I came to this forum as I wanted information directly from Nikonians on the D700. I have heard nothing but great things about the D700 however as I read through this forum I'm left with the impression that the D700 is great under low light thanks to the 6400 ISO however that's about it. If you're shooting under normal conditions the DX format is just as good or better. This isn't what I had been reading elsewhere but I trust this site more. So just for the record if my priority is shooting landscapes before sunset should I stay with the D80 and get my full 10mp. Gary
Gary there have been a ton of threads here that might make you believe that is true, but it is not. Do you hear anyone saying that the D3 or D3X only saving grace is high ISO? Look at the DXO site and you will see that the D700 blows away the competition in many areas. If you shoot landscapes with an FX camera you will never go back. D700 images are amazing. Look in anyone's gallery that shoots with it, including mine, even at ISO 200 the images are stunning. And don't blow off the high ISO performance it lets you shoot at higher shutter speeds or stopped down and the noise is almost non existent except for the very highest ISO settings.
I agree with Bob. When I'm working with my D700 shots at 100% I often forget that I'm seeing a severely cropped image. Never happens with my D200. And the D700 (with FX lenses) will give you a full 12mp.
John ". . . contrary to what we've always been led to believe, the universe is not basically euclidean." - Benoit Mandelbrot
I came from a D80 and still have it as a back up... there is no comparison.
The D700 puts my D80 to shame but those are 2 different beasts and not really fair for comparison. I like shooting everything better with my D700. I thought I would miss the crop factor but I haven't even thought about it!
I have to agree with everyone else. The D700 does deliver great low noise at high ISO. It also gives great dynamic range and colour rendition. Nikon will have to bring out an absolutely amazing machine for me to upgrade from the D700.
Hedley Originally from Merthyr Tydfil, Wales -- now in Arkansas
I've got a D80, and I sold my D300 for the D700. High ISO was one factor, but not the only one.
I like to shoot wide, and there's a better selection of wide angle lenses for the FX cameras -- the 17-35 and the 12-24mm to start with, two of the finest lenses Nikon ever produced. Plus, some fine wide angle primes.
Another factor -- if you shoot with small apertures, the FX cameras don't suffer from diffraction effects as soon -- where a DX camera starts to show diffraction softening at, say f/16, it won't happen on FX until f/22.
I also like shallow depth of field, which is easier to achieve on FX cameras.
Also, don't dismiss high-ISO capability as only applicable to low light shooters. When I'm shooting on the street, I can use the very clean ISO 800 to keep my shutter speed up high or my aperture closed a little. Instead of being stuck at, say f/2.8 and 1/125, I can do f/5.6 or 8, or take the shutter speed up to 1/250 or higher.
I've also been shooting lately using strobes and large depth of field in a certain environment, and the D700 lets me use a single SB-600 to illuminate my subject at f/22 -- because ISO 800 is so clean.
In short, a higher ISO means a lot more flexibility in all sorts of situations. Unless the only thing you ever shoot is landscapes on a tripod, higher ISO comes in handy all the time.
Finally, while the D700 is very much like a D300 with a full-frame sensor, it's a far different camera than a D80. More megapixels, faster frame rate, more flexible controls, etc. etc. etc. You really can't compare them.
The 17-35mm f2.8 is an excellent FX lens. The 12-24mm f4 is an excellent DX lens. The 14-24mm f2.8 is a near flawless FX lens that doesn't accommodate filters. Give the Nikkor Autofocus lens forum a try: these Nikonians take their glass very seriously!
In addition to the comments above which include things like dynamic range, etc., I'll just add that images taken under identical circumstances with a D300 and D700 look different. The ones made with the D700 look less muddy and clearer. This doesn't mean the D300 is bad, because it's certainly not. It's just that the D700 is darned good. The increased dynamic range also means that if you need to, you can manipulate files more. There are shots I can make with a D3 or D700 without a grad filter because I can brighten the shadows without penalty at low ISO's. Doing the same thing with a D300 will bring out a bunch of noisy speckles.
Having used both DX and FX now (I've had the D3 and D700 since their release dates, and I'm now playing with a D3X), I'm hardcore in the FX camp. That doesn't mean that I never use my D300 or that I don't think that DX has a place, but given a choice, I'll almost always pick the FX body. When I don't, it's because the equivalent focal length on FX would be unwieldy, and I want to use a smaller body.
It would seem the D700 shooters are indeed true believers. I have a few questions as I really want the D700. Ken Rockwell sums it up well when he says you can use DX lenses on the D700 but don't buy them to use them. Unfortunately I have a real investment in lenses / filters - more than the body. I'm prepared if need be to trade some in and keep my 18-200 for the D80. My question is this. If I use DX lenses on the D700 will it automatically mean I lose MP? If I'm correct MP are only for enlarging - correct? I mean a 10mp picture isn't necessarily any sharper than a 5 mp picture. Do you use DX lenses on your D700? If you use FX lenses for your D700 which ones do you use? Which is your favorite for landscape. The final question. I used to shoot 2 1/4 format and I loved the 'grandness' that the larger neg provided over 35mm. Is the larger sensor on the FX similar to the result of the larger neg. In the sense that the image in the final is 'grander'? Thanks Gary
I'd put the use of DX lenses on a D700 camera in the "stopgap" category rather than a permanent solution. The only time I've used mine are to run tests so that I could discuss the topic on our podcast. In addition to losing more than half the pixels, the usable part of the viewfinder becomes small. Smaller prints are fine.
I use a lot of lenses for landscape shots. My most used are my 17-35, 24-70, 24 PC-E, 70-200 and 300. All work well on the camera.
I hesitate using the term grander, but larger prints benefit from better detail and lessened noise. Medium format has this quality, too (substitute grain for noise), but in reasonable print sizes, you can do well with DX, too. I think more of the grandeur comes from the composition and lighting than anything else.
>I'd put the use of DX lenses on a D700 camera in the "stopgap" >category rather than a permanent solution.
I agree with this. Ultimately, if you have both DX and FX, you will want lenses that work with both formats unless you want to maintain 2 different kits, especially at the wider end. However, I do use my 12-24 on both the D300 and the D700, at least until I can get a wide FX lens. On the D700, there is no vignetting above 18mm or so in FX mode with the 12-24, which is about the same as a 12mm on the D300. I do not think the 18-200 and some of the other DX lenses will work in FX mode without vignetting.
The one similarity between the D80 and the D300 is the battery. Most other things are different. I captured many wonderful images with my D80 before I sold it, but the D700 gives you so many more options beyond just the higher ISO. I bought the D700 just for the higher ISO, but since then I have realized the D700 has a lot more going for it than that.
The pursuit of photography drives me to go places and see things I otherwise would only view through the eyes of others.
I have a DX D80, and a D700. Files from RAW D80 images at ISO 100, have good native resolution; yet sharpening can quickly go "digi." A RAW D700 file at Lo 1 (quasi ISO 100) has a more film like feel - good native resolution, yet less "diginess" when sharpened, and better DR.
The previous observations are qualitative (monitor look, and feel). For a quantitative comparison of Nikon models, go to http://www.dxomark.com. DXO IQ numbers tend to support the assertion - for the money - the D700 is the best small format digital camera currently on the planet.
Lower photo site (pixel) density has a lot to do with D700 performance. The D700 has big, low noise photo sites on its sensor - larger than DX photo sites. The bigger the photo site, the better the noise to signal ratio - the better the DR. Newer luminosity algorithms also help.
One can quibble that a highly packed CCD will have better academic resolution than a less densely packed CMOS. Still, my acid test is what happens to the look of an image as I take it from RAW sharpening, through process sharpening, then to print sharpening.
I have to be more careful about edge contrasts with highly packed sensors (small pixel) than with lower density (large pixel) sensors. Things go "digi" in a hurry with too many small photo sites packed too closely together. That's one of the reasons why medium format digital images look so nice: they have honking big photo sites!
With the D80 at ISO 100, I often use NeatImage, and PotoKit to reduce noise in uniform areas (like blue sky). Nothing is needed with the D700. I have difficulty finding noise up to ISO 800. Sometimes I use PhotoKit to add noise! The D700 is very clean up to ISO 1600, and usable up to ISO 6400. At ISO 25,600 you at least get something to fiddle with!
I like both cameras. They are different horses, for different courses. Still, the D700 is a finer package. It has several saving graces over the D80. While not quite a D3, the D700 is a pro build camera.
I am very pleased with the D700, and would buy it again. The D700 will probably outlast the normal digital camera cycle. No doubt, better Nikons will be introduced. Yet, the D700 is so good that differences will be less obvious than in past model changes. As my D700 skills improve, its useful life will be more extendable than the D80's.
I do some photo-journal weddings, and will keep a DX camera as my back up. Going from a D80, to a D90 is a possibility. DX cameras are excellent 1.5x adapters without f-stop penalties. Yet, I'm sold on the FX format. It's great to have a high quality wide angle shooter.
The D700 is superb when hand held in high ISO ambient light, and equally superb on a tripod at its lowest ISO (with the shutter open as long as I like). It is a complete small format digital package.
The main thing is each format has unique features making it worse or better for some subjects, some lighting conditions or some photographers than others. The fundamental differences are obvious as regards size, weight and cost. The fundamental similarities (here I disagree in part with Rick) is up to about 800 ISO in normal lighting there is no easily detectable difference between D300 and D700 as regards sharpness, resolution or image quality. I agree in extreme contrast lighting conditions (rare in the UK but common in Texas) the D700 has the DR advantage. The less obvious differences of more or less reach with the same lens and more or less depth of field for the same viewfinder crop suit some subjects and photographers better than others. Being keen on wildlife and macro makes the extra "reach" and depth of field of DX the logical usual first choice for me. For extreme wide angle, low light (rare for me but not for many), T&S work or occasional portrait work with DC lenses my D3 has an obvious place. One thing rarely commented on is the viewfinder. It is not cropped on the D300, is about 30% brighter with the D300 than the D3, in apparent size is only about 20% smaller than the D3 and seems to have a little more contrast. Overall I prefer the D300 viewfinder. I think either format can be excellent, that neither format is "better" or "worse" for all photographers, and that what and how photographers shoot should determine which 12 MP format best suites their photography. If you want or need 24 MP the topic changes - and the only current format is FX.
Photography is a bit like archery. A technically better camera, lens or arrow may not hit the target as often as it could if the photographer or archer does not practice enough.
During a recent trip to South America I used both the D700 and D200. The D700 was used with the 24-70 F/2.8 and the 70-200vr F/2.8. The D200 was used with the 70-200vr F/2.8 often with a 1.7 TC. About 85% of the "keepers" were obtained with the D700. Looking at this picture set I see the following:
#1 Up to iso 400 there is no difference in noise between the two cameras. #2 Being able to increase iso to 3200 for the D700 permits the capture of fast moving objects and facilitates hand holding. #3 The larger sensor size allows for a smaller aperture before diffraction occurs, about 1/22 vs 1/16. #4 Because of the shallower DOF the bokeh at F/2.8 is improved with the D700. #5 Under identical lighting conditions with the same lens I find that the D700 provides better color and contrast. #6 I have not observed any decrease of IQ with the 70-200 on the D700. (I did not photograph any brick walls at F/2.8).
Let me start off by saying that I am pretty new to Nikonians myself and have only had my D700 for a few weeks. My move up to Fx was a bit more dramatic than most, coming from a first release D70, so I'm probably looking at a bigger perceived improvement than most, which may skew my pereceptions.
I was also a bit hesitant about making my move, looking at the secondary glass investment I would need. I had several DX lenses of more or less "consumer" quality I was using with the D70. Having shot several hundred pictures now, I can only say that the D700 with good quality Fx glass is DA BOMB! It wasn't in my budget to be able to get the newest wide and medium zooms with the D700, so I got a used 17-35mm f2.8, 28-70mm f2.8 and a 50mm prime f1.8. As wonderful as the low light performance of the D700 is, I am at least as happy with the IQ I'm getting with these lenses. I have always held onto my camera bodies for a long time and I anticipate that I will be using the D700 for many years. Clearly though, the long term benefit for me was making the move into FX glass - I'll never give up the lenses I now have.
If you are interested in taking a close look at your FX options, I can highly reommend this site, which I found out about when I joined this forum.
Congratulations on the D700 purchase! I believe you have made a fantastic investment. I know you will love the D700. I am constantly surprised by this camera's abilities. My only regret is that I didn't discover how good it was sooner
I've had my D-700 for about 6 weeks and have not looked back. I also upgraded from a D-70s because I was waiting on an affordable FX format (or at least close to affordable). I gave my DX lenses to my wife for her D-80. In doing so I restricted myself to just a couple of lenses I had left. One of which is a 50mm f1.8, a cheap lens,but my god I forgot how much fun a prime lens could be. By the way this cheap lens really takes great sharp pictures. I'm actually thinking about going to all primes with a walk around zoom. Am I crazy or is anybody else thinking along the same lines? And yes it is a big jump but well worth the wait!
I use a mixture of ancient (because I am) glass and new glass and primes and zooms depending on their use. Most of my new glass is zooms with three important exceptions my 200 mm f/4 Micro Nikkor, my 16mm fish eye f/2.8 and my 300 mm f/4 AFS. My other primes are all older and manual focus and include a 24mm f/2.8 AI'd, a 50mm f/1.4 AI'd, a 55 mm f/2.8 Micro Nikkor AIS with a PK-13, and a 300mm f/4.5 AI'd. My FX zooms are 17-35 f/2.8, 35-70 f/2.8, 70-200 VR f/2.8. I also own a 12-24 DX f/4. All this glass works well with the d700.
You can use your 12-24 DX lens 2 ways in DX mode where you will get a 5 mp file and in FX mode where you can use the lens at full frame from 18-24 mm. Remember your lens on a DX camera the 12 mm is really an 18 mm FOV, so when you use it in FX mode at 18 mm you will see the same FOV you saw at 12 mm on your DX. This will serve you well until you purchase an FX ultra wide like a 17-35 mm f/2.8. The 12-24 will still give you excellent images in the meantime.
Hi Gary, Welcome to the D700 club - I'm sure you will enjoy it!
For your lens questions, if you need some stop-gap FX lenses there are many lower cost alternatives to tide one over until eventual 14-24, 24-70, and 70-200 takes over
I am using the Nikon 28-105 AF f3.5-4.5 macro as are many others for their main walk-around D700 lens and you can find this used for <$200 and I think there is one in the 'I Want to Sell' forum currently for $225.
I'll echo the 50 f/1.8 as a good starter and value.
Many reasonable ultra-wide zoom alternatives exist at the lower price point, some only available as used lenses: - Sigma 15-30 and Tamron 17-35 - I recently bought the Sigma 12-24 which is a true FX lens - I am hoping to close on a Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 in the near future. - many others find the 24-120mm Nikon a good work-horse. - Nikon 180mm f/2.8 and/or Sigma 150mm f/2.8 are great values too as are all kinds of Nikon 80-200, 70-300 and third-party 70-200 lenses.
I do find the D700 has had a very dramatic effect on my lens kit, both present and future planned purchases, but hey it's fun building up the arsenal!
Best regards, SteveK My Nikonians gallery 'A camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.' -- Dorothea Lange
Thanx for the tips on the lens. I have a Nikon 85mmm I picked up two years ago that I discovered is an FX lens. I also just ordered the 28-200mm Nikon which I'm anxious to try. I bought it used on EBay. I have a Tokina 12-24 DX however I will wait and watch for Sigma or Nikon 12-24 FX - that's what I really want. II know from my D80 says that I had 5 lens but I used one 60% and the other 35% and the rest 5%. I would think that if I had a 12-24 and a 28-200 I'd be set for a while anyways. Gary ps I really appreciate you sharing the lens's you're pleased with. Gary
I feel the D700's skin tones are improved over the D300 but not as good as the D2X or D200.
I feel the bokeh is much better on the D700 because of the FF effect.
High ISO is good, but lost in RAW unless using Capture. Lightroom does a terrible job of preserving the high ISO performance on RAW D700 files. Look as bad as D300. So you really need to sink $179 into Capture NX, too. And, of course, an i7-based computer to make NX tolerable.
Steve - I'm really impressed with it. I did some shots with it the other day and it worked great. A friend whose in real estate has asked me to take pictures for him including a house they refer to as the witch's house.
>Thanx for the tips on the lens. I have a Nikon 85mmm I picked >up two years ago that I discovered is an FX lens. I also just >ordered the 28-200mm Nikon which I'm anxious to try. I bought >it used on EBay. I have a Tokina 12-24 DX however I will wait >and watch for Sigma or Nikon 12-24 FX - that's what I really >want.
The Nikon 12-24 is DX. I used the 28-200D Nikkor on a D1 for several years before upgrading to Pro FX glass. The Nikkor 28-70 f/2.8 AF-S and 70-200 f/2.8 AF-S are so much better there are no regrets.
Consider this: Good Pro level Glass is your best investment, especially used.
Recently, I wanted to go wider on my D3. So because I did not see an immediate commercial value to a 17-35 f/2.8 AF-S or 14-24 f/2.8 AF-S, I opt for a bunch of cheap FX lense.
Sigma 12-24 f/3.5-5.6,17-35 f/2.8-4, & 20-40 f/2.8 (best of Sigmas); Tokina 20-35 f3.5-4.5; and Nikkor 18-35 f/3.5-4.5. These total more than a new Pro Nikkor even if you get them used.
The only one that was close to the Pro Nikkor 28-70 f/2.8 AF-S in image quality was the 18-35 Nikkor but it is much slower and not near as good in poor light.
So, I am selling all but the Nikkor at a loss and ordered the Pro Nikkor 14-24 f/2.8 AF-S. It should be here today!