When a new camera body is announced from a leading manufacturer, the first question that consumers ask is: where does it fit in the line-up? The series line-up is the perfect way to judge the kinds of features that photographers can expect in the new model, as well as a predicted price range for release.
This was the case with the recent announcement of the Nikon D750, due for full public release in October of 2014. The camera immediately attracted considerable interest due to its features and specifications, as well as the hype that preceded it. The Nikon D750 also drew a number of parallels between two of Nikon’s other camera bodies the Nikon D610 and the Nikon D810.
This article is going to look in depth at each camera body, not so much to ascertain which camera is the overall winner, but rather which one is more suited for you as a photographer. One of the main things we’re going to be looking at here is where the Nikon D750 fits in comparison to the Nikon D610 and Nikon D810 in terms of advantages and disadvantages of all three bodies.
The Nikon D610 was a little bit of a controversial release from Nikon. It arrived just one year after the Nikon D600 in 2013, following a large number of reports about factory faults in the shutter mechanism of the older model. It seemed to most that the Nikon D610 was intended as a palliative to the Nikon crowd, as the camera changed almost nothing beyond a new shutter mechanism, and an improved auto white balance system. Although Nikon never admitted that serious fault existed in the Nikon D600, the newer shutter mechanism on the Nikon D610 answered the question for most Nikon fans and critics.
Despite this little shady history, the Nikon D610 remains a good camera, offering a quality build that produces stunning images in the right hands. In terms of specifications, the Nikon D610 offers a 24.3-megapixel full frame CMOS sensor, ISO range of 100 – 6400 standard with expanded range of 50 – 25,600, a 39-point autofocus system with 9 cross-type points, a 3.2-inch 920k-dot resolution LCD screen, 1080p30 full HD video with built-in mono microphone, external mic jack, and dual SD memory card slots. The Nikon D610 also has a refined auto white balance system, for more accurate color under artificial light, and an improved shutter mechanism that offers 6fps in continuous shooting and 3fps in quiet continuous shooting.
Nikon’s newest release, the Nikon D750 really turned some heads when it was announced in September of 2014. Slated for an October 2014 release, the Nikon D750 seems to sit firmly between the Nikon D610 and the Nikon D810. It has a number of the advanced features and specifications that we’ve seen in the Nikon D810, but with more accessibility for full frame starter photographers like the Nikon D610 provided. Certainly, the Nikon D750 looks like the D610, but it is smaller and lighter than both the Nikon D610 and the Nikon D810.
The Nikon D750 offers some updates to the Nikon D610, but also borrows features from some of Nikons top bodies, like the Nikon D4S. In terms of specifications photographers will get a 24.3-megapixel full frame CMOS sensor, and ISO range of 100 – 12,800 standard with expanded range of 50 – 51,200, a 51-point autofocus system with 15 cross-type points, a 3.2-inch 1,229k-dot tilting LCD screen, 1080p60 full HD video with built-in stereo microphone, external jack and headphone monitor, dual SD cards and built-in wifi.
The Nikon D810 was in many ways Nikon’s method of bringing together the popular Nikon D800 and D800E. The two cameras have been combined in the Nikon D810, which was released in 2014, to produce a very notable addition to the Nikon line that outdoes its predecessors. It might not be enough for many to let go of their D800s and D800Es, but the Nikon D810 could be the motivator some photographers need to get into full frame.
The Nikon D810 offers a full range of impressive specifications, exactly what most photographers would expect at this level with a few fun surprises. The Nikon D810 provides a 36.6-megapixel full frame CMOS sensor with no AA filter, an ISO range of 64 – 12,800 expanded to 32 – 51,200, a 51-point autofocus system with ‘Group Area AF’ mode, a 3.2-inch 1229k-dot LCD screen, 1080p60 full HD video with built-in stereo microphone, external jack and headphone monitor, and single storage slots for both SD and compact flash.
The first thing to note about the Nikon D610, Nikon D750 and Nikon D810 is that although not in the same series, there are notable similarities between the three bodies. The Nikon D750 is in many ways the bridge between the older Nikon D610 and the newer Nikon D810. So, although there isn’t much to say about the similarities between the Nikon D610 and Nikon D810, the choice between the three becomes more of an interesting comparison.
Let’s now break down the specific features of each camera body to better ascertain which model might best suit your individual needs as a photographer.
All of the three cameras are full frame sensor models from Nikon’s more professional line of enthusiast cameras. They aren’t quite at the level of the pro D4S, but they’re more than capable to do the job for most photographers. The Nikon D810 offers more in terms of megapixels than the other two cameras, but at this level only a few photographers would notice the difference. Having a few extra megapixels certainly doesn’t go astray, but there won’t be a noticeable quality difference unless you plan on cropping extensively.
The Nikon D810 also improves on the Nikon D610 and the Nikon D750 as it does not have an Anti Aliasing (AA) filter. These filters, which are the norm on most cameras, can hinder the fine details in the image. This means that the Nikon D810 has an advantage in terms of producing the absolute highest quality images, a must for some photographers.
When it comes to screens, the big surprise is the Nikon D750. All of the camera bodies feature the Nikon’s stock standard 3.2-inch screen, and not surprisingly the Nikon D810 does the Nikon D610 one better in screen resolution, with 1,229k-dot to the older cameras 920k-dot LCD resolution.
The Nikon D750 has the same higher resolution screen with a twist, or should we say a tilt. The screen is of the tilting variety, with the ability to move 90-degrees to face up, and 75-degrees to face down. This manoeuvrability, along with a 170-degree viewing angle, allows photographers more flexibility as to their shooting angle, and overall ease in capturing the perfect shot. The Nikon D750 is the first of Nikon’s bodies to feature a tilting screen, but it looks to be a solid popularity winner for this new model.
The Nikon D610, although it features an impressive autofocus system, really can’t compete with the newer and more advanced Nikon D750 and Nikon D810. The 39-point autofocus system with 9 cross-type points is something that we’ve started to see more and more on the higher range of Nikon’s cropped frame cameras, indicative of the place of the Nikon D610 to encourage that step up to full frame.
At first glance, the Nikon D750 and the Nikon D810 seem to offer the same system. The 51-point autofocus system with 15 cross-type points was borrowed from the much higher range Nikon D4S, and it would appear to leave them at a tie. However, the two cameras are actually sporting different versions of the system. The Nikon D810 has the Multi-CAM 3500-FX, while the Nikon D750 offers a spiffier Multi-CAM 3500-FX II. This upgrade has allowed the Nikon D750 to provide much faster and more accurate focusing capabilities than even the Nikon D810, an unexpected surprise.
There’s nothing wrong with the function of any of these three cameras when it comes to speed. They all perform remarkably well, and considering their location in the line-up we’re seeing what we would expect from Nikon. Of course, there are some differences worth noting.
It is no surprise that the Nikon D610 performs the worst out of the three, managing around 6fps in continuous shooting. However, this is still quite admirable, and even the newer Nikon D750 only improves on it slightly, offering 6.5fps. Both cameras offer a reasonable 1/4000s maximum shutter speed. On the other hand the Nikon D810 manages 7fps at its highest point, and is able to reach a maximum shutter of 1/8000s. Although few people would shoot at this speed, it’s always better to have the highest amount of versatility.
ISO performance on full frame cameras is a very important feature, as these cameras are prized among professionals for their ability to shoot most in low light conditions. Again we’re seeing a pretty expected performance on paper from the three models: the Nikon D610 offers ISO 100 – 6400 standard with expanded up to 25,600, the Nikon D750 does one better at ISO 100 – 12,800 standard with ISO 50 – 51,200 and the Nikon D810 betters this slightly again at ISO 64 – 12,800 standard with ISO 32 – 51,200 expanded.
However, things are not as they seem. Physical comparison testing of the Nikon D750 compared to the Nikon D810 has shown that ISO performance is actually better on the Nikon D750. This high ISO performance might be enough to really push users for one camera over the other, but ultimately it will depend on your specific style too.
Although video is a big draw card for users at the entry-level and cropped frame market of DSLR photography, at the full frame level still photography is often more important. Still, all of these camera bodies perform pretty well when it comes to video, with the Nikon D750 and the Nikon D810 getting a leg up on the Nikon D610. The Nikon D610’s performance is not that bad though, with 1080p 30fps videos, a built in mono microphone and both external microphone jack and audio monitoring hack. By comparison, both the newer models offer full HD video recording at 1080p 60fps, with a built in stereo microphone, external microphone jack and headphone monitor. The Nikon D750’s video system is further upgraded again, offering a Power Aperture mode that can gradually adjust the aperture during video recording.
When it comes to full frame photography, and the world of more professional enthusiast photography, users will find they need a battery that can keep up with the action they’re shooting. Although all of the cameras feature the same kind of battery, the Nikon D610 offers around 900 shots, while the Nikon D810 offers about 1200 shots. The Nikon D750 does slightly better again, providing the photographer with 1230 shots on average. This doesn’t sound like much, but battery performance can be indicative of overall battery quality, and is worth remembering.
The Nikon D610, Nikon D750 and Nikon D810 are all professionally styled cameras, which means that storage is important. If you want to capture the highest quality images, you’ll need space to store them, and lots of it. All of the camera bodies have dual storage slots in their construction, but while the Nikon D610 and the Nikon D750 offer dual SD card slows, the Nikon D810 offers just one SD slot, and one Compact Flash slot. If you’re a photographer shooting with SD cards only, the benefits of having two storage slots is pretty important, especially if you’re planning on shooting RAW or video.
The great thing about new technology like the Nikon D750 is it gives the manufacturer a chance to pick up on areas in their technology line-up where things are lacking. Such was the case with these three camera bodies, of which the Nikon D750 is the only one to feature built-in wifi. In fact, the Nikon D750 is the first full frame camera in Nikon’s line to offer built-in wifi, which is now quite standard on their cropped frame range of bodies. While the Nikon D610 and the Nikon D810 offer the option of plug-in wifi, you can’t really argue with the savings and ease of having it built in.
If you’re planning on getting one of these three camera bodies, and you’re currently using a more enthusiast or beginner level Nikon body, it’s worth remembering that all of these cameras are full frame bodies. However, they all use Nikon’s common F-mount, and are compatible with a range of Nikon lenses.
The Nikon D610 was sold originally in a kit with the Nikkor AF-S 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G VR lens. This lens, which replaced the D model from 2000, is a solid general-purpose zoom lens that does well on the full frame Nikon D610. The lens won’t add too much on the cost of a pricey full frame DSLR, but its focal length make it ideal as a starter lens for the new full frame photographer.
The 24-85mm will serve many as their first go-to lens, with the shortest length great for architecture or shooting in tight spaces, and the longest length offering great perspective and distance for portraiture or street photography. This lens offers Nikon’s Vibration Reduction (VR) technology, which many photographers will be grateful for.
The new Nikon D750 looks like it will be going on sale with a choice of either the above Nikkor AF-S 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G VR lens, or a Nikkor AF-S 24-120mm f/4.0G ED VR. The 24-120mm is a part of the same series as the 24-85mm, both intended as solid general-purpose zoom lenses for Nikon full frame cameras. Like the 24-85mm, the 24-120mm performs really well in a variety of situations. Depending on your individual style, you may find the 24-120mm suits you better due to the versatility that comes along with the extra focal length. The Vibration Reduction (VR) on this particular model also serves photographers really well.
Ultimately, either choice of lens will see the Nikon D750 producing stunning images in the right hands, and is likely to do well as the initial lenses in your full frame lens collection.
Now, the Nikon D810 was a little different when it came to kit lenses. As it is hardly a camera body for a starting photographer, Nikon didn’t see much point in bundling the camera with the average selection of kit lenses. Instead, it chose to bundle it for the needs of an individual photographer, with three buying choices: the body alone, the Animator’s Kit and the Filmmaker’s Kit.
The Animator’s Kit offered the Nikon D810 with a AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED and some associated animation software. The 105mm lens is easy to like, featuring Nikon’s Vibration Reduction (VR) system as well as an internal focusing system for fast and very quiet focus. At maximum aperture this lens offers the potential to capture amazing images, with lots of fine detail, although performance does drop around the f/16 mark. Still, for wide-mid aperture, the 105mm lens is a great performer, and will do well on the Nikon D810.
The Filmmaker’s Kit offered the Nikon D810 body with a selection of three prime lenses: the AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED, AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G and AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G. In terms of prime lenses these three all do really well at their respective focal lengths, and the entire kit provides basically everything that a photographer or filmmaker might need. Of particular interest here is the 35mm lens that is included, which is new in 2014, offering upgrades in image quality and detail.
The Final Word on Nikon D610 vs D750 vs D810
In the end, there’s absolutely no reason to try and make a decision on what camera is best based on specifications when it comes to the Nikon D610, the Nikon D750 and the Nikon D810. These cameras, though they do indeed features some similar features, are completely different levels of the Nikon full frame enthusiast series. All perform as we would expect for their respective levels, the ultimately what body you buy will depend on what your specific needs are as a photographer.
The Nikon D610 is in many ways the ideal starter lens for full frame photography. It offers a number of great features that are high quality enough to get stunning images, while still maintaining the level of easy accessibility that a cropped frame user upgrading might expect. Plus, with a great all rounder kit lens, the Nikon D610 really is a good starting place for full frame newcomers. As an added bonus, users will likely see the price of the Nikon D610 dip a little after the release of the Nikon D750 due to their similarities, so keep an eye out for that.
The star of the show, the new Nikon D750 is in many ways the perfect camera for a photographer who wants the best quality for a price range just a few notches above budget. Of course, the Nikon D750 is not the Nikon D810, but it does offer a number of comparable features from the autofocus system to the high level of ISO performance that makes for solid competition. This is especially true when we look at the respective prices of the Nikon D750 and the Nikon D810 and see that the newer Nikon D750 will retail some USD$1,000 cheaper than its older sibling. Add into your considerations the more upgraded features on the Nikon D750, such as the tilt screen and the built-in wifi, and it is a strong contender for the crown.
The Nikon D810 is a great camera that fulfills the photographers need in almost every instance. But, you will pay for every single one of those features. The Nikon D810, by far the most expensive in our comparison, certainly delivers as a camera, but after spending some time looking at the newer Nikon D750 we’re left wondering if it really is worth the considerable extra cost. If you’re looking for the solid standing of an almost pro full frame DSLR, particularly if the all-inclusive kits caught your attention, then the Nikon D810 certainly seems like the right choice. If you aren’t sure, consider the Nikon D750, and use the extra cash on upgrading your lenses.