Hey, folks! I know it’s busy season and I should be nose-deep in Lightroom right now, but I really wanted to share some information about my new D750. I excitedly pre-ordered a Nikon D750 when the camera was announced, and got it into my hands almost 2 weeks ago. I have had quite a few photographer friends ask me about it, so in order to spare myself the repetition, and to share some examples, I thought I’d just write a post about it! :)
I’ve had a chance to shoot 3 weddings and 1 session with the D750 since I’ve gotten it into my hands, and I feel like I can talk about its real-world applications. I had a photographer friend get upset with me for trying to sell my D3S, which is admittedly a powerhouse of a camera, so I feel like I should give my reasons for updating my gear:
- I’ve always loved the D700, except for the fact that it doesn’t have 2 card slots. I am (rightly, I feel) paranoid about card corruption for wedding clients and wanted to have an immediate backup. The size, shape, and weight of the D700 has always been what I prefer.
- I purchased a D3S for dual card slots and made it my primary wedding camera. Of course, the fast focus, AF-point spread, high ISO ability, and its ergonomics (the longer body “felt” better with denser lenses, because it better balanced the shift forward in weight) made the camera pretty awesome. The heaviness, however, hurt my wrist and I was finding new ways to try to keep myself in alignment after a wedding. Hauling a 3-lb weight (probably 5 after adding a few of my lenses on it) for 8 hours on only one side of your body can really mess with your back.
- I’d wanted to downgrade to a smaller body after a year with the D3S. Sure, my local camera store tried to sell me a D610, but I was so unenthusiastic about it that I returned my box without opening it. All of the reviews I’d heard about it was along the lines of, “Eh. It works, but it’s not great.” There was nothing available that would really compare, until now.
The D750 is about the size of a D700 — smaller, actually! — with dual card slots and a few new tricks.
So let’s talk about size, baby
The D750 feels really good in my hands. It’s a great size for me (I have small, dainty fingers and really thin wrists), but I’ve also heard from male photographers with big ol’ meaty hands that it feels good to them, too. I think the grip is a huge improvement — it feels deeper than the D700’s, and from what I’ve heard of the D610’s as well.
from top to bottom (left): D3S, D700, D750. (right): D750, D700, D3S
D750 on top; D700 on bottom.
D700 on left, D750 on right
D3S on left, D750 on right
Speed & focus
Speed is really important in my line of work. If the autofocus doesn’t focus, I miss the moment. I’m thrilled to say that the D750 will zip to its focus point very quickly. It focuses in the dark. It focuses in the bright. It focuses on things without discernible edges (I’m 99% confident that it could focus on a polar bear in a snow storm).
However, the cards you write with are pretty important. I bought Sandisk Extreme 60mb/s cards thinking they’d be fast enough to quickly review images, but I’ve found that the LCD review is not instantaneous like it is on other Nikon models. I’ve actually waited a few heartbeats for an image to come up on the review screen. I’ve been told that if I had the 90mb/s cards that it’d be faster, but I’ve been shooting on 60mb/s cards for years without this issue coming up on the D700/D3S so I’m going to say it’s a D750-specific problem. In the grand scheme of things, though, it’s not a huge deal.
This is an image taken at f/1.4. I didn’t even have to calibrate straight out of the box.
For the next one, I shot at f/3.5 and focused on the dragonfly. The image following it is a 100% crop.
Things that I love
Aside from the size, weight, and relative ease of handling it — which is important for me; I need a camera that will respond to my instructions quickly — there are lots of little joys in this camera. For instance, the shutter is quiet!!! I’ve always felt slightly awkward at church ceremonies because the D700’s shutter sounds like thunder. CA-CONK, CA-CONK! The D3S is a bit softer, with a sweet ca-click, but the D750‘s “normal” shutter sound is a susurrus “swish” noise. There is a “quiet” shutter option but it doesn’t sound much quieter, so I have it turned off.
The LCD screen is gorgeous. It seems easier to see images on the screen than with the D700/D3S. The screen can pull out and flip down or up, which is handy for dance floors at receptions when you’re going for an above-the-head dancing shot. Live View is responsive, though the few times I tried it, the focusing was slow. Still, I use Live View so rarely that it’s not a deal-breaker for me.
The colors are amazing SOOC. I took two photos at a wedding of the same environment moments apart, with the same lens, same settings, same flash power and flash direction, just swapped the bodies, and was amazed at the difference in the rendering. It was observable even through LCD screens. The following two images are screenshots of the RAW files of the D700 and the D750, respectively, and you can see just how much better the coloring is in comparison. No editing was done to these.
Here are more photos taken with the D750 (edited):
Things that annoy me
I’m used to the layout of the D700 — easy ISO button at the top left — or the D3S’s ISO button on the bottom left — that I was irked to find that the ISO button is actually also the INFO button on the back of the D750, near the LCD screen. Changing the ISO settings (because I do not use auto ISO!) means having to take my eye away from the viewfinder so my nose doesn’t get in the way. Again, small beans, but still a little irksome.
In fact, because there’s less space on the body, I’ve found that Nikon had to be a little more creative with “tweaking” controls. Setting up the 11-point AF spread (instead of trying to use all 51 points) is an item in the main menu, but to turn on the option to choose your AF point, you have to use the scroll wheels. Things like that. It took about an hour for me to hunt down everything in the manual to change my settings, which took a heck of a lot longer than when I set up my D3S. Of course, now that those settings are baked in, I don’t have to worry about it anymore (unless I do a factory reset by accident).
SD CARDS?!! After spending a small fortune on CF cards, I had to re-buy a mountain of SD cards. And because the file sizes for the D750 are larger than the D3S/D700, I had to buy bigger cards than before. I used to shoot an entire wedding on a 32GB in the backup slot and swap out 8GB cards all day. Now I have to use 64GB cards and I’m pretty sure I should’ve bought 128. C’est la vie. At least SD cards are less expensive than CF … but I do wonder what compelled Nikon to do this when CF was the norm for so long.
Also, it looks like the PC port has been removed — not a big deal since I use a hot-shoe-centric wireless trigger, the Phottix Strato, for my off-camera flashes, but it’s kind of a big deal for people who are plugged in (Paul C. Buff Cybersync users, for example).
Info in the file
Sometimes your flashes misfire and you end up with a woefully underexposed image. This has been Nikon’s forté (you often heard to overexpose with Canon, but underexpose with Nikon, because each system stores information differently). So here’s an example.
I actually like the original photo at the exposure it’s at (maybe I’d brighten it just a hair), but if we wanted to see more, I increased the exposure by 5 stops (the most that LR can do):
100% crop. (ISO was at 640.) I was actually really impressed with the quality of the noise… not really pixellated or anything, it just looks like film. This is without ANY noise reduction done in post.
I am really enjoying my D750. It’s pretty much exactly what I was looking for and I hope it’ll share a long life with me. Just so you know, I was not paid for this review, and I spent my own dollars to buy this item. I’ve also created Amazon affiliate links to the D750 in case you want to pick one up yourself!
If there are any other questions, if you’d like more photos of some random situations, please let me know and I’ll try to oblige!