Nikon introduced the D750 in 2014, a super versatile full frame camera that’s best for serious enthusiasts and professionals. The D750 has been one of Nikon’s most popular cameras, and every photographer who has used it has thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of it.

In 2020, Nikon introduced the D780, basically a modern version of the D750. Take all the goodness of the D750, add some smarts from the mirrorless range and you have a brilliant new camera that, despite all the changes happening in the cameras, will become a very popular model. It also shows the direction Nikon and others would have taken, bridging the gap between the typical DSLR and mirrorless range and providing cameras that people will still want to use.

Pros
  • Numerous direct access controls
  • Tilting touch sensitive screen
  • Double card slots
  • Quick focus in live view
  • Great battery life
Cons
  • Big and heavy
  • Expensive

 

In the box

Nikon D780 comes in a rectangular box with the camera, strap, battery charger, second battery and a user manual inside.

  • Nikon D780
  • Strap for shoulder strap
  • Charger
  • Second battery
  • User manual

Design

Nikon D780 is larger and heavier overall than its mirrorless counterparts, but at just under 840 grams, it’s not overly heavy. In addition, the redesigned deep grip makes the D780 comfortable to hold.

At first glance, the layout and body of the external controls are quite similar to those of the D750. I don’t like change for its own sake, but there are some differences that are worth mentioning.

Some buttons have been moved (e.g. the Live View button has been moved up) and some allocations have been changed, but probably the most significant is that a dedicated AF-On button is now available for button focusing back. Additionally, the top metering button has been replaced with an ISO button.

Performance

Even if bulky camera bodies aren’t your thing, you’ll be pleased with the performance of the Nikon D780.

Although there are higher resolution cameras, that sensor captures and delivers beautiful, incredibly sharp images, with a wide dynamic range that helps minimize highlights and very dark shadows, while minimizing loss of detail. The color rendition is impressive – rich, vibrant and accurate, which can also be said for its video captures. ISO performance is pretty good too, although grain becomes noticeably distinguishable at 6,400 from 4,000.

Its viewfinder’s 51 AF points and limited image area coverage, I must admit, can be a bit limiting if you’ve relied heavily on autofocus in the past. Subject tracking is accurate and fast, but if the subject moves out of that AF area, you’ll need to readjust, making it extremely uncomfortable to shoot fast-moving subjects at times. If, on the other hand, the still subject is not within the AF area, you can adjust the frame to lock the focus on the subject by pressing the shutter halfway or pressing the AF-ON button, then re-adjust to get the desired frame.

D780

If that seems too uncomfortable, you can go ahead and use Live View, which boasts a 90% coverage area and 273 AF points, as well as eye detection and tracking. Unfortunately, it’s also slower to focus than the viewfinder. However, if you’re not looking to capture moving subjects, this shouldn’t be a problem. Eye AF is pretty good, detecting and tracking cats’ eyes too. However, it is not as effective as that of others.

As for battery life, it nearly doubles the D750’s 1,230 shots, with a rating of 2,260 images on a single charge. Unless you’re a pro on a mission or won’t have access to an outlet for a couple of days, this camera won’t require an additional battery. It will allow you to easily shoot all day: photos and some videos. While we didn’t run all day, one battery lasted two and a half days during testing. It is quite impressive.

Autofocus

The viewfinder allows the user to shoot and features a supported 51-point AF system with high-resolution metering sensor and some algorithms from the D5. It also features continuous AF at around 7fps for burst shooting. But it can also reach 12fps in Live View silent shooting mode when capturing 12-bit RAW files.

Image quality

The size of the D780 sensor is virtually identical to the D750, weighing just over 24 million pixels, and is likely closely related to that of Nikon’s Z6 which is backlit and features a dual gain architecture for better performance.

Video

It is capable of capturing 4K UHD video with 30p full-pixel reading. It also supports 10-bit N-log and HLG HDR output and offers focus peaking, zebra stripes, and more.

Connectivity

Using Bluetooth, you need to be very aware that the camera is set to transfer images when it’s off, as this can drain the battery quickly, leaving you with a low battery when you wake up in the morning. Bluetooth is also relatively slow compared to Wi-Fi, so if you have a large number of photos to transfer (even when transferring 2MP images), you’ll be more likely to use Wi-Fi. Using Wi-Fi, you can remotely control the camera from the SnapBridge app. Location information is supported so you can add GPS data to images from your smartphone.

Silent shooting

Like the Nikon D850, the D780 features several ways to silence the mechanical shutter. The shutter sounds pretty satisfying during everyday shooting when you’re using the viewfinder, but you get the feeling it’s pretty loud when there’s not much to do around you.

D780

The Q and Qc modes on the mode dial are the silent release shooting modes. These dampen the sound of the mirror slapping slightly and in Qc mode the D780 can shoot continuously at 3fps.

To shoot even more discreetly, Nikon has implemented a zero-vibration electronic shutter that allows users to capture images in total silence when using Live View. With Silent Live View Photography mode activated from the photo shooting menu, there is no noise when you press the shutter button.

D780

Set the command dial to its continuous high (CH) setting with silent live view enabled and users can shoot at 12fps without peeking from the camera, great for wedding and wildlife photographers who want to shoot without disturbing or scaring people. their subjects. The only caveat to using Silent Live View Photography mode is the roller shutter, which can cause visible distortion of fast-moving objects.

Final Thoughts

In comparison to other Nikons, for someone who is serious about photography and filming, the D780 is an excellent choice.

Compared to the D850, with its 36 megapixels, you have to decide: do you need extra pixels? If I want large scale wall art images, I like to use a D850. However, 24 megapixels are perfectly adequate for most purposes and now appear to be the standard for the size of a DSLR sensor.

So, the D780 potentially hits a sweet spot between the D850’s supreme megapixels and the D5’s high fps. Being the step up from the D750, however, the D780 isn’t exponentially advanced in camera design or technology. Most importantly, the D780 combines the immediacy, control and ruggedness of a DSLR with the shooting and wireless capabilities of a mirrorless camera. And remember, you can use all of your existing goals.

In the Nikon D780 you have a machine of great and varied creativity. In my opinion, the production of this DSLR was a smart and bold strategic move on Nikon’s part.

 

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