Dragging a DSLR into the brand new decade is a bit like making an attempt to persuade everybody to begin shopping for CDs once more as a substitute of streaming music. There are some benefits positive, however when comfort is king, you might as nicely be extolling the virtues of music high quality to a flock of seagulls.
However, there stays a spot in our hearts for the nonetheless extraordinarily succesful digital camera format, and there are some areas by which even a full-frame mirrorless digital camera won’t match the invoice. For these instances if you want critical grunt within the battery division, weather-beating ruggedness, twin card slots, and for some an all-important optical viewfinder, a DSLR will at all times do its obligation.
Nikon’s D780 DSLR mixes a up to date imaging strategy with conventional kind and performance. Armed with trusty Nikon ergonomics and an enormous choice of Nikkor F lenses, the D780 borrows a couple of tips from Nikon’s mirrorless Z sequence, providing high-performance dwell view AF and 4K video credentials. It’s the wedding of mirrorless know-how and DSLR substance, that for some means a digital camera with zero compromises.
It has a giant battery, two UHS-II card slots, and is totally guarded in opposition to excessive climate – which is why we’re testing it in Iceland. The nation. Not the purveyor of king prawn rings.
Design and Build: Chunk Rock 101
Coming from a mirrorless digital camera, it feels huge, however nothing you received’t get used to after some time of utilizing it. Weighing 840g, it is not gentle both, however it’s not so dissimilar to many DSLRs on this class.
When examined the D780 with the Nikkor AF-S 24-70 f/2.eight and it felt like a nice pairing with out feeling tremendous front-loaded and unbalanced, as could be the case with smaller digital camera our bodies. Being huge has its perks.
There’s no worry of it slipping out your mitts with that rubberised protruding grip as we’ve seen on all earlier Nikon stalwarts.
And lastly, this measurement means you’ve acquired a bit extra room to twiddle dials and buttons with out making clumsy errors. Most of the capturing controls are positioned on the suitable, in addition to the ‘i’ button for accessing the short menu.
There’s even room for a top-plate so you possibly can see issues like ISO, shutter velocity and remaining photographs in your card, we used this so much and located it an enormous support if you’re quick on time and wish to cut back faffing time.
The rear display screen would not totally articlate, which might’ve been helpful for video and self-shooting, particularly given its video credentials, nonetheless, the tilting mechanism feels sturdy and it really works nicely for getting near motion downlow or capturing from the hip.
It has a superb 3.2in display screen with a 2359k-dot decision and Touch AF and Touch Shutter modes. This works nice in Live View, however if you’re utilizing the OVF, you’ll discover your nostril doing all kinds of undesirable exercise on the display screen, so we discovered it essential to disable the touchscreen, as a result of there’s no negotiating with a nostril.
There’s no built-in flash, and the duo card slot was notably helpful throughout our testing interval in Iceland, the place when you would’ve wanted to switch an SD card, you would possibly threat freezing off one in all your fingers. At the aspect of the physique, you’ll discover a 3.5mm microphone and headphone port, an HDMI Type C connector and a USB Type C port which helps in-camera charging with suitable batteries.
Features: Looking right into a mirrorless
One of probably the most notable options right here is that the D780 is able to switching between two autofocus methods.
It has the on-sensor AF system of a mirrorless digital camera and close to related dwell view efficiency of the Z6, nonetheless it’s not as seamless to transition between the 2 capturing choices as it’s on mirrorless cameras, merely elevate the digital camera to your eye, it’ll change to EVF and vice versa. But with the D780, it’s important to manually choose the dwell view button. When you’re used to mirrorless know-how it might take a while to regulate.
It additionally incorporates Eye-Detection AF the place you possibly can choose which eye to concentrate on. When utilizing this we discovered it a bit hit or miss, with it typically focussing on lashes as a substitute.
At the centre of the D780 is a back-illuminated 24.5MP paired with the most recent EXPEED 6 picture processor.
While it homes the identical sensor because the Z6, or some model of it – it nonetheless use Nikon F mount, providing an array of good lenses.
In steady capturing it’s in a position to hit 12fps in dwell view with silent mode on, and 7fps in viewfinder capturing. In true Nikon kind, there’s a DX crop mode and as quickly as a DX lens is connected it’ll mechanically reset.
Although we love the satisfying ‘kerrrrrr-chonk’ of the mechanical shutter. The D780, identical to the D850 provides Q and Qc modes as quieter alterative launch capturing. There’s even a zero-vibration digital shutter which permits customers to seize photographs in complete silence in Live View.
But what makes the D780 such an all-rounder and a step up from the D750, is that it’s simply as acceptable for video as it’s for stills. Shoot 4K UHD at 30/25/24fps and as much as 120fps in 1080p HD. One factor we did discover a bit disappointing is that there’s no Eye AF in video mode.
Videographers will rejoice on the choice of recording 10-but footage in N-log to retain a wealthy dynamic vary. There’s additionally the choice to shoot in-camera time-lapse 4K films.
Performance and picture high quality: All the vary
Using the digital camera initially takes some getting used to, however we had been in a position to check it to the boundaries – per week in Iceland with temperatures of –6 to take care of, and the frequent unrelenting spray from gushing waterfalls.
The first niggle was remembering to modify to Live View manually as we’re hardwired to suppose it’ll simply do it mechanically.
The ISO vary is 100-51,200 and the D780 has an prolonged shutter velocity vary from 1/8000 to an incredible 900sec, so when you’re a fan of lengthy exposures, you’re going to have an absolute ball.
We had been advised it’d have a formidable 2,260 shot batter life, however we had been typically switching to Live View mode, plus with the unimaginable chilly climate, this dropped to only below 2000. But that’s with some intense use, taking quite a few lengthy exposures and bits of video.
We had been capturing with an ND grad filter, and would at all times suggest one for capturing landscapes, however once we left it within the automotive and had been too lazy to stroll again, but had been impressed with how the digital camera dealt with shiny skies and truly managed to seize a variety of element within the clouds. Plus capturing in RAW permits you to repair the over uncovered areas later.
Face detection works precisely because it does on the Nikon Z6 and seven and the D780 was simply as responsive once we had the chance to shoot some portraits. Plus, on the finish of day by day we had been eager to switch the photographs to our telephone to take a better look and to share them. Nikon’s devoted SnapBridge app, as soon as a bit garbage, has come on leaps and bounds, and when you efficiently join it to the digital camera, it’ll throw up your complete gallery after which you possibly can choose which photos to save lots of.
Having that second card slot proved helpful once we out capturing for a protracted time frame, and a transparent benefit over the Z6. As it’s similar to the Z6 inside, count on related picture high quality and that’s solely factor. The broad dynamic vary means a great deal of element, even at a excessive ISO.
Colours had been true to life and when our battery was on its final legs, we switched to capturing jpegs in the direction of the top of the day and these had been actually spectacular, nicely balanced and with no aggressive sharpening or color saturation. White steadiness was nicely managed utilizing Nikon’s pure mode too.
Nikon D780 verdict
There’s nothing notably headline grabbing in regards to the D780, however we discovered the D780 to be a grower with some very fascinating qualities.
The video specs are wonderful, there’s an up to date and superior autofocus system, critical battery efficiency, and a physique constructed like a tank that may serve you nicely on any journey.
Asking £2,199 (body-only) appears a bit steep and a substantial hike from the Nikon Z6, however that is combining a variety of goodies kind the Z6, plus all of the qualities many love from a DSLR.
Only time will inform is that is the final dying breath of the DSLR, or an indication of extra to come back.