Field Review: Nikon D750 and Nauticam NA-D750

Field Review: Nikon D750 in the Red Sea

With Nauticam NA-D750 housing

By Alex Mustard.

The new Nikon D750. Mid-spec SLRs are all about details. Some give too much away to pro models, others give us all the important performance, in a smaller cheaper package. The D750 promises to be the latter.


There was a definite sense of déjà-vu as I plunged into the warm November waters of the Red Sea for this camera review. It is not the first time Nikon’s autumnal camera releases have been met by a swift response from housing manufacturers and I’ve come here to be the first to put them through their paces underwater.

Four years ago I was in these waters to test the Nikon D7000 in a Nauticam NA-D7000 housing and two years earlier I reviewed the D700 in the Subal ND700 on another of my Red Sea workshops. Coincidentally, I went on to immediately purchase both systems. The pressure is on the Nikon D750 and Nauticam’s NA-D750 to win me over like its predecessors!

Despite the Nikon D750 released very recently, the Nauticam NA-D750 was released just before my trip. It is packed with features much loved by Nauticam shooters.

On paper the specs are very tempting indeed: a full frame 24MP sensor, which DxO’s tests show just beats the new D810 for dynamic range and noise at the pixel level; 6.5 frames per second, autofocus that Nikon say doesn’t just match the D810, but improves on it; HD video up to 60p with auto-ISO for smooth exposure compensation; all wrapped up in a smaller, lighter, less expensive camera body.

I often find workshops ideal for camera reviews as the gang are always pretty keen to hear first-hand (and first) about a possible future purchase. Also my own images are low priority when teaching in destinations I have dived extensively. So I am happy taking test shots of standard fare while my group mononpolizes the best subjects! We were treated to excellent encounters with oceanic whitetips and spinner dolphins, plus meetings with hammerheads, grey reef sharks and even a tame manta. We also photographed classic Red Sea reef life and scenery extensively: both bright sunny coral scenes and dark atmospheric caverns. Although a short trip, it proved a pretty thorough workout for the D750.

The D750 is not the first camera I have brought to the Red Sea to review. Subjects and photographic challenges come thick and fast here, giving any camera a thorough examination. Spinner dolphins taken with Nikon D750 and Sigma 15mm. Nauticam NA-D750 and Nauticam 140 dome. No strobes. 1/400th @ f/6.3. ISO 1800 (Auto). Cropped.

The D750 is likely to be most tempting to existing Nikon shooters probably looking to upgrade from 12MP FX or any DX Nikons. The aim of this review is to tell you about the key features of the Nikon D750 and Nauticam NA-D750 and discuss their performance critically, pointing out both strengths and weaknesses for underwater use. I will also make comparisons with other current Nikon SLRs. As always this is a critical review written for benefit of photographers, not the manufacturers. The standards of cameras and housings are better than ever, but I believe it is still valuable to cast a critical eye as they remain significant financial investments for all of us. If you want an “everything is awesome” review look elsewhere (with apologies for putting that song back in your head)!

I tried to shoot the D750 with as wide a range of subjects as possible. Here a female anemonefish (I know because I had just watched her lay these eggs), rubs the non-stinging side of the anemone tentacle onto her eggs, to cover them in mucous and stop them being stung. Taken with Nikon D750 and Nikon 105mm. Nauticam NA-D750. Seacam 150 strobes. 1/250th @ f/18. ISO 200. Cropped.


Alex Mustard was loaned the Nikon D750, the first Nauticam NA-D750 housing and Nauticam 140mm dome for the review from Nauticam UK and Nauticam International. He was loaned the Tokina 17mm lens by Wetpixel’s Editor Adam Hanlon. All are now returned. He is very grateful to Alex Tattersall, Edward Lai, Ryan Canon and Adam Hanlon for their help in making this review possible.

All other equipment used was Alex’s own, including other Nauticam ports and Nauticam 45 degree viewfinder (which Alex helped develop). He is also very grateful to the others guests and crew aboard MY Hurricane liveaboard and the teams at Tornado Marine Fleet and Scuba Travel.

About the author

Alex has reviewed almost all the major Nikon SLRs underwater over the last decade. He currently owns Nikon D4 and Nikon D7100 cameras, which he shoots in Subal housings. He also owns an Olympus EPL-5, which he shoots in a Nauticam housing. Alex uses all these cameras in his work as a professional underwater photographer. His work is published around the world, including in the monthly underwater photograph columns he writes for Sport Diver Magazine (USA) and Diver Magazine (UK). Alex is an Associate Editor of Wetpixel and you can view more of his work on his website.

The D750 excelled with all the subjects I photographed, producing huge, detailed files that simply ooze quality. An oceanic whitetip shark is accompanied by pilotfish. Taken with Nikon D750 and Sigma 15mm + Kenko 1.4x Teleconverter. Nauticam NA-D750 and Nauticam 140 dome. Seacam 150 strobes. 1/60th @ f/13. ISO 250.

Page 1. Introduction.
Page 2. The Nikon D750.
Page 3. The Nauticam NA-D750.
Page 4. Autofocus Performance.
Page 5. Sensor Performance and Conclusions.