Recently shot a wedding using my new D750. Now the million dollar question: with its -3EV low light focus, superb accuracy and supposed "new" sensor is it the new sweet spot wedding photographer's camera that we've been waiting for since the D700?
Impressions after 1 full year of use:
Nikon D750 review for Wedding Photographers updated on 3/20/2017
Although Nikon announced that it is equipped with a new sensor I had my doubts. I mean isn't it just another Sony sensor? Well I was surprised at 2 things: the dynamic range is amazing -even better than the D600 which I swear by (forget the DXO benchmarks). I was shooting with a D600 and a D750 side by side that day and one odd thing I noticed is that shooting in RAW the D750 is always producing brighter images at lower ISO than the D600/D610. I was totally surprised that using the same settings on both cameras the D750 was telling me that I was slightly over exposing in manual mode with the same settings. In post processing I made the comparisons and I confirmed it: the images are brighter and surprisingly cleaner. Did the native iso range boost cause this, or is this a new software algorithm combined with a better processor? Either way I'm a happy camper. The dynamic range and ability to recover shadows is mind blowing...really. And I thought the D600 sensor was the same...just more of Nikon recycling old sensors in new bodies. From the Nikon Website:
"Newly developed image sensor and EXPEED 4 achieve superior high-ISO performance that surpasses even that of the D810." Yes even better than the D810, and this coming from the Nikon website. In my opinion it really does show when you start editing the raw images in Photoshop. The shadows are already detailed and there is easily more than that 1 stop of exposure to be recovered.
Dead cold on target. I was shooting with such confidence that day. Almost no missed shots. Out of 2000 shots I took that day only 20 images got thrown out due to missed focus, but I must admit some of it was my fault - I was moving quickly and shooting while I was in motion. If I were shooting a D610 I would have usually thrown out about 100 images or more of the 2000 I shot. This is a big confidence booster and allows me to focus on the things that really matter. Even in a very dark room it performs great, and I must say it pairs wonderfully with prime lenses, my favorite being the 85mm (see images below).
Grip- Nikon made this with the deepest grip on any Nikon. Well it could be a plus until you see what happened to my fingers by the end of day. Yes its deeper and feels nice once you pick it up, but slap a heavy lens on it and I guarantee you will have swollen fingers shooting all day (I kid you not my middle finger is swollen and throbbing right now!). Deeper grip means better hold right? But if the grip is so deep and nearly rectangular well its not so good with heavy lenses, unless you shoot strictly with primes then the weight savings of the body won't really shine. I think they over did it.... I prefer a more rounded chunky grip like that in the D610 or D810. Just feels so much better to hold.
Image Quality button- Now why on earth did they have to put it so close to the ISO button, the last thing you want to do is switch from RAW to low quality JPEG while shooting a wedding. I was extremely careful all day and didn't have any accidents. One good way to reduce the risk is to reprogram the Rec button to be an ISO control button then you wont have to go near the vertical buttons on the left when changing ISO. It works but not ideal, I did get used to it though. Muscle memory is very important when shooting - you have to know where your buttons are without looking so as to be able to make changes to your settings in a split second.
Body changes- The weight reductions are a good thing but a better more rounded grip was needed. The additional rubberized coating on the SD card door is a small but welcome change.
The camera has stunning image quality, great dynamic range, bulls eye focusing every time and I don't regret buying it. I think the D810 (which I debated so much and so long about getting) isn't the best suited camera for weddings. Yes its brilliant, crisp and utterly beastly but its a different animal altogether. Nothing wrong shooting weddings with a D810 but I think its better suited for studio and landscape photographers. Yes its a dream come true for landscape! The issues with the D810 though are the occasional Moire (which has been greatly improved but can show up on suit fabrics in your photos), monstrous file sizes which will eat up your storage and make you computer scream, and the slightest shake will always show up in your images because of the insane sharpness. In the end I have no regrets about getting the D750 but I hope by swollen throbbing middle finger will forgive me soon. If you are a pro shooter doing very critical low light photography such as weddings the D750 is definitely the way with its to go with its -3EV focusing capability, unless you want to cough up the $6k for a D4s or D5. If you are in it for a hobby, a prosumer, or shoot studio occasionally and want wonderful images the D610 has a stellar full frame sensor (yes I own one) and I honestly don't think its justifiable to spend an extra $800 bucks for focusing capabilities (save it for a high end prime lens!). The Nikon D750 is well worth a look and is currently under $2000 on amazon. See more of my work below by clicking on the button below. I love to hear your opinions! Photography is a wonderful expanding journey of creativity - even when producing stellar work I say never be satisfied, continue learning always!
3/20/2017 Update on Nikon D750 Shutter issue, a shocking flaw in manufacturing.
As you have read above I had written a stellar review for this camera. There has been a service advisory out about shutter issues for a while. I had bought it after the initial advisory when they claimed it was resolved. There is now a 2nd advisory out that the shutter curtain tends to malfunction (more like rip apart during operation). It started out with an error message when the camera was powered on and the first shot of the day was taken, locking it into mirror up position. I ignored this for a while as it seemed not to cause any issues in my images. After several months of use I noticed a black bar in all my photos. Luckily that day I made the switch to my backup camera which is a D600 which I always keep on hand just in case the unexpected happens. On getting home I put the camera into mirror up mode and looked inside. To my horror this is what I saw:
It has now been sent to Nikon for repair. Although I've heard from other professionals that the repair is done quickly and thoroughly, this is something I think buyers should question when they buy this camera. I'm not sure if the new batches coming out are fixed or have the same issue. Again this is not to say that it isn't one of the best cameras I have ever shot with, but it appears that Nikon seems to be having quality control issues time and time again.
Camera came back from Nikon service in only 1 week with shutter and rubber grips replaced and a general cleaning. Seems to be working perfectly just like new. The Shutter looks and sounds the same as the original. I do hope the replacement shutter design has been updated or the materials so as not to break down again. Still love the camera regardless. Please leave your comments below!