Nikon D750 Technical Info

by Mike Tomkins

A full-frame sensor and speedy processor

The core of the Nikon D750 is a 24.3-megapixel, FX-format CMOS image sensor that, while identical to that in the D610 in terms of resolution, is described by Nikon as being newly-developed. And as in the D610, the sensor sits under an optical low-pass filter that helps fight moiré, aliasing and false color.

Unlike that camera, though, the Nikon D750 pairs its sensor with the same next-generation EXPEED 4 image processor seen previously in the D810. This allows a slightly swifter burst-shooting rate of 6.5 frames per second according to Nikon's in-house testing. By way of contrast, the D610 and D810 top out at rates of 6fps and 5fps respectively, albeit with the Nikon D810 having to handle a much greater quantity of data for each frame.

The sensor and processor pairing of the Nikon D750 also best the D610 with a wider sensitivity range of ISO 100 to 12,800 equivalents, expandable to encompass everything from 50 to 51,200 equivalents. The D610's standard sensitivity range is ISO 100 to 6400 equivalents, expandable to cover ISO 50 to 25,600, so the D750 wins out at the top end in both standard and expanded ranges. The D810, meanwhile, offers a standard range of ISO 64 to 12,800 equivalents, expandable to ISO 32 to 51,200, so that camera is matched by its more affordable new sibling at the top end, but can offer even lower sensitivity at the bottom end of the range.

Nikon D750 review -- back view with LCD tilted up

A first for Nikon full-frame: Display articulation!

Although its 100% pentaprism viewfinder is very similar to that of the D610, beneath it the Nikon D750 boasts a first for a Nikon FX-format camera. A tilting LCD monitor will help when framing shots over your head, from the hip, or low to the ground, and despite its inclusion the D750 is still dust and moisture-resistant thanks to an array of seals and gaskets.

The display itself is based around a 3.2-inch TFT LCD panel with a high resolution of 1,229k-dots, which translates to a 640 x 480 pixel array with four dots per pixel. The panel has wide viewing angles of around 170 degrees, and looks to be the same type used on the Nikon D810.

Nikon doesn't specifically refer to this as being a WhiteMagic display -- that's a brandname used by LCD panel maker Sony -- but based on the dot count that's likely what it is. WhiteMagic displays add an extra white dot alongside the red, green and blue dots found on most displays. By adding the white dot, brightness can be increased outdoors for better visibility, or the power consumption decreased while retaining a certain brightness level indoors.

Nikon D750 review -- right view with AF-S 24-120mm lens

Even better low-light focusing

The Nikon D750's autofocus system, too, is derived from that in the Nikon D810, but it's been further refined.

Based around a Multi-CAM 3500FX phase detection autofocus sensor module with 51 focus points (of which 15 are cross types), it will now focus all the way down to -3EV, a full EV lower than in the D810 -- and that improvement has been made without changing the upper limit of 19EV. The take home: You'll be able to focus in lower ambient light than ever before. And of the 15 cross-type sensors, 11 of these are sensitive to apertures as narrow as f/8.

As well as allowing the camera to select automatically from among all 51 points (with optional 3D tracking), the Nikon D750 will let you opt for an array of 9 or 21 points, if you don't need the full point density, or you can simply lock the focus system to a single point. Auto-area AF and Group-area AF modes are also provided, the latter being primarily for action photography. When enabled, the camera can switch to a point surrounding your chosen one if subject distance for your chosen point suddenly changes but that for the surrounding point doesn't, the assumption being that you've probably just slipped off the subject slightly.

Autofocus servo modes include single-servo, continuous-servo, and in live view or movie modes, full-time servo or face-priority. You can also focus manually, of course, with a digital rangefinder function provided.

The aforementioned focus tracking function is predictive, making educated guesses about the motion of your subject based on its past history. If needed, you can also fine-tune autofocus for specific lenses. An autofocus assist illuminator is included, and has a working range of 20 inches to almost ten feet (0.5-3m).

Nikon D750 review -- left view with AF-S 24-120mm lens

Helping you hold onto those highlights

The Nikon D750's exposure system is similar to that of the Nikon D610, but with a few important changes.

There's still a straightforward Mode dial, rather than the slightly less intuitive Exposure Mode button of the D810. Available exposure modes include fully Automatic, Program, Aperture-priority, Shutter-priority and Manual, and there are also two User modes, a Flash Off mode, and a Scene position. (This might not be a camera aimed at amateurs, but if you let a friend or family member use your camera, having these simple modes to help set up the shot might still be worthwhile.)

As well as all of the above, there's also a new addition to the Mode dial, however: a new Effects position that gives quick access to a variety of image effect types.

Shutter speeds range from 1/4,000 to 30 seconds plus Bulb, just as they do in the D610, so the D810's top speed of 1/8,000 second still serves to differentiate the pricier camera. So, too, does its greater shutter life of 200,000 cycles, where the Nikon D750 follows the path trodden by the more affordable D610, with a shutter life of 150,000 cycles.

However, where the D610 opted for a less sophisticated metering system based around a 2,016 pixel RGB metering sensor, the Nikon D750 uses the same 91,000 pixel RGB metering system found on the Nikon D810. Metering modes include 3D Color Matrix Metering III / Color Matrix Metering III / Color Matrix Metering, depending on lens type mounted, as well as Center-weighted, Spot, and one new option. Inherited from the D810, Highlight-weighted metering does what it says on the can: It will aim to hold on to highlights at the expense of some shadow detail. This can be useful when you have strong highlights that you need to hold onto -- the bride's wedding dress, for example.

As in the other cameras we're comparing it to, the Nikon D750 has a generous exposure compensation range of +/-5EV in 1/3 or 1/2 EV steps, and an exposure lock function is provided, just as you'd expect. Where the D610 could only bracket two or three frames, though, the Nikon D750 will please HDR fans by providing 2 to 9 frame bracketing, just as did the D810.

In one respect, though, the D750's metering system is bested by both the Nikon D610 and D810. Although it shares the same working range as those cameras in most modes -- 0 to 20EV -- when you switch to Spot metering the range is curtailed at the bottom end somewhat, encompassing everything from 2 to 20EV. Nikon rates the other two cameras at 0 to 20EV in all metering modes.

Nikon D750 review -- front left view with flash deployed

Throwing more light on the subject

Pros might turn their noses up at in-camera flash, but truth be told, it can be a handy feature if for no other reason than that it's always there. With the best planning in the world, you're inevitably going to find yourself without your flash strobe when you need it one day, having convinced yourself to travel light with no expectation of the difficult subject that has just presented itself.

In-camera flash might be wimpier than an external strobe, and the light it throws might be less flattering too, but it's probably better than no shot at all. Like the D610 and D810 before it, the Nikon D750 recognizes that fact, and includes a built-in, popup flash strobe that just might save your bacon one day. Of course, if you remember your external strobe you can mount that too, and Nikon's Creative Lighting System is fully supported.

The built-in flash itself and related features are much as they were in the D810, save for differences dictated by the D750's exposure system. The built-in flash has a range of 39 feet at ISO 100, provides -3 to +1EV of flash exposure compensation, and supports front- and rear-curtain sync with or without slow-sync and red-eye reduction. Flash sync is at up to 1/200 second, or 1/4,000 second max. in Auto FP mode, and two to nine-frame bracketing of flash exposures is possible.

One omission in this department: Althought the Nikon D810 includes a flash sync terminal, the Nikon D750 lacks this feature, just as does the D610. Given the ready availability of hot shoe to sync terminal adapters, that's not something which should sway your decision, however.

Nikon D750 review -- right view with optional battery grip

Tweaks to creative functions

There are a couple of important tweaks to Nikon's Picture Control settings in the D750. Firstly, there's a new Clarity setting, which adjusts contrast of midtones to emphasize or obscure image detail to your tastes. There is also a new Flat picture control as seen in a couple of other recent models, which gives you maximum scope for adjusting images yourself post-capture. And Nikon's Picture Controls are now adjustable in quarter-step arbitrary increments, providing more scope for fine-tuning precisely to your own tastes.

Nikon D750 review -- left view with optional battery grip

The more affordable full-frame movie camera

Videographers will be thrilled by the fact that the Nikon D750 provides much the same movie capture feature set as did the D810, but at a much lower price point. (And it bests the D610 for movie shooting by quite some margin, despite costing only a little more.) If shooting videos is important to you, it's definitely worth the step up.

First, the basics: You can shoot at up to Full HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixel; 1080p) resolution, with frame rates of 60, 50, 30, 25, or 24 frames per second, so whatever your intended purpose -- European or US TV, cinema, and so on -- you should be covered without the need to degrade quality or change playback speed by converting the frame rate. HD (1,280 x 720 pixels; 720p) capture is also provided, but with only a choice of 60p or 50p frame rates.

Movies are compressed using MPEG-4 AVC / H.264 encoding and stored in a .MOV container, along with stereo Linear PCM audio from either a built-in or external stereo microphone. (A headphone jack is also provided for levels monitoring.) More importantly for those who crave the highest possible quality, though, uncompressed 8-bit, 4:2:2 HDMI output is possible at the same as recording 8-bit compressed 4:2:0 video to an internal card, allowing you to save uncompressed video to an external capture device. (Or if you prefer, simply control the compression type used as allowed by the external device.)

Nikon D750 review -- in the hand

Program, priority and manual exposure is possible, and if you want to control both shutter speed and aperture without having to worry about scene brightness, Auto ISO sensitivity is also available in manual mode. And the aforementioned highlight-priority metering mode of the D750 is also available for movie capture. Better still, aperture adjustment is possible during video capture courtesy of a Power Aperture feature that smoothly, steplessly changes the aperture using the aperture preview and function buttons on the camera's front deck, or optionally, the AF selector on the back. (The latter will adjust the aperture in steps, however.)

And that's not all, either. You can also switch between FX-format and DX-format (full-frame and APS-C cropped) modes for video capture, just as you can for stills, increasing your telephoto reach as needed. There's also a zebra striping function to indicate overexposure, a time lapse / intervalometer movie mode with exposure smoothing to take account of changes in scene brightness, and even the ability to select frequency ranges for capture by the internal microphone. Oh, and picture controls on offer include flat, allowing you to color correct and grade to your heart's desire.

Wi-Fi where it belongs -- rejoice!

Nikon has long offered Wi-Fi wireless networking connectivity for its DSLRs, but it's typically been outside the camera, relying on an external accessory. That approach has several drawbacks -- the need to buy the separate device and to bring it with you, as well as the fact that when connected, it disturbs the camera's clean lines and ergonomics, as well as disrupting its weather-sealed nature.

Now, the Nikon D750 puts Wi-Fi where it truly belongs: inside the camera. There's nothing extra to buy, nor to remember to bring with you. It's always there when you need it, and that applies even when you're shooting in dusty or rainy environments. And when you don't need it, you can simply forget it's there: There's no clumsy Wi-Fi dongle to keep track of. Best of all, the D750's in-camera Wi-Fi functions just as did the external accessory, working with the very same Wireless Mobile Utility apps for Android and iOS devices, so if you already own another Nikon DSLR and Wi-Fi accessory, you know what to expect in terms of the basics.

There are, of course, a couple of drawbacks to the in-camera Wi-Fi approach. (Isn't that always the way?) For one thing, the Wi-Fi radio piggybacks off the camera's battery, so the number of shots you'll get on a charge will be reduced when using in-camera Wi-Fi. And Nikon's UT-1 Communication Unit allows connection to a wired ethernet network, not just a Wi-Fi network. It also provides support for FTP transfer, and more remote control features. Wi-Fi connectivity is also said to be more robust, likely because the external device has more room for an antenna, and less shielding getting in its way.

The good news? If any of these are of the least concern for you, the D750 will still work with the UT-1 unit, so you can continue working with it just as you would have done in the past.

Nikon D750 review -- dual SD card slots

Storage and connectivity

Like the D610, the Nikon D750 opts for two Secure Digital card slot, rather than the one-apiece SD and CompactFlash card slots of the D810. We don't yet know whether it can take advantage of high-speed UHS-I cards, but high-capacity SDHC and SDXC cards are certainly compatible.

Nikon D750 review -- ports

Connectivity options include USB 2.0 data, Type-C Mini HDMI, 3.5mm microphone / headphone jacks, and an eight-pin accessory terminal. The latter is compatible with Nikon's MC-DC2 remote cord, as well as the GP-1 GPS unit. You can also use the ML-L3 infrared remote with the D750.

Even better battery life

The Nikon D750 draws power from the same EN-EL15 lithium-ion rechargeable battery pack as did the D610 and D810, but battery life is better than in either earlier model. Where the D610 is rated as good for 900 shots to CIPA testing standards, and the D810 for 1,200 shots, the D750 bests both its siblings with a rated life of 1,230 shots.) And the aforementioned MB-D16 battery grip should be able to double battery life with a second EN-EL15 installed, or you can use six AA batteries with the included MS-D14 AA battery holder.

 

In the Box

The Nikon D750 retail kit with 24-120mm lens package (as reviewed) contains the following items:

  • Nikon D750 camera body
  • AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR Lens
  • EN-EL15 Lithium-Ion Battery (1900mAh)
  • MH-25A Battery Charger for EN-EL 15 Li-Ion Battery
  • UC-E17 USB Cable
  • AN-DC14 Neck Strap for Nikon D750 DSLR Camera (Black)
  • BF-1B Body Cap
  • DK-5 Eyepiece Shield (Replacement)
  • DK-21 Rubber Eyecup for Nikon D80, D90, D200, D600 & D7000 Digital Cameras
  • Software CD-ROM
  • Limited 1-Year Warranty

Recommended Accessories

  • Large capacity SDHC/SDXC memory card. 16GB Class 10 should be a minimum.
  • Extra EN-EL15 battery pack (~US$47)
  • Nikon MB-D16 Multi Power Battery Pack for D750 (~US$370)
  • Nikon Speedlight flash
  • Medium/Large DSLR bag

 



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