This is the third coffee shop I’ve stopped in this week to work on this post and perhaps unsurprisingly this is the third iteration of the post. I’ve written and deleted roughly two paragraphs per cup of coffee and my current mug looks ready for a refill. There’s a similarity to be drawn between visiting different coffee shops and my choice between the Nikon D810 and the Nikon D750. Each coffee shop is offering similar goods of course and although I usually just stick with a small cup of black coffee (my cream and sugar use is indicative of how bad the coffee is) I constantly try new places to try to find the best cup of coffee. In practice I’m not sure I can actually say the quality of the coffee from cup to cup and although I have eventually decided on a favorite spot I still like to try out every place in the area. My coffee cup is already screaming for a refill.
The D750 is my favorite place to get coffee or, to drop the metaphor, it’s my favorite camera out of the handful of cameras I’ve used. For a year I’ve shot with this camera and I’d have difficulty coming up with a reasonable complaint about it. The ergonomics, its versatility, its reliability, and quality of the body and files are all within range to call it perfect. There’s never been a task I’ve put to this camera that I felt it couldn’t reasonably handle and I’ve always been happy with the files the camera puts out. So why keep looking? I’ve found my favorite cup of coffee and yet I’m literally sitting at a different shop wondering if this current cup is better than my original favorite. The problem isn’t necessarily the quality of the coffee but rather if it offers something more fitting to what I want from a coffee shop. In this case, the coffee shop offers the best chocolate chip cookies in the city. It’s not that the coffee is better than my original place, but that extra bonus of incredible cookies is enough for me to switch over.
Before this metaphor falls apart completely, the reason I've had difficulty writing this piece is because the D750 does everything so well. It was consistent, it was comfortable to use, and I'm confident in it's ability to capture what I want. It's not that I don't expect, or haven't gotten, the same things from the D810 but the perks of this camera does mean sacrificing some of the things that made the D750 so great. The D810 has an impressive amount of megapixels and the low base ISO puts out silky smooth files but it also lacks the tilt screen of the D750, it’s heavier and larger, and the ergonomics aren’t quite as good. Along with being larger it's also a bit slower in the FPS, it lacks a movable screen, and with larger files the D810 just isn’t as versatile as the D750. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the D810 to everyone especially say wedding photographers or sport shooters as the D750 would fit their needs much better. But as a portrait photographer who more often than not works in a studio, the cookies more than make up for the shortcomings of the coffee.
The files I’ve gotten out of the D810 so far have been spectacular. They have a crispness and quality I’ve not seen before and I’ve been blown away by the results. While working on this post the one question I kept coming back to is if the D810 is truly better than the D750. The problem isn’t that it’s a bad question but it’s been the wrong one to ask myself. It’s not a matter of it being a better camera but whether it’s the better camera for me. Versatility isn’t as important to me as the extra detail and quality of the photos I get with the D810. The D810 just seems like the perfect portrait camera to me more so than the D750 even if I still consider the D750 the perfect camera in general. My new favorite coffee shop didn’t replace my old favorite because it necessarily serves better coffee but it does offer more that I want out of a coffee shop i.e. delicious chocolate chip cookies. There’s a whole different argument to be made on if I actually need that chocolate chip cookie of course but I’m going to ignore that for now.
I think I’m going to skip on that refill.