Nikon D750 Review
The D750 is packed with features, making it impossible to cover them all, so we've highlighted the most interesting ones below.
91,000 pixel RGB metering sensor
The D750 inherits the same 91,000 pixel RGB metering sensor used in the D800/810 and D4/s. This is definitely a pro-grade feature, and a step up from the 2,016-pixel RGB metering sensors in the D610 (and D7100). It's also higher resolution than the 63-zone metering system found on the Canon EOS 6D and 5D Mark III, but not the EOS 7D II, which has 150,000 pixels.
|The D750 uses the same 91k pixel RGB metering sensor as several of its family members, including the D800/D810 and D4s.|
The high resolution RGB sensor allows for advanced scene analysis, promising accurate metering, and even the ability to detect faces in order to weight matrix-metering towards, or tell the AF system to focus on a detected face. The sensor also allows for spot-metering linked to the selected AF point, a feature many pro-level shooters will appreciate.
|Above is a representation of how we believe the 91k pixel metering system 'views' a scene. We took a full-size image and scaled it down to 213 x 142 pixels, then blew it back up for ease of visualization, then overlaid the D750's AF grid. 213 x 142 x 3 (for R, G, B) = 90,738, or approx. 91k-pixels. The image above is downsized so click to see the full-size version.|
What you're looking at is what we believe the D750's metering sensor 'sees' when evaluating a scene. Given the high resolution of the metering sensor it's able to pick out fine details like eyes, which extends to tracking movement across the frame.
Another feature in recent Nikon DSLRs that takes advantage of the metering sensor's ability to 'see' most of the scene is highlight-weighted metering. Its name describes exactly what it does, and it can come in handy when you're shooting JPEGs and not getting the results you want using matrix metering. The photographer can also take advantage of other features on the D750 - Active D-Lighting and the flat Picture Control - to improve results even more.
|Matrix metering||Highlight-weighted metering||Highlight-weighted metering + ADL Extra High||Highlight-weighted metering + ADL Extra High + Flat Picture Control||Highlight-weighted metering + ADL Extra High + Flat Picture Control + 1EV|
In this particular scene, standard matrix metering leads to a rather undesirable result. Switching over to highlight-weighted metering captures the sunset nicely, but everything else is dramatically underexposed. The foreground brightens just a little bit when you turn on Active D-Lighting at the Extra High setting. Switching to the Flat Picture Control finally brings back what's been hiding in the shadows, though we got the best results by adding a stop of exposure compensation on top. It's worth noting that ADL does not adjust the exposure as it normally does, instead relying on the highlight metering system to do the job.
Note that the above example is just one of many potential use cases (concert scenes with spotlights you wish to preserve being an oft-quoted one). You can use highlight-weighted metering any time preserving highlight tones is of utmost importance. Something to keep in mind though is that the algorithm appears to take into account the size of the highlight(s) when metering.
This often leads to a dramatic reduction in exposure compared to matrix metering in scenes with a lot of bright detail (bright skies/clouds). So much so that you'll often get better results by dialing back in a little positive exposure compensation. Or, for those typically using highlight-weighted metering in scenes with lots of brights like the scene above, fine-tuning the highlight-weighted metering system anywhere between +1/6 and +1 EV is an option. Shadow brightening modes also help, as in our example above.
|By diving into the custom settings you'll find item b6, which lets you fine-tune each type of exposure metering. The available range is ±1 EV, which can be adjusted in 1/6 EV increments.|
If any of you are wondering at this point of you can use highlight-weighted metering as a way to expose-to-the-right (ETTR, where you give the camera as much exposure as possible without clipping the highlights), we're not quite there yet. We found that highlight-weighted metering tends to underexpose a bit too much for many scenes in terms of the Raw file, albeit sensibly so if you're trying to get those particular highlights to retain tones and color in the JPEG.
This means that the Raw file can typically use more exposure before clipping, sometimes even stops more. So you'll still have to use your traditional methods for ETTR (here, the new 'flat' picture profile will give you a more accurate indication of when highlights actually clip in the Raw). We'd love to one day see a highlight-weighted metering mode that gets highlights just short of clipping in the Raw file, as it's an optimal way of shooting for lots of dynamic range with these incredibly high performance sensors.
The D750 has one of the more sophisticated Auto ISO systems on the market. You can set the maximum sensitivity and minimum shutter speed, as is the case with most cameras, but - like all modern Nikon DSLRs - has one extra trick up its sleeve.
|The Auto ISO settings can be found in the Photo Shooting menu. Here you can select the current sensitivity and configure Auto ISO.||If you head into the minimum shutter speed option you can select the rate-of-change in full-stop increments.|
The 'trick' is that the when the minimum shutter speed is set to Auto, the camera will take the focal length into account when that setting is adjusted. In our office using the 24-120mm kit lens it will use 1/30 sec at wide-angle and 1/125 sec at telephoto, which follows the 1/focal length rule. The rate of change can also be adjusted in full-stop increments by venturing into the minimum shutter speed sub-menu. This means that you can get the camera to use slower shutter speeds if you have a steady hand or faster shutter speeds if your subject is likely to move, while still retaining a link to focal length.
You can quickly adjust the ISO by pressing the fourth button down on the left side of the LCD (or another button to which you've assigned the ISO function) along with the rear dial. Using the button along with the front dial turns Auto ISO on and off. When Auto ISO is on, the rear dial in conjunction with the ISO button sets the minimum ISO.
Importantly, exposure compensation can be used with Auto ISO in Manual mode.
The D750 is one of many Nikon DSLRs to feature built-in Wi-Fi. Along with Nikon's Wireless Mobile Utility, available for iOS and Android, you can remotely control the camera and download photos. Unfortunately, the app leaves much to be desired.
Although there's no NFC support on the D750, setting up a Wi-Fi connection is easy enough. There are three number of ways in which you can pair a smartphone with the camera, using push-button or PIN-entry WPS, or by selecting the camera's SSID directly.
Once connected you can take control of the camera or transfer photos (either by picking them advance or by browsing via the app).
|Nikon's Wireless Mobile Utility is very limited when it comes to controlling the D750. What you see at right is what you get. You cannot adjust any settings - just focus.
Naturally you can view photos that are on the camera and transfer them to your mobile device.
The app doesn't like to quit on the Android devices we tested it with. On multiple occasions we've had to resort to killing the app manually.
Where the app really falls short is camera control - or rather the lack there of. You can tap to focus and take a photo, and that's it. If you want to change any settings you need to hit the switch at the top of the screen (pictured above), adjust them on the camera, and then switch back. Since other manufacturers offer more control, Nikon needs to step up its game in the Wi-Fi department.
Nikon claims that the D750 can shoot continuously at 6.5 fps and, being the cynics that we are, we decided to find out for ourselves. Here are the results we obtained at the high speed setting using a SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-II Speed Class 3 card (short version: it writes at 280MB/sec):
RAW + Fine JPEG
|Frame rate||6.5 fps||6.6 fps||6.6 fps|
|Number of frames||44 shots||13 shots||11 shots|
|Buffer full rate||2.7 fps||1.4 fps||1.0 fps|
|Write complete *||~ 9 secs||~ 8 sec||~ 12 sec|
|* Time at which buffer is completely flushed. Can shoot at full speed before that point but not for as many shots|
As you can see, the D750 meets or exceeds Nikon's estimates. What's disappointing is the buffer size: one would hope that a camera in this price range could shoot an unlimited number of JPEGs or more than 11-13 Raw images before slowing down.
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