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Another 'first impressions' thread :-)

simpo two

2103 posts

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simpo two Registered since 17th Aug 2004
Thu 31-Jul-08 08:41 PM

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.