Nikon D750? Finally, A Successor to the D700?

Nikon Rumors posted an interesting little tid-bit today, that I have to say has me quite excited. For some time now they have been reporting on the rumour that Nikon are to announce a new full frame DSLR at Photokina, but other information has been somewhat sketchy. Well, today, the site said that they’re pretty sure that the name of this mysterious new DSLR will be the D750. This little nugget sent ripples through the community of D700 lovers out there (present company included) as we’ve been waiting for a spiritual successor to the D700 ever since it was released, over 5 years ago now. (2008)

You’re probably thinking, wait, wasn’t the D800, and D810 the successor to the D700? Well, technically, yes, but for many D700 owners, the D80X (D800, D800E, D810) series was a different camera altogether targeted at a different market. The D80X cameras seem primarily aimed at the studio and landscape market, whereas the D700 was always a more general purpose camera. Then there’s the D600/D610. Apart from the infamous dust issue, the bigger problem with this camera, at least for D700 owners is that it’s not a pro body. Now, before you think that’s just us being elitist, it’s not. Nikon delineates it’s pro and consumer bodies by the layout of buttons, on camera controls and functions. Consumer bodies have one layout, and pro bodies have a different one. The D610 is lacking several controls and functions (some entirely just an arbitrary software decision - such as setting the set button to view at 1:1 on playback) , that D700 owners love and use on a regular basis. The control layout is one of the things people love about the D700.

Then there was the DF. When the viral campaign for the DF was running, some of us hoped that it would finally be the D700 replacement, if not in name, at least in spirit. It came so close. One of the things that made the D700 so popular was the fact that it was essentially a D3 in a smaller body. The DF uses the same sensor as the D4 so there’s that, but the rest of the camera is just odd. The controls are odd, and the price is odd, and well pretty much everything about it is odd. I’m sure there are lots of people out there who have a DF and love it. I almost considered one, but there were just too many weird things about how you use it. For example the fact that you have to do some finger gymnastics just to change the exposure compensation while shooting, meant that for me it just wasn’t something I would enjoy using.

As a company Nikon hasn’t been doing too well lately. Some have put this down to the company’s failure to fully embrace the mirrorless market, but I don’t know. I think it’s simpler than that. Look at the examples above. Over the past few years since the D700, Nikon has released 5 full frame DSLRs The D800, The D600, The D610 ,the D810 and the DF (not including the Pro Level D4 and D4s) and yet none of these were a real successor to one of its most successful cameras, the D700. Nikon’s full frame DSLR range has become fragmented. It’s as if they just don’t know what to do with that end of the market.

I love my D700. Despite the fact that it’s my one of my oldest and lowest megapixel cameras, it’s still my favourite to use. It’s a combination of the beautiful image files the camera generates and the almost perfect handling. There’s just something about it, and that’s why many D700 owners like myself really love the camera. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to have a higher megapixel version or one that shoots video, but none of the Nikon full frame cameras that have come a long in the mean time are my cup of tea. And while I will use my Canon 5D II whenever I need those functions, I still find myself going back to the D700. Some of my most popular and in my opinion my best photos were taken on the D700. The photos from my Paris book were all taken with the D700. I guess there’s no real rationale for it, but in my opinion it’s just a great camera. It feels like a film camera. It’s solid and a workhorse, and yet everything is intuitive, and physical. It’s hard to explain.

So hopefully the suits at Nikon have finally seen the light and decided that maybe they were on to something 4 years ago and maybe instead of going in all sorts of different directions at once, they might finally give users of one of their most popular cameras a real successor, and regain the excitement that people had for the device.

At the moment of course the D750 is just a name, and a rumour, and so we could well be disappointed, but I for one live in hope.

Or maybe that should be denial.

(Yes, this post is a bit tongue in cheek, so try and not take it too seriously! The D810 and D610 are great cameras in their own right - I’m not dissing them, and the DF, well, it’s unique anyway. ;-) )

[UPDATE] It's been released!

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