Full-frame photography used to be the preserve of professional photographers, but DSLRs like the Canon 6D and Nikon D610 have made it a more realistic proposition for amateur and enthusiast photographers. Nikon's latest full-frame camera, the D750, sits above the D610 and below the Nikon D810 in the company's range, giving enthusiasts another model to choose from.
At first, the D750 might look too similar to the D610 to be a worthwhile upgrade, especially since it appears to share the same sensor. In practice, the tilting screen, improved video features and uprated image quality are worthwhile and the D750 stacks up well against its rivals both in the Nikon camp and from Canon.
In fact our updated lab test section shows exactly how the Nikon D750 compares against the Nikon D610, Canon 6D and Canon 5D Mark III. We have tested all four of these full-frame cameras for resolution, dynamic range and noise performance.
At the heart of the D750 is a newly designed 24.3-million-pixel CMOS sensor and an Expeed 4 processing engine. Unlike the 36Mp D810, the new camera has an anti-aliasing filter over the sensor.
This sensor and processor combination enables a native sensitivity range of ISO 100-12,800 with extension settings taking this to ISO 50-51,200. It's also possible to shoot at up to 6.5 frames per second (fps) and record Full HD video at up to 60p. While 6.5fps is a fair rate, some sports photographers may have been hoping for something a bit higher, perhaps 8fps or more, but then that could have meant a much more expensive camera.
Videographers will appreciate the stereo microphone and headphone ports along with the ability to fine-tune audio levels in isolation before and during recording. It's also possible to select the sound range (wide/voice) for adjustment and adjust aperture with buttons rather than dials for smoother, quieter operation. Wind noise can also be reduced when recording with the built-in microphone. The D750 is also unique amongst full-frame DSLRs currently in having a tilting screen (though not full articulating) – another advantage when shooting video in particular.
When shooting in Live View or video mode, there's a handy Zebra pattern display to indicate on the screen which areas are in danger of burning out. The D750 can also output uncompressed footage via an HDMI connection to allow high-quality recording to an external device.
Nikon has given the D750 a new Multi-CAM 3500 II autofocus (AF) module, an updated version of the one in the D810. This has 51 AF points, 15 of which are the more sensitive cross-type and 11 that operate down to f/8, which is especially useful for photographers who want to use an extender with their telephoto lenses. As in the D810, the new Group Area AF mode is available to help when shooting subjects that are comparatively small and against a high-contrast or distracting background.
Exposure metering is handled by a 91,000-pixel RGB sensor and this enables face detection metering even when the image is composed in the viewfinder – although rather unhelpfully you are unable to see when a face has been detected.
There's also a useful highlight metering option which is calibrated to take greater note of the brightest part of the scene and suggest an exposure that will prevent it from being burned out, but not render it a mid-tone. That could be a blessing for wedding photographers, who will often be struggling to hold on to detail in white dresses, for example. The spot white balance option that enables white balance to be set from a small part of the scene in Live View mode could also find favour amongst these demanding users – especially those that shoot lots of video.
Like the D810, the D750 uses the EN-EL15 Li-ion battery and when flash is used Nikon claims that it will last for 430 shots. Without flash, this extends to up 1,230 shots. Nikon has also introduced the MB-D16 battery pack to complement the D750 for longer shoots.
Although there are two card slots, they both accept SD/SDHC/SDXC. One can be used as an overflow store or it can operate as a back-up. Alternatively, the camera can send different file types to one card or the other.
While the D750 is compatible with the Nikon's UT-1 and WT-5 for professional-level wireless image transfer, there's also Wi-Fi 'n' connectivity built-in for the speedy sharing of images and wireless remote control via a smartphone (using Nikon's Wireless Mobile Utility app).
Taking the lead from cameras like the D5300 lower down in the range, the D750 has seven Special Effects modes including Nigh Vision, Color Sketch, Miniature Effect, Selective Color, Silhouette, High Key and Low Key, which can be applied to stills and movies.
Although it's a full-frame model with many professional features, Nikon is clearly pitching the D750 at enthusiasts too, using the same broad control layout as the D610 and D7200.
The changes to the Picture Control system introduced with the D810 are here too. These includes the new Flat Picture Control mode that produces video footage (and still images) with less contrast, giving greater scope for post-capture grading. There's also the Clarity control, which enables the micro contrast of images to be adjusted to give the appearance of stronger shapes and outlines, with less risk of halos and over-sharpening problems.