Review Of New Nikon D750 – By Oliver Zielinski In Berlin

September 30th, 2014

NikonD750Guest post by Oliver M. Zielinski:

Just in time with this year’s Photokina Nikon has announced its new camera D750. Finally, this gear combines features real estate photographers have been waiting for. What are the camera’s advantages for architectural photography?

We have examined the main new features of the Nikon D750 which are important for our photography genre and have commented the results in this article.

TILTING LCD SCREEN
Photographs of real estate and architecture are very often taken from unusual vantage points. In most cases using a camera from eye level is not an option. For interiors a lower position is best, while for exteriors there is an (sometimes significantly) elevated level the right position to shoot from to get a more natural impression. In both cases it is hard to control the image either through the view finder or a fixed back screen.

The large and high resolution LCD screen of the Nikon D750 can be flipped up or down. This makes it much easier to set up the camera from a normal working position. The D750 is the first camera in this category with such comfortable feature.

WIRELESS
To examine a photograph at the camera monitor in terms of exposure, contrast and sharpness right after it was taken has always been a lucky game. Only at a 100 per cent enlargement on a computer screen any flaws could be clearly made obvious. Professional photographers transfer their images directly to a computer. Therefore, the camera is tethered to the machine where there is running a software either from the camera manufacturer, Adobe Lightroom or Capture One to show the result on a bigger screen right after the exposure. Thus, the photographer has the opportunity to take action and correct any mistakes instantly. Very often this tight camera-computer-combination reduces portability especially in close spaces or even outside. To establish a wireless connection until now was only possible with sometimes expansive extra gear either directly delivered by Nikon or as a half tethered version with a mini router.

The Nikon D750 has a built-in WiFi module to send image data and receive commands. Display gadgets at the moment are mobile tablets and smart phones. Thus, the cable, a heavy laptop computer and all the hassle with it can be dropped. Photos can be displayed right after the shot was taken and be enlarged for judgement by a finger’s press or swipe. Even the control of the camera is possible via this connection. The only flaw at the moment is Nikon’s own software because it may lack some functionality. But there are third party apps that are highly appreciated within the photo community. As soon as the developers have adopted the interface for the D750 photographers will have an absolutely comfortable tool in their hands.

DYNAMICS AND IMAGE NOISE
Real estate images very often consist of large differences between very light and very dark parts within the same frame. Thus, a single photograph has to capture bright daylight streaming in through windows and dark shades of interior items at the same time. Smart phones and simple compact cameras are limited in this matter, they either show light areas as white spots without details or darker parts as nearly black areas without noticeable details. Rescuing these flaws in post production is always a pain.

One possible alternative would be the extra effort of making so called HDR images, where light and dark parts are shot separately and combined on the computer later.

The full frame sensor of the Nikon D750 has a high dynamic range – it can capture a broad range from very light to very dark parts within one image preserving lots of details. In addition to that image noise which mainly occurs at higher sensitivity settings for the sensor is rather low. A reason for this is that single pixels have more space on a large sensor and thus they do not interfere with each other thermally and electrically. And again: For the first time in this camera category the D750 has built-in Nikon’s excellent signal processor EXPEED-4 which until now can only be found in much more expansive professional camera models.

LESS IMPORTANT
In addition to this the Nikon D750 has other great features. These are not that important for architectural photography, but it doesn’t hurt to have them on board, like:

  • autofocus with 51 focus points and group area auto focus
    We take our time and focus manually very often.
  • bright view finder with 100% coverage
    We control the scene in most cases via the LCD screen.
  • continuous burst rate of up to 6.5 frames per second
    We shoot in single mode.
  • Picture Control 2.0
    We retouch our images manually.
  • more than 1,000 images per battery charge
    We always carry with us spare batteries.
  • handy form factor of the camera
    We don’t choose gear for mobility and mostly shoot from a tripod.
  • image effects and shooting modes
    We shoot in manual mode to control and influence the results. Or in aparture priority mode.
  • two SD card slots
    We always have several media with high capacities.

THE USUAL GROUSERS
Right after the presentation of the Nikon D750 the first disappointed individuals started bashing Nikon’s new baby. Because of the nomenclature they had expected with a D750 would appear a successor for the legendary semi-professional camera D700 which was launched six years ago. For real estate photographers the major reasons named by these faultfinders are neglectable:

  • no complete professional body, partially made of carbon fibre instead of metal
    Our equipment is rarely used in extreme conditions. If so, we handle it with special care. Until now we had all conditions under control.
  • program wheel is for hobbyist shooters (shooting modes and effects)
    Already said: We mostly shoot in manual or aperture priority mode.
  • missing AF-ON button
    Already said, too: We mostly focus manually.
  • small eyepiece compared to professional models
    Already said, again: We mostly control the image via the LCD screen.
  • built-in anti-aliasing filter
    This is not so bad for interior shots. Very often you will find surfaces with finest repeating patterns (like fabrics). Without such a filter in these areas bad moire patterns may occur in the photograph. These can hardly be corrected in post.
  • shortest shutter speed is just 1/4000 s instead of 1/8000 s
    We’ve never taken an architectural photograph with such a short shutter speed.

SWALLOWING ONE BITTER PILL (OR MORE)
Those who buy a Nikon D750 for more than 2.000 EUR for real estate photography may have to be willing to invest more, depending on what equipment they have shot with before. These investments may include:

  • full format wide angle lens
    like Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm 1:4G EDNikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm 1:4G ED VR: approx. 1.000 EUR
  • new SD cards
    like 2x Sandisk 32 GBSandisk Extreme 32 GB: approx. 80 EUR
  • new computers
    like Laptop with 17 inch screen and min, 8 GB memory Laptop with 17 inch screen 8 GB memory: approx. 1.000 EUR
    like iPad with 64 GB: approx. 600 EUR

VERDICT
With the D750 Nikon presents a tool that makes real estate photographers curious. The camera offers some great features for real estate photography, which have already been seen before in recent Nikon models in one way or the other but have never been combined in a single DSLR camera of that category.

As soon as we hold this camera in our hands we will backcheck all the benchmarks named in this article.

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7 Responses to “Review Of New Nikon D750 – By Oliver Zielinski In Berlin”

  • I did my first test real estate photo session in May 2008 with my two year old Canon 5D. I’m only 5’10” and I had to keep bending over to see the LCD screen. By the time I was done my back was aching! A week later, I had three jobs to photograph on May 17, a horse show, a 50th high school reunion and a dance recital. So on the Thursday before the jobs, I pulled out the 5D to check it out. On the fifth frame, the shutter button fell apart. I had no time to get it fixed and returned so I went down to Circuit City and bought a Sony A300 (I already had many Minolta Maxxum lenses that would fit the Sony). The two things it was better at than the 5D was a shorter shutter lag and the first flip up and flip down live view screen on a DSLR. That camera completely changed the way I saw the world! And no more sore back when using a tripod for RE. I now use a Sony A65 for my RE photography and it’s live view is wonderful on that flip up, flip down, flip all around LCD screen. Recently I had the A300 converted to infrared and finding new ways to see the world. I’ve had Nikons and Canons in the past and I like Sony cameras best of all. They are far more dependable too.

  • Currently shooting a D610, the D750 complicates the path I was exploring for next year, as did remarks by Nikon at Photokina alluding to mirrorless full frame. I really like the features of the D750, plus wifi essentially making my Camranger obsolete. The allure of downsizing all started when I upgraded my wife (same wife, different camera 🙂 ) from her P&S to a Sony A6000. I drool every time I pick it up to show her the more advanced features. Saturday, leaving for Europe as daughter, who lives in Switzerland, is getting married in the Canary Islands. Obviously, I am not the photographer as I have other responsibilities, but I am not lugging my Nikon around as we extend our stay in Europe with additional stops. I have borrowed a Sony A7 with kit zoom plus an adapter to take some of my Nikon primes. It is sooooooo tempting and very impressed with the results after shooting niece’s baptism last Saturday. Off camera flash/lighting issues keep me from trying it with real estate.

  • LOVE the tilt screen. The wifi would be awesome if the bugs are worked out. But, unless they had some sort of trade-in program, I’d have to stick with my D610 and my 6D combo for a few more years.

  • All the bells and whistles are great as expected but the first thing I look at whenever a new Nikon comes out is the “maximum flash sync speed”. The D610 is 1/160th and the D750 is 1/200th. Neither is really ideal when using speedlights to match daylight. The D800 is the norm at 1/250th. Every little bit of speed helps when lighting a room and saving a bright tropical view. If I could sync my flashes at 1/500th life would be easier at times….

  • @Travis…The max sync speed on the D610 is also 1/200, like the D750. However, you can also set for high speed sync (Auto FP) for up to 1/4000, but reduced range due to the nature of high speed sync. SB910 on camera has no problem with the higher shutter speeds, but Pocket Wizards off camera revolted until the most recent firmware update. After the update, still funky with banding at 1/200th but resolves at higher speeds, so I jump 1/160th to 1/250th. The problem with the D750 is that would be dependent on the next firmware update which took a year and is very camera dependent as the prior update worked with the D600, but despite their similarities, wouldn’t work with the D610 until Pocket Wizard provided the next update.

  • @Larry Gray … This is what I wanted to point out in my article: The D750 is not completely professional in all specs, but it serves RE photography quite well. The synch speed thing seems to be quite interesting. I have just checked my RE photo database statistics: Just 2.06 per cent of all my images are taken with a shutterspeed higher than 1/200s and about 89.97 per cent of all photos are taken with an aperture between f/6.7 and 11 (and none at full open). All at ISO 200. Thus there would be enough space to level out lighting in any direction to match the synch speed. The problem with flash triggers may occur, but this has to be checked in practice. I’ll take this on my list, when time has come for my benchmark check.

  • Get a D610 with wifi adapter and you hardly notice any difference other than price.

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