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Nikon D750: A $2,300 full-frame dSLR with crowd-pleasing potential

For the D750, Nikon blends the old D610 and the new D810, for a camera that's likely better than one and lots cheaper than the other.

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Lori Grunin
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Lori Grunin

Senior Editor / Reviews

I've been writing about and reviewing consumer technology since before the turn of the century. I'm also a photographer and cat herder, frequently at the same time.

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6 min read

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It's been so long since Nikon introduced the D700 -- it's over six years old -- that asking "what's new?" for the $2,300 D750 (I don't have non-US pricing yet, but that's roughly £1,420/AU$2,530) is pretty much irrelevant. It's all new.

A more interesting question might be "what's different from the D810," which costs $1,000 more. (Note that my analysis may change once I have pricing for other regions.) That answer essentially boils down to just a few things: the D750's sensor has an OLPF and lower resolution ("only" 24.3MP), a CompactFlash slot, it maxes out at one stop slower shutter speed (1/4000 sec vs. 1/8000 sec), and it has a lower flash sync of 1/200 vs. 1/250 sec.

Nikon positions the D750 as a more general-purpose camera than the D810, and the sensor does make a big difference if you want the sharpest stills possible.

Nikon D750, a midrange full frame revised (pictures)

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That said, the D750 has several potential advantages over the D810: an updated, more low-light sensitive autofocus system (though it still has the same number and type of focus points); slightly better continuous-shooting performance; built-in Wi-Fi; a tilting LCD; longer battery life; and it's smaller and lighter.

With comparable weather sealing, video capabilities, and lots more, I suspect some folks who bought the D810 are facepalming about now.

On the flip side, though, as a general-purpose full-frame it runs into the D610's territory, and that camera currently runs about $400 less. The D750's advantages over the D610 include newer autofocus and metering systems, slightly faster continuous shooting, 1080/60p video and clean HDMI out, a tilting LCD, built-in Wi-Fi, USB 3.0 support, and better battery life. And, in fact, with a few minor exceptions it has the same body design as the D610. That's a lot more camera for a fairly modest price differential.

The D750's body uses magnesium alloy for the rear and top cover, but incorporates lighter carbon fiber for the front chassis and cover. Otherwise, the design bears a striking resemblance to the D610. The D750 does have an extra Effects option on the mode dial and the Info button and Live View/Movie switch have swapped places, but really, overall the D750 feels more like a successor to the D610 than the D700.

It inherits some feature updates from the D810, including the more granular Picture Control settings (plus a new a new Flat profile for video and stills you plan to edit). It also introduces a Movie tab in the Menu system, which allows you to save different Picture Control, ISO sensitivity, and white balance settings, among other things.

My take

As long as Nikon didn't make any mistakes with the D750, it sounds like it will likely please a lot of the D700 users who've been holding out for something less expensive and lighter than the D810, though I suspect a subset will be cranky about the OLPF on the sensor and possibly the slower flash sync speed. And the potential performance improvements over the D610, plus the better feature set, make it look like a much better value, at least on paper. I'd expect to see the D610's price drop soon.

As for the competition, the D750 looks a lot better than the Canon EOS 6D, which is now over a year-and-a-half old and also ready for a price drop. Canon simply doesn't have a competitor for this anymore. The Sony Alpha SLT-A99 is also two years old -- it debuted at the last Photokina -- but Sony put a lot of newer technology in it at the time and it started out at as a higher-end model, so it's stood the test of time a little better than the 6D. Plus the price has dropped substantially since it launched. Despite its poor battery life, it's still a pretty good alternative to these.

Of course, there's also the mirrorless Sony Alpha A7 for those willing to forgo the optical viewfinder; it's the cheapest of the lot, not to mention the smallest. But it has miserable battery life and poor continuous-shooting performance for this class of camera.

Overall, I think the D750 has a lot of promise; I'll see when I get my hands on one to test.

Comparative specifications

Canon EOS 6D Nikon D610 Nikon D750 Nikon D810 Sony Alpha SLT-A99
Sensor effective resolution 20.2MP CMOS
n/a
14-bit
24.3MP CMOS
n/a
14-bit
24.3MP CMOS
n/a
14-bit
36.3MP CMOS
12-channel readout
14-bit
24.3mp Exmor CMOS
n/a
14-bit
Sensor size 35.8 x 23.9mm 35.8 x 24mm 35.9 x 24mm 35.9 mm x 24mm 35.8 x 23.9mm
Focal-length multiplier 1.0x 1.0x 1.0x 1.0x 1.0x
OLPF Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Sensitivity range ISO 100 - ISO 25600/102,400 (exp) ISO 50 (exp)/100 - ISO 6400/ 25600 (exp) ISO 50 (exp)/100 - ISO 12800/51200 (exp) ISO 32 (exp)/64 - ISO 12800/51200 (exp) ISO 50 (exp)/ISO 100 - ISO 51200/ISO 102400 (exp,
via multishot NR)
Burst shooting 4.5fps
15 raw/unlimited JPEG
6fps
n/a
6.5fps
n/a
5fps
n/a
(6fps in DX mode, 7fps with battery grip)
6fps
13 raw/14 JPEG
Viewfinder
(mag/ effective mag)
Optical
97% coverage
0.71x/0.71x
Optical
100% coverage
0.70x/0.7x
Optical
100% coverage
0.70x/0.70x
Optical
100% coverage
0.70x/0.70x
OLED EVF
0.5-inch
2.4 million dots
100% coverage
0.71x/0.71x
Hot Shoe Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Autofocus 11-pt AF
1 center cross type
39-pt
9 cross type
(Multi-CAM 4800-FX)
51-pt
15 cross type
11 cross type to f8
(Multi-CAM 3500-FX II)
51-pt
15 cross type
11 cross type to f8
(Multi-CAM 3500-FX)
Dual phase-detection system
19pt
11 cross type;
102pt focal plane
AF sensitivity
(at center point)
-3 - 18 EV -1 - 19 EV -3 - 19 EV -2 - 19 EV -1 - 18 EV
Shutter speed 1/4,000 to 30 secs; bulb; 1/180 sec x-sync 1/4,000 to 30 secs; bulb; 1/200 sec x-sync 1/4000 to 30 secs; bulb; 1/200 sec x-sync 1/8000 to 30 secs; bulb; 1/250 sec x-sync 1/8,000 to 30 secs; bulb; 1/250 sec x-sync
Shutter durability 100,000 cycles 150,000 cycles 150,000 cycles 200,000 cycles 200,000 cycles
Metering 63-area iFCL 2,016-pixel RGB 3D Color Matrix Metering II 91,000-pixel RGB 3D Color Matrix Metering III 91,000-pixel RGB 3D Color Matrix Metering III 1,200 zones
Metering sensitivity 0 - 20 EV 0 - 20 EV 0 - 20 EV 0 - 20 EV -2 - 17 EV
Best video H.264 QuickTime MOV
1080/30p, 25p, 24p; 720/60p, 50p
H.264 Quicktime MOV
1080/30p, 25p, 24p; 720/60p, 50p, 25p, 24p
H.264 Quicktime MOV
1080/60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, 24p
H.264 QuickTime MOV
1080/60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, 24p
bitrate n/a
AVCHD 1080/60p @ 28Mbps, 1080/24p @ 24MBps
Audio mono; mic input mono; mic input; jack stereo; mic input; jack stereo; mic input; jack stereo; mic input; jack
Manual aperture and shutter in video Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Maximum best-quality recording time 29m59s 20 minutes 20 minutes 20 minutes internal
40 minutes (with external pack)
n/a
Clean HDMI out No No Yes Yes Yes
IS Optical Optical Optical Optical Sensor shift
LCD 3 in/7.5 cm
Fixed
1.04m dots
3.2 in/8 cm
Fixed
921,000 dots
3.2 in/8cm
Tilting
921,000 dots
RGBW
3.2 in/8 cm
Fixed
921,000 dots
RGBW
3 in/7.5 cm
Articulated
921,000 dots
RGBW
Memory slots 1 x SDXC 2 x SDXC 2 x SDXC 1 x CF (UDMA mode 7), 1 x SDXC 2 x SDXC
Wireless connection Wi-Fi Via optional WU-1b Wireless Mobile Adapter Wi-Fi Optional
(WT-4A Wireless transmitter or UT-1 Communication Unit with WT-5A)
None
Flash Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Wireless flash No Yes Yes Yes No
Battery life (CIPA rating) 1090
(1,800mAh)
900 shots
(1,900 mAh)
1,230 shots
(1,900 mAh)
1,200 shots
(1,800 mAh)
410 shots
(1,650mAh)
Size (WHD) 5.7 x 4.4 x 2.8 in
144.8 x 111.8 x 71.1 mm
5.5 x 4.5 x 3.2 in
140.0 x 114.3 x 81.3 mm
5.6 x 4.5 x 3.1 in
140.5 x 113 x 78 mm
5.8 x 4.9 x 3.3 in
146 x 123 x 81.5 mm mm
5.9 x 4.5 x 3.1 in
147 x 111.2 x 78.4 mm
Body operating weight 27.2 oz
771.1 g
30.1 oz
853.3 g
26.5 oz (est.)
750 g (est.)
35 oz (est)
992.2 g (est)
29.2 oz
827.8
Mfr. price (body only) $1,900
£1,300 (est.)
AU$1,900
$1,900
£1,300 (est.)
AU$2,300
$2300
£n/a
AU$n/a
$3,300
£2,700
AU$4,000
$2,300
£ 2,000
AU$2,800
Release date December 2012 October 2013 September 2014 July 2014 October 2012