Now that Nikon has released the D780, a lot of photographers are wondering just how it compares to the earlier Nikon D750. Certainly, the two cameras share a lot of DNA – but the D780 has a lot of little differences that add up to make a more advanced camera overall.
Let’s start with the specifications differences between these two DSLRs:
|Camera Feature||Nikon D750||Nikon D780|
|Sensor Resolution||24.3 MP||24.5 MP|
|Sensor Type||CMOS||BSI CMOS|
|Sensor Size||35.9 x 24.0 mm||35.9 x 23.9 mm|
|Sensor Pixel Size||5.9µ||5.9µ|
|Low Pass Filter||Yes||Yes|
|Dust Reduction / Sensor Cleaning||Yes||Yes|
|Image Size||6,016 x 4,016||6,048 x 4,024|
|Base ISO||ISO 100||ISO 100|
|Native ISO Sensitivity||ISO 100-12,800||ISO 100-51,200|
|Boosted ISO Sensitivity||ISO 50, ISO 25,600-51,200||ISO 50, ISO 102,400-204,800|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 4||EXPEED 6|
|Viewfinder Coverage||100%, 0.70x||100%, 0.70x|
|Built-in Flash||Yes, with flash commander mode||No|
|Storage Media||2x SD (UHS-I)||2x SD (UHS-II)|
|Electronic Front-Curtain Shutter||No||Yes|
|Continuous Shooting Speed||6.5 FPS||7 FPS (viewfinder); 12 FPS (live view with silent shooting and 12-bit RAW)|
|Max Shutter Speed||1/4000 to 30 sec||1/8000 to 900 sec|
|Flash Sync Speed||1/200||1/200|
|Exposure Metering Sensor||91,000-pixel RGB sensor||180,000-pixel RGB sensor|
|Highlight Weighted Metering||Yes||Yes|
|Full aperture metering during Live View for stills||Yes||Yes|
|Live View Focus System||Contrast-Detect||273-point On-Sensor Phase Detect|
|Autofocus System||Advanced Multi-CAM 3500FX II||Advanced Multi-CAM 3500FX II with improved algorithm|
|Number of AF Points||51 AF points, 15 cross-type||51 AF points, 15 cross-type|
|Detection Range (f/2 standardized)||-3 to +19 EV||-3 to +19 EV viewfinder; -6 to +17 EV live view|
|AF Detection||Up to f/8 (11 AF points)||Up to f/8 (11 AF points)|
|Video Output||MOV, Compressed and Uncompressed||MOV, Compressed and Uncompressed|
|Video Maximum Record Time||20 min in 60p, 30 min in 30p||30 minutes|
|Video Maximum Resolution||1920 x 1080 (1080p) @ 60p||3,840 x 2,160 (4K) @ 30p; 1080p at 120p|
|Video Maximum Quality||8-bit over HDMI||10-bit N-log over HDMI|
|Audio Recording||Built-in stereo microphone|
External stereo microphone (optional)
|Built-in stereo microphone|
External stereo microphone (optional)
|Highlight Display (Zebra Stripes) in Live View||Yes||Yes|
|Interval Timer Exposure Smoothing||Yes||Yes|
|Timelapse Exposure Smoothing||Yes||Yes|
|Number of Images in Timelapse / Int Timer||9,999||9,999|
|LCD Size and Type||3.2″ diagonal TFT-LCD Tilting||3.2″ diagonal TFT-LCD Touchscreen|
|LCD Resolution||1,229,000 dots||2,359,000 dots|
|One Click Zoom||Yes||Yes|
|Exposure Bracketing||2 to 5 frames in steps of 2 or 3 EV|
2 to 9 frames in steps of 1/3, 1/2, 2/3 or 1 EV
|2 to 5 frames in steps of 2 or 3 EV|
2 to 9 frames in steps of 1/3, 1/2, 2/3 or 1 EV
|White Balance Bracketing||2-9 exposures in 1, 2, or 3 EV increments||2-9 exposures in 1, 2, or 3 EV increments|
|Focus Shift Shooting||No||Yes|
|Battery||EN-EL15 Lithium-ion Battery||EN-EL15b Lithium-ion Battery|
|Battery Life||1230 shots (CIPA)||2260 shots (CIPA)|
|Battery Charger||MH-25a Quick Charger||MH-25a Quick Charger|
|Weather Sealed Body||Yes||Yes|
|Weight (Body Only, Includes Batteries and Card)||29.5 oz (835 g)||29.6 oz (840 g)|
|Dimensions||140.5 x 113.0 x 78.0 mm||143.5 x 115.5 x 76.0 mm|
As you can see, there are a lot of differences here, most of which are in the D780’s favor.
On the surface, two of the biggest specifications, pixel count and focusing system, remain the same. This may seem perplexing given how much time has passed; the D750 was announced in September of 2014, compared to January 2020 for the D780.
However, the D780’s sensor is actually likely to be significantly improved. It is a BSI (backside illuminated) sensor with dual gain ISO, unlike the D750. We’ve already seen newer 24 megapixel sensors (specifically that on the Nikon Z6) beat the D750’s sensor head to head at high ISOs. It would be very surprising if the D780 were not similar in that regard.
In terms of focusing, although the D750 and D780 have the same system on paper, the D780 “inherits the AF algorithm” from the flagship D5, according to Nikon. It also has a more advanced metering system than the D750, which should help track moving subjects in difficult conditions. However, it remains to be seen just how much or little of an improvement this turns out to be in the field.
The other differences are where the D780 really shines. It has much better video specifications than the D750 (indeed, borrowed largely from the Nikon Z6’s excellent video specifications). That’s alongside the D780’s rapid-fire 12 FPS shooting, assuming you’re shooting 12-bit RAWs in the camera’s silent live view mode.
Personally, as a landscape photographer, one of the most interesting benefits of the D780 is that it allows shutter speeds of up to 900 seconds in manual mode. This is something photographers have been asking of Nikon for a long time, and it is very exciting to finally see in one of their cameras.
Other upgrades on the D780 include focus shift shooting, touchscreen capabilities, and a longer battery life of 2260 versus 1230 shots per charge (though a large part of this improvement is due to the D780’s removal of a flash; the CIPA standard takes flash shooting into account when measuring battery life, and flash drains the battery quite quickly).
Build and Design
The Nikon D750 and D780 are largely similar in design, but there are a few changes you may want to be aware of. Here’s a comparison of the cameras’ rear layouts:
The biggest change is that the D780 adds a dedicated AF-On button, so you no longer need to assign the AE-L/AF-L button in order to enable back-button focusing.
Other, smaller changes include shuffling the live view button up to the top, moving around the i and info buttons, and moving the AE-L/AF-L button down a bit. Also, the negative magnification button which once doubled as an ISO control is now doubling as a metering control instead.
And here’s how the top layout compares:
Again, the changes are minor. The only important change is that the metering button on the top has been replaced with an ISO button (a welcome change, in my opinion), and then shifted to the right.
Like most of these comparisons, the right choice between the Nikon D750 and D780 is all about price.
The D750 is an older DSLR, and its price reflects that. It costs $1500 new and routinely sells for under $900 used in good condition. By comparison, the D780 is a brand new camera on the market, and it sells new for $2300. That’s a pretty huge difference given the similarities between these cameras.
Are the D780’s upgrades worth the price? That’s up to you. Personally, I still consider the D750 to be one of the best values in Nikon’s lineup, especially used, for photographers on a budget. The D780 is absolutely the more advanced camera, but how many of its new features are must-haves?
If you shoot a lot of video, the new camera is worth the price. The D780 is lightyears ahead of the D750 in video quality, with 4K shooting, phase-detect autofocus, and 10-bit log output capabilities. Otherwise, if budget is an issue, I would strongly consider the D750. The other benefits of the D780 are still quite good, and they may be enough to put the camera over the line for you… but for a price difference of $800 (or more if you go used), I’d rather buy the D750 and a good lens.
My D750 is grainy for indoor sports photography….do you think the 780 removes that graininess with the added film speeds? Thanks for your time.
I’d like to know this too, I find the ISO useless above 1000 which is very limiting. Is the D780 better in low light?
We’ve compared the two sensors here: photographylife.com/revie…kon-d780/4
Technically it’s the D750 against the Nikon Z6. But the Z6 and D780 have identical sensors.
I’ve been a Nikon user since 2002 or so (D70), had a D200, and currently have a D5600 (for travel) and D610.
Just bought the D780 this week, this is the camera I’ve been waiting for. Truly. Resolution is nice and all, but the autofocus is the game changer. My vision’s not as good as it used to be, and I find that the AF on the 780 practically reads my mind and gets things incredibly sharp, sharper than I’ve been able to, to date.
I’m a happy camper.
Thanks Spencer for the worthy comparison of D750 and D780. What do you think about buying the used D780? Would it be more economical the used vs new? You mentioned about buying D750 and investing in a good lens. What kind of lenses would recommend?
Thank you very much for your valuable time!
I’m also one among others confused between d750 & d750, only concern I picking up d780 because of shutter mec speed which is double the d750, I might be wrong in decision, could you help me choosing between among them.
This is my very first DSLR and want to have better body with good lens , so ended up these two but initially I thought d7500 which is dx so thought of going fx and work with it and later if required will upgrade to better body by keeping fx lens to use. My main concern is shoot product, landscape, portrait and wildlife.
It would be really great if you help me choose one.
Thank you in anticipation.
I’ve currently own 2 d750s. Not “a professional” but have done a few paid events. I was looking into upgrading my d750s to d780s. I rented a d780 for a week, and here is my conclusion. I’m not interested in video, or in using live view. (I’m probably odd, but I like looking through the viewfinder.) That being said, I set up several comparison shots between the two cameras, and also compared auto focus. I didn’t go beyond ISO 3200 as that’s more than high enough for almost all of my photography work. What I found is there is almost no perceivable difference between the two. Also, something caught my eye when comparing ISOs using the DPreview, ISO, low light comparison shots. At first I noticed a big difference between the two cameras, but then I saw you have an option for JPEG or RAW. When I clicked on RAW, the two were almost identical. This tells me that the new exceed 6 processor does a better job of eliminating noise for the out of camera JPEG shots, but since I always load my raw files into Lightroom, their is virtually no difference. I know the LiveView focusing is superior, but as far as the optical viewfinder AF, I really didn’t notice a difference. I’m keeping my two d750s and using the money to buy another lens or two.
Well written experience, make sense to me as well. Investing on better lens would add value to gears and photos.
Hi everybody!! I’m looking to upgrade from the DX series (d500,5200) to a full frame camera. I’m getting back into photography,videography, and am seeing a lot good things said about the 750. Since it would be my first foray into full frame cameras is it a good buy? And what exactly is Nikon z ( mirrorless) camera and its purpose? Any help would be appreciated. Also not sure if the replies to my comments get sent to my email address I provided, do they?
The D750 is a very highly regarded camera so you can’t go wrong with it. For video I think you will be better off with a mirrorless camera though [Z6].
I am family and lifestyle photographer. I only have one camera – the D750 – so am looking to add another camera so that I can work with 2 cameras with different lenses at the same time. I was going to buy the D780 but have been put off by some of the comments here, mainly that it is not worth the price. Does anyone have any recommendations – I’ve heard great things about the 850 but have also heard that it’s really large and heavy? Would love to hear any recss for a camera to work along side a D750. I am learning to shoot film too – which is an added attraction to the 780.
The D780, like the Z6 and Z7, lacks contacts for the shutter and control functions of a vertical grip. Why?
The lack of a vertical grip option will be an absolute show-stopper for many.
Hi! If their continuous shooting speeds are similar, what about the buffer of this newcomer?
I had the D750, but gave it up when 2 quirks annoyed the hell out of me:
1. The shutter was NOISY!
2. There was a perceptible delay in the waking of the rear screen, which led to annoying waits (up to 3s) when changing settings like WB and ISO which were mapped to the rear screen.
If the D780 has a refined shutter sound and a quick reacting rear screen, I may change to it. Till then, I’ll stick to my trusted D7000 for main use. It has an inferior AF and the limitations of DX sensors, but is refined and fast from sleep to shoot.
As a wedding and event photographer I too would be very interested to know if the mechanical shutter sound of the D780 is subtle / refined. The best Nikon I have used so far in this respect has been the D810 so if the D780 improves on this plus the option of silent, live view, shooting It may be a popular camera in the industry. Somehow, though, I doubt this will be the case as there is no mention of significant mechanical shutter improvements anywhere.
In fact, although I am still interested in the world of Nikon, I am now with Fujifilm and the X-H1 – now that has a sublime sounding mechanical shutter – so refined that the electronic, silent shooting it also has is often not even needed – it’s perfect for ceremonies and the often quiet events I photograph. All that said it is still good to see Nikon using mirrorless technology to drastically improve the live view of an otherwise conventional DSLR – I expect this will be rolled out on many more of their future DSLR releases and that can only be a good thing.
I wonder the same thing. Nikons F-6 shutter was very quiet and refined. Why, after showing that they can make such a pleasant shutter with an unobtrusive sound, do they currently make such loud ones? The D-3 shutter scared me! Frightened animals I was photographing too!