After a long while of trying to decide on the perfect camera for my needs, I now ended up ordering a Nikon D750.
In this post I am going to explain some of my reasoning.
First of all, I want to mention the cameras that I considered: These were the Sony A7S, Sony A99, A77 II, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon 5D Mark III, Nikon D7100 / D7200 and the D750.
Then the long process of selection started: initially I loved the idea of the 7D Mark II. Fast autofocus and even faster bursts (10fps) with a large buffer sounded like my kind of thing. As a wildlife hobbyist I don’t need a 1D X or Nikon D4S but coming nice to it is nice indeed.
Seeing the first raw images of the 7D II made me change my mind though. The files had not the colour I hoped they had and with rising ISOs the image gets rather soft. Furthermore, dynamic range is just not great at all. And when the video quality revealed to be very soft and not as easy to sharpen as the 5D Mark III the 7D was out.
In terms of video though, there was nothing that could beat the Sony A7S. Low light is amazing, sharpness is amazing, and even the video codec makes me smile. This could be the ideal camera, if not for the photo quality. While sufficient, 12MP is not an ideal resolution today and speed and autofocus are useless for wildlife. The amount of autofocus lenses, while irrelevant for video, is not sufficient to make this my main tool for both photo and video.
The Sony Alpha A99 is simply outdated and the A77 II has that horrible 2x (compared to full frame) crop in video mode, using only a M4/3 size portion of the sensor instead of the full APS-C sensor.
This leaves still the 5D Mark III on the table as well as anything Nikon makes.
When comparing the 5D and the D750 side by side it becomes obvious which way to go for my need: out of camera video of the Nikon is better, the raw files have much higher dynamic range, it is faster, has, in my opinion, better autofocus and the low light capabilities also outshine the Canon.
The D7200 is not available until April (I need the camera for early April latest) and the D7100’s sensor is just not as good. Further, the grip on the D750 is much more comfortable than both of the crop Nikons.
As the price difference to the D610 is small enough, I decided that the D750, for me, lays in the sweet spot of price and features.
As I was shooting Sony previously and don’t have any Nikon lenses I ordered a 50mm f/1.8 and a 28mm f/2.8 with it. I still have a need for a tele-lens, but it is not fully decided yet which one I would use. The options are Tamron 70-200 f/2.8, Sigma 70-200 f/2.8, Tokina 70-200 f/4, Nikon 70-200 f/2, Nikon AF-S 80-200 f/2.8 and Nikon 300 f/4 D, or something else if it makes sense and fits the budget. As you see, it is not even narrowed down yet.
Having tried the D750 before as well as having read too many reviews, I am comfortable so far that it is the ideal camera. FX format quality and low light sensitivity, together with amazing autofocus should make it very fun indeed.
As soon as I have it in my hands, I will let you know with a first preview and sample shots and I will post a full review after I had it for a little.
(image copyright for product shots: Nikon Europe BV)