With a full-frame 24.3-million-pixel sensor and an updated autofocusing module, is the Nikon D750 the perfect all-rounder? Callum McInerney-Riley finds out in our Nikon D750 review
With its 24.3 million pixel, full frame sensor, Nikon is pitching the D750 as an SLR for serious enthusiasts. Compared to the D610, which continues in Nikon’s lineup as the next model down, the most eye-catching additions are a tilting rear screen and built-in Wi-Fi. The camera also incorporates many of the improvements we previously saw in the D810, including its 51 point AF system. The Nikon D750 will be available from 23rd September for £1799.99 body only, £2249.99 with a 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 lens, or £2349.99 with 24-120 mm f/4 lens.
The D750’s 24-million-pixel full frame sensor offers an ISO range of 100 to 12800, which is expandable to 50-51200. Nikon calls it ‘newly developed’ but it’s likely to be similar to the D610‘s. In concert with the EXPEED 4 processor, the D750 can shoot at 6.5 frames per second; a small improvement on the D610. Its 51-point autofocus module is similar to the one used in Nikon top end SLRs, with 15 cross-type sensors, and 11 that work at f/8 for shooting with teleconverters. But it now works in low light down to -3 EV, which on paper is pretty impressive.
Inherited from the D810, a highlight-weighted metering setting is available, which is specifically designed to avoid blowing out detail in bright areas of the image. This is also useful for making the most of the sensor’s dynamic range, making it easy to expose for the highlight and pull up shadow detail in post-processing.
The 3.2inch 1.3 million dot LCD is the first articulating screen we’ve seen on a full frame SLR. It tilts 90 degrees upwards and 75 degrees downwards, to help when shooting at awkward angles. An unusually complex three-point hinge mechanism allows it to face vertically down without interfering with a tripod head. We’d have preferred a fully articulating version that could swivel as well as tilt, but the advantage of D750’s arrangement is that it’s very slim.
The LCD panel uses an RGBW arrangement, with an additional white display dot at every pixel location in addition to the usual red, green and blue. This allows the screen to be brighter for higher visibility in strong light, without significantly increasing power consumption. We were impressed by how well this worked on the D810, so it’s nice to see it again here.
Live View and Video
High definition video (1920 x 1080 pixel resolution) can be recorded at up to 60 frames per second. The D750 has built-in stereo microphones, along with an input for an external stereo microphone, and a headphone socket for monitoring the recorded sound. It can record simultaneously to the camera’s internal memory card, and an external recorder connected via HDMI.
One significant advantage for videographers compared to the D610 is the addition of ‘power aperture’. This means that the camera can adjust the aperture diaphragm in live view to reflect the current setting (in contrast other Nikon DSLRs, apart from the high-end professional models, stay stuck at the aperture which was set when entering live view). This feature is also helpful to stills photographers who shoot in live view, as it allows the lens to be set wide open for precise manual focusing.
The D750 includes a spot white balance setting option for live view and video that allows the user to specify a small area of the frame which the camera should render white or grey. In principle this reduces the need to use a grey card to set a custom white balance in difficult lighting conditions.
Other improvements include the addition of a ‘zebra pattern’ display that warns of possible overexposure. A ‘Flat’ Picture Control setting maintains maximum dynamic range in the recorded footage, offering the greatest flexibility for colour grading in post-production. Again both of these are inherited from the D810.
Body and Design
The carbon fibre and magnesium alloy body is designed to be compact and lightweight, with a monocoque construction (as previously seen on the D5300) that’s designed to keep it as small as possible. The control layout is very similar to the D7100 and D610, with twin control dials and a comprehensive set of direct access buttons for commonly-changed functions. Anyone used to shooting with a recent Nikon SLR should feel right at home here. In-hand the body feels pretty solid, with a decent rubberised covering extending all round the handgrip, including the memory card door.
The D750 has twin SD card slots, which can be used in a variety of ways; for example the second can act as overflow storage when the first is full, or as a backup so all shots are duplicated across two cards. Alternatively Raw files can be recorded to one card and JPEGs to the other, or videos to one and stills to the other.
Nikon is claiming impressive stamina from the EN-EL15 battery. According to CIPA standard testing it should give 1230 shots per charge; if the flash isn’t used, that figure increases to fully 4420 shots. Bear in mind though that both these figures will be reduced significantly by the use of Wi-Fi or live view. Alternatively the battery will support 55 minutes of video recording.
Wi-Fi connectivity onboard
The built-in Wi-Fi is another first for a Nikon full frame SLR, allows connection to a smartphone for remote control of the camera, or easy sharing of images. For more demanding use the D750 is also compatible with the WT-1 wireless transmitter, and Eye-Fi cards can be used, too.
At first sight the D750 might look a little underwhelming; there’s nothing really new here that we haven’t seen before. But while it may appear to be just a D610 with a tilt screen and Wi-Fi, the inclusion of much of the D810’s guts, including that sophisticated AF system, means that it’s likely to be very capable indeed. But what it doesn’t quite do so well, perhaps, is satisfy Nikon users still waiting for a ‘true’ replacement for the D700 or even the D300S. In particular it lacks ‘pro’ control features such as an AF-ON button.
At around £1800 body only, £2250 with a 24-85mm lens, or £2350 with 24-120 mm lens, the D750 is aimed very much at serious enthusiasts. For these users it looks, on paper at least, like it should still be an excellent all-rounder capable of taking on a wide range of subjects. We’re looking forward to trying it out so see whether it lives up to this promise, which we’ll cover in our full review.