Nikon Announces the D780: A DSLR Body With Mirrorless Features

Nikon Announces the D780: A DSLR Body With Mirrorless Features

Nikon wants to proof us that DSLR isn’t dead yet. Today, the company announced the release date for its new D780 full frame camera as well as the technical specs.

D780 in Stores by the End of January

More than five years after its announcement, the Nikon D750 is about to be replaced. Nikon’s new 24.5 MP, FX-Format camera Nikon D780 succeeds one of its most popular full-frame cameras at a time where the future of DSLR is uncertain. On this basis, Nikon introduces a DSLR with features and benefits that were only available for its Z-Series before. The camera will be available by the end of the month.

The new Nikon D780 will be in stores, soon.

Nikon D780: A Camera Body, We’re Used to

Nikon’s new D780 looks a lot like its predecessor. If you want to update your D750, you will quickly adapt to the new model. As it has been the concept of the D750, the D780 combines a smaller body with the technology of the Nikon flagship cameras. The Nikon D780 still offers a 24MP sensor with a 51-point AF system. Nothing really new here. Also, the body is still constructed as a durable all-rounder with a solid grip.

Improvements of the Nikon D780

The Nikon D780 still offers 24.5MP, but now utilizes a backside illumination sensor and state-of-the-art technology. Taking a closer look, we find major improvements, which the D780 gained from Nikon’s high-performance cameras. The AF algorithm comes from the flagship DSLR D5 and offers an advanced detection and tracking performance while shooting through your viewfinder. In live view, Nikon used its experience from the mirrorless Z-series to equip the D780 with a hybrid AF system, which covers about 90% of the frame. This combination of a focal plane phase detection AF and contrast-detect AF offers 273 focal points. For the first time, we also find eye-detection technology in a Nikon DSLR.

Finally, the Nikon D780 also offers 4K video at 30 fps and even 120 fps in full HD. Video enthusiasts can even create HDR videos through the 10-bit HDMI output and the hybrid log-gamma standard.

Aditionally to the live view features, the Nikon D780 also offers a touch display

Shooting Faster and Silent With the Nikon D780

Thanks to Nikon’s experience in the mirrorless segment, you can now shoot silently in live view, using the electronic shutter. Continuous shooting will be possible up to about 7 fps through the viewfinder and even 12 fps in live view. While the D750 couldn’t hold its pace for too long, the D780 got an improved buffer which makes continuous shooting possible for up to approximately 68 frames with a single burst. Shutter speeds now range from 1/8000s to 900s.

The Nikon D780 features two SD-card slots and an improved buffer

Key Improvements of the Nikon D780

  • 24.5MP backside illumination CMOS sensor
  • Hybrid AF system automatically switches between focal plane Phase Detect AF and Contrast Detect AF
  • ISO 50 to ISO 51200 with improved noise reduction
  • 4K UHD video with up to 30 fps / Full-HD video with up to 120 fps
  • Shutter speed from 1/8000s to 900s
  • 12 fps continuous shooting in live view / 7 fps continuous shooting through viewfinder
  • 3.2" 2.35m-dot tilting touchscreen
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • Dual SD memory supporting UHS-II standard

Whom Does the Nikon D780 Address?

The Nikon D780 is a camera for all those photographers who don’t want to give modern developments a miss, while still using an advanced DSLR. Especially those photographers who love their D750, will find a modern update in a practice-proven camera body. The improved AF-features as well as the 4K video abilities will make Nikon DSLR lover’s hearts leap for joy.

You can preorder the Nikon D780 here.

Nils Heininger's picture

Nils Heininger is a photographer on the road. He loves long rides on motorbikes, camels and old trains. While discovering the world, he uses his camera to share stories from people across the globe. With a Micro-four thirds in his pocket and a full-frame in his bag, he's always ready for new adventures.

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The Nikon D6 will also have the same sensor as the Z6/D780 and even slightly better performance overall with its more processing power. It will also have IBIS at least in LiveView mode, but as far as I know the IBIS does not work during OVF operation. Either way the D6 will be freaking amazing and it will be by far the greatest DSLR ever made and with its mirrorless like options and abilities, make people like myself never want or need to switch to mirrorless. I've been so excited to upgrade one of Nikon D4s bodies and skipped the D5 because of the poor dynamic range and not much better high ISO over the D4s. However the D6 will have about 14.5 stops of dynamic range and excellent low light AF and low light High ISO ability. It's even better than the Z6 thanks to the processing power and SNR/AD converters Nikon has developed for the D6. The AF is not much better in OVF mode over the already excellent D5, however the AF in video is light years ahead of the D5.

'... it will be by far the greatest DSLR ever made...' Oh boy, ever other manufacturer should just close up shop now. It will be a great relief to only have one manufacturer (SoNikon). LOL!

Sounds like a great camera. I have the D750 and Z6 today. The D780 looks like a very good upgrade for my D750, but since I have the Z6 to cover video I'll probably wait a bit. Currently around 90 000 actuations, so I'm hoping my D750 will live a bit longer. It's been a fantastic camera.

The only thing I can't understand is the lack of contacts for vertical grip. Surely the cost of this can't be much? I can only think of weather sealing as the reason to remove it, but as the D850 has it (and presumably has better weather sealing), that doesn't make too much sense either. Personally I don't need the vertical grip, but for time lapses I find the grip very useful and having to remove the battery door to attach it seems cumbersome (assuming there will be a solution similar to the Z6/Z7).

It’s not enough of an upgrade for me to buy it at $2,800.

Oops. It’s $2,300 body only. That is tempting.

Haha! You just mentally put it on sale for yourself!

"Nikon wants to proof us that DSLR isn’t dead yet."

I suppose you meant prove to us, regardless, the DSLR is already dead, you're just seeing products that were already in a production gestation period finally coming to market. Same for any F lenses you may see come out, as well as Canon DSLRs and their EOS lenses.

It's over.

...aaaand no connector pins for a battery grip.

Apart from pissing off portrait photographers (like me), it makes absolutely no sense to create a camera that sees almost all improvements in the video department and then remove the one option that is really, REALLY needed when shooting video: Extra battery power.

I've been a very happy Nikon shooter for years, but now I honestly don't know anymore.

Nikon is making one stupid design decision after another, removing feature after feature from new models compared to the ones they are replacing (dual card slots in D7500 and the Z-series, grip connectors in the D7500, D780 and the Z-series, built-in flash commander in the D780, the D850 and the Z-series) - it just doesn't make sense to me. Why do Nikon expect you to upgrade your existing camera and get fewer features than you have now?

If I upgrade my old D610 to ANY of the newer models from Nikon, I will as a minimum lose the built-in flash commander, and if I upgrade to anything except the D850 I will also lose the battery grip. Yes, I will gain a lot of video features, but how happy will I be with those if battery life sucks?

Yes, I'm frustrated. If my D610 dies tomorrow, there is no clear upgrade path for me except the D850, which is a nice but also very expensive camera that I really can't afford nor need. As a Nikon user, that is a shitty spot to be in.

Don't worry, third-parties will make one.

Without the connector pins they really can't.

Yes, you can buy a grip for the D7500 with a cable connector that provides a simple shutter release, but that's it - any change in settings will have to be done with the controls on the camera. No moving AF points, changing aperture or shutter speed.

ill take a battery pack to hold 2 batteries like that ugly z pack. otherwise im out. but im anxious to know soon as I need a video camera and if not will simply buy 2 sony a7III and be done with it.

oohhhh i might have to sell my d800's for this. This is the DSLR I have been wanting for about 5 years now. The biggest reason I didn't get a d750 was the 1/4000 max Shutter Speed.