Been offered free use of D700 for a rugged WV trip. Accept?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by lahuasteca, Nov 8, 2010.

  1. A co-worker is insisting I take his D700/14-24/24-70 on a trip to Blackwater Falls, WV for the weekend (I'm in the southern tip of Texas). It's free. The answer isn't as obvious as it would seem.
    My pack holds a D80/16-85 as the main camera, and an FE2, primes, plus film for backup. Thiand primes ng is, I sort of know what I'm doing with the D80, and really know with the FE2. The goal is fine art photography of the falls in Blackwater State Park, a lot of rugged hiking in the side canyons.
    I know the D700 and lenses has IQ far beyond that of my two antiquated cameras, but I've never used one before. It means a heavier backpack and tripod (would have to bring the Manfrotto instead of the Slik Sprint). The FE2 would stay behind, replaced by the D700.
    Besides the liability for a system that's not mine, would I be losing in IQ for not having experience with the system? I'm thinking of accepting, but not taking the 14-24. I can see waterfall spray getting all over that $2,000 lens.
    What would you do? I'm leaving in four days so have to decide quick.
  2. Frankly I neither lend nor borrow anything of dollar or sentimental value. Years ago, I lent on several occasions, three items (two were tools) over a period of a year all three items were ruined and no attempt was made to replace or even apologize. I'd feel terrible and obligated to make good on an item that I might borrow, that's why I don't go there! Borrowing an expensive camera for a trip is IMHO asking for trouble, ie you trip and fall, someone does a grab and run with the equipment. That's my two cents
  3. It's always a risk to use unknown equipment on a project that counts - that's one part of the story. The other is - are you willing to replace the camera and/or lens(es) in case something does happen?
    For myself, I know the answer to that question - there is simply no way I would take $5K of someone's camera equipment on a trip and a hike like you describe.
  4. I feel as Paul does on this. If it were a very good friend, or my brother, I might take him up on the offer; but only with a clear agreement on liability.
    Would your homeowner's insurance cover loss or damage? That might tip the scales.
  5. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I would at least leave the 14-24mm/f2.8 home. IMO it is too wide on an FX body for landscape photography and its front element is too vulnerable on a rugged trip. You may need wider than 24mm, but I would much rather get that from a 17-35mm/f2.8 or 16-35mm/f4.
    Otherwise, your biggest risk is that you fall in love with the D700 and 24-70 and want to get one yourself. :)
  6. Borrowing or lending camera equipment - bad idea!
  7. Made me think of being given an H2 for the first time to go out and shoot. I carried the bag and all that they gave at the photo store and assumed there would be an instruction book there--but after 30 years shooting every format, including all the other Hasselblads, I figured I wouldn't need it. Before I got a shot off, I was trying to figure out something, probably something someone else had programmed into it--how to undue it. I pulled out the instruction manual--a CD and I was in the field! I ended up making several phone calls to my rep asking how to do this or that!
    Your IQ will be fine if you get off any shots............
    I prefer renting to borrowing and don't lend, gets rid of all the emotional baggage with any of it.
  8. He offers because he is a friend. You politely refuse because you are his friend.
  9. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Whether it is a good idea to borrow and lend camera equipment between friends is entirely up to you and your friend. Generally speaking, I tend to agree that I would avoid it as much as I can, but your relationship may be different.
    One item I try not to loan to other people is cars, because there is the accident and liability issue involved. For cameras, worst comes to worst, you just buy your friend a new one; that is costly but not the end of the world. If someone borrows your car and gets into a fatal accident, that will be very messy.
  10. Apart from the relationship issues, I'm not sure a D700 would be that great an advantage for this type of work. I would be thinking about pano equipment to get more resolution. Or better yet, do you have a co-worker who has medium format or 4x5 equipment?
  11. I wouldn't borrow it unless I was prepared to replace it immediately if something happened to it. In fact I still wouldn't borrow it.
  12. Although basic operation of a D700 isn't that tough, four days isn't a lot of time to get used to a new camera's features either, especially if fine art is the goal. I've read a TON of threads here at from folks asking for advice about getting a new camera right before a trip/wedding/etc. IMO, that virtually guarantees at least some missed/blown shots and a buncha stress at the wrong times.
    To me, the liability for the gear would be another strike against borrowing it. OTOH, I have that camera and those lenses, and I'd take 'em, but then I'm very familiar with them and I've already paid for them. As far as IQ goes, Galen Rowell did pretty well with 35mm film and cheap-ish lenses.
    A fun thing to do might be to borrow his gear, leave it at home, and shoot the trip with your gear. When you get back, give him a nice print and tell him thanks. Good luck on your trip.
  13. If you only "sort of" know what you are doing with a D80, you probably aren't going to improve your results much with a more sophisticated camera. Plus, as others have pointed out, you better be prepared to replace it if you break it. Your D80, if handled properly, will do an excellent job--plus it's a lot lighter.
  14. Hi all,
    And thanks for the comments. Better to hurt my colleague's feelings by not accepting his offer, than to deal with something serious like loss of equipment. The Blackwater Falls area is quite rocky and slippery on the side streams and going for a spill is not unheard of. I do feel confident with the D80, and know the menu system. Shun is right, if I handled the D700/24-70 I'll want one - better to shell out $4,000 for my own camera, than to replace one that isn't mine.
  15. He must be a very good friend to be offering, and personally, I think he's nuts. Thats my view for that aspect. From the other point of view, yes, dump the FE and go with the D700. If you already use a D80 and understand it and digital photogrphy, then useing the D700 should be no problem. Once its set up you don't need to be fiddling with the menu.
  16. Your D80 is very capable!! i know this as i have both bodies(D700 and D80).
    Take your own gear, be confident and explore, have fun, more importantly, BRING A GOOD TRIPOD!
  17. Gene, you mentioned "side canyons" in reference to the Blackwater Falls area. To be honest, I've frequented that area for decades, and I don't think I've ever once heard that term applied to that area. There are certainly are side creeks that feed into the Blackwater, but at least the ones that I've seen could hardly be called "canyons". I'm curious -- do you have a link or a citation to someone who describes these as side canyons?
    Tom M
    PS - I agree with most of the other posters: I would *never* borrow equipment of that value. If you would hurt your friend's feelings by not accepting his offer, my suggestion would be similar to DB Cooper's suggestion to borrow your friend's equipment but then leave it at home. If you are curious about the d700, borrow your friend's, but also rent one (take the insurance) and take that one on your trip, not your friend's.
  18. bottom line to me is that the camera you bring may be the least crucial part of the arsenal -- all the other things in the bag will be critical to photographic success. cameras have gotten better and better, to be sure, and it's a pity our skills haven't kept pace with the technology for the most part. good lenses, good support, batteries, memory cards, filters and the rest -- this camera fantasy is simply a distraction from the real matter at hand...
  19. Apart from it probably not being a good idea to lend his gear, if you are familiar with your current gear, I see no reason why you shouldn't be able to capture great shots with them. Fine art pictures of landscapes, say tripod in my book, so there is no need for high ISO capabilities of the D700, yes your friend has better glass, but if you stop down a bit, it would be very difficult to notice the differences. Only if you want postersize enlargements, you will run into the limitations of the D80. Otherwise, trust in your current gear and have fun.
    Shun is right about the risk of falling in love with the D700 and 24-70. But some risks offer great rewards!
  20. Just two weeks ago I carried my D700 w/23-85 on a five day rim to rim backpack of the Grand Canyon. Never a problem, good photos; but I've had this camera for over two years.
    If I were you I would decline the generous offer on the basis of lack of familiarity.
  21. Tom,
    Shay's Run and Douglas Falls. I intend to hike through all four falls on Shays Run. Kevin Adams, Waterfalls of Virginia and West Virginia, lists the hike as difficult to very difficult. It's a matter of terminology - here in South Texas, we'd call it an arroyo or "little canyon," up north I guess it's called a stream or run. I'll be there Sat & Sun if you want to hook up and do some shooting.
  22. The main issue here (to me) is not so much should you borrow a camera from a friend, but do you really want to take an unfamiliar piece of equipment on a trip like this? I think I would stick with the equipment I was using as opposed to having no time to familiarize with new stuff.
    And anyway, that's some pretty rugged terrain your talking about - if you fall on the rocks and destroy the D700, are you out a friend as well as a lot of money?
  23. I would not take the offer. The liability for the camera and the unfamiliar equipment is my main concern. Just IMHO
  24. You really can use the D700 as if it were an FE2. It will work well with the lenses you're already using. Just set it to
    capture 14 bit raw images, and use it like it's a big FE2.
  25. Hi Gene - Shays Run is indeed quite nice. The terminology of these features certainly does vary. I think you nailed it with terms such as "run" or "stream". "Creek" or "hollow" are also used a lot in WVA. I think that "arroyo" is quite accurate, but few folks in that area would know what it means.
    I must confess to being a bit persnickety when it comes to the often exaggerated claims by locals about their particular eastern "canyon". My favorite such hyperbole is probably "Grand Canyon of the East" in Lechworth Park in western NYS. It's a nice place, but you're not going to come away from it with images such as Curt W's (in this thread). ;-)
    Anyway, thanks for the offer to meet up. I would love to take you up on it, but unfortunately, my brother is in the hospital in serious condition and I need to stay around DC. I do hope you have a wonderful trip. You can't go wrong in that part of WVA.
    Best regards,
    Tom M
  26. I would go for it.
    Doesn't take a lot of time to familiarize yourself with the D700. I would also leave the 14-24mm behind, and just take the 24-70mm.
  27. Let me put it this way, I own a D80 and a D300. I wouldn't even consider taking my own D300 into and environment like that. It is too heavy, too expensive to risk, and in daylight conditions the D80 is just as good.
  28. I personally would thank my friend and decline,you are more exp.with your own gear & its yours ,do you really need the responsibility of someone elses,gear when your focus shoud be on imaging and enjoying yourself
  29. bms


    I think there are two basic questions.
    1) would you borrow your friends gear (I would probably not offer if I were in his/her position), but if that is a truly honest offer, consider it
    2) Will a D700 12 MP get you better results than a D80 at 10 MP. I think if you shoot RAW near base ISO the answer probably is "not much", especially if you carry a tripod. As for 24-70 vs 16-85, that maybe different. IF you want to tale the offer, consider just taking the lens(es). If they fall into a canyon (or whatever they are), at least you "save" $2400 for the D700...
    A third thing probably is to consider the weight.... not unsubstantial. I don't get to hike much these days, but I always try to travel with the lightest gear possible....
    My 2 cents
  30. Just make sure it's insured against theft and breakage. Policies like this are fairly inexpensive. The only caution I would have is about the weight of the gear.
  31. A different idea. If camera damage is a concern on rugged terrain, leave the D80 (and the D700) and pick up an F3HP for a couple of hundred dollars and shoot with fine-grained film. If a camera goes into the canyon, not a great loss. If all turns out well you can make scans of outstanding quality. One less thing to worry about on a challenging hike.
  32. I would only take the D700 if you are ready to buy a D700 replacement.
  33. My motto is " Never use what's not yours".

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