Test: Nikon D780 (professional DSLR)

Nikon D780 im Test

Conclusion from 03. 03. 2020

The Nikon D 780 proves in the test that DSLRs are far from old. The full-frame flagship convinces with great image quality, modern equipment and fast auto focus. Especially with its long battery life. The downside: the performance is much cheaper in the in-house DSLM warehouse.

Strong image quality
Fast autofocus
UHD video
Two memory card slots
Foldable touchscreen
Eye detection sometimes inaccurate
Full production pace only in live view mode
Z6 offers similar performance significantly cheaper

Starting at 2.199, 00 €: Find Best Price for Nikon D 780

The values ​​in the article refer to the test time of the product ( 03. 03. 2020 ) .

The ratings below show how it compares to the other products in the leaderboard.

test ratings (compared to all tested products in this category)

Nikon D 780 : New crowd favorite?

Twelve megapixels, five frames per second, 2nd. 400 Euro for the housing: What would probably dust longer on the shelf today as a couple of light field cameras, put middle 2008 a revolution in progress , With the D 700 the Japanese launched their first affordable camera with a 35mm sensor. Up to this point, supporters of the yellow N for the D3 ( s) pay almost double if you wanted a larger image chip than APS-C in your camera. No wonder that the D 700 with the same sensor and autofocus module, but quickly became a bestseller at a significantly lower price.

Six years later followed with the D 750 a similar one Price cracker: 24 Megapixels, 6.8 pictures per Second at 2. 150 Euro for the case – that didn't just sound great fair, but also met almost every (higher) requirement. But only almost, because a touchscreen, UHD video and other modern features have been missing from the older model since then. Seen in this way, it is really time for a new edition.

Here comes the Nikon D 780 into play: With the latest technology in the test, she swings onto the podium of the most exciting DSLRs of the year. However, the Nikon D 780 a small trip hazard: the price. Around 2. 500 Euros only for the housing sound historical, but in comparison to the in-house environment this seems quite expensive: The DSLM sister Z6 for around 1. 700 Euro, the high-resolution DSLR-Bolide D 850 for around 2. 500 Euro, the D 750 even for only around 1. 150 euros. Accordingly, the D 780 from an anything but simple starting position. Does it make up for this by increasing performance accordingly? Not quite.

Nikon D 780 : Is the change worth it?

Despite the sporty price, the manufacturer has for the D 780 a clear definition: It should appeal to full-format promoters and professionals alike. A continuation of the D6XX series , which previously marked the small picture entry, is currently not planned according to Nikon. In short: There won't be a cheaper entry so quickly.

The technical data actually sound as if the D 780 it would be worth your money: newly developed KB sensor with 24 Megapixels, splash-proof magnesium housing, Ultra HD video resolution with many professional functions as well as a revised auto focus and the sufficiently fast Series recording arouse enthusiasm.

But it is also worthwhile for owners of the D 750 the change? To answer this question, the DSLR for the test first went into the hands of concert photographer Helge Roewer who with his D 750 – Bodysuits countless annually Photographed live gigs. What impresses him the most? The image quality. Because the physical resolution remains untouched, the 6th 048 x 4.0 24 Pixel-sized stage does a nicer show though: Photos at ISO 25. 600 appear like this Low noise and rich in detail as with ISO 8. 00 0 on the D 750, Helge fe st.

Nikon D 780 : Illuminated keys would have been fine. Picture: Nikon

Nikon D 780 : Enhanced picture quality

This opinion is also confirmed by our laboratory measurements: Up to and including ISO 12. 800 recordings remain almost noise-free with good texture fidelity. In comparison, the D 780 up to 200 line pairs per image height more. Furthermore, the edge sharpness reaches up to 1. 931 Line pairs also best values. The other levels of the standard range, ISO 25. 600 and 51. 200, are also okay with slight compromises regarding soft focus. The boost levels 102. 400 and 204. 800, on the other hand, are clearly lossy. This improved image quality is made possible by the new sensor architecture. With BSI technology, Nikon relies on backlighting and two-channel signal amplification, which enables better results in low light. Overall, the D 780 a better performance by about one light value.

Furthermore, the 35mm sensor allows videos in razor-sharp UHD resolution with 30 frames per second. The Nikon reads out the entire sensor and creates wonderfully clear moving images from 6K material via supersampling. In addition, there is no other crop factor that unnecessarily cuts the focal length. Alternatively, the DX format can be switched on with 1.5 times the crop factor and with up to 60 record p. This also minimizes the slight rolling shutter effect during fast camera pans, which remains within an acceptable range. Connections for microphone and headphones, flat N-Log color profile and – for the first time in a Nikon – the HLG profile for HDR videos round off the video extras.

Nikon D 780 : The shoulder display lights up by pulling the power switch a little further. Picture: Nikon

Nikon D 780 : Always on the ball

Another important innovation concerns autofocus. The module with 51 measuring fields included 15 Cross sensors inherit from the Nikon D 780 unaffected by their predecessor. The accuracy should be thanks to 180. 00 0-pixel RGB measurement from the D 850, however, turn out to be much more precise and sensitive to contrast. The DSLR can focus on up to -6 EV from f / 2.8. In addition there are face and eye recognition in Live View mode. That all sounds promising, but in practice there are deficits.

This way the auto focus could focus faster. A 0.4 second release delay in daylight and 0.5 seconds in low light prove to be suitable for snapshots. For a camera in this class, however, we would have expected better, i.e. shorter values ​​of around 0.2 to 0.3 seconds. Automatic focusing in Live View mode could also work faster. Compared to the LV autofocus on the D 750 the time required to focus has been reduced by a good half to about 0.5 seconds. However, the D 780 far from the level of their mirrorless sister models, which only need 0.2 seconds. In addition, neither AF-C tracking nor face and eye detection always work reliably. They like to aim wrong or lose the motive. This is a shame, because after all, live view focusing offers a lot of convenience thanks to the convenient touch operation on the 3.2-inch folding display with around 2.4 million subpixels and high resolution. There are also other advantages in Live View mode.

Nikon D 750: Up to and including ISO 12. 800 convincing recordings with lots of details and little noise. However, the soft focus applies to JPEGs from around ISO 3. 200 on. (EXIF: Nikkor 70 – 200 mm f / 2.8 VR, 1 / 200 Sec., F / 2.8, ISO 3. 200) Image: Helge Roewer (

Nikon D 780 : Faster in the live view

Above all, a faster serial image recording is available in the monitor view. The speed is limited to seven frames per second when using the optical viewfinder. This should be enough for most photographers – the maximum series length of 100 RAWs or JPEGs even more so. The Live View mode even increases the pace up to twelve frames per second – even silently thanks to the electronic shutter. The only downside: For the higher speed RAWs in 12 instead of 14 Bits are recorded. This leads to losses in the very good dynamic range of about 14 Aperture levels.

Another requirement for a long series recording: In at least one of the two SD memory card slots, fast UHS-II cards . Incidentally, the practical function is available to delete RAW + JPEGs distributed on two cards at the same time – a further improvement compared to the D 750. Likewise the shorter exposure time of 1/8. 00 0 seconds and the much quieter mechanical shutter and mirror stroke.

Nikon D 780 : Connections like for USB and HDMI are on the left side. Picture: Nikon

Nikon D 780 : No lamp

On the splash-proof magnesium housing of the Nikon D 780 there are so many changes to be discovered – such as not using a flash. Most professionals should miss that less than the lack of a flash sync cable connection. If you want to control a flash system in addition to clip-on flashes, you must insert a remote release in the accessory shoe. The synchronization time is 1 / 200 second. After all, the F-bayonet the motor screw, which is used in older AF Nikkor lenses for autofocus operation needs.

Additional features include an illuminated shoulder display that shows current settings as usual – and also what storage space and battery life is available. Speaking of the battery: the runtime has improved considerably. Three bands in a row and a good first 00 0 pictures later the EN-EL reported 15 b-battery good 2/3 remaining life, as Helge reports. In the laboratory, the electricity storage reaches over 3. 400 photos and 130 UHD video minutes. These are great values, which of course depend on various factors such as the service life of the display or the radio settings. Because like since the D 500 usual, also brings the Nikon D 780 the in-house interface called SnapBridge, which uses Bluetooth and WiFi to communicate with smartphones and tablets. In the beginning SnapBridge had to struggle with many teething problems, the transmission works very well in the current version. In addition to JPEGs, RAWs and videos can also be transmitted wirelessly and the camera can be controlled remotely. The connection for a remote cable release therefore remained unused in the test.

Nikon D 780 : Thanks to the AF motor, the autofocus also works with older AF-D and Ai optics. Picture: Nikon

Nikon D 780 : Where's the joystick?

Further changes concern the arrangement of the buttons; the ISO button has moved under the shutter release and the live view button is now at the top next to the viewfinder. The optical subject finder with a pleasantly large 0.7x magnification remains just as untouched as the focus field control. So who between the 51 if you want to switch to fields that are located in a very centered position, this must be a bit spongy Use the directional pad. Other owners know that 400 er models and among them not different, but the Z-DSLMs as well as the D 850 a focus joystick that many owners quickly get used to. In addition, illuminated buttons would have been a nice thing.

But sponge over it, because the Nikon D 780 offers an excellent overall package even without these two elements, which should make professionals happy and hobby photographers even more so. And what about potential D 750 – promoters like Helge? In general, a change would come into question – if the price drops a little. For around 2. 500 Euro the innovations seem too thin to him. But the signs are favorable: At the time of testing, some retailers are already offering the housing 300 euros cheaper. If less than 2. 00 He would be 0 euros Over.

Leaderboard: The best lenses for Nikon DSLR in the test

Moritz Wanke

Moritz Wanke

Moritz Wanke is the editor-in-chief of the photo magazines CHIP FOTO-VIDEO and N-Photo. He has been enthusiastic about photography, especially in the people area, since analog times. His focus is on testing and technology of cameras and photo accessories.




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