Best Full Frame (FX-Format) DSLR Camera – 2018
The Nikon D750 FX-Format (Full Frame) is our top pick for this camera review buyers guide. It’s price and features put the D750 in a great position between the Nikon D610 and the Nikon D850. Image quality is excellent, and the options for user settings and controls are sophisticated enough for a professional photographer, and also simple enough for a beginner when using the pre-set functions.
Pricing and Availability
The Nikon D750 Body Only costs about $1,500 to $1,700
You may be able to find Nikon D750 Bundles (which include the Body, Camera Bag, 32GB SD Memory Card, Nikon MB-D16 Multi Power Battery Pack, Spare Battery, Cleaning Kit, Card Reader, etc.) for not too much more.
Why we like it
The D750 lets anyone – from the beginner to the professional – take great pictures. I tend to use many of the settings that Nikon has created to let me select a picture control mode (e.g., Flat, Landscape, Monochrome, Portrait, Standard, Vivid. etc.). But when I feel creative, I can also manually control ISO, shutter speed and aperture to get exactly what I want in the picture.
I also like that the D750 lets me simultaneously take both a compressed .jpg and an uncompressed / raw NEF (12-bit or 14-bit, user selectable) image. The .jpg gives me a great picture to simply use, or to have as a reference; But if I want to do more, I can edit the NEF file for all the effects, re-touch, etc. until I have a perfect image.
Of course, the FX-Format full-frame 24.3 megapixel CMOS image sensor is what really makes this camera stand-out.
Other things about the camera that I find appealing (and will get into more of later):
- Full HD 60/50/30/25/24p video
- Built-in stereo microphone, with optional external input
- Built-in Wi-Fi
- Light-weight body at 26.5 ounces (750 g)
- Really fast – 6.5 frames per second at full resolution
- xcellent Auto Focus, Image Lock and Tracking controls
- Great low-light picture taking
- About 1,200 pictures / 55 minutes video before recharging the EN-EL15 Lithium-ion Battery
- 2 Secure Digital (SD) Memory Card Slots
Related Article: Best SD Memory Card For DSLR Cameras
Now let’s get into some of the technical details, specifications and features for the D750
Measuring 35.9 mm x 24 mm, this 24.3 Megapixel sensor is about as close as you’ll find to a film-camera 35mm negative size without paying many thousands of dollars.
The D750 has both regular and 1:2 format settings, and in each you can select the resolution you want from Large, Medium and Small. Here are the pixel sizes for each of the options:
Standard: (L) 6,016 x 4,016 (M) 4,512 x 3,008 (S) 3,008 x 2,008
1:2 format: (L) 5,008 x 3,336 (M) 3,752 x 2,504 (S) 2,504 x 1,664
The “Pixel Pitch” for the D750 sensor is 5.95 um. This number tells you the distance from the center of one pixel to the center of the next pixel. With a little more than 24.3 Megapixels on the sensor, the D750 has a pixel density of 2.83 MP/cm².
These pixel numbers basically mean that you can get a lot of light onto a pixel (good for low-light shooting), while you still have a good granularity (keeps the image crisp). That’s the basic trade-off with the size of a pixel, and the D750 stays right on the edge of balancing these two requirements.
The sensor is critical for capturing the image coming through the lens, but it’s the processor and associated electronics that make all the magic happen. Nikon built upon their existing custom devices and enhanced them for the FX-Format cameras.
You’ll find the “EXPEED 4” image processor does the job. You get fast frame rates, low noise and wide ISO range of 100 to 12,800 (expandable up to ISO 51,200). These chips also make possible the Full-HD video with enhanced definition and reduced noise at high ISO sensitivities, minimal moiré, jaggies and false colors.
The 3.2 inch display has 4-way tilt (up, down, left, right) and has a 170-degree viewing angle, so regardless of how you are holding the camera you can always get a good view of the screen. It’s a touch sensitive, TFT-LCD which you can control for brightness (which is great to not have a super bright screen in a low-light situation). With 1.2 million dots, the screen resolution is wonderful.
Other controls include RGBW alignment and color balance customization, so it can be matched to an external monitor.
If you aren’t interested in the screen, you can instead use the Wi-Fi connection to screen cast what the camera is seeing to your smartphone, tablet or other compatible device.And you have shutter control from your mobile device as well.
I really like this feature for Live View shooting, as well as for video (nice for the “B-Roll” type shots, when I have the camera set-up stationary and I need to be out of the way).
Auto Focus (AF)
The 51-point AF system has 15 cross-type sensors. The “Dynamic Area” AF System also has f/8 compatibility, so you can choose between using 9, 21 or all 51 focus points. This helps to keep even fast-moving targets in tight focus.
On the D750, the 11 center focus points with f/8 compatibility means you can now auto-focus even when using a 1.4X, 1.7X or 2.0X tele-converter on compatible lenses.
In “Group-Area” AF mode, five auto-focus points are simultaneously detected and locked. These points help you accurately focus on foreground subjects, whether they are stationary or in motion, to keep the focus from shifting to the background.
It also great that the AF works down to -3EV.
The AF also includes a 91K-Pixel RGB Sensor for “Advanced Scene Recognition”. This is coupled with the internal software for the camera to know if you are shooting a landscape, a sunset, people in daylight, people at night, etc. When using the pre-set scenes, I get great photos since the camera can recognize what I’m doing and automatically select the best shutter speed, etc.
The built-in Wi-Fi supports a number of functions including sharing, remote viewing and remote controls.
Sharing and transferring your favorite D750 photos is fast, easy and fun. You can wirelessly connect to the D750 with a compatible smartphone or tablet, browse the camera’s memory card, download your favorite shots and then email them, text them or upload them to your favorite website.
You can also use your smart device as a remote monitor and control for the D750—see what the camera sees and fire the shutter. For faster wireless transfers, transmit images over FTP using the WT-5A Wireless Transmitter + UT-1 Communication Unit. (Advanced shooters can use a web browser on a smartphone or tablet in HTTP mode to operate camera controls and begin Live View shooting.)
Cutting edge HD video capabilities
With professional video capabilities inspired by the D810 and an array of inputs and outputs, the D750 is as well-suited for recording daily life and events as it is for filmmaking and videography.
Simultaneously record uncompressed and compressed Full HD 1080 footage at 60/50/30/25/24p. Manually control ISO, shutter speed and aperture while recording—even use Power Aperture control for smooth iris transitions and Auto ISO for smooth exposure transitions.
Use Highlight Display with zebra stripes to confirm exposure, apply Flat Picture Control for easier color grading in post and record at low and high angles with the 3.2-inch tilting Vari-angle LCD.
Other fun features
You can shoot a time-lapse sequence of up to 9,999 images.
Real-time Special Effects for creativity as you shoot. Choose from a variety of in-camera special effects; selective color, miniature effect, and more. Apply them for stills and HD video as you record — in real-time.
Carbon fiber material comprises the front body and front cover, while magnesium is used for the rear and top cover – achieving its strong, light and rugged frame. And, as with the Nikon D810, a comprehensive sealing has been applied to the D750 that serves as an effective defense against dust and weather-related moisture.
Product Dimensions – 5.5 x 3.1 x 4.5 inches
Item Weight – 1.65 pounds
The D750 is Nikon’s 2nd camera in the FX-Format line-up, just above the D610 “Entry-Level”. We’ve found that the prices for the two cameras are very similar, so recommend going with the more feature rich D750. However, if you can spot a deal on the D610, it’s definitely worth picking up. Below is the recent, dynamic pricing (e.g., it’s updated every time you visit this page) for the Nikon D610 from Amazon:
The camera above the D750 is the Nikon D850 which we recently reviewed: Best 8K DSLR Camera . Expect to pay a little more than double for the D850, compared to the D750. If you have the budget, and want the advanced features (especially the 4K and 8K video), the D850 is the one to get. Here is more dynamic pricing from Amazon for the Body Only, as well as the Bundle package:
The final entry for Nikon FX-Format DSLR is their top of the line (“Flagship”) D5, priced around $6.5K.
Or just go ahead and get the D750 …
The Nikon D750 Body Only runs about $1,500 to $1,700:
Or the Nikon D750 Bundles (which include the Body, Camera Bag, 32GB SD Memory Card, Nikon MB-D16 Multi Power Battery Pack, Spare Battery, Cleaning Kit, Card Reader, etc.):