I’ve continued to try out new features on the D850, and one feature that was new to DSLR shooting was the ‘mirrorless’ Silent Mode Shooting. This mode works similar to mirrorless cameras in that the mirror is locked up so only the shutter is moving. In practical terms, you are shooting images and there is not a sound to be heard.
The D850 has two silent shooting modes. S1 will shoot up to 6FPS at full frame RAW file size, while S2 mode can shoot up to 30FPS at 8.8MP in DX crop jpegs for 3 seconds (90 frames!). To change modes, go to Silent Live View Photography in the Photo Shooting Menu. To use this feature you shoot in Live View mode. Realize if you are shooting at high frame rates the D850 will fix focus for the first frame but not the consecutive shots. To focus in Live View, hit the life view button, choose ‘Still’ mode (i.e not video), place the focus point on your subject, focus and shoot. Alternatively, use the cool feature of touching the LCD screen where you want the camera to focus. You can choose the ‘Touch AF’ mode (just hit the icon on the screen) or choose the ‘Touch Af/Shutter’ and it will focus and take a picture when you touch the screen. The touchscreen and its capabilities is a huge upgrade from the D810.
Why use Silent Shooting Mode? As you can imagine, use this mode when you don’t want to spook wildlife or disrupt a sensitive moment. I recently was at Terezin, a concentration camp during WW II. I was completely humbled and numb walking around the location learning about what happened there during the war. I saw many people there that were visibly moved and emotional during the visit. Hearing a loud shutter clicking away while someone was reflecting on this tragedy seemed very obtrusive…a good time to use Silent Mode and not disrupt the moment.