This is a real world Nikon D750 review and explanation of my leaving Canon for Nikon.
The Nikon D750 was annonced on September 15 2014. I took possession of 2 D750 with the following lenses on October 3rd 2014. I shoot with a AF-S Nikkor 20mm f1.8G, Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art, Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art, AF-S Nikkor 85mm f1.8G and AF-S Nikkor 70-200 f2.8 ED VRII. I had been a loyal user of Canon products for 8 years but the lack of quality updates, new technology implementation and some image quality factors made me change to Nikon.
Why did I suddenly switch to Nikon after some many years? The dynamic range of raw files from recent Nikon camera caught my attention (DXOmark gives it almost 2.5 stops more DR compared to the 6D) . The new -3ev AF system was a new more low light capable AF system from Nikon, which already offers an amazing AF system. I had issues with blue noise in the dark areas of my Canon files. I also had banding issues even in lower ISO settings from the Canon 5D MarkIII. The last issue was that if you underexposed your image by only 2/3 of a stop in high ISO (5000 +) then you would loose so much dynamic range that some of the files became unusable to my eye.
The body is a touch small in my fingers especially with a 70-200mm f2.8VRII attached to it but it’s still workable.
Ross Harvey’s review also helped sway me in since it was a real life, real world review.
I mainly shoot weddings and events. When I switched, I had 14 days to learn the new menus and to find a solution for replacing the amazing Canon flash system (ST-E3 RT and Canon 600EX-RT) because I was shooting my next wedding on October 18th. I was asked to second shoot a wedding with a talented wedding photographer from Montreal – Sophie Asselin on October 11th (YES 8 days after purchasing all my Nikon gear). The weddings images you will see in the gallery are from that wedding.
The solution for the flash system was found in Yongnuo i-TTL Flash trigger YN-622N and YN-622N-TX i-TTL LCD transmitter. I can now control the iTTL or Manual output of my flashes from the top of the Nikon D750 like I did before.
Why the Nikon D750 and not a Nikon D4s?
For me the D750 answers all of the issues I had with my Canon 5DIII. Clean ISO up to 8000, great low light AF, Usable AF points not only the center point, no banding in low ISO and great dynamic range. The issue I have with the Nikon D4s is the weight of the body and lack of resolution to my eyes because I have been shooting 21mp since 2008 (Canon 1DsMKIII).
I was hesitant on the 1/4000sec shutter but with such low base ISO, I can still shoot wide open in daylight.If not, even if the images is touched overexposed, we can bring it back without damage in post. The quiet mode on the Nikon cameras is far from being quiet. They should look into this since I really appreciated this with Canon.
The confidence on the gear was shaky for the first hour while shooting the wedding. After that, I stopped looking at my LCD just captured moments and photographs.Speaking of which, the tilting lcd is nice for some angles but I wish there was a lock to hold it in place. I fear I’ll rip it off one day.
The wedding on the 18th of October 2014 went really well. (The couple have asked me not to show images from the wedding so I am respecting their request)
I have noticed a bigger number of keeper shots from the evening which most of the dancing was shot at 3200 iso, f2 and 1/100sec. I have noticed a major difference in the WB of the Nikon system compared to the Canon. It’s definitely warmer. The black area in my images are definitely cleaner with less noise and no banding.
The AF worked really well. I had tested the camera in low light at home against my 5DIII before I sold all my Canon gear. It better by a good margin. Locks faster and more precise than my previous cameras. It also kept pace with subjects coming closer or walking away from my camera in AF-C.
I have found a major issue with my B camera. When using AF assist from the Nikon SB-910 or Yongnuo 568EX and the center AF point, that particular camera front focuses pretty badly. When I contacted Nikon, the camera had less than 2 weeks and a replacement or even loaner was out of the question. 8 Years with Canon in which I only had 2 issues (70-200mm f2.8L lens coming apart and 50mm f1.4 AF motor breaking which I got a loaner while the repair was taking place) Let’s say that the relationship with Nikon customer service doesn’t start well after only 2 weeks with the brand.
After further testing, I have came to the conclusion of never using the center AF point with any AF assist. Once the wedding and event season is over, I’ll be sending the faulty body in for inspection and repair. Let’s see how warranty work goes with Nikon…
UPDATE ON REPAIR
Exactly 7 days after I dropped it off at the Nikon Montreal office ,Purolator showed rang my door bell to deliver my camera. They changed the AF system. It now works beautifully. AF is now precise and consistent. Thank you for the timely repair and home delivery.
The reasons behind my lens selections are pretty simple.
I want high sharpness, fast AF, reliable AF and good light transmission. Size and weather sealing don’t matter to me but weight and build quality do play a small factor.
I have been shooting prime lenses since 2009 when I lost my photojournalist job at a local newspaper in Montreal because of a lockout. My lens selection while working with Canon equipment were the Canon 24mm f1.4L, Canon 35mm f1.4L, Sigma 50mm f1.4 ART, Canon 85mm f1.2LII (I had recently switched to Sigma 85mm f1.4 because of AF speed), Canon 100mm f2.8LIS macro and Canon 135mm f2L.
When looking at the lens offering from Nikon, I tested the 1.8G series lenses (28, 35, 50, 85) which I found to be mostly ok except for the 85mm f1.8G which is phenomenal.
I decided to go with 2 Sigma lenses from the Art series. The 35mm f1.4 ART and 50mm f1.4 ART are considered some if the best prime lenses offered today. Sharpness, AF speed and reliability with very little distortion make these two lenses spectacular. I would have never touched Sigma lenses prior to the ART line. Before that the ART series, I found Sigma lenses to be slow in AF, not very sharp and have poor build quality. They also offer a 7 year warranty in Canada 😛
I went with the Nikkor 85mm f1.8G lens in the Nikon lineup because of it’s sharpness, weight and reliability to achieve focus. It feels pretty light compared to my other lenses. I chose the 1.8G over the 1.4G because I find AF to be faster on the 1.8G even if the 1.4G is a touch sharper.
Now to replace my 135f2L I chose to go with a trusty Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8VRII. Big aperture, great stabilisation and sharpness all met my expectations.
I really really really wished Nikon would update their 1995 AF DC-Nikkor 135mm f2 design or that Sigma could make a 135mm f2 ART series lens that would be stellar because I am not a fan of the weight that a 70-200mm f2.8 brings to my photography.
I have received my Nikkor 20mm f1.8G lens while I was posting this review. I went out to shoot some images. My initial reaction to the lens. Lightweight, fast AF, sharp even wide open, strong vignetting and not supported by LR yet. Hopefully support will come soon.
Overall, I know I made the right choice with my camera and lens selection for switching to Nikon. I am already very happy after 4 weeks of shooting. I have been using the Adobe DNG converter to convert my RAW files in DNG to process via LR 5.6.
Here are some shots taken with my 2 Nikon D750.