OUT WITH THE OLD...

I can't help myself. Not content with buying a Yashica at the end of last year I distracted myself from the reality of an impending tax bill and purchased a new DSLR. I've justified it as necessity rather than desire (well, maybe some desire).

I jest though. The truth is that I am not a compulsive upgrader. My D7000 is now five years old which in tech terms makes it effectively obsolete. It had started to feel a little sluggish compared to its younger days and so I made the decision last year that I would replace it in 2017.

The question, of course, is what to replace it with.

Not Jumping to Full Frame, but Gently Pushed

Nikon product lines have become quite blurred over the years, meaning that selecting your weapon of choice is not as straightforward as it perhaps should be. You can read all the reviews and digest all the forum comments but chances are you will end up confused and left drowning in a sea of conflicting opinions.

I opted for the D750 for several reasons. First, I had seen excellent reports of its low-light performance. For a lot of the shooting I do, this was top of my list of priorities. Second, I have become a little disillusioned with Nikon's investment in DX lenses. I was open to the notion of sticking with a cropped sensor as there are some terrific APS-C cameras in the line-up; it's the DX glass where there are shortcomings. Third, and with my eyes trained on full frame, the D750 was the ideal combination of image quality and (relatively) light weight for travelling.

I've not wasted any time testing it out and while I could write at lengths about my first impressions, for now I want to narrow it down to two things - differences that you should be aware of when moving from DX to full frame.

Getting Accustomed to Wider Views and Higher ISOs

You need to retrain your eye. For years I have - like all DX users - trained my eye to visualise the field of view for different focal lengths. Moving to full frame means you've got to go back to school and learn the course all over again. Everything automatically becomes wider and that means adjusting your eye accordingly. It's slightly disconcerting at first, especially when you realise just how wide 24mm really is, but so far I have found it pleasing rather than frustrating. I love how 50mm is now a standard focal length and not a short telephoto!

The second point I'd make is how genuinely impressive the high ISO performance is. The combination of a larger sensor plus five years worth of technology advancement arguably makes the difference more pronounced, but I have been incredibly impressed by shots at the highest settings. To give some context, with the D7000 I would find that ISO 3200 was around the acceptable maximum I would dare go to - ISO 6400 if absolutely necessary with the knowledge that the image would be softening up a lot.

I've shot handheld at ISO 6400 with the D750 and the noise handling is incredible. It gives me far more latitude to handle challenging light situations and having that safety net, as anyone who has shot inside a dimly lit church will tell you, is a massive reassurance. I took a test shot at ISO 12800 and the jpeg was perfectly acceptable - probably not something you'd blow up two feet across, but for online or small prints it was more than useable.

I've got a lot of newborn shoots and christenings coming up in the next few months and I'm looking forward to putting the D750 through it's paces. The D7000 is still hanging around though; it has been a trusty workhorse for many years now and I'm not putting it out to pasture yet. It makes for a more than capable back-up camera and will be in my bag for the foreseeable future.

My only immediate gripe is at Nikon and their insistence on making you fork out an extra £200+ for a new grip for every new camera they manufacture. It makes for a slightly bitter aftertaste!

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© 2018 Stephen Wallace Photography

 

Corporate headshots, lifestyle portraits, and personal branding photography across South London, Central London and Surrey.

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