Nikon D750 Review

The camera market is changing and the Nikon D750 is the epitome of that. A full-frame DSLR with a tilt-angle screen? People wouldn’t have even considered that not so many years ago because the technology just wasn’t nearly up to it.

So why today? The proliferation of the camera market with compact cameras and a tendency for smaller, more manageable products offers added pressure to the even more traditional companies. Newcomers like using a display screen to take shots rather than always relying on a viewfinder.

More: Best Lenses for Nikon D750

Nikon D750 Price

The Nikon D750 is here to test that market. But is it truly worth having to pay extra for a DSLR with a tilt-angle display when Nikon has never quite nailed super-fast live look at autofocus? We’ve been putting the Nikon D750 through its many paces to find out.

Build and Handling

Tilt-angle or vari-angle LCD screens aren’t a brand new thing in DSLR cameras. Canon has already impressed with its Canon EOS 70D and decent live view thanks to what it calls Dual Pixel autofocus. It’s super-fast. But that’s the competition.

And Nikon – introducing a tilt-angle display screen to its full-body line-up for the first time in the D750 – hasn’t quite caught up to those specifications. Swing out the D750’s 3.2-inch, 1,229k-dot resolution LCD screen and, although it’s quicker to autofocus in live view than prior generations, it poses potential issues given it can’t match the viewfinder-structured autofocus system (that we’ll talk in more detail about later).

Of course, it’s likely to be based on shooting conditions and what you’re shooting as to how much use you will find for the whole tilt-angle mechanism. We’ve found ourselves sometimes loving the feature, various other times cursing.

Only the autofocus for such a small subject in the wider frame can be somewhat tricky to get right in live view mode. The first time around and the small center dot in the boxed-out autofocus area was more interested in the background and that was one shot failed. Thankfully the little chap hadn’t flung himself off at pace upon hearing the shutter clack so we were able to shoot a couple more times to get it to spot on – and once we had the shot, it was clearly something we couldn’t have shot with a normal fixed-screen DSLR. Or maybe we could have if lying down flat such as a soldier waiting in the trenches. But our protruding abdomen might not have been therefore agreeable to that. And there are ants, man-eating ants probably.

Design

The Nikon D750 isn’t all just about its tilt-angle screen though. It’s the most compact full-frame DSLR that the company has ever made. At 140.5 x 113 x 78 mm it’s 4mm slimmer and half a millimeter less wide than the D610.

We wouldn’t actually want the camera to be any smaller because as traditional DSLR forms go we like to have an ample grasp and adequate space for the layout to fall naturally to the hands. Some will disagree – and there are smaller full-frame options out there such as the Sony Alpha A7R III – but merely shedding a couple of millimeters here and there, at this DSLR scale in any case, only makes a minor difference.

Fortunately, the D750’s design is still decent – it’s a near mirror-image of most of the company’s full-frame DSLRs – but the trimmer width means the space between the lens and protruding handgrip is a little squeezed. Not a hands-in-clamp situation by any means, but, for example, the extra 5.5mm width of the Nikon D810 makes for a more comfortable use scenario in our view. Unless you have small hands and then – and this is relatively presumptive – we suspect the D750 would be better suited.

Up top, the D750 also trims back on the top panel LCD. The difference in minimal to what you’d normally obtain – our tape-measure says 1.9mm wide in the D750 instead of the 2.5mm of the D810 – but that means a modification in what’s on the display and how you get to see it. We much prefer a larger screen, as the D750’s approach autofocus modes have much less real-estate to tell you what’s what, particularly for the 3D tracking continuous options. It’s still very clear enough, but specific illustrative elements are absent.

Those are two little compromises in the order of things, though, as if you want a little and light full-frame DSLR paired with quality, weather-sealed build then the D750 is a fetching prospect. It can’t claim to be the lightest full-frame DSLR, though, with the Canon EOS 6D’s 680g body a full 160g less than the D750’s 840g total – which is roughly just how much a 5-inch smartphone weighs these days.

Performance

When we started using the Nikon D750 the first thing we noticed was how fast it had been to respond. Almost absurdly so. With a finger rested on the shutter switch, its reaction to actually light touches puts it nearer to the hyper-sensitive Nikon D4S. Utilizing a compact camera after and we thought it was broken given how much harder we’d to press the shutter key.

This ultra-sensitivity is brilliant though. A deft touch means less chance of rotational camera blur and, of course, less potential for missing that shot – even if you do take a couple of accidental ones in-between the successful types.

It’s apt that we cite the top-tier Nikon D4S too, seeing that the Nikon D750 brings with it an updated second-generation 51-point autofocus sensor (Multi-CAM 3500 II) that is blindingly good – arguably the best you’ll come across in a modern time camera. The second-gen means expanded sensitivity in low-light – it can now autofocus to -3EV – for better focusing in darker circumstances, and based on moonlit cityscapes and dark alleyway photos we’d say it does a darn good job. Some competition boasts even higher statistics, like the Panasonic Lumix GH4’s -4EV sensitivity.

Image quality

Under the hood of the Nikon D750 is a 24-megapixel full-frame sensor that, although not identical compared to that of the D610, you can expect results to be generally the same. This isn’t the crazy levels of resolution provided by the low-pass-filter-free 36-megapixel Nikon D810, instead, the D750 is usually a camera that strikes a decent balance of resolution and perceivable quality.

There’s something about full-frame image quality; the large sensor size opens up even more creative depth of field opportunities which, used correctly, have an untouchable look and feel about them.

Using the D750 we’ve not found any lighting conditions to become problematic, and with the Expeed 4 image processor and sensitivity vary scaling from ISO 100 – 51,200 it’s unlikely any subject will end up being out of your photographic reach.

But you will probably find yourself wanting to tinker with the settings within the camera for optimal results. The thing that struck us when reviewing images on the screen is how the Nikon D750 opts for fairly aggressive processing by default and, with zoom lens correction adjustment switched on, you’ll lose sharpness.

Verdict

There’s some logic to adding a tilt-angle display to Nikon’s full-body DSLR range, but we discovered it an occasional-use feature in the D750 given just how much better viewfinder-based autofocus is definitely. It’s a good first bash, even if it’s not enough to keep the compact program camera concern at bay.

What you’re perhaps more likely to buy the Nikon D750 for is its excellent raw image quality, ace autofocus system, super responsiveness, sturdy build, long-lasting battery life and relatively small size. That last stage does begin to press on the point of compromise when it comes to the small LCD best plate and offered grip-to-lens space though.

But a phrase of caution: don’t max out the in-camera digesting and lens correction settings as it will cost the resulting picture quality. Nikon provides been overly aggressive in the D750’s treatment of JPEG pictures, whereas the available raw data files exemplify its significant potential. We’ve got some great pictures, you just need to put the excess post-processing work in.

Irrelevant of its tilt-angle display screen the Nikon D750 brings together many successful elements that make it an undeniably great DSLR camera. If anything it’s the fixed-screen competition – also from within Nikon’s very own range – that might see it stall, because it’s not the camera to bring a new wave of hype to DSLR live watch use. Don’t think of it in that singular dimension, though, and it’s a solid DSLR.

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