Well my D700 arrived on Tuesday. Normally I like to go through the manual from start to finish, but this time (after D70 and D200) I found myself just going through the menus and setting it how I like it.
I'm loathe to use the camera professionally yet because I'm waiting for C1 4 Pro to come out and I can't get hold of a 24-70mm f2.8 for a month. However this has given me time to get through about 3/4 of the manual and get familiar with the machine.
1) I was concerned that the 51 AF points were clustered stupidly near the middle, but by setting them to just 11 I can quickly scroll around to the point I want, and they're not too badly positioned (though not as well spread as the D200). I can live with that, although I can't see which AF point I'm scrolling towards - they're invisible unless active.
2) AF performance. Seems spot on with Nikon 50mm f1.4 and Sigma 70-200 f2.8, even wide open, so very happy there.
3) Silly functions. I'm surprised that a camera at this level bothers with 'picture control' nonsense because it's hardly a POS compact. Neither do I want to make prints from the camera. Eh wot? At least it allowed me to fast forward in the manual!
4) Live view. This will be good for studio work in tripod mode (zoom in and focus manually like a view camera), but the handheld mode is impossibly clumsy and I can't seem to make it AF - so any idea you had of holding the camera above your head and getting that vital crowd shot won't work. Far quicker just to aim and guess without LV I think.
5) The biggest practical disappointment I found is the display layout. I always use the histogram to help me judge exposure (I frequently work in dim churches followed by bright sunlight so the monitor is no good for checking exposure). The D200 had a big histogram, albeit superimposed on the image. The D700 only has a tiny histogram (or tiny RGB ones) next to a tiny image - this is not good. A third of the screen is filled with shooting data which is simply a waste of space to me. I don't need to know that WB was on Auto, I want to see a big, clear histogram please!
Hopefully Nikon will update the firmware one day so users can customise these displays a bit more.
Until software with workflow I like catches up, and the 24-70 becomes available, the D700 will have to remain as back-up for now, shooting JPG in dim light. But I'm sure in a month or two it will take its rightful place as main camera.
#1. "RE: Another 'first impressions' thread :-)" In response to Reply # 0
>Normally I like to go through the manual from start to finish...
...>5) The biggest practical disappointment I found is the display layout.
Hmm - are you sure you're not missing something!?
That sounds a real step backwards. The D2X can be set up for various histogram views, and you can discard ones you don't use, maybe that wasn't in the 200/300 but I would assume that the D3, and by extension what would cross over to a D700, has at least the controls of the D2.
I toggle between blown highlight indicator and one BIG histogram all the time - and gave up on the small individual histograms almost straight away. So, John, don't give me reasons why the D700 isn't good enough!!!!
#2. "RE: Another 'first impressions' thread :-)" In response to Reply # 1
Blimey, hi Beano! Fancy finding you here!
>...>5) The biggest practical disappointment I found is the >display layout. > > >Hmm - are you sure you're not missing something!?
You can configure the centre button of the multi-selector to give a histogram, and it's a lovely big one, but I use that control for 100% zoom for checking focus, which is even more important.
It's not a deal breaker but I'd have thought that a histogram was such a vital tool at this level that it's odd you can only get silly little ones in the normal display screens. It seems I'll have to make do and squint at a postage-stamp-sized one instead of a nice clear big one
#3. "RE: Another 'first impressions' thread :-)" In response to Reply # 1
I believe John is correct. I noticed it when I got my D3. But I can't say it bothers me much because I think if you have the RGB histogram available you are much better off using that. Using the simple histogram, you can easily miss the fact that a particular channel is blown out. I used to have that problem with sunset shots -- blown red channel -- until I realized what was going on. On the D70, with no RGB histogram, all I could do was guesstimate how much less exposure to use. On the D2X and D3 (and D700), the RGB histogram gives a much more accurate measure. In the case of the D3 and D700, the larger LCD makes the RGB histogram easier to read than on the D2X, too.
I would urge anyone who has the RGB histogram available on their camera to use it and just ignore the simple histogram.
On the D3 (and, I assume, D700) the RGB histogram display also integrates the highlights indicator. I generally toggle back and forth between that display and the full-screen image. I have the full-screen highlights indicator display turned off. In all, I have only three displays enabled: the basic ones that you can't turn off (the full-screen image and the basic shooting info) and the RGB histogram. I find those three give me everything I need for normal shooting, and it's a pleasure not to have to step through a battery of displays to find the one I want.