By >Daimaou - G.G-B
Nikon D700, the Art of Photography… (Review)
In the world of DLSR there are some cameras really shine, and I am glad to say that both Canon with their 5D and now 5D MK II and the Nikon D700 are among these digital wonders that transform any of picture taken into pure art. And today I have the difficult task of making you wish you could afford a D700.
Nikon D700 Specs
- Nikkor AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8 G ED
- Full-frame, 12.1-megapixel Resolution
- Nikon F-mount
- 3.0-inch LCD with 920,000 pixels, 170 degree viewing angle
- ISO range of 100 to 25,600
- Shutter speed range of 30 seconds to 1/8,000 second
Huge, impressive, solid (magnesium alloy body), and well built, almost like a HP 48GX with its plethora of buttons and switches… Don’t get me wrong, the above comments were nothing but compliments. Seriously, there no way I can criticize the D700. Yep, the D500 is different from my beloved 5D MK II and the 5D I dreamed of owning… Once you understand what the buttons do and get used to the D700 grip you will quickly find this DLSR has nothing to be ashamed off.
Granted the D700 is heavy, and with the Nikkor AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8 G ED, the overall killing machine is pretty heavy. Maybe not as heavy as the 5D MK II and 24-70mm 1:2.8 combo, however the D700 body alone is on the other hand bulkier than its competitor the Canon 5D… Well, no pain no gain, the D700 is a huge camera and needs to be fed with high quality lenses if you want to truly enjoy this little beast.
Let’s Shoot Baby
As far as I’m concerned, and many will disagree, I will compare the Nikon D700 to the Canon 5D and not the newer and impressive 5D MK II. Both the 5D and D700 are 12Mpix cameras without a video mode, so for the sake of the argument, let’s forget about the 5D MK II here.
I never owned a 5D, but I had the chance to work with a real photographer who published his first photography book on Japan (David Michaud) who owned one, and I had the pleasure of playing with his time to time. If at the time I loved the Canon 5D, there were many little improvement that both David and I would have loved seeing on it that were never made (actually they were but on the 5D MK II)… It’s true the D700 is not as old as the 5D, but all we ever wanted the 5D to become, the D700 has. Like a Live View Mode, a dust cleaning system, a faster Burst Mode capable of 8fps, a virtual horizon indicator to help to level your camera (in Live View only), a flash (sounds strange but for some this was a drawback of the 5D), GPS support…
Yes, the D700 is exactly what a refreshed 5D should be, and to be honest with you, these few things make a huge difference! But now the 5D is long gone so let’s focus on what we have now, and let’s talk about picture quality… I just one word… AMAZING, the D700 is truly amazing… It’s fast, easy to handle (once you master its button configuration of course), provides great results in low light with less image noise than the 5D… Fitted with the 14-24mm 1/2.8 lens… shooting in low light is just as magical and even easier than with the 5D… (Ok, ok I should stop talking about the 5D it longer exists)… Many of the night and dawn pictures you will see in the article were taken at low ISO (200) and the results are fantastic… like the D90, a more amateur oriented camera, the D700 shines in low light and gives impressive results in Jpeg… Want more? Just go and get crazy, shoot in RAW, but you’d better get ready to have files between 14Mb to 25Mb each…
Another impressive feature is Nikon’s D-Lighting Mode that provides images with more details in dark areas. You may loose tonal details in the bright areas if you shoot in Jpeg, while in RAW you won’t loose much tonal detail in the same bright areas… Better try for yourself, and use it wisely, but overall this setting is pretty impressive.
The D-Lighting Mode is one of a long list of features and functionalities that truly makes the D700 a professional photographer… Unfortunately I’m far from being a professional photographer and time was my enemy and I wasn’t able to test all the D700′s amazing functions. Neither did I have time time to read the D700′s thick manual that provides all the necessary information to master it… But the few days I had to play with it’s magical 14-24mm lens was like being in heaven.
I think I pretty much said it already, the D700 is everything you would dream of having on a 5D but Canon didn’t give… (Maybe on the future Canon 7D?!?!?). If you don’t care about the video mode of the 5D MK II and only need a DSLR for doing what it was been built for, shooting photos on the D700 is today’s only solution. Now unfortunately in Japan there isn’t much of a price difference between the Nikon D700 and Canon 5D MK II, only around 20,000 Yen (€150), and this small difference is unfortunately for me not big enough to go for the D700… After all the 5D MK II is a 21Mpix camera and now a real HD video camera (If only Canon could give us a 720/60p mode too)… So If you’re an average photographer the choice of the 5D MK II may be obvious, but if you’re a professional, maybe not so much after all. All these features I didn’t have time to test may make a difference here… Also Nikon has some pretty impressive lenses in their catalog too so… If only the difference could be twice as much and (40,000 Yen or €300) there won’t be any arguments here. The D700 would be the winner for me.