Gear

Nikon D750 vs. D810 – Which One to Buy?

Over the last few months it seems Nikon has been on update overdrive when it comes to their FX line of full frame DSLRs. Not content with just updating the very successful D8xx line of cameras with the new D810, Nikon also made many photographers extremely happy when they announced a successor to the legendary D700 in the form of the D750. This has now bought an extra camera to the FX line up and subsequently made the decision harder for those people looking to upgrade to a new FX camera. In this short article I want to do a run through of the pros and cons of the D750 and the D810 and then compare them so you can decide which camera is best.

The D750 offers the best high ISO performance in the whole Nikon range even surpassing the D4s

The original D800 looked very much like a camera on steroids when it was released. It’s insanely high resolution and mouth watering dynamic range was clearly designed to offer medium format like quality at a semi-affordable price point. There was some confusion, however, with the release of the D800 when Nikon announced both a standard D800 and a D800e version which came without an AA filter.

The D810 has in a way improved and streamlined the D8xx range of cameras. It has simplified the choice by only being available without an AA filter. Nikon has also improved the ISO range, buffer and has made subtle improvements to make the camera more enjoyable to use.

The D750 on the other hand isn’t a direct upgrade in the way that the D810 is. Instead it has effectively revived the D7xx line of cameras that saw so much success with the original D700. The D700 was very much a mini D3 offering high end pro features and build in a smaller more compact body. The D750 continues this tradition by offering the same pro 51-point AF system and great high ISO performance that can be found in the D4s.

Nikon D750 Nikon D810
Sensor Resolution 24.3 Million 36.3 Million
Low Pass Filter X
Base ISO ISO 100 ISO 64
Native ISO Range ISO 100-12,800 ISO 64 – 12,800
sRAW Support X
Continuous Shooting Speed 6.5FPS 5FPS, 7FPS with MB-D12 Grip
Max Shutter Speed 1/4000 1/8000
Flash Sync 1/200 1/250
Autofocus System Advanced Multi-CAM 3500FX II Advanced Multi-CAM 3500FX
Number of AF Points 51 51
LCD Screen Tilting 3.2″ TFT-LCD 3.2″ TFT-LCD
WiFi Built-in WT-4a Adapter (optional)
Weight 750g 880g
Dimensions 140.5 x 113 x 78mm 146 x 123 x 81.5mm
Price $ 1,215.00

Specs

If we first compare the specs of the D750 and the D810 we can immediately see that there are some quite stark differences in the sensor technology used in these cameras. The D810 uses the same resolution senor as its predecessor, the D800, at a crazy 36.3MP, whereas the D750 has a much lower but still very respectable 24.3MP sensor.

You might be thinking ‘what advantages and disadvantages will this give?’ We all know that the original D800 offered outstanding resolution and sharpness combined with class leading dynamic range at low ISOs. Nikon have improved on this further by reducing the base ISO to 64 from 100, which has improved the dynamic range even further; also, they have removed the AA filter to offer the same pixel sharpness that we saw in the D800e.

The D750 has been styled more on the D600 range than the D810

The D750 on the other hand can’t match the D800 at low ISOs but it really starts to shine when the light goes down or when speed is really needed. The D750 offers the best high ISO performance in the whole Nikon range even surpassing the D4s albeit only slightly. The speed of the camera has also been improved with a burst rate boost of 1.5fps over the D810.

Build and Ergonomics

Both of these cameras offer pro level build quality. There is no doubt that in terms of durability both cameras will be able to cope with almost everything your average pro photographer will throw at them. The D810 is slightly larger than the D750 but has a more ergonomic design with a slightly curved grip and rounder edges. The D750 has been styled more on the D600 range than the D810, which means that despite being slightly smaller the design is a little squarer and ultimately a little less ergonomic for those with larger hands.

One of the biggest omissions for me is the lack of AF-ON button on the D750. For a pro level body this is disappointing and I can only think that it has been done to help free up some space for the smaller body. There are however some plus points for the D750 build. The addition of a tilting LCD is a big plus for me and it is something that I have come to use a lot over the last few months of using my smaller M4/3 gear. Nikon has also managed to squeeze a built-in Wi-Fi to the D750, again something that has been adopted from mirrorless cameras and for me a feature that should now be standard and not an expensive add-on.

Conclusions

So which camera should you buy? The D810 has the advantages of class leading medium format-like image quality at low ISOs, great build quality all the while retaining the high end pro body feel (and the AF-ON button!). If you are regularly shooting on a tripod (landscape photographers, architectural photographers etc) or in the studio then, in terms of purely image quality at base ISO, the D810 is going to be about the best DSLR you can buy from any manufacturer.

However, if you would prefer a camera that is a better all rounder with a smaller, lighter body, built in Wi-Fi, tilting screen, better high ISO performance and a price tag that is hundreds of dollars cheaper than the D810, then the D750 is more than likely the camera for you.

The D810 is slightly larger than the D750 but has a more ergonomic design

If I had to make the decision I would more than likely be swayed towards the D750, the price saving and better all round performance is more of a benefit to me than the extra resolution and dynamic range of the D810. However, if pure image quality was an important factor then you really can’t look any further than the D810. There are currently very few DSLRs that can even attempt to challenge it when it comes to image quality and even many older medium format systems would struggle to justify their cost when compared to this camera.