D810 or D750 for Birth Photography

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by r._bond, Oct 2, 2014.

  1. I have just started building my portfolio to get into birth photography, where obviously, there can be little to no light at times. I purchased the D810 before the announcement of the 750 was made. I really love the 810, but I'm wondering if the 750 would best fit my needs due to its high ISO capabilities and being able to focus at -3ev. I keep reading how it can practically focus in the dark and it handles high ISO beautifully. There were times at my last birth, where my D810 could not focus due to the low light and I am awful at manual focusing.
    Also, due to the high MP on the 810, I'm thinking the photos taken at high ISOs would be more noisy than if taken with the D750. Is that the case?
    I would love to hear your thoughts on the 2 cameras based on my needs. I have a short window now where I can exchange out the 810 for the 750, if I should so choose.
    Thank you so much in advance.
  2. Sounds like a job for the Df, and a 35/1.4G Nikkor.
  3. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    For birth photography, you certainly don't need 36MP. I haven't used the D750, but its AF system is only another minor improvement on the Multi-CAM 3500 AF module. Until Nikon fundamentally replaces that module to something with more cross-type AF points, I wouldn't expect any significant AF improvement over the D810, which uses the second latest incarnation of that module.
    The Df would be a step backward in terms of AF capability. Its sensor is the 2.5-year-old one from the D4; that is also getting out of date.
  4. Wait, is this for real? No disrespect intended towards the OP, but you mean people are hiring you to be in the delivery room?? Or are we talking about newborn photos?
  5. New does not automatically equal better. The Df has better low light performance than both the D750 and D810. The Df with an f1.4 AF-S Nikkor will focus in light where the photographer can't see the subject, I know, I have done that many times.
  6. Except for medical reasons, I'm not sure that 36MP is all that necessary for birth. Initial reports (at least, the few I've read) suggest that the D810 is very slightly noisier than the D800e (though it has less-optimised raw converters and appears not to clip the low end, so it's hard to see whether that's significant) and the D750 is slightly better than both; without seeing a full analysis, I'd expect them both still to lag the Df/D4/D4s and possibly D3s (or a Canon 6D), but not for there to be a huge amount in it. On a pixel level, I've no doubt that the D750 would be significantly ahead of the D810; scaled to the same image size, I'd expect the differences to be very small. In that comparison, a D800 and D610 are essentially identical, for example.

    If you feel you don't need the D810, the D750 obviously gives you a lot of money back to spend on fast glass. My feeling is that the D810 is the higher-end camera, and its disadvantages compared with the D750 are small, but if you don't need it, you don't need it. If your exchange option means you've paid D810 money for a D750, I'd probably stay with the D810; if you get money back (or the ability to buy some more glass, or flash, or reflectors) then I can see why you'd consider that.

    Is the "low light" thing just a matter of not disturbing the situation? Daft question: if you're right up against the limits of sensor technology (and all these cameras are pretty close to theoretical limits in terms of performance), how would you feel about shooting in infrared? If you were to convert a camera, you could apply some near infrared lights without disturbing anyone, maybe even as a strobe. The D70 is known to adapt to IR easily - I'm not sure about, say, a D5300, but it might be worth considering (if you want to keep a colour FX body).
  7. Shun, so the AF system on the 750 is just a touch better than the 810? What about noise capabilities? Would the 750 be much better at handling high noise than the 810? Grain is a part of birth photography as many births happen in dark rooms, but I would want the least grain possible. I'm not a fan of noise.
    Yes, Chip. This is very real. Look up birth photography. You will see some amazing photographs. and Moms love them.
  8. Oh, and I didn't buy the 810 necessarily for the 36 mp. At the time I purchased it, the 750 wasn't out yet and I do not like the clustered focus points of the 610. The D4s is way out of my budget, so that isn't an option.
    Besides birth photography, I mainly shoot children, so a fast AF system is needed.
  9. R.Bond - you're right - Google images pulls up some great images. I thought maybe hospitals would be uncomfortable with non-family in the delivery room, but I guess why not? Talk about a close professional relationship ;)
  10. Dan, WRT the Df's AF ability, DPREVIEW has this to say -
    "The biggest problem isn't the limited coverage of the focus system - it's its effectiveness in low light. Although rated down to -1EV, the performance of the Df's focus drops off significantly at even moderate indoor lighting levels. Even at an illumination level of around 4.5EV, we've found the camera has to 'hunt' to find focus, and the only reliable way of getting a shot was to use the central focus point to focus-and-recompose from a high-contrast point."
    So why would they write that?
    Nikon's own specifications only rate the Df's AF detection range at -1 to 19 EV, while the specs for the D810 and D750 are -2 to 19 EV, and -3 to 19 EV respectively.
  11. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I had an opportunity to test the D810's high-ISO capability. IMO it shows no improvement over the D800E that I have in a side-by-side comparison. The Df maybe half a stop better after you down sample the 36MP image from the D800 to 16MP for a fair comparison. The one Nikon DSLR that is clearly better than all of those is the D4S (with the S, not the original D4); that explains why Nikon rates the D4S to ISO 25600.
    If your objective is to shoot at high ISO, e.g. 3200 and higher, IMO getting a D800 or D810 is a waste of money. The way to take full advantage of 36MP is to use them at ISO 100 (or 64 for the D810) or at most 200 to 400 on a tripod. Once you reach ISO 3200, 6400, the noise smears the image so much that 36MP is meaningless; all you get are huge image files that take up a lot of space on your memory cards and hard drives (as well as in the cloud).
    A few people have used both the D810 and D750, such as Ellis. Since I haven't used a D750, I'll leave that to those who have actual experience with the D750. There are a few early reviews for the D750. It seems to get high praises. However, I classify it a D600/D7000 type camera with similar controls as them. The D300/D700/D800/D810 have higher-end controls and features, such as the 10-pin connector.
  12. The D750 has Nikon's newest AF module which is more sensitive in low light that it's predecessor in the D810 and D4s. This may be a consideration, but I would think having the camera as quiet as possible is more important, and the D810 is perhaps Nikon's quietest FX DSLR. The D810 has slightly better SNR than D800 or D800E according to DXOMark's measurements, but the differences here are subtle. There isn't all that much data on the D750's sensor performance or real world use for that matter. An advantage it has is the tilt screen which might help you get better angles in tight spaces. Other than that I would stick to what you already have i.e. the D810. By the way I don't find the differences between the various implementations of 3500 sensor AF modules in Nikons to be at all subtle. But the fact that Nikon didn't put the D750's AF system into the D810 suggests to me that they wanted something that is well tested and accurate for the D810, which it turned out to be at least in my camera. The D750 may have gotten the new module so that users can report feedback on it before it gets to the professional models.
    Anyway, I would go with what you already have. For lenses, I think 50/1.4, 20/1.8, 28/1.8 could be very useful.
  13. For the work you are doing, you might consider using an SU-800 flash commander (without commanding any flash units) to provide a very effective focus assist lamp. Unlike the white assist lamp in many Nikon bodies, the one on the SU-800 (and NIkon flashes) is barely visible. Here is a thread in which I asked about this, before purchasing an SU-800. Lorne Sunley's reply in that thread was particularly helpful.
  14. Keep what you have. I doubt that AF or MP issues are going to make any real difference to these kinds of shots. It's not like one gives birth in the dark, and babies don't do a lot of running around.
  15. So, besides the 36 mp, what would the advantages be of having the d810 over the 750 for birth and children photography? I'm still on the
    return window for the 810.
  16. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    So, besides the 36 mp, what would the advantages be of having the d810 over the 750 for birth and children photography?​
    First of all, while I have photographed quite a few children, I have no experience with birth photography.
    In my opinion, the D810 has essentially no advantage over the D750 for that type of photography. The D810 does have a quieter shutter/mirror, but children are usually not quiet and I can't imagine that it is all that silent inside a delivery room. The D810 has a shutter that is rated to 200K actuations while the D750 is 150K. The D810 has slightly faster flash sync (1/250 vs. 1/200 sec).
    And if anything, 36MP is a disadvantage because you'll have some huge image files. However, 24MP will give you about 2/3 of the image file size; those files aren't exactly small, either.
    I think the real question is how many actuations you already have on that D810 and whether you can still get a full refund to get the D750, which is $1000 cheaper. Whether that is the ethical thing to do is up to you to decide.
  17. Thanks Shun. I've only had the 810 for about a week and shot one birth with it. Ive contacted the store I purchased it
    from and they have no problem exchanging it for a 750.
    I appreciate everyone's inpitvand suggestions.
  18. Moose Peterson had a comment on his blog yesterday regarding the shutter noise of the D750.
    In his words: "... but the shutter when you fire the camera sounds like an old carousel projector with a slide jammed in the gate. It just isnโ€™t sexy sounding."
    This might be an issue for you in the delivery room. The D810 on the other hand has probably of one of the quietest DSLR shutter.
    Regarding the 36 mp, they can be helpful if you crop a lot. I assume you work in tight corners and that finding the optimal shooting position might not always be easy.
    As others have mentioned a fast lens would be a great help. I would choose a fast (1.4 or 1.8) lens over the convenience of a zoom. First because it would help AF, and second because it would allow me to throw the scatter of a busy environment out of focus.
  19. I doubt that you will find any real noticeable difference in AF between the two (D750 and D810), and if anything, the D810 may have slightly better high ISO performance (perhaps) due to downsampling. I think it would be difficult to see any real difference unless you printed a 6' poster and were looking at it from 12" away.
    I would keep the D810.
  20. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    To the OP, I wonder what lenses you were using with the D810. For birth, I would guess something like the 85mm/f1.8 AF-S or 50mm/f1.4 or f1.8 AF-S would do a great job. Regardless of whether you end up with the D810 or D750, make sure that you use the center three columns of cross-type AF points (3x5 = 15 cross type, when the camera is in the horizontal orientation). Those with an f1.8, f1.4 lens should give you the best results under dim light.
    On the D600 the OP had before or the Df, it would be the center 3x3 matrix of 9 cross-type AF points.
    Except for medical reasons, I'm not sure that 36MP is all that necessary for birth.​
    What medical reason are we talking about? NAS? :)
    P.S. I have heard that some people would video record the birth. I am not sure why and whom those parents are going to watch the footage with. The whole idea is unusual to me.
  21. << I am not sure why and whom those parents are going to watch the footage with. The whole idea is unusual to me.>>
    Kind of has me going "huh?" too. My wife wouldn't let even me take a photo of her with either of our kids until a couple of hours later when she could recompose herself, so to speak. Anyway, thanks for not making me feel like the only "antique" on the forum. ;-)
    Kent in SD
  22. I think birth photography might be a relatively new thing :)
    I started with the Sigma 35 1.4 but switched to my Tamron 24-70 when I noticed the 35 was front focusing (had to fine tune later). I have the 50 1.4 and 85 1.8, but I needed wider than those.
  23. Sounds like a job for the Sony A7S, low light king;) Its "only" 12 mp, but how big do you need. An easy camera to hand hold and get a decent shutter speed due to its astounding low light capability. Photographers like Canadian Ted Grant have done it with Leica film cameras for years, working right in the operating room. I think quietness is a requirement as well, no? Or not so much? Do you really want to shoot the 800/810 in really low light with probably a relatively low shutter speed?
  24. just get a used d3s. havent experienced front-focus with my sigma 35/1.4 with that,
  25. I sincerely doubt there will be a big difference between the D810 and the D750 in real life results. For sure there are differences, but I wonder if "birth photography" really need the advantage of one over another.
    If there isn`t enough light to use the AF on a D810, I wonder about the benefit of having one stop higher sensibility, and if you`ll really notice it.
    And, maybe it`s only me, but for professional portraiture I see on the huge image size of the D810 an advantage. Not needed of course for most of my work, but good for post processing, to make big enlargements, etc. (well, I can say I have done a lot of "birth photography", -actually, baby photos-, with a D200, D300 and D700, and why not, many of them done in film!, most of the times with a 105/2.8 macro, and a 24/2.8 as well).
    As many times cameras are not dedicated to only one specific kind of photography but for versatility, I`d think on all parameters, not only noise or one more EV in the AF. I understand "birth photography " is not limited to "surgery room" photos. Don`t get fooled by NAS.
    BTW, "birth photography" or baby photography is not new, for sure many of us know Anne Geddes`calendars (amongst others). She use medium format cameras.
  26. I know some may take offense to this, but perhaps your extreme low light focus issues are lens related - just curious, have you tested your AF with your Nikon lenses vs your Sigma and Tamron? Based on my experience with my D3 (which has 'lesser' AF abilities than Nikon's newest) and fast aperture Nikon lenses, I have no problem obtaining accurate AF even in near total darkness with my Nikon D3 and my Nikon lenses - I have no third party lenses to compare with, but ultimately it appears there are differences and there could even possibly be some incompatibilities.
  27. Additionally, if you are having trouble obtaining AF in extremely low light, it makes more sense to use a fast aperture prime (f1.4/f1.8) rather than a zoom which is f2.8.
  28. << it makes more sense to use a fast aperture prime (f1.4/f1.8) rather than a zoom which is f2.8.>>
    I've heard that anything brighter than f2.8 really doesn't help with modern AF systems. Anyone else heard that?
    Kent in SD
  29. So, you are thinking the Sigma and Tamron lenses might be the issue? I've heard nothing but good things about these 2 lenses, but maybe that could be the case here.
  30. I don't know but it is certainly worth some testing on your end. All I can tell you is that any of Nikon's recent higher end bodies that have the Multicam 3500 AF module should AF in near total darkness with a fast aperture lens.
  31. When people rave about lenses it usually mean the lenses offer a good balance between sharpness and price. What we are talking here is available light for the camera AF system to work with.
    I would really recommend the Nikon 35mm f/1.8 and 28mm f/1.8. For their price they are terrific. The new Nikon 20mm f/1.8 is getting for great feedback too but that might be too wide for your needs. And of course if your budget allows you have the f/1.4 series (35mm and 24mm).
    Over brands may also have offerings in this range but I am not familiar with them.
    Keep in mind that a f/1.8 lens gathers 2.5 times more light than a f/2.8 zoom, and a f/1.4 four times as much.
  32. I have the sigma 35 1.4, the nikon 50 1.4g and 85 1.8g as well.
  33. Would shutter noise really be an issue? My wife was by far the noisiest thing in the delivery room when our daughter was born!
    I didn't take any photos, I was far too distracted to even think of using a camera, and anyway I'm sure my hands would have been shaking too much to get even a halfway sharp picture.
  34. R.J. The OP's application is perfect for center point focus and recompose type of photography, which is what I use 95% of the time. No need for focus tracking and all that, as the babies don't shoot out that fast (been through two of these), LOL. The Df will work fine, and in a pinch he could grab the manual focus ring and twist.
  35. Imaging Resource just added the D750 to their Comparometer and as expectded, IQ is basically the same as the D810 although at high ISOs, I think the D810 has a slight advantage but I doubt it would be visible in typically sized prints.
  36. I've heard that anything brighter than f2.8 really doesn't help with modern AF systems. Anyone else heard that?
    any of Nikon's recent higher end bodies that have the Multicam 3500 AF module should AF in near total darkness with a fast aperture lens.​
    ironically, i've had the opposite thing happen: not being able to achieve consistent focus with nikon OEM 24-70 and 70-200 lenses, in dimly-lit situations where my sigma 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm f/1.4 lenses do a better job. i recently shot a two-night run by alternative jazz singer Jose James. the first night, i used the sigma 35 and 85. the second night, i used the 70-200. all with a D3s, which has the multi-cam 3500 AF system. my non-scientific field test achieved more consistent results with the sigma glass shooting from f/2-2.2 than the nikon glass at 2.8-3.2, although the stage lighting and angle of shooting varied (which is why the test is non-scientific). i've also shot extensively with my sigma 50/1.4 in those situations, usually at f/2-2.2, and never had the focus issues i did with the nikon zooms.
  37. to answer the OP's question, though, i'm not sure i would swap out the 810 for the 750, based on one intended use. there are so many other variables besides body and lens choice that i would try to tweak settings and eliminate any possibility of user error before making such a drastic move. you could also try shooting the 810 at a smaller resolution and see if that has any effect on hi-ISO capabilities. also, no guarantee the 750 will be better at high-ISO; if you want a dedicated hi-ISO machine with the better AF module, D3s, D4, and D4s are the way to go.
  38. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I'll point this out again: the primary and probably the only reason to return the D810 for a D750 in the OP's case is to save $1000. While the D750's AF system is rated a bit higher for low-light situations, I seriously doubt that it is going to make any significant difference. Additionally, I don't think any hospital room is going to be that dark. The doctors and nurses need sufficient illumination to do their job. As long as the OP uses f1.4, f1.8 lenses with modern DSLRs, it should be fine. If there are still issues, I would look into technique and AF fine tune.
    BTW, it was in the late 1990's when I heard that some people would video tape (or in these days video record, as no tape is involved any more) births. Therefore, it is not all that new a concept, but I still think that it is weird today as it was in the last century. And I doubt that anybody will make huge prints from those occasions from 36MP DSLRs and hang them in their living room.
  39. You would be surprised at how dark it can be in the delivery room. Some moms want it pretty dim at times. I'm not just shooting the
    actual birth but the moments leading it to it at times. I've got to tell the story of the labor.

    In sure both cameras are perfectly capable for this style of photography. I also shoot families and children, both indoor lifestyle shoots
    and outside with lots of light. Again, both cameras would do a perfect job. However, im just trying to find out if there is any advantage of
    having the d810 over the 750? each canera is capable of big prints and shooting in low light.
  40. im just trying to find out if there is any advantage of having the d810 over the 750? each canera is capable of big prints and shooting in low light.​
    the 810's shutter is rated to 200k and has more full-featured video (although not the tilt-screen LCD). plus higher resolution. if those features dont add up to $1000 to you, then by all means get a d750 and put the extra cash toward a 20/1.8.
  41. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    the 810's shutter is rated to 200k and has more full-featured video​
    What exactly is this "more full-featured video" the D810 has over the D750?
  42. What exactly is this "more full-featured video" the D810 has over the D750?​
    ha, i take that back. looks like the features are exactly the same, except the 810 can do video ISO down to 64 instead of 200. in that case, i would probably go for the tilt-screen option.
  43. Well. I`m so used to the AF-ON button. The D750 lacks it.
    (But on the other hand, the D750 is a noticeable smaller body, something I have always missed on my digital DSLRs). Again, I`d check all the features, to see if there is another thing I could miss on the D750. Read both user`s manuals. If after that, both cameras are right for you, ok, trade it and save $1000.
    About the light, we`re talking about photography, isn`t it? I don`t see too much sense asking for dim light where there is a photographer trying to make photos. If the mom doesn`t want light, you`ll need 1. to shoot IR, or 2. to leave it for another day... :)
    I see far more work in the "normal" photography or portraiture after the birth. A couple photos with some blood or grease woluld be nice for some, but as Shun says, I wonder how many people will want it larger than 4x6". What for sure will be demanded is a nice, bright, big, colourful image of a recovered mom with a rosy (not yellowish) baby in her arms.
  44. You can program another button to do AF-ON and one of them is the AE-L/AF-L button. The AE-L or AF-L/AE-L function can be moved to e.g.the preview button, and so you can access both controls independently and at the same time, which you cannot easily do if they are side by side (without setting the AF-L to hold which is a great way to forget it locked). Note that even the D4s doesn't have two buttons in that area - it just has one, labeled AF-ON (but no doubt it too can be reprogrammed to do other things). I just don't see why this is an issue that is frequently brought up.
  45. i use my cameras for just taking pictures not video, do video specs won't help me make a decision. I guess I need to find someone who
    has used both and can compare how the 2 cameras handle noise at ISO 1600-4000 or so, if the 750 layout is bothersome, how loud the
    750 shutter is, and if the 750 is really faster for xhildren photography in practice. I've been reading how the 750 has a smaller buffer and
    even though it has more fps, the buffer fills up faster and can lag.

    Honestly, I think my best bet is to rent the 750 and just hold it in my hands and compare them. No local shops carry the 750 unfortunately
    so I'm not sure spending $200 just to rent for a few days is a smart decision or not.
  46. Just curious - what camera did you use before you bought the d810?
  47. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Just curious - what camera did you use before you bought the d810?​

    The OP had a D7000 and then a D600, which she had problems with focusing: http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00c3Jd
    The D750 is essentially a D600/D610 with an improved AF module + articulated LCD and a few technological updates. The controls are very similar to those on the D600 and D7000.
    What surprised me a bit is that Nikon introduced the D810 (June) and then D750 (September) is fairly quick succession. The D750 is now taking some market share from the still very new D810, which is the topic in this discussion. I thought an update to the DX-format D7100 would have been more suitable for Photokina. Back in 2012, the D800 and D600 were separated by more than half a year.
  48. The D750 is now taking some market share from the still very new D810, which is the topic in this discussion. I thought an update to the DX-format D7100 would have been more suitable for Photokina. Back in 2012, the D800 and D600 were separated by more than half a year.​
    the 810 is an update of the 800 which addresses some of the issues with it. the 750 addresses some of the issues with the 600/610, namely that the d7100, which is less expensive, had a better AF system. Photokina would have been a great time for Nikon to introduce a d300s follow-up and some new high-end DX lenses. Obviously, that didn't happen. Meanwhile, Samsung and Fuji have poised themselves to take advantage of the missing high-end DX gap with both bodies and lenses.

    Nikon is in an interesting position currently with their FX lineup: the 750 introduction shows that the midrange FX model slot is important to them, to the point where they are willing to risk losing 810 sales. obviously, a lower-priced camera has the potential to sell in higher volumes than a $3000 model. they are also addressing the fact that 36mp is overkill for some applications. the d750 is more "pro" than the 600/610, but still has 1/200 x-sync, which is puzzling at that price point.

    the OP's situation points out the need for a high-ISO body with the best AF module, which unfortunately, the Df wasn't -- which means you're either looking at a used D3s or a d4/d4s -- the latter two are priced out of reach for most folks, unfortunately. i'd still like to see the D4 sensor in a smaller body, at a price point in-between the 750 and 600. but i'm not sure that Nikon is listening to me.
  49. I think Nikon is not too concerned about losing high end camera sales in this case of the FX market; they just want to get a good market share in FX and approach this by giving users options in terms of feature sets, body sizes, control layouts etc. Even if the camera people buy (i.e. D750) is less expensive than the top model, they'll still want to buy lenses, and
    they might even spend the difference between D810 and D750 prices in lenses. Anyway the D810 has 1/250s sync, can
    do 25MP at 6fps with much larger buffer than the D750, the D810 is quieter, higher resolution, has EFCS, and so on. There are enough
    differences so that enough people will buy the D810. In any case the D800/E already sold very well so Nikon is probably not worried about that. The D750 may have been accelerated in development to have something new at Photokina that has wide appeal.

    With respect to DX, Nikon did introduce the 20/1.8 which is lightweight enough for use as a DX wide angle for
    documentary photography, travel, family photography. And it doesn't lock doors from the photographer going to FX in the
    future, or using both. On FX it plays a different role (architecture, landscape, environmental portrait with effect). So, both systems are improving from the point of view of lens options that users have. The D7000
    was introduced in 2010, the D7100 in 2013, so if this is the interval of updates, then the D7200 should come out in
    summer 2015. Maybe a D400 along with the D5 with a new high speed processing architecture by the end of 2015.
  50. I have decided to rent the 750 this weekend to help make my decision
  51. As I understand it, my dad took slides, with flash, when I was born. My mom threw them away, not so many years later.
    You do mean pictures of babies actually being born, right?
  52. Yes actually being born. During labor, birth, and after.

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