This is a guest Nikon D750 review by wedding photographer Jay Cassario.
What you are about to read is a very down to earth, real life shooting, working pro’s Nikon D750 Review. I’ve had the unique opportunity these past couple years of being able to get my hands on pretty much any new gear that I want to test and review. That unique opportunity has also led me to own all sorts of different film and digital gear from all different manufacturers, giving me the ability to make fair and unbiased opinions.
For my professional work, I shoot both Canon and Nikon gear, and get paid by neither. Why do I shoot both? It’s pretty simple actually, because neither system offers me the perfect combination of what I need as a professional wedding photographer.
Nikon is excellent for low-light, dynamic range, excellent auto-focus, and camera bodies built like tanks. Canon is better at RAW color and skin tones, prime lenses that I prefer over Nikon, and more comfortable camera bodies with better design and full recall memory bank settings.
I use them both differently, and until now, there hasn’t been a camera made by either manufacturer that has been able to fill the gaps for me, including their $6k flagship bodies.
The Nikon D750 is that camera…the gap filler. The game changer.
Ever since the release of the Nikon D800, there has been a huge gathering of protesters just outside Nikon’s front door with their “Where is my D700 replacement?” signs, along with threats of jumping ship to Canon.
Well, before going any further into this review, let’s clear that situation up first. Let’s discuss whether or not the Nikon D750 is finally the real successor to the beloved Nikon D700, from a Nikon D700 shooter. The quick answer is…YES. Is it what every single Nikon D700 shooter has been holding their breath for and bitching about for years now? Not a chance.
The truth of the matter is that everyone shoots, or shot, their Nikon D700 differently and needs different things in an upgrade. No matter what Nikon released as the successor, there would always be a few protesters still screaming for their own personal customized camera body with all the features they believe they deserve.
I shot the Nikon D700 for a couple years, and while it was my main body, there was a lot left to be desired. I loved my D700, and at the time it was the only full frame Nikon body under $3,000.
Now, you have more options as a Nikon shooter. Not only options, a Nikon full frame body that is better in every single area than the Nikon D700, and cheaper.
Nikon D750 Review | What I love
When I read the specs in the first Nikon D750 review when it was announced, I will admit that I was left feeling less than excited and for the most part I thought Nikon had just thrown us a slightly upgraded Nikon D600 series camera again.
Well, after a month of shooting it and carrying it with me on every paid shoot and personal project, I will admit that I was completely wrong. I shot the Nikon D4S for a month and had no problem shipping it back once my month of testing was up. It was heavy, expensive, RAW colors and skin tones still not at nice as the Canon 5D MarkIII, and for the most part I was left with images that simply weren’t any different than my Nikon Df.
It focuses better in low-light the the $6,500 flagship Nikon D4s, both on paper and definitely in real life shooting. It not only locks focus better, but is more accurate.
It has dynamic range and high ISO capabilities that are what to be expected now from any Nikon pro body which completely crushed anything that Canon has put out to date. The flip screen is a nice touch and since I do shoot with Live View quite a bit, it does come in handy.
Nikon D750 Review | What I REALLY love
One thing I realised when writing this Nikon D750 review is that this is a camera body that isn’t love at first sight – it takes a little time and a couple of dates to really fall in love with. While it does feel good to hold, it has a slight feel of cheapness to it when compared to the other pro bodies like the Nikon D800 series and Nikon D4/D4s.
The button layout is similar to that of the Nikon D600 series bodies, leaving you initially thinking to yourself that this isn’t a pro body you’re holding. Well let me be clear, the button layout is easily adaptable and the feel of light plastic in your hands isn’t the indication of a cheap body, so you need to forget about that.
It’s an indication that it’s…LIGHT. This is a very robust, magnesium alloy body, that feels very light.
The reason I shoot Canon along with my Nikon bodies is that they fill in the gaps that Nikon is lacking, such as beautiful RAW color and skin tones, a comfortable grip, and full memory bank settings on a pro body. The biggest thing for me when it came to shooting my Canon bodies was the colors it produced in its RAW images and the image quality when lighting is good.
Canon sensors simply aren’t as good in low light, so I rarely use them when shooting conditions aren’t ideal, but when they are I reach for my Canon 5D Mark III ‘s. I’ve owned the , Nikon D800, Nikon D800E, and have shot the Nikon D4S extensively, all of which simply lacked the same beautiful RAW colors and skin tones that the Canon bodies can produce.
The Nikon D750 bridges that gap. The colors are beautiful and skin tones are more pleasing, much like that which my Canon bodies produce. I finally have a pro Nikon body that gives me total recall memory bank settings allowing me to switch from shooting fast moving subjects in the bright sun to slow dancing subjects in low light…in the turn on one click of the top dial.
When it comes to the Autofocus, I feel a little guilty about letting it slip this far down in this Nikon D750 review. It is simply the best autofocus I have ever used, in all shooting conditions.
I do a lot of manual focusing which is just something I am comfortable with and enjoy doing, so when autofocus isn’t something I rely on completely like some photographers, I tend to not talk about it much in my reviews.
An autofocus system’s ability to lock focus in low light is most important to me, and while the Nikon Df does a great job at it, I was disappointed with the Nikon D4S although on paper it is supposed to be better. The Nikon D750 not only does a better job at locking focus in low-light then any other DSLR body I’ve ever shot with, it is more accurate in low light.
Nikon D750 Resolution Example
One of the most impressive features to me, although not being one I will use extensively, is the built-in Wifi. This is a feature that is available in only the Nikon D5300 and the Canon 6D, and now that I’ve used it, I feel that Nikon and Canon need to have this in every pro body moving forward.
This isn’t just a gimmicky feature, it’s actually a feature that I have been able to find very helpful in both my paid shoots and personal shooting. It gives me the option to send images directly from my Nikon D750 to any smart device such as your smartphone or tablet such as the iPad.
Being able to have Live View on my iPad or iPhone and not only use it as a remote shutter but accurately focus as use it the same as if I was holding my Nikon D750 in my hands came in handy. I could place the Nikon D750 in one place either on the ground or on a tripod and physically be in a different spot to focus and shoot was awesome, especially for something like a newborn shoot.
Nikon D750 Dynamic Range Example
Nikon D750 Review | What’s still missing
There’s not much that I feel it needed to make this the perfect DSLR for both professional and amatuer shooters.
The button layout isn’t personally my favorite, but it works. I prefer to have a dedicated ISO button, like the Nikon D810 and Nikon D4s. I would like a 1/8000 shutter speed, but the 1/4000 is perfectly fine for me. I would also like to like to have it without the AA and OLPF filter like the Nikon D810.
Besides those things, this really is the best all around DSLR I have shot, period.
Nikon D750 Review | Conclusion
When I review camera bodies, I get to shoot them for a solid month, and the past two have really surprised me. I really thought that after testing the Nikon D4s that I would be purchasing one. I even had the funds set aside for the purchase prior to receiving my loaner. Well, I was wrong, and I was left scratching my head as to why so many wedding photographers feel like it is the cream of the crop for wedding photography. For sports, that is a different subject, but I personally don’t shoot sports…I shoot portraits and weddings.
The Nikon D750 was a camera that I honestly had no intentions of purchasing prior to it arriving. Now having spent a month with it, I’m not only considering the purchase of one, but two.
Simply put, the Nikon D750 is really that good. You can see the many other reviews out there by now, as many beat me to it, who speak just as highly of it as I. There has been a cry for help from many Nikon shooters looking for a DSLR camera body that has pro level image quality with a file size that doesn’t kill their workflow, with a price tag under $6,500.
The Nikon D810 is an excellent option, but honestly, it is overkill for me. It offers slightly better image quality with a much larger file size in a heavier, bigger, and $1,000 more expensive body. I don’t need the high megapixel sensor for weddings.
The Nikon D750 is everything that I need packed into the lightest and slimmest Nikon fullframe body ever made, along with the addition of a LCD screen that flips out when I need it to.
Thank you Nikon for finally producing a full frame DSLR that has everything I need at a price I can afford, with the colors that are more pleasing to the eye, and one of the best autofocus systems I’ve ever shot with. Pair it with one of the best Nikon lenses, and it’s great for every situation.
There really is nothing on the market right now that can match the combination of the Nikon D750 price, size/weight and image quality. I am looking forward to seeing what Canon has in store for us with its Canon 5D Mark IV.
[Update: Check out Jay’s review of the Canon 5D Mark IV]
Hopefully this was helpful – please feel free to leave any questions for me. Note: All of the sample images have been edited with my personal editing style.
This review was made possible by the kind folks at B&H Photo. If you liked this review and would like to see more, please support Shotkit by clicking one of the links to purchase the Nikon D750 from B&H Photo.
Jay Cassario is an award winning Wedding Photographer based in New Jersey and owner of Twisted Oak Studios.