Controls and customization

The D780 handles and operates in a familiar fashion to other Nikon interchangeable lens cameras. It's also highly customizable with an intelligently-implemented Auto ISO function.

Key takeaways:

  • Menus are consistent with past Nikon cameras
  • The camera's quick-access 'i menu' can be customized to one's liking. Users can even set it up separately for through-the-finder stills shooting vs live view stills shooting vs video shooting
  • Likewise, button customization can be setup separately for stills and video shooting
  • Auto ISO is well implemented
  • The dedicated app, SnapBridge, offers decent functionality but can be clunky to pair

Menus

Menus will be familiar to Nikon users.

Nikon shooters will feel right at home navigating the D780's menus: the structure is largely unchanged from cameras like the D750 or Nikon Z6. Menu options are broken down into tabs and include a dedicated stills menu, video menu and color-coded custom menu, as well as as a setup, retouch and playback menu. There's also a customizable 'My Menu' in which you can store most-used functions for easy access.

i Menu

A customizable 12-slot mini menu can be accessed by pushing the 'i' button on the back of the D780 or tapping the 'i' icon in live view. This menu is the perfect place to store settings you anticipate changing often.

Cleverly, the camera allows users to customize three separate i Menus, if they so wish: One for shooting stills through the OVF, one for shooting stills in live view and one for video shooting.

The i Menu is fully customizable.

Button customization when shooting stills

The D780 offers two customizable buttons on the front of the camera that can be set to any one of a long list of functions - you can view them all here. Additionally, users have some customization over the AF-On and AE-L / AF-L buttons. See below:

AF-On and AE-L / AF-L buttons options
  • AF-on
  • AF lock only
  • AE lock (hold)
  • AE lock (reset on release)
  • AE lock only
  • AE.AF lock
  • None
  • FV lock*

*AE-L / AF-L button only

The bracket button on the front of the camera can also be customized to instead shoot multi-exposure images or HDR's. Additionally, the movie record button can be set to function as an image-area toggle or for quick access to metering modes.

Button customization when shooting video

In video mode, those same two front-facing buttons offer a plethora of video-specific custom options. And the AF-on and AE-L / AF-L buttons offer the same customization as in stills. Additionally, users have the options to set the camera's shutter to instead function as a nice big video record button.

Auto ISO

You can set the minimum shutter speed in Auto ISO to be multiples or fractions of the focal length.

Nikon's Auto ISO implementation is fabulous. Users can specify minimum and maximum ISO's as well as a minimum shutter speed or better-yet, a minimum shutter speed range. An auto option by default will choose a shutter speed 1/ over the focal length. But a slider allows user to bias the shutter speed to be to be multiples or fractions of focal length.

Wireless connectivity

Nikon has slowly but surely made improvements to its mobile app, SnapBridge. Pairing the camera is still a bit of a clunky ordeal, though. Users must first establish a Bluetooth connection to get the camera talking to their device. Once connected, you can switch on the 'Auto link' feature, which automatically sends a 2MP version of every photo you shoot to your device's camera roll (as long as he devices remain paired).

Users can also browse and download full-res image and control the camera remotely through the app, but a W-Fi connection must first be made to do so. Unfortunately, we had a difficult time getting the camera to consistently make a Wi-Fi connection with our Apple device, though it proved more reliable on Android.

The options in the remote shooting mode are fairly limited. You can change the exposure mode, basic exposure values and white balance settings. But options like changing one's AF mode or even selecting an AF point are absent.