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Camera Reviews Travel Stories

Using the Nikon D750 in Africa - Field Report

Mike Hagen (Mike_Hagen)

Keywords: d750

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Auto ISO Performance

I’m using auto ISO more and more on my Nikon cameras because it works so well. The D750 auto ISO performed flawlessly during this trip. I use auto ISO in two ways.

1. When shooting wildlife, I generally want a specific shutter speed in order to freeze the motion. Therefore, I set up the auto ISO system to use 1/500 second or 1/1000 second as my minimum shutter speed. The camera’s metering system then automatically changes ISO to keep the shutter speed at that value.
2. When walking with the camera and hand-holding the camera for my shots, I want to pay close attention to my own ability to hold steady. In this case, I’m most interested in setting my shutter speed to match my lens’ focal length. For example, if I’m shooting at 24mm, then I want my shutter speed to be about 1/25 second. If I’m at 100mm, then I want my shutter speed to be about 1/100 second. In these cases, I set my auto ISO to “Auto” which means that the camera sets the shutter speed equal to the inverse of the focal length (50mm = 1/50 second).

Metering System

Nikon added a new light meter to this camera called highlight priority metering. This is in addition to Matrix meter, center weighted meter, and spot meter. My habit has been to shoot matrix metering, so I didn’t use the highlight priority metering system for any photographs in Tanzania.

The matrix metering system performed very well in almost all situations and I ended up using it for 99% of my photographs. I was very happy with the results and continue to be impressed with Nikons mastery of their light metering system.

lions drinking

The metering system works great in almost all situations, even scenarios like this where you have strong back-lighting.
Nikon D750, 200-400mm f/4. Click for an enlarged view.

Buffer Size

Big bummer here. It is well known that the D750 has a small memory buffer. There were many situations where I was photographing animals such as flying birds or running mammals where I simply ran out of buffer and missed shots. The camera shoots at 6.5 frames per second which is very good and fast. However, it only holds about 13 RAW (NEF) shots before the buffer fills up. That means you get approximately two seconds of shooting before the buffer fills and the camera stops taking shots.

With high-end professional cameras, you just press the shutter release and keep shooting. With the D750, you have to time your photo bursts for peak action and hope that the action is completed before the buffer fills. Wildlife photographers will find this to be very frustrating as I did on multiple occasions.

Ease of Using in Bright Sun

For the most part, readability of the displays in the bright sun is very good, especially on the newly designed rear monitor. Nikon changed the way a few of the settings are accessed on the D750. On some Nikon cameras, you press a button on the back of the camera and then choose the setting by looking at the LCD panel on the top of the camera. On the D750 however, Nikon moved some of the readouts for these settings to the back monitor. For example, White Balance and Qual (RAW/JPG) are adjusted by looking at the back monitor screen.

The good news here is that Nikon changed the color scheme for these types of settings to a simple white and black, high contrast format. The result is that it is pretty easy to read in the bright sunlight. The rear LCD monitor is 3.2” diagonally and has 1.2 million dots of resolution. One of the reasons why it performs so well in the bright sunlight is that each pixel now adds a white dot in addition to the regular RGB dots. This white dot improves brightness and contrast. The viewing angle is nice and wide at 170 degrees, meaning that you can look at the screen from almost any angle and still read the menus.

My preference has always been to use the top LCD of the camera so I wouldn’t have to tilt the camera down to see my settings. I think it is slightly easier to make the adjustments that way than the new way of having to use the rear monitor. That said, it isn’t too big of a deal and I’m not worried about it.

Viewfinder Performance

Looking through the viewfinder and being able to see all the camera settings is no problem whatsoever. The readouts for shutter speed, aperture and ISO are bright and bold.

If anything, the display in the viewfinder tends to be slightly too bright, especially during twilight and night time. In these scenarios, I found the viewfinder readout to be obnoxiously bright when trying to compose photographs of the dark scene. The bright numbers along the base can sometimes cause your pupil to contract, which means it is harder to see the ambient light. I wish there was a way to manually reduce the brightness of viewfinder readout like you can in your car with the dashboard brightness adjustment.

(23 Votes )
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Originally written on July 9, 2015

Last updated on October 12, 2016

Mike Hagen Mike Hagen (Mike_Hagen)

Expert photography teacher

Gig Harbor, USA
Basic, 149 posts


Jannie Rossouw (pentecostal) on July 26, 2020

Hi Mike, Hope your next visit will be to us in South Africa Regards Jannie

Richard Cron (rcron) on August 22, 2015

Just wondering - might seem obvious to most, when you talk about using auto ISO and how that sets the shutter depending on focal length of the lens in use - are you shooting Aperture Priority mode? I think I'm about to purchase a D750 as my first FX body and your review is helping me decide over the other options. Thanks!

TJ Mills (tjmillsiv) on August 3, 2015

Mike, Thanks for an informative article. I upgraded last year from a D300 to the D750 and have not looked back. I am heading to Zambia and Botswana Africa in November with the D750 and I hope to have photos half as good as yours. This will be my first safari trip. Any advice is appreciated. :-)

User on July 22, 2015

This was a great read and fantastic pictures. I've been shooting with the D750 since it's release last September and truly love it too. Looking forward to put it to the test in a Safari in the near future ;-)

Dr. Patrick Buick (profpb) on July 18, 2015

Ditto Mike, I just returned from shooting the 8 National Parks of Utah and Colorado using my new D750 much more than my D800e. "Doc"

Bob Pilgrim (BOB PILGRIM) on July 17, 2015

July 17, 2015l: Steve, you've generated a really nice review, & the photography is gorgeous; nice going.

Adel A. Mansour (mansour1) on July 16, 2015

Thank you Mike for this wonderful review I found it to be informative and enjoyable.

steve hodder (sjhodder) on July 15, 2015

July 15, 2015 Mike: An excellent summary of your excursion in Africa. I have been on the edge of a move to a full-frame Nikon for some time. When the Df came out I was excited - no video-yea! But, I didn't buy it...only 16MP. The 800 was way too much for my needs and the file sizes might well have required a new computer. When the 600 came out and the spotting issues along with it I was deflated - bummer. The 610 raised my eyebrows but I was really stubborn because I was hoping the Nikon would introduce a long-time Canon feature - an articulated screen. The D750 has answered my prayers even in light of the flare issues. So, I've been patient and given Nikon time to resolve the flare issue and get new production well underway before taking the plunge. Your review/article is really the icing on the cake. Now I just might have to order a 750 body because they seem to be flying off the shelves here in Vancouver. Once again, thanks for the highly informative article. Steve

John Hernlund (Tokyo_John) on July 15, 2015

Ah, such nice images, and what a great camera! One of these days I'll find space in my budget for a D750...surely over my wife's objections!

Marsha Edmunds (meadowlark2) on July 10, 2015

Donor Ribbon awarded for her support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Fellow Ribbon awarded for her continuous encouragement and meaningful comments in the spirit of Nikonians. Donor Ribbon awarded for her generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Ribbon awarded for her generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2017 Awarded for her in-depth knowledge and high level of skill in several areas.  Awarded for winning in The Best of Nikonians 2019 Photo Contest

I sure enjoyed looking at your great images.

Kim Adams (arrowmom) on July 9, 2015

Thanks for this review Mike! I'm still torn between the D810 and D750. I love the fact that the 810 has similar layout as my D700. I need to try the D750 to see if I can handle the switch.

E.B. Miller (ebuzz2k) on July 9, 2015

thanks, a nice read!