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Reviews

Nikon D750

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The Nikon D750 is a no-compromise full frame SLR at a competitive price.

FULL-FRAME SLRS are a lot more affordable than they once were,with the Nikon D610 and Canon EOS 6D currently available for around £1,300 (body only). Both are excellent cameras, but inevitably have restrictions and compromises compared to pricier models – the most significant being limited auto focus points. The Nikon D750 aims to change that.

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The D750 is a blend of the D610 and pricier D810, but while its price falls between the two, its features are closer to the D810’s. There’s a 51-point auto focus sensor,with more points covering a larger expanse of the frame than the D610’s 39-point sensor .The auto focus sensors in cropped-sensor cameras such as the Nikon D7100 (Shopper 308) actually cover an even larger frame area, although of course they have a smaller area to cover.

The D750 uses the same auto focus sensor as the D810, but Nikon claims it’s even more sensitive in low light. It certainly performed exceptionally well. It was startlingly fast in brighter conditions, helping deliver a record-breaking shot-to-shot time of 0.2 seconds in Single drive mode.

The 91,000-pixel metering sensor also matches the D810, which is a significant step up from the D610’s 2,016-pixel sensor.This allows it to meter much more accurately for highlights and shadows, and even allows the camera to employ face detection when using the viewfinder –something most SLRs only offer in live view mode.

Shooting star

The D750 records 1080p video at 24, 25, 30, 50 or 60fps, at around 22Mbit/s and 20 minutes per clip for the three lower frame rates and 40Mbit/s and 10 minutes for the higher two. There are headphone and mic sockets, along with precise volume control and metering. You retain full manual control when shooting video, including aperture adjustment. It’s also possible to set both the shutter speed and aperture but let the camera adjust exposure automatically via the Auto ISO mode. It isn’t up to the standard of the Panasonic GH4’s 1080p output for details, let alone its 4K output, but it is a step up from the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. It comfortably beats the GH4 for video noise levels, though, with barely a murmur at ISO 3200.

Auto focus is pretty clunky in video mode,darting back and forth before settling on the subject, and the internal microphone picks up the lens motor.It’s fine for casual use,and keen video graphers are likely to prefer to focus manually anyway. The articulated screen is a first fora full-frame SLR. It’s great for live view at awkward angles and makes the D750 the only full-frame SLR we’d consider buying if video were a priority.

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All under control

There are dials forexposure and drive modes, dual command dials and apassive LCD screen on the topplate. Buttons forwhitebalance, quality,ISO speed, autofocus, metering, exposure bracketing and exposure compensation work with the command dials to provide tactile access to all the key settings, often without having to take the camera awayfrom the eye. There’s no AF On to split autofocus and shutter release between separatebuttons, but the AE Lock or Fn buttons can be assigned to the task.

The dual SDXC slots are likely to suit most people better than the D810’s SDXC and Compact Flash slots. The D750 lacks aPCsync socket for triggering external flashes, but this is easy to add via a cheap hot shoe adapter.

Battery life is marginally longer at 1,230 shots. So too is the 6.5fps continuous speed, which it maintained for41 JPEG or 13 Raw frames before slowing to 2.3fps and 1.4fps respectively .As lightly larger buffer would have sustained Raw performance for longer, making better use of the sophisticated subject tracking, but it’s still a good result. Wi-Fi is built in for the first time in a Nikon full-frame SLR. It only supports image transfers and not remote view finder functions, but it’s still a welcome addition. The IOS and Android apps receive all the thumbnails when paired, making subsequent browsing quick.

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Sharpen up

The D750’s 24-megapixel sensor matches the D610’s so we expected similar image quality, but there are a few notable differences. JPEG sharpening is stronger on the D750, which makes details pop but arguably doesn’t look as natural. The sharpening amount can be adjusted in Picture Control settings, however, and shooting Raw bypasses it altogether.

The most welcome improvement is a drop in noise levels at fast ISO speeds. While the D610’s JPEGs exhibited a bit of noise at ISO 1600, the D750’s ISO 1600 and 100 output were virtually indistinguishable.Its advantage increased at faster ISO speeds, with superb JPEGs at ISO 6400 where the D610 becomes quite grainy .The D610 still has excellent noise levels, but the D750 raises the bar.

The D750’s superior auto focus, noise performance,video mode and articulated screen make it well worth the extra cost compared to entry-level full-frame SLRs for those who can afford it. It’s certainly not cheap,but this is the first full-frame camera that costs less than £2,000 and leaves us blissfully free from nagging doubts.

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