We just started testing cameras, and our test bench v0.7 is rather simplistic, so we decided to launch without text in the test boxes. If you have any suggestions on what to improve, let us know here. As we gather your suggestions, we plan on making more frequent changes to our methodology and we'll be able to add text to the reviews in the near future.

Nikon D780 Camera Review

Tested using Methodology v0.7
Reviewed Mar 10, 2021 at 09:34 am
Nikon D780 Picture
7.8
Travel Photography
8.0
Landscape Photography
8.1
Sport & Wildlife Photography
5.2
Vlogging
7.9
Studio Video
5.0
Action Video
Body Type
DSLR
Mirrorless
No
Sensor Size
Full Frame
Tested Lens
Nikkor 24-120mm f/4G ED VR

The Nikon D780 is a versatile full-frame DSLR camera. It offers excellent overall image quality, exceptional autofocus performance in photography, and has a comfortable-to-use, sturdy design. It's also capable of recording 4k video at up to 30 fps without a crop and features a very good video autofocus performance, along with a full complement of inputs and outputs for videography accessories. Be aware, however, that this is a very bulky and heavy camera, even without its kit lens attached.

Our Verdict

7.8 Travel Photography

The Nikon D780 is very good for travel photography. Despite its bulky size and heavy weight, it's comfortable to operate. It delivers amazing overall image quality, with a broad dynamic range and good noise handling capability even at high ISO levels, which is great for nighttime photography. Its wide shutter speed range allows you to capture still frames of fast-moving subjects or take long-exposure photos, while its autofocus system delivers quick, consistent, and reliable performance. Also, it should have enough battery life to get you through a whole day of use, depending on your settings.

Pros
  • Excellent image quality.
  • Superb autofocus performance on photography.
  • Long battery life.
  • Sturdy-feeling weather-sealed construction.
Cons
  • Very bulky and heavy design.
8.0 Landscape Photography

The Nikon D780 is impressively well-suited for landscape photography. Image quality is excellent, with a broad dynamic range and low levels of graininess as you step up camera ISO, so shooting in dark environments shouldn't be too big of an issue. Its kit lens features a fixed maximum aperture, which provides you with a bit of added flexibility for your exposure settings, even as you tighten your zoom. It also feels very well-built, as it has a sturdy construction that's rated as being weather-sealed, though we don't currently test for that. Its tilting screen is bright enough to be legible even under direct sunlight. Unfortunately, while it's comfortable to hold, it's very bulky, which can make it a hassle to bring to remote shooting locations.

Pros
  • Excellent image quality.
  • Long battery life.
  • Sturdy-feeling weather-sealed construction.
  • Tilting screen is bright.
Cons
  • Very bulky and heavy design.
8.1 Sport & Wildlife Photography

The Nikon D780 is a great option for sports and wildlife photography. While its maximum continuous shooting speed with its mechanical shutter isn't especially quick, its extremely fast maximum shutter speed and quick, reliable, and consistent autofocus system make it relatively simple to capture still images of fast-moving subjects. Also, its extremely short buffer clearing time should allow you to fire off long continuous bursts without extended interruptions. Image quality is also excellent overall, and the camera feels comfortable to use and very sturdy.

Pros
  • Excellent image quality.
  • Superb autofocus performance on photography.
  • Long battery life.
  • High maximum shutter speed.
  • Short photo buffer clearing time.
Cons
  • Very bulky and heavy design.
5.2 Vlogging

The Nikon D780 is poor for vlogging, though this isn't its intended use. It's very big and bulky, making it a challenge to carry around for extended periods. The screen also only tilts and doesn't rotate, so you can't see what's being displayed when the camera is pointing at you. It also does a middling job of smoothing out camera shake in 4k, though it performs better in this regard while shooting handheld FHD video. That said, video quality in 4k and FHD is good overall, recording in 4k doesn't incur a crop, and its autofocus system does a good job of maintaining focus on faces.

Pros
  • Good overall recording quality.
  • Can shoot in 4k without a crop.
Cons
  • Poor video stabilization performance in 4k.
  • Very bulky and heavy design.
  • Screen only tilts and doesn't fully rotate.
7.9 Studio Video

The Nikon D780 is very good for studio video work. Video quality in both FHD and 4k is good, with sharply rendered object contours and surfaces and fairly low levels of noise even in dark environments. It features a wide selection of ports and inputs for videography accessories, with microphone and headphone jacks and a clean HDMI output for using an external recorder without any overlays. Its N-Log shooting mode also helps preserve the camera's high dynamic range while recording and allows for in-depth color grading in post-production, though we don't currently test that function. Its autofocus system does a good job of acquiring and maintaining focus on moving objects and faces.

Pros
  • Long battery life.
  • Good overall recording quality.
  • Can shoot in 4k without a crop.
  • Wide selection of inputs and outputs.
  • Easy to use menu system.
Cons
  • Incapable of shooting 4k video at more than 30 fps.
5.0 Action Video

The Nikon D780 isn't designed for action video. It's far too big for mounting on a chest or helmet rig. Its video stabilization performance in 4k is sub-par, but it performs decently well while shooting FHD footage. It's incapable of shooting 4k video at more than 30 fps, but it does support 120 fps recording in FHD, which is great for smooth action videos or generating slow-motion clips. It also feels quite well-built and is rated as being weather-sealed, though we don't currently test for that.

Pros
  • Good overall recording quality.
  • Can shoot in 4k without a crop.
Cons
  • Poor video stabilization performance in 4k.
  • Incapable of shooting 4k video at more than 30 fps.
  • Very bulky and heavy design.
  • 7.8 Travel Photography
  • 8.0 Landscape Photography
  • 8.1 Sport & Wildlife Photography
  • 5.2 Vlogging
  • 7.9 Studio Video
  • 5.0 Action Video

Check Price

Black (Body Only)
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com
Black W/ 24-120mm f/4G ED VR Lens
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
1.4
Design
Portability
Height 4.6" (11.6 cm)
Width 5.7" (14.6 cm)
Depth 3.5" (8.8 cm)
Volume
90.9 in³ (1490.4 cm³)
Weight
1.85 lbs (0.84 kg)
Weight With Lens
3.40 lbs (1.54 kg)
8.5
Design
Build Quality

  • Body is made of magnesium alloy and carbon fiber
  • Dials and buttons are sturdy and offer decent physical feedback
  • SD card compartment covered by a solid hinged door
  • Tilting screen mechanism feels solid
  • Inputs and outputs are covered by rubber flaps

Design
Body
Water Resistance
Weather-Sealed
Rugged
No
Hot Shoe
Yes
Customizable Button
Yes
Command Dial
2
Tripod Mount
Yes
Lens Mount
F Mount
Built-In Flash
No
Design
In The Box

  • Nikon D780 camera body
  • Nikkor 24-120mm f/4G ED VR lens
  • Lens cap
  • Lens cover
  • Lens bag
  • Lens hood
  • AC cable
  • Battery charger
  • Nikon EN-EL15b battery
  • Sensor cap
  • Shoulder strap
  • USB-C to USB-A cable
  • Plastic clip
  • User manual

8.0
Design
Ergonomics & Comfort
Hand Grip: Small Hand
Yes
Hand Grip: Medium Hand
Yes
Hand Grip: Large Hand
Yes
Hand Grip: Extra-Large Hand
Yes

  • Plenty of room for a wide variety of hand sizes, so fingers shouldn't get pinched between the body and lens
  • Rubber eyecup is comfortable
  • Easy to shoot with left or right eye against viewfinder thanks to dedicated exposure controls
  • Large rubberized backrest
  • Camera is heavy and can be cumbersome to carry around

9.0
Design
Menu System
Guide Mode
Yes
App Name
Nikon SnapBridge

  • Menu system is intuitive and can be navigated via touchscreen inputs or with physical controls
  • Shortcut/quick settings menu lets you access frequently used functions
  • Guide mode provides a brief explanation of some functions and features
  • Some functions are hard to find, like video assistants and focus assist

Design
Viewfinder
Type
Optical
Advertised Coverage
100 %
Advertised Resolution
N/A
Advertised Magnification
0.7
8.0
Design
Screen
Screen Articulation Type
Tilting
Screen Max Brightness
945 cd/m²
Advertised Resolution
2.359 million dots
Size
3.2" (8.1 cm)
Touchscreen
Yes
Design
Sensor
Sensor Type
CMOS
Advertised Effective Pixels
24.5 MP
Processor
EXPEED 6
Extended ISO Minimum
50
ISO Minimum
100
ISO Maximum
51200
Tested Firmware
1.01
8.8
Design
Battery
Battery Type
Nikon EN-EL15b
USB Charging
Yes
Use When Charging
Yes
Advertised Battery Life In Photo
2260 photos
Tested Battery Life In Video
95 min
6.6
Design
Lens
Lens Type
Interchangeable
Maximum Aperture
4.0
Max Aperture (Full Frame Equivalent)
f/4.0
Minimum Focal Length
24 mm
Maximum Focal Length
120 mm
Max Focal Length (Full Frame Equivalent)
120 mm
Luminance
81 %
Light Falloff
39.2 %
Photo
Photo
Photo Features
JPEG File Format
Yes
RAW File Format
NEF
Shutter
Electronic and Mechanical
Minimum Shutter Speed
30 s
Maximum Shutter Speed
1/8000 s
Silent Shooting
Yes
HDR
Yes
Focus Peaking
Yes
Zebra Pattern
Yes
Histogram
Yes
Time Lapse
Yes
6.8
Photo
Shooting Speed
Low Speed Continuous
4 fps
High Speed Continuous
8 fps
Silent Shooting Continuous
4 fps
Raw Buffer Size
44 RAW Photos
JPEG Buffer Size
10000 JPG Photos
Buffer Empty Time
0 s
9.2
Photo
Autofocus
Advertised Coverage
N/A
Advertised Focus Points
51
Manual Focus Assistance
Yes
Face Detection Distance
102" (260 cm)
Eye Detection
Yes
Face Tracking Success Rate
73.5 %
Object Tracking Success Rate
94.9 %
9.0
Photo
Image Stabilization
In Body Image Stabilization
No
Minimum Shutter Speed Achieved
1/5 s
8.7
Photo
Image Quality
Dynamic Range At ISO 100
8.37 f-stops
Color Accuracy (dE2000)
6.59
JPEG SNR 18% At ISO 800
38.75 db
JPEG Sharpness At ISO 800
1.482 pixels
JPEG SNR 18% At ISO 1600
38.2 db
JPEG Sharpness At ISO 1600
1.301 pixels
JPEG SNR 18% At ISO 3200
38.3 db
JPEG Sharpness At ISO 3200
1.401 pixels

ISO Setting Sample Photo
ISO 100 Photo
ISO 200 Photo
ISO 400 Photo
ISO 800 Photo
ISO 1600 Photo
ISO 3200 Photo
ISO 6400 Photo
ISO 12800 Photo
ISO 25600 Photo
ISO 51200 Photo

9.3
Photo
Luminance Noise
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 100 41.31 db
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 200 40.57 db
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 400 39.28 db
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 800 37.35 db
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 1600 34.86 db
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 3200 32.32 db
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 6400 29.53 db
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 12800 26.81 db
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 25600 23.99 db
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 51200 20.74 db
Sample Gallery
Sample Gallery
The Skate Park

Format Link
JPEG Photo
RAW Photo

Sample Gallery
The Polish Church

Format Link
JPEG Photo
RAW Photo

Sample Gallery
The Studio

Format Link
JPEG Photo
RAW Photo

Sample Gallery
The Stairway

Format Link
JPEG Photo
RAW Photo

General Video
General Video
Video Feature
Full HD Video
Yes
4k Video
Yes
6k Video
No
Clean HDMI Output
Yes
Advertised Max Chroma Sampling Over HDMI
Not Advertised
Advertised Max Bit Depth Over HDMI
10 bits
Log Picture Profile
Yes
Recording Light
No
General Video
Audio
Audio Test Sample
Audio Recording
Stereo
Microphone Level Display
Yes
General Video
Video Exposure Assistant
Zebra Line
Yes
Histogram
Yes
Waveform
No
General Video
Recording Format And Compression
MP4 H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
Yes
MP4 H.265 / HEVC
No
MOV H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
Yes
MOV H.265 / HEVC
No
AVCHD H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
No
All-I Compression
No
4k Video
8.5
4k Video
4k Frame Rate
240 fps In 4k
No
120 fps In 4k
No
60 fps In 4k
No
30 fps In 4k
Yes
24 fps In 4k
Yes
Crop At Max Available fps
1 x
7.9
4k Video
4k Video Autofocus Performance
Eye Detection In 4k
No
Face Detection In 4k
Yes
Face Tracking In 4k
7.6
Object Tracking In 4k
9.3
5.8
4k Video
4k Video Stabilization
In Body Video Image Stabilization In 4k
No
Walking Test In 4k
17.69 pixels/frames
Running Test In 4k
36.05 pixels/frames
Crop
1.1 x
7.4
4k Video
4k Internal Recording
Bitrate Maximum In 4k
120 Mbps
Bitrate Minimum In 4k
120 Mbps
Chroma Sampling In 4k
4:2:0
Bit Depth In 4k
8 bits
Record Time Limit 30 min
Overheat Recording Interruption
No
7.9
4k Video
4k Video Quality
Low Light Capability In 4k
8.0
Test Scene Extract In 4k
9.0
4k Rolling Shutter
5.72 degrees
Full HD Video
9.5
Full HD Video
FHD Frame Rate
240 fps In FHD
No
120 fps In FHD
Yes
60 fps In FHD
Yes
30 fps In FHD
Yes
24 fps In FHD
Yes
Crop At Max Available fps
1 x
7.9
Full HD Video
FHD Video Autofocus Performance
Eye Detection In FHD
No
Face Detection In FHD
Yes
Face Tracking In FHD
7.6
Object Tracking In FHD
9.3
7.0
Full HD Video
FHD Video Stabilization
In Body Video Image Stabilization In FHD
No
Walking Test In FHD
9.63 pixels/frames
Running Test In FHD
18.78 pixels/frames
Crop
1.1
7.8
Full HD Video
FHD Internal Recording
Bitrate Maximum In FHD
120 Mbps
Bitrate Minimum In FHD
12 Mbps
Chroma Sampling In FHD
4:2:0
Bit Depth In FHD
8
Record Time Limit 30 min
7.5
Full HD Video
FHD Video Quality
Low Light Capability In FHD
7.5
Test Scene Extract In FHD
7.1
FHD Rolling Shutter
1.84 degrees
Storage And Connectivity
Storage And Connectivity
Storage
Card 1 Slot
SD Card UHS-II
Card 2 Slot
SD Card UHS-II
9.5
Storage And Connectivity
Input / Outputs
USB
USB-C
HDMI
Mini (Type C)
Headphones
Yes
Microphone
Stereo
Wi-Fi
Yes
Bluetooth
Yes

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Nikon D780 is only available in one color variant: 'Black', and you can see its label here. We tested it in conjunction with the Nikkor 24-120mm f/4G ED VR lens, though it's fully compatible with other F-mount lenses. However, we haven't tested it in any other configuration. It can also be purchased without a lens at all.

If you come across a different variant, let us know in the discussions so we can update our review.

Discussions