In today’s post, we will compare two semi-pro DSLR cameras from Nikon, the Nikon D750, and Nikon D810. The recently released D750 aims to be a mediator between Nikon’s D600 and D800 series of SLR cameras, bringing much of the performance from the higher-end bodies into a smaller and more compact form factor. It also aims to be a more budget-friendly offering in the lineup for aspiring pros. However, both of these cameras do deliver key advantages over one another. Today, we will compare their similarities, differences, and strengths to help you understand which camera is best suited for your shooting demands.
Size & Dimensions
Physically, the 7-series proves to be both smaller and lighter. In this case, it delivers a 12% reduction in size over the 8-series, 140 x 113 x 78 mm, compared to 146 x 123 x 82 mm. And a 17% reduction in weight, 750g compared to 880g. These reductions are immediately recognizable when holding these two cameras in hand. And because of this, it makes the better choice if smaller form factor and weight are important to you, as these cameras can get quite heavy when mounted with larger lenses.
Physical Controls & Ergonomics
In build quality, the 8-series takes the lead by offering a stronger and more robust build with its full magnesium alloy chassis. The 7-series, however, only features a partial build with the remainder going to carbon fiber. While not weak, by any means, it does mean the camera isn’t as durable, especially in extreme conditions. The 8-series also features a more pronounced and recessed grip, making the camera more comfortable to hold during prolonged use for those with larger hands.
Outside of this, both cameras feature largely identical physical controls and buttons, though their positioning varies. The only slight drawback is that the 7-series has buttons that share dual purposes, depending on the selected mode, which is slightly cumbersome during use. The 8-series does away with this configuration, and replaces all dual functions with dedicated buttons instead, removing all minor headaches and workflow hiccups in the processor. Not a deal-breaker, by any means, but worth noting.
One significant difference, however, is that the 8-series wholly lacks any custom shooting modes, U1 and U2. For some reason, Nikon reserves these helpful preset functions to their mid-tier bodies, which doesn’t make any sense considering their usefulness to all demographics of shooters. Either way, only the 7-series has this particular feature, and thus it provides a level of customization the 8-series lacks.
While both cameras feature 3.2-inch TFT-LCDs with resolutions of 1.23M dots, only the 7-series includes articulation. The 8-series still retains the fixed LCD screen, which doesn’t supply any versatility or flexibility when shooting. While it would be preferable to have a fully articulating screen, tilting 90° and 45° still provides plenty of freedom when shooting at awkward angles. Thus, the 7-series offers the superior screen for this very reason.
- Both cameras include large optical viewfinders with 100% coverage of the image area and 0.7x magnifications.
- Both cameras feature top-deck LCDs, which are useful to review critical shooting parameters at a glance.
The 8-series takes the cake here by offering a large 36.3MP CMOS sensor, easily overshadowing the smaller 24.3 MP sensor found in the 7-series. This is a 50% increase in resolution, which gives the camera the edge in post-production reframing and allows for greater resolution during large format printing.
The 8-series also lacks an Optical Low Pass Filter, which allows the camera to resolve finer details, albeit at the chance of moiré occurring in certain scenes. And lastly, it even includes a lower native ISO range, now moving down from industry-standard ISO 100 to ISO 64 instead, providing even cleaner images. The combination of these changes allows the 8-series to deliver far superior imaging performance and resolving power, making it undoubtedly the better camera in this regard.
Both cameras are identical here. They both shoot 1080p Full HD video up to 60 fps. Both also have similar recording limits of 20 minutes in their highest quality (1080p 60p) or 29 minutes and 59 seconds (1080p 30p).
While both cameras feature 51-point AF systems with 3D-tracking, the 7-series inherits the second generation of this system from the Nikon D4S. It now has the Multi-CAM 3500FX II, which allows the camera to focus down to an impressive -3 EV instead of -2 EV. Overall, while the coverage between the cameras is unchanged, the 7-series boasts noticeably faster all-round performance, tracking, and performs better when shooting in low light.
Both cameras use the identical EN-EL15 battery and deliver 1,200 shots per charge, which is excellent for this class of camera.
User Interface & Menus
Both cameras feature similar user interfaces and offer the same level of customization.
The 7-series boasts faster continuous shooting speeds, now at 6.5 fps compared to only 5.0 fps.
The 7-series is the first professional level dSLR to feature built-in Wi-FI, allowing users to control the camera and transfer images via smartphone. To do this on the 8-series, you’ll have to buy the wireless adapter.
- Both cameras feature built-in pop-up flashes.
- Both cameras have microphone inputs.
- Both cameras have headphone inputs.
- Both cameras are weather sealed.
- Both cameras have dual card slots. The 8-series has one Compact Flash (CF) and one SD, while the 7-series has dual SD cards.
- Both cameras have built-in timelapse functionality.
- Neither camera offers stabilization.
- Neither camera has 4K recording capabilities.
- The 8-series feature a built-in flash sync port, helpful for those wanting to connect to compatible flashes for immediate triggering. The 7-series lacks this particular port.
So which is best?
Well, as you can tell, the vast majority of the capabilities between these cameras are the same. The main differentiators are smaller form factor, autofocusing performance, and image quality. The improvements in autofocus performance, namely tracking, make the D750 the better choice for those who shoot sports or wildlife. And it’s smaller size also makes it the ideal choice for those looking for a strong performing camera without the added bulk.
Outside of that, the D810 is the better choice for those looking for the absolute best image quality and resolving ability available in this price range. Nonetheless, the Nikon D750 offers better value, even with its smaller sensor. It provides the majority of the higher-end D810 cameras feature set, at a lower price point, and still offers the performance needed to meet the demands of serious professionals. And unless you need maximum flexibility for post-production reframing or you do a lot of large format printing, there’s no real necessity for the larger sensor and the enormous price difference it demands.