EDIT: Added new sample Nikon D750 images at the bottom
This one is for photographers and gear heads and yes I will be doing some pixel peeping. I have previously done a review of the D800 images vs a Nikon D3
The below video is just over 20minutes long. Sorry tried to keep it short but could not. I actually had to cut about 20minutes out of it.
I bought a brand new Nikon D750 after having read a review done by Ross Harvey. I had watched countless other videos on youtube but none satisfied what I wanted to know. So I decided to conduct my own series of completely unscientific tests by myself and I like to think I know a thing or two about pixel quality and what I want in a camera. Been using Nikons and Canons for over 15 years now and I am a bit of a perfectionist.
I was a looking for a camera that might eventually take over from my aging D3, although I dearly love that camera to bits I know it won’t last forever. It’s been my bread and butter camera at weddings since I picked it up in March 2008. Sadly I could not afford another one but in hindsight I wished I had sold my last kidney for a D3s. Eventually I picked up a D700 but sold it when the D800 came out. Wasn’t ever a fan of the D700, auto focus not up to scratch. Specifically for weddings I always found the D800 to be an overkill. I always had to resize the final images. Not just harddrive space but all of a sudden instead of one media disc to clients you had to supply several. So operating costs suddenly skyrocketed! Insurance costs went up, the fact was that working with a large megapixel image is more expensive and more time consuming, worked out to be twice as expensive and it took longer than a smaller MP image to process. In Lightroom it took an average of 5 to 8 seconds longer to load up and be editable. Take a 1000 wedding images that suddenly load 8 seconds longer on average, that’s 8000 seconds longer per wedding or just over two hours in loading time alone! Not to mention that it takes longer to copy, backup, render etc. It all ads up in the end! There was also no ways I was gonna spend R90 000 on a single D4s body, we just don’t make enough money on jobs in South Africa to really justify that amount of spending on camera bodies. And for 16MP, seriously Nikon??
There was another major problem for me, color matching between the D3 and the D800 was a nightmare, I would spend hours and hours trying to get them to match up but for some reason they just never did. I did a little side test with the D3 and the D750 and just applying the same preset to each camera I was able to get a very close with color match and this makes me very happy! See below. Shot with a Sigma 35mm f1.4 A Lens at f2, ISO 800, same presets applied in LR.
The Nikon D3 files appear to be slightly more saturated with stronger reds tones but I have not fiddled with them at all, just a straight D3 preset applied to the D750 and they matched extremely well, this was my biggest headache with the D800. (I deliberately under exposed these images by 2 stops when I shot them. This is why they look so grainy but I like grain.)
And here they are, the Canon 6D, Nikon D750, and Nikon D800. Following them are just a couple of shots that I tested as seen in the video review. Some points that I just want to mention again: The 6D really is an amazing camera and it will be difficult to part with it as I use it to film and Magic Lantern is every film makers dream but I was crushed after I had spent an awful of amount of money on a 295mbs 32G SD card to record RAW video on the 6D only to find out that Canon somehow managed to handicap this beautiful camera with a top bus speed of 38mbs. (Insert silence of death and gasping sounds) Crazy when you think that a 6 year old 500D/T2 has a bus speed of 95mbs, Why did you do that Canon? Why?? The 6D has a very quiet shutter, so perfect for weddings and reportage style photos. It’s also small and light and great to take on vacation. It’s by far the cheapest option so can you spend money on glass or other things like coffee, insurance, and food stamps. Excellent battery life, same battery as the 5D MK3 so you can swap them around. Battery grip is also very affordable and makes it even better handling when installed. No small RAW files though and only one SD card slot and then of course, Canon speedlights, ugh, after having had the joy of using Nikon speedlights this was like swallowing bronchitis medicine as a kid. So I bought some Yongnuo ones! Also the 6D makes the 5D MK2 completely obsolete! It’s a fantastic camera and I would highly recommend it. Just a note, the wifi works much better than Nikon’s incantation, which is not reliable and very slow, but it does work.. eventually.
The D800 is absolutely fantastic for large prints and billboard work, if you are just shooting for magazine publications or online publications then it’s a complete overkill and waste of talents. It suffers badly from shutter slap so you have to work extra carefully to ensure sharp images, nice going Nikon. They fixed this with the D810 but unfortunately not many D800 owners will jump to the more expensive D810 (at least more expensive in South Africa) Price in SA is around the $5200 mark where in the States the D810 is cheaper than a Canon 5D MK3 at $3300! Amazing. I had auto focus issues in the beginning and although it was fixed by Nikon it never seemed to live up to their hype, in studio I had no problems but on location and working fast or shooting a wedding I always had serious focus issues. Also hated the fact that in video mode it cropped in on the image, so a lovely 35mm lens turned into a hybrid 42mm. I also hate the fact that liveview and video view had two separate exposure settings, this is very useless if you are doing some video and photography on the fly at an event and you want to switch between either at the drop of a hat. Also I’ve had clients who wanted to have video and stills done at the same time and this was a no-brainer breeze with the Canon or any Canon system, it seems Canon somehow understood this need and catered for it. With Nikon it’s not that simple and it slows everything down. Dare I mention shutter slap again?? Oh and one more thing that makes Magic Lantern so awesome on the Canon systems!! This is amazing and surprising that neither Nikon nor Canon has this as a function on their own systems. Automatic film recording once the limit has been reached! In other words, when camera reaches it’s built in video limit it will automatically continue recording to a new file without skipping a beat! so technically no more 20 or 29 minute filming limits! That is single handedly one the most amazing features ever!! Nikon, wakey wakey time! Firmware update??? I’m sure it would be super easy to enable.
The D750 was launched two months after the D810 was released, just as everyone was scrambling to get rid of their redundant D800’s on the second hand market, Nikon drops a bomb in that market, called the D750. I am sure their D810 sales went down as soon as the D750 hit the market and the D800 second hand market came to a grinding halt. Why buy an old second hand camera when their is a perfectly good new one on the market that is cheaper and comes with a guarantee? Sure it’s MP size is smaller and it’s not “listed” as a pro camera, only a measly 1/4000th top shutter speed and it uses SD cards (what seriously?) so it’s definitely aimed at people stepping in from crop framed sensors. At least it has two SD card slots and not one. The 60fps video is something they should have done long time ago and they should have added a 120fps option at 720P! Who would ever want to use the 720P option now that 1080P has 60fps?? Who is in charge of marketing and camera research? So redundant and I’m pretty sure Canon’s next big camera release will have this option. Also, why install an auto focus system that is better than the D4s and the one in the D810 in a camera that is not supposed to be a “pro” body?? But thanks anyways! Nikon you have to wake up and get back to releasing ground breaking cameras! Not these incremental updates! Cameras are not smart phones! They are way more expensive and people tend to use them for much longer and expect something that is future proof for at least 5 years! The grip could have been thicker. Take the fold out screen, it’s all nice and dandy but it should have been a full swivel type screen, not this half measure up and down tilt one. So is this a waste of time camera?? Did they release another Macguffin? Not at all. This one makes the entire D600 series obsolete and useless but it’s finally a step in the right direction. Nikon might have to fire whoever is running their R&D department. I did my tests but also had the opportunity to shoot two other tests and I just loved the way it operated. Even the sound of the shutter was like a whip encouraging me to shoot more. It has an abrupt fast sounding clang that feels like the shot was solid and in the bag. The screen is magnificent and beautiful and instantly encourages confidence. I do hope they get a stable RAW converter or Lightroom functionality going soon as I do feel this interim beta version is not fully utilizing the full potential of the files.
The below images were shot at ISO 3200 and underexposed for a reason. First the as shot image then the corrected image. The D750 out performed the other two cameras in color rendition, shadow detail, and noise levels.
I shot these yesterday at a popup studio event in Cape Town at an art gallery called CAAM in De Waterkant. Shot using an Alien Bees flash and an Elinchrom flash. I just gave them a quick color grading in Lightroom with no Photoshop. Have a look at our Facebook page, Executive Images to stay up to date about more pop-up events. RL is an international model from the States and Krisjan is a local artist, resident to Cape Town.
*Disclaimer: I do not work for Castle, Canon or Nikon and no one paid me to do this test, This is purely my done on my own cognition. Although I do recommend a cold one after a long day on the job. I used to be an Ambassador for Nikon but found out via the grapevino that I was not anymore. After all I have done for them over the past 6 years. My brother and I was one of the first Nikon Ambassadors in South Africa when they started this in 2008. I have wooed many a soul over to Nikon and always sang it’s praises. But in the end whatever gets the job done wins over loyalty, especially if it’s a one sided affair. If I had to start from scratch today, my money would probably go to Canon as you would get more bang for your buck, in South Africa. Both systems have their strengths and weaknesses and Canon has that fantastic 70 – 200mm f2.8 lens that is just awe inspiring, it makes the Nikon version look like a smartphone accessory.