Back in September, Nikon announced yet another full-frame DSLR to add to its broad lineup — the upper-mid-level D750. Equipped with a pivoting LCD and a handful of video specific features, this new guy is chasing the hearts of filmmakers in particular. At first glance it's a welcome addition to an already proven camera lineup. Regardless, I put it through the paces to see if it's worth the purchase for the video inclined DSLR wielder.
The $2399 (Australian RRP) D750 feels like Nikon's D610 built to be video-friendly. Where the $1900 D610 felt like the full-frame upgrade to the lower-level D700, the new D750 looks like a D610 that's been refined and polished, providing roughly the same photo experience with better video software and the more accommodating hardware. These model numbers sure are getting confusing.
Ergonomically, the D750 is almost identical to the D610 except for the new pivot LCD. A new feature, and a first for Nikon's higher-end lineup, the LCD tilts up and down providing way more flexibility in choosing a shooting angle. This is an often overlooked weakness of most pro DSLRs. Lacking a tilt-screen makes shooting from down low or up high an exercise in bodily contortion. The trade-off is that it makes the body less rugged and weather-resistant. The rest of the control layout is the same as the D610, where a slew of controls are placed to the left of the display. Personally I prefer this layout to the D810 — the ISO is a lot more accessible here for adjusting on the fly.
Internally, the D750 and D610 use the same 24.3 megapixel sensor. Where the performance differs is in video shooting. The software in the D750 adds the option for 50 and 60 fps at 1080p. The D750 inherits the processor of the more expensive D810, along with its superior AF and metering system. It also includes every video feature of its more robust brother except for the ability to drop to an ISO of 64. The video specific submenu has some welcome features like wind noise reduction and voice frequency targeted audio recording for on the fly no-prep shooting. Though if you're not recording with an additional mic it's still gonna sound like fairly muddy DSLR audio.
Photos coming out of the D750 are great — obviously. What could you complain about with its proven 24 MP sensor? Here's a flickr gallery just to prove the point.
On the video side, the D750's footage looks fantastic. Even compared to the 5D mark III (once the heralded king of DSLR video) its images are noticeably sharper and resolve detail that the muddy 5D sensor can barely handle. However, similar to other Nikon DSLRs, the D750 suffers when you move up to higher ISOs. Above ISO 1600, muddy details form in the shadows and splotches occur throughout the more detail dense areas.
Of course, the pivot LCD is great for video. Holding a DSLR out at eye-level is rarely a comfortable position, but is basically the only option if your camera has a fixed display. A tilting LCD allows for much more comfortable positions with which to frame your shot.
The main benefactors of the D750 are going to be people who already own Nikon lenses, and are looking to step up from an older or lower-end model. Though if you are looking at a brand-new camera system that is great at video and photo uses, it would be wrong to recommend the D750 over a smaller and lighter camera like the Sony A7s. For almost the same price, the A7s shoots superior video and is much easier on the arms. Just bear in mind that it won't compete with the D750 in terms of auto-focus or resolution, as the a7s only has a 12MP sensor.
For the person who already owns Nikon glass, and has no intention of leaving the system, this is the new camera to have. Go out and get it. It's compact, powerful, and can accomplish photography with ease. What makes it shine is its extra video features that make it a true jack-of-all-trades.