Nikon’s newest full-frame DSLR, D780 is weather-sealed and offers great autofocus, improved dynamic range, and impressive out-of-camera images along with full-frame 4K video. Here’s all you need to know.
Nikon’s D780 reinforces the fact that bigger is better. The bulky camera goes against the pocket-fitting approach to prove that there’s still a place for big DSLRs for professionals and hobbyists alike. While the body of the D780 is heavy, it is quite comfortable too. Its ergonomic design ensures that it feels secure in the hands and is not overly taxing to carry when slung over the shoulder either. The grip fits quite nicely, which makes a lot of difference. The large body allows for several buttons and controls that make all kinds of shooting more seamless once you get the hang of them. This also dramatically reduces the need for customization as there’s a button for almost everything one needs.
The D780 is an almost hybrid device that combines the fantastic offerings of Nikon’s former favourite D750 and its current hot-selling mirrorless machine, the Nikon Z6 to deliver awesomeness. D780 is an F-mount Nikon, which means we could use pretty much any F-mount lens that Nikon has ever made. It has a 24.5-megapixel full-frame sensor and, pixel-wise, that’s not very different from the D750. Although, the chip offers an array of features like better dynamic range and improved noise performance at high ISO (the D780 tops out at 51200 ISO) that go beyond pixel density to create considerably improved images.
The tilting rear screen from the predecessor is now a touchscreen, and the tilt mechanism has got quite an upgrade. The user interface is, in fact, quite similar to what one gets on the Z-series cameras. There’s a lot that can be accessed in there, and it’s quite well-organized and easy to navigate.
The chip on this offers on-sensor phase-detection that similar to Nikon’s Z-series mirrorless cameras and it enables the D780 to have 273 autofocus points spread across 90 per cent of the frame. This results in enhanced autofocus accuracy and fewer missed shots. We found it pretty hard to miss shots, to be honest – the D780 is as good as it gets in the autofocus world.
Another feature that bumps up the performance of the Nikon D780 has been pulled from Nikon’s higher-end DSLRs – the focus stacking mode. The D780 shoots a series of up to 300 images with very slight focus adjustments in each which are then combined to create a depth of field far beyond what a simple lens can do. This dramatically enhances macro photography and works well in landscape and other situations where the subject isn’t moving.
When it comes to video, the D780 shines next to many DSLRs as there’s 4K video with no crop, a 1080/120p slow-motion mode, and fast autofocusing with face detection. Although the only thing that felt lacking a bit here is the in-camera image stabilization. While the Nikon D780 does have electronic stabilization, there is a slight crop. That being said, the D780 is still one of the best video performance one can find in a DSLR.
We were super impressed with the battery life of the Nikon D780. While it does come from the fact that it works on a mirrored design, but still – it can shoot up to 2260 shots on a full charge and we feel you might just be able to squeeze out some more. Moreover, when you need to charge up the D780 again, it doesn’t take long either because it uses a USB-C charging port. You can purchase a wall wart battery charger separately.
All in all, this is a great all-rounder camera that definitely has our vote. The Nikon D780 is a jack of all trades kinds, and if you’re looking for a generalist camera with excellent specs, impressive straight-out-of-the-camera JPGs, dual SD card slots, and mirrorless like 4K video features, the D780 is really as good as it gets, especially in that price range.