Nikon D750 Review in a California "Winter" / Travel & Review

Yay for getting this one out a little bit quicker than the last travel post. We flew back home for the holidays, and we took the opportunity to take a few hikes and test out the new toy. We’re hesitant to call this a full-on gear review without wedding photos to show off, but given the off-season, we made do with the opportunity we had at hand. After a few thousand photos on the Nikon D750, we can at least provide our impressions on the little camera.

Since we picked up the Df (some samples and very brief words here), we’ve been using it quite heavily alongside the pair of D4’s in our arsenal for both professional work as well as our personal camera. While its features don’t quite make it up to par for a primary wedding camera, the light weight was always a bit of a relief when we didn’t need critical autofocus performance. Photographers have been clamoring for a proper D700 replacement for years now – the D800/e/810 doesn’t quite fit the profile due to the massive 36 megapixel files, which made the Df the next best thing. Fast-forward a few months, Nikon announces, seemingly out of the blue, a small, zippy camera called the D750. Early reviews trickled in, mentioning amazing autofocus (possibly the best in Nikon’s lineup, including against the D4s) and amazing high iso performance. Perhaps most intriguing was that at ISO 100, the dynamic range of the 24 megapixel sensor rivaled that of the new D810. Yeah yeah, we resisted a little bit, since there’s no way a sub-$3000 camera would be better than the $6000 D4, right?

We’ll cut things a little short here at the risk of repeating what all the other reviews have said and just skip to the summary: yes, for wedding photographers (and honestly most other photographers), this is arguably the best all-around camera on the market. It focuses faster and more accurately than the D4 as tested at this session, and the dynamic range really is crazy good (any photo below with the sun in it has probably been pushed up at least 3 stops). We have medium-sized hands, but the D750’s deeper grip is actually more comfortable than the D4, with the added benefit of being much, much lighter. Also, a tilty screen on a full frame DSLR is the greatest thing since sliced bread – it’s so easy to get creative angles for portraits now. Added bonus is that it makes composing food photos a breeze without the stepladder. Dual SD slots – we’re ambivalent. They’re not quite as fast as CF cards, but at least the D750 has two of the same. High ISO is not quite as good as Nikon’s 16-megapixel flagship sensor, but it’s plenty. We’re comfortable shooting at up to 12800.

So what are the drawbacks? The D750’s 51 AF points are clustered ever-so-slightly closer together – this is a nonissue since outside of that cluster, we would have switched to live view for composition anyway. Have we mentioned these AF points are more sensitive and accurate than the ones on the D4s and D810?  The shutter speed only goes up to 1/4000. Flash sync maxes out at 1/200. The build quality feels great, but it’s definitely not quite on par with a heavy magnesium body. With a D4, you could drop that on the sidewalk and worry about damaging city property – we’re not so sure that’s the case here (in fact, in trying to buy a used D750 the other day, the seller broke the rear LCD on the way to our meetup by dropping it. Oops). Honestly, none of those factors has made one bit of difference so far, but only time will tell.

Quick note: both copies of our D750’s exhibit that flare banding issue (Google D750 flare banding if you’re curious). It didn’t even show up until we started looking for it, and it doesn’t bother us. That being said, for the sake of a free checkup and cleaning, we sent one of the cameras in, and we’ll be doing the same with the other one next.

Conclusion on the D750: there are a few niggles here and there with this camera, but for all intents and purposes, it’s pretty much our perfect camera. We’ve dumped our D4 bodies, and we’re now shooting with a pair of D750’s and soon, a pair of D810’s (more on that later down the line) for a few specific purposes. We photographed these two, and these two with a D750 and a D810.

Well, let’s get to it. Here are some personal and travel photos, shot entirely with the D750! When it’s not raining, winter is a perfect time to hike in Northern California. Luck was on our side, giving us clear skies and big sun, and we took the chance to visit the Big Basin redwoods, Mission Peak, as well as Carmel and Big Sur.

 

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