Monday, October 20, 2014

REVIEW: Nikon D750 with 24-120mm Lens with Real World Images (Part I of II)

Nikon D750 DSLR Camera with 24-120mm Lens
Nikon D750 DSLR Camera with 24-120mm Lens

The Nikon D750 has been a highly anticipated and long rumored camera. The D700 was a huge hit and when the D600 came out the rumors immediately began that the D700 replacement would soon follow. With the D4, D800, D7100, D610, D4s, & D810 announcements you could almost sense the frustration from the Nikon faithful that while the announced camera was cool, that’s NOT the one they were hoping to see announced.

The D700 was effectively a D3 in a cost effective package, so it’s no wonder that people were hoping for the same with the D750. However, the camera I’ve been using really feels to me like the D610 on steroids. Personally I feel this camera takes everything that is great about the D610 and addresses most of the weaknesses to result in a camera that I personally would really like to own!

Hands On Thoughts

Nikon D750 Rear View
Nikon D750 Rear View

This is an awesome camera body that features the creature comforts normally reserved for consumer cameras and frustratingly omitted from pro cameras like an articulating LCD. While you won’t be using it to do selfies, you will be able to get better live view or video shots with the camera above your had and down low, so there’s definitely value in that!

Unless I missed something, it was disappointing to see that there are no shooting banks. This allows you to switch between a set of custom configurations for the camera quickly and is typically found on models like the D4s and D810. This would indicate that this camera is targeted more to the consumer than the pro. The  articulating LCD and scene & effects modes on the mode dial certainly confirm this too. However, I do not think this is a bad thing because what I love about my 5D Mark III is that it has consumer features (like HDR that will keep the originals) not found on my 1D X (and insufficient on cheaper models because it doesn’t keep the original files). As a result this is a camera that I think the pro enthusiast will love, but they could hand it to their spouse or event photography assistant and still have a camera that is approachable and usable by mere mortals.

I’m used to pro bodies like the 1D X and D4s that are machine guns, so the D750 feels slow to me. However, it’s good for its class and price point. I also noticed that with a fast memory card it will go on for a long time at a reduced speed without filling the buffer even when shooting RAW+JPEG fine. I think this will please wedding and event photographers who can’t afford to have a buffer to fill prematurely. I still wouldn’t classify this as a pro sports camera, but it should do fine for soccer parents who want a fighting shot at  capturing sports without investing in a D4s.

Real World Pictures

If you are new to my blog, what follows are in-camera JPEG’s with no modifications taken through the course of a normal day. The camera is mostly set to camera defaults but I do chose my AF single point and adjust the white balance as I see fit. Most shots are aperture priority but a few are manual mode as well. All but one shot in the gallery were also taken handheld all using the 24-120mm kit lens.

You may view the photos for your pleasure, but please delete them and/or remove them from your cache when done. You may not edit, print, or otherwise use these photos. All rights are reserved. The full gallery can be found at http://photos.ronmartblog.com/nikon/d750.


f/5.6 @ 120 mm, 1/125, ISO 320, No Flash
, Shade White Balance
Reds and oranges are tough but I thought this sensor did a great job of showing a broad spectrum of reds and oranges. This is a fun camera to have for the fall!


f/7.1 @ 120 mm, 1/200, ISO 800, No Flash

Here the limitations of the kit lens become obvious because I think with a better lens the detail of this shot would be awesome. Even still, I was quite satisfied with what I saw overall.


f/5.6 @ 82 mm, 1/100, ISO 450, No Flash

Again, the wide dynamic range means a gorgeous spectrum of color


f/11 @ 50 mm, 1/640, ISO 280, No Flash

Shooting into the sun is the ultimate torture test but this camera did an excellent job of capturing a wide tone of colors and retaining a respectable amount of shadow detail. NICE!


f/7.1 @ 110 mm, 1/250, ISO 800, No Flash

Here’s another one that few cameras can capture this well. The alternating tones of the trees are captured very faithfully with the vivid richness coming from the shade white balance.


f/4.5 @ 105 mm, 1/30, ISO 100, No Flash

Ok, I didn’t really need to include this one (or the f/7.1 version in the gallery) but I was just having too much fun with this camera


f/4 @ 120 mm, 1/200, ISO 720, No Flash

At parks you’ve gotta photograph at least a duck or goose right? :)
The goose $hit was captured with such accuracy – ha, ha


f/7.1 @ 24 mm, 1/25, ISO 5000, No Flash

The great shadow detail means textures really come to life


f/4 @ 85 mm, 1/100, ISO 12800, No Flash

Here’s one place that the color sucked, but that can be blamed on ISO 12800, so keep that in mind if you shoot high ISO’s. The phone cover here is really bright red in real life. There was an abundance of natural daylight here so a better lens sure would have helped too.


f/4 @ 58 mm, 1/125, ISO 6400, No Flash
, AWB
While it’s impossible to have identical conditions, it’s interesting to note that my shot like this with the D600 was way better at ISO 5000 @ f/5.6. I should manually dropped down a stop and adjusted the white balance but I was getting over confident about what this camera might do on its own. This is faithful to real life but it could have been better.


f/4 @ 120 mm, 1/125, ISO 7200, No Flash, Poorly Handheld - sorry

This statue has a strong light beam on it so many cameras require spot metering to avoid exposing properly for one part of the scene while botching the other. The default metering mode did a beautiful job with the AF point on the face. This is almost what the human eye sees the scene as in real life – sweet!


f/5.6 @ 35 mm, 1/125, ISO 12800, No Flash

If I had to pick the one thing that really impresses me is how well the metering handles complex scenes like this. With the great meter and awesome dynamic range, a shot like this goes from requiring HDR in the past to just point and shoot now (single exposure – no HDR).


f/4 @ 24 mm, 1/50, ISO 7200, No Flash

I included this one because this is a case where the dark ceiling means that you usually only get detail where the lights are. However, notice how much detail you can see in the ceiling. I think this is the best I’ve seen from a camera for this common test shot that I do.


f/4 @ 46 mm, 1/50, ISO 6400, No Flash

While I screwed up and had the AWB still on, what’s impressive is how much detail and tonal range from the statue and the wall behind are picking up. This is definitely a good sensor boys and girls!

I’ll have more photos to come, but suffice it to say that I’m sufficiently impressed with my early testing. The full gallery can be found at http://photos.ronmartblog.com/nikon/d750.

Conclusion

I’ll render my full conclusion when I’m done testing, but you can tell from my comments above that I love this camera. In fact, I was going to review other products first, but this one got such a wow out of me that I had to get my first part on the web early.

I’ll have more to come, but basically my current opinion is that if you are considering a Nikon and you can’t afford a D4s (who can right?) then this is the one you want. Sure the D610 is a great compromise if your budget is tight, and the D810 is the megapixel king but who cares though right? This is the best all-around, use it for anything, general purpose camera has right now. It’s definitely a great answer to the Canon 5D Mark III, so if your in the Nikon camp and have been lusting for a 5D Mark III then know that this is the camera you really should buy. If you are in the Canon camp, I still say don’t switch camps if you have invested in more than one L lens, but if you haven’t then I think from an image quality standpoint this might be the camera to own.

In short, is this camera worth the money and/or is it worth upgrading to? Heck yeah!

Please read my final conclusion in - REVIEW: Nikon D750–Yeah, it’s better than my 5D Mark III (Part II of II)

Where to order

Click here to learn more or order the D750 on the B&H web site.

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4 comments:

Russ said...

Actually you're the first reviewer I've read that prefers the shooting banks to the U1 and U2 on the dial. I prefer the dial option, so much quicker and easier, and less confusing. I've got banks on my D300s , but never use them as I find it's easier to change the settings individually.

Martin A. said...

Any comments on the 24-120 lens? It seems to be rather controversial.

Ron Martinsen said...

Martin,

I'm not a big fan of the 24-120mm either. I used it on my D7100 review and thought it seriously underperformed. I don't think that your average D750 user is going to do the 24-120mm anyway, so if you are serious about this camera I'd recommend the 24-70 f/2.8 as the primary walkabout lens.

Ron

Ron Martinsen said...

Martin,

Oh, and don't forget to read Part II here where I say skip the kit lens. :-)

Ron