Tag Archives: Nikon D750

Sony A7iii Eye Auto Focus, Mid Day Full Sun Landscapes, Back Screen Mirroring, Size.

Without hesitation or qualifiers these features of the Sony A7iii are great for my photography.  The top photo is of my youngest daughter right after Christmas dinner.  I took this as a series of about 6 holding the eye auto focus button and just pushed the shutter button.  I saw in the viewfinder that the eye auto focus was working.  The flash was set to TTL and the camera was just on Auto.  I had on the Sony G 24-105 f4 lens.  The camera set itself to her right eye, the Sony steady shot and OSS lens kept this shot in perfect focus.  Brilliant.  Did the Sony work better than I could have expected from my older cameras, yes.  Did it work better than what my iPhone could have done, yes.  My other cameras like the D750 or D5500 would have been able to focus on this eye if I had put the focus point on it or if I had shifted the camera focus point to where the eye was, but this would have been done by me and not the cameras.  The iPhone XS Max or Sony HX80 would have found the face but not the eye.  So bravo Sony.  Without a doubt this is a big advancement forward and you have executed it well.

_DSC0982
This is my older daughter at the same dinner with the Sony A7iii finding her eye the same as the first photo.

The eye auto focus on the Sony A7iii also works in a group of people.

_DSC0947
In this shot the Sony picked the closest eye to it and grabbed it with perfect focus.  

The Sony A7iii is also easier to get mid day full sun shots with proper exposure.  It is not possible to completely change the subjects to what they would look like if you had been shooting early in the day or late in the afternoon, but the Sony did allow for turning down the exposure enough not to blow all the highlights.

I went to this same location just before we went on vacation to Europe in 2017.  I shot tests with my Nikon D5500, iPhone X, Minolta 600si with Kodak Gold 200.  In 2017 I only was able to get the shots I liked with the film.  The Nikon and the iPhone both overexposed.  I could have improved my results back then if I had bracket my shots on the Nikon, but I didn’t.  Film has more highlight tolerance than digital so the film was able to give very good results.

But the Sony A7iii shots above with the Zeiss 50mm f1.8 was as good as the film I shot in 2017.  At this point I would be willing to say that the Sony very easily gives good mid day full sun shots better than the Nikon D5500.  If I had used the Nikon D750 and also used the highlight setting I would say the results would have been similar to the Sony or the Kodak.

DSC00213
Also Sony A7iii shot at mid day full sun.  

The Sony A7iii’s back screen moves like an iPhone or my Sony compact.  It is fast and looks just like the viewfinder.  This is an improvement over the DSLR’s which on the Nikons were laggy and not quick to focus.  I find that I use the back screen a lot more than with the D750.  The D5500 was a full on touch screen and I frequently used it when shooting landscape.  I would touch the place to focus and it would set up the shot and fire away.  This ability is sadly not on the Sony A7iii.

Size – The Sony A7iii is smaller than the previous full frame digital I had the Nikon D750.  Not much, but overall about half a pound or .43 kilo.  And the 24-105 lens on the front of the Sony is just enough shorter than the Nikon D750 with 24-120 to make it noticeable.  So a win for the A7.

Conclusions – The eye auto focus is absolutely an outright advance for technology.  It is easy to use and works well.  This is a feature I expect to be standard on most cameras in a year or two.  Mid day full sun shots on the other hand is a bit better than the Nikons but surprisingly not much better than on Sony’s low cost compact HX80.  If the HX80 had been able to output raw I think it would be as good at mid day full sun shots as the A7.  And then there is film.  Film does not blow highlights easily like digital.  But film needs to be developed and you normally want to use the full roll before developing it.  But I will say that from what I know this is a win over the Nikon D5500.  Back screen on the Sony is much faster than the Nikons.  So I use it more.  Too bad it is not touch like the D5500.  Size is smaller with the A7iii over the D750 especially noticeable when using the kit lenses.  Not so much with a prime 50mm.

If you the reader think I am struggling with my conclusions it is because I am.  I have no struggle with eye auto focus.  A great new feature.  But for mid day full sun to me the Sony has proved to be better than the two older Nikon DSLRs but not reliably better than film.  I have gone to some of my favorite places where I have shot photos over the last number of years and would say that Kodak Ektar gives a better average shot than the Sony.  The back screen on the Sony moves just like a mirrorless should, fast.  But certainly not as useful as a full touch screen.  Then finally size.  The Sony is smaller than the Nikon D750 but the D750 has a grip that fits my hand better.  I do find the Sony and D750 with prime lenses about the same.  The Sony is lighter but the Nikon is fine.  But eye auto focus is a great feature to have.  If I was going to be sent to a place where I could have only one interchangeable lens camera for a year I would be tempted to pick a Sony A7iii over a DSLR.  Because it is great at both stills and video.  But if I also had my iPhone XS Max along with me I would take the D750.  Why.  I think the D750 is more durable and less likely to break.  The sensor is way back behind the mirror so I will be less likely to get buggered up.  And at this point shooting video with an iPhone is more fun.  And the results are fine.

DSLR vs Mirrorless – Nikon D760 Rumors

Today I saw the first rumors of the update of the Nikon D750 that will likely come next year.  Is that a wise move by Nikon, and is the DSLR dead?  My answer to those two questions is yes and then no.  But let me put in a qualifier on if it is a wise move by Nikon.  It is a wise move if Nikon improves the auto focus in live view so that it is at least on par with the current Nikon Z6.  If the back screen gets a bump up in speed then it becomes much more useful.

Over the last six years I have taken under ten videos with my cameras that were not smartphones.  The new iPhone XS Max which I have had now for about two months takes excellent video including 4K up to 60fps.  Apple has an easy to use video editor called iMovie that is free and works well.  And I don’t have to learn all the stuff that goes with bigger cameras like my Sony A7iii like “log” “lut” “gamma” “grading” and so on.  I have shot some test videos with my Sony A7iii.  It is far harder to use than the light iPhone XS Max which I put on a small tripod type holder.  The iPhone XS max also has a far better screen to use with the camera than the Sony.  My point is that one of the Key mirrorless advantages is lost on me.  Better video than a DSLR.

IMG_0149
Shot with an iPhone XS Max.  

The key advantage for me of an EVF is to improve exposure.  Seeing zebras and the histogram in the viewfinder helps.  I mostly use the zebras and adjust exposure compensation using them as a guide.  But with improved live view on a D760 you could see that information on the back screen.  Is that as good as the viewfinder, no, but it would help.  A big advantage of the OVF is it is always on and does not use power.  Plus the D750 I had this year had a much clearer optical viewfinder than the Sony electronic viewfinder I now have.

The rumors I read say the new camera will have a new 36 mega pixel back lighted sensor.  The optical viewfinder will be with a prism and 100% coverage.  The back screen will be flippy and full touch enabled.  Two SD card slots.  (I have also read rumors saying the sensor will stick with 24 mega pixels and the back screen will not be flippy.)  Price between $2,295 and $2,495.

000005330010
Shot with Minolta 600si with 24mm 2.8 lens

Even though I wanted the weight to be less when I had the 750 that was only with the 24-120mm f4 lens that was 27oz.  The D750 was fine with the 50mm f1.4.  Now after owning the Sony A7iii for 2 1/2 months I would say I prefer the D750 and lighter lens to the Sony A7iii and lighter lens.  The 750 is a bit heavier but has a much better grip than the Sony.  And the Nikon buttons and co-ordination with the menu on the D750 was much better (actually much much better) than the A7iii.  And if the new 760 comes with the touch screen like I used on the Nikon D5500 then the Nikon D760 will have a far far superior control and handling setup than the Sony.

The other giant benefit of the D760 is that I assume it will come with an F-mount.  That means Nikon’s giant catalog of F-mounts will be able to be used on the new camera.  That means all kinds of specialty lenses but also much better values like the 50mm f1.4 for approx $400 instead of $1,500 on the Sony.

000005330034

For the last couple of years uncounted people with podcasts, videos, and blogs have hailed the coming of mirrorless to replace the old mirror system in SLR’s.  I never really saw the reason for getting rid of the mirror.  I have had an Olympus OM2n body I bought in 1980.  In 38 years of use I have had exactly zero problems with the mirror.  And the old Oly has just a magnificent viewfinder with a very simple optical focus aid.  I would hope the new D760 would come with a similar manual focus aid or at least be possible to add one.  I really like focusing manually, but find it harder to do with viewfinders that have no help to let you know when you are at focus.

With these rumored features.

  • Full frame new 36 mega pixel back lit sensor
  • Improved live view focus to at least Z6 level
  • Weight and size no bigger than the D750
  • F-mount not Z mount
  • Price between $2,295 and $2,495

I think Nikon would have a real winner.  Of course something extra like a little electronic screen in the viewfinder with a histogram would be really nice too.

Initial Thoughts On Using My New Nikon D750

After thinking about it for 3 years I finally bought a full frame Nikon D750 camera.  When I looked at new DSLRs just over three years ago I went to a camera shop and had them put the Nikon D5500, Fuji XT1, Olympus OMD EM5 II, and Nikon D750 on the counter.  I went for the D5500 as I had been using a D3200 for two years and got very good images from it and no repairs.  The D5500 added new features including a very useful touch screen.  I checked out the Fuji as many reviewers were talking about it having a very high quality body with direct dials on it to make the most important adjustments.  I looked at the Olympus because I have been the happy owner of several Olympus cameras since 1980 and really liked the brand.  I looked at the Nikon D750 as I had been shooting full frame film for many years and liked the perspective of that size image capture media.

DSC_0161
Nikon D750 & 50mm f1.4

The D5500, Fuji, and Olympus all were about the same size and felt like they weighed about the same in the hand.  The Nikon D750 was a lot bigger and a lot heavier, and critically, would have been much more money than in my budget at the time for a new camera once lenses were included.  The Olympus had a smaller sensor than I wanted.  The Fuji was nice but not smaller or lighter than the D5500 and would have been a lot more expensive for me to buy with lenses than the Nikon D5500.  At the time I thought that if money was not a problem I would have bought the D750.

DSC_0227
D750 and Lightroom Monochrome B&W setting

So after three years I had the bug to buy a new camera before our summer motorhome trip this year.  I bought a Sony compact last year that fits in my pocket and gives me great results that are a step up from my iPhone X.  So I thought, why not try a Sony full frame.  I rented an A7rIII and Zeiss 58mm f1.8.  I got some really great files from that rental.  I would have stepped down to the A7iii though as the file size from the R were just bigger than what I want/ need.  I did not find the A7 comfortable in my hand. I did like the size of the body.  But when you add lenses much of the time it is the same size as a DSLR.  The Zeiss 58 f1.8 is much bigger /longer than the Nikon 50mm f1.4 and costs more than twice as much.  And there is the Sony menu system.  I have used it through all of my 4 Sony compact cameras.  I find the Nikon menus & controls easier to use.

DSC_0185
D750

I very rarely take video and when I do I use my iPhone.  My main reason for wanting EVF is to avoid blown highlights.  But Nikon offers an exposure setting that auto reads for highlights and avoids blowing them.  DP review and many others place the Nikon D750 and Sony A7iii about the same in overall quality.  So why did I get the Nikon?  I just could not pass up the deal and I am very happy with Nikon.  I still very much like my D5500 after three years.  I still think it is the best camera in it’s category.  It is so easy to use compared to my Sony compact.  It just does not fit in my pocket.

The deal.  Nikon sent me an email offering me the D750 plus battery grip plus 24-120 f4 lens for 2 grand.  The Sony A7 body was 2 grand.  And the Sony 24-105 f4 is $1,300.  So if you don’t count the grip and only the lens and body the 750 is $1,300 less.  But I bought a 50mm f1.4 from Nikon for $369 (refurbished) and I did get the grip.  The 750 was about 40% less than the Sony comparable package.  Now I have had it for a week.  I made a good choice.  What is the single thing I like the best about the Nikon deal, the grip I would have never bought if it was not free.  It makes it so convenient to go to portrait mode and has and extra set of controls and one of those easy adjusters for setting focus.  What is the thing I like the least, the size and weight up from the D5500.  But the Sony A7iii would not have been smaller with the 24-105 on it and would have been just 8 oz lighter.  Plus after a week I am kinda used to the heavier weight.  Yesterday I went hiking with the 750 and used a Peak snap connector on my backpack strap.  The size was fine.

DSC_0181
D750

So what do I like about the D750 so far.  It gives great images, fast.  No waiting for focus or anything else on this camera.  The files come up looking really good and the jpegs too. I usually shoot raw, but tried using raw + fine jpegs.  I ended up using mostly jpegs of the photos I have taken so far.  I tried editing the raws in LR Classic and ended up about the same place between the finished raw and jpeg files.  The focus set on auto just seems to find the subject 9 times out of ten.  If it does not I just center and reposition.  I have been experimenting with the exposure.  The no-overexpose setting works about 80% of the time.  Bracketing and using LR to merge works well too.  I very quickly just set this camera on manual (not manual focus) on the top dial and used the two wheels to adjust f-stop and speed.  The individual buttons are faster than the touch screen on the D5500, but not by much.  I very much like two adjust wheels.  Makes using manual a breeze.  And I love love the big viewfinder.

So right now I am very happy with my purchase.  The files do seem a bit better than the D5500.  Even when I do a lot of cropping the result is fine.  So not getting a camera with 40+ megapixels seems the right choice.  If Nikon was introducing their mirrorless at the end of the summer I would likely have held off, but a year till next Spring was too long to wait.  If Nikon blows me away with a mirrorless that has normal size lenses (normal Nikon size), does not break the bank (Leica style), and comes with reasonable size files and not huge ones, then I might spring for one of those when they come out next spring.

So how does this affect my fondness for film.  It does not.  The only thing I am going to change with this summers trip is to only take one camera (besides cell phone) on each day and not a film and digital.  Last time I took film and larger digital cameras most of the time to compare shots.  That is done and now I need to concentrate on working with the tool in hand to make the best composition.

Final comment.  Right now I still think my Olympus OM2n and the Nikons from the 1980’s like the FE were a better design than what we have today.  I would like to buy an Olympus full frame digital that had a body the size of the OM2n and lenses the same size as the ones I have from the 1980’s.  Why is it only Leica seems to get this?  If my budget would stretch to a Leica M10 and 50m Summicron?  Well one can hope.