I currently scan with a D610 (24 MP). Worth upgrading to a D850 (47 MP)?

Heyy guys… before you ask: I do have all of the perfect gear. Well besides a scanner lens.

  • Dunco copy stand
  • 60mm 2.8 Micro
  • 98 CRI Video LED
  • Essential Film Holder (which btw I don’t think is perfect. Sometimes it doesn’t hold the film flat.)

So now I start to see the limitations of 24 MP. When I crop a 35mm frame, I only get like 18 MP out of it. When I zoom in, it’s FINE, I can see the grain and all. But I want to get ALL THE DETAILS out of the negative and not lose out on anything. Is a 47 MP sensor (which after the crop would give me around 40 MP) gonna give me a big and visible advantage?

Also, I figure the Base ISO of 64 gives me an advantage as there will be less digital noise? Or is that wrong?

I also shoot mostly 6x7, and since the LR stitching sometimes gives me unsatifsying results (visible dividing lines) and now I wonder if I can shoot it on a 47 MP sensor without stitching and get ALL of the information from it. Should be possible right?

So, should I sell my D610 for ~500€ and buy me a used D850 for 2000€? I am not a commercial photographer yet, but will soon make it my bread and butter since my apprenticeship is almost over. I am very interested in printing my work in the future. Please help me decide.

I don’t know if it is true, but it may be that the resolution of the D850 sensor exceeds the capabilities of your 60mm Micro lens. Sensors are getting to that point.
If you really want to get everything out of your 6x7s, it could be that stitching multiple images and healing the dividing lines with LR may be the best you can do.

I use the 60 2.8 with my Z7 on the FTZ - similar resolution to the 850. Since I’m using the ES2 that dictated the choice (before the Z 55 micro was released). You should still see improvement - but also to consider, if you plan to stay with DSLR for longer term, then the 850 is the camera to go forward with, offering major benefits over the 610 for almost every situation.

I agree with NeilR on his general comments. If you are moving forward in photography, the D850 is hard to beat. Just be aware that it is a BIG camera and is quite hefty.

One thing you need to ask yourself is, “What am I going to do with my scanned images?” If you are going to use them primarily as digital copies or only plan to print small copies, 24 MP is probably good enough. Remember, most people will be looking at your digital images on a phone, tablet, or laptop. They are not providing a high-definition look at your work and the massive files from the D850 would be a waste. For prints up to about 8.5x11 (or even larger), the 24 MP file is probably good enough. That is especially true with some of the advanced image enhancement software like the programs from Topaz Labs.

However, if you want to make big prints (and possibly sell them), then the larger files from the D850 would be an advantage. You can make some big and very detailed prints from those files.

Finally, remember that your storage requirements with the RAW files from the D850 will probably double (or triple) over what you are currently using. So, you’ll have more storage required and if you backup to the cloud, your backup times will be correspondingly larger.

Have fun.

I use the D850 with a Nikon AF-S Micro NIKKOR 60mm f/2.8G ED Lens and it is optically better than the older 60mm f/2.8 AF-D or the 55mm Micros that I have owned. There will be noticeable improvement in terms of full-frame field flatness (sharper center to the corners in one capture) and actual resolution/sharpness at any point on the field. So if you are using any older lens, going to the D850 will expose that lens’s weaknesses that may not be noticeable on a D610. You can work around those limits but it requires focus stacking two images focused corner and center to almost match the 60mm G in one shot. On a D610 there may be no visible difference between the 60mmG and an older lens. The D610 exceeds the inherent resolution of the 35mm film by a little and the D850 sensor exceeds the 35mm film resolution by more, but you are in subtle territory here; you want the highest resolution capture of the film/slide right down to the grain (noise) of the image, and are ideally “sampling” that grain at 2:1, the Nyquist Limit. I have not used a full-frame 24MP camera for film duping, but have professionally shot every Nikon digital sensor from the beginning up to the D850. I’m pretty picky and adept technically. Take the ratio of the square roots of usable (cropped) 18MP and 40 MP captures, and you will get a clear 50% more resolution from the D850. I know you would find the D850 delivers a better usable capture than the D610 at large print sizes, but zero difference at uncropped print sizes up to 11"x14" or at any web-resolution sizes. I print up to 16"X24" in my office on an Epson 3880, and I am still exceeding 300pixels/inch resolution with the D850 at that size on slightly cropped dupe captures. So if you have the newer 60mm G lens, the D850 will deliver a much better capture than the D610. You might need to upgrade to the newer lens first, though.

If we take into account the different aspect ratios of negatives, we can calculate the theoretical maximum we can get out of a “full frame” sensor while scanning.

  • 24x36 has an aspect ratio of 2:3 or 6:9 → max. = 9/9 or 100% of sensor pixels at 1:1
  • 4.5x6 has an aspect ratio of 3:4 or 6:8 → max. = 8/9 or <88.9% of sensor pixels at 1:1.75
  • 6x7 has an aspect ratio of 6:7 :wink: → max. = 7/9 or <77.78% of sensor pixels at 1:2.33

Check out your lenses here: https://www.photonstophotos.net/GeneralTopics/Lenses/OpticalBench/OpticalBench.htm

What makes you say that the G version is optically superior? Ken Rockwell made a direct comparison and said that the older version is better. (“The older AF-D has slightly better optics. It has less distortion, less falloff wide-open and 50% more working distance.”) So, who should I trust? I’m confused since I have no idea how different people can get different results here. Only advantage I can see for the G is that it has less falloff at f/2.8, which doesn’t matter if you shoot at f/8 anyways. So maybe that’s what you meant?

He goes on: "The older AF-D has no visible distortion of straight lines.
The newer AF-S has enough distortion to be just barely visible in cases where you need a perfectly straight line to stay that way along an edge of the image. This is my biggest complaint against the AF-S lens: micro lenses are supposed to have this under control, and less expensive lenses do a better job than the AF-S lens."

His remarks under Sharpness and Falloff are also important. I’m asking you to read this little article and hope that it will change your mind, as I’m not keen on exchanging yet another lens :smiling_face_with_tear: :sweat_smile: :money_mouth_face: I don’t mean to have an argument, I just want to make sure I have the perfect gear and so I’d love to hear your opinion on this.


Remember, we’re talking about close-up photography. Distortion of straight lines is relatively irrelevant. The one thing we don’t want is field curvature (and focus shift…)

And this is known to be a bigger problem with the older version? It wasn’t mentioned in the comparison that I linked here. And I though Ken Rockwell was relatively trustworthy.

I was writing a reply when I must have timed out of the forum. I’m writing again in a different program and will copy and paste, pardon any duplication.

I can say the 60mm f/2.8 G lens is better from direct personal experience. I owned the 60mm f/2.8 AF-D (and the older 55mm f/3.5 AI, though I never tested it with digital duping). My comparison of these two lenses is at 1:1 only. The G lens has really good flatness of field, while the AF-D version has just enough curvature of field to throw off center to corner grain sharpness in one capture. I had to do some focus stacking to get good results, and that is both tedious and unpredictable in result. The G lens is sharper at any point in the field compared to the AF-D where focus is placed, and has less chromatic aberration. I sold my AF-D after I broke down and bought the G lens and tested side by side. The AF-D is no slouch, just not quite good enough for me at 1:1.

Ken Rockwell compares the lenses at infinity focus. Ken often has lots of good info although I sometimes find his testing to be slipshod (that’s a different thread). “The only way to see any difference is to look in the far corners of the frame at f/2.8 at infinity. If you do … the AF-S is slightly better than the AF-D, but only if you’re shooting special test targets and then blow them up very large…The gotcha is that the AF-S may have negligibly sharper corners at f/2.8, visible only under special test conditions, but the AF-S has such severe light falloff that the dark corners at f/2.8 are obvious under all conditions.”*

At 1:1 these differences are magnified. Light falloff is not a factor that I have noticed at 1:1 lens extension and effective aperture f/8. If needed vignetting correction is straightforward in raw processing. BTW, in Capture One (and Adobe LR) you can create a lens and illuminant calibration, which is excellent to even out slight differences in field illumination.

Distortion: I have not compared or tested this lens to any other for absolute distortion of straight lines. None of my duplication work so far has introduced distortion as a factor. It certainly has not been noticeable in any way to me at 1:1.

Who to trust? The only gear reviewer I know of whose assessments I find to be 100% congruent with my own experience with over fifteen Nikon lenses I have owned is Bjorn Rorslett. You can still see his old website reviews for Nikon gear at naturfotograf.com. The Micro lenses are on a page at NÆRFOTO Bjørn Rørslett.

My history is 45+ years full time professional photographer with every format 35mm through 8”x10” film, and digital since 2001. No one wants to go out and plunk down still more cash for a lens you thought you had covered; I’ve been there and done that! But I am printing large from my captures, 16”x24” and more, whereas if you are sticking to 11x14 largest you may be just fine. But you probably don’t need the D850 then either. That sensor will reveal all the weaknesses of any lens you put on it, and top quality becomes a necessity. Further, the 60mm G lens is getting hard to find. I hope this answers your questions and I am sharing my experience in the hope you find it useful.

Lens quality can change a lot when focused near or far. It all depends on what the lens designers have optimised their lens for. A lens can have a perfectly flat field at infinity and 1:1, but can be less perfect in between. Ken Rockwell is not into close-up or macro photography and I always take his comments with a grain of salt.

So far, I’ve checked out these sites:

Back to your question: Get a D850? Why not, but I’d also consider the Z72. Same price in the US. Possibly better charging/tethering possibilities, no mirror flopping around etc.