I have been faithful to my Nikon D700 for years. It’s a beast of a camera, and it’s been my primary body and workhorse for hundreds and hundreds of events over the years. I knew I was going to add another body in 2016 to replace my Nikon D300s, but I never thought the camera I’d purchase would actually become the replacement for the D700 itself. I was blown away by my findings. Let’s call this a real-world Nikon D750 Review.
Walt Disney World is one of my favorite places to shoot. I especially like shooting while waiting in lines for the rides. The little details and accents are the things that make Disney such a fun place to visit. One of the trickiest things while shooting inside the actual rides is the near-total darkness throughout the experience. I’ve read about the insane high ISO and focusing capabilities of the Nikon D750, but it was time to take this camera into the utter darkness and test both the ISO and focusing as compared to my D700. The pictures I’ve included here, at least the ones inside the rides themselves, would have not really been possible with the D700 for many reasons.
Nikon D750 Review: ISO Performance
I’ve taken a number of cameras to Disney over the years. The D700, D300s, the amazing Fuji x100s to name but three. They all performed exceedingly well, but when it comes to shooting inside Spaceship Earth, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion and other pitch-dark experiences, my “keeper” rate has been abysmally low with these cameras. They either can’t focus, or you just can’t get the shutter necessary to avoid blur since these rides are moving, albeit slowly, while you’re trying to shoot. The Nikon D750 blew me away at ISO 12,500, giving me 1/60th of a second at f1.4 in total darkness.
Additionally, the focusing system on the Nikon D750 was handling everything I threw at it, and was locking in like a military-grade sniper rifle (not that I’ve shot one of those, but you get the point). If you’ve ever ridden one of these rides and have tried to take photos, my hunch is you came away feeling somewhat disappointed. You’re not alone, I’m sure! Have a look at some of the photos below that I took while riding these attractions, and you’ll see just how much detail I was able to capture from the original RAW files, bringing up shadows and other details like never before.
Nikon D750 Review: Resolution
At 24 megapixels, the D750 outputs twice the resolution as the D700, and the amount of data sitting in the RAW file was jaw dropping. I was pushing and pulling these photos in all directions using Adobe Lightroom, and I never saw any banding, minimal luminance and chrominance noise, and the ability to crop like never before. The RAW files are huge, but with dual card slots, I shot with close to 100 gigs of space available between the 2 high speed SD cards, averaging 30 meg files each time I pulled the trigger. At first, I was actually trying to be cautious about how often I took a photo in fear of running out of memory, but I soon realized I could shoot with no concern for memory, and settled into a very natural cadence as I walked around the parks.
Nikon D750 Review: Post Processing
Post processing in Lightroom, as I knew it would be, was a joy. The most difficult part is committing the entire set of RAW files to disk and waiting for Lightroom to ingest them. Not something Lightroom does particularly well with giant RAW files. Once ingested, however, the RAWS were huge, and underexposed images were immediately brought to life in both the highlights and shadows with no degradation in the image. Gradients, denoising, curves, and clarity could be pushed hard, and the files withstood even my wildest edits. In fact, the RAWS were so clean, that I decided to do basic processing in Lightroom and then give the photos a very stylized look in the Topaz Editing Suite. As you’ll see, a number of my favorite photos were given an almost painterly look (and in some cases, a very painterly look using Topaz Impression). Using mostly Topaz Adjust, Denoise, and Topaz Clean, I was able to achieve the somewhat fantastical look that I associate with all-things Disney. It was really fun to create these images, and I plan on printing a number of them to grace the walls of my studio, something I’ve opted to do instead of printing out my best wedding portraits.
Nikon D750 Review: Video
I have a Panasonic GH4, so my standard for video is pretty high with the 4k resolution of the mighty Panasonic. The Nikon D750 shoots at various frame rates and different resolutions.I love 24p, so I dialed it in and shot more video than I’ve ever shot there. I’ll be posting some samples of the video shortly, but in short, the video was beautiful, the audio usable, and the focus just as fast and accurate as when shooting stills. I don’t typically buy Nikon cameras for their video capabilities, but the video on the Nikon D750 gives me a viable alternative to the GH4, which is saying a lot. In the meantime, enjoy the photos. I shot about 1000 frames while in Florida, but these were some of the ones that stood out. Look how much you can push those RAWS! I’m looking forward to bringing this camera to my weddings this year, and yes, it’ll be my primary, with the D700 becoming my secondary. The D700 is still an epic, important camera in the Nikon lineup, but between the D750 and the D810, which I also considered, the extra thousand bucks for the D810 simply didn’t end up being worth it.
More to come, and enjoy!