Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Nikon D700 Review

Its a bit late I know but here is the review of the Nikon D700

The Nikon D700 is a Full frame camera meaning it has a much larger sensor than the models lower down the range. Its sensor is considered to be the same as a 35mm film camera The dimensions of the sensor are 24x36mm while the AP-C size sensor cameras such as the Nikon D300s or D7000 have a sensor measuring 16x24mm.

The D700 with its larger sensor could have had more pixels but instead Nikon decided to stay with what it perceives to be its optimum resolution vs image quality setting and has kept the number of Mega Pixels at 12. This means that each pixel itself is physically larger than that of a cropped sensor camera or a higher density megapixel camera. This larger pixel size means the sensor can gather more light and supposedly therefor more data. Meaning you get richer detail, a greater dynamic range and more accurate colours. This I shall test soon.

There is also debate, that having more megapixels does not yield increases in definition. Yes more megapixels gives a larger image but the definition and detail in an image is largely set from the performance of the lens and it is unclear if many lenses from any DSLR maker is able to get the top resolution out of their lenses yet.

There is a reason why digital Medium format camera makers charge several thousands for even their most simple lenses (check out Mamiya and Hasselblad H4d-31 costing £9000 for a camera and 80mm (budget camera))

And this may also explain why there is a Nikon 24mm f/1.4 lens that cost almost £2000, because it can get super high resolution like that afforded by the Nikon D3x

The sensor is the same as that which was found in the Nikon D3 but in a body that resembled that of the Nikon D300, making it a much lighter camera than its big brother. It also meant it had a pop up flash to work as a commander unit for triggering off your other off camera flashes and a second battery grip could be added to increase the number of shots that could be taken in one charge and also increase the FPS.

So a quick review of this camera will tell you it is:

Just like the Nikon D300 but with a much better sensor and about half as expensive again.


The same as the Nikon D3 but much cheaper and in a D300 style body.

Right so lets go "pros and cons, compare and contrast" and forget about the cost at the moment. So here goes, this is the D700 compared to 3 other Professional rated Cameras , the D300, the D3 and the Canon 5D mark 2)

Nikon D700 vs D300

larger sensor = for same FOV camera must be closer, creating shallower depth of field.
Higher max iso 25,000 (compared to 6400)
Much better high ISO handling.
Added level of D-LIGHTING (auto)
Vignette control settings
Can shoot at 5 and 8 fps in 14 bit raw
larger eyepiece for better composing
eyepiece shutter (to cut out external light leaks during long exposures)
virtual horizon feature

More lens vignetting visible from the larger sensor
Slower top end FPS when no extra batter pack attached (5 vs 6)
Tiny bit heavier

same size (almost)
same number of focal points,
same top end FPS (with extra battery pack and AA batteries inserted)
Same resolution
Same lens support
Same live view
Same sensor cleaning
Same CLS compatability,
Same lens compatability
Same 3inch lcd display screen
Same CF memory card use.
Same 5 stops exposure compensation
Same brilliantly strong and weather sealed body

Nikon D700 vs Nikon D3

Smaller and lighter body.
Sensor cleaner,
virtual horizon feature added
pop up flash for use as commander (or fill flash but I doubt anyone would use it for that)

Less battery life
Slower top end FPS (5 vs 9) or (8 with extra battery pac vs 11 in cropped mode)
Only 1 CF memory card slot
less rugged body (possibly)

Same number of focal points,
Same resolution
Same ISO ability
Same lens support
Same live view
Same CLS compatability,
Same 3inch lcd display screen
Same CF memory card use.
Same 5 stops exposure compensation
Same lens compatability

Compared to the rival Canon (5D mark 2)

Onboard pop up flash for off camera flash control
Nikon CLS system
Easier to reach High iso settings
Many more Focal points (51 vs 9)
Faster FPS (5 or 8 vs Canon 3.9fps)
Potentially better high iso performance
can accept aps-c size lenses
virtual horizon function

Less Megapixels 12 vs 21
a little heavier (tiny amount)
a little more expensive
Canon cameras can accept Nikon lenses via a simple adapter (NIkon can't accept canon lenses)

both have dust reduction sensor shakes
both about to be replaced soon.


I fricking love this camera. But I do also own a Canon (550D) for when i want to shoot videos. The options this camera gives me with regards to lenses and iso and also its fast FPS means that for me it is great for wedding photography and sports, Not something you would normally have side by side.

If i was a landscape photographer I would go with the canon and also get the most expensive lenses possible to get the detail out of the monster 21megapixel sensor, Also for portraits and studio work, the pop up flash and the ease of use of the Nikon with its CLS and also its 'easy to access' 5 stop exposure compensation makes it a win for me.

Is it worth £2000


is it worth £1500 (second hand)

Oh hell yes

Is the canon 5D mark 2 worth £2000

yes (as long as you are getting the most out of it and shooting video as well)

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  1. I bought the D700 not too long ago too. Prob about the same time. I got mine from Japan for about 1200 (used). Your post is well written! I agree that the Canon is better if you need the video. As I hardly shoot video, the D700 fits my needs perfectly.

    Just out of curiosity as I only had a brief hands on with the 5Dm2, the Nikon D700 is made for pros by having dedicated buttons, etc for easy access making it easier to take photos. Is it the same on the 5Dm2?