Hello all. I am a new Nikonian ( physician enthusiast ) and learned photography with a Spotmatic Pentax and a Nikon FM1 film camera. I have used the D90 for 4 years and love the camera. For some reason now, I have convinced myself that I need to upgrade to a full frame camera. I have been reading the pros and cons about the D700 and D800.
I rarely enlarge photos too much and am not overly concerned with post-processing capabilities. I just want the sharpest picture I can take - or one that I would be proud to show to my fellow enthusiasts.
I am concerned about any new product - esp. one with 35MP and potential computer issues. I presently have the large Apple desktop ( don't even know what it's called!)and just use Iphoto.
I would love for someone to look at my Nikonian gallery (kneedoc)and give me some feedback about any of these photos.
So, bottom line - do I really need the D800 or would the D700 - time-tested workhorse improve my photos that much. (present lenses: 18-105mm kit lens, 10-24mm - 3.5, and 50mm 1.4
#1. "RE: D700 or D800 - help!" In response to Reply # 0
Unless you are considering replacing your two zoom lenses at the same time, I would advise you to think carefully about whether a move to the FX format will actually buy you anything. There's nothing about FX that makes it automatically "sharper". Maybe a D7000 (or its replacement, whenever that arrives) would be a better bet, or maybe there is more you get from your D90 with different lenses.
Tell us more about where you think your current results are lacking, and we will be better able to advise you
#2. "RE: D700 or D800 - help!" In response to Reply # 1
Thanks. I guess I'm looking for a "medium-format" appearance to my photos - spot on sharp but a nice "soft" texture as well.( my gallery may tell you more - "kneedoc"
I think I have done quite a bit with my various options with the D90 in terms of focus/metering/white balance performance. My 50mm, 1.4 lens is probably my sharpest lens but it's a $500 lens - not a $2000.00 lens.
I have a perception that a full frame camera will give me a "spot-on" sharper picture - (if I am willing to upgrade the lenses of course.)Am I wrong about that?
#3. "RE: D700 or D800 - help!" In response to Reply # 0
Im no expert by far but I just purchased a brand new D700 as my first foray into DSLR. My previous digital was really a very upscale point and shoot but I wanted more control and I wanted to use my Nikon lenses. I had a couple of FM2's and always wished there would be a digital that would give me the ease of operation of the FM line.
Im still struggling with all the menu selections which should be a piece of cake for you. I struggled with the idea of the D800. I may go there some day but for now I think the D700 will fulfill all my needs. Its fast and actually very forgiving. After reading the Nikonians Mastering the D700 Ive discovered a lot of great things this camera does and the latitude you get with the various Picture controls. Its like having a whole pocket full of various films that you can change out for every picture if you want.
If you want the bigger size original file which can only add to your photographs. I understand you can go quite large with these files and there is a lot of depth in DR. You may even be able to use some of your existing lenses.
Just my thinking on the subject I hope it helps to hear why another person went with the D700.
#5. "RE: D700 or D800 - help!" In response to Reply # 2
>I have a perception that a full frame camera will give me a >"spot-on" sharper picture - (if I am willing to >upgrade the lenses of course.) Am I wrong about that?
Basically, yes - as a general principle you are wrong about that
How FX stacks up against DX all depends on the camera(s) being compared. I shot with a D300 (12MP, DX) and a D700 (12MP, FX) alongside each other for a year or two. The D700 led in low-light performance, because its images were cleaner at high ISO settings, but in sharpness, colour and contrast there was nothing to choose between them.
If the results from your 50mm lens don't meet your standards for "sharpness", I don't think a new camera (of either format) will improve things much.
#6. "RE: D700 or D800 - help!" In response to Reply # 0
If you need sharpness, and not megapixels or cleaner, higher ISOs, then you should notice a more immediate improvement with lens upgrades. Or perhaps a tripod for ultimate sharpness. And you'll need a new lens or two anyway if you do buy a FX camera. Generally folks talk about sharp lenses, not sharp cameras.
For what it is worth I have a D700 and no real interest in getting a D800/e. I simply don't need the megapixels.
#8. "RE: D700 or D800 - help!" In response to Reply # 7
Hi Bill (kneedoc)
your gallery shows a lot of creativity and good composition. All very nice. I have a D7000 & D700 & D800. The D7000 would be a huge advance over the D90 you have and would enable you to extend your creativity (while using your current lenses). I think you are worrying too much about sharpness as that has almost nothing to do with your camera (lens and how you use the camera affect sharpness most). Your photos look pretty sharp to me. Explore the D7000 and you will find it has heaps of capabilities that you will be happy with.
#10. "RE: D700 or D800 - help!" In response to Reply # 9
You've got some nice images in your gallery.
Is your profile up to date? I looked at your list of lenses to get an idea of your gear.
I'd rate the D7000 only a small step up from the D90 - and would not suggest making that upgrade. A D400 might end up being a better choice and it has not been announced yet.
The D700 is going to produce similar files to your current D90, but the FX image will change your perspective. One of the biggest differences is a shallower apparent depth of field. To get the same image from the same distance, you will use a longer lens with FX - and that increases subject isolation. I think this is the biggest difference FX will make in your images since you seem to like using creative depth of field and subject isolation.
An FX body will mean big changes in your lenses. Most FX lenses can be used with any camera, but DX lenses are not your normal choice with an FX body. I'd probably start looking at lenses rather than a new camera body. Look for high quality FX lenses like the 70-200 f/2.8 and a macro lens like the 105 f/2.8. I'd go a bit slower on the 24-70 f/2.8 since that focal length is covered by your current gear - but a 24-70 is a staple in most top quality kits.
The D700 could be a better first step than a D800 since you don't have the lenses to get the most from a D800. Keep the D90, add a used D700, and add the lenses you need for an FX kit. The D800 is a spectacular camera. It has slightly better resolution than the D700, and large file size to get the most from your lenses. But the D800 will reveal any flaws and is somewhat demanding. Given the timing, the possible D600 might be a worthy consideration when it is released.
I would not be in any rush to upgrade the camera body. Focus on your lenses and technique. And keep in mind that Nat Geo legend Bob Krist used a D90 for almost everything published over the past few years.
#11. "RE: D700 or D800 - help!" In response to Reply # 7
I'm not the best person to engage in a discussion of "sharpest" as I don't value sharpness above all else. To me all of your photos are acceptably sharp. Each lens that you own is capable of producing acceptably sharp photos, but they're not "the sharpest" lenses.
In the past 5 plus years I've used over 15 different Nikon lenses - zoomes, primes, autofocus, and manual focus. All but one were acceptably sharp. The exception was the 70-300D ED, and then only shot wide open in the 250mm plus range. Otherwise it was plenty sharp for my purposes. I usually don't pixel peep or print enlargments greater than 11x14.
Generally I would tell you that primes (especially micro primes) are sharper than zooms, and pro quality zooms (f/2.8) are sharper than variable aperture consumer zooms. But certain lenses are exceptions and don't follow this pattern.
My sharpest lens? Probably a toss up among several. The contenders are Ai-s 50 f/1.8, Ai 105 f/2.5, AF 180 f/2.8, AF-S 80-200 f/2.8, and Ai 75-150 f/3.5.
Cost is not always indicative of sharpness. The 50 cost me $45, not much less than the 75-150 at $65. Both are very sharp, but not the holy grail of sharp lenses. I doubt that any lens I own would ever make a top 10 list of the ultimate sharp lens hall of fame.
#12. "RE: D700 or D800 - help!" In response to Reply # 10
Eric - great advice. Your photos are amazing - any chance I could put a great FX lens on the D90 and get those "medium format" looking pictures you have? (assuming technique is correct, etc.) and assuming I'm an enthusiast - not a pro? Great news about the D90 and Bob Krist. I feel better now.
Lens first - then camera - makes sense. Thanks for the specifics about the lenses.
By the way, I spent @10 years at Emory - orthopedics. Love Atlanta.
#14. "RE: D700 or D800 - help!" In response to Reply # 9
Thanks Bill for the nice comments.
I believe you would not generally notice the difference with FX vs DX with most of the types of photos you take. Others have explained the differences. They are generally pretty subtle in my opinion! The D7000 has very good image processing engine and a better dynamic range than the D90 and you would appreciate that a lot. Also the high ISO performance of the D7000 is excellent. I am not saying that the D700 and the D800 are better. You get what you pay for and both are very expensive. The fact you have enjoyed your D90 for so many years is great. If you were to go for an FX camera (D700/800) you would have to get FX lenses of you are not getting the benefit of the FX format. FX lenses are generally more expensive that DX and heavier than DX lenses. So if you go FX the cost of the lenses is probably the biggest consideration in the longer term. Ray
#15. "RE: D700 or D800 - help!" In response to Reply # 0 Fri 03-Aug-12 12:10 AM by GiantTristan
The pictures in your gallery are very nice.
From my experience, the sharpness and general quality of an image are more strongly affected by the lens than by the camera you use. As an example, I got much better captures with the D70 plus the 70-200/2.8 than I did with the D200 and the 18-200.
When I was using DX cameras with consumer grade lenses, I found that using the DxO Pro raw converter with their default preset vastly improved sharpness and IQ. You might want to explore this. DxO offers a free trial.
I have been using the D700 for about four years and I see no need to change to a D800. The 12MP of the D700 are ample and give tack sharp images on my 30" monitor, if I use high quality lenses. My sharpest lens is the manual Zeiss 100/2. I use this lens preferentially together with the Zeiss 35/2 and the Nikon 14-24/2.8. I believe this is the best combination of sharp lenses available, unless you want to capture fast moving objects; that would require AF. I believe that manual focus together with LiveView gives you the sharpest possible focus.
#17. "RE: D700 or D800 - help!" In response to Reply # 16 Fri 03-Aug-12 08:03 AM by DinoCardelli
>Thanks! > >Now I'm looking a better glass not better camera bodies. > >Bill
I just made the jump from D60 to D7K to now a D700...
While I'll yield to the those with more experience, I've found the difference dramatic.
The 51 point focus "seems" to have increased my clarity....the processor is faster, the rear image viewer is larger, the camera shoots in high ISO (I shot the other night at ISO 2000) with limited grain....I like the controls...I like the way it shoots and feels in your hands...I have the MD10 pack and it's a "beast" in your hands....
I bought the Nikon 2.8 14-24 specifically for FX a while back...when I put it on the camera with FX..it was like a different lense....
I struggled with the decision as well...but, I pulled the trigger with Adorama's interest free 6 months ....sold some other goodies I've owned and didn't look back
BTW, just go my last round of knee shots to help with my bone to bone...Do you know Dr. Baylis in Fort Lauderdale ? Great ortho guy....
#18. "RE: D700 or D800 - help!" In response to Reply # 16 Fri 03-Aug-12 07:59 AM by Tinkers Realm
Pacific Wonderland!, US
When I switched from DX to FX I wrestled with the decision but eventually purchased the D700 & loved it so much that I wished that I had made the switch from DX-FX sooner. I hung on to my DX thinking that I may want to have it as a backup but after one year and no use - sold it & never looked back.
You can add excellent glass in the future but use your 50mm while getting acquainted w/ the new body.
Now, to answer your Q. D700 or D800, I have owned both and actually sold my D700 when I purchased the D800 but I miss/prefer the D700 & am even considering buying it again-Miss it that much! I took some of my best images w/ the D700 & looking at your great gallery images think that you would appreciate the D700 too!
Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.
#21. "RE: D700 or D800 - help!" In response to Reply # 20
El Segundo (Los Angeles), US
My experience was that when I moved from the D2x (DX) to the D700 (FX) my photography took off. I only later acquired a D300 (DX) camera. I would highly recommend a D700 and one new lens, the 24-120 f/4 VR, to start with. You can later add a true wide angle lens like the 16-35 f/4 or the 14-24 f/2.8. Then the 70-200 f/2.8 and the 105 f/2.8 macro.
My current camera lineup is the D2h, D2x, D300, D200, D700, D3s and I have over 40 Nikon lenses.
#23. "RE: D700 or D800 - help!" In response to Reply # 22 Fri 03-Aug-12 05:18 PM by jgould2
El Segundo (Los Angeles), US
I just hate to sell my older gear
Actually for long trips I like to take a complete DX set of lenses and a complete FX set of lenses in case of mishap (and of course backup cameras). And being able to have two different lenses mounted on two different cameras is very convenient in dusty or wet situations. I also keep one of the older cameras with a couple of lenses always in my truck. I'm not a big fan of point and shoot cameras. Hanging on to some of my older gear also allows me to be able to loan stuff to people just getting interested in photography.
#24. "RE: D700 or D800 - help!" In response to Reply # 20
Pacific Wonderland!, US
Thank you so much for your kind words- I am just in the process of building the site so need many more hours to complete it but some of the images posted on there were taken w/ the D700- hands down my favorite Camera ever & I think you will be thrilled to own it. There are a few great threads that also provide some basic suggestions for programming the custom banks that you can use until you figure out what works best for your style.
In addition, I will say that you may want to buy the macro/portrait lens 105mm - I love using that lens w/D700 & some of those images on my site are that combo. It is not terribly expensive but one of my Favs!
Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.