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Nikon D750 Review 2021

Nikon D750 Review

Despite being released in 2014, the Nikon D750 still has plenty to offer the stills-orientated photographer in 2021. With the D750, Nikon combined excellent autofocus, pro-grade ergonomics, and outstanding image quality that remains competitive today.

On the other hand, the D750 lacks modern-day perks such as 4K video, image stabilization, and eye-detect autofocus. Given such features are now available on much cheaper cameras, should you buy a Nikon D750 in 2021 or choose a younger model such as the Nikon Z5? Jump to Conclusion


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Table of Contents

What is the Nikon D750

The Nikon D750 is a Digital SLR featuring a full-frame, 24-megapixel sensor housed inside a compact, rugged weather-proof body. When the Nikon D750 was released in 2014, it was marketed as a sports camera; a sort of baby D4 if you like.

The Nikon D750 with the AF-S 24-120 F4 kit lens – a good all-around combination.

As a result, the D750 came equipped with a 51-point autofocus system similar to that of the D4 and is able to shoot up to 6.5 photos per second.

Furthermore, the D750 grabbed attention for being the first Nikon DSLR to feature modern-day perks such as a tilting screen. And if you install Nikon’s Wireless Mobility Utility app, you can transfer files over WiFi and use your smartphone for remote capture.

It’s also the first time that Nikon took video seriously. For instance, the D750 can shoot 1080p at 60 frames per second and includes 3.5mm headphone and microphone jacks along with an HDMI video out. Additionally, the D750 can record and build Timelapse videos in-camera.

Yet, the beating heart of the Nikon D750 is its full-frame 24-megapixel sensor. It was a world-beater when it was released in 2014 and competitive enough now to be reused in 2021’s Nikon Z5. As a result, expect amazing color, low-light performance, and a ton of dynamic range.

Overall, the Nikon D750’s image quality, feature set, and weather-proof build make it a formidable camera to this day. Whilst it does show its age in some areas such as video, it remains a solid and reliable tool for classic photography.


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Nikon D750 Specifications

ModelNikon D750
PriceUS$1200
Release DateSeptember 2014
Sensor
Sensor Type35mm Full-Frame FSI CMOS
Resolution24.3 Megapixels
Dynamic Range13.7 EV (Approx)
Min ISO100
Max ISO12800
Photo Image Quality
Max. Resolution6016 x 4016
Raw12 or 14-Bit Lossy and Lossless Compressed
JPEGFine, Normal, Basic
Shutter
Max Shutter Speed1/4000th Second
Min Shutter Speed30 Secs + Bulb
Flash Sync1/200th Second
Top FPS at Max. Resolution6.5 Frames per Second
Electronic ShutterNo
Autofocus
Points51 Points
CoverageCentral
Light Sensitivity-3 to 19 EV
Video Quality
Max Resolution1080p at 24, 25, 30, 50, 60fps
Low Resolution720p at 50, 60 fps
File FormatMOV
CompressionH.264/MPEG-4
AudioLinear PCM
AutofocusContrast Detect
Monitor
Monitor Size3.2 Inch
Resolution1.3m Dots Approx
Touchscreen?No
ArticulatedUp – Down
ViewFinder
TypeOptical
ResolutionN/A
Refresh RateN/A
Magnification0.7x
Storage
Slot 1SD Card
Slot 2SD Card
Connectivity
DataUSB 
WifiYes
BluetoothNo
GPSAdd-on required
Microphone Jack3.5mm
Headphone Jack3.5mm
Video-OutHDMI
Cable Shutter ReleaseYes
Infrared Shutter Release Yes
Weight and Dimensions
Width140.5mm
Height113mm
Depth78mm
Weight750g (body only)
Source: Nikon USA

Image Quality

Make no mistake, the Nikon D750’s image quality remains competitive in 2021 and its full-frame sensor lives on in 2021’s Nikon Z5.

The main difference between the D750’s sensor and those in recent cameras such as the Nikon Z6ii and Sony A7iii is dual-gain architecture and backside illumination (BSI). This enables the newer cameras to be more efficient in low-light/high ISO situations.

Taken with my D750

High ISO Peformance

The Nikon D750 has a native ISO range between 100 and 12800. And thanks to its large full-frame sensor, images are very clean up to ISO1600 and completely usable at ISO6400. What is ISO

The chart below compares the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of the D750, Nikon Z6ii, and Sony A7iii with a higher SNR representing less noise and a cleaner image.

Source: DXO Mark

As you can see, the Nikon D750 keeps up with its contemporaries. The main difference is that the Nikon D750 gracefully quits the race at ISO12800 whilst the other two continue the race to image quality hell.

Dynamic Range

The Nikon D750 was one of the first cameras to capture the vast amount of dynamic range we take for granted today. Even now, its 13.7 EV is competitive with the very best.

Taken with my D750

The chart below shows how the D750’s Dynamic Range compares with the Nikon Z6ii and Sony A7mk3. It also demonstrates the crippling effect high ISOs have on the tonal range.

Whilst all three cameras start strong – the Nikon D750 decline is steady and consistent. On the other hand, the Nikon Z6ii’s dual-gain BSI sensor kicks in around ISO600 giving it a sudden lift in performance. In contrast, the Sony lacks a sudden boost but remains consistently excellent.

Taken with my D750

However, it’s worth remembering the difference is hardly night and day. At low ISO’s all three cameras are evenly matched and even at high ISOs, the distance is around 1EV. Nevertheless, if you need a lot of dynamic range at high ISOs, there are better cameras than the D750.

Image Stabilisation

The Nikon D750 does not feature in-body image stabilization (IBIS). This means you will need to use faster shutter speeds and higher image-degrading ISOs to avoid camera shake induced-blur.

On the plus side, many Nikon zoom lenses feature optical image stabilization. But if you happen to be using a non-stabilized prime – you’ll need a bend your knee to the reciprocal rule.

Image Quality Overall

The Nikon D750 remains able to produce wonderful-looking images, even in challenging scenarios. And in real terms – falls only about 1-Stop short of its newer rivals at higher ISOs. Read – Whats a Stop in Photography

Autofocus

Autofocus through the Viewfinder

Through the viewfinder, the Nikon D750’s autofocus is fast and accurate. With its 51-point 3D Tracking, the Nikon D750 will lock on to a subject of your choice and track the subject as they move around the frame. And when it’s switched into automatic mode, the Nikon D750’s AF system will automatically detect faces.

But given this isn’t 2014, there are a few negatives to consider. For instance, each of the D750’s 51 AF points is fixed towards the center of the frame. As a result, it’s not possible to track subjects outside of this area.

Autofocus in LiveView

In contrast, you can lock focus anywhere in the frame when composing your photo using the D750’s rear screen. Unfortunately, autofocus in LiveView is insanely slow and only suitable for static subjects such as landscapes.

Video Autofocus

The Nikon D750’s video autofocus performs the same as it does in LiveView mode. In other words, it’s much too slow and jerky to keep up with anything moving.

Autofocus Overall

Overall, the Nikon D750’s autofocus is highly capable but does suffer the limitations of its time. For instance, 2021’s Nikon Z5’s autofocus is fast and covers the entire frame regardless of whether you compose your photo using its viewfinder or rear screen.

DSLR vs Mirrorless Autofocus coverage compared

Nikon D750 Body

Build quality and design

The Nikon D750’s build quality is unquestionably excellent. It feels very solid in hand with no rattle or give anywhere.

And this is no surprise since the D750 features a strong magnesium alloy chassis wrapped in a carbon-fiber enforced, weather-resistant plastic shell. In other words, I am pretty sure my D750 will outlive me.

In terms of design, the Nikon D750 was the first to feature Nikon’s deeper grip. As a Nikon D40 and D90 owner, this didn’t seem like a big deal as both handle well. However, the new grip is vastly superior and is the new standard on all new Nikon DSLRs such as the D780 and D850.

And whilst I may be in the minority, I also like having a pop-up flash. Despite all that dynamic range, it’s still the best way to balance dark subjects in front of bright backgrounds.

Buttons and ergonomics

The Nikon D750’s ergonomics are well placed and immediately responsive. The top-level of the two-tier lockable control dial gives you immediate access to Exposure modes such as auto, aperture priority, manual, etc. Whilst the lower tier allows you menu-less access to Drive modes such as single, continuous, timer, etc.

In terms of adjusting exposure, you have two perfectly placed dials for independent adjustment of shutter speed and aperture. And if you hold down the appropriate button, the same dials will adjust exposure compensation, metering, and ISO.

On the front, you have a dedicated Fn button to which you can assign a function of your choice. You can also reassign the function of the OK, Pv, Record, and AE-L/AF-L buttons. For example, I have set the record button to change ISO and the AE-L button to drive autofocus.

Best of all, the buttons can be customized for different contexts. For instance, in photo mode, I’ve set the OK button to recenter my focus point. But in playback mode, it displays my photos at 100% magnification.

Taken with my D750

Then there’s the U1 and U2 custom modes which you can configure to suit your shooting style. For instance, if you shoot landscapes, you could calibrate U1 to use low ISOs and set the custom buttons to activate timers, exposure delay, and other landscape-friendly features.

Of course, the viewfinder is large, bright, and awesome. And whilst the Luddites despaired at the introduction of its flip screen – I find it extremely useful for shooting at low angles. Unfortunately, the screen cannot be flipped out vertically for portrait-orientation shots (like the Z9). I also like the top plate LCD – great for immediate information, even when the camera is switched off.


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Speed

Continuous Drive

The Nikon D750 will shoot up to 6.5 frames per second with full autofocus and auto-exposure. If your camera is set to shoot 14-bit raw files, the D750’s buffer fills after 14 shots. However, it never tires when shooting JPEGS.

If you wish to prolong the D750’s continuous drive, you can set the D750 to shoot at a slower rate using the Continous Low mode on the Drive Dial.

Button Responsiveness

The Nikon D750 responds to your commands immediately. No lag, no waiting, no bs.

Battery Life

The Nikon D750’s EN-EL15 1900mAh battery is rated for more than 1,200 shots. In comparison, the Nikon Z5 and many other mirrorless cameras are rated around 400 shots.

In practice, I charge my D750 once every few weeks. If you need more, the D750 is compatible with the more powerful EN-EL15c battery found inside the Nikon Z6 and Z7 series.

Please note, even with the new battery, you cannot charge the D750 via its USB port.

Video

Back in the day, the Nikon D750’s video specification was pretty impressive. With 1080p60, a flat picture profile, power aperture, and zebra highlight warnings, it was possible to record decent footage.

Connectivity is good too with an HDMI-out and 3.5mm headphone and mic jacks. And thanks to the tilting rear-screen, you can grab some good angles.

However, the D750’s video relies on the same, snail-pace, contrast-detect autofocus system as the aforementioned LiveView feature. Of course, you could bypass this inadequacy and focus manually.

Unfortunately, while the Nikon D750 has a punch-in 1:1 focus preview, it does not have focus peaking.

But even if you are willing to work through these issues, why would you want to? In 2021, you can buy a camera with vastly superior video functionality for much less.

Best Lenses for Nikon D750

The Nikon D750 is compatible with almost every F-Mount lens ever made. And since it has its own in-built motor, the D750 will autofocus cheaper AF-D lenses.

Although the Nikon D750 can be bought without a lens, I recommend you buy the D750 with the excellent Nikon AF-S 24-120mm F4 VR. Not only is it a great lens, but it’s also much cheaper when bought with the camera.

As for F-Mount itself, it remains one of the most comprehensive lens systems on the market. From cheap zooms and nifty-fifties to some of the most optically perfect lenses money can buy.

If you are stepping up from a cheaper Nikon DSLR, the D750 will also shoot through DX lenses. Yet doing so will only use the central portion of the D750’s sensor and reduce your photo’s resolution to 10 megapixels.

However, your primary consideration should be Nikon’s Z mount. Nikon has already acknowledged it is prioritizing the development of Z-Lenses, and no matter how good they are or will be, you’ll never be able to mount them onto a Nikon D750.


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Conclusion

Excellent stills camera

With its excellent image quality, robust build, and excellent handling; the Nikon D750 remains a great choice for stills-orientated photographers. It can shoot all day on a single charge, doesn’t mind the rain, and its instantaneous, reliable operation means it never gets in the way.

Even in 2021, the D750 remains one of the few cameras at this price point that combines a commercial-grade work ethic with contemporary image quality. If you don’t care about video and modern-day perks such as Eye detect AF, the Nikon D750 is a camera you can count on.

Back to the Present

But in some ways, the years have been cruel towards the Nikon D750. Even back in 2014, the Nikon D750’s heavily centralized AF coverage was something to be tolerated. But today, newer cameras have frame-wide AF coverage AND are fast and accurate.

Nor do newer cameras share the D750’s disparate AF performance between rear-screen and viewfinder shooting. As a result, newer cameras operate in a more consistent manner and the underlying technology means vastly superior autofocus in video.

As for shooting video, the Nikon D750 produces nice-looking 1080p in a 4K world. Put simply, don’t buy a D750 for video.

Alternatives

Then there’s the Nikon Z5. The Z5 is similarly priced, more compact, features image stabilization, superior autofocus, and better video. And if the Z5’s 4.5 frames per second continuous shooting is a little too slow for your needs – there’s always the Nikon Z6ii. Read Nikon Z5 vs DSLRs

And unlike the F-mount only D750, both Z cameras are compatible with the finest F-Mount lenses and superior Z-Mount lenses. So you get backward compatibility whilst being able to buy lenses that are compatible with the Nikons of the future.

To sum up

The Nikon D750 is an ergonomically excellent, tank-like, photo-taking machine. It’s immediate, responsive, and just gets on with the job. If you still love the F-mount and an optical viewfinder, the Nikon D750 remains an outstanding choice.

But for everyone else, the world has moved on. In 2021, Nikon released the Z5 – a spiritual successor to the D750 and superior in many ways. And with the Z9 showing us what mirrorless Nikons can do and new Z-mount lenses such as the Nikon Z 40mm F/2 and Z 24-120mm F/4 – the Z-mount looks like the place to be in 2022. Back to Introduction

You should buy a Nikon D750 in 2021 if you

  • are looking for a good value Full-frame camera that leverages your existing collection of F-Mount lenses.
  • like a larger, more robust camera – one that balances well with large, heavy lenses.
  • prefer the D750’s glorious optical viewfinder to smaller OVFs and Electronic View Finders (EVF).
  • don’t care one jot about the video.
  • don’t need to use continues to focus on off-center subjects (sports and wildlife)

Do not buy a Nikon D750 in 2021 if you

  • are buying into a new camera system and want compatibility with future lenses
  • want to take advantage of smaller mirrorless systems
  • shoot a lot of portraits and would enjoy frame-wide auto-focus coverage or perks such as eye-detect
  • want to shoot video (full-stop!).
  • need continuous auto-focus/tracking for off-center subjects
  • want inbuilt image stabilization (IBIS)
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2 thoughts on “Nikon D750 Review 2021”

  1. Thanks very much for this. Your review helped finalize my decision. Getting the D750 to replace/upgrade my D7000.

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