The Nikon D700 tries to have the best of both worlds. It incorporates the outstanding features of the Nikon D3 into this new camera body that is smaller in size and lighter in weight like the semi-pro D300. You can expect the Nikon D700 to be really quiet and have an extraordinarily low noise, sensitive ISO range and fast continuous high-speed shooting. And the best of all is that it shares the acclaimed 12.1MP full frame (‘FX’) sensor and has the same processing engine.
We have a go at using the camera to see if it is indeed legendary and if it is producing quality photos one can expect from such a camera.
Design and Handling Pick it up and you can feel that the Nikon D700 is built like a tank. With its magnesium alloy body, it is sturdy and strong, and made to go through even the toughest off-road terrains with the photographer. It has a soft rubber grip that makes it easier to hold and shoot. The soft rubber wraps around other spots on its camera body and even the cover of the USB, HDMI outlets is made of a rubber-like stopper cover to prevent water seepage, allowing the camera to be more durable to the weather.
Dials and buttons are all adjustable easily within one touch. And because the functions and features are all placed within one button reach on the camera body, you will have to be more alert or you will miss out on them. There are some dials like the continuous shot dials that are hidden below the obvious white balance buttons. I find them really easy to use after allocating them and getting used to where the function buttons are located. The CF cards are easily located on the right with the battery compartment below.
You will be quite surprise that the Nikon D700 actually fits a small pop-up flash into the camera. The high-performance built-in flash enables i-TTL flash control that evaluates flash exposure with greater precision for exceptional results. Surprisingly since this is a feature most professional cameras tend to leave out since you half-expect the serious photographer to be keener on a more powerful horseshoe flash.
The Nikon D700 employs an FX-format CMOS image sensor with an area of 36.0mm (h) x 23.9mm (v). It may not be the one that reads out the highest effective megapixels in the market, but this 12.1 effective megapixels image sensor reads out clear and sharp images.
The Nikon D700 also lets you select from either FX format (36 x 24) or DX format (24 x 16). At the default setting of [Auto DX crop], the camera will automatically select DX format when a DX NIKKOR lens is attached.
The camera also features both the Active D-Lighting and Nikon’s AF system which has one of the high-density 51-point AF. This is one of the highest as compared to the other brands in the same class. Viewfinder provides 95% frame coverage.
It has a new Scene Recognition System which can be ultilized for auto exposure, auto white balance and autofocus. 3D-Tracking in AF, for example, achieved by using the Scene Recognition System, tracks subject position and automatically shifts the AF points used to match the subject’s movement within the frame.
A significant feature in the D700 is a filter in front of the main sensor which vibrates and helps to shake-free any foreign particles. You can set the D700 to perform this process at startup, shutdown, both or neither.
Using the Nokia D700 is a breeze and I meant that literally. On first impression, it is a really fast camera. From startup to shutter lag to the autofocus performance, everything seems to run quickly. The camera starts up almost immediately when turned on and shutter lag is really minimum as long as there is sufficient light.
With Nikon’s latest scene recognition here, the autofocus is fantastic and really quick as well. It is really amazing. The 51-point AF was able to focus even in very low light. Try setting to 51-point 3D-tracking and you will be able to see how well it works. I switch to AF-C and a cross-hair metering and the focusing could cope with erratic motion or wild movements without going astray. I was able to use the mode to track fast moving vehicles. Nikon’s technology actually tracks the colours of the area in the initially chosen focus point. This is very good considering the fact that the sensor covers a smaller portion of the frame (95%), meaning that autofocus capabilities are restricted to a smaller portion of the frame.
Together with the 51 point autofocus with 15 cross type sensors, the Nikon D700’s 14 bit A/D conversion, and sophisticated 1005 pixel AE sensor is able to produce quality photos with amazing colours. The shots came out really rich in its colours. The shot below was taken at 800 ISO and with an aperture of 2.5. Look at how well the depth of field stood out, see how the foreground and background stood apart.
Shooting with the D700 at a very high ISO, you’ll see surly see the noise spots like any other camera, but the noise are really not too bad. Turn the D700 down to 1600 or even 3200 ISO and you can definitely still use these photos. This is a point where most DSLRs are delivering noisy or smeared images, but the D700 can still shoot really sharp photos with very low noise.
Christmas Lights with ISO800
Christmas Lights with ISO6400 (minimum noise at this size)
I would say that the real weakness is its 12MP sensor. 12 megapixel is a little meagre for professional work. And if you are a professional photographer, you will need a higher pixel sensor for those days when you may need to print out photos that demand clarity and sharpness at a huge size; billboard size.
Nikon D700 Specs
Size Dimensions (W x H x D) Approx. 147 x 123 x 77 mm/5.8 x 4.8 x 3.0 in.
Weight Approx. 995 g/2.19 lb. without battery, memory card, body cap or LCD monitor cover
Image sensor CMOS sensor, 36.0 x 23.9 mm; Nikon FX format Sensor Resolution 12.87 million
Shutter speed 1/8,000 to 30 s in steps of 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV, Bulb, X250
Metering TTL full-aperture exposure metering using 1,005-pixel RGB sensorFlash
Built-in flash Manual pop-up with button release
Battery One Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL3e Storage Media CompactFlash (Type I, compliant with UDMA)
Live View Modes Hand-held mode: TTL phase-detection AF with 51 focus areas (15 cross-type sensors) Tripod mode: Contrast-detect AF on a desired point within a specific area Active D-Lighting Can be selected from [Auto], [High], [Normal], or [Low] Depth-of-field preview