The full frame camera world is getting a little bit bigger every year. Nikon and Canon introduced their respective entry level full frame cameras two years ago and now Nikon is at it again with a prosumer level DSLR labeled the D750.
The new camera fits snugly between the the entry level D610 without showing up the D810 made for professionals. As such it’s inherited a few features like the Nikon 810’s image processor and metering system. And yet it has Nikon’s newest autofocus system plus a faster 6.5 frame per second burst rate, which should make it the most viable camera for shooting sports outside of the Nikon D4s. Additionally the Nikon D750 also has a few new tricks of its own including a newly designed 24.3MP sensor, tilting screen, as well as being the first Nikon full frame camera to sport built-in Wi-Fi transmission.
On paper Nikon D750 looks like one of the most interesting DSLRs to come out in years—but is this camera all glitz and no substantive image quality? Find out in our review.
Pros and Cons
- Deep grip
- Intuitive and well laid out control scheme
- Renders amazing detail and color
- Clean files at ISO 6400
- Usable images up to ISO 10000
- Built-in Wi-Fi transmission
- Tilting screen
- Plastic front plate
Specs taken from the B&H Photo listing of the camera.
- 24.3MP FX-Format CMOS Sensor
- EXPEED 4 Image Processor
- 3.2″ 1,229k-Dot RGBW Tilting LCD Monitor
- Full HD 1080p Video Recording at 60 fps
- Multi-CAM 3500FX II 51-Point AF Sensor
- Native ISO 12800, Extended to ISO 51200
- 30 – 1/4000 second Shutter Speeds
- Continuous Shooting Up to 6.5 fps
- 91k-Pixel RGB Sensor and Group Area AF
- Built-In Wi-Fi Connectivity
- Time Lapse Shooting & Exposure Smoothing
- Dimensions: 5.5 x 4.4 x 3.1″ (140.5 x 113.0 x 78.0 mm)
- Weight: 1.65 lbs (750 g) body only
There’s no denying the Nikon D750 looks like a beefed up Nikon D610. It shares virtually the same control scheme as the entry level DSLR down to the mode dial (yes, an automatic mode is included). Users upgrading from a Nikon D7100 will feel instantly familiar with the D750’s button layout as well.
On the front side of the camera users will find the typical button for your programmed function, lens release, depth of field preview, and bracketing. As with other Nikon cameras, the AF/MF switch is located on the bottom left of the camera coupled with the autofocus mode button.
Spin around to the camera’s top plate and you’ll find the D750’s amazingly deep grip, which should feel great no matter how big your hands are. Otherwise, there’s a lot more going on here with buttons for everything from metering modes, exposure compensation, the shutter, and recording movies. Plus there are dials to turn on the camera and change shooting modes as well as drive modes.
Moving to the back of the camera, here’s something new: a tilting screen. It does not spin out to the left like the articulating screen on the Nikon D5300, but it’s a nice feature for users shooting video from the hip or taking a picture from overhead. The viewfinder also annoyingly cuts off the screen when I point it towards the sky and try to take a photo from a low angle. Other than the screen, you’ll also find a lot of important buttons for changing the camera’s ISO and white balance along the left side. On the right there’s also the directional pad AF point selector, and live view mode button and switch combo.
The left hand side of the camera holds all the ports behind some neatly separated covers. Most importantly, photographers will have access to a headphone and microphone jacks and mini HDMI port. On the right, meanwhile, there are two SD card slots hidden behind a plastic door.
Yes the D750 is a plastic body camera and yes it might irk some photographers used to the feel of an all magnesium metal casing. The good news is the camera does not feel like a toy at all. The Nikon D750 features a carbon composite front plate, while the top and rear plates are made of magnesium.
Honestly the plastic body panels on the D750 shouldn’t really bother you unless you think about them. Plus a large portion of the camera body is wrapped with leather, which covers up most of the plastic bits while making it nice and soft to hold. The camera also held up nicely against a bitterly cold autumn rainstorm in New York earlier this weekend.
Ease of Use
Professional and seasoned photographers might scoff at the mode dial, but it helps make this camera more accessible to the semi-pro crowd of users this camera hopes to attract.
There’s a vast array of buttons all over the camera giving you quick access to almost every setting you’ll ever need. Whether you’re a beginner or someone who knows the ins and outs of photography already this is a good thing as you’ll never have to dig into a single menu, which in turn will let you get to shooting faster and more efficiently. For beginners specifically, immediate access to all these controls might be overwhelming and confusing, but you can learn everything with time and an adventurous spirit.
The Nikon D750 focused quickly and accurately no matter which lens we mounted on it. There were only a handful of times when the D750 wasn’t able to lock on and this was only due to trying to use the camera in complete darkness. In my testing it seems the D750 has better low light autofocus performance compared to the Nikon D810. Overall the full frame camera proved to be very reliable for my event coverage needs at both Photoplus and the West Village Halloween Parade.
Using the Sunny 16 rule I found the Nikon D750 tended to underexpose images by a third of a stop. It’s not perfect but since the camera’s RAW files have more flexible shadows than highlights, it’s easy to make corrections in post.
The Nikon D750 has a nice high resolution 24.3MP sensor, though it still has an anti-aliasing filter. Though the D750 boasts a very similar sensor to the D610, Nikon claims it this is a newly developed sensor with a slightly expanded ISO range of 100 to 12,800 (expandable to 51,200). In actual practice this camera creates very clean images up to ISO 6400.
Combine this broad usable ISO range with a high-resolution sensor and this camera is a very capable workhorse for wedding photographers and studio work. It’s not quite the resolution monster that is the Nikon D810, but the sensor has more than enough megapixels to capture tons of sharp details and reproduces vibrant colors with accurate skin tones.
High ISO Output
This is where the D750 starts coming into its own ISO performance to 8000 is completely usable. The image you see above is entirely unedited and there’s only the slightest bit of noise, which can be easily smoothed over in Lightroom and other post processing programs. What’s more, there’s barely any chromatic noise (which tends to be harder to correct for in post). You can crank up the ISO all the way to 10000 before noise begins to take over the frame completely, though, colors become desaturated at such high sensitivities.
Raw File Versatility
Adobe has yet to update Lightroom with RAW image support for the Nikon D750, so all the images you see here were edited in Adobe Bridge. Although Bridge is less powerful than Lightroom, I had no problem pushing the shadows up to three stops. Working with the highlights in post were much more limited, so you’ll want to underexpose your images in extremely bright situations or slap on a neutral density filter. The D600 impressed us with its extremely flexible RAW files and with the D750 you can do even more.
Extra Image Samples
- A really handsome looking camera overall
- Seamless one-step wireless transmission
- Excellent low light performance
- Accurate autofocus in dim light
- Very flexible RAW files
- Viewfinder cup blocks off the screen when flipped up
- Metering is ever so lightly off
Other than some quibbles with the partially plastic frame, you’re going to love the Nikon D750 through and through. It follows a long line of professional level Nikon full frame cameras putting all the controls right on the camera body. With better ISO performance and a faster autofocus than the D610, this camera is perfect for photography enthusiast and professional shooters who want more than the barest of essentials of a full frame DSLR.
The Nikon D750 is also the first full frame DSLR to be equipped with built-in Wi-Fi transmission and a tilting screen. These are both features we’ve become accustomed to on consumer-oriented mirrorless cameras and their inclusion here is a step towards modernizing the DSLR. Whether you’re a working photographer or a simple tourist, you won’t be disappointed with this fully featured full frame camera.
Recommended Lenses and Accessories
- Nikon 20mm f1.8 – Nikon’s latest full frame lens which I used for a majority of my time testing the Nikon D750. This fast prime lens delivers an amazingly fun focal length to work in and sharp image quality.
- Sigma 35mm f1.4 – For all you normal shooting needs, this is a great fast and sharp lens you can comfortably shoot wide open.
- Zeiss 85mm f1.4 Otus – The best and sharpest portrait lens you can ask for. It costs a very pretty penny at nearly $4,500, but it’s well worth the investment if you do studio work.