So…I bought a Nikon D750. Here’s why

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Reference bear #1 wonders what on earth has Ming done now?

I admit to having a change of heart. Yes, I was rather lukewarm bout the initial announcement at Photokina; but I do also remember saying that this would be the camera for a lot of people: right size, right price, right spec. It has “enough” resolution; “enough” performance; and isn’t too large or intimidating. In fact, I’d venture to say that it blows way past sufficiency, but then again, the whole idea of sufficiency is relative anyway. In many ways, this purchase is both rationally driven and a form of recognisance on my part. Bottom line: am I happy? Very much so.

This won’t be a review in the conventional sense; think of it more as a string of logical thoughts with some observations after a couple of days with the camera. I also think there are so many ‘reviewers’ and ‘tests’ out there that frankly, it all gets a bit meaningless – sufficiency is more than met and we’re splitting hairs anyway.

I never intended to buy one. I went to my dealer to trade in some gear I’d not touched in a considerable amount of time, in order to pick up a lens I needed for an upcoming helicopter-based assignment – an 80-400 AFS*. They had D750s, so in my usual curiosity, I asked to handle on. It turns out that was a mistake, because for perhaps the first time in memory for me, Nikon has made The Perfect Grip. All others (horrible DF notwithstanding) – whilst being various degrees of very good to excellent – have still had hot spots that tend to chafe or cramp after several hours of use. The size-to-weight ratio was just right: solid, dense and noticeably smaller than the D810 I brought with me to test the 80-400; I noticed that after about half an hour of shooting the breeze with my dealer, I was still holding on to the D750. Even though it uses some CFRP composites and isn’t all-magnesium, it doesn’t feel plasticky at all; compartments are also sealed but in a rudimentary sort of way. I think it’ll take light rain, but I wouldn’t risk it in weather.

*I reviewed this last year, and came away impressed, but didn’t buy one because I had no need for it at the time. I do now.

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Reference bear #2 is merely fluffy and accepting.

I did some quick fiddling and on-the-spot evaluation: AF seemed good; high ISO seemed a bit cleaner than the D810, but there’s only so much you can tell from the back of camera LCD. The tilt screen and enhanced video features tipped me over a bit, because I have some video production work coming up in the next couple of months and early next year; yes, the E-M1s will still be used thanks to their incredible stabilisers, but I really want to be filming with Zeiss/ Otus glass – the 2x crop factor makes getting the right FOVs difficult.

My wallet was a couple of thousand dollars lighter when I left the store.

It hit me much later that the reason why the D750 is so compelling is not because it excels in any one area, but because it has a very strongly matched set of capabilities across the board, and is balanced; the resolution is excellent but not at the expense of high ISO or silly focusing precision requirements; the viewfinder is large enough and the focusing screen good enough that you can manually focus the Otii in a pinch; it will track moving objects in AF-C and 51-point 3D mode as well or better than the D3/D700 cameras, which I used that way all the time – except with 24MP. And it bursts just this side of ‘fast enough’ to use it in quickly changing situations, with the AF able to keep up and track all the while. It is primarily a stills camera, but with sensible enough controls and options for video work including that tilt screen, HDMI out and audio in/out for monitoring, plus very linear/fluid 1080P/60/50/30/25/24 and lesser resolutions. It doesn’t feel big. It also has handy customisable U1 and U2 positions on the mode ideal – I really, really wish my D810 had this. You give up the shortcut cluster on the left shoulder, which puts it into the ‘prosumer body’ category, but honestly, I don’t really care. Utility first.

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Reference bear #3 says you shouldn’t mess with the mafia (status quo)

Moreover, it doesn’t feel that serious. This is going to sound like a very odd thing to say, but when paired with a small AF prime, it becomes a fun camera; the kind of thing you take out when you’re not seriously wanting to shoot, but might encounter something worthy of a grab or when you’re with friends/ family and want to do a little social documentary (something which honestly I’ve been neglecting for some time; I really need to restart again). It’s small enough that in this configuration you put it in a bag with other things and don’t notice it’s there; a couple of small primes or a 50mm and a paired compact like the GR covers pretty much everything at high quality and isn’t at all obtrusive. It’s not the same as me carrying a 645Z or D810 and Otus; those are Serious cameras with a capital S – the kind that you only use when you are 100% focused on making images without any compromises.

I realize at this point I might be coming across as a little hypocritical. The problem is that once you’re used to a certain level of pixel quality, then everything else is a little unsatisfying; worst thing is you come across something worthy of shooting properly, rue the fact that you have the gear…but left it at home. A bridge camera, 1″ compact, or crop sensor mirrorless won’t do simply because you have been spoiled by D810 and 645Z-levels of pixel quality. On the other side of the fence is the fact I’d never want to Ultraprint some things like family documentary or certain subjects that just lack detail to begin with; I don’t actually need a D810 or 645Z for that – it’s overkill. And here’s my recognisance of what constitutes sufficiency. No, it’s not a resolution thing; it’s a tonality/dynamic range/rendering style thing.

And the D750 delivers on that front. As far as I can tell, the sensor’s native response and dynamic range are not heavily biased to shadows (like the D800) or highlights (like the D810) but is somewhere balanced in the middle, with good recoverability on either end. I’d say it’s not quite as impressive as either 800-series camera or 645Z for outright dynamic range, but it’s not far off. And what it gives up there, it more than makes up for in high ISO performance – I’d say it’s easily a stop or more cleaner than my D810 at the pixel level, and even downsampling the D810 doesn’t make up for this difference – unlike against the D4 or D4s, which have half the resolution. DPReview’s comparator seems to support my early findings – what’s remarkable is not just that the D750 is cleaner at the pixel level than the D4S, it’s also got better acuity and more pixels, for more overall detail. Short of a 645Z file downsampled to say 15MP, I think we may have a new low light champion – even more so since the D750’s AF ability matches its low noise performance. The files have the kind of ‘push-pull-ability’ that maintain integrity even at higher ISOs that again remind me of the D3/D700; they just seem to take heavy dodging and burning better than the D800E/D810.

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Reference bear #4; looks like #2 but isn’t – much like how a D810 and D750 look similar to your spouse. If you like this tonality, I cover black and white conversion methods extensively in The Monochrome Masterclass video.

Yes, there’s still an AA filter over the sensor, but fortunately, it seems to be quite a lot weaker than the one in the D600/610, and images sharpen up nicely. I’d suggest doubling your sharpening amount over a comparable camera with no AA filter. They also have a pleasingly natural tonal richness to them. Black and white conversion potential is similar to the D800E, i.e. good but not outstanding; it’s not as natural as the D810 because the sensor lacks that extreme dynamic range bias towards the highlights.

Interestingly, the AF system seems to be Nikon’s most capable yet; it will happily track a subject across the frame from point to point, and deliver an 80-90% in-focus hit rate – with f1.8 primes wide open in marginal light. My D810 doesn’t quite manage this, probably because of the increased resolution, and possibly because there are some AF hardware differences between the two cameras. Let’s not even talk about the D800E. The last time I saw this kind of AF performance was in my D3 and D700. So it seems there’s yet another rational reason to look at a D750: low light or moving subjects. And yes, I think 6.5fps is just on the right side of ‘enough*’ for documentary work – I use the D800E and D810, and those are already there. Note: all lenses needed a little fine tuning, but for the most part, they’re close to being good out of the box. Nikon has clearly improved its tolerances and QC in recent times; my D810 arrived this way, too.

*It’s not so much about absolute frame rates as shot-to-shot times and responsiveness. I shoot the GR in single frame mode, and most of the time it’s fast enough, too.

I still can’t say I like the viewfinder that much; it’s like the D810’s – okay-big, okay-bright, can be used for MF in a pinch, but really not as good as it should be. It’s made worse by the fact that you can no longer easily adjust the mirror zero position; the new mirror mechanism means these screws inside the mirror box have been relocated somewhere non-accessible. Fortunately, my camera seems pretty close to being bang on – not that I can tell for sure, because we’re still cursed with the standard matte screen.

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Reference bear #5: fun and enjoyment are important.

There are a couple of other observations I’d like to finish with before wrapping up: firstly, the mirror/ shutter mechanism is very well damped and low-pitch; both quiet and seemingly quite vibration-free. Much like the D810’s actually. I think the days of ‘sharp’ sounding Nikons are numbered. Secondly, battery life seems to be similar or slightly worse than the D810, but you’re still looking at easily 1000+ frames per charge. Finally, it seems this sensor runs electronic front curtain by default in live view, mirror up and exposure delay modes; I can’t hear the first curtain run, and the whole action sounds much like the D810 in EFC mode. There is a catch, though: 1/4000s maximum speed, and sync speed is 1/200s without FP modes. I see only the maximum speed possibly being an issue if you use this for action, but even then, only rarely. It won’t replace a D810 for ultimate image quality, but then again, you’d be an idiot to buy one thinking that in the first place. They really aren’t so much competitive as complementary.

You may be wondering why I’ve used some very odd images to illustrate this post; it’s because this is the way I view this camera: it’s something a little less serious for the times when I’d regret not having a camera, but I would also regret having a compromise. The fact that it also adds capabilities missing from my current arsenal which I would actually use under certain circumstances (better AF tracking, higher frame rates, higher usable ISOs, tilt screen, better video) is a bonus. It actually puts something back in to photography for me that I was missing at times: the fun factor. I can’t say exactly what it is about it that does this, seeing as the camera is really a synthesis of parts and design and nothing at all groundbreaking.

I could post more comparisons, crops, ISO series, or even images; but you’ve seen enough of those elsewhere to know that the technical details don’t matter very much these days, and I’m pretty confident I can make a strong image with it (much like every other camera of the last five years); it’s down to the photographer anyway. Instead of continuing to give justifications to both the audience and myself as to why it’s a good idea to buy one, the simple answer is that all of these reasons are probably so I feel less guilty about spending money on something I don’t really need; it doesn’t matter. Is it the D700’s true successor? Probably. What does matter is that for now, for some inexplicable reason, I enjoy using this thing – immensely so. And I’m not sure there’s a better recommendation I can give than that. Perhaps it’s like Goldilocks: just right, and highly recommended.

The Nikon D750 is available here from B&H and Amazon. Polar bears of various vintages by Nici.

Coda: some experimentation yields that the D750 uses the same size/thickness focusing screen as the D800/E and D810; however, the little alignment tab is in the wrong place. However, some careful filing can take care of this. I installed a spare split-prism screen, so modified. My surprise of the day was that the mirror on this camera was perfectly aligned – no shimming or movement required, which is a good thing because there is no obvious way to change the mirror alignment – all of the eccentric screws inside the mirror box are gone. Manual focus is now a breeze, as is checking AF. Hopefully this is a sign of tighter QC rather than random luck…perhaps I should buy a lottery ticket anyway, just in case.

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Comments

  1. John Kraft says:

    I also bought my D750 on a whim. I sold most of my Nikon gear months ago (including a D810) intending to concentrate on the Olympus M4/3 systems.

    I was silly enough to handle a D750 and the new 24-70mm f2.8 VR lens and my credit card also took a hiding. No buyer remorse here either. I think this is probably the most fun Nikon I’ve had since the D700. In fact I think it IS the D700 – on steroids.

    Love it to bits.

  2. Hello Ming. How far in the high ISOs would you go for good results? I have the GR and 3200 is really the max, in B&W, I think. Thanks!

  3. Brilliant review and what a superb camera!!!

    I use a D4S at the moment and will replace that with a D5 as and when. Fantastic camera for sure, equally for sure I REALLY don’t want to carry it around or use it unless I have to. In the days of the D3 the low-weight, low-light, fast (enough) shoot alternative was the D700 which I also have and use, a lot. Great though that is I would like to replace it sometime in the not too distant future with a more updated version. What I won’t do however is buy something that doesn’t actually do the job that the 700 did. Hence I’m still waiting. It may never happen of course and the internet forums are full of will it / won’t it debates, some of which get very heated as people try to ram their view of Nikon intentions or the “I’m alright Jack – the Dxxx does everything anyone (including you) could ever hope for so get over it” view down the throats of others. For me, waiting is no problem, I don’t NEED to replace the 700, I’d just like to. But I’m a bit more upbeat now than I was that a real replacement might surface now.

    After the D4/D4S it was looking bleak on the D700 front. We got the 800 / 800E / 810. All great cameras but for me, not 700 replacements. IMO they are better suited to wildlife, landscape and portrait work although of course many have pushed them into service as 700 replacements in light of the lack of anything else. Then there was the 600 /610. Again great cameras, especially as they occupy the notch of entry level FX but again not a successor to the 700.

    Then, along comes the superb D750. If I HAD to replace my D700 now, the 750 would without doubt be the choice. The 810 doesn’t do what I want, the resolution is too high and the 750 is better in low light both for AF and high ISO. The wifi and titling screen would also be very useful (and I really DO like those U1/U2 user settings versus the abysmal setting banks). So there’s no way I’d pay $1,000 more for the 810 just for the pro body, which is actually the only thing the 810 gives me that I’d want.

    The reason I’m upbeat now is that I just can’t see Nikon leaving a gap at the 810 price point and merely accepting that many of those wanting a 700 replacement will now buy the 750 and not the 810 when they COULD put the 750 in 800 type body offering dedicated AF-ON, better buffer, etc etc and make even more profit. Arguably before the 750 came along Nikon were happy to leave those pining for a 700 replacement to have to put up with the 810. Now the 750 is out that approach doesn’t make sense to me. So why not now offer the 750 in a pro body?

    That would leave their FX line up as:

    610: Entry level

    750: Mid range

    810: Upper mid range 36MP (Landscape / Portrait / Wildlife)
    910: Upper mid-range 24MP (Low-light / photo-journalism)

    4S/5: Flagship

    Of course I’ve no idea any more than anyone else but to me, plugging the 700 gap with an EQUIVALENT camera makes MUCH more sense now that the 750 is out than it did before. I just hope Nikon feel the same. In terms of profits alone though I think that’s the way I’d go. Those that still want the 700 now have the option of the 750, a closer match than the 810 IN MY OPIONON and $1,000 cheaper. So why not now maximise and put out a $3,000 750? We’ll see. Luckily, I can afford to wait 🙂

    • The thing is, I don’t think the 750 would gain from being in an 810 body: one of the best things about it is the lightness and ergonomics.

      • The weight and ergonomics I’d agree on for sure. I would prefer having 1/8000 shutter, 1/320FP sync shutter, fully weather sealed body. I’m not interested in the ‘pro’ style of body per se, but guess that things I am missing would have to come in that type of body if Nikon ever plans to address them as with those things addressed, they’ll hardly be likely to out the camera in a similarly priced body. They’ll price it around the 810 I guess, with appropriate bells and whistles attached. I’d actually be quite happy if they kept the tilting screen except that for full weather sealing it’s likely a no no. I’d also prefer the U1/U2 over those useless banks that you can’t actually ‘save’. Can’t have everything I guess.

        • There’s a bit of power reduction at 1/320; full power sync is actually 1/250. U1/U2 would be definitely fantastic (and easy to implement, too – just put a ‘1’ and ‘2’ position on the mode button after M).

          • Yah. Guess I’ll just wait it out and see if the next FX is a 24 mp 810S or whatever. Saw also that you finally got rid of the 750. So good,but not good enough to keep 😉

            • The opposite – in practice, very good, but also very similar in size to the 810 – not differentiated enough. I’d just take the 810 most of the time.

  4. Brad Herman says:

    Hey Ming;

    BTW…I’m a big fan of your reviews. I’m sort of one the fence between the Sony A7II and the D750. I’ve handled both cameras. Aside from the smaller lens system (which is getting larger, should be 16 lenses by the end of the year), I’m a bit ‘miffed’ by some of the issues that I’ve read about regarding the A7II’s susceptibility to the ingress of moisture/water.

    I don’t necessarily intentionally shoot in the rain, but go out on boats, ships, whale watches, shoot in national parks, etc, and while careful, don’t want to ‘baby’ my cameras when out on a shoot.

    Many users have complained that even the slightest bit of moisture on the A7II shoe causes the display to short out. That is with a hot-shoe cover on or off. I know that pretty much all cameras are not designated as “waterproof”, and that the D810 is probably slightly better than the D750 with regard to the ingress of water.

    What do you think? I’m thinking that the A7II, being such a compact body, doesn’t have the room for the extra gaskets or seals required to make a camera dust or water resistant.

    I’ve read many reviews on both cameras, and they both have their advantages. Have you ever had your D750 or D810 out in the rain? Do you think that the Nikon bodies or lenses are better sealed?

    Thanks;

    Brad

    • I haven’t shot with the Sony cameras in the rain, because aside from them being loaners, Sony Malaysia’s service is a disaster and best not to risk at all. The D810 gets regularly abused by the weather on assignment without issue. I would imagine no different for the D750 as the seals look pretty much the same.

    • Brad, I know this reply is nearly a month late, and mostly anecdotal — I bought my D750 back in March and drag it out into rainy/wet scenarios almost every weekend. Particularly shoot a lot of waterfalls with lots of spray and mist. It feels like I’ve subjected my D750 to every form of abuse except for full submersion. It’s handled three very, very nasty falls. It looks like it has finished its first full week in a war zone. It’s a tough hombre.

      Something about it’s size and ergonomics beg for a little rough and tumble. I love it.

  5. Joseph Cela says:

    Was wondering if you’ve ever paired the Leica 35mm 2.0 Summicron with Nikon d750? Would I not get the best from the lens if I purchased it to use with my 750? I’d appreciate your advice before making such an investment. Thank you – much appreciated.

    Joe, NYC

    • No, the Summicron-M won’t mount. The back flange distance is too short.

      • Aram Langhans says:

        But a Summicron-R will work. I use may of my R lenses on Nikon FF cameras. My favorite is the 100/2.8 APO Macro, and then the 35-70/4 which outperforms any of my Nikon lenses, including the 24-70/2.8. The only problem is how good are your eyes. Can you focus on the focusing screen? Not anything like my old R8 or even my R4. Of course, you always have live view.

        Check out this site: http://www.leitax.com/conversion/leica/summicron-35/index.html.

  6. Hi Ming. Sorry to comment on an older post. After viewing your PS Workflow II video (which is EXCELLENT!!) I am preparing to profile and set LR/CR defaults for my D750 and have a couple of questions, which I hope help others too:

    1. Asside from color profile, what LR/CR default adjustments do you recommend for the D750, e.g. clarity, sharpen, highlights/shadows. I know these vary with the image, but what’s a good baseline to deviate from and what reasonable range of “normal” deviation?

    2. As to color profile: You shoot the Passport with flash, eyedrop white point, correct HSL, reset WB to as-shot, save preset.

    a) Would it be useful make separate profiles for several “normal” lighting conditions, so one has profiles for flash, daylight, shade, etc? If so, would we: NOT eye-drop WB, then adjust HSL viewing Passport in similar light as exposed? Or, do you find camera-specific variance is consistent across most lighting conditions?

    b) As you know, Xrite software makes Passport camera profiles. I’m guessing you don’t like this for same reason you prefer “perceptual” monitoring profiling. However, wouldn’t that yield variance-free numeric base profiles for all cameras? Then one could make a single “perceptual” ADDITIVE adjustment preset that would get all cameras from the uniform numeric base to a uniform perceptual profile. Context: with less experienced/precise eyes as yours, would not bringing all cameras to the “variance-free numeric, base” and then giving all the same single perceptual adjustment yield more consistent results for us non-pros?

    Thanks for the precious moments of your time!!

    • 1. Leave sharpening at default. Clarity +10. It’ll take equal amounts of highlight/shadow because the sensor tonal response is linear; from 10 recovery in either direction at high ISO to about 40 at base.

      2a) You could, but it’s not easy to precisely match your color temperatures. I’d rather have a known base to adjust from.
      b) Why complicate things if you have to do the profile anyway? I’d rather start from a known zero and know exactly what the adjustments are doing.

      • 1. Do you preset baseline highlight/shadow recovery or set per image?
        2. So all images import with the single calibration per camera, meaning you find a camera’s tonal signature is fairly consistent across various lighting conditions and in-camera white balance settings, true?
        Thanks

  7. Nick (UK) says:

    Hi Ming,
    I’m a long-standing fan of your reviews, you have a level of practical insight and objectivity that seems to be sadly lacking from some of the better-know review sites!
    You mentioned in your D750 review that you thought there may be an electronic first curtain shutter working by default in certain modes. This really intrigued me, as I haven’t seen this documented anywhere else (or indeed in Nikon’s own manual for the D750). This is something I found really interesting and may sway me to purchase this camera: do you have any more information on this please? I have been really frustrated with the shutter vibration of my D800 causing reduced sharpness in photos shot around the 1/60-1/250th range and have been weighing up the pros and cons of replacing it with either the D750 or D810. For me the downside of the EFCS in the D810 is its poor implementation, requiring you to shoot in mirror up mode even when in live view (this seems really counter-intuitive to me). If this is rectified in the D750 that may well sway my decision.
    Many thanks in advance,
    Nick

    • I admit that I might be wrong on this one and haven’t been able to confirm, either. But at least on my camera, I didn’t notice any shutter opening noises – only closing. I would expect it to work the same way as the D810 though. You can always put it in mirror up, 1sec delay and just hit the shutter twice to ‘raise’ mirror and trip – works for me.

      • Nick (UK) says:

        Many thanks for the fast reply. One more question about the D750: you mentioned in your 300mm VR lens review that the double image problem you noticed at certain shutter speeds only happened on the D810. Were imaged you shot with the D750 free of this problem? I know the Nikon firmware release stated it was only an issue for D8xx series cameras, but I’m always a little skeptical of their official PR, so would value a more objective opinion!
        Many thanks,
        Nick

        • Can’t say as I didn’t try the lens on the D750. Never bought it both times so didn’t take it home!

          In any case, Nikon PR also states that “you may still experience blur after the firmware update under some conditions”, which seems like a polite cop-out to me…

  8. Hi Ming, firstly, Great info, great Blog, Thanks! I recently got a D750 with the 24-120 f4 Kit lens. Am headed out for a vacation in Europe this month end, am contemplating a versatile Zoom lens, yes you read my mind (28-300) 🙂
    Quick questions:-
    1) For someone who has the 24-120, does the 28-300 add value? If I shoot raw and crop in will i not achieve almost same results.
    2) I have a 70-300 non VR, but results haven’t been good, so was contemplating on the 28-300 for better reach, and one lens to carry.
    3) What do i shoot – Mostly wide, Landscapes, Pics of the wifey and sometimes memorabilia of both of us together in front of Iconic buildings (Typical tourist documentaries).
    4) I am more of a librarian and tend to shoot anything that catches my eye, and must confess a bit Lazy.
    5) My 50 1.8G will also be with me, as a back up.
    Thanks for your advice!
    Regards,

  9. Jaap Veldman says:

    Hi Ming,

    Really enjoy you articles and photography.

    Just FYI.
    Focusingscreen.com has split image microprism focusing screens for the D750 since last week.
    Might be easier than a DIY filing job for most of us.

  10. Hello
    I am thinking of getting the D750 and pair it with the Zacuto Z-Finder Pro when I need to achieve precise manual focus. Do you think I can make this combo? Contrary to the previous Nikon cameras, there are two bumps on the top of the D750 LCD. I am afraid they might refrain form mounting the view finder properly. I have a good deal on both A99 and D750 and I have make my mind pretty fast. I know that the D750 image quality blows the A99 out of the water but manual focus is a must for me so I need to know if I can mount the Z-finder on the D750 or not.
    Thanks

    • I don’t see why not. The rear mount frame moves to accommodate the LCD, and there’s some soft foam behind it which would probably fit around the 750’s tabs.

  11. Hello Ming
    I am a long-time admirer of your equipment reviews. They are well written, illustrated and the cameras are evaluated in great depth. You finely balance competing criteria for a thought provoking and thorougly compelling evaluation. This was no more in evidence than in your fine review of the D750. When I reviewed your “Recommended Camera Gear” section I saw that it appears to be a camera you no longer owned. In an age where digital cameras are quickly replaced I should not be surprised at the speed of turn over but given your stated enjoyment of the camera it was unexpected, to say the least. Do you no longer own the D750 or am I very much mistaken?

    • I no longer own the D750. Objectively, I enjoyed shooting with it, but sadly I’m running a business, not a camera collection. I’ve had a major rationalisation of all non-essential equipment in the last month to free up capital because we need to buy a house…

  12. Hallo Ming , Nikon soll alle 750 leise zurückrufen, ist dir das bekannt ?

    MfG. B.Miko

    • Sorry, I don’t speak German.

      • He’s asking if the recall of all the D750s is known to you…

        • Yes, it’s known. Is it an issue in practice? No, I didn’t see any signs of flare in 3500+ frames. It’s only an issue if you aren’t taking photos with it.

          • Aram Langhans says:

            I think it depends on the style of photo you shoot. I just got back from my first real outing with the camera. I notice the dark band in a few shots. They are all shot directly into the sun with the sun just out of the frame. I shoot into the sum maybe more than most. I love shadows. There were only a few, and I checked after the shots that I knew might have produced this effect, and reshot them at a slightly different angle and being more careful about shielding the lens and got good shots. So, it is an issue in practice for some kinds of shoots with some kind of photographer.

            • It occurs when the source is at a very high angle in the frame. Most of the time, use of an appropriate hood will prevent that from happening anyway. That said, I too shoot a lot into the sun and didn’t see it in practice. I can replicate it artificially with a torch, but I still consider it to be a practical non-issue. Anyway, there’s a free fix out so no big deal – though they really should have gotten it right to begin with.

  13. Mathieu P. says:

    Thanks for the review. I actually bought a D750 recently because I liked the feel of it so much in store that I changed my mind from buying a D810. But I have been feeling bad about not getting a D810 since then.
    What’s missing for me is:
    – 1/8000th
    – ISO 64
    – view finder horizon AND tilt (Essential with handheld PC lenses)
    – Round viewfinder which has better accessories (and finder shutter)
    – Better top screen
    – The obvious lack of pro controls
    – And,…the reason for my post: no 5:4 crop mode

    I would like to make it as optimal for my needs as possible. Do you know if there is a way to customize the grid (either by changing the focusing screen or other means?). I would need 5:4 and it would be great to see it in the grid even though the camera doesn’t have that crop mode.

    Right now I have found a workaround. Because the 5:4 crop mode has the same width as the 2:1 crop mode the camera supports, I could find out that the 5:4 vertical line is exactly between the edge of the frame and the first vertical grid line. Anyway, hope that is clear.

    My other issues with the D750 I will have to live with or return it (But with close to 700 test shots, I doubt they will want it back. I have until tomorrow).

    Any suggestion?

    • No, sorry. I suggest reading the manual. Grid lines aren’t something I’ve needed.

    • Katzeyes (google them) make split prism focus screens with different grids available. Not sure about a 5:4 vertical. Not sure about the quality either but no reason to doubt it. But still read the product descriptions, caveat emptor.

      • Aram Langhans says:

        Unfortunately, Katzeyes has never come up with a screen to fit the newer full frame Nikons. The last one is the D700. They state technical problems in modifying screens to fit. Something about the thickness of these new model screens. Katzeyes always had a good reputation. However another company does market screens for these cameras, however none listed for the D750. It looks like the D600, 610, 800, 810 and DF all share the same screen, so maybe that applies to the D750. I have debated getting one for a year for my D600 but am not sure about installing it, or which model to get. Here is the link to that company: http://www.focusingscreen.com/ same one that Ming referenced in a message a few posts down.

        • The installation isn’t the problem; it’s the fact that the company cannot seem to make the thickness consistent and the edges often need filing – it’s difficult to do this without marking the screen, and then you’ll have to shim the screen and align the mirror otherwise the flange to sensor and flange to screen distance won’t be the same. This isn’t straightforward…

  14. Aram Langhans says:

    Lets forget this lens discussion I seem to have gotten stuck it. Back to the camera. You stated:
    “Interestingly, the AF system seems to be Nikon’s most capable yet; it will happily track a subject across the frame from point to point,”
    I am curious, how do you set your AF? I am still trying to figure out auto focus, having shot manual focus cameras for 40 years before my recent move over to the dark side. I seem to be stuck in AFS and Auto unless it doesn’t want to lock on and I switch to single point. This is on my D600. Now that I have a better focus system in the D750, I want to figure this out. I shoot mainly landscape or macro. In macro, my lens is still a manual focus version, so no real decisions there. One of the reasons I just got the D750 is for the better AF. A few days before my purchase, I was in Yosemite and it was dark, rainy and for one particular shot I could not get the AF to lock on to anything. I finally found enough contrast for it to make a lock way off to the side then recomposed and shot. I had been debating the D750, but that was the tipping point. It was such flat lighting, and dark at that, I could not even manual focus with any real certainty, hence my first response to your thread about the focusing screen replacement.

    So, I am just curious about your, and others, setting for the AF system so I might get out of my rut and try different things to get the most out of this “new” fangled idea of AF on a camera.

  15. Hello Ming and Happy New Year!!!
    I would like to buy the Nikon D750. My question: I already have the 28-300 mm Nikkor Lense (that you tried the 26 April 2012). Nikon sells a kit with the Nikon D750 and the 24-120 mm, f4 Nikkor. Do you know if the 24-120 mm is better then the 28-300 mm when travelling around with just 1 lense? Is it worth to buy the kit or only the body and go with the 28-300 mm and maybe another lense (maybe a prime lens)?
    Best regards from Switzerland und snow. sylvaine

    • I sold my 28-300 and have a 24-120.

      • Aram Langhans says:

        I have the 24-120, and have had it for about 3 years. I have mixed feelings about that lens. It is a love/hate relationship. I bought it because I dropped my Leica R 35-70 lens (with a Nikon mount) a few weeks before going on a two month trip across country and I could not get it repaired fast enough. I passed on the Nikon 24-70 as it was too heavy, so that left the 24-120. Nice focal length range. Very handy for travel. At that time I had a D7000. But the fit and finish was rather poor with the lens barrel wobble being pretty pronounced. Everything would shift in the viewfinder every time I focused or the VR kicked in. I cursed the lens, even though the picture quality was pretty good up to about 100mm. No where near the Leica, but a better range so less lenses to carry. Lots of distortion at 24 and pretty soft at beyond 100mm. Over the years I had sent it back to Nikon twice with them returning it to me saying it was up to specs. So it sat on the shelf unless I needed autofocus. This summer I ran into the Nikon rep on a trip to Seattle at Glazers and she told me to send it in again and she would look into it. I did, and she must have had some clout because they replaced the whole innards. New focusing and zooming mechanism. Well, it is a heck of a lot tighter now. Still not what would expect for a $1000+ lens, but certainly not as bad as it was. I have used it more this last few months than I had for the two years since getting my Leica lens fixed. Don’t know how long it will remain that tight. Still lots of distortion wide and still soft past 100mm, but with my failing eyes I don’t know how much longer I will be able to use my great manual Leica R glass. And I just got a second 24-120 with my D750. I am going to sell either my old one or my new one. The fixed old one is about the same tightness as the new one. Probably will sell the new one as I should be able to get more for it. I’ll test the new one out for distortion and sharpness, but I am sure they are the same from reviews I have seen.

        So, good luck with your 24-120. It has a lot of good points in its favor, but my experience is mixed.

        • There are two versions of this lens – the 24-120/4 VR with a gold ring, from late 2010, and the 24-120/3.5-5.6 VR from much earlier. The latter is a dog. The former suffers from some sample variation but I find it for the most part adequate even on the D810.

          • Aram Langhans says:

            I’m talking about the F-4 version, gold ring and all. I’ll see if my second one is better than my first. One will definitely go as I do not need two. Unfortunately for it , I owned the 35-70 f4, R lens first.

      • Thanks very much for your advice! I will buy the kit and enjoy the photography-life.

  16. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one, done in a first person and real world perspective as usual. I’m actually “downgrading” my D800 for this one, I think I gladly swap the extra megapixels for a smaller size and, most important, better low light performance.

  17. Aram Langhans says:

    Which split image focusing screen did you use in your d750? I would love to give one a try. I just replaced my D600 with this camera. I think that was a good move due to the better autofocus system, but I still us a lot of manual focus lenses of excellent quality.

    • I cut a D800 screen to fit, which itself was cut from a Canon EC-A.

      • Aram Langhans says:

        Thanks. Where did you get the screen itself? Focusingscreen.com? Or did you start from scratch with a new EC-A screen? I am bit chicken about starting from scratch, but your description of trimming the D800 one sounds like I could do that.

        • Focusingscreen.com, but it had to be filed and shimmed to fit. QC was a bit ropey and requires some DIY, but it seems that sadly nobody else is making them.

  18. Hi MT..thanks for this review! It formed a big factor towards my decision to get the D750! Want to ask you something though, does you D750 have some rattling noises when it is shaken? I’ve read somewhere that it maybe the pop up flash spring or the orientation sensor. Not that it affects the shooting or general operation, just wondering if I should be concerned about something being loose inside.

    • Mine doesn’t rattle.

      • Really? Hmm..could be just my set then..haven’t even gone out shooting with it yet..do you have any knowledge with Nikon bodies having the pop up flash or orientations sensor causing a rattling sound like something is loose then?

        • No, but it could happen as there has to be some play for the thing to e able to move at all.

          • Frederich Schepp says:

            Ball Bearing rolling noise on 750, 800, 800e and 810 – the noise is when the built in flash is closed.
            Hi, a few days ago, I kept hearing a ball bearing rolling noise in the camera on my D810 – promptly I thought something was loose or free in the camera. I never heard this noise in my 800E and feared this was due to some shotty workmanship or something.
            I went to a large camera store which I purchased it at, and being well known there (spending a lot of money) , I had almost every sales person looking into this mystery. As I picked up several new bodies of the 600, 750, 800, 800E and 810s they all have this rattle. Several customers looking at the bodies decided against purchasing (oops). This all boils down to the mechanism and construction of the camera flash. Also, there has been numerous returns experienced by not only this camera store but others due to a “defective camera” in which it was returned to Nikon for “some loose parts”. If your camera stops making the rolling noise with the built in flash up, then everything is normal. This is just annoying after dumping 2 – 3k USD on a camera body for this kind of poor product design.
            If you hear a noise when the flash is up, return it immediately. I like the 810, and looking at buying a 750 as a backup, but might wait to see if Nikon fixes the noise.

  19. Thanks for your article. What would you suggest for black and white: D700?D610?D750?

    • Any of them work fine. The exposure and post processing will make more of a difference…

      • Thanks for your answer. Is there any other camera or brand you would suggest for black and white? (except Leica which is too expensive for me). Actually, I used many cameras, from Olympus EM-10 to D600, D7000, Fuji X100… and PP with LR and Silverefex: as an amateur, I can’t see any significant differences between all of these kinds of sensors: they all look good!

  20. Ming,

    If you could get only one camera to use with some manual focus Nikon AIS lenses and the occasional modern AF lens which would it be? The D750 is tempting because of its size and fit with the small Ais lenses, but the D810 is hard to resist with its lack of AA filter.

    I intend to use my existing 50mm f1.2 ais, 28mm f2.8 ais and 105mm f2.5 ais, and perhaps getting a modern midrange zoom when AF and versatility needed.

    Regards,
    H

    • Probably the 750; the 810 is too demanding of its optics and the AIS lenses aren’t generally good enough.

      • “Probably the 750; the 810 is too demanding of its optics and the AIS lenses aren’t generally good enough.”

        I would not agree with that statement.
        1st – regarding camera lens design of the 80s and 90s; most of the analog photographic technology boom was led by Nikon, Canon and Minolta, as the only optical glass foundries for Japan and these supplied glass blanks for others. Minolta and Leica had partnered from time to time (Minolta building a Leica branded 80-200 zoom lens). By the mid-80s these foundries were using CAD programming to assist not only in lens and lens group designs but in formulating the ingredients for optical glass composition as well (over 150 different formulations – cites Minolta), developed for specific lens designs.

        2nd – Out of the 90s after the adoption of ‘low-density’ glass, further advancement had been in little steps as far as optical properties, such as ‘multilayer diffractive element’ design and improved multilayer coatings (cites Canon). Most advances in the past decade and today have targeted autofocus and digital sensor technologies, mechanical image stabilization technology (as Nikon and others assert) and in reducing the cost of lens (and camera) manufacturing.

        Lastly – Germany is known for the best glass composition in the world do to its superior nature sand properties. Brands as Leica, crafting lenses of negligible residual aberrations at any aperture with matching color characteristics throughout its family of lenses and the Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 Planar is considered one of the best. Schneider Optics is also among the great Euro lens companies.

        Enjoyed the info – Cheers

  21. gordon frederick says:

    ming i just got a d750 with a 50 f1.8 and 85 f1.8 both needed + 18 af fine tune do you think the camera is ok or do i need to return it?

  22. I have looked at the d750 for shooting images of my own jewelry work (mostly rings and some bracelets) – what lens to choose the 60mm 2.8g or 105mm vr – or something else ?

    • Either is fine. Lighting makes more of a difference.

    • liramusic says:

      If you are thinking of super close in, the 60mm can cast its own shadow. Yet that assumes that some light is above you. I have the 60mm and love it for side-approaches and sometimes looking up through a scene, such as a flower. It is very nice also for food when the light is coming towards you. It is just for above-lighting that the 60mm can cast a shadow if the light is behind the camera as you look downward. The reason to buy the 60mm is buy some savings of money and room in the bag; it is a delightful lens to own.

  23. Hi Ming, great article! Currently I am using the D810, so was interested when you mentioned the D750 as being at least a stop better than the D810 and even better than the D4. I usually try to limit myself to iso1600 on the D810 due to how the colour and details going off at iso3200 and above…
    Wondering what your recommendations are regarding the D750’s performance at the iso1600 to iso3200 range compared to both the D810 and the D4, cause I am considering to purchase the D750 after reading your article…

    • I’ll use the D750 to 12k, the D810 to 6400. You don’t get ‘color and details going off’ if you expose properly.

      • Hi ming, thanks for your reply, just like to check one last thing before I part with my money… 🙂
        So can we expect a shot taken at iso3200 on the d750 to be almost identical to the D810 at iso1600?
        Thanks again.

        • No, it’s obviously going to be a different rendering both overall and at the pixel level because the pixel count is different and the pixel level behaviour is different.

  24. Hi, Ming! What is the best af 85mm for D750? Does 85 1.4g work fine on open aperture or 85 1.8g is the best choice?
    What about 85 1.4d on d750?

    Thanks for interesting thoughts and usefull reviews.

  25. Now if only they’d make a nice sharp little 24mm 2.8 pancake for it…

  26. Hi, MT! I’ve read your comments regarding manual focusing on the D750. You’ve swapped out your original one with one from focusingscreen.com. How easy is it to focus with the stock focusing screen? I’d love to try out focusing manually with the D750, but I’m not sure if it’s that easy. Should I look into changing the focusing screen too? Thanks!

    • Not easy. The D810 and 750 have locating tabs in a different location; you have to file off the tab to get the 800/810 screens to fit the 750, and of course not scratch or dirty the screen while doing it. The fit is also often not perfect and thickness is off; you’ll need to shim and file edges. Not recommended unless you’re mechanically inclined and don’t mind possibly damaging something…

  27. Ming,

    How does the smaller AF array of the D750 versus the D800/810 affect your way of shooting? Although we can use the old focus and recompose, will this still work reliably if I lock focus within the AF array and the compose slightly off the AF array?
    How different is the metering compared to the D800/810, any better, worst or same?
    For the Life View mode, how fast is the AF? I am wishful to think it is as fast as XT1 hahaha!

    • Doesn’t change the way I shoot at all, other than to make 3D 51 point tracking usable again.

      Metering and LV AF speed is the same as the D810.

  28. Min thanks – wonderful article(as always):)
    if you please, I would like to know your opinion on replacing my D700. I use only Nikkor’s: 28/1.8g, 50/1.8g, 105/2.8VR and af-s 300/4(with TC-14II). And I have the ability to change the camera body (my friend is ready to buy my D700). Two options – D810 or D750 ???? In the D810 I was a little afraid of the problem of camera shake due to 36Mp and requirements for the discipline of shooting and difraction limit. I take photos of children and as a hobby and as a job – it seems to me that the D750 – the best choice, but the D810 is very similar ergonomics to my D700(and support accessories from D700, as for example, exelent DK-19), and I think D810 delivers the best image quality with the reserve for several years…… I print A4 size – maximum.
    Thank you, Andrew

    • If you only print A4, then what is it the D700 doesn’t do for you now? If you must buy something, then the D750 would make more sense.

      • Pierre Van der Vaeren says:

        Hello, First, thank you very much for all the information freely accessible on your website. I also own a D700, with 24-70, 85mm 1.4 D, Sigma HSM 100-300 f/4 (Wonderful!!), 50mm ai-s f/1.2, 105mm ai-s f/1.8 and a Tokina 17-35 f/4 (that I might sell to get the 14-24mm f/ 2.8). What is it the D700 does not do and I would like to get in a “new” camera? Dynamic range, better jpeg out of camera for more “candid” snapshot which does not require post processing, 100% viewfinder, and…. WEIGHT!! Also size, since the D750 seems quite smaller than the D700. Why I would hesitate to buy the D750: weather sealing: I do take my camera to unfriendly places: Himalayas, Namibia (very fine sand flying everywhere), hiking in different places… no dedicated ISO button…
        The largest prints I might make would be twice the size of an A4 sheet.

        Also, two things I am really concerned about are: 1) color rendition: is the D750 better than the D800/810? And the way the camera renders transition between shades and lightened areas of the pictures. From what I can see on Flickr, this transition is quite abrupt on the D610 and D750, and seems mush smoother, with much more tonal differences with the D810.

        Therefore: how would you assess the dynamic range, the ability to render tonal differences, color accuracy, and the weather sealing of the D750, compared to the D700 and D810 ?

        Thank you very much for your attention

        • Color rendition is the same. Transition in the highlights is better with the D810, but you don’t quite have as much shadow recoverability as the D750 – there are always tradeoffs.

      • Don’t you omit the setback distance from the size of the picture? I’m not directly concerned cause I share my works only through my website (and for fun) but I guess there were large prints and large size digital photography exhibitions before having 16 or 24 MP 24×36 ?

        • Not sure what you mean by setback distance.

          Yes there were large prints, and they looked different (or were done with larger formats); more resolution lets you have a degree of transparency that wasn’t there before. It’s good and bad, because some subjects now ‘work’ as prints that didn’t before, and vice versa. All depends on the idea.

          • I mean when one writes “D700 for A4” and “D750 for larger prints”, one also have to consider the distance between the picture and the viewer. More large is the print, more far you have to look at it. Higher resolution allows better crops and better feeling of sharpness at small sizes, but one can use 12 Mpx for A3 and more, depending on the distance you look at it (but this point has to be checked with a professional print workers).

            • There is no simple answer to this, other than you can see the difference up to about 700dpi or so at 1ft viewing distance. You’d probably need about 1.5ft for A3, so that scales down somewhat. But you will definitely see the difference between 12MP and 36MP assuming a) your subject is something that actually has sufficient detail – some don’t; b) your shot discipline can get all of that resolution out; c) your lenses are up to it; d) your print method can resolve the information. I think you’d be surprised by just how much difference it makes when everything in the output chain works together – that’s the point of Ultraprinting, for instance…

  29. Hi Ming. This camera has a low pass filter, when other FF Nikon don’t i think. So what’s the deal with low pass filters? Better without? Can’t you get as sharp images from a camera with low pass filter after sharpening in post? Thx!

  30. Hello, Ming, Thank you for this review and for your continuous work on the web site. I enjoy reading it from time to time here in Moscow, Russia.

    I used to have a Nikon D600 for a short period of time and I loved the pictures, and I was particularly fond of colour. I had to sell it unfortunately as I needed the money at the time. Now I own an Oly EM1 12-40 kit along with a Panasonic-Leica 25mm and an Oly 45mm. I also shoot film from time to time on my Nikon F6 (50mm and 85mm lenses) which I purchased used last year. There’s also a Ricoh GR which I always have with me. I do not have any huge ambitions, and I shoot a little bit of everything, but with the emphasis on family pictures.

    The only problem that I seem to have with the EM1 is colour. Often it just does not feel right to me compared to the GR or my former D600. I mean the colour of pictures I am getting from EM1 is rather accurate and true to life, but at the same time the colours seem to be kind of wrong. I was looking for a word, and I think I would describe the colours as “dirtier” and having some saturation issues which I cannot pinpoint.

    I often revert to using VSCO filters as a basis and then fine tune more to get the look I find pleasing to the eye. I do have less problems with shots taken with the Oly 45 though.

    On the other hand, I have zero colour issues with the GR and I rarely use any digital filters, as the pictures are already good straight from the camera. I also love the results I am getting when I shoot film, like Kodak Ektar 100.

    I do have a slight issue with colour perception (browns/greens), which could explain something. But it’s nothing major.

    Is it just me, my eyes, or my lack of skill or are there some colour peculiarities of the EM1 camera? Maybe I just have to get back to Nikon DSLRs?

    I would appreciate your thoughts.

  31. Did you notice that DPReview removed the D750 from their comparator??

  32. Ming, do you notice a very unique metal ping at the end of the shutter sound on their d750? It doesn’t sound broken, just a “ping” sound like metal on metal. Its definitely on the tail end because you can only hear it when the shutter closes on a long enough exposure. Just wanted to know if its the normal shutter sound or just mine.

    • I have a very slight metallic sounding ping at the start which I’d assume is one of the spring components doing something, but no, nothing at the end.

      • If you extend an exposure to a full second (enough so there are 2 distinct sounds), you hear the ping sound when the shutter open not closes? I know this is a little OCD but after a year of d600 issues I’m keeping nikon over the coals to make sure I get a good copy.

  33. Hi Ming,
    I just have technical questions due to the fact that i am not so wise/experienced yet than you with regard to photography and its technical background….shame on me 😉
    1. How close comes the Fuji Xt-1 to the D750 in low light due to their different, unique Xtrans sensor design although it has still an APS-C Sensor (let alone the ongoing debate about Fuji ISO cheating/oversaturating their raw files which has not been satisfyingly answered yet)???
    2. Due to the higher resolution, bigger sensor you should expect that the D750 capturing more light, details and resulting in raw files with more details but are they as sharp as the Fuji XT-1 raw files??? Or does the Fuji files have an adavntaged due to the lack of AA??
    3. Has the electronic shutter of the XT1 going to 1/32000 an advantage over the limit of D750s 1/4000 shutter….(the fuji xt1 has base iso 200 whereas the d750 has base iso 100 this should have an impact….does it equalize the advantage of the faster electronic shutter of the xt1)??
    At least it should be mentioned that the D750 is equal and has no disadavantage to the old Nikon D700 which has Iso 200 base and 1/8000 in contrast to the new D750 having base iso 100 but only 1/4000 …..so no problem for switchers from old d700 to 750 which are crying a lot and everywhere about this 1/4000 limit!)
    The Fuji XT-1 has no AA filter which the D750 still has sadly….probably nikon didt get rid of it due to the cam is also aimed at videographers where moire, artifacts etc are more of an issue than on just solely still photography……the 24 fx cmos sony sensor without AA is already available that is not true that he isnt existing….Sonys over one year and a half old RX1R has it 24 FX without AA Filter….
    These three questions are very interesitng for a lot of guys invested in Fuji and Nikon gear or thinking of buying their next cam or wanna ditching one system just focusing solely on one system/manufacturer…
    Would love if you could answer your thoughts or experiences on that!
    Take care! Keep it up!
    Jeremy

    • The D750 produces better files than the Fuji in every way.

    • 1. The Fuji doesn’t compare well with other cameras using the same sensor. Fuji’s ISO ratings are optimistic (their 200-6400 range is in fact more like 125-4000 measured) and in comparison to other cameras using the Sony 16MP Exmor sensor it can only compete if tested at listed ISO, not actual exposure.

      2. Fuji’s lack of AA just about offsets the loss in colour resolution from the XTrans color filter array. I’ve compared the Fuji output and found the X-E1 (non-PDAF version of the X-T1 sensor) and X-A1 (stock 16MP bayer sensor with AA filter) and resolution was essentially identical. The 24MP sensors, even with AA, will still outresolve the Fuji’s. Quite frankly the Fuji files need as much sharpening as the AA-equipped Bayer files and noticeably more than a AA-less Bayer setup.

      3. Realistically no, unless you specifically shoot fast glass wide open a lot. Most conditions don’t need more than 1/4000. The real limitation on shutter for most shooters is flash sync, and the Fuji is no better than the Nikon there. That’s also where the D700 shooter are losing out, going from 1/320 sync to 1/200 (Yes, the D700, like the D300(s) actually sync’s up to 1/320).

  34. I recently picked up a D750 and after reading your comment about the lack of user accessible adjustment for mirror positioning, I decided to critically test the camera on some of my trusty MF lenses like the 105/2.5 and 55/3.5 micro. Both lenses at their infinity focus ring endpoint (especially the 105/2.5) causes the electronic RF’s right arrow (pointing left) to light or flicker telling me I focused past correct focus so I was concerned because I don’t recall this to be true with my D800. However, examining the digital image at 100% shows the electronic RF to be spot on correct and manually setting the lens at marked infinity was slightly soft wide open. Next I’ll need to get the DK-22 eyepiece adapter to attach my 2x eyepiece magnifier to verify the matte screen matches the electronic RF but for now I’m very happy the electronic RF is very accurate as it controls all my AF lens’ focus.

  35. Well, I feel exonerated: I bought one too. I can fit the D750 and my AIS & D 20 2.8, 35 2.5,50 1.2,135 2.8, 28 2.8 lenses in the same bag I have been using to haul around the GH4, Nokticron, and 40-200. I’m floored! With use of the focus indicator in the OVF, manual focus is about as easy and accurate as I have ever experienced. That AIS 28 2.8 is one spectacular lens…..Cheap too.

    I am not so sure the DSLR is dead. Yesterday I was chasing chickadees (small birds) around bare trees branches with both the GH4 and the D750; the EVF just cant compete with an OVF for that type of photography.

  36. I came to your blog with the article about the death of DSLR, and as I read I was feeling that you meant that MFT, not mirrorless, had replaced APSC, not DSLR, and that it had just been a long time that a nice DSLR wasn’t released (at least on the Nikon side, I don’t know about Canon), and here you go… you just bought a DSLR lol. You say it’s for a special purpose, but I’m curious to know what will be your main camera for the next couple of months 🙂

    • I think you may have missed the intermediate articles about print objectives, how I need all the resolution I can get for the Ultraprints, how the D800E (and now D810) have been my main work cameras, and I also shoot medium format…

      Bottom line: if you are serious about the images, the equipment must be a tool for the output, not a choice in itself.

    • mosswings says:

      Photographic equipment is always a personal choice. The problem that a lot of us face is that we really have a quite limited budget both monetarily and time-wise for pursuing photography as a pasttime. Photography has never been cheap, and with the shrinking market for camera equipment manufacturers are pushing customers upmarket as much as they can to maintain revenue. In the face of this development we try to divine the best choice for a single system…and there isn’t one.
      With this post Ming has demonstrated that the tools change when the purpose changes. If one’s purposes are manifold, so too are one’s tools. I and apparently many others have used Ming’s postings and superb results with smaller format cameras as guideposts and justification for our own navigation towards tools that may be more appropriate for our circumstances than the DSLRs that we’ve used for so many years. Just when we decide to move decisively in that direction, our guide changes course, or, more fairly, appears to.
      The larger message Ming has been sending is to pursue the art of photography. Everything he’s written about the art and craft of photography is still true, and everything he’s written about the gear is as well. It’s up to us to make our own compromises in applying his teachings.
      If anything, this article has made me question, hard, just what it is that I’m trying to say with my images. That should be the basis for any gear purchase. Ming works at a much higher level than me. I wonder what my middle way is. It might be where I already am. I’m slightly fearful that it’s towards a smartphone.

      • There’s another simple solution: stop reading DPR and go out and make pictures 🙂

      • mosswings, I was kind in the same spot a month or so ago (has it been that long already?!) when I was preparing my portfolio for Ming’s San Francisco Masterclass: I felt like I didn’t really have a theme or direction to my photography. Most of it was doing the exercises for Ming’s email school. But when I was forced to pick 10 images that state who I am as a photographer, I had to look much more closely at my stuff, and I discovered that there is indeed a method to the madness, and even more so after the workshop. So don’t sell yourself short: look closely at the photos you have, and more importantly, get some other people to really look at your photos. I think we both might know someone here who does that … 🙂

        But be careful, because of this, I’ve found that I’m probably going to spend more money on new equipment than ever before, and I’m also selling off my entire m43 kit (anyone interested, email me). But I don’t feel too bad about it, because it’s going to be done with a specific reason that hopefully serves my photographic vision. Yeah, sorry that sounded a little pretentious, but I didn’t know a shorter way to say it. 🙂

  37. Sergey Landesman says:

    Ming! I remember you article “Demise of DSLR”…What happened? I don’t mean to judge,but it seems to me as a sudden change of heart not in favor of mirrorless anymore.

    • Ultraprinting, and my creative/artistic aim of chasing transparency and removing the feeling of looking at an image as opposed to looking at the scene itself happened. Mirrorless simply does not have the output required without extensive stitching, which is impossible for scenes that require a single capture (e.g. anything with motion). And of course you can always stitch with higher resolution DSLRs too for even more output flexibility…

      That said, I don’t think things have changed much for the average enthusiast or the general public, though. I have a very specific and demanding set of requirements that is not for everybody.

      So, in a nutshell: my requirements and output objective changed beyond what mirrorless could provide.

      • Sergey Landesman says:

        Thank you! But I think you can create great picture even with IPhone!

      • ernie marton says:

        The general public used box brownies and instamatics, they just have far too many choices now. As much as I’d like to have a smaller camera, even though I loved my FTb and XD7, I can’t deal with EVFs and the back screens are virtually useless in sunlight. I’m too lazy to drag around medium format and nowhere near good enough to worry about it, so for me, dSLRs are the best compromise. I’m still very disappointed that they are so large in FF formats compared to the film models and they seem so resistant to fast work in manual modes.

        • Too many settings. Hasselblad V cameras had just three – shutter speed, aperture and focus distance, all on the lens. If only it were that simple now…

  38. Is the limit of 1/200 flash sync and 1/4000 shutter speed and no iso 64 a deal breaker for you?? How often do you really need it….would you still capable with the d750 to take pictures wide open at a sunny beach in Australia??? It so difficult for me to choose between the d810 and d750….only 500 euros difference…

    • I didn’t have ISO 64 until the D810 – ie recently – and never had any problems before that. We made do with the D700/3 which had a base ISO of 200 and max 1/8000; the light level is the same as 100 and 1/4000. I don’t plan to use the 750 for flash anyway (and unfortunately, nor do I get to spend that much time on beaches – I wish!)

      Only get the 810 if you intend to make large prints regularly. Otherwise the lens and shot discipline demands can take the fun out of it.

      • Excellent! THX! You take some doubts and put an end to my fear of going wrong with the d750…i can take the saved money for the 20 1.8 or 70-200 f4….

      • ernie marton says:

        You must be a very hardy person to cope with beaches in summer these days, and the summer light is so harsh anyway, though I’m sure you’d be able to use even that to your advantage.

        Cheers from sunny (extremely sunny) Australia.

  39. Errata: complEmentary not complimentary

  40. I loved coming along on the thought process that lead to this. I’m in a similar situation where I think “meh”. Not because it’s not an awesome camera, but because it’s tightly bracketed between by my Df and D810.

    Any experience with focusing screens on a Df? I would love it to work like my FM3a, a facsimile of which the website indicates they have.

    • Nope, sorry. Nikon tends to put different sized screens in every camera, which is why I was surprised when the 800’s fit the 750, too. My guess would be the Df uses either D800 or D600 screens…

  41. I just bought a D750. It’s great camera, but I would just like to ask you if you can hear a strange buzz/sound from somewhere around green led light of SD card when you flip from one image to another when you review (playback) them on lcd screen? Thanks for info and enjoy D750!

  42. flaco ramos says:

    Where did you get a focusing screen that will fit the D800/810/750?

    • Focusingscreen.com, but I would not recommend them for beginners as the screens arrived the wrong thickness and had to be ground down to fit and align properly. The D750 screens have to be modified from D800/810.

  43. Frans Richard says:

    Hi Ming,
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
    I personally tend to base my choices on purely rational motives. I can spend a lot of time researching options, technical specifications, reviews, etc. and then, eventually, buying the thing that seems to be the best fitting. Sometimes, however, I buy something just because I have “a click” with it. It just “feels” right, and I “must” have it, despite the rational side of my brain protesting. Funny thing is, I have never regretted buying anything based on this “feeling” thing. I find using those things is often more fun and satisfying. So I think you did not make a mistake by holding a D750. It was probably the best decision of your life so far! 😉
    Now I have been thinking a lot about a camera to complement (or replace) my D300. You have made me think I should simply go to a shop and just hold that EM-10, LX100 and, yes, D750 and “feel” which of those should become that camera.
    Thanks for a great article! 🙂

    • Don’t forget to try to use it, too. Some cameras feel great but have one or two operational ‘gotchas’ that will land up infuriating like crazy in practice.

  44. Hi Ming. This is Stephan. Quick sufficient questions: 1) is the output from the D750 ultra print qualified; and 2) what is the minimum level of sufficient is required for ultra prints? Thanks!

    • To both questions, depends on your print size. You could certainly do a 9×12″ or so, but not much more than that.

      • You mean inch……or feet?

        • Inch.

          • Thanks! So D810 is necessary for ultraprints due to resolution and 36mp sensor is needed at least ….approx. 23×30,5 cm is not that large what the d750 is capable….

            Final question with regard to ultraprints…
            Does it have an(y) impact(s) if youre shooting with a 24 mp dx d7100 or d750 24 mp fx sensor??

            DX: Even more demanding than d810, have to be more careful, accurate in order to prevent blur/shake, more details due to higher pixel density, more noise if you shoot in darker scenes due to smaller sensor, but sharper images/details due to d7100 has no AA??

            vs.

            FX: less demanding, less noise if youre shooting at higher isos/in darker environments, but AA filter–> less sharp and less details due to lower pixel density???

            Am I right? Or what are your experiences in practice?

            • Yes, the more pixels and the better quality of those pixels, the better. FX will be better than DX due to color depth and pixel integrity/ acuity.

              DX – not true, less demanding than D810 because the number of pixels per degree FOV is less. As demanding as 24MP FX or slightly less because you have more DOF to cover focus misses. I would still take the D750 over a D7100 simply because none of the 24MP DX sensors seem to perform as well as the 16MP ones…

              • ernie marton says:

                I suspected that was the case, so I bought the 7000 last year instead of the 7100. Unfortunately that 7000 was a dog and the mirror detached while I was shooting last week. The metering was also inconsistent and deteriorated over time to the point that over 90% of the shots were essentially unrecoverable the last day, whereas my backup D80 was still excellent in finishing the job. Fortunately Nikon agrees and will get the dealer to refund or replace it. As there appear to be no more 7000s, I wanted to avoid the 7100 because of the sensor and hoped to move to FX. Sadly, I can’t justify the purchase of the 750 and was wondering if the 610 could be a suitable compromise. I handled the 750 recently and also fell in love. Big mistake.

                • Ouch. I wonder if the loose mirror had something to do with the metering?

                  610 has a very similar sensor from what I understand, but don’t underestimate the value of haptics. I’d just bite the bullet and go with the 750.

              • I’m interested in your statement that “none of the 24MP DX sensors seem to perform as well as the 16MP ones”. Is this something you’ve discussed somewhere on the blog? I know that it goes contrary to a lot of reports — Lloyd Chambers, for instance, seems to consider the D7100’s sensor a marvel. In what way do you find it lacking?

  45. Peter Boender says:

    Ming, since you wear glasses too, what is your opinion on the OVF? I know it has 100% coverage, but what about the eye point? How does it compare to the D800(E)? Thanks in advance!

    • It’s a bit higher. I have no problem seeing the frame edges, but I sometimes do on the D800/810. I also generally wear contact lenses when shooting seriously anyway for this reason.

  46. Hi Ming,

    is the af array spread the same on the d750 as it is on the d810? Or is it more clustered than on the D810?

    And do you really really notice the better AF going to -3EV in low light in comparison to the d810???

    THX!

    • It seems to be slightly tighter. And yes, the focusing is definitely more positive than the 810, but it’s not an enormous difference.

      • I cannot understand why Nikon is not able to adjust the af array spread wider on the fx bodies/according to the bigger viewfinder…..it should be mangeable without too much work despite it is still the same 51 af system with 15 cross types d7100 vs. d4s, d810, d750 (only improved going to -2 or -3 EV, group area mode etc.)…..

        But maybe with the introduction of the next fx cam/generation from nikon after a completely new af system on the d7200 ord d9300/d400 dx body was introduced/developed if they gonna answer the 7d mark II from canon in Q1 2015….its 65 af all dual cross type points system is genious…..the center is even double dual cross type points…best af system out there….

        but one thing is for sure nikon has to develop a better af system to match this af system…..even before the canon 5d mark III and 1dx af system was better than nikons used in d4 and d700, d800…..sensor wise nikons are unmatched……canon has nothing to offer competitive so far

        time will tell

        • I believe that’s because there’s a physical limitation as to how close the AF points can be placed to the frame edge. Remember that the squares indicating the focus zones only represent the area in the final image that the focus zones relate to. What is actually happening in the AF system is that that zone on the exit pupil of the lens is being split into two images and they are projected onto linear arrays that extend far beyond the focus zone boundaries. That’s because the relative movement of the split-images is what determines focus. The upshot of this is that owing to the size of the sensing arrays you can’t place a focus zone center much closer to the edge of the FX frame than it is now. That’s one of the reasons I love the D7100’s AF array, because it covers the same angle of view as the FX AF arrays but has the advantage of the 1.5x crop factor. It’s also the same reason that the 7D II offers such a broad AF point spread – it’s an FX AF sensor in a DX body.
          A mirrorless PDAF system can have more latitude in focus zone placement, but there is the nagging question of the resolution and sensitivity of those zones so placed.

        • Wider AF array spreads are difficult because of light coming in at an steeper angle of incidence towards the edges of the frame, plus the added weight of a bigger sub mirror slowing down the mirror mechanism and reducing frame rates/ blackout time, plus field curvature issues with most optics – not a simple problem to solve! APS-C generally uses the same mounts and similar flange distances which means similar angles of incidence; the AF arrays and mirror mechanics can be the same as FX but proportionately cover more of the frame because that frame is smaller. Even in the film days, this was true; for the few MF cameras with multi-point AF, they too are clustered in the centre of the frame for the same reason.

  47. Hi MT,

    Once the back button has been assigned to AF, can the AE be assign to the front button as well?

  48. Hi MT,

    I would like to know if the AF button were to be assigned to the back button, can the AE lock function be assign to the front buttons?

    Thanks.

  49. mosswings says:

    A note on the D750 grip: It’s deeper on the body side of the grip, although its overall depth from front of grip to back of body is no different than that of the D7100 or D610. What’s changed is the thickness of the body itself, and you can see evidence of this in the noticeably shorter top-plate info display, as well as a visibly longer lens mount projection from the body.
    Nikon figured out with the D7100 and D610 that prior bodies had gotten too squared-off in the grip and gave the newer generations a much more organic shape. They didn’t, for whatever reason, address the grip depth as well as they should have, and as a consequence it’s fairly easy to bump one’s fingertips against the body…long fingertips especially. The difference was immediately obvious upon holding a D750 and then switching to a D610…the grip was much more relaxed and full-contact on the D750. The D610, by contrast, requires a bit of a fingertip pinch hold.
    It will be interesting to see if the body design changes the D750 embodies make their way into a D7100 followon.

    • This is also visible in the battery orientation rotating by 90°. Not squishing your fingertips or making a ‘pincer’ makes a huge amount of difference to extended use comfort.

  50. You mention that you really like the grip.
    Is it as nice as the nikon F6?

  51. I truly suspect that Bear #2 is not only fluffy and accepting, but patiently waiting to be printed very large so it can more easily seek a permanent home in a pediatric wing of some local hospital. 🙂

    And I would thank you for your observations about the 750, but just as I have started to accept my E-M1 as my daily camera instead of my D300, I have been starting to come around to the D750, and your observations are not helping my wallet remain intact. I stupidly passed on an immaculate D700 earlier this year, was not interested in the D600/610, and the D800 was not really appropriate for my shooting (or my budget), so I put any DX/FX upgrade on hold. I initially considered the D750 as something other than a D700 upgrade, and wrote it off, but have now had a change of heart, and may soon have a change in the balance in my savings account.

    Enjoy your D750. It is nice when a piece of performance gear can also put a smile on your face and be described as fun to use.

    –Ken

    • Bear #2 is moderately sized and definitely fluffy, but must be hugged to be appreciated. Actually, he already went to hospital (and got sanitized when he came back) with the wife when she had dengue

      Enormous difference between the D700 (I had three of them back in the day) and D750, and fortunately the D750 is not anywhere near as demanding of lenses in the same way the D800/D810 is; it hits a sweet spot. The good news is that modern equipment is all relatively liquid, so switching isn’t as painful as outright acquisition 🙂

      • Yes, fluffy bears do need to be hugged to be appreciated, and I am glad he made rounds while your wife was recovering from Dengue fever. Nice to hear that the D750 is enough of a difference from the D700. It will probably make the switch a bit less frustrating, as I tend to get used to my equipment, and the D300 was quite comfortable (albeit so is my E-M1).

        –Ken

  52. An interesting perspective as always. As a D600 user I hate the D750 because its what the D600 should have been in the first place 😉

    Clearly a better handling and better focusing camera than the D600 but how do you think the IQ compares to the D600?

    • I agree with you: Nikon is doing too many ‘second takes’ of late which make it seem not like an engineering exercise, but a marketing one. D800E > D810 for starters, and now D600 > D610 > D750.

      Image quality is definitely up a notch – mostly in the color and high iso areas. I felt my D600 was pretty similar to the D800E in shooting envelope, but the D750 extends that another stop to stop and a half.

  53. After all the issues with recent cameras, I think Nikon needs to be extra careful on quality control. It’s not that I don’t expect mistakes, but after the screaming about D600 and other issues, Nikon really needed to get it right on the D750. Hopefully nothing unusual develops.

    Funny coincidence today. I sometimes buy refurbished Nikon, because I hope the extra hands on quality check catches any issues. Placed an order for a 50mm f1,8G AF-S recently. It just arrived. Amazed at how awesome a job Nikon did on refurbishing, because this is now a 50mm f1,4G AF-S. 😉 Thanks Nikon!

    • So far, so good. As far as I can tell, that extra care paid off – my mirror is perfectly aligned! Even my 645Z’s is very slightly off.

      How on earth did your 1.8G become a 1.4G? I need to speak with your refurbisher.

    • For that matter, we tend to ignore the dog that didn’t bark.

      The Df is one of the newer models that just does not seem to have had any widespread QA flaws. It gets no recognition for that, which is probably as it should be. It’s human nature to devote more attention to what is bad, sometimes to the extent that it leaves us making overly broad assumptions.

      • Jorge Balarin says:

        The DF didn’t get recognition because it is a product whose cost is not related with what it offers. Really it was a bad idea.

        • At least in my country, it was the same price as a D800, and only a few hundred under a D800E…

        • In that case, it should have gotten even more negative publicity if there were any widespread issues. Your statement, Jorge, only reinforces my assertion.

      • The Nikon Dƒ went through a very long development cycle. Probably enough time to work out potential issues. I think some of the prototypes seemed a bit more interest. What really is confusing is that the manual focus experience is no better than other FX bodies.

        We may see/hear more about the Digital S2 that was another concept. Eventually Nikon will offer a smaller and lighter FX camera, and some type of rangefinder style camera may accomplish that. I do not expect to see that before 2016, at the earliest. If they can manage to incorporate the rangefinder patch focusing method into the electronic viewfinder, then manual focusing would work extremely well. Meanwhile, I’ll be sticking with my current set-up.

        • We don’t know what the development cycle of the Df was vs. that of other products. Granted, production may have been delayed, but that doesn’t translate into a longer development cycle. And that begs the question anyway- the Df did not suffer from launch issues, while its brethren did.

  54. Now look what you’ve done. My Polar Bears (Horace, Ludmilla, Ivan, and Checkov) are looking at me now and asking why they aren’t featured in a blog post… !

    The Nikon D750 sounds good, it obviously resonates with you. Being a long time Nikon user until the digital age, I’m glad their special mojo is resurfacing—maybe someday I’ll acquire one of these to complement my Nikon F.

    But that resonating thing happened to me quite recently too, on the entirely different Leica X typ 113. I know you were somewhat lukewarm to it… People are different. When I picked one up, I couldn’t put it down. It just works, for me, with the right controls, right size and weight, right lens, et cetera. Stick the optical viewfinder in the shoe, set to Face Detect AF, and I’ll carry it all the time. Just right.

    Whatever works is all we can ask for. I have lots of equipment that almost works, and even enjoy using, but Just Right is rare and personal. 🙂

    Enjoy the Nikon. I look forward to seeing more of your not-so-serious work with it. The Bears are great.

    • I apologize for the bears, but remind you they need feeding occasionally 🙂

      The X 113 came close in many ways, but missed in so many others. Ah well. As you say, it’s personal – I think 35mm still skewed that a lot for me…

  55. Martin Fritter says:

    I am very pleased that Nikon has delivered what appears to be a real winner. I have a sentimental attachment to the brand and want them to prosper. Considering what it is, it looks like a fantastic bargain. Tempts me to abandon film!

    • I’d wait a bit longer simply because there are so many interesting pro film camera choices for not much money available at the moment…

  56. Jack Atkinson says:

    Hi Ming! I asked you about my 7D2/D750 quandary over on the Photokina post, and you recommended the Ricoh GR. Picked one up yesterday and love it, and am very heartened to hear your report on the D750 build, as I may very well add that to round out the kit.

    Thanks for everything!
    Jack

  57. Very pleased you can confirmed my initial findings from Photokina. Was not expecting to buy another DSLR ever, but think this may creep into the bag next year when I can afford it.
    /Xpanded

  58. Thanks for the review. I’m interested in the part where you mention carrying it with two small primes or with the GR. I bought a Coolpix A not being sure if I’d use it much, but it became my go-to for travel. I currently pair it with a 5D and Sigma 50 but have been looking at smaller/lighter FF options (D610/D750 and 50 1.8G, A7 and 55 1.8). Perhaps the D750 would be too much camera for this limited role, but it’s tempting. I feel like it would make me want to replace the A with the 28 1.8G, but on the other hand there are situations where a compact would be most appropriate. I suppose what I really want is for Ricoh or Nikon to release a sister to the GR/A with a fast 50 equivalent – I could just get one of those and call it a day 🙂

    • I don’t think I’d replace the GR or A because the FF 28 options aren’t that great, and I do enjoy the speed of working with two bodies. A 50mm GR would be fantastic, though not very stable unless it had an optical finder or IS…

  59. Ron Scubadiver says:

    Good write up as always. Perhaps this is what I need because I am not too serious, and the stuff I shoot shows it.

    • Well, you may not need it – we almost never do – but you may well enjoy using it, which is a different matter entirely…

      • Ron Scubadiver says:

        Considering that I already have a D800, I probably do not need another Nikon FX body of any sort. Anyway, you did surprise me a bit with your well explained change of heart on the D750.

  60. Ming, I’ve followed your blog since your EM-5 days, and I’m still struggling with the cognitive dissonance of you calling a D750 something you’d want to take with you on casual family get togethers because it’s so compact and not that serious. Good heavens, compared to an a6000 or XT-1, both extremely competent machines, the D750 is a monster. It’s only in comparison to the pro bodies and MF gear that it feels compact. One might think you were talking about the D750 as if it were a G10.
    On the other hand, I completely understand what you’re saying about a camera feeling right. The D7100 that I now shoot is really overkill for most of the photography I do, which is travel…I found that out on a 3-month RTW with 15 liters of photo equipment burdening my enjoyment. On the other hand, it felt much more right in my hand than the D7000. The D90 was a similar ergonomic improvement over the D80, with kiler internals. The E-M1, nice as it is, still feels a bit lost in my average-sized hands, far far better than the gripless EM-5, but less pleasing than the XT-1, near gripless as it is. The tool DOES have to feel right to encourage its use – like a fine hand plane for woodworkers.
    Nikon produces cameras with a strong sense of “reality”. Heft one, and the controls feel well placed and purposeful. Their parts bin of subsystems is very deep, enough so that a camera like the D750 can be created easily, not moving the bar dramatically in any one area, but offering a profoundly well-rounded tool for the stills shooter that can turn your head from the truly compact options. If this is Nikon’s statement of where Nikon photographers need to be now, it’s a strong one. But it’s lost on me.
    I have to now realize that you’ve moved on in your pursuit of the craft, and that, as you’ve stated, you’ve been spoiled by the IQ of the large-sensor cameras…enough to alter your definitions of compact and serious. Whereas so many of us, satisfied by the high quality of even u4/3, are moving towards smaller form factors to recover the true compactness and portability that SLRs used to have.
    Wither your EM-5 traveling kit? Has your travel bag now permanently gained weight? Is there no “middle way” anymore for you?

    • Move your starting point a little – if you’ve been working with MF and tripods and Otuses for the last year, then the D750 with 1.8G primes is definitely light. 🙂 Yes, the output objective has moved on, and the smaller sensors no longer cut it.

      This is the middle way. None of the M4/3s have enough resolution to Ultraprint with. I’m even stitching from the 645Z now. The E-M5 was sold, the E-M1 is video-only now because of the shutter shock issue.

      • mosswings says:

        Hmm…I’d say this is the Ming middle way. I guess now those of us who’ll never shoot FX or larger and who have taken strength from your results with the smaller sensor cameras and your very pragmatic and well-reasoned articles on the Tool vs. the User will have to content ourselves with rereading the mingthein.com archives and concentrating on your technique and composition posts 😉

        I do have to say that the D750 is a very nice handling camera with a heft and grip very appropriate for the Trinity and Otii that will grace its mount. But the XT-1 is sweet in its own way, as is the EM-10. Can’t quite live without the OVF yet, though.

        Oh to be young again and heft large lenses as if they were matchsticks…

        • I think low weight is vastly, vastly overrated by so many. I’m nearly 50 years old and carried THREE medium format cameras on my last photography related travel. Granted, they were compact MF cameras but the weight of my bag was very substantial, 15 pounds at least. Didn’t slow me down a bit.

          That’s the price of quality images. If there were no benefit to carrying all this weight I wouldn’t do it. I’d be satisfied with the smaller, low weight cameras. But i’m not willing to compromise for just the ability to carry a low weight bag. Not at all.

          • I agree there’s such a thing as too low; you lose damping and the whole thing just feels ‘cheap’. But I don’t see the point in carrying more than I have to without any gain in IQ, either.

          • Not as experienced as you, but I feel very much the same way. Weight is not my greatest concern when travelling – what is, is sticking that “monstrous DSLR” in somebody’s face. I recently tried out the E-M1 and found it surprisingsly heavy compared to its size. Great glass and build for sure, but it is the size that attracts me. But it is hard to let the MP go when you have gotten used to them…

            What often surprises me is reading various forums about pople that are ditching their Nikon/Canon fullframe, 2.8-zooms and various specilaized lenses, to go for the E-M1 12-40 or such. Why not just put a prime on their FF to make it lighter? Or at least leave the 70-200mm at home sometimes? Not a question for you, but those that bring all their gear with them no matter what they are shooting.:-)

            Emjoy this article as it proves to me that DSLRs are not all dead yet 🙂

            • That I suspect is because people are afraid to give up their zoom coverage, even when in reality you’re probably only using the two extreme ends if you’re using the lens properly (i.e. picking perspective before magnification). It’s one of the reasons I’d take a 28/85 prime combo over a 28-80 zoom, for instance.

              However: weight does become an issue if you’re not a physically large person (I’m not) and carrying say a 645Z (1.7kg loaded), three lenses that weigh in a 1.2-1.5kg each and a tripod and walking around for 15 hours…

  61. This is an interesting development. “It doesn’t feel big.” It makes me curious about how things now stand if you stepped out the door given choice of your D750 or OMD E-M1 suppose not knowing exactly what you’ll encounter for environments, which would go through the door with you (assuming you still own your E-M1’s in spite of the shutter issues…).

    • No question, D750. Aside from the image quality being a couple of steps above the E-M1s, there are the haptic issues to consider. Neither is pocketable anyway. The E-M1s are already out because image quality is compromised. We keep a pair for video work because of that unparalleled stabilizer though (almost all of the workshop videos are shot on the E-M1s) – shutter vibration is obviously a non-issue here.

      • Yes, I thought it might be a fair question since neither is pocketable. On the other hand I didn’t even bother to ask if D750, fun as it may be, would replace the GR 🙂

        I’ve not reached a comfortable sense of the practical limits of various Nikon bodies’ environmental protection. I’m always nervous about destroying one in situations that I’m much more bold with a sealed Oly and I strongly suspect that if environmental conditions killed one of the Nikons they’d tell me to take the loss as my own darn fault. Even at a lower price point to the D810 I’d still feel regrets to kill one by water ingress or similar.

        Thank you for the inspiring images, thoroughly enjoyed your painterly article, and the new and interesting discussion of the ‘750.

        • I can’t find a lens-FF pairing at 28mm that beats the rendering, resolution and acuity of the GR; perhaps it doesn’t exist. The Zeiss 2/28 interesting because of its rendering style, but isn’t as fast to use.

          My feel is that the Olys and Pentaxes are better sealed than all but the single digit (D4+) Nikons. The midlevel stuff – D810, D750 – will withstand more than you think; I’ve shot with them in reasonably heavy rain with no ill effects – but as with all of these cameras, you’re going to have to make sure you’ve got sealed lenses, too.

  62. Jorge Balarin says:

    Dear Ming,
    I enjoyed very much reading your article. Yes, we have a D700 successor ! Perhaps physically it is more like a D610, but thanks God, in spirit what we have is clearly a new D700. I’m very happy. Best wishes.

  63. Hi Ming

    excellent article as it is always the case on your site! Sorry sounds like boot-licking but its just the truth….;)!

    For whom would you recommend the D810 over the D750?? D750 for the majority, best allrounder cam, low light, documentary dx-fx switchers, (wedding??)? ….and the d810 for architecture, landscape, wildlife/sports?, commercial and studio guys who absolutely need the resolution 36 mpx, DR ISO64,1/8000 and 1/250??

    I dont find this easy to answer esp. with regard to wedding and wildlife/sports…..the d810 has the edge in two aspects too quiet shutter is so well damoed nice for wedding, ceremony etc and the better and biger buffer is a big plus for sports and wildlife shooters…..it is common sense that the wedding, sports and wildlife shooters would love to have only 24 mpx, smaller files to handle post proccessing faster and esp. better high iso less noise with the d750 etc. ……so maybe the solution is for these shooters they should shoot the d810 in 1:2 or 5:4 crop mode…but the high iso advantage of the d750 will be unmatched……

    • Hi Ming,

      I find Angelos statement valid it is very hard for wedding and wildlife shooters to pick the better cam due to the missing features/points angelo already mentioned en detail….

      Do you really notice the OLPF and AA on the D750 as it is the case with the AF going to -3 EV?? Have they any negative impacts on IQ/sharpness where the D810 is gonna triumphing….is it significantly noticeable….??? Sadly they didn use the sensor of the Sony RX1R the 24 MP FF sensor without AA……probabyl they wanna prevent moire and artifacts issues with it for the videographers…

      THX!

      See you!

      Kindly regards!

      • It’s definitely not as sharp as the D810 at the pixel level, but I’d assume that’s a good thing for wedding shooters anyway. Besides, who prints that large for wedding output? I bet they’ve probably moved on to MF if they do.

        As for wildlife, a D7100 or M4/3 camera would make a lot more sense because of the pixel density and effective reach from the crop factor. Your 500/4 has suddenly become a 1000/4 equivalent on M4/3…that just doesn’t exist in the FF world.

    • I think you’ve pretty much answered your own question. If you fall outside needing those specific things like 1/8000 or 1/250 flash or ISO 64 or large printing…then the 750 is more than adequate. It also has a very quiet shutter.

  64. Awesome & totally different review (I would still call it review;) ) from a quite unusal but nevertheless interesting perspective! Great idea imo!

    I hope you will get your hands on the new Nikon 20 1.8 in the near future somehow and what are your thoughts on this newest member/acquisiton in the Nikkor 1.8 prime family….could it replace a fx uww zoom 16-35 or the 18-35 afs…or the 10-24 dx lens for people switching from dx to fx….

    I am considering to switch to fx d750 or d810 from DX 7000 and the 20 (or the 18-35 AFS) could replace my 10-24….i am leaning to the 20 mm prime lens somehow prime always optically better, slow downs your shooting more concentrating on framing/composition, limitation of fl enhancing/increase your creativity to a certain extent of course etc..despite the fact that in the wide angle territory every mm counts and where fx is known or should be known to be better and shining than dx but the truth is dx has far more options (incl. filter threads) than fx…..maybe the story has to be rewritten…..it always sounds that the wide angle options are better and broader on fx but what meant is that the fx has just the wider Fov……..

    Thank you so much for your efforts and work!

    Keep it up! Take care!

    Best reagrds!

    • I was curious about that lens too, but they didn’t have it. Ah well, perhaps in future – though it has a tough job to beat the Zeiss 21 Distagon…

      • And my Canon mount 21 Distagon just swaps onto a N750, though with an adapter in between. It is the only lens I have where I can accept the weight and size versus the performance.

        • Err…it won’t work because the Canon flange distance is shorter than the Nikon’s, and all Zeiss Canon mount lenses are electronic aperture only. You can do Nikon with mechanical aperture to Canon, but not the other way around unless you don’t mind not focusing to infinity and having no aperture control.

          • Bummer! Really? Didn’t know that … euww!
            Then it will go … and the 20mm would be interesting then.

            • Or swap it for the Nikon mount version…but yes, the 20mm may well suit you better. Only question mark is the optics, of course…

              • Hi Ming,

                i find the UWW FX question to be the hardest for switchers and fx users as Angelo already indicated there are haedly no cheap, light,small lens with good optics and filter thread (for landscpae shooters where filters are absolutely needed and fx/resolution should be dominating/welcomed!!!

                Zeiss 15 2.8 bloody expensive …out
                Nikon 14-24 2.8 ….tank, heavy, no filter filter solutions horrible expensive…
                Nikon 16-35…one of 100 is really good,,,,majority of samples weak..never got one despite testing 10 samples…
                Nikon AFS 18-35 ….as good as 16-35 optics… sometimes slightly better but only 18mm…..
                Nikon 20 1.8…..???? only 20…..

                I am not wondering why a lot of people after switching to fx using their tokina 11-16 2.8 dx lens at 16 mm as a 16mm 2.8 fx prine on fx at 8-12 aperture with no vignettng only soft corners but that have the majority of fx uww lens too….or using their nikon 10-24 in dx or 1:2 crop mode on the d800, d810 (5:4 mode is additonally avaiable) with 16mp or 20-24mp or d750 with 17 mp in 1:2 crop mode…..so it coudl make sense even if dx lens are not buitld for fx image circle etc….but if you rarely use uww no need of buying a new lens…..but for landscape shooters shooting the majority of work between 15 and 35mm FL……there is no real good options with the mentioned attributes out there sadly……but maybe nikon will develop a new uww prime lens 15mm fl (although it has to compete with the zeiss) is missing for updating their outdated 14mm prime 2,8 lens….time will tell….
                Iwonder why you still dont have any uww lens despite focusing more on landscapes…..but i know which uww lens it will be …the Zeiss 15 2.8 with 95mm filter thread ;)….out of the majorities league 3000 us bucks sadly…

                I wish you all the best for yourself/family and your amazing work….your gallery attempt is an exciting idea, it will be hopefully successful…;)
                See you in one of your masterclass in the near future!
                Herbert!

                • Well, UWWs are difficult to design, especially for SLRs with a mirror box in the way. You get what you pay for. I honestly have no use for one, which is why I don’t own any. When I need to go wider, I’ll stitch three shots from the 24PCE.

  65. I wonder about the sufficiency thinking – perhaps the bar is getting higher surprisingly fast and camera manufacturers will have to figure out how to make it easier and more affordable to produce sharp high-resolution images. Such well rounded cameras with good AF and full frame sensors are definitely steps towards that direction.

    The new Retina iMac (*drool*…) is cheaper than I expected, and a 3:2 image fitted to the screen will cover 12 million pixels. You need more than that in a bayer sensor to have pixel-level sharpness, and I wouldn’t be surprised if 16 mpix is not quite enough for optimal results.

    Soon 4k displays will be the norm for photographers, and high-res laptops/tablets for the rest (which hopefully forces various social websites / online services to improve image quality). Obviously there’s a limit to useful resolution, and it’s probably not far beyond the current high-res screens, but the standard 16-mpix cameras and consumer lenses don’t quite deliver the same sharpness.

    • You may well be right, but remember the premise behind increasing pixel density is to make those pixels indistinguishable and appear effectively continuous – I think the less than perfect capture pixels won’t be as obvious as we think, for the same reason I can’t retouch on a Retina screen because it’s simply too easy to miss single pixel spots. That said, as much as I’d love a 5k imac, lack of user serviceability means you have to fully spec up at the time of purchase; it gets horrifyingly expensive very quickly once you start ticking boxes.

      • I wouldn’t worry about the iMac concept – Thunderbolt display is surely coming sooner or later.

        • Too bad the new Mini will only drive 4k at 30Hz though…

          • Really? That’s a bummer. I was thinking of going the mini route. Shame really. Will have to see the 5k in the flesh, but it’s Apple and if you want it, you have to pay the Apple price!

            Anyway, great review. I need to try one to see if it’s for me. A good possible combo with the 70-200 f4. Also a bonus that’ it’s cheaper than the D810.

        • Unfortunately, the current Thunderbolt 2 bandwidth doesn’t allow for a 5k display. Maybe if Apple ganged up two of them or something. I think Retina displays are going to be captive (ie. not a standalone monitor) for a while yet as there aren’t any transmission standards for them — even for the iMac’s native display, Apple had to create custom logic to control that display.

          I’m trying to figure out how to upgrade my 6-year-old Macbook Pro, and the pricing for the models one might want for photography unfortunately kind of matches dollars for linear resolution: about $4k for 4k, so stuff like the Mac Pro is now back in consideration.

          • Andre.. which monitor are you using?
            I tried the Dell 4K 24″ but on a WIN PC. Doesn’t work of course due to scaling problems. The images however looks gorgeous. I tried to PS a couple of files and it’s difficult actually to overview what you are doing. Back to my HD 24″ screen again.
            Lloyd swears to NEC monitors.

            • I believe there’s a new NEC 4k out that is under $750…driving it is another issue entirely.

            • Hi Gerner, I use a Dell 2713M, which is an sRGB monitor. I haven’t tried to PS on a Retina display yet. Also, waiting to hear if anyone finds out what the color gamut of the iMac Retina is.

              From my reading, raw CPU clock speed and memory are more important for PS than many cores or fancy GPUs. So a 4 GHz iMac Retina with 32 GB will be very fast. Will it be faster than a 3.7 GHz Mac Pro with 64 GB of memory? I guess it depends on what kind of files and operations one is doing. WIth TB2 and USB3, I’m worried less about expansion capabilities, since I can hang high-speed peripherals off those ports.

              I’m renting a D810 this weekend, and I’ll see how difficult it will be to deal with its files. My DP3M TIFFs are about 88MB, and my computer’s OK, but not great, with them. I don’t know whether large RAW files will be more difficult than large TIFF files. Reading Ming’s report about the D750, I’m thinking that it might be a good intermediate point: not as demanding as the 810, but still be a substantial improvement over the E-M1 for picture quality for the sizes I print at (12×18 at the largest). Weather sealing is a big question mark. The E-M1 has really amazing weather sealing.

              NECs and Eizos seem to be the preferred monitors for many photographers. I think many of the high-end Dells and HPs are good too if you’re willing to cobble together something. Also, I take back my comment on external 5K: Dell’s announced a 5K monitor, but no idea when it will ship or how one will drive it.

              • Thinking about it more, the iMac doesn’t seem that bad value given the issues of driving. I think the Dell monitor is 2-2.5k by itself anyway?

                Personally I’m starting to dig chromebooks – I like the concept. We just need a good enough screen on them to review effectively. Plus the chrome version of Photoshop will be coming mainstream, though one will need an Internet connection.

          • Aha! That would explain why.

            I’m waiting for an updated laptop – nothing wrong with the current mini and TBD, but that 40% gamut of the 11″ Air is a disaster and requires far too much guesswork that limits my mobile productivity (which is a problem when you’re on the road as much as I am).

            • ernie marton says:

              Look out for the 12″ retina Air! I don’t think the 13″ is much better unfortunately. Most reviews seem to suggest that the new iMac is quite excellent and the computer part is almost a bonus. It’s a bit disconcerting that when you go to 100% views on 5D shots, and the like, that there is so much less actual zooming. I suspect high quality spectacles or eyeballs will help here.

  66. I have to say that aside from size, replacing my A7 and related lenses with a D750 would make a lot of sense (I already have a D810, Df and a lot of F mount glass). Hmmm. I should probably hold it first.

    TBH, I was thinking yesterday (after someone described my D810 as a “monster”) that the D810 isn’t so large (or monstrous) if you use it with lenses like the 35 F1.8 G FX

  67. Torbjörn Tapani says:

    Nikon really need to realize a tilt screen is not optional. Every camera should have that today. Studio and landscape cameras need waist level finders, video cameras always need the screen, sports/news shooters need to shoot over crowds. It’s just silly we don’t have it in every camera. Why the lesser models have better features than the “pro” bodies is just so frustrating.

    • I agree. That said, I’m not sure why this isn’t considered a ‘pro’ body other than their decision not to include the shortcut buttons on the shoulder and the round eyepiece…you still get a 100% finder, the best AF in the lineup, respectable fps, and a really excellent all-round sensor. If I was a working PJ, I’d rather carry two of these than a single D4/D4S…

  68. liramusic says:

    If I can be allowed to skip past any and all of the specifications, I am happy for you they way you have some of the emotions that resemble when we all first began. That’s really nice, and the bear can be seen as metaphor. I very much remember the earliest days when I felt the joy of just wanted to walk around with my camera. It had to feel a certain way.

    More in music than in photography, there is segment of discussion about the instrument as an extension of the person. The weight balance, the holding of it, and how it is an extension of both hands & arms; all of this is a kind of discussion. More than in photography it seems like, musicians have unseen-physical injury that can occur from so much time holding an object. Then, when one instrument does become right for a player, the “relationship” lasts a long time. Beyond the instrument itself, there is the collection of ancillary gear that is not nearly as much a “part of the body.” The ancillary gear is more linked to performance and looks, but the instrument itself is an extension of the player. Not sure if any of that applies to “the operator” and his or her camera. To round out the idea, in music no matter how demanding the performance is where the instrument is is concerned, there is the need for an element of playfulness somewhere in the mix, though that is more my opinion and often overlooked. Some musicians, not all, advance to the point where they only do paid work and seem to have lost touch with having fun on any level. I must be thinking about the subjective side of life as an artist. It sounds like it was just a lot of fun to buy that camera unexpectedly. Here’s to fun in life. Best wishes, jw.

    • Yes, that feeling was a long time ago, for me. The Hasselblads and film sort of got there, but still required quite a bit of back end darkroom work to finish. There was a point where we pointed cameras at things to see how they’d look; I don’t really do that anymore, but sometimes it’s nice to point a camera at something to see how an unusual (compared to your normal work) idea looks.

      I’m highly conscious of ergonomics and haptics because I’m often holding the things – which are quite heavy when lenses and the weight of the system is taken into consideration – for anywhere up to 12, 15 hours at a time, day after day. It’s the reason why hot spots and pinch points and thin grips give me cramps and you just don’t look forward to using the camera, because your hand becomes a claw afterwards. It’s one of the reasons I bought the D2H back in the early days – it just felt right, in a way I could not quantify or justify at the time over my D70. But that said, even when the ergonomics are right – if something else doesn’t deliver, then it’s also not very useful in a professional or creative context, too.

      I suppose it’s like an instrument that feels and looks great but sounds terrible. What I find remarkable about the D750 – and it’s sad that this is an exception to cameras, not the rule – is that it really delivers on all fronts; the AF is more than adequate for the resolution, the resolution is more than enough for everything but the most demanding Ultraprints, and it’ll see into the dark to the point that you have trouble composing first. They even let you use the centre button of the D-pad to magnify in playback – traditionally, only the ‘pro’ (read: expensive) cameras would have that function. Why? Who knows, it’s just software. But at the same time, it has U1 and U2 memories which are useful, and missing on my D800E/D810.

      It’s just a shame that Nikon released this one so late in the game; after the AF issues with the D800/E/D4, after the D600’s oily shutter, and after the ergonomic disaster Df. If this had come first as the clear D700 successor – and there is no technology in here which is so cutting edge it couldn’t have existed two years ago – I think the market would look very, very different now.

    • The extension-of-the-body aspects of taking a picture are so much different these days. You want that experience, go back, way back, to something like a Nikon F2 or FM2…

      Your right hand has four simultaneous jobs: Changing shutter speed in real time; steadying the body; advancing the film, clicking the shutter at the exact moment. Your left hand has three simultaneous jobs: Focusing; steadying the lens; changing the aperture in real time. Your eye has two jobs simultaneously: focusing; framing.

      Note that both hands must work together, not separately, since setting exposure real time in reaction to changing conditions must be done together- aperture by lefty, shutter speed by righty.

      And when you get to 20 or 24 or 35 frames, not just your two hands but your teeth come into play as you prepare to load that next roll.

      This is the kind of real tactile involvement that lazy me kind of misses with the wonderful do everything auto cameras. It’s why some people still drive manual transmissions, or play analog musical instruments.

  69. I TOTALLY get what you’re saying about having a smaller camera that you can take out with you for ‘less serious’ situations. It’s the very reason I bought a decent bridge camera. I found I didn’t want to drag the D800 out everywhere with an assortment of lenses; and so I was missing out on the social documentary and fun stuff you mentioned. It’s really important to occasionally make this kind of compromise and for us, as photographers, to realise that we don’t always have to be shooting for perfection.

    • I used to shoot this way a lot, when I wasn’t doing it for a living – I suppose one’s own personal sense of ‘normal’ changes; it’s good to regroup.

  70. Wow, this is a surprise! Didn’t expect you to get one! Been pondering D750 v D810 for some time – I’m happy with the image quality from my D800, but I certainly wouldn’t mind it being slightly easier to attain, particularly handheld. The latest crop seem to be rather better in terms of AF performance, shutter vibration and live view lag (or lack thereof). Only sorry I can’t afford/justify both…

    • I didn’t expect it either, to be honest. If you had to have only one, I’d go with the D750 unless you’re printing, and printing large (or Ultraprinting). The D810 is a pretty demanding mistress – treat it like we’d treat MF before, and you’ll be fine. Otherwise, just bigger files…

      • Indeed. When you can be bothered to shoot that way and the subject matter suits it, even the D800 will spoil you in terms of image quality. But it’s total overkill and (I find) actually not much fun to use for reportage/documentary/weddings/etc.

        • Depends on your clients. Using them (and a 645) for corporate documentary makes for some spectacular results, but I agree – it’s a lot more work than it needs to be…

          • You know the type of client: the ones who print from the ‘Lo-res for Facebook’ folder you’ve sent them because they don’t know the difference 😀 I suspect yours are somewhat more discerning 😉

            I do like to make my own high quality prints of personal work, though. But I guess we can’t have one camera that does everything… yet!

  71. I have two words to say: Thank you 😉

  72. Maybe I missed it, but is the LIveView equivalent to what the D810 has? And don’t you miss the ISO 64?

  73. My E-M1 sold two days ago, just as I was considering the possibility that some Voigtlander f0.95 lenses might solve the inability of the sensor to keep noise levels down when ISO inevitably rises in low light. So, as I had been thinking of going Canon because of the lenses and the 6D’s high ISO cleanliness, I went in to my favourite shop to thrash it out between the 6D, A7, and of course, the D750 (just for comparison). The D750 is priced a bit high for me as a camera and as a system). It’s a good $700 USD higher than the 6D, and the f1.4 Nikkors are silly expensive compared to Canon’s L equivalents. And, Nikon’s 70-200mm f4 is, for no good reason, about $400 USD more than Canon’s beautiful f4. For me, not working and still with four months traveling ahead of me, the numbers just don’t balance out. I’ve already taken a small hit from the resale of the wonderful, wonderful E-M1. It’s just not possible I keep saying.

    Until I tried “that” grip. With a heavier lens on it the D750 was still better on my wrists than the 6D, which kept wanting to twist itself out of my hand. And, of course the A7 just wasn’t made for heavy glass and it lost the fight to both the Canon and Nikon.

    The balance and feeling of the D750’s grip was actually closer the E-M1 and it handled large and heavy lenses with aplomb. Such a small thing – the 6D and D750 like night and day. Damnit! The Canon’s system is so much more appropriate for me right now. Both are way too large for my liking and then there is that OVF thing. But, of the two the Nikon wins out, cost not withstanding.

    I wanted to go full-frame for ultimate flexibility but got a whole lot more than I was prepared for. Time to seriously consider my hobby.

    • Look at the f1.8G primes – they’re all pretty good, now cover 20-28-35-50-85mm, and also pretty inexpensive. Pick two or three from that set and that more than covers the difference of the 70-200/4.

      Also worth noting that if a camera isn’t comfortable, you just won’t want to use it. I suspect that’s got a lot to do with my personal opinion of D800E vs D810, for instance – the main haptic change was the grip, and it makes a world of difference. The D750 is really quite marvellous in that respect.

      • Interesting to hear as Nikons narrow and cramped grips on their later cameras has put me off.

      • Ah, Ming! I think you helped me to crystallise my decision to get the 750, along with a few of the 1.8 primes and possibly the Sigma Art 50/1.4, and maybe the Art 35/1.4.

        However, when I was using the PRO zoom on the E-M1 I often found that the 50 would fit better for a shot than the 35, and I usually skipped 35 and went to 24 for wide shots. I’m not sure about 28.

        I like the 26 of my Nokia 920 phone and the 28 is going to be closest to that. But, when I attempted to stay on 28 on the Olympus I couldn’t find the fit. Perhaps it is the 16:9 ratio on the Nokia that goes well with the focal length and I was typically using either 4:3 or 3:2.

        Regardless, I’ve been thinking of the Ricoh GR as a camera that will do well in place of the phone and a 28 on the camera. If I can leave the GR on 16:9 it might just do the trick. I’ll also check out the Nikon Coolpix A to compare – I’m curious to see what Nikon produced.

        The 20/1.8 is definitely on the list, as is the 85/1.8, which gets stellar reviews. I also really like the 150-equivalent of the Olympus 75/1.8 (Sohail Karmani uses this length to great effect) and wanted to get a similar prime – and Canon had that in the 135/2. Unfortunately only the Sigma 150/2.8 fits as a prime (it’s also a great Macro from what I read) but the size is huge, huge, HUGE!

        I think the 150 or 135 focal length is more important to me than the 85. I was always using 80 on the E-M1 but I think that was because I couldn’t get any tighter (I often found that walking-to-zoom changed the composition too much, or couldn’t because I was shooting landscape).

        So, for now I will look at using the 70-200 f4 for 150 and hopefully the f4 aperture doesn’t limit use too much. It won’t be as nice as the brilliant 75/1.8 but can always fix that later on with another purchase based on desire for a certain look and usefulness.

        The only focal length missing right now is 24. I don’t know if the 20 will fill that gap as I’ve never gone that wide before. There doesn’t seem to be any 24 available that isn’t flawed in some way. It was the same for Canon. Dunno why.

        Now I just need to figure out how I’m gonna carry both cameras as much as possible. I normally walk everywhere with my Osprey Rapid 34 so I perhaps I can get stuff in there. Even though it’s not made for cameras it has a great harness, a rigid lightweight frame that encompasses the very large DELL m4800 laptop in a great compartment that also houses an iPad Air.

        With the primes the camera is pretty light. Still bulky but definitely manageable.

        Cheers, Ming.
        Nick

        • No problem. Hopefully one of those B&H or Amazon links works for you too 🙂

          28 equiv. on 4:3 isn’t wide enough, I find. You need to go ‘one size up’ to 24 for a similar horizontal feeling. The GR does not have a 16:9 aspect option, sadly – I wish!

          24: Zeiss 2/25 Distagon perhaps?

          150: Nikon 135/2 DC, if you need AF, or the Zeiss 2/135 APO if you don’t. There’s no free lunch; both are big, but shorter and no heavier than the 70-200/4.

          • Unfortunately, I’m in Thailand and soon to leave for north India for a few months. I bought the E-M1 here, from a shop called AV Camera. They also sold the camera for me. In addition to selling Canon and Nikon they also sell Leica and are sole distributors for Voigtlander. Many local Thais come to shop there and I’ve been very comfortable with their service and attention to detail, etc. They aren’t B&H but pricing is quite close (or better, as in the case of the 6D).

            Thanks for the lens tips. That explains why 28 on the E-M1 didn’t feel right. It was probably closer to 35. Bummer about the GR not having 16:9.

            If the 24 is a focal length I really like I may consider the Distagon 25/2, for sure. But, I’ve not been all that keen to use manual focus using an OVF. This might change, of course.

            Wow, I didn’t know that the 135/2 DC existed, thanks. The direct control sound interesting, especially being able to minimise foreground bokeh. Definitely very interested. However, it is quite expensive.

            You’re totally correct about there being no free lunch – but it is always appreciated when great icing comes with the cake 🙂

            Cheers.

            • No worries. I know the place – regret not buying a used Angenieux 26-70/2.6 I saw there back in the day, but I simply didn’t have the money…

              • So, here I am a few days later and I’m still undecided on the D750 due to the OVF (and to a lesser degree the size and weight). I understand that the EVF isn’t quite there yet for Canon and Nikon to be comfortable replacing the OVF but I still feel like I’ll be buying an obsolete camera if I purchase the D750. If the D750 had an EVF, and was a bit smaller, I wouldn’t hesitate. Everything else about the camera seems fantastic, although I get the impression that it won’t be as good to handle as the E-M1. That camera had awesome functionality and very nuanced design.

                Ming, how do you feel about the OVF and its inability to show you any shadow/highlight and depth of field feedback during exposure adjustment? Does your skill and experience make the real-time feedback of an EVF unnecessary? Does the OVF just get out of the way for you so that you can just get on with shooting? Or, do you have to chimp and check the result all the time? Has ETTR, with the increased risk of blowing out the highlights, been more difficult to use with an OVF? How often do you miss something because you couldn’t get the exposure right the first time?

                The new Samsung NX1 actually seems like it could have better image quality and high ISO performance than any other APS-C camera. If it out-performs the X-T1 and has great detail (and IQ that doesn’t look stressed when pushed a little) I would be pretty happy with that I think. It looks like they have included everything they could. No IBIS though, which is disappointing.

                • Ergonomics: I like the slightly larger size, to be honest; especially with larger lenses. Balance is better. The E-M1 needs a grip for lenses like the 40-150/2.8 because of the amount of weight forward.

                  OVF/EVF: I can live with either; remember the 810 and 645Z both have no EVFs, and if you’re doing very critical work you’re on a tripod and live view anyway – so the argument is moot. Or I can use a Zacuto and have the best of both worlds. Rarely do I miss things because of exposure, but then again I’ve shot manual enough to have a fairly good idea of what my desired exposure should be and I will take over control when the camera does something silly. What did people do before there were EVFs? 😉

                  • All good points, Ming. Thanks. I’ll go in and check out the lenses with the camera. They have a used 24-70 f2.8 G ED that is apparently in excellent condition and I’ll consider purchasing that one. I wasn’t going to get a medium zoom but ideally I’d like to have both primes and a zoom in the middle range. Although, I do like the way primes slow things down.

                    I do want the Nikkor 70-200 f4 (or, maybe the Tamron 70-200 f2.8), so perhaps the mid-zoom will have to wait even though I can get a good deal now.

                    That Zacuto gear looks like great precision quality.

                    • Nick, as per the OVF versus EVF, I too don’t find any issues. While the EVF is nice due to the ability to see the actual exposure, I just shoot RAW and post process the exposure that I want. Nikon D750 should have good enough DR for you to bump up or down the exposure. Or, just shoot in bracket mode 🙂

  74. Thanks for your thoughts Ming. I had the d750 in my hands yesterday. I do agree completely with you. It just feels right.
    So I also decided that this will be the cam replacing my Nikon D300 somewhere in the near future… around christmas. 🙂
    Oliver 2.0

  75. Reblogged this on jjscong and commented:
    Check the D750 Nikon.

  76. HI MT, I would like to ask that is it good to have this as I am a newbie in this area. If is not, what is the best suggestion that I can get it from you? Could I use this and take this as my very first beginner gear?

    Thank you.
    Jen.

    • Always buy education before equipment. The limitations are all on the photographer these days.

    • In my view DSLR’s make the basics unnecessarily difficult: achieving proper exposure, focusing accurately, and visualising the end result at the time of shooting. Sure, they come with advantages like faster AF, better continuous AF, and a viewfinder without any lag or brightness issues, but these are mainly useful for very experienced DSLR users. I would definitely recommend a mirrorless camera (or a large sensor compact or “bridge camera”) to any beginner, unless you already have sports/action photography as your main goal. It is a blessing to see a “digital” version of the image even before you click the shutter button, and an instant preview of the camera-processed image a split-second later. With DSLR you shoot, then preview on the back-LCD to see if you got what you wanted, while the opportunity runs away. Plus you’ll have to carry a lot more weight, worry about mirror alignment, etc.

  77. How does the D750 handle old Nikkors? Are there any limitations concerning metering? I’m talking Ai and AiS lenses now.

    • Works just fine with my Noct-Nikkor, except you don’t get highlight priority spot mode. In other words – same as every other pro Nikon except the Df, which has that little folding tab for pre-AI lenses.

  78. Ming, I hope you can review lumix dmc lx100 soon.
    Did you interested with this compact ? thanks.

    • Interested, but not interested enough to buy one – and no loaners forthcoming yet (Panasonic Malaysia doesn’t seem to be interested, as usual).

      • Could we perhaps crowd-fund a review? If 80 people pay $10 (or 160 people $5) it would cover the costs.

        • I suppose that would work!

          Here’s an interesting idea, and a workable business model for me:
          160 people pay $10. At the end, I’ll raffle off the camera to those who paid. Somebody will take it home for $10, the rest get the information they want, and I justify the three days spent. 🙂

          • Haha .. well yes. Why not. I would anytime give an amount to have your and Lloyds opinion before I throw money in some manufacturers direction. I have paid the high price having bought stuff based on traditional commercial reviews!

          • Well, count me in. It’s a camera I’m seriously considering, and a review from you for $10 + a small chance to get the camera is a very good deal.

            • Noted! 159 to go…

              • Hey, you won’t get them all through the comments on the D750 😛

              • Evan McKnight says:

                I would pay into a deal like that for a review of camera I am interested in. I have a Lumix Lx7 thanks to your review (so does my father). I am thinking of a Ricoh GR, but I would love to hear your thoughts on the Lumix Lx100. I would be happy to pay $10 especially if I had the chance to win the camera. In fact, I would be happy to pay for a review of yours without the chance to win anything (as long as it was on a piece of gear I was seriously considering). Perhaps the winner could get a credit, or a chance to win one of your instructional videos. That would also be a great intensive to help pay for a review. Anyway, thanks for the review of the D750. With the arrival of the 7D mark II I am still holding out for a replacement for my D300, but if it never comes the d750 might be the next Nikon I’ll buy.

                • That is a possibility, too. I shall have to give the mechanics of this some serious thought. Can’t help you on the D300 replacement, but to be honest unless you need the reach/pixel density, I don’t see much reason not go to FX. The camera body itself can’t shrink much due to ergonomic limits and the flange distance of the mount anyway.

                  • Evan McKnight says:

                    Thanks for the reply. I have you making outstanding images videos and am very much enjoying them. That said I am guilty of being a gear head. I initially found you sight looking for reviews on the Ricoh GR. The review was great, but it was your images that kept me coming back again and again. I guess that could be a good way to tie the marketing of one’s technique with the acquisition of gear.

                    As far as the dx vs fx goes, I have the nikon 70-200 VRI (and a tokina 11-16) which I very much like on dx and hear it (the 70-200 VR I) is not the best performer on fx. Perhaps the difference is not so great. At the moment I am thinking about the GR and GW-3 for the wide end (much lighter than a d300 and tokina 11-16 and I don’t like 16mm for much) and a nikon dx/fx with the 70-200 Vr I 2.8 or getting the 85 G f1.8 for the longer end. Maybe a 50 G f1.8 to replace the 50 D 1.4 that was dropped on the beach with some junk that made it into the lens, but doesn’t show up on the dx frame.

                    Thanks again for the all reviews and more so the great images!

                    • If I wanted to do that, I’d just review popular cameras and say everything is good (clearly supported by results). I only review what interests me, and that’s usually a rather eclectic collection, and usually find something wrong with everything. 🙂

  79. Tried out the D750 myself earlier this week and, like you, I wasn’t there to look at it, but ended up placing an order for when they get them back in stock. The grip just felt fantastic. I’m used to a D600, btw.

    I’m using the DSLR as my serious camera. Meaning when I don’t mind the extra weight and bulk. And the trip is mostly photography related (that would be most outings except for just walking the dog). I’m always shooting for my own pleasure and enjoyment, and my needs are not easily defined “today”. It’s like with my first DSLR and reading that you didn’t need more than 6MP. At the time it was right, but the images I get with my current gear are technically much better (details in particular). My earliest negative scans (of 800×600) doesn’t hold up when viewed on todays computer screens. What I’m trying to say here, is that I always buy/use something that is not really needed today, but that I may regret in the future. That’s why I may use a DSLR when a cell phone is sufficient. Like one reader commented above, I believe my own best pictures where taken when I was just snapping in a spontanous moment.

    I’m a pixle peeper by nature.Unfortunately, I end up buying too many cameras trying to find the perfect camera for me. I’m not sure if it is easier for a pro photographer, but money aside, I think it may be easier to find the best camera/lens/gear for a certain job since you often are making an image that are to be used “now” (and by someone else?) since your limitations mostly are technology (creativity aside). That’s why I often find it more interesting to read about what pro photographers are using for their own private pleasure/use. You see all these photographers that travel the world for National Geo with large and heavy DSLR. You want to use the same because it is the best and buy all the gear you can. Then on a Vacation you run into one of them and realise he is using a completely different camera for his own work. Right camera for the right job, but it’s hard to define the “job” when it’s really not a job.:-)

    Okay, just a sidetrack/rambling and little on the philosophical side. I’m just trying to decide if I should stick with the D600, get the D750 I have on order, or perhaps buy a E-M1 instead….

    • It’s not any easier for us, because we do get accustomed to a certain level of ‘X’ (resolution, speed, AF, format, aperture etc.) we have when working professionally because we bring the right tools for the job; this isn’t ever the case with personal photography, because as you say, it isn’t clear what those objectives are. Basically, it boils down to: do you want to be creative in a very specific way, in which case specialized tools are needed, or do you just want to have something generally capable in case you see something? I’ve been trying to find something to fill the latter hole, but without too many compromises. I suppose this is about as close as I’m likely to get for now…

      • It’s not easy and I totally agree,

        What I was thinking about when refering to a pro was that you have your option(s) of high MP count, fast fps but perhaps not both. But technology is part of what is limting and making the choices difficult. It’s like wanting a SUV that looks like a sports car. You’re either 2 inches or 15-20 inches off the ground, and can’t be both (yet).

        As an enthusiast I find what is holding me back is more on a personal level. Do I want to carry a big og small camera and/or big or small lens?. And for me to drag out the D600 at a social gathering in a restaurant or a party, is usually a turnoff or results in weird looks (while everyone else is snapping away on their cell phone).

        • Well, BMW tried with the X6, and that’s not particularly good at being either 🙂

          I seldom need fast fps; it’s more like the optical/support/ weight demands of having high MP counts and making the most of them that come into play.

          Can’t say I’ve had any problems with pulling out the camera, but then again everybody seems to expect it from me…

  80. Nice to see you are as susceptible to a GAS attack as the rest of us! 😉

    This is a nice essay in post-purchase rationalization, when the reason you bought it was that it felt nice in the shop.

    It wil be interesting though to see if you discover areas (video, tilt screen) where you start choosing it more for serious work over the D810.

    P.S. – had my D810 just a week now. I love the new quitter shutter.

    • Probably more so, if anything 😦

      I’ve already chosen it for video; first assignment with it is tomorrow. High ISO too, probably – that 1-1.5 stop advantage may well be a bit more in the shadows because of the difference in native tonal response between 750 and 810 (netural-recovery vs highlight-biased)

  81. YES, any new DSLR NIKON or CANON needs some help today!

  82. I really wasn’t expecting you to get one of these, just because you are so used to the high MP ones.

    Other day I was conflicted by a doubt about iso/aperture compromise. I was in Iceland shooting the nothern lights with a sigma 35 f/1.4, and I was asking myself if I raise the ISO and the aperture, the bigger aperture (from f/1.4 to f/2, lets say) would give me better images even with the higher ISO? What do you think, usually you use the sweet spot aperture raising the ISO or you rather stick with a lower ISO and use an aperture farther from the sweet spot?

    ps: consider that DOF is not an issue, like focusing stuff only on infinity.

    • Neither was I, to be honest. The high resolution cameras are capable of outstanding results, but are very, very demanding to shoot – otherwise, you might as well relive yourself of the stress and weight.

      Aperture/ISO tradeoff – depends how much ISO penalty, and how much your optics improve with stopping down. This is one of the reasons I like the Otuses; they’re just as good at f1.4 as they are at f2.8. A Nikon 28/1.8 would be a different story…

  83. Awesome! Congrats on the new camera! Also nice to see your take on it..

  84. Looks like a nice machine. I’d probably get one if I still felt the need for a DSLR.

    Here’s the fun part: I reckon the very fact that you feel less of the “serious” and more of the “fun” about this camera is going to work in your favour when and if you DO use it for “serious” work.

    I definitely subscribe (to an extent) to a theory which states that we rarely, if ever, do our best work when we’re actively trying to, and that we do our best work when we are half focusing and half spacing out and our creative side comes to the fore. That’s the magic zone for really interesting pictures (personal work, of course; I’m not a pro so I can’t speak for commercial work). Too much focus and your concentration can’t last, too little and you won’t see anything. Get in the middle – and you’re in that zone where the potential lies.

    Thus, if you have a “less serious” camera with you, you will be less focused on “getting great shots” and more focused on “enjoying shooting” – and I’d bet heavily that the second of those two approaches yields more great pictures.

    Hope the “fun factor” lasts!

    • You’re probably right; you can’t force creativity (though government incubators and clients seem to think it’s something that has a switch or tap or just needs a building with the right name).

      No reason why the technical and the artistic/fun can’t merge, but I do agree that it’s very difficult to have your brain in two places at once. There are times and subjects which just don’t require an ultraprint or the kind of weight/intimidation factor of MF or Otuses – family gatherings for instance – I’m finding the D750 is perfect for that.

  85. Jim Austin says:

    A former fellow physicist here (PhD), seeking–sorry–gear-buying advice. I think I’ve read all the relevant stuff on your site; now I’m seeking a distillation and your perspective. Bottom line: I’m looking to improve my skills–a lot–and I’m wondering if it makes sense to switch from my current DX (D7000) to a good FF like the D750. (Since the trade value of the 7000 is low, I’d probably keep it. So then I’d still have it. 🙂 Yes, part of it is, I like new toys. But I’m serious about raising my game.

    Rationale: Mainly has to do with the kinds of images I like, and a sense that a good FF sensor is more likely to provide those qualities. Another factor is that I’ve decided I want to learn to take pictures properly; I’m not sure I want to be a pro, but I do want to become very skilled. I have some time now and want to do it right. (FWIW, I intend to check out some of your courses.) I’m thinking a good all-round FF camera might be the best choice for that.

    Another factor: I read your review of the Sigma 21 (compared to the Loxia 21) and greatly admired it. Then I thought: With my camera the perspective will be completely different. Does a lens even exist that would provide the same perspective and quality in DX format? Even setting aside the 1-stop light loss, I seriously doubt it. (Thoughts?)

    I’m tempted to go D810, for reasons similar, I think, to yours in selling the D750 you so enjoyed: It does the same things but has more potential. The 750 would be a more comfortable purchase–especially since I’ll be needing to fill in some lens gaps. (I don’t have a mint invested in DX-only lenses, but still will have some gaps to fill.)

    So what do you think? D750? Or stick with my D7000, at least for a while?

    If I do go with a FF camera, is there a particular lens (or two) you would you recommend for general use? I read your review of the kit lens; I think I’m hoping for something a little less compromised. I already own a 70-200/2.8. Need to–um–focus on the short end.

    Thanks.

  86. 21-equivalent on DX: not that I know of.

    The D810 is quite a bit more camera to handle than the D750, and if done improperly, will yield worse results. Plus lens demands are significantly higher.

    To be honest, I’d stick to the 7000 for now. You’ll know when your equipment is the limiting factor…

Trackbacks

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  4. […] which might make or break a fairly unexceptional piece of hardware – the grip shape on the D750, for instance, is utterly magical to my hands. It might not be for you, though. There’s no […]

  5. […] series was shot with a Nikon D810, D750, 24/3.5 PCE, 45/2.8P, Zeiss 1.4/85 Otus and Voigtlander 180/4 APO-Lanthar and processed with PS […]

  6. […] running and gunning thanks to VR. It pairs very well with the 16 and 24MP cameras – D4, D4s, D750 – you could probably add a 50/1.8G or 85/1.8G and be very happy for a long time. But then […]

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  10. […] – it doesn’t roll off nicely in the highlights like the D810. ISO for ISO, lens for lens, the D750 delivers a better quality file – with about 1-1.5 additional stops of usable (i.e. clean, […]

  11. […] (New addition, 14 Jan) – Nikon D750 body Price: US$1,700 Condition: Mint-, boxed, still very much under warranty. Needless to say […]

  12. […] compacts; it’s either this or the GR, but not both. And I’m not sure this supplants the D750-50/1.8G combination on the fun and dependability factors (it doesn’t do any harm that the […]

  13. […] a more serious note, there’s a special offer going on with the Nikon D750 and excellent all-round AFS 24-120/4 VR lens (I have both) at B&H – $600 off to a total […]

  14. […] Thein does his usual thorough and lengthy bit about why he ended up buying a Nikon D750. Short version: because he enjoys […]

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