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Reasons to Upgrade to the Nikon D780

Updated: Feb 28, 2020

What does the Nikon D780 bring to the table that makes it a 'better' full frame camera than the Nikon D750? Let's take a look!

New and Improved Sensor

The sensor in the D780 is a BSI (back side illuminated) 24.5MP taken right out of the Z6 with a dual-gain design. Dual-gain is when the camera is shot at the lowest ISO values, you can get maximum dynamic range out of the sensor, while higher ISO values will give you better noise performance.

Improved Shutter Speed

The D780's shutter speeds range from 900 seconds (15 minutes) to 1/8000-second, a full stop faster than the 1/4000-second top shutter speed on the D750. Bulb and Time settings are also now available.

Other Speedy Features

  • UHD 4K video @ 30 fps

  • 12 fps maximum frame-rate when shooting 12-bit RAW files in electronic shutter mode,

  • 7 fps when shooting in mechanical shutter mode

  • 3 fps in Live View mode with the mechanical shutter

Autofocus Points

The D780's 51-point AF module hasn't changed from the Nikon’s D750. An improvement is the addition of the 180K-dot RGB metering sensor found in the Nikon D5, along with a 273-point on-sensor PDAF(phase-detect autofocus) in Live View mode -- a never before seen feature on a Nikon mirrored DSLR (Huzzah! Your videos will now be in focus!).

Eye Autofocus IS built-in into the D780, a feature that was inspired by the Nikon Z6.

Where did the Flash Go?

One element we are unsure how to feel about is the removal of the built-in flash. Nikon stated that the removal was for the benefit of the weather sealing. Keep in mind, if you do purchase this camera, you may want to bring your flash with you just in case you need that extra pop of light. Photographers who use strobe will now need to have a separate transmitter.

Touchscreen LCD

Who doesn't love having the option of having a touchscreen LCD? We won't complain, especially since the D780's screen now makes the it the bulkier twin of the Z6.

The LCD is a 3.2", 2.36M-dot tilt-touchscreen. With the new touchscreen, you will benefit from the Z6's 273 on-sensor phase-detection AF points as well as the beloved AF tap-to-track functionality for both stills and video.

Improved Card Slot

The D750 if you recall, only had one slot for a UHS-I card. Now you have the benefit of having two UHS-II slots for extra security.

Battery Life

The Nikon D780's battery life is rated to 2,260 shots per EN-EL15b, The D750 in comparison lasted for 1,230 frames. On top of the improved battery life, the Nikon D780 can charge via USB-C.

Some Other Interesting Features:

  • 100% viewfinder coverage with same optical pentaprism as the Nikon D750

  • D780's Focus Stacking mode can capture up to 300 images, with incremental focus shifts between each exposure that are later combined together for greater D0F when shooting extreme close-ups -- the same as the D850

  • Negative Digitizer mode for inverting film negatives for digital output (inherited from the D850).

  • 1:1 Aspect Ratio is now available (for all you instagram fans)

  • 10-bit video output over HDMI in a choice of N-LOG or the wider dynamic range HLG, microphone and headset ports, focus peaking, and zebra warnings.

  • Improved version of Snapbridge Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for quicker transfer of stills (including RAW) and video.

  • You can also program the camera to create and transfer 2MP JPEGs automatically for near real-time viewing on mobile devices.

  • You also now have the option of superimposing preexisting images using the D780’s Multiple Exposure feature.

The real question: Should I Upgrade from the D750 to D780?

Overall, if you are shooting stills and do not 'need' the eye autofocus, or the extra SD card slot -- we would recommend waiting. On the other hand, if you are wanting the eye autofocus, don't mind a shorter battery life, and would be interested in in-body stabilization -- we would recommend switching to the Z series.

However, if you liked what you saw, want to dabble more in video, and you enjoy a decent battery life -- the D780 may just be the 'goldilocks' camera for you.

What is especially exciting (if you are reading this article before March 29th, 2020), and this camera speaks to you, Nikon is currently offering a Trade In, Trade Up to D780 event!

Click here for full details. Trade in any working condition camera (even a film camera), and receive an additional $300 bonus off of the price of the D780 (body or kit) that you want.


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The Shutterbug is a Oregon Family Owned & Operated Camera Store, with four locations in Oregon. We have been in the industry of helping photographers like you since 1971.

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