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Fujifilm X-E3 versus Nikon D850

The Fujifilm X-E3 and the Nikon D850 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2017 and July 2017. The X-E3 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the D850 is a DSLR. The cameras are based on an APS-C (X-E3) and a full frame (D850) sensor. The Fujifilm has a resolution of 24 megapixel, whereas the Nikon provides 45.4 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Fujifilm X-E3 vs Nikon D850

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Fujifilm X-E3 and the Nikon D850. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the X-E3 – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Fujifilm X-E3 vs Nikon D850
X-E3 versus D850 top view
X-E3 and D850 rear side
Body view (X-E3 on the left)

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D850 is considerably larger (102 percent) than the Fujifilm X-E3. Moreover, the D850 is substantially heavier (198 percent) than the X-E3. It is noteworthy in this context that the D850 is splash and dust-proof, while the X-E3 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can find an overview of optics for the two cameras in the Fujinon X Lens Catalog (X-E3) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D850). Mirrorless cameras, such as the Fujifilm X-E3, have moreover the advantage that they have a relatively short flange to focal plane distance and can thus use many lenses from other systems via adapters.

Concerning battery life, the X-E3 gets 350 shots out of its NP-W126S battery, while the D850 can take 1840 images on a single charge of its EN-EL15a power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
Camera Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(y/n)
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Fujifilm X-E3 (⇒ rgt) 121 mm 74 mm 43 mm 337 g 350 no 2017 899 latest check
Nikon D850 (⇒ lft) 146 mm 124 mm 79 mm 1005 g 1840 YES 2017 3,299 latest check
Canon M6 (⇒ lft | rgt) 112 mm 68 mm 45 mm 390 g 295 no 2017 779 latest check
Fujifilm X-A5 (⇒ lft | rgt) 117 mm 68 mm 40 mm 361 g 450 no 2018 399 latest check
Fujifilm X-T20 (⇒ lft | rgt) 118 mm 83 mm 41 mm 383 g 350 no 2017 899 latest check
Fujifilm X70 (⇒ lft | rgt) 113 mm 64 mm 44 mm 340 g 330 no 2016 799 latest check
Fujifilm X-A3 (⇒ lft | rgt) 117 mm 67 mm 40 mm 339 g 410 no 2016 399 latest check
Fujifilm X-E2S (⇒ lft | rgt) 129 mm 75 mm 37 mm 350 g 350 no 2016 699discont. check
Fujifilm X-A10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 117 mm 67 mm 40 mm 331 g 410 no 2016 399 latest check
Fujifilm X-T10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 118 mm 83 mm 41 mm 381 g 350 no 2015 799discont. check
Fujifilm X-E2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 129 mm 75 mm 37 mm 350 g 350 no 2013 999discont. check
Nikon D5 (⇒ lft | rgt) 160 mm 159 mm 92 mm 1415 g 3780 YES 2016 6,499 latest check
Nikon D500 (⇒ lft | rgt) 147 mm 115 mm 81 mm 860 g 1240 YES 2016 1,999 latest check
Nikon D810 (⇒ lft | rgt) 146 mm 123 mm 82 mm 980 g 1200 YES 2014 3,299discont. check
Nikon D610 (⇒ lft | rgt) 141 mm 113 mm 82 mm 850 g 900 YES 2013 1,999 latest check
Nikon Df (⇒ lft | rgt) 144 mm 110 mm 67 mm 760 g 1400 YES 2013 2,749 latest check
Sony RX100 V (⇒ lft | rgt) 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 299 g 220 no 2016 999 latest check

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The X-E3 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 73 percent) than the D850, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.


Sensor comparison: Fujifilm X-E3 vs Nikon D850

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Fujifilm X-E3 features an APS-C sensor and the Nikon D850 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the D850 is 133 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Fujifilm X-E3 and Nikon D850 sensor measures
Sensor size

With 45.4MP, the D850 offers a higher resolution than the X-E3 (24MP), but the D850 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.35μm versus 3.92μm for the X-E3) due to its larger sensor. It is noteworthy in this context that the two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.

X-E3 versus D850 MP
Sensor resolution

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(Megapixel)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Fujifilm X-E3 (⇒ rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 4K/30p - - - -
Nikon D850 (⇒ lft) Full Frame 45.4 8256 5504 4K/30p 26.4 14.8 2660 100
Canon M6 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p .. .. .. ..
Fujifilm X-A5 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 4K/15p .. .. .. ..
Fujifilm X-T20 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 4K/30p - - - -
Fujifilm X70 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 16.0 4896 3264 1080/60p - - - -
Fujifilm X-A3 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p - - - -
Fujifilm X-E2S (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 16.0 4896 3264 1080/60p - - - -
Fujifilm X-A10 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 16.0 4896 3264 1080/30p - - - -
Fujifilm X-T10 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 16.0 4896 3264 1080/60p - - - -
Fujifilm X-E2 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 16.0 4896 3264 1080/60p - - - -
Nikon D5 (⇒ lft | rgt) Full Frame 20.7 5588 3712 4K/30p 25.1 12.3 2343 88
Nikon D500 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 20.7 5568 3712 4K/30p 24.0 14.0 1324 83
Nikon D810 (⇒ lft | rgt) Full Frame 36.2 7360 4912 1080/60p 25.7 14.8 2853 97
Nikon D610 (⇒ lft | rgt) Full Frame 24.2 6016 4016 1080/30p 25.1 14.4 2925 94
Nikon Df (⇒ lft | rgt) Full Frame 16.2 4928 3280 no 24.6 13.1 3279 89
Sony RX100 V (⇒ lft | rgt) 1-inch 20.0 5472 3648 4K/30p 22.8 12.4 586 70

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (4K/30p).

Feature comparison: Fujifilm X-E3 vs Nikon D850

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the X-E3 has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), while the D850 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Fujifilm X-E3 and Nikon D850 along with similar information for a selection of comparators. The full specs-sheets can be found in the camera manual or, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(Y/n)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(Y/n)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(GN)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Fujifilm X-E3 (⇒ rgt) 2360 no 3.0 1040 fixed YES 4000 8.0 no no
Nikon D850 (⇒ lft) optical YES 3.2 2359 tilting YES 8000 9.0 no no
Canon M6 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 9.0 5 no
Fujifilm X-A5 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 6.0 5.7 no
Fujifilm X-T20 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 8.0 5 no
Fujifilm X70 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 8.0 7.9 ..
Fujifilm X-A3 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting YES 4000 6.0 7 no
Fujifilm X-E2S (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 1040 fixed no 4000 7.0 7 no
Fujifilm X-A10 (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1040 tilting no 4000 6.0 5 no
Fujifilm X-T10 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 920 tilting no 4000 8.0 5 no
Fujifilm X-E2 (⇒ lft | rgt) 2360 no 3.0 1040 fixed no 4000 7.0 7 no
Nikon D5 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.2 2359 fixed YES 8000 14.0 no no
Nikon D500 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.2 2359 tilting YES 8000 10.0 no no
Nikon D810 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.2 1229 fixed no 4000 5.0 12 no
Nikon D610 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.2 921 fixed no 4000 6.0 12 no
Nikon Df (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.2 921 fixed no 4000 5.5 no no
Sony RX100 V (⇒ lft | rgt) 2359 no 3.0 1229 tilting no 2000 24.0 10.2 YES

Both the X-E3 and the D850 are current models that good online retailers will have in stock. You can check the latest prices, for example, at amazon. The D850 replaced the earlier Nikon D810, while the X-E3 followed on from the Fujifilm X-E2S.

Review summary: Fujifilm X-E3 vs Nikon D850

So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Fujifilm X-E3 or the Nikon D850 – has the upper hand? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


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Arguments in favor of the Fujifilm X-E3:

  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • More compact: Is smaller (121x74mm vs 146x124mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 668g or 66 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (73 percent cheaper at launch).

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Advantages of the Nikon D850:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (45.4 vs 24MP), which boosts linear resolution by 38%.
  • Better low-light imaging: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for better high-ISO images.
  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Easier setting verification: Has a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (2359k vs 1040k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (9 vs 8 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1840 versus 350) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D850 is the clear winner of the contest (11 : 5 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision.

X-E3 05:11 D850

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the X-E3 and the D850 in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate. This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites. You can find the full text of the reviews, respectively, at cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.

Review scores
Camera camera
labs
.com
dp
review
.com
ephoto
zine
.com
imaging
resource
.com
photography
blog
.com
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Fujifilm X-E3 (⇒ rgt) Rec 84/100 Gold 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2017 899 latest check
Nikon D850 (⇒ lft) HiRec 89/100 Gold 4.5/5 5/5 5/5 2017 3,299 latest check
Canon M6 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 80/100 Silver 4/5 4.5/5 4/5 2017 779 latest check
Fujifilm X-A5 (⇒ lft | rgt) .. .. .. .. 3.5/5 2018 399 latest check
Fujifilm X-T20 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 82/100 Silver 5/5 .. 4.5/5 2017 899 latest check
Fujifilm X70 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 76/100 4.5/5 4/5 4.5/5 2016 799 latest check
Fujifilm X-A3 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 74/100 4.5/5 - 4/5 2016 399 latest check
Fujifilm X-E2S (⇒ lft | rgt) - 77/100 4.5/5 - 4.5/5 2016 699discont. check
Fujifilm X-A10 (⇒ lft | rgt) - - 4/5 - 4/5 2016 399 latest check
Fujifilm X-T10 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 80/100 Silver 5/5 4/5 5/5 2015 799discont. check
Fujifilm X-E2 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 80/100 Gold 4.5/5 - 5/5 2013 999discont. check
Nikon D5 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 89/100 Gold 4.5/5 5/5 5/5 2016 6,499 latest check
Nikon D500 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 91/100 Gold 4.5/5 5/5 5/5 2016 1,999 latest check
Nikon D810 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 86/100 Gold 5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2014 3,299discont. check
Nikon D610 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 87/100 Gold 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2013 1,999 latest check
Nikon Df (⇒ lft | rgt) - 81/100 4/5 4/5 4/5 2013 2,749 latest check
Sony RX100 V (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 83/100 Silver 4/5 5/5 4.5/5 2016 999 latest check

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.


Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, kindly get in touch, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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