After a long period of thought I purchased a new addition to my Photography Arsenal. My New Nikon D750. This is not a review about the specifications of the camera, as you can find that all over the net, and you will see how well it is received, but more of a personal review of how it fits with me. Only purchasing it a few days ago, and using it on two walkabout shoots in Cardiff, (I was lucky that there were two Rugby World Cup matches in Cardiff), has already given me a feel for how I like it.
You may ask why I am changing to a full frame DSLR when lot of Street Photographers are updating their kit with smaller mirrorless cameras. The reason is that I have a Nikon D7000 which is a crop sensor DSLR, and also an Olympus EM5 which is mirrorless and so much smaller. However, I found it hard adapting to the EM5, firstly due to its small size, and also the electronic viewfinder, and the almost quiet shutter. I know the quietness of the shutter is good for Street Photography, but for me that Clunk that tells you that you’ve nailed a shot does it for me, and there is definitely a clunk with the D750.
So why change from one DSLR to another? Well I have had the D7000 for over 3 years, it has over 70,000 actuations. Still an excellent camera, but although my tendency in Street Photography is more towards the Street Portraits, you will see that below, I am finding that my leaning is going towards the wider view, to the scene, which I think came out more whilst I was in Rome in August. I mostly use my Nikon 85mm f1.8, so putting that on the D750 will give me the true 85mm, and also mean that my Nikon 24-120mm f1.4 will also give me that, as opposed to 36-180 as it does with the D7000. I will also begin using my 50mm f1.8 more and also look to invest in a wider prime.
Whereas there was a huge difference when using the EM5 after the using the D7000 for so long, that wasn’t the case with the D750. As soon as I took it out of the box and held it, it felt just like the D7000, albeit with a better deeper grip. I had to check the weight on line as they both feel about the same. It turns out it is slightly heavier but others who have felt the weight, like me, think there is not much in it. The buttons are in similar places, and the menus work in the same way, but with more options on the D750, obviously because the better specs and also the passage of time, as the D750 was released 4 years after the release of the D7000. So to sum up, the look and feel are so similar.
Some of those specs I mentioned above include WiFi, which I have heard some moans about the app for the phone, but doesn’t worry me as I always download to the computer. Better video resolution and tracking. Also I understand you can change the aperture whilst filming and there is an Auto ISO in movie mode. Something else I never use, but it is always there if I want it. The 51 point autofocus system gets a thumbs up, and the better sensor and chip. All in all, I am looking at it as an upgrade from the D7000, albeit with a larger sensor, and that is how I will treat it. One weird thing, and I can only think is penny pinching is that it doesn’t come with the little plastic flash cover. I would have thought that essential to keep the contacts clean.
Well, they are all positive, and I have listed these below. Some seem so minor, but with all things, such a minor change can have a big effect if it is something that aids your shooting.
One small difference on the D750 that was not on the D7000, and may seem so insignificant, but had caused me grief on a number of occasions is the “Mode Dial Lock”. I know people would say you should always check your settings before you start, but with Street it is often “now or never”. So seeing something reaching into the bag, getting the shot, and then subsequent shots, to then realise that the Mode Dial has moved from Aperture Priority, which I always shoot in, to another setting and has thrown everything out. On the D7000 there is no lock, so putting the camera away, or taking it out, the dial moves so easily that at times it can be annoying.
The Flip Out Screen. The D750 was the first Full Frame DSLR to have this. I know it is often pooh-poohed by photographers, and is directed mostly at videographers and snappers. For some of us who are no longer able to place a camera on the floor, then get their head almost to the floor to look through the viewfinder, though I think you would need to be a contortionist to do that, or get low enough to see the flat back screen, it can be a godsend.
The back screen on the EM5 is flip out, and I use that a lot as it is also Touch Sensitive, alas not on the D750. I am not an advocate for using the backscreen to compose for a number of reasons. The first being that you are having to view the screen at an arms distance, or almost, which takes away the stability of the camera, and leads to shake. The second is I like to frame inside the viewfinder so that all the distractions are cut out and my focus is wholly on what I will capture.
The AE-L/AF-L button, shown in the image, commonly known as the back button, is available on the D7000, but I found that with the width of the grip, it was uncomfortable and awkward for me to use. However the grip is deeper on the D750 and feels narrower, so enables me to use the AE-L/AF-L button for back button focusing.I tried this whilst out for the first time, but found I was pressing the “info” button that was located just below it, and after only ever using the shutter button to focus it takes time to become accustomed to it. So to get around this I programmed the Function (Fn) button to act as the focus button. This worked really well as holding the camera in the shooting position with my left hand supporting the underneath of the camera I was able to operate the Function Button with ease. In effect I was not only using a new camera, but also using a new way of shooting.
If you haven’t tried, or haven’t heard of Back Button Focusing, there is plenty of information across the net. A good tutorial and explanation can be found on You Tube in THIS video.
So what are my thoughts so far on my new camera? I think we will have a long and happy relationship. Our first and second dates went well, producing some excellent shots. We would now like some blue skies and sun to really make our relationship blossom. Sadly living in Wales with winter approaching, we will have a wait. But as they say, we can still practice at it.
There are always a lot of Photographers around on match days, Street Photographer Heaven, but the Rugby World Cup brought new levels to Cardiff. I’ve never seen so many photographers, carrying so much gear. This guy saw the funny side when I shot him shooting.
The Irish Team Coach had just left their Hotel to head to the Millennium Stadium, and the supporters had cheered it out. Now they were walking towards the Stadium themselves, a huge throng of Green. I didn’t want to overpower the shot with Green, or lose it with B&W, so went the desaturated way, with the guy in the foreground.
I got this shot of this beautiful French Girl applying her lipstick, and thought, YES!
Then I moved closer towards her which I thought would make her turn and, OH YES!
I’m always amazed how people can sit so calmly at a table drinking coffee with crowds all around, shouting, singing, and generally being loud. These two manage it.