The never ending game of engineering and marketing "chess" between the top digital single-lens-reflex manufacturers can now add a King, Queen and Crown Prince line-up from Nikon.
The king would be the Nikon D3, while the prince can be the D300. Comfortably nestled between the two is the queen – the newly announced D700. She gets that title because she's capable of making practically all the moves of the rest of the line-up and she's arguably the most versatile of the bunch.
Nikon D700 DSLR
If price was a deal-killer, Nikon has sweetened their new DSLR line-up by producing a camera that shaves nearly $2000 off the king's price while absorbing the best of features from the D3 and the D300.
Judging from the first 24 hours of posts in the brand new Nikonians D700 Users Group forum, it looks like Nikon's engineers have managed to please both professionals and serious enthusiasts with the new D700.
Smaller in price and size (almost)
The D700 offers a boat-load of features previously the exclusive domain of the D3 and D300 cameras and manages to pack it all in a D300-style body with a $2,000 savings added as incentive.
Nikonian David Dalziel (dave58) sums up the impact of the price break, noting: "I've been waiting for a 'Full Frame' but the D3 was just too much for my budget. The D700 although still expensive is almost within my reach and I would imagine many other people who have held off for the same reason. I'll still wait a few months to let the price settle & then add it to my kit bag along with my D200. I honestly thought I'd be waiting another year for an 'affordable' FX body so I'm happy. Thank you Nikon."
The lower price is not the only reduction offered by D700. At 2.19lb (995g) without battery, memory card, body cap or LCD monitor cover, it comes in lighter than the D3's 2.7lb (1,240 g) by half a pound.
The flip-side is that once you add the optional MB-D10 Multi-Power Battery Pack you've just added 11 ounces (310 grams) to the D700 (not counting the batteries), loosing the weight advantage -if you were interested in that. On the other hand, those accustomed to pro bodies will find it comforting. The battery pack also adds an additional $235 USD (average in the USA) to your purchase price, but it is a very popular option for photographers requiring plenty of juice and the ability to take the D700 up to its advertised eight frames per second.
Without the pack you can expect five fps. That pack by the way was surely an influencing factor in the D700's remarkable similarity in body style to the D300. The original design of the MB-D10 was matched to the D300.
In an interview with the design staff behind the pack, Ms. Michiyo Ogasawara of Nikon's Product Design Department explained: "Since this device was to be used as an attachment to the D300, it would have been tempting to think only of producing clean lines that matched the camera itself. However, we were also aiming to make use of the standard battery holder used on the F6 camera, in order to allow an EN-EL4a to be used, and I had a hard time getting the shape of the battery pack to conform." Now, with the pack already in production and key shape and size conformity to the camera body this critical, the close physical resemblance between the D700 and D300 is a natural progression. Of course Nikon also factored in the cost-saving benefits of using hardware already in production. Both the battery pack and the camera share durable magnesium allow protection.
More articles that might interest you