Canon and I have been fighting a lot lately. It's not that we don't like each other, but I largely feel more and more isolated from Canon as a company and within my shooting community.
Really, Canon hasn't offered me any new bodies even close (in terms of performance:price) to what its greatest rival Nikon has been producing. Without much of a real upgrade path to look forward to, I started to read up a bit more on the Nikon bodies, what they are capable of and what kind of features they make use of. Enter the D750. Take this review as someone who is tired of waiting for options from Canon and exploring their horizons.
I took the camera for the weekend as well as a couple of prime lenses, a 35mm f/1.8 DG and a 85mm f/1.8. I had planned several shoots to put it through its paces. A photowalk for street shots, a low-light art event in Halifax known as Nocturne, and a portrait session as part of my Jobless project.
For street shooting, the camera was light, quick and snappy, as well as much quieter than my 5D Mark II. It was also more discreet, since I was able to pop the flip-screen out and use the camera at waist level. This was actually really challenging for me since I'm used to the Hasselblad reversing the image with a mirror (first world problems, amirite?. yeesh).
Nocturne allowed for some real low-light challenges. I set the ISO to automatic and let the camera decided, based on my exposure compensation, what to use. I think the image speak for themselves as far as noise is concerned, but the real hero is the AF. I could focus on a black cat in a coal mine with the central AF points, and pretty well most anything above that with the outer points.
Finally, for a portrait session, this camera was remarkable. Smooth and very much just an accessory to the conversation, I was quiet and simply listening to my subject talk. The images will be up soon, but for now here's a test shot of lighting in one of the spaces we were shooting. Michael was my assistant for the day and sat in.
Some features I really liked:
- Wifi: This was cooler than expected. A live feed from the camera to my iPhone let me take photos remotely. This meant that I could sit and have a conversation with my portrait subject without being distracted by the camera in front of my face. See a moment? Click. Send to phone, edit, upload.
- AutoFocus speed and low-light ability: Yikes, just amazing, quick and accurate focusing in all light conditions.
- Noise handling: ISO6400 is very usable. I hesitate to shoot above 1600 with my 5D Mark II, but I'm very comfortable shooting this at 3200, 6400 if necessary.
- Nikon CLS Flashes with iTTL: I haven't had a chance to really push these through their paces but if I go with Nikon I'll likely be getting into several SB910s to do TTL off camera triggering. The camera has a built-in commander mode, so I'll likely make use of that as well.
- There's a extensive catalog of excellent lenses already made long ago. In fact, I used some of my Dad's lenses from 1979 on this body (see below)!
Some features I disliked:
- Button layout: I was still pressing "ghost" buttons on this camera, basically muscle memory from shooting with Canons for so long. Even though that's my issue, I still felt I had to reach uncomfortably to turn on the back button AF. I think I managed to bump the camera enough to engage DX (Crop) mode without realizing it prior to a portrait session.
- Aperture mode: The two main dials controlled the Aperture and the ISO. I'd much rather the rear dial control Exposure compensation, though I'm confident that it could be programmed.
- Skin tones: I didn't hate them, but the Canon sensors do have an advantage when it comes to rendering skin tones. They just have more magenta, which is easily added in post but it will be an extra step.
- Raw Compatibility: This is a minor point, since Adobe will soon release Lightroom 5.7 which will include compatibility. It's just a pain to have to use the Bridge and Photoshop.
- No PC Sync port. This means that I at the very least would have to get wireless triggers or a hotshoe adapter to fire my studio strobes.
In short? Holy. Shit. This camera eats my 5D and spits it out. For the price point, I think Canon is way behind. It pairs really well with the 85mm f/1.8 and though the 35mm that was on the body most of the time was excellent, I think I'd rather opt for the Sigma equivalent, the 35mm f/1.4 Art.
The way this camera deals with low light and with shadow noise just beggars belief. A very fine upgrade path for me. Oh, and I have a lot of great friends in my local industry who also shoot Nikon, so in a pinch I may have access to lenses or other gear if need arises. I'm also cool with sharing my own gear if a fellow 'tog is in a pinch.
For some awesome reviews that encouraged me to check out this camera, read up on Ming Thein's blog as to why he bought one, and of course there's Ross Harvey's blog which was the first review I read that gave me sensor envy.
I will also be testing a Fuji X-T1 and possibly an x100s. I have to evaluate all my options!
Until next time, cheers!