Review of Nikon D750

Introduction:

I know, just by knowing the model number many of you are already starting to say – ‘Why now?’ in their mind. Let me revert back to you with another question…’Why not?’  So, let’s start.

I am using Nikon D750 for around 3 years. If your question is –“Is it the best Full-frame DSLR in the market?” My reply is – Definitely No. But do I like this Camera? I would say – This is probably the best camera body that suits my requirements. Please concentrate on the last part of the previous sentence. Yap!! It is in bold, ‘suites my requirement’. Yes guys, before jumping into judging a camera with its pros and cons please think of it as a tool. Just like a carpenter, you need different kind of tools for different kind of jobs. You won’t be using a chainsaw to make a delicate sculpture or a pocket knife to cut down a Brazilian red wood tree. Is it impossible? Absolutely not. But your tools are not designed for that. So let’s talk about this beautiful camera system by considering its different features and how those features can help you with your photography.

Build quality:

Score: 3.5/5

If you are going to compare with Nikon’s flagship D4s or D5 or even relatively smaller professional camera body like – D810/D850, Then the body of D750 doesn’t get that edge in this sector. All the camera bodies previously mentioned are up with Magnesium alloy entirely. On the other hand Nikon D750 is comparatively small and made up with a combination of Magnesium alloy at the rear and some ‘High Density Carbon Fibre’ material at the front. The monocoque design of D4s or D5 is just outstanding. Even by touching the body you will get a vibe of confidence that the body can withstand any weather condition. But on the other hand the light weight and kind of plasticky feel of D750 is not going to give you the confidence that you need as a photojournalist or wildlife photographer. But if you are an event photographer or videographer using glidecam or gimbal the reduced weight is definitely going to exert less pressure on your wrist. Truly speaking, no camera in the world is designed with forged stainless steel; so if you throw it above a three storey building onto a concrete slab, no camera body can handle the force of impact.

Pros:

  1. Usage of carbon fiber drastically reduces the body weight.
  2. Less weight is helpful for long hour hand-held shooting.
  3. If it is really carbon fiber (As Nikon claims) then it should be having better tensile strength than metal hence it is less prone to dent or crack if fallen on a hard surface.
  4. Full metal bodies are prone to temperature changes. That means your camera body will get hooter if you are at the middle of Sahara or chilling at the top of the Mt. Everest. Carbon fiber bodies can withstand that kind of changes fairly easily.

Cons:

  1. Less weight tends to make the whole system little bit front heavy. Especially if you are going to use it with any professional lenses (e.g. 24-70 f/2.8, 70-200 f/2.8). But the addition of battery grip and an extra battery can do well.
  2. Though Nikon calls it some kind of weird carbon fiber bla bla bla, but the body has a feel and touch response of a plastic body. Personally I don’t like the touch. But it is not as if it is made out of cheapo plastic.
  3. Buttons are not weather sealed as D4s or D5. So it is not recommended to use the camera during heavy rainfall or heavily dusty area. But I have used it in Jaldapara national park at the time of winter (tremendously dusty), and several street photo walk in moderate rain. And never encounter any issue with the body.
  4. My biggest frustration is the viewfinder cover (dk21). It is very lightly locked with the body and need only a nudge to jump off. I have already lost 5 viewfinder cover as of now.

Hardwire:

Sensor:

Score: 5/5

Nikon D750 is a full frame sensor camera with a resolution of 24MP. The pixel size for this sensor is 5.9µ. Which I believe is the best tradeoff between the sensor size and resolution. The pixel size is bigger than Nikon D810 (4.88 µ) or Nikon D850 (4.3µ). How does it matter? Let me explain.

In the field of photography bigger is always better. A bigger area can gather more light than a smaller area. Hence, we prefer bigger sensor, bigger lens diaphragm. The more light it captures the brighter the picture becomes. Both D810 and D850 has much better pixel density than D750. But as all of these bodies are having same sized sensor the size of each pixels shrinks down. Hence the light capturing efficiency of sensor reduces. This is probably the reason Nikon D750 is having way better high ISO performance than any other DSLR currently available in market(which is among the major deciding factor to switch to a full frame sensor). In some real world scenarios it has outperformed the D4s and D5 also. Here I have given two pictures from D750 and D810 at ISO 12800 and you can clearly see the difference between their ISO performances.

Now the question can occur whether it is a good approach to go for a lesser resolution camera sensor? I would say- no. Because in that case you are going to lose the sharpness required. D750 with its beautiful 24 megapixel sensor hits just the sweet spot of Low light performance and overall sharpness.

Print sizes:

  • 30”x40” – Excellent at ISO 500 with moderate dark areas in the frame. You can push it up to 1600 if you are going to do add noise reduction in the post processing.
  • 24”x 36” – Outstanding even at 1000 ISO

Autofocus:

Still photography

Score: 4/5

If I was writing this review before using both D5 and D500 I probably would have given 5 out of 5. Even it is slightly better than D4s or D810. But both D5 and D500 cameras are having outstanding autofocus performance. Saying so, one thing we have to remember, D750 and D5/D500 are one generation apart and it is quite obvious that newer bodies will have better autofocus performance. Saying that, Nikon D750 also possesses a great autofocusing sensor. And if you can throw a f/2.8 (or higher) lens into it this camera can pinpoint the subject  even at a challenging light condition. In wedding photoshoot, I often encounter situations where there are vivid and fluctuating disco lights. But d750 along with a 24-70 f/2.8 handles these situations like a breeze.

Frame coverage of D5 or D500 is also better than D750. Though D750 has 51 autofocusing points among them 15 is cross type, these points are clustered near the center. So if you want to take a picture where your subject is at the edge of the sensor, you need to focus by putting the subject at the center, hold the AF-L button and reframe the image. Which is not a big deal for portrait shooters but if you are a wedding photographer or a sports photographer, I think, it is better for you to practice this to perform it as fast as possible on field. Otherwise you are definitely going to miss some actions.

Apart from that D750  is having group area autofocus mode which is extremely helpful for photojournalist and wildlife photographers. Apparently the cluster of four focusing points increases the effective focusing area which is phenomenal if you are into action photography like sports, birds and wildlife or photojournalism.

Autofocusing in live view is not very convenient in D750. But it can perform a decent job.

Videography:

Score: 1.5/5

Sorry Nikon, but I don’t think you deserve any score more than this when it comes to video. Even the entry level DSLRs from Canon (e.h. 700d, 800d), with their dual pixel autofocusing system, throws the best of Nikon DSLRs at their dust. While a kit lens like 18-55 with Canon 700d provides silky smooth autofocusing, Nikon with their best lenses and camera combinations are far behind into this competition. Many Nikon fanatics are going to say – “Look at Arri, Red even IMAX, these are high end cinema cameras, and they are all manual focus” true…but remember one thing very clearly, the usage of a DSLR and a dedicated cine camera are not same. Absolutely true cine cameras all are manual focus but the lenses are optimized for manual focus. They have a very long focus throw. So you can do very minute adjustment. Also in cinema production there are dedicated professional for focusing called focus puller.

The usage of DSLR is quite different. It is getting used mostly as a high end camcorder for productions like wedding, events, short films etc. And it is quite obvious that in these kinds of scenarios where the actions and subject movements are not fixed and budget is also very minimal, employing a professional focus puller is not a convenient option.

Though the touch screen feature in D500, D850, D5 is way better than Nikon D750’s cursor controlled AF adjustment. The actuating focusing mechanism in all Nikon bodies are not going to satisfy people into videography for long.

Button Layout:

Score: 4/5

This is also another feature where I expected Nikon may have done a little better. I would definitely prefer the button layout of Nikon D850. But as Nikon announces D750 as their prosumers camera, I cannot complain on the same. But I am happy to see that Nikon has given option to reprogram some of the buttons as per your requirements. As I am using D750 for quite some time, I have reprogrammed some of its button (see below chart).

Among others, I think the i-menu button is quite a genius addition to D750 body. You can choose the most important menus and store them in i-menu option. This makes it handy for changing some features faster than roaming around complicated menu system.

Image Processor:

Score: 4.5/5

In D750,Nikon employs their Expeed 4 image processor. Which is not as fast and efficient as Expeed 5 but can exerts a decent performance. Along with that, I think Nikon has done a hell lot of R&D to create algorithm to use the potential of the image processor efficiently. This effort resulted a better signal-to-noise ratio, crispier picture even at a high sensitivity.

Memory:

Score: 3/5

This is not a very strong point for Nikon D750. Both its internal and external storage system is a big frustration for me. Internally it has a very small buffer memory. In burst mode it can store maximum 12 RAW images. I think this is quite a big no-no for sports, wildlife shooters. Because, at 7 fps this buffer gets filled up in just 2 seconds.

Regarding external memory, I think CF cards would have been much better choice rather than SD cards. CF cards are faster in writing data into it. This could have helped the buffer to drain its data faster into the card & use the empty space for capturing new data from next shot.

Well, as Nikon says – “this is a prosumer camera!!” I think SD cards are easy accessible for high end amateur photographers and kind ‘a gets the job done.

Shutter Mechanism:

Score: 4/5

This is also a place where Nikon D750 shines more than its competitors. This can go upto a 1/4000 of shutter speed. Though the highest shutter speed is not as good as 1/8000 like D810. But it does a pretty good job. Apat from that, 7fps is a very respectable burst speed for a prosumer camera. Not only that, it comes with seven selectable shutter operations. Single, Delayed/timer, Quite, Quite continues, Continuous High, Continuous low & Mirror up.

In my opinion, Mirror up is the most beautiful edition in D750’s shutter system. It is really helpful for landscape and astro photographers who need a very stable and shake-free shuttering mechanism. On the first shutter button press the mirror flips up but the shutter doesn’t opens. To expose the sensor you need to repress the shutter button. This mechanism effectively reduces the camera shake introduced by the mirror movement. Still, I would recommend an external remote & a sturdy tripod to effectively enjoy this feature. Because, even a little touch of your hand at the camera body can destroy your picture.

Nikon claims that this shutter is tested for 150,000 actuations. Now, this is a section where I think many people are having a lot of confusion. It is not true that the camera can only work for 150,000 shutter counts then it will stop working or shatter like glass, leaving you a costly paper weight. No, it does not mean that. You may have noticed I have used a word ‘tested’. This means Nikon has tested this shutter mechanism with 150,000 actuations. And they also optimized it in a way that it can provide optimal performance upto this level. What will happen after that? Just like any other mechanical system, it will start decaying and ‘probably’ you are not going to get optimal performance from it. What are the performances? May be you are not going to get 7 fps or shutter gets noisier. In worst case scenario your shutter can be jammed. But it is a rare incident. I am using Nikon cameras for almost 15 years. My father had a 1990 – FM2. It is still working perfectly, and shutter count? I think it has reached more than 500k.

Metering Mechanism:

Score: 5/5

This feature is also quite good in D750; specially the flat metering. Some people consider this as same as matrix metering but it is not. It squeezes all the image data into the midrange of the histogram so that the user can have better control over the highlights and shadows. Though the picture directly from the camera looses more of its drama due to toned down highlights and toned up shadows. If you open the image using Adobe Camera Raw or Light room, you will be able to utilize the full dynamic range the sensor has captured.

Built in flash:

Score: 5/5

For me it is not a huge factor. Still having a pop-up flash is always good. Think of a situation like this, you have to take an important picture into an extreme light condition and you don’t have any kind of external lights. In such cases having a pop-up flash can save your day.

Apart from that you can use the flash as a trigger for your off camera flashes. This body supports Nikon’s legendary CLS system, so if you need to work with off camera flash you can definitely use it as a master for any Nikon speed lights.

Video:

Score: 4/5

This is also a field where I believe Nikon has edge on its predecessors. The flat picture profile, intuitive controls for videography and 1080p 60fps recording capability gives a way better workable functions to videographers and cinematographers. Also its high ISO performance is quite phenomenal while it comes to shooting video in low light situations.

Still I am giving it a score of 4 because the files it produces is not as impressive as we get from Canon 5D mark 3. Though both are producing H264 compressed files rather than a professional Apple ProRes 422 or Avid DNxHD, I think files from Canon contains more data and color information rather than Nikon. Which is helpful for post processing and color grading.

Saying so, Nikon has implemented clean HDMI output. That means, it can deliver raw video feed through its HDMI output. Now, if you add an external recorder like Atomos Ninja star or Blackmagic Design HyperDeck Shuttle 2, you can record your video in your convenient resolution.

User Menu:

Score: 5/5

I think, Nikon is a very much choosy for their user interfaces and the result of which is a perfect combination of functionality and ease of use. All essential items are segregated in 5 main menus and subsequent sub menus. The configuration is pretty confusing at the beginning. But as you go on using the camera the interface becomes very easy for you to navigate.

But if you are new in Nikon system I would definitely recommend you to read the user manual.

Performance & Ease of use:

Score: 5/5

In my opinion, this is one of the Nikon’s best performing design till now considering its price. Don’t take me wrong, it may have scored less in many sections then its higher end big brothers, but sometime that is not a bad thing. All other camera bodies above it are specialized cameras. Like, D500, D5, D4s are mostly intended for sports & wildlife photographer. D810 or D850 is intended for studio works, portraiture & landscape photography. Nikon D750 is designed as a jack of all trades. You throw any kind of job into it, it will perform that without any toil. I have used it for wedding, street photography, bird photography, wildlife, product shoot, fashion & lifestyle photography. And this beautiful body has never turned me down. The button layout is similar to the mid range dslrs like D7000, which is a big benefit if you are upgrading from a mid range APS-C DSLR to a full frame camera body. You can pick this up from  day one and start shooting.

Intended Users:

  • Any high-end amateur photographer who wants to upgrade to a full frame camera body.
  • Wedding photographers.
  • Street photographers.
  • High end travel photographer.
  • Any freelance professional photographer who is more intended to earn money rather than sticking to a specific genre.

I strongly believe this camera body is having a same purpose as Canon 5D M3. Hence, it can somewhat satisfy the needs of any kind of photographer.

Value for money:

At around $1500 US or Rs. 1.25 lakhs, this is not a cheap camera body. But if you ask me whether it worth the price. I would rather say, absolutely. This is the best ‘bang for the bucks’ body Nikon has ever designed.

Conclusion:

As I have told earlier, D750 is not a specialized camera. But it can deliver a decent result in any kind of photography. So if you are an intermediate professional or a high end armature photographer who want a light weight but well performing camera body at your backpack then I believe this is the best choice for you at this moment. I would rather say, Go for it with your eyes closed, and this camera won’t disappoint you with its all around performance.

18 Replies to “Review of Nikon D750”

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  4. Bigger sensor doesn’t gather more light. FX sensor is not brighter than a crop sensor. FX has got larger photosites but it doesn’t magically gather more light.

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