Nikon D750 Review
The D750's video feature is to all intents and purposes identical to that found on the higher-end D810.
The D750 can record Full HD video at a variety of frame rates: 60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, and 24p (it can do 720/60p/50p as well). You can choose from FX or DX (1.5x) crop modes, as you can with stills. There are two quality settings available, appropriately named normal and high, which have bit rates of approximately 22 and 38 Mbps, respectively.
You have essentially three exposure modes available in movie mode: Program mode, Aperture Priority and Manual modes. When set to P or S on the mode dial, the camera will automatically control aperture, shutter speed and ISO. In A mode you gain manual control over aperture, with shutter and ISO still both controlled by the camera. Finally in M mode you can set aperture, shutter speed and decide whether you want to control ISO or leave it to the camera. Any time the camera is in Auto ISO mode, you retain access to exposure compensation, so you can decide the output brightness. The camera also inherits the Power Aperture feature, that allows you to dedicate two function buttons to smoothing open and close the aperture during movie recording. This produces a much more pleasant effect than turning the control dial, which makes the aperture jump loudly between 1/3EV steps - and is a huge advantage over more basic Nikon models that provide no aperture control in video.
The power aperture feature allows for smooth transitions while you change the F-number (which is something many Nikon DSLRs cannot do at all). Zebra pattern is also available, but Nikon is yet to produce a DSLR with focus peaking.
The D750 has a microphone and headphone port, and you can adjust the microphone sensitivity and frequency response of the audio being recorded. The choices for frequency response are wide-range (the default) and vocal range.
One of the 'big deals' on the D750 is its 'flat' Picture Control, a feature which has been showing up on more and more interchangeable lens cameras. Video recorded with this control appears dull and washed out, which lays a good foundation for adjusting color and tone in post-processing. It captures a wider dynamic range than the other modes, which makes this video useful as 'raw material'. This Picture Control, along with the other six, can be fine-tuned in 1/4-step increments and saved as custom controls. You can also create them on your computer and transfer them over to the camera.
This high-end DSLR can also output 8-bit uncompressed 4:2:2 video over its mini-HDMI port. The D750's LCD can be used for live video monitoring while you're doing so.
Flat Picture Control
|This edited video shows a time-lapse taken with the flat Picture Control before and after mild color grading. 720p, 41 secs, 29.9MB. Click here to download original file|
The time-lapse video shown above was taken with the Flat Picture Control (PC) and, as its name suggests, has very low contrast. That said, for high contrast scenes such as the one shot in this timelapse, 'Flat' can often look more natural compared to the clipped whites or completely black foregrounds that 'Standard' Picture Control might show. In such scenes, Flat PC packs a lot of scene dynamic range into the final video (or JPEG still). This gives you the freedom to selectively grade or process the footage later, which might not have been possible if, say, tones had been pushed down to very dark values or even clipped to black.
For the video shown above, we've performed some basic color grading in Final Cut Pro X, bringing down the shadows (-11%) and midtones (-17%), and bringing up the highlights (+42%). This makes the scene look more natural by giving it a bit more pop (albeit at the cost of clipped tones around the setting sun in this case). You can read more about how the Flat Picture Control affects dynamic range later on our JPEG DR page.
This time-lapse feature can record at any resolution. You simply select the interval and total shooting time and the camera does the rest. A feature called Exposure Smoothing aims to limit the camera to small exposure changes between shots, to prevent the dramatic shot-to-shot changes that can result in flickering video when the images are combined. This feature also appears to make some attempt to blend between these brightness changes, again to reduce flicker in the final video. Exposure Smoothing really helped smooth the nearly 8 EV exposure change that occurred over the course of this timelapse (camera was set to Aperture Priority mode, with Highlight Weighted Metering).
There are two main downsides to using the D750's timelapse feature. Firstly, the images are heavily compressed, which is occasionally visible in the final footage. The second thing is that the camera saves only the video and none of the original images. It would've been nice if you could save the Raw frames as well, although you can do this using the built-in intervalometer feature, at the cost of having to build the timelapse yourself. Serious timelapse folks will probably spring for this option, assembling a movie from the Raw frames, which ultimately gives you more control over compression/quality and allows for white balance fine-tuning that's not possible using the built-in feature.
Based on the test scene above, the D750 performs well in terms of video quality. It captures a lot of, which you can see in highlighted text. It's sharper than the , in part down to greater sharpening, but it's still not going to hold a candle to the , though, which performs full-sensor readout and intelligently anti-aliases the video before downsizing to 1080p - which leads to great detail, but little of the aliasing evident in the D750 video. Note that with the D750, there is unusual red moiré around the scene. This seems to go away at ISO 400 and above, likely as a result of ramped up chroma noise-reduction in-camera.
This first sample (which is taken on a floating dock, hence the shake) shows the smoothness that comes along with 60p video. Both video and audio quality are satisfying, and colors have just the right amount of 'pop'.
|1920x1080 @ 60p, 36Mbps, 19 sec, 82.5 MB Click here to download original file|
In this lower-light sample you can see that the D750 handled the mixed lighting of the scene well. The camera has built-in stereo mics and the separation is good considering how close they are. We did have to crank the mic levels way down and, even then, you may want to turn down your speakers.
|1920x1080 @ 60p, 22Mbps, 13 sec, 65.5 MB Click here to download original file|
This clip is actually b-roll footage taken during the filming of our Real-world Test of the D750 at the Museum of Flight here in Seattle. It's not the most exciting video, but you can see how the camera performs at ISO 1000. This video was shot using the 'flat' picture profile.
|1920x1080 @ 24p, 36Mbps, 34 sec, 94.8 MB Click here to download original file|
While not quite as dramatic as the sunset time-lapse above, here's another example of this feature that starts and ends very quickly. In case you're wondering why there's movement in this scene (which was taken on a tripod), it's because it was recorded on a floating pier.
|Time-lapse video, 1920x1080 @ 60p, 45Mbps, 2 sec, 5.9 MB Click here to download original file|
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