Nikon D700 – a 2023 Evaluate of a Basic Full Body DSLR

I used to shoot a Nikon D700 professionally as a second digital camera to a D3, and later a D800. The D3 was the height of my optimistic relationship with Nikon, and the D800 was the final Nikon digital camera I purchased earlier than switching to Sony – I by no means actually appreciated the D800 and although I appreciated the the early Sonys I changed it with much less, I used to be comfortable on the time to show my again on Nikon for my skilled work due to it. The D700 although stayed in my possession – no less than if my reminiscence serves – for some time after I made the change. It wasn’t as superior because the D3 which simply felt completely invincible to me, however the picture high quality was the identical and I discovered the outcomes out of it to be simply as constant. Paradoxically, the D3 died on me after I let it get a bit too moist. The D700 by no means let me down – it was ultimately simply offered after I offered of all however considered one of my Nikon AF lenses.

Since then, I’ve had a few little flurries of exercise with Nikon AF gear. I’ve by no means actually let go of a piece of name loyalty, and the cameras simply really feel so proper to me. My private historical past as a photographer began once I was 9 with a Nikon level & shoot, my first SLR was a Nikon, my first DSLR was a Nikon and once I began taking pictures professionally, that too began with a Nikon. I additionally used to gather the handbook focus SLRs and had almost each main mannequin at one level (they had been fairly cheap within the mid 2000s). Once I choose them up now – nearly whatever the mannequin or what period they arrive from – I simply really feel at dwelling with them. That is the rationale that they hold ending up again in my possession. I’ve just lately purchased one other F100 (my third), one other F80 (my second), a 50mm 1.8d (third) and 85mm 1.8d (additionally third). I believe I’m going to maintain this lot this time spherical too – it appears daft to maintain shopping for and promoting it once I clearly have an affinity with all of it. Considerably much less related to this story – although price noting for some extent I’ll come again to later – I’ve additionally just lately reinvested in a bunch of a lot older Nikon gear from the pre-ai period. I really like the look of the older cameras and lenses and love the outcomes they produce too. My F2 went a bit wobbly so I purchased a watch degree viewfinder for my F, after which earlier than I knew it, I’d purchased an entire load of different pre-ai lenses I’ve had my eye on over time – all for an absolute cut price worth because of some variety of us on twitter too!

Having purchased all that movie package – most particularly the later AF stuff – I began getting a hankering for a DSLR to mount the lenses on. There’s one thing a bit of bit particular about early AF period lenses in my view. This isn’t distinctive to Nikon, although – for causes I’ve outlined – I do have a little bit of a desire for the Nikon package particularly. Lenses from this period used rather more easy optical formulation. They’re far much less scientific of their rendering, and maybe because of the standard of their coatings mixed with the easy optical formulation are inclined to have extra “pop” to the outcomes.

Jennings Visit
Some individuals see “pop” and a few don’t, or don’t discover worth in it. I personally like to see a very good little bit of 3d feeling rendering as demonstrated by the 85mm 1.8 AF-D right here.

CCD CMOS… Magic?

EDIT: Since scripting this, I’ve been rightly corrected that the D700 is CMOS slightly than CCD. While I stand corrected on the tech, I believe the next couple of paragraphs truly go some option to emphasise the purpose. It doesn’t matter that it’s a CMOS slightly than a CCD, the purpose is, the color science is probably much less correct or in a roundabout way much less scientific than newer cameras, and this offers the pictures a glance I actually recognize. See feedback for extra…

An article like this might additionally not be full with out mentioning the CCD sensor within the Nikon D700. There’s lots of chatter on-line concerning the joys of outdated CCD sensors. As I wrote about once I mentioned the sensor within the M8, I’m but to seek out any really compelling proof for CCDs being particularly the trigger for a sure look that I like out of digital cameras. I think it may be a case of correlation slightly than causation – there’s simply so many different variables at play. That being stated, it’s onerous to argue that cameras from the CCD period very often render in a means that I and plenty of others discover aesthetically pleasing.

Mix this, let’s for arguments sake name it “CCD-era-look” with the contrasty pop that early AF lenses create, and I personally assume there’s a bit of little bit of magic to be discovered within the outcomes. Actually, I just like the look a lot, that it’s just about what I hunt down when processing photos from any digital camera lens mixture. I nonetheless do some little bit of submit course of on the pictures out of the D700, however it appears to take means much less effort to get photos that I discover to look how I need them. I actually don’t should mess with the color science in the way in which I nonetheless should with the output from my Sonys.

Jennings Visit

Dorsit Trip Nov 23

12 Megapixels for the win

A lot of that is the color and distinction of the pictures, however I additionally discover the way in which noise is rendered out of those cameras to be fairly pleasing. It’s fairly often stated lately that you just don’t want decrease decision cameras for higher noise. As I perceive it ‘Again Facet Illuminated’ (BSI) sensors have performed a giant half in which means that larger decision cameras can have as equally nice low gentle efficiency as decrease decision cameras. The Nikon D700 although comes from earlier than that period when a 12 megapixel full body digital camera meant comparatively excessive decision and actually large pixels that drank the sunshine. I keep in mind being blown away by having the ability to shoot at 3200 ISO and getting clear photos. After all, lately I’ve probably nearly a 2 cease benefit over that with my Sony A7cii (I don’t hesitate to shoot at 12,800iso) however it’s not simply concerning the cleanliness of the picture, it’s how the noise appears. And the upper ISO noise out of the D700 simply appears fairly good to me. It’s larger, and extra tough; dare I say extra natural trying. This may be a case of rose tinted glasses, or one thing of a bias towards “character” over the readability of recent cameras. However even whether it is, I stand by my subjective desire – particularly outdoors of my skilled work movement the place that form of rendering is one thing I can take pleasure in with out worrying {that a} shopper may be disillusioned.

Reading with Grubby
3200 iso – if you happen to click on via to flickr and zoom in you’ll be able to see the noise, however it’s hardly a difficulty

12mp additionally has the benefit of being far much less lens or shot essential. With the 24mp (Leica M10) and much more so with the 36mp (Son7 A7cii), each little bit of motion and lens softness is a lot extra obvious. 12mp is extra forgiving. I can’t crop as a lot, possibly, and once I zoom in on photos in Lightroom there’s not the element I’m used to, however once I view the pictures as an entire I simply don’t discover these shortcomings. Focusing or movement blur points appear much less of a difficulty too. I can generally nonetheless see them, however they only don’t detract as a lot from the picture as I really feel they do with larger decision cameras/photos.

Thea's 3rd
This form of movement blur won’t ever damage this form of picture in my view – it simply provides to the texture of the picture. That stated, the decrease decision doesn’t intensify it as a lot, particularly when zooming in on the picture in Lightroom which has the psychological influence of it feeling even much less of a difficulty.

The loopy irony of all that is that once I used to shoot a Nikon D700, I used to submit course of the crap out of my photographs. I used to be by no means happy with something near what got here out of digital camera. However, I think, that was extra to do with me going via that part as a photographer the place it felt like there was a have to create photos that in some way appeared totally different to everybody else’s. I additionally wish to assume that I used to be maybe a product of that period of digital submit processing – this was the mid-to-late 2000s in any case. I wasn’t into HDR, however that’s the period we’re speaking about right here… Both means, I’m rather more appreciative of the pictures as they arrive out of the D700 now than I used to be again then.

Jennings Visit

A compelling alternative, even in 2023

There’s a number of different components that make the Nikon D700 really feel fairly compelling to me in the meanwhile. As I’ve stated, I really feel actually at dwelling and cozy with Nikon cameras. A load of that’s familiarity, however there’s additionally the truth that the D700 feels nicely focused to a particular sort of consumer. They’re designed with a transparent consumer interface, with a nicely laid out menu and a degree of performance that’s straightforward to develop into accustomed to but complete sufficient to not really feel too limiting. A component of this comes all the way down to the period the D700 comes from. The just-before-video-appeared-on-all-cameras period. The dearth of video modes could be very obvious, and really interesting. There’s additionally a really feel with this digital camera that it’s designed for the “skilled” photographer. It has automation, after all, however there’s no dumbing down in the way in which that’s discovered on some cameras. I’m no snob about this actually. Modes that assist the much less nicely knowledgeable take higher photographs are nice for individuals who are much less nicely knowledgeable, however they do generally really feel as if they get in the way in which and/or take up pointless area on some cameras. My Sony A7cii is an excellent instance of this. The dearth of a inexperienced “auto” mode makes the Nikon D700 really feel extra refined and extra focused at extra skilled customers. The truth that Sony put these modes on even their high flight cameras has all the time confused me.

I really feel like I ought to add that not solely am I not a snob about these items lately, actually none of it actually bothers me in follow. I’ve been via a interval of adjustment the place I’ve develop into very rather more happy with the taking pictures expertise my Sony A7cii offers me, regardless of all of the superfluous bells and whistles. I doing so, I’ve discovered myself to develop into much more relaxed than I was about overly complicated consumer interfaces. That stated, going again to a digital camera with out one nonetheless offers me a way of one thing optimistic. There’s only a readability of thought I get when utilizing a extra easy cameras with higher laid out buttons and options. The Nikon D700 offers me a giant dose of this sense that I can’t assist really feel barely suckered in by. Particularly, having the buttons and dials for focus sort, metering sample, controlling ISO, body fee and so on. has made me marvel if I must be enthusiastic about upgrading to a Sony A9ii or A1 which even have a few of these controls. I most likely gained’t, I can’t afford to in the meanwhile, nor can I actually justify it, however taking pictures the D700 once more has stroke a chord in my memory how a lot I recognize these types of controls on a digital digital camera.

Nikon D700 Back

A few points

For all this stated, there are a few points. To kick off, there’s the truth that mirrorless cameras completely spoil photographers with regards to framing and getting the publicity appropriate. Framing utilizing the choice of both a viewfinder or an articulated display permits for eye-level framing in addition to high and low degree. I can put the digital camera to my eye, or I can use the display. I can deal with the digital camera like a TLR which frequently modifications how a human topic interacts with the digital camera – this I’ve discovered particularly the case when photographing my children and niece. They typically don’t even discover once I’m taking photographs of them.

After which there’s getting appropriate publicity. Utilizing a display that reveals a reasonably correct illustration of the picture that’s about to be taken – particularly by way of publicity – makes life very straightforward. Add an publicity compensation dial into the combination and it’s onerous to go mistaken. These components, and the wonderful AF are what’ve seen me utilizing my Sony a lot extra during the last yr or so. Maybe I’ve develop into lazy – I’ve actually modified my tune in comparison with once I wrote my Sony A7rii evaluate the place I used to be primarily complaining about how straightforward all these items made images. A technique or one other, the Nikon D700 simply doesn’t have these options. Actually, not solely is the display not dwell view or articulated, it doesn’t even present that good a illustration of the picture in play-mode.

In actuality, these components vary from being a difficulty to being one thing I recognize. One minute I discover myself ready the place I need to have the ability to body actually low to the bottom with out having to lie on the ground and I want I had my Sony. The subsequent I’m revelling within the simplicity of the digital camera, or remembering the enjoyment of utilizing a giant vivid through-the-lens optical viewfinder. Swings and roundabouts, I suppose…

Little Owls - Nikon D700

There may be one near-fatal concern that I’ve and don’t really feel I can keep away from with the Nikon D700 although, and that’s the scale and weight of it. It’s smaller and lighter than a D3, that’s for sure, however it’s a rattling slight heavier than a Sony A7cii. I’m older and creakier then I used to be once I was taking pictures considered one of these cameras the primary time round, and I positively really feel like I discover the additional weight greater than I used to. Maybe there’s a component of simply being extra used to lighter cameras and due to this fact it’s a relative concern. However, I’ve discovered whenever I’ve taken the D700 I’ve bored with it’s weight and bulk by the tip of the day’s taking pictures. How I used to work with considered one of these with a 70-200 hanging off it, and my D3 with 24-70 hanging off that, I don’t know. I positively wouldn’t need to do this now!

It’s truly this weight that has had me enthusiastic about switching to a lighter mannequin. I’ve been trying on the Df which is certainly a bit of lighter, and – to narrate again to an early tangent – works with pre-AI lenses because of the AI lever having the choice to be folded away. This can be a function I don’t assume any of the opposite full body DSLRs that Nikon have ever made have. However, they’re close to £1000 used, and I simply can’t justify that form of money in the meanwhile – particularly once I can mount those self same pre-AI lenses to my Sony with my Techart adapter and have them work as AF lenses! And as a lot as I believe I might benefit from the Df as a digital camera, there’s simply one thing satisfying about taking pictures with a excessive finish, full body digital camera that solely price me £200.

Since drafting this submit, I’ve ended up shopping for a Nikon D90. This can be a digital camera from roughly the identical period because the Nikon D700, however is APS-C and quite a bit smaller and lighter. If I click on with it, I’ll report again…

Nikon D700 Pattern Images

Dorsit Trip Nov 23

Dorsit Trip Nov 23

Dorsit Trip Nov 23

Little Owls
There may be simply one thing concerning the blues out of this digital camera and the 85mm 1.8 AFD…

Jennings Visit

Jennings Visit - Nikon D700
I’m positive many would choose up on the chromatic aberrations right here as a difficulty – you’d not see that with my 85mm Batis lens. That stated, I actually couldn’t care…

Nikon D700 & 58mm Biotar

Ultimate ideas on the Nikon D700

As you would possibly collect I’m not about to inform you that the Nikon D700 is my new on a regular basis carry digital camera. Actually, since beginning to write this, I’ve truly began taking pictures my just lately acquired F100 much more. Although what’s important about that’s that I began selecting it up as I needed to shoot my present favorite lens – the Nikon 85mm 1.8 Af-D – with out fairly as a lot weight round my neck because the D700. The Nikon D700 made the F100 really feel gentle – which is humorous (if you happen to’re me) as each time I’ve beforehand offered an F100 it’s as a result of I believed it was too heavy. Now the F80 – which I’ve beforehand favoured over the F100 – feels too gentle. Possibly I can buy one other D3 in order to really feel extra pleased with the D700…

Anyway, I digress. My level is I’m not carrying the Nikon D700 in every single place I’m going. Even acknowledging my obvious capability to be swayed by perspective, it actually is just too heavy for me to need to lug round on a regular basis. However, simply because I don’t need to take it each place I’m going, doesn’t imply I’m not motivated to take it among the locations I’m going. For a digital digital camera it simply offers me a taking pictures expertise I can’t assist however take pleasure in. It’s true that I’m now offered on Sony cameras for a big proportion of each my private {and professional} work, however taking pictures the Nikon D700 makes me really feel like that relationship with the Sonys is nearly like some form of case of Stockholm Syndrome. I’ve simply spent a lot time with them that I’ve compelled myself to forgive all of them their shortcomings.

Capturing the Nikon D700 is sort of a breath of recent air by comparability. Sure it’s large and heavy, however my familiarity with it as a digital camera, in addition to my wider familiarity with Nikon cameras – and it’s design ethos as knowledgeable spec digital camera that lacks just about something superfluous – makes for a taking pictures expertise that I personally love. And that’s earlier than I’ve even appeared on the outcomes, which take much less effort for me to make look precisely how I like my photos to look. So yeah, for the 2023 worth of round £2-300 the Nikon D700 looks as if a complete cut price of a digital camera to me. I shall be preserving this one for a short time I believe.

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