Before the new Nikon D780 hits stores, four lucky CameraPro crew members got to take it for a spin. Louise, Jake, Lachlan and Nik were up at sunrise last week to put Nikon’s latest DSLR through its paces, shooting landscape, street and skateboarding shots at beautiful Kangaroo Point in Brisbane. Read on and watch the video to see our first impressions!
Nikon D780 in Brief
More than just an upgraded Nikon D750, the Nikon D780 is something of a hybrid – a DSLR camera with mirrorless benefits. On one hand the D780 has the optical viewfinder, internal mirror structure and epic battery life of a DSLR. On the other it’s got the superior autofocus coverage/tracking and silent shooting option of a mirrorless camera, plus a user-friendly interface inspired by the Nikon Z series.
Nikon D780 Specs
24.5MP BSI full frame sensor
7 fps continuous shooting with D5 AF Algorithm
12 fps silent Live View shooting
51-point AF system via optical viewfinder
273-point Hybrid AF system in Live View
Dual UHS-II SD card slots
4K UHD and slow motion video
4K HLG & N-LOG external recording
2260-shot battery life
In-camera battery charging
First Impressions of the Nikon D780
Nikon sensors are renowned for being great for landscape photography, and the Nikon D780’s is no different. Weighing in at 24MP, it’s full frame, back side illuminated and has an impressive ISO range of 100-51,200. It also offers 14+ stops of dynamic range – so even in dim and high-contrast lighting, the image quality and detail are outstanding.
Incredibly. the D780 can capture 15 minute internal long exposures, which is fantastic for shooting wispy skies or water during the day (as we did) or star/light trails at night. The tilt and touch screen is another handy feature that makes it easy to compose and capture your shot once you’ve set the camera up on a tripod.
Nikon D780 camera + Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR Lens | 30 sec @ f/4, ISO 100
The Nikon D780 is an ideal all-rounder or ‘walk around’ camera. Silent shooting mode makes for easy candid shots and the body is weather-sealed (more so than the D750), so perfect for traveling or for any kind of outdoor shoot. The D780 uses the same battery as the D750 but can get a whopping 1000 more shots (up to 2260 total) out of one charge, which should easily last most shooters a whole day and is a huge plus for any long shoots like weddings, time lapses, or video. So too are the camera’s comfy grip and dual UHS-II SD card slots – great if you like to save backup files as you go or don’t want to have to swap cards out while shooting.
Nikon D780 camera + Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR Lens | 1/800 sec @ f/4.5, ISO 400
Sports, Action & Video
In continuous burst mode the Nikon D780 can shoot up to 7 fps / 12 fps in live view – 17% faster than the Nikon D750, and fast enough for us to easily snap sharp skateboarding shots. The D780’s optical viewfinder is a real advantage for seeing and shooting action in real-time. But it’s also great to be able to bump up the burst rate and/or silence the shutter in live view whenrequired.
The D780 has a top shutter speed of 1/8000 sec, ideal for outdoor shooting and when you want to freeze motion with flash. Inherited from the Nikon D5, autofocus in the Nikon D780 is impressively quick and accurate – significantly more so than in the D750. You can access 51 AF points via the viewfinder or 273 Hybrid AF points in live view and video mode. The AF system also functions in lighting as low as -5.0 EV and -7.0 EV, meaning the D780 will be able to focus and capture shots that most other cameras would struggle with. With the same pro-level video feature set as the Nikon Z6, the Nikon D780 is bound to impress videographers. You’ve got the option of 4K UHD/30p with full pixel readout, plus 1080/120 fps slow motion – all with AF/tracking enabled in live view (a definite plus for action recording). There’s also plenty of colour depth and dynamic range to play with in post, thanks to 10-bit HDMI output with N-Log and HDR (HLG) profiles.
In all scenarios—landscape, street photography and action stills & video—our first impressions of the Nikon D780 were excellent. It’s a fantastic all-rounder and a great choice for any pro or enthusiast wanting to shoot photos and video.
Images by Nik Jacobsen and Louise Wright. Video presented by Nik Jacobsen, filmed by Jacob Pace and Lachlan Tang, edited by Alexander Wootten and directed by Louise Wright