Technophile

Nikon D780 review: A solid camera that does its predecessor proud

Kishore Bhargava | Updated on July 07, 2020 Published on July 07, 2020

Nikon introduced the D750 in 2014, a super versatile full-frame camera that is best for serious enthusiasts and professionals. The D750 has been amongst the most popular of Nikon cameras and every photographer who has used it has thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of it.

In 2020, Nikon introduced the D780, basically a modern day version of the D750. Take all the goodness of the D750, add some smarts from the mirrorless range and you have a brilliant new camera which despite all the changes happening in cameras will go on to become a very popular model. It also shows the direction that Nikon and others would take, bridging the gap between the typical DSLR and the mirrorless range and providing cameras which people will still want to use.

The body of the D780 is not unlike most DSLRs. It is the usually solidly built Nikon body and is a little heavy and bulky as well, but many photographers prefer that. Some of the differences between its predecessor include buttons being moved around and most importantly the built-in flash has been sacrificed. The articulating LCD screen at the back now gets full touch controls. For someone who has shot with a D750 it will take a few days for the muscle memory to adapt to the changes; for others used to the Nikon system, it will be up and running immediately. One very interesting change is the fact that the battery can now be charged via USB-C. This was not possible in many of the older Nikon bodies.

Increased shutter speed

Some of the other internal changes include an updated sensor, which is most probably from the Nikon Z6 mirrorless range. While it is still 24MP it is now using the backside illuminated (BSI) design. The shutter gains some speed and now reaches 1/8000 sec along with a faster burst rate at 7 fps. One of the biggest criticisms of the mirrorless range is the fact that they provide for only a single card slot; fortunately, the D780 has two UHS-II SD card slots which will make a photographer happy.

Image quality from the D780 is excellent. The RAW files are extremely flexible and provide a good dynamic range, and even the JPEGs straight out of the camera are very pleasing. The ISO range is also greatly enhanced and while it tends to get a little aggressive on the noise-reduction on JPEGs, with a little bit of care, one can achieve great results in low-light situations.

Auto-focus system

One of the biggest changes on the D780 is the auto-focus system. It is almost like having two different systems built in into the same camera, one of the viewfinder and one for live view. While both work very well, there are some key differences and knowing that in advance helps while shooting. Continuous auto-focus works very well in the viewfinder, face detect works well in both the viewfinder as well as live view, eye-detect has now been introduced but works only in live view. Initially, this could all be very confusing. Live view offers a higher burst rate, but subject tracking is not as accurate as in the viewfinder. Over time one would get used to the differences and be able to take advantage of them and know their limitations.

For video the D780 is a compelling machine. It is capable of 4k and 1080p video including 120 fps for slow-motion. This clearly seems to have been inherited from the Z6. While there is no in-body stabilisation many of the lenses will provide adequate vibration reduction and steady video.

Representational image

In conclusion, the D780 is an extremely capable camera and will probably be the choice for many photographers and situations, it is good for travel, portraits, weddings and wildlife, among others. While there would be alternatives which would be lighter and smaller, the image quality, the build quality and the direction Nikon is taking with this would still make it a preferred choice.

Price: ₹2,45,495 Body with kit lens (24-120 VR)

Pros: Good resolution, dynamic range and high ISO performance. Great build quality and weather seal. Excellent for stills and video

Cons: No built-in flash, non in-body stabilisation, confusing dual auto-focus system. A tad expensive

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Published on July 07, 2020
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