Features combine best of the D3 and D300
Pulling from the high-end features listing of the D3, the D700 goodies list begins with the 12.1-megapixel FX-format CMOS sensor covering a 36.0 x 23.9 mm area (making it the second full frame DSLR in the Nikon stable). It's not only as large as the D3's sensor, but also adds the D300's Image Sensor Cleaning function.
D700 sensor components use vibrating piezoelectric elements for dust removal
Also pulled from the D3 bag of tricks is the same Multi-CAM 3500FX autofocus sensor module featuring 51 AF points, the high-resolution 3-inch LCD monitor with tempered glass providing a 170 degree viewing angle.
The D700 will also have the same ISO range (up to ISO 6400, and beyond, to 25,600) and the same Scene Recognition system as the D3. It shares the Nikon's exclusive EXPEED Image Processing System with the D3 and D300. The pop-up Speedlight at the top of the pentaprism sits a bit higher than the one on the D300, but it features the same basic guide number of 17 at ISO 200. The D3 does not have a pop-up flash unit. Shutter life-span estimates on the D700 match the D300's 150,000 (contrast that with the D3's 300,000 clicks).
The D700 defies simple descriptions
This cross-breeding of features and D3/D300 design elements has been a source of speculation for Nikonians in the D700 Users Group forum. As with all new camera announcements from Nikon, the first impulse is to "categorize" the new body.
Nikonian Bill Ely (d50extreme) sums up his take on the positioning of the D700 with a simple comparison: "The D700 isn't an upgrade from the D300. It's a whole new camera. Something that many D300 users will want to use along as a second body or for people who want FX but not in the size of the D3. With a D300 and D700 you would have high ISO, long reach, wide angle FX capability, and two semi-pro bodies that share accessories. Nikon is just filling in the gaps between their models so there is a body for everyone. It could also be a great 2nd body for D3 users who want two cameras that are both FX but one which is smaller and lighter.
The D700 isn't a replacement, it's just a new camera Nikon made for people looking for FX in a semi-pro body."
Will the DX format suffer?
The majority of posts in the forum continue the Nikonians time-honored tradition of trying to second-guess Nikon's engineers and marketing specialists. A few debates have sprung up in trying to decipher Nikon's intentions with the DX format. This format, predominant in all but two of Nikon's DSLR's (D3 and D700) has a smaller image sensor and has given birth to a an entire line-up of Nikkor glass that is lighter and smaller than the full-frame versions (also in many cases less expensive).
With world economies in a tight state, the purchase of cameras costing nearly as much as a decent used car requires careful budgeting, and many Nikonians are wondering if they choose to go the DX route – will it still be a viable system in the future?
Daniel Stainer (spiritualized67) sums it up like this: "As for the DX gear loosing value, that's not a big issue for me. I'm not into photography as a speculator, but as an artist. When the time comes, it will sell for what somebody's willing to pay. For some, the D700 will be an epiphany--as it definitely fills a specific niche. But for many, the D700 is just another evolutionary notch on Nikon's never ending technological belt."
Nikonians co-founder J. Ramón Palacios (jrp) is ecstatic about his D700 and has added to these Resources an article on Picture Control
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