Nikon D750 Review for Wedding Photography – by Kevin Du, Professional Sydney Wedding Photographer Sydney
I wanted to give everyone an in-depth review of the Nikon D750 for wedding photography based on my own personal observations over the last 3 months. Instead of jumping to conclusions, I wanted to give you my thoughts from using it in the field on a weekly basis as a real world wedding photographer.
I am no way sponsored by Nikon so my review is 100% unbiased and only based on my personal experiences as a professional wedding photographer.
To give you an idea of what I used before the D750, I was running a Nikon D800 and a D610 and after using these faithfully for over 3 years I found the file size of the D810 too large, too slow and a bit overkill for my needs. Yes, the 36 megapixels was great for detail and cropping, but I found the file sizes were cramping my style in terms of workflow, uploading and downloading images to my computer, hard disk space and speed of editing in lightroom. My camera was coming up to 200,000 actuations so it was about time I let it go.
I did love the dynamic range and ability to correct your mistakes with over 5 stops worth of exposure in lightroom. It had some amazing positives, but some negatives which were starting to become evident. One of these was the high ISO performance above 3200. Artifacts started to appear, the pixels became larger and the noise became more noticible with chroma bands running across the image. Overall responsiveness was a bit slow and I found I missed focus more times than I wanted, and this is critical especially on a wedding day. 4 Frames a second isn’t fast enough sometimes when you need that little bit more.
The D610, was a camera I bought as a backup to my D800 and not long after I bought it the D750 was just released. It was a camera with 24 megapixels, so the file sizes were more managable and easier on my computer. it was smaller and lighter! The white balance was not consistent with the D800 and this was causing issues with post processing and wasting time to correct it was frustrating.
It had enough dynamic range without being overkill and the camera handled quite well as long as it wasn’t in the dark. Its focus tracking wasn’t nearly as good as the D800. It wasn’t quite the camera I was looking for and after reading some reviews from fellow wedding photographers I decided to look into the D750 as my main wedding camera.
Why the Nikon D750 for my wedding photography?
I first thought about getting a D810 but the price was substantially higher than the D750. When I read the spec of the D750 it seemed, on paper at least, to have advantages over the D800 in areas which were important to me.
I was drawn to:
- Autofocus speed of a D4s in a smaller lightweight body
- Autofocus in low light like a D4s in a smaller lightweight body
- High ISO prerformance which was better than the D800 but in a smaller lightweight body
- Enough resolution without being a 36 megapixel hard drive eating monster
- More consistent Metering and white balance system
What I was looking for was a smaller lighter camera without compromise. A camera I could happily rely on to autofocus when I want it to, have enough megapixels to crop and low light and high ISO performance that was better than the D800. From what I read, the D750 did all of these things.
I opened the box looked at the camera and the build quality is excellent. It certainly feels lighter than the D800 straight away. It feels solid enough for my use but we’ll wait and see how it lasts for a wedding season.
It has a tilty bendy screen which is the first for a SLR. I think this will be handy in certain situations where more height is needed, or getting down low.
The maximum shutter speed is what it is, I wish it was faster but its not a deal breaker and will only be an issue shooting wide open in bright sunlight.
The autofocus points are close together like the D610, but there’s ways around this by using the focus lock technique when shooting.
The grip is nice and deep and a little longer than the D800. It feels nicer than the D610 in the hand and feels less plasticky.
So what was it like to use and how did it perform over 3 months?
After 3 months and 30,000 actuations I really really like this camera. It’s a big claim but I think its the best all round camera for wedding photographers on the market right now. I first sold the D610 and bought one D750 body and I noticed how much better the autofocus system, White Balance and metering was more consistent.
I loved it so much I sold my D800 and D610 and bought 2 D750’s.
Handling and Weight – 9/10
The grip is very comfortable and after a full day your hands still feel pretty good. After a whole day using the D800, you begin to notice its weight particularly with a 70-200 lens, flash and battery grip. The D750 shaves a few hundred grams off but every gram counts when you use it for 13+ Hours at a time. I did find the button placement easy to work with as I was already familiar with the D610 which has a similar layout. Those coming from D700/D800 might realise it will take a bit of getting used to as the ISO button is on the rear instead of the top, and the Mode button is a rotary dial instead of an actual button.
However, you can program the movie record button to become a second ISO button (thank goodness for that!)
Custom settings U1 and U2 are really useful and something I didn’t have on the D800. I program it for aperture priority mode with auto ISO for when you have changing lighting situations such as bridal preparations going from light to dark and you don’t always have time to change your ISO to match.
Tilty Screen – 9/10
The tilty screen was something I thought was a gimmick at first but I found some really great uses for it. Getting up high and knowing if you’re locked on the subject can be tricky, but with the tilty screen you can hold your camera as high as possible and see what your camera can see. That way you’re not guessing whether you are composing your image correctly but actually knowing that you are and firing away.
WIFI – 10/10
One unique feature that again I thought was a gimmick was Wifi. I thought i’d never use it and who would want to? Then I thought of a great business marketing idea that would allow me to upload one of the photos I took from their wedding to the bride and grooms Facebook page before any of the guests get to it. Simply select your favourite photo, turn on your wifi in camera, and send it to your mobile device. From there, you can post it on your Facebook page and tag your bride and groom. Then show it to them and see their faces light up in surprise! Nikon is onto a real winner here.
Battery Life – 9/10
If you already own a D800 or D610 you would be pleased to know that you can keep the same batteries. I already owned 5 EN-EL15 batteries so this was very welcome. And it lasts longer as well. Thanks Nikon!
High ISO Performance – 9.5/10
This is the main reason why I moved on from my Nikon D800 and to this. This camera is just amazing!
It is really THAT good and blows the D800 to pieces. I consistently shoot in dimly lit wedding receptions, churches and halls and it delivers the goods.
The ISO noise is smooth free from colour artifacts which was noticable on the D800 from ISO 2000 onwards. I wouldn’t shoot past ISO 3200 on the D800 but I am confident to go way above this on the D750 and shoot at ISO 6400.
All images are shot without noise reduction with VSCO filter applied.
Image below was shot at ISO 3200 @ 1/50 f2.5
Image below was shot ISO 6400 @ 1/125 f2.2
Image below shot at ISO 6400
1:1 Crop of the previous image. Super super clean noise at ISO 6400!! It is just scary how good it is at high ISO.
St Mary’s Cathedral Sydney – Shot at ISO 3200
St Marys Cathedral Sydney – Shot at ISO 6400
St Mary’s Cathedral Sydney – Shot at ISO 8000
St Mary’s Cathedral Sydney – Shot at ISO 12800
As you can see, there is not a whole lot of difference between ISO 3200 and ISO 12,800. You can start seeing noise at ISO 4000. There is no chroma banding or artifacts to be seen. The only real noticable difference is a slight loss of detail due to noise at 12,800. Only when you crop it to 1:1 can you see noise. The crop on the right is ISO 3200.
Autofocus Performance – 9/10
Wedding photography requires a robust autofocus system that is reliable in all conditions. I often shoot wide open at 1.4 and 2.8’s so it requires very accurate focusing in order to capture those important moments that often dissapear so quickly. I found on my D800 and D610 that I sometimes missed the focus or it backfocused to have the background focused and not the subject I was pointing at.
The D750 is a confidence inspiring machine which nails the focus almost every time. I was finding that I would nail the focus 8-9 times out 10 instead of 6 and 7 out of 10 using the D800. I can rely on the D750 to lock its focus quickly and not lose sight.
The group AF function is great, as well as the 3d Tracking for fast moving subjects. I found that it had no problems focusing on moving brides and grooms when walking down the aisle. I use AF-C on group AF and if the subject does move then the autofocus will re-focus on the subject. It really does work!
AF Points on the side also works great, with 11 cross type sensors you don’t need to just use the centre one.
I feel more confident after using the D750 that my equipment won’t let me down. This is absolutely critical on a wedding day as there is nothing worse than not feeling confident your equipment will be up for the job when it matters.
Resolution and Post Production – 9/10
Moving from 36 megapixels to 24 megapixels, I did have my concerns over the cropping ability and post production. But looking at the files I have no concerns whatseover. The better the camera performs in low light, the more dynamic range it has in the files, the more you can fix and manipulate ( to a certain degree of course).
I’ve included a real world example where the entire family decided to take their Iphones out and take photos of the bride…I was a bit slow to react to this one and I had the wrong shutter speed, resulting in a blacked out photo. In most cases, you would think the shot wouldn’t be able to be recovered, but I was really surprised how well the image did.
The sensor in this camera is truly something special.
The image was shot at 1/800, f3.5 and ISO 100. It was clearly underexposed.
Image below was recovered with 5 stops of exposure compensation in Adobe Lightroom.
My Final Thoughts – 9/10
After using the Nikon D750 for wedding photography in the last 3 months, I can happily conclude that my expectations were far exceeded and it is eveything that I had hoped for in a camera that I use day in day out for my profession. Nikon have created a monster, a jack of all trades that would suit almost any working professional. It is fast enough to shoot action, has enough megapixels and dynamic range for post production, it is well built and robust. The sensor is incredibly responsive and focuses in the dark. It is small and compact and far lighter than what it should be for the performance it packs into its body.
When you shoot wedding photography you need something that will keep up with the fast paced action of the day, and the D750 packs similar performance of a more expensive camera into a lightweight body. When you carry two cameras with you all day these ergonomic benefits cannot be understated.
I use my D750 with a thrid party battery grip from Ebay and found it to be perfectly fine. I wasn’t going to pay $300 for this! Highly recommended if you use a 70-200 with it on one body.
Card storage; with RAW recording set to 14bit Lossless Compressed and a 32GB card (Sandisk Extreme 95m/s) the readout displayed 852 shots, which turned out to be closer to 1,000 by the time I changed cards. I also have a 128gb card which I used as a RAW backup for all of the photos taken on that camera. Absolutely necessary for shooting weddings as you never know when your cards will fail.
D800 Users.- DOWNGRADE NOW! It is worth it. Sell your D800 on ebay to get the best $$$ for it. The change over shouldn’t be more than $500 for a camera with a better autofocus, speed and less megapixels.
- Small, lightweight body for comparable autofocus performance to a D4s
- Autofocus that puts most cameras to shame
- Low light performance that really blows your mind
- Feels nice in the hand with new grip
- Snappy performance and speed
- Metering and white balance is more accurate thanks to Expeed 4 (better than the D610 and D800)
- Tilty screen is more useful than you think
- Good FPS at 6.5, enough for when you need it
- Dual SD card slots for backup!
- Customisable U1 and U2 functions and ability to re-assign buttons to your preference
- Built-in WiFi (so handy)
- Quiet mode that really isn’t that quiet!
- Wish the AF points would be wider at times, but hardly a deal breaker
- 1/4000 shutter can be annoying but there are ways around it
- Button placement a bit strange from a D800 user
- Buffer is small at times
If you can deal with the bad points (which there are only 5!) I think you have found yourself the perfect wedding photographer’s camera. Big call I know, but I just love it! There is no perfect camera but this one is pretty darn close for wedding photography.
I’ll leave you with a few more sample images to look through.
Please leave some feedback and share your experiences with the D750, or if you have any questions or advice on whether you should buy one, feel free to contact me at email@example.com . Leave me some comments below.