D700 vs D3 - how to choose?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by roypanos, Nov 4, 2008.

  1. I'm currently a D200 user and I've been concentrating for about a year on interior VR panoramas - using the 10.5
    FE. In dimly lit environments. Like most users, I believe, I'm not happy about the performance of the camera
    above iso 200 so I'm having to use very long exposures some of the time (HDR bracketing). Before anyone points it
    out for me, I'm aware that the application of VR is almost exclusively for the web, so there are many limitations
    with regard to IQ at the point of use, nonetheless I like to start out with the best results I gan get - and
    there are plenty of non-VR photographic opportunities that interest me too. This winter I'm planning to put a
    website together and I have some ideas about how to "monetarise" my activities. We'll see.

    Now I don't claim to be a great photographer and currently I'm not earning a cent - either from photography or
    anything else. I'm a full-time carer which limits me in all kinds of ways. So uneccessary expenditure is not a
    great idea. On the other hand I don't have expensive habits so there's not a lot competing with photography for
    my disposable, erm, outgoings... Which brings me to the point. I've been reading up lots and lots on the D3, and
    to a lesser extent the D700. My thinking is that I'd like to set myself up with equipment which is liable to give
    professional results for a long time. The way things are going I may not be able to lay out large sums of money
    in the future so I'm thinking about doing it now, before I become... too poor? too cautious?

    Clearly going to FX format entails great deal of additional expenditure. Apart from an 85mm 1.8 I have mostly DX
    lenses. I also have a number of AI/S lenses but nothing of great distinction. And my age makes auto-focus even more
    appealing. Using the DX lenses on a 5MP cropped D3 sensor doesn't appeal either. Likewise I have a Nodal Ninja
    panhead which struggles to support my existing camera, so I don't imagine it could cope very well with a D3 -
    even without a lens, never mind the 14-24 F2.8.

    My first question is really about the high ISO performance of the D700 against the D3. Is it significantly
    poorer? I simply don't recall reading a succinct analysis of this. What I do remember is that I've nowhere seen
    any significant criticism of the D3. It sounds absolutely superb in all respects. Speculation about the release
    of a high resolution model to compete against Canon's flagship makes me wonder if the D3 will come down
    significantly in price if/when this happens. Anyone like to speculate about Nikon's likely marketing approach?
    Assuming that models tend to get replaced every few years, how long does anyone think the D3 is liable to remain
    a current model?

    I'll leave lenses aside for the moment. In a nutshell, price considerations excepted, what is the critical factor
    for a choice between the D700 and D3? And someone's bound to suggest the D300, but it seems to me to not be a
    significantly large step upward.

    Thanks
    Roy
     
  2. The D700 has the same image quality and auto-focus as the D3 in a smaller, less expensive package. Same image sensor chip -- there are plenty of comparisons online.. Bottom line: unless you are a pro sports photographer or camera abusive photo journalist the D700 is more than enough camera for you.
     
  3. To the best of my knowledge, the ISO performance between the D3 and D700 is almost identical or simply identical.
    The only difference I have seen on some tests (almost imperceptible, thought) is dued to a very slight underexposure
    on the D700 (less than 1/3 stop) compared to the D3 (could be unit issues).
     
  4. I have the D200, D300 and now the D700. I love the D700 for my night time action sports with no flash in high school stadiums. Before I bought, I asked on of the retired NIKON School Teachers, if it was your money and for your use, which one would you take home...he told me - D700.
     
  5. The image quality between the D3 and the D700 is absolutely identical. And that includes the noise control, which is
    unbelievable up to 3200 ISO, and even 6400, in BOTH cameras. The D3 is sturdier, bigger, a tiny bit more reactive
    (pressing the shutter release is an experience in itself, it's so sudden and vibration-free. You feel like you just caress the
    button), and some people swear by the little additional screen at the back for settings such as WB and ISO. I don't. I
    LOVE the big LCD Info screen of the D700, with so many settings clearly visible and accessible at the touch of a button.
    The D700 has a built-in flash, wich many «pros» scoff at as «non-pro-like», but it's very useful for triggering remote strobes in Commander
    mode. If you go out a lot with your camera, the D700 is obviously smaller and lighter. Unless you add the MB-D10 power
    grip. It may not be absolutely as water-resistant as the bigger one, but it is supposed to be sealed. And some people
    don't like the sliding CF card ONE-slot cover (the D3 has a latch and spring affair, and two slots.)

    Again, image quality is exactly the same. The D3 is a fabulous camera. The D700 also, in a more modest package.

    My advice? Go with the D700, save the additional money and get yourself the wonderful Nikon 24-70/2.8 FX zoom. You
    won't look back.
     
  6. As mentioned above, the D700 has the same sensor etc. and thus the same image quality as the D3. If shooting a lot more frames per second is a high priority for you, that's where the D3 starts to pull away. Wondering why you aren't considering the D300? I am a night photographer and it has high ISO performance plenty good enough even for me. Another thing to consider is if you are stitching shots together, I'm thinking the 10.5mm is about the last lens I'd pick, because of distortion. Almost always the lens is the single most important thing. Are you aware of the new Nikon 24mm f2.8 PCE (tilt/shift) lens? If I were doing the shots you seem to be talking about, that would have been the very first thing I would have bought. I think a D300 plus 24mm PCE would do what you want and you would have money left over to develop your website.


    Kent in SD
     
  7. For tripod mounted HDR interiors for the web I don't see how you can justify the expense. The only thing you
    will gain is shorter exposure times if you want to up the ISO to get there. Think about maybe spending part of
    the $1000s on advertising to get your business up and running, and start making money instead of spending it.
    Just a thought. I feel for you, though. I'm in a similar situation trying to get a business going. I have to
    constantly remind myself that it's ridiculous to spend money on gear that "I need" for my "buisiness" when I'm
    not even making any money at it in the first place.
     
  8. They both pretty much the same camera... except for the fact that the D700 has a built-in sensor cleaner and the D3 has
    none. I'm going for the D700.

    Besides, I cannot afford the D3. I already have an F5, so I hope getting a used D3 some time (or years) later. You could do that too.
     
  9. My first question is really about the high ISO performance of the D700 against the D3. Is it significantly poorer?
    I am now shooting with a D700 as well as a D3 and have done side by side , real world A/B testing. The answer is that there is virtually no difference. if you shoot 14 bit per channel NEFs and, in my experience, process them in the Adobe Raw Converter (the current version as used in Adobe photoshop Lightroom 2.1) you get access to an extraordinary dynamic range. Dpreview.com says 12 stops -- I don't have there measuring facilities but yesterday i did some real world test shooting of a silver painted fire hydrant against a very dark background.
    By using the Active D-Lighting feature set to high, and through careful use of the recovery and fill light sliders as wel as settign the black clipping point to 3 (the default is 5) I was able to get full detail from what I thought were specular highlights to the deep shadows in the fabric barrier behind it. I'll have more about this in my blog -- http://vener-photo.blogspot.com/ -- later today.
    when this happens. Anyone like to speculate about Nikon's likely marketing approach? Assuming that models tend to get replaced every few years, how long does anyone think the D3 is liable to remain a current model? I think the D3 is going to a very viable camera for sometime to come. Beyond that we are in the land of speculating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin stuck into the mote in the eye of a camel that is trying to pass through a needle's eye.
     
  10. "what is the critical factor for a choice between the D700 and D3?"

    Mainly dual memory card slots but there are other subtle differences. If you plan on getting the battery grip,
    extra battery and charger, I would suggest looking for a great deal on a D3 - the price difference will be minimal.

    I also suggest you give DXO version 5.3 a try if you shoot RAW. Their software can give incredible results for
    high ISO images on the D200 that may enable you to get the results you are looking for without the huge expenditure.

    I am not sure if you are aware that they dynamic range of the D700/D3 is about the same as the D200.

    Frankly since you are taking stationery subjects, a good tripod and patience may be all you really need. While
    high ISO images look great on the D700/D3, low ISO images still look better than high ISO images even on the
    D700/D3. For best IQ, you will still want to shoot at low ISO and the IQ will be pretty much the same as the D200.
     
  11. I have both the D3 (bought at the end of 2007) and the D700 (bought 2 months ago) and since the D700 has arrived the D3 has stayed in the cupboard. For what I photograph (landscapes/travel predominantly) the D700 does everything I need it to and more. Put another way, if the D700 had come out first I would never have bothered with the D3. The only advantage, for my purposes, that the D3 confers is probably its handling of adverse weather but I think the D700 is probably already good enough as I never have/need/want to photograph in a deluge as sports/paparazzi photogs have to.

    In fact I may well sell the D3 and just wait for the D3X whenever that shows up.

    From an image quality point of view they are essentially identical and so if there is some feature about the D3 that you absolutely require then the D700 will do you just fine.
     
  12. "I am not sure if you are aware that they dynamic range of the D700/D3 is about the same as the D200. "

    Definitely not true.
     
  13. The only slightly bothersome thing I find with the D700 is the 95% viewfinder but it is pretty minor.
     
  14. Thank you everyone. That's just about conclusive I think. Something that can seldom be said where discussion of
    photographic hardware is concerned! Impressive in fact. It's hard to discount comments from people who own both
    cameras!

    I have to confess that in consequence of previous professions I am always tempted by robustness and weather
    proofing. I used to be a part owner of Caterpillar hardware... But to be honest I don't absolutely need it.
    I pretty well wrecked a point-and-shoot with water (a Canon Powershot Pro 1) so I'm paranoid. Having said that
    I don't forsee taking an FX SLR fishing with me.

    One small point, Kent wrote:
    "the 10.5mm is about the last lens I'd pick, because of distortion."
    I did specify VR panoramics, but not spherical VR panoramics - which is what I'm doing. For this the 10.5 (X
    1.523 on DX cameras of course) is about the longest lens that's practicable. Most people prefer the Sigma 8mm
    circular FE which enables 4 shots round, whereas the Nikkor requires six (a total of ten shots times the number
    in the bracket - usually 7). The Nikkor is more generally useful
    though, even if when defished (I use PTGui because I have
    it) it produces unpleasant results. It looks better as an undisguised fisheye.

    Which brings me to lenses. The Nikkor 14-24mm has had amazing reviews, and would be useable for both sphericals
    and general ultra-wide use. Buying a D700 would effectively enable me to buy this "free". Ho ho. I was then
    thinking about the 24-120 as a general purpose walk-round lens. It hasn't had the best of reviews though.

    On the D300, my thinking is simply that it's sure to be replaced relatively soon - this market sector gets
    "refreshed" far more than the pro end. And if I'm buying something to last, I'd prefer to have the best I can (or
    cannot!) afford.

    Again, thanks for so many considered and helpful responses. I really appreciate the time taken.

    Roy
     
  15. Ellis, according to DPreview, the D200 has a range of 8.2 stops and the D3 comes in at 8.5 stops.

    "There's a not a lot of difference between any of the cameras near the top of the market; all offer somewhere in
    the 8.5 stops region"

    According to their testing, the best they could achieve (using extreme ACR settings) was just over 11 stops with
    the D200 and 12 stops with the D3.

    My own testing indicates that both cameras will give pretty much the same IQ and dynamic range at low ISO (this
    applies to pretty much all recent Nikon cameras).
     
  16. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The D700 is approximately $1900 to $2000 cheaper than the D3. Even though you buy the MB-D10 grip ($240) and
    the expensive EL-EL4a batteries and charger, the D700 is still the much cheaper option.
    If I didn't aleady have EN-EL4 batteries and charger from the D2X, I would just use rechargable AA batteries to get 8
    frames/sec and avoide the very expensive EN-EL4(a) batteries.

    Unless you somehow must use dual CF cards or you are a big time sports shooter, the D700 is the easy choice:
    you get mostly the same camera for $2K less and you don't have to deal with the big and heavy D3 all the time.
    Each one has a few minor features the other doesn't have; that is just a wash.

    Another word of caustion about the 14-24mm/f2.8. I bought a month ago knowing that it is a very limited lens. I went
    on two trips in the last month: one week in New England and one week in Mexico. As expected, the 17-35mm/f2.8 is
    by far the more useful lens between the two. The 14-24 is great for certain building interior shots, but 14mm is simply
    too wide in most situations and its long end 24mm is also limited. The fact that you cannot use filters is too a major
    limitation.

    P.S. The D3/D700 should have much better dynamic range than the D200 because of the far bigger photosites in the
    12MP FX sensor.
     
  17. Shun Cheung said:
    "The 14-24 is great for certain building interior shots, but 14mm is simply too wide in most situations and its long end 24mm is also limited."
    My thinking is that it's around the same price as the Nikon 14mm lens and therefore more generally useful. It's basically for spherical shooting. Of course I could buy the Sigma 8mm circular FE and save lot of money.
     
  18. In my experience the dynamic range of the D3/D700 is far superior to that of the D200. This is from shooting 14-bit
    uncompressed NEF. Especially obvious is the difference in DR when you shoot at ISO 800-3200.

    AFAIK dpreview.com report the dynamic range using JPG, which has really nothing to do with the real dynamic range of
    the camera. I can't for the life of me understand why they do this; anyone who cares a lot about dynamic range isn't
    going to be shooting JPG with this camera.

    I just read on dpreview that in some countries in Europe, Nikon reports the 17-35 as discontinued. It's still on the Finnish
    website, but they might just have some stock left. I can understand that Nikon pushes the 14-24; it really shows the FX cameras in good
    light. Lhe lowest price of
    that I've found is now around 1200€, which is great (some places here sell it for 1800€), but I'm reluctant because of its
    handling and also the fact that I don't have the visual intelligence to cope with 14 mm on FX/35mm.
     
  19. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Roy, 14mm is simply extremely wide on the FX frame and therefore its usefulness is very limited.
    I had an opportunity to test a sample 14-24 on loan from Nikon so that I knew its pros and cons very well, but I use a lot of extreme lenses on both ends so that I got one anyway. For most people, the 17-35 is a much much better choice. You could be an exception (just like me), but that is a decision you need to make for yourself.
     
  20. Some comments on dynamic range - according to dpreview, the D3 encodes more dynamic range in the out-of-the-box JPEGs. JPEGs from the D700 are made to look more attractive ("punchy"), and are some 5 stops lower than what wold be possible from the RAWs. Wih RAW shooting, this difference (D3 vs. D700) does of course disappear. D-Lighting can occasionally produce halo-artefacts. The D200 can be expected to have less DR encoded in RAW because it uses 12bits (versus 14bits for D3/D700).
     
  21. Shun,
    You keep steering people away from the state of the art 14-24 and toward the perhaps to be discontinued 17-35.
    To proclaim that 14 mm is too wide and that the 17-35 is more useful is a subjective call. For YOU it's too wide.
    YOU find the 17-35 more useful.

    I used to have a Sigma 10-20 for my D200 (15-30 equiv) ...used it at 10 very frequently. Never thought to myself,
    "Gee, I wish this wide angle lens wasn't so wide."

    It is an objective fact that if you often use a polarizer, grad filters and work in an environment where a
    protective front filter is needed, the 14-24 comes up short.

    Now that I have a D700 I have discussed replacing the 17-35 I used to have with Bjorn Rorslett: His advice, based
    on optical performance: Get the 14-24. No question.
     
  22. "...according to DPreview, the D200 has a range of 8.2 stops and the D3 comes in at 8.5 stops. "
    That is for 8 bit per channel jpegs and is about what one would expect for a JPEG.
    "According to their testing, the best they could achieve (using extreme ACR settings) was just over 11 stops with the D200 and 12 stops with the D3. "
    Using the auto tone feature i n ACR / Lightroom - which is what dpreview.com does to test actual dynamic range with their Stouffer target shooting --is hardly extreme, and 12 stops is double the dynamic signal to noise range of 11 stops . You see the advantage of the D3 /D700 imaging system over the D200 or even over the D300 at the top of the range.
    Translation: Difference is detail and in the D3 /D700 highlights there's more recorded tonal differences in the upper highlights before the difference in tones becomes imperceptible. This can be very important in architectural work like Roy is asking about, Even if you take that 14 bit per channel NEF in a large color space (either lightroom's "Melissa" version of Pro Photo RGB or Pro Photo itself and reduce down to an 8 bit per channel JPEG for delivery to a client. It is simply a matter of starting with more data to start with.
     
  23. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Joe, there are very good reasons that I steer people to the 17-35, which is not discontinued as far as I know, and it is
    widely available as a new lens anyway at least in the US. As I said, that is your individual decision, but I believe that for the majority of the people (I am talking about perhaps 80% to 90% of us), the 17-35mm is a far more useful range than
    the 14-24, and most people do use polarizers, which is impossible on the 14-24.

    As Ellis Vener pointed out a few years ago, back in the film days, few people needed anything wider than 20mm.
    Therefore, even 17mm is very wide already. If you have some special needs as I do, the 14-24 is an excellent lens,
    but before I got the 14-24, I already had (and still have) the 17-35 to cover 95% of my wide angle needs; I use the 14-
    24 in some rare occasions just like I use the 10.5mm fisheye in some rare occasions. If someone gets the 14-24
    without the more useful 17-35 (or something equivalent to the 17-35), again I can't speak for your needs, but most likely that is a big mistake.

    P.S. I don't know what Bjorn Rorslett said, to me, the 17-35 is clearly the better lens for most people.
    The greatest optical performance at the wrong focal length is not very useful. I have a lot of respect for Bjorn, but his recommendations are not always right, especially when he disagrees with me.
     
  24. bmm

    bmm

    "As Ellis Vener pointed out a few years ago, back in the film days, few people needed anything wider than 20mm."


    I am unsurprised to hear this and it continually bemuses me that there is so much intellectual energy put into the 14-
    24 vs 17-35 pro zoom debate as it relates to FX bodies.


    I will readily admit to not being a user of extra-wide (the widest my lineup goes is 18mm on DX, and most often I limit
    myself to a 35 prime on DX - effectively 50mm once the crop factor is factored in).


    As such I would have thought that for 80% of fellow photographers the wide end of the 24-70 would have been plenty
    wide enough in FX format, and that the need to go beyond this amazingly useful and high-quality lens is really
    for 'niche' applications and for a sub-set of photographers. I certainly cannot imagine myself feeling limited very often
    by a wide end of 24mm on FX - indeed for my style I would regard 24mm as very, very wide indeed!


    Of course, this is just my 2 cents worth and based on my own preferences. But is the question really 14-24 vs 17-
    35? Or should we occasionally also be asking people whether they really need to look beyond the 24-70 as a great
    fast zoom that - lets face it - when mounted on FX goes plenty wide enough...
     
  25. I agree with Bernard, the 24-70 range is great and 24mm is already very wide for all but extreme effects and
    interior photography. To me, it is difficult to find adequate foreground for wider lenses and make it look
    natural. At 24mm I already have to use shift to reduce the empty space in the foreground in architectural shots.
    A wider lens with no shift option has, to me, low appeal - I know from experience that I would hardly use wider
    lenses. For people photos I think 28mm already feels very dynamic.

    But times and people's preferences change. I can see that a lot of people now like/use the extreme converging
    vertical effect in wide angle pictures and deliberately distort people to add a sense of artificial dynamics to
    the scene. I prefer an approach in which people are photographed to look natural and at their best, proportions
    are not deliberately distorted and verticals do not converge except, when occasionally used for dramatic effect.

    There are successful users of such lenses, of course, just that they aren't as many good superwide angle pictures
    as the discussion on these lenses would seem to suggest.
     
  26. "AFAIK dpreview.com report the dynamic range using JPG, which has really nothing to do with the real dynamic
    range of the camera. I can't for the life of me understand why they do this; anyone who cares a lot about dynamic
    range isn't going to be shooting JPG with this camera. "

    Unless, of course, their name happens to have the initials "K.R."...

    And secondly, most of the comment about the 14-24 mm lens simply ignores what I said : to repeat, I am mostly
    shooting SPHERICAL PANORAMAS! Maybe yelling will get it across. So I need a lens <15mm in order to accomplish the
    equatorial sequence with six shots (to simplify the issue). As I said previously, most people favour the Sigma
    8mm circular fisheye, which accomplishes this in four shots. Much cheaper, but only useful for this purpose and
    wasting lots of the sensor.

    I am already using what is effectively a 15mm lens (10.5 FE on a DX body) so I'm well aware of the FOV - I'm
    looking at it daily. The prospect of having the same maximum FOV (minus most of the barrel distortion, ca, etc of
    the 10.5 - which many people "shave" to remove the vestigial lens hood and use as a circular FE on FF bodies,
    btw) plus the capacity to use it at up to 24mm, makes this a very useful lens FOR ME! Particularly when it costs
    only about £100 more than the 14mm 2.8 which has a generally worse performance in most respects as far as I can
    recall.

    Thread creep, but interesting anyway. Thanks everyone.
     
  27. "...according to DPreview, the D200 has a range of 8.2 stops and the D3 comes in at 8.5 stops. "
    "That is for 8 bit per channel jpegs and is about what one would expect for a JPEG."

    Technical correction: You can *show* more than 8 stops in a JPEG, despite of having 8 bits. Fuji's S5 can show
    some 12 stops (!) in a JPEG. Since sensors record information usually with more than 8 bits (12bits or 14bits),
    raw files actually *encode* this dynamic range (which in turn depends on [often correlated] factors, e.g. pixel
    size or noise). Now, in order to show the full 14 bits of a raw file on an ordinary monitor (shows some 8 bits
    of tonal range), or to write it to a JPEG, you need a clever algorithm which maps the 14 bits to 8 bits ("tone
    mapping algorithm"). "Clever" refers to constraints such as not clipping highlights, or not amplify noise in
    darker zones. Furthermore, care is needed to avoid contrast inversion effects or other artefacts, such as halos.
     
  28. bmm

    bmm

    Ilkka - thanks for your support; I was a touch shy of putting up my opinion as I am an amateur, relatively new and also I know the current trend towards really wide with many assuming that they need an option in the teens. But given my current style 24-70 would be fine for me on DX, let alone on FX... I say this humbly though as I know how it goes, I might get something wide to play around with at Christmas bonus time and find myself eating my words. Such is the fate of a "newbie" with an opinion.

    Actually while I'm responding to you, my 180/2.8 came just last month and I wanted to say thanks as you and a few others really encouraged me to think about this lens. After a few weekends with it I could not be happier.
     
  29. "I am already using what is effectively a 15mm lens (10.5 FE on a DX body) so I'm well aware of the FOV - I'm
    looking at it daily."

    What might work better for you on a 24x36mm format camera (Nikon FX) is a 16mm f/2.8 AF-Nikkor. Like the 10.5mm
    Nikkor on the DX format Nikons this is a "full frame fisheye -- meaning across the diagonal you've 180 degrees of
    coverage.

    on the DX (APS-C) format I'd also look at the Sunex Superfisheye. This is a circular fisheye and the diagonal
    coverage of the iamge circle is 220 degrees. Sunex also sells a rotator tripod mount for this lens and you can
    do a 360 spherical in 3 shots. LAst time I spoke with Snex they were considering making a version for full
    frame (i.e. 24x36mm format) cameras.
     
  30. Back to the OP, the D700 is your choice for sure. The make or break feature of the D3, as I see it, is the voice annotation, which many sports and pj shooters cannot function without. The sensors are identical according to most reports.

    I was about to give you some long-winded advice about the virtues of FX, but then I re-read your post. If you're already doing HDR bracketing, I honestly don't see what a new camera is going to get you, except maybe some convenience (fewer shots/less bracketing required). The 14-24 would be a step up in IQ from the fisheye, as you've noted, but also as you've noted this is pretty moot at web sizes. Maybe you should just concentrate on shooting?

    As an aside, a prolific artist in my area still shoots with an old model coolpix. He produces wall-sized prints from this on an epson 9800, and the results sort of defy logic. They are pretty stunning. The reverse of the popular Ansel quote I guess: each a fuzzy image of a very sharp, well thought out concept.
     
  31. erik_christensen|3

    erik_christensen|3 Self-employed

    I have a D300 and have just been offered:
    D700 at USD 2,450 brand new
    D3 at USD 3,600 demo/used with 6862 actuations
    I intend to buy the 24-70 f/2.8 now together with one of the FF, but are in doubt if I get USD 1,100 more value with the D3 or I shoul go for D700 and add a 17-35 or 70-200 f/2.8 after new year or Sigma 10-20 now.
    I am not a frequent sportsphotographer, however, it happens that I have a camera along during raining season.
     
  32. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Erik, a brand new D3 with Nikon USA warranty is about $4200 at B&H. $3600 is not even 20% off the new price, although that items appears to be lightly used. I don't think it is that great a price.

    The real question is regardless of price, do you prefer the bigger D3 or the smaller D700? Other than a few features such as the dual CF card, 100% viewfinder, built-in vertical grip & voice recording on the D3 and sensor cleaning, pop up flash on the D700, the two are very similar cameras.
    I went with the D700 for the lower price and the smaller body.
     
  33. I do not know what everyone else has said to you, but to put in my two-cents from a review that I did for a photography group...

    Ok, so, you need a new camera and you are a Nikon owner. You can get the fabulous Nikon D3 for a whopping 4.5k or you can buy the next step down for only (I know that it is still a lot of money..but) 2.5k. The question is, "is the D700 really a step down and if it is, how much of a step down is it?" Well, the D700 IS NOT much of a step down from the D3 except for the price, off course. In the following we will discover the true differences between the D3 and D700.

    1. Price.
    This is the BIGGEST difference. By going with the D700 you will save 2000 big ones. Imagine what you can buy with that?!

    2. Body
    This is the second largest difference. The body of the D3 is better. It is better sealed and it also has a built in vertical grip. The actual dimensions of the D3 are slightly larger too. Comparing the D3 to the D700 with a vertical grip, the D700 is slightly taller and the D3 slightly wider. However, even if you like a hefty camera, there is not enough of a difference to justify the D3.

    3. Pentaprism
    This is an unfortunate difference and for some may qualify as the 2nd largest difference. The pentaprisms are different between the D3 and the D700. The D3 has 100% viewfinder coverage and the D700 has a 95% viewfinder coverage. This difference is truly small but it is still an unfortunate difference and in my opinion, a significant one. This still, though, does NOT justify the extra 2 grand.

    4. Compact Flash Slots
    The D3 has a very convenient dual compact flash capability. The D700...does not. This is the most significant difference to me and I pondered the thought of it making the D3 worth the extra money but I decided that 2k for me is way too much extra to have dual CF slots.

    5. Continuous Drive and Buffer
    The last difference between the D3 and the D700 is the speed of the continuous drive and the buffer size. The D3 has a 1fps advantage over the D700 with a vertical grip attached and a 4fps advantage with no vertical grip attached. The buffer size is much smaller in the D700 compared to the D3. However, unless you are doing sports this is not a good reason to upgrade to the D3.

    All-in-all, the D3 and the D700 have very few differences. If you are a sports photographer then chances are you need the D3, but if you aren't then there is no reason to upgrade to the D3. The best thing to do is to buy more glass with the money you saved. There are a few differences between the two cameras that I did not mention and most of them actually give the D700 an upper hand somewhat. The D700 has a sensor cleaner and the D3 does not. Is this very beneficial? No, I do not think so. But, it is a nice feature to have. The D700 also has an upgraded Virtual Horizon feature. Whats the difference between the D3 v. horizon and the D700? I have no idea. Another difference between the two cameras is that the D700 has an upgraded DX-lens viewfinder. What is the difference? Once again, I do not know and I expect that it is rather small. Kinda like Mac OS X 10.5.04 vs. Mac OS X 10.5.09. Small, right? Yes!

    As a note, I want to say that I have heard a couple rumors that the D3 has slightly better quality than the D700. However, I do not see how this is possible. The D3 and the D700 use the same sensor, the same auto-focus engine, the same metering system, the same everything that pertains to image quality. So, as far as I am concerned, the rumors are debunked!
     
  34. Bottom line: unless you are a pro sports photographer or camera abusive photo journalist the D700 is more than enough camera for you.
    My ? is this.. I am in the same range to decide between the 2. I do wedding and still life plus portraiture. So for me is the D700 good enough and pro enough for weddings in low light and high ISO settings ( I have shot indoor and at nite with weddings and portraits are outdoors and studio inside) or the D3 worth it for me to go that route.. I am currently using a D80.. so this is a big step up for me.. please need your help.. Thanks.. Oh and will I need to buy or upgrade lenses with the D3 or the D700?
     

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