I have been testing the autofocus capabilities of the Nikon D750 during this weekend with several lens and TC (teleconverter) combinations to see how well the camera will perform in terms of accuracy and AF reliability. The first lens that I tested out was the new Nikkor 400mm f/2.8E VR lens, which I used with and without teleconverters. I am planning to review this lens later this year, so I needed to get as many image samples as possible in different situations, with all three Nikon TCs. Like the 800mm f/5.6E VR monster, the 400mm f/2.8E VR is a stellar lens with amazing optics, but also with a very hefty price tag of $12K. So it is definitely not a lens for everyone! As expected, the lens performed amazingly well with top notch sharpness and microcontrast, stunning colors and super fast and accurate autofocus. However, the biggest surprise was how hand-holdable it has gotten compared to the previous version, thanks to fluorite elements and the much lighter build. Here is a photo of a wood duck that I captured hand-held:
It was a busy morning at a local park and I was accompanied by at least 8 other photographers, who were all occasionally looking at me, wondering how I was able to hand-hold the lens for such an extended period of time. The lens weighs just a tad heavier than my Nikkor 200-400mm f/4G VR (which I practically always hand-hold), so hand-holding the 400mm f/2.8E was not bad. In fact, due to the shift of weight on the lens, it does not feel front-heavy anymore and it balanced quite well with the Nikon D750.
A number of our readers have been asking how accurate the Nikon D750 is with peripheral focus points. Take a look at the below shot of a great blue heron swallowing a fish – I used the most outer right focus point in vertical position and focused on the head of the bird (also hand-held). This was a pretty challenging task for the camera, since the background is so close and the heron’s feathers mix in, giving little contrast for the camera. As you can see, the camera nailed the shot and the image came out tack sharp (I cropped the image a bit more in Lightroom to focus on the bird):
What about my favorite travel wildlife lens, the Nikkor 300mm f/4D AF-S? Previously, I would only use this lens with the 1.4x teleconverter, since I have never been happy with the AF accuracy when using the 1.7x teleconverter. I decided to give this combo another try and see how the D750 does. To my surprise, the 1.7x teleconverter actually worked great and the camera did quite well with the focusing speed and accuracy. Take a look at the below shot of a hawk in flight:
That’s plenty of detail for a 300mm lens + TC combo that can get you to 510mm without leaving a large hole in your wallet. I have not done extensive tests in different lighting conditions with the 300mm f/4 + 1.7x, but I am definitely planning to. If only Nikon released a new 300mm f/4 with VR, I can only imagine the possibilities with such a lens!
And below are some images from the recent photo shoot that Lola organized with Alisa Benay, featuring stunning boleros from her latest collection:
These were all shot with the Nikon D750 and a combination of lenses, including:
- Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G
- Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G
- Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G
- Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II
The new Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G is a superb lens. I am planning to review it as soon as I complete my Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G FX lens review. I apologize for the wait on reviewing lenses – I have a few more things I need to finish and I will jump on those as soon as I can!
Images were shot both in natural light and using off-camera flash. Focus was performed by moving the focus points to where the subjects were in the composition. The camera did very well, nailing focus pretty much every time, even when shooting at maximum aperture.