Tag Archives: auto focus

Autofocus Fine Tune

Autofocus Fine Tune test shot for Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD lens at 200mm, f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/200-second with flash and Nikon D610 AF Fine Tune set to OFF (Bill Ferris)

Autofocus fine-tune test shot for Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD lens at 200mm, f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/200-second with flash. AF fine-tune is turned off. (Bill Ferris)

Choosing the right autofocus (AF) mode can be a real challenge. You could leave the driving to the camera and go with Auto-servo AF (AF-A) mode. If you go that route, don’t expect that dumb box of a camera to make the right choices. It will make choices but they’ll probably not be the same choices you would make.

Being the risk-taker that you are, I’m sure you spend most of your time shooting in either Single-servo (AF-S) or Continuous-servo (AF-C) mode. These allow you greater control and, when good choices are made, a higher success rate making keeper images. Among those choices, is deciding which one or more AF points to use. Do you use one, nine, twenty-one or all the AF points on your camera’s sensor? If just one, do you go with the center point or an outer point? If you choose a group of points, which group? Do you allow the camera to have a say in which AF points are used? So many choices.

Let’s assume you’ve chosen an AF mode, and selected the number and location of the AF points that will be used. The next challenge is to successfully place at least one AF point over your subject and acquire focus. When it all comes together, it’s a beautiful moment. The shutter clicks open and the image swiftly, silently, gets encoded as a collection of 1’s and 0’s on an SD card.

Later, when you look at the photograph in Lightroom and realize it’s still not in focus, that moment of joy becomes frustration. What happened? Why is the eye just ever so slightly soft?

Of all the factors than have the potential to cause an out-of-focus image, arguably the most pernicious is a camera/lens combo that is ever so slightly miscalibrated. Despite your mastery of the camera’s AF system, your successful effort to track the subject and the presence of mind to make an exposure at the decisive moment, that slight miscalibration wreaks havoc. Focus is not set on the eye beneath the AF point. Instead, focus is slightly in front of or just behind the eye. The result is an out of focus image that ends up being deleted rather than marked as a keeper.

Autofocus fine-tune is a tool offered by many professional and high end consumer cameras. It allows you to adjust where focus is set to compensate for a miscalibrated lens. How does it work?

In the above images, the blue shaded portion of the semitransparent square overlay represents an out-of-focus area of the black and white image. The portion of the black and white photo visible within the blue shaded overlay represents the area of the face falling within the focus plane and appearing to be be in focus in the image. TOP: This illustrates a properly focused image. The eyes, brow and mouth fall within the focus plane and appear in-focus. MIDDLE: This represents a back-focused image. The ears an temples are within the focus plane and appear sharp. However, the eyes are above the focus plane and look soft. BOTTOM: This represents a front-focused image. The tip of the nose and chin fall within the focus plane and appear sharp. However, the eyes are behind the focus plane and look soft.

In the above images, the blue shaded portion of the semitransparent square overlay represents an out-of-focus area of the black and white image. The portion of the black and white photo visible within the blue shaded overlay represents the area of the face falling within the focus plane and appearing properly in-focus.
TOP: This illustrates a properly focused image. The eyes, brow and mouth fall within the focus plane and appear in-focus.
MIDDLE: This represents a back-focused image. The ears and temples are within the focus plane and appear sharp. However, the eyes are above the focus plane and look soft.
BOTTOM: This represents a front-focused image. The tip of the nose and chin fall within the focus plane and appear sharp. However, the eyes are behind the focus plane and look soft.

In the above illustration, the focus plane of the camera is represented by the semitransparent, blue square overlay. While all photographs have at least a minimal depth of field, for simplicity, I’m illustrating the focus plane as a two-dimensional, flat zone. With large aperture, small focal ratio lenses being popular for portraiture, the shallow depths of field produced by such lenses leave little margin for error when it comes to achieving accurate focus. If focus is not set on the eye or within a few millimeters of the eye, the resulting image will look “soft” and out-of-focus. There will be portions of the subject’s face that look sharp and in-focus, but if the eyes look soft, the overall impression will be that the photo is soft.

A miscalibrated camera/lens combo may give every indication of making a properly focused exposure. However, despite the fact that the focus point may be directly over the subject’s eye, the camera will set focus slightly in front of or behind the eye. If you are shooting with a fast f-stop, that slight miscalibration can result in unacceptably soft images. Autofocus fine-tune allows you to compensate for this problem.

In the Nikon D610 menu system, AF Fine Tune is found in the Setup Menu. (Bill Ferris)

In the Nikon D610 menu system, AF fine-tune is found in the Setup Menu. (Bill Ferris)

Entering the AF fine-tune menu, the first option is where you select, ON or OFF, for this control. The second setting is the Saved Value for the lens. (Bill Ferris)

Entering the AF fine-tune menu, the first setting allows you to select, ON or OFF. The second setting is the Saved Value for the lens. (Bill Ferris)

Entering the Saved Value setting, select a positive or negative number from +20 to -20. Positive numbers move the focus point farther from the focus plane to compensate for front-focused images. A negative setting moves the focus point closer to the camera focus plane to compensate for back-focused images. (Bill Ferris)

Entering the Saved Value setting, select a positive or negative number from +20 to -20. Positive numbers move the focus point away from the camera to compensate for front-focused images. A negative setting moves the focus point toward the camera to compensate for back-focused images. (Bill Ferris)

Nikon cameras recognize Nikkor lenses and many third party lenses, and are able store AF fine-tune settings for up to 12 different lenses. (Bill Ferris)

Nikon cameras recognize Nikkor lenses and many third party lenses, and are able store AF fine-tune settings for up to 12 different lenses. (Bill Ferris)

The above series of images illustrate how to use AF fine-tune to add an adjustment to compensate for a lens that consistently front-focuses or back-focuses when used with a specific camera body. AF fine-tune settings are not transferable. A setting on one camera may not be needed on a different but same model body. The setting is unique to that specific camera/lens combination.

Also, Nikon bodies do not allow you to define multiple settings for the same lens. For example, when working with a zoom lens, you are limited to one setting for that lens. If AF fine-tune is engaged, the adjustment will be applied regardless of the focal length used. I recommend you test a zoom lens at the focal length at which it will most likely be used.

The below series of images illustrate my approach to testing a lens to determine if an AF fine-tune adjustment is needed. Right click the below images to open a full-size JPEG in a new window.

Photo made with Nikon D610 and Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD lens at 70mm, f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/200-second with flash. AF Fine Tune at OFF. (Bill Ferris)

Photo made with Nikon D610 and Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD lens at 70mm, f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/200-second with flash. AF fine-tune turned off. (Bill Ferris)

Photo made with Nikon D610 and Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD lens at 70mm, f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/200-second with flash. AF Fine Tune at +2. (Bill Ferris)

Photo made with Nikon D610 and Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD lens at 70mm, f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/200-second with flash. AF fine-tune at +2. (Bill Ferris)

Photo made with Nikon D610 and Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD lens at 70mm, f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/200-second with flash. AF Fine Tune at +4. (Bill Ferris)

Photo made with Nikon D610 and Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD lens at 70mm, f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/200-second with flash. AF Fine Tune at +4. (Bill Ferris)

Photo made with Nikon D610 and Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD lens at 70mm, f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/200-second with flash. AF Fine Tune at +6. (Bill Ferris)

Photo made with Nikon D610 and Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD lens at 70mm, f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/200-second with flash. AF fine-tune at +6. (Bill Ferris)

Photo made with Nikon D610 and Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD lens at 70mm, f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/200-second with flash. AF Fine Tune at +8. (Bill Ferris)

Photo made with Nikon D610 and Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD lens at 70mm, f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/200-second with flash. AF fine-tune at +8. (Bill Ferris)

Photo made with Nikon D610 and Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD lens at 70mm, f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/200-second with flash. AF Fine Tune at +10. (Bill Ferris)

Photo made with Nikon D610 and Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD lens at 70mm, f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/200-second with flash. AF fine-tune at +10. (Bill Ferris)

Photo made with Nikon D610 and Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD lens at 70mm, f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/200-second with flash. AF Fine Tune at -2. (Bill Ferris)

Photo made with Nikon D610 and Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD lens at 70mm, f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/200-second with flash. AF fine-tune at -2. (Bill Ferris)

Photo made with Nikon D610 and Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD lens at 70mm, f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/200-second with flash. AF Fine Tune at -4. (Bill Ferris)

Photo made with Nikon D610 and Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD lens at 70mm, f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/200-second with flash. AF fine-tune at -4. (Bill Ferris)

Photo made with Nikon D610 and Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD lens at 70mm, f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/200-second with flash. AF Fine Tune at -6. (Bill Ferris)

Photo made with Nikon D610 and Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD lens at 70mm, f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/200-second with flash. AF fine-tune at -6. (Bill Ferris)

Photo made with Nikon D610 and Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD lens at 70mm, f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/200-second with flash. AF Fine Tune at -8. (Bill Ferris)

Photo made with Nikon D610 and Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD lens at 70mm, f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/200-second with flash. AF fine-tune at -8. (Bill Ferris)

Photo made with Nikon D610 and Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD lens at 70mm, f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/200-second with flash. AF Fine Tune at -10. (Bill Ferris)

Photo made with Nikon D610 and Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD lens at 70mm, f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/200-second with flash. AF fine-tune at -10. (Bill Ferris)

The above series of images is a real world test under real world conditions. When shooting portraiture with the D610 and Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 Di VC USD, I typically shoot wide open with a mix of ambient light and flash at 1/200-second. If you’re going to test a lens to determine an appropriate AF fine-tune setting, test the lens under the same conditions in which it will most likely be used.

AF fine-tune is turned off for the first image in the series. The next ten images were taken with AF fine-tune turned on. A +2 adjustment is applied in the second image. Images three through six have adjustments of +4, +6, +8 and +10 applied, respectively. A -2 adjustment has been applied to image seven in the series. The next four images have adjustments of -4, -6, -8 and -10 applied, respectively. At each setting, I took five handheld exposures with vibration compensation (VC) engaged. The above series includes the second exposure in each five-exposure set.

Reviewing the exposures at 1:1 in Lightroom, all five exposures with AF fine-tune turned off were acceptably sharp at the focus point. Two of the five in that set were a bit shallow in focus, displaying minimal in-focus depth of field in front of the focus point. The set which most consistently produced sharp images with good depth of field both in front of and behind the focus point is the set with an adjustment of -6 applied.

Now, it gets complicated. Normally, I would choose the -6 setting for the Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 VC and leave it at that. However, I also have a Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD lens but the Nikon firmware does not distinguish between it and the 24-70mm f/2.8 VC. If I leave AF fine-tune turned on with a -6 setting for the 24-70mm f/2.8, the same adjustment will be applied when the 70-200mm f/2.8 is mounted on the D610. So, I’ve also tested the Tamron 70-200mm, using the same approach as with the shorter zoom.

The results of the testing with the Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 VC were fairly straightforward. The best set of images was taken with AF fine-tune turned off. The set taken with an AF fine-tune adjustment of -6 were among the worst of the lot.

After testing both lenses, I’ve decided to store a -6 adjustment for the Tamron lenses but to leave AF fine-tune turned off. Both lenses make sharp, usable images without an AF fine-tune adjustment. If I remember to activate AF fine-tune when the 24-70 VC is mounted, so much the better.

Now, it’s time to get out and shoot.

Bill Ferris | November 2015

Nikon D750 – Let the Stoning Begin

The Nikon D750 (image used courtesy of Nikon USA)

In photography as in life, it sometimes seems no good piece of kit goes unpunished. In 2012 as the world imaging community prepared to descend upon Cologne, Germany for the biennial imaging fair known as Photokina, the two leading manufacturers of consumer and professional digital cameras introduced major new products. About a week before the fair Nikon introduced the D600. Days later, Canon introduced┬áthe EOS 6D. Marketed as entry level full-frame CMOS sensor bodies, the D600 and 6D were intended to attract enthusiasts and crop-frame camera users to make the move into full-frame. The D600 joined Nikon’s flagship D4 and professional D800 and D800e in the FX category of full-frame DSLR bodies. Canon’s flagship 1DX and professional 5DMkIII welcomed the EOS 6D in completing that full-frame lineup.

Fast forward to the present day and, as the 2014 edition of Photokina opens, Canon has not introduced a new full-frame body since 2012. By contrast, Nikon has introduced four new FX (full-frame) DSLR cameras, including the just announced D750. The D750 features an impressive spec sheet:

  • An all-new 24.3 MP CMOS sensor
  • Nikon’s most advanced 51-point auto focus system (incl. group area AF)
  • Nikon’s flagship Expeed 4 image processor
  • Native ISO range of 100 to 12,800 (expandable to ISO 50 and 51,200)
  • Full 1080p/60 HD video (incl. auto aperture/auto ISO smooth adjust)
  • Light but strong carbon fiber and magnesium alloy frame
  • Nikon’s first FX body to feature built-in WiFi
  • The first full-frame DSLR by any manufacturer to sport an articulating rear LCD screen
The Nikon D750 features an articulating rear LCD screen (image used courtesy of Nikon USA)

The Nikon D750 features an articulating rear LCD screen (image used courtesy of Nikon USA)

The response to the D750 on the InterWeb has been immediate and impassioned. Much of the response has been intensely negative. Peruse the popular rumor and fan boy sites, and you will likely see comments such as – Another toy camera from Nikon…It’s disappointing…This is an instant fail IMO…This sucks.

So, why all the venom directed toward a camera that, on paper, makes a strong case for being the best all-around DSLR on the planet? To understand, we need to go back in time to another Photokina summer. In July 2008, Nikon introduced the D700, a professional full-frame DSLR body. It was just the second FX body developed and released by Nikon and was packaged with many of the performance specs of the flagship D3. The D700 featured the same sensor as the D3, a rugged frame, similar controls and layout as the top line pro body and a burst rate that, when paired with Nikon’s battery grip, topped out at an impressive eight frames per second. D3 shooters bought the D700 as their backup body and many pros bought the D700 as their primary body. Adding the rugged crop sensor (DX format) D300 to the mix gave Nikon a trio of professional bodies to meet the needs of dedicated still photographers,

In digital photography, the lifespan of a flagship body generally runs between two and four years. Canon unveiled the EOS 1DX in October 2011. This body replaced the EOS 1DsMkIII (2007) and was a shot across the bow of the long-in-the-tooth Nikon D3. Thus, it was not at all surprising when Nikon announced the all-new 16 MP D4 in January 2012. The D4 replaced the D3 and immediately established itself as a worthy adversary to the 1DX. With the D4’s release, D700 and D300/D300s shooters waited for the next shoe to drop. Which would it be, a replacement for the D700 or the D300?

One month later in February 2012, Nikon announced the D800 and D800e. Previously, Nikon had built a reputation of developing low megapixel (relative to Canon) pro bodies that excelled in low light. With the 36 MP D800 and D800e, Nikon more than doubled the resolution of the Flagship D4. These bodies quickly became favorites of landscape and portrait photographers. However, loyal D700 shooters were left wanting more. While the D700 could make images at an impressive 8 FPS, the D800/D800e barely made 4 FPS. What they wanted was the D4’s sensor, Expeed 3 processor and auto focus system in a D800 body.

An overhead view of the Nikon D750 (image used courtesy of Nikon USA)

By mid-2012, the Web was abuzz with talk of a D700 replacement being announced at the next Photokina. When the D600 emerged as Nikon’s major announcement in Cologne, D700 fans were not pleased. Despite its 24 MP (two-times the D700’s resolution) CMOS sensor, superior low light performance and 1080p video recording capability, the D600 was missing several key features in the eyes of D700 loyalists.

  • No professional build quality. The D600 offered weather resistance but didn’t have the D800’s rugged full magnesium alloy frame.
  • No 51-point auto focus system. The D600 inherited the D7000’s 39-point AF system.
  • Not a pro layout. The controls and menus were designed to be familiar to D90 and D7000 shooters.
  • No 1/8000-second shutter speed. The D600 peaked at 1/4000-second.
  • No 1/250-second flash sync speed. The D600 peaked at 1/200-second.
  • No 8 frame per second burst rate. the D600 peaked at 6 frames per second.

What D700 owners had asked for was a D4 imaging system in a D800 body. What the D600 offered was basically an FX version of the consumer D7000. What was Nikon thinking? Well, they may have been focused on costs and customer retention. In business, one of the keys to maximizing profit is to reduce operational costs. The rugged, pro-build quality of the D4 and D800 bodies were more expensive to produce than the consumer quality D7000. While a hypothetical D700 replacement would need to be manufactured in Japan at greater expense and narrower margin, the D600 could be manufactured in Thailand at lower cost and a higher profit margin.

Another factor Nikon must have considered was the migration of point & shoot photographers to smart phones. The rise of the smart phone had given the general public a take everywhere camera with immediate access to Facebook and Twitter where they could share photos with family and friends. Point & shoot camera sales were in free fall in 2012 and Nikon must have been concerned this trend would eventually hit the crop sensor market. Rather than invest in a format they considered to have a questionable future, Nikon chose to entice enthusiast and crop sensor photographers to upgrade to full frame. The D600 was priced at 1/2 to 1/3 the cost of Nikon’s professional FX bodies yet delivered comparable image quality. Yes, the D4 was better in low light and, yes, the D800 delivered higher resolution, but the D600 was no slouch. It offered comparable performance at a consumer price…or so it seemed.

Soon after D600 bodies started shipping. Reports surfaced on the web of oil and dust particle build up on the camera’s CMOS sensor. One D600 owner produced a time lapse video showing an accumulation of debris and oil that would choke a horse. Nikon had a problem. Their gift offering to enthusiast photographers was turning out to be a Trojan horse. However, Nikon refused to acknowledge what the reports and evidence clearly indicated – the D600 shutter mechanism had a problem. Nikon’s failure to immediately address the problem would allow it to grow into a major public relations disaster that deeply tarnished the company’s reputation as a manufacturer of quality imaging products.

In February 2013, Nikon finally issued a service advisory on the D600. The advisory offered guidance on the correct procedure to use when removing the natural accumulation of dust from a sensor. In essence, Nikon was dismissing the reports as normal dust accumulation. Meanwhile, D600 owners continued to report problems with their cameras and the impact on sales was immediate. When the camera was first introduced in September 2012, a launch price of $2,097 had been set. By November, Nikon was offering instant $100 rebates on their new body. By Christmas, customers were offered a free 24-85mm lens with the purchase of a D600. In January 2013, grey market distributors were pricing the D600 at $1,686. In May, a factory refurbished D600 was priced at $1,560. The camera’s value was in rapid decline and its reputation as a product that had been rushed to market too soon was forever sealed.

In October 2013 – only a year after the first D600 bodies shipped – Nikon introduced the D610. It was announced as a minor upgrade to the D600 but everyone knew it was an attempt to bring and end to the dust and oil disaster. The move backfired. If anything, Nikon’s decision to reissue the D600 with a new shutter mechanism was seen as tacit admission that the dust and oil problems were real. In February 2014, Nikon issued a service advisory to D600 owners offering a free inspection, cleaning and shutter assembly replacement, regardless of the warranty status of their cameras. In March, China ordered Nikon to stop selling the D600. This was followed soon after by a third service advisory that mentioned the option of, on a case-by-case basis, replacing defective D600s with D610s. In August, Nikon reached a settlement in a class action lawsuit with D600 owners. As part of the settlement, litigants were offered new D610s in exchange for their D600s.

To date, Nikon has yet to publicly acknowledge and take responsibility for delivering a camera with a poorly designed shutter mechanism that allows the accumulation of dust, debris and oil on the sensor.

A view of the Nikon D750 interior reflex mirror system (image used courtesy of Nikon USA)

To fully appreciate the damage the D600 dust and oil debacle has done to Nikon’s reputation, consider that DxO Mark tested the D600 soon after its initial release and ranked it as the third-best digital camera sensor on the market. This should have been a time of celebration, with Nikon reaping the rewards of having delivered an outstanding entry level full-frame DSLR camera. Instead, they spent a year in denial and are still in damage control. Even the D610, which by all accounts does not suffer from the dust and oil issue of the D600, has not been able to distance itself from that long, dark shadow.

Which brings us back to the just-announced Nikon D750. In early August when Nikon Rumors announced Nikon’s plan to introduce a new full-frame body at Photokina, the early reports described it as an action camera. Then, came the rumor that the new DSLR would be called the D750. This generated an immediate buzz as people made the obvious connection to the dream of a long-awaited successor to the D700. The online comments quickly focused on the wants of D700 owners: professional build quality, fast and accurate auto focus and a lightning quick burst rate. A D4s sensor in a D810 body is what D700 owners had come to expect.

That is not the D750.

Nikon markets their DSLR cameras in three categories: Entry-level, Enthusiast and Professional. The D750 is Nikon’s top Enthusiast level DSLR camera. Nikon does not market the D750 as a professional camera body. It is not the D4s sensor in a D810 body. Neither is it, as the many critics have claimed, a souped up D610 sensor in a D610 body. And this, friends, is where the D750 story gets interesting. One could fairly describe this camera as a cross over. It borrows features from all digital camera categories.

The D750’s outward appearance is almost identical to the D610. Beneath that enthusiast level surface, lies a completely new animal. The frame is a magnesium alloy, carbon fiber blend resulting in a rugged, weather resistant and relatively lightweight body. The layout of the interior components is completely new for Nikon. This internal redesign created space for fully-integrated WiFi while substantially reducing the size and weight of the camera body. WiFi is pretty standard stuff in consumer bodies. Small size and low weight are definitive qualities of mirrorless cameras. Rugged build and weather resistance are qualities that define professional DSLR bodies.

A side view of the Nikon D750 showing the articulating rear LCD screen (image used courtesy of Nikon USA)

The Expeed 4 processor and 51-point AF system are taken straight from Nikon’s flagship D4s and professional D810. Other features borrowed from Nikon’s professional lineup include full 1080p/60 HD video, auto aperture and auto ISO during video recording, and an industry-leading focus detection range of -3 to +19 EV. The articulated rear LCD is another feature taken from their consumer line of camera bodies. Performance characteristics shared with the enthusiast level D610 include a 1/4000-second maximum shutter speed and a 1/200-second flash sync speed.

In the D750, Nikon has delivered a camera designed and intended to appeal to a broad audience. In so doing, they’ve made a camera that – while incorporating features from several genres – is impossible to peg into any one category. The 24 MP sensor is among the best available…but it’s not the D810’s 36 MP sensor. The 6.5 frame per second burst rate is among the fastest in the market…but it’s not as fast as the 1DX or the D4s. (or the D700) The 1080p/60 HD video recording capability is very good…but it’s not 4K. The build quality is rugged and weather resistant…but it’s not weather proof. It’s impressive feature set is packed into a small, lightweight body…but it’s not mirrorless small.

In a nutshell, the D750 seems to be a Jack of all trades and a master of none. There is, perhaps, one exception. Could the D750 be the master do-it-all camera?

If you enjoy shooting sports, the AF system and burst rate will more than get the job done. In the professional full-frame DSLR category, only the Canon 1DX and Nikon D4/D4s have faster burst rates. If you enjoy portraiture and landscapes, the 24 MP sensor will deliver gorgeous, detailed images. Only Nikon’s D8XX lineup offers higher resolution. On paper, no DSLR does a better job of achieving focus in low light and the high ISO performance of the D750 is among the best in the market. If you enjoy shooting video, the D750 allows production in full HD with stereo audio. The dedicated video professional may be better served by the Panasonic Lumix GH4 or the Sony A7s. However, the D750 offers video functionality that is more than adequate for the enthusiast.

In short, the Nikon D750 looks for all the world like one of the best – arguably the best – choice as the camera that can do it all. If you are a professional photographer looking for a second body, wouldn’t it be nice to replace your current backup with something that is a little smaller and lighter? Something with outstanding resolution and low light performance? A camera with industry-leading auto focus? A camera you can use to capture quality video and sound? A backup body that does all this at a price point below $2,500? If you are an aspiring professional looking for one body that can take on any assignment (or an enthusiast seeking the same) does the D750 look like the perfect all-around performer? This is a camera body that, on paper, appears capable of shooting anything: editorial, sports, wedding, landscape, portraiture, wildlife, street, video…you name it.

Is the new Nikon D750 the best all-around DSLR camera in the world?

Bill Ferris | September 2014