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Nikon D850 and Manual Focus with Legacy Nikkors?

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David H. Hartman:
I've been searching the archives but I'm not finding what I'm looking for hence this question...

I'm wondering if the D850 viewfinder is significantly better for manual focus of AI and AIS Nikkors than the D800? Can anyone compare the D850 viewfinder to cameras I'm familiar with like the Nikon F3, F3HP and F5. What about a comparison between the D2H and D850 viewfinders? Did dropping the popup flash give Nikon a chance to design a better D850 viewfinder? Did they take it?

I'm under using my pleasant collection of manual focus Nikkor and considering a D850 as the price is down about $800.00 compared to a year ago. 

Thank you for any advice you can offer!


Searching at I refreshed my memory of the F3/F3HP. The F2 (DE-2) had a image magnification with a 50mm at infinity or 0.8x and the F3HP (DE-3) had an image magnification of 0.75x. Of all Nikon SLR(s) I've used to date the F3 non-HP offers the most comfortable viewfinder of any I'm used. The F3HP and F5 came in second.

The F3 and F3HP can use the course non-Red Dot screens that are more suited to fast lenses. The "Fruit" as it were of the older Nikon screens can be transplanted into the F5 finder frames. The one finder screen I butchered was a slip while installing a D screen into an F5 frame. [now i remember I tried to mark the "D" with cross hairs and slipped. I was probably using an X-acto knife.]

Ian Watson:
I have no experience with the D850. However, I can say that the Canon S screen is wonderful for manual focus. You can obtain one that has been cut to fit from if the stock screen is not up to snuff.

David H. Hartman:
Thank you for the information. It's something to look into.



Erik Lund:
From the Designers point of view, Google translate Quote;
——On the other hand, the optical viewfinder function is substantial, but why did you install an optical viewfinder with specifications that partially exceed the D5?
Hara: From the beginning of the project, the D850 was a camera that mainly used an optical viewfinder, and we examined how much the viewfinder performance could be improved. We already have a great viewfinder for the D5, how far can we exceed this, for example with a finder magnification? There was an argument.
After considering it, I thought that it would be possible to make it about 0.75 times as much as 0.72 times D5, so I decided to try this once. Since the D850 is a high-resolution camera, it was easier to check the focus with a large viewfinder display.
0.72x is a well-balanced viewfinder magnification for the D5, which is designed for sports photography, because it allows you to quickly see the entire field of view. However, since the D850 is a high-pixel model, I decided to go a little further and make it as large as possible.
Quote end.

The viewfinder is very good IMHO, much better/larger than in the D810 i used before i got the D850.
There is a thread here on changing for other Screens:

Ilkka Nissilä:
I agree the D850 viewfinder is great, it is clear and has more even illumination across the frame and higher magnification than previous models in the D8x0 series. The D810 was already an improvement in viewfinder clarity over the D800 due to improved coatings. However, with the D5/D6 viewfinder, I can see the edges more easily as I wear eyeglasses. It is interesting to see that it is by intention of the designers.


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