5 than I did with the D850.” Cue the tests in the video below:
Granger performed both low-light and daylight tests. In the former, his subject moved primarily in the X axis (read: across the frame); in the latter, his subject moved in all three dimensions. Both cameras were set to shoot at 7fps (the D850’s max), and shared all other settings as well.
In both instances, Granger concludes that the D850 is simply not as good at tracking moving subjects as the D5.
In the first low-light test, he notes some hesitation: the AF point occasionally lagged behind the subject before catching up (though at 3:00, where he says the D5 does not exhibit this behavior, it looks like the D5 also hesitates a bit, but perhaps not as severely).