Discussion in 'Nikon' started by sim_m, Nov 30, 2010.

  1. I am thinking of purchasing a D700, I know that probably next year would see an upgrade. But as it is now its already an excellent DSLR, do I need a probably higher pixel count, it is said that its a great low light performer. I wish to move up from Cropped sensor to obtain FF advantages. Can you please help me highlighting the advantages. I am interested in macro, portraits and stills. For use with 24-70 f/2.8, 105mm and 70-200mm f2.8.
    Thanks in advance.
  2. If you don't already know the advantages, why do you need FX? You have to ask yourself that. If you don't already know, then how do you know there ARE advantages for you?
    that said, if you are going to be able to afford that glass, it'll be a great camera, and I'd go for it. I only stay away from FX because I can't afford the great glass to put in front of it.
  3. I know of some advantages such as low light performance and better ISO performance. But wish to know more about it, ie what would I gain over DX.
  4. First it allows you to do major crops especially in macro work.​
    How so? It's a fairly low resolution camera. If anything, the higher pixel density of the DX models should give them an advantage over the D700 in this respect.
  5. Almost 6 months ago, I upgraded from d300 to d700. I am an amateur photographer, had already 50 mm 1.8; 85 mm 1.8, 70-300 ED and replaced my sigma 18-50 to nikon 28-105 after camera upgrade. Being an amateur; I may only share my subjective observations. For me what I lost as pixels does really not matter. What d700 have as pixels is enough for my needs. The ISO performance compared to d300 is excellent; I do not hessitate to take photos at 1600 ISO when it is really needed; and very much satisfied with the quality. I may say that just a few person can tell the difference at regular amateur prints or on a laptop screen. At low ISO's (e.g.200) the difference between an FX body is also visible on quality. Above issues are very important and big benefits for me so I am a happy and satisfied upgrader. BUT, you need to weigh those benefits with the extra money you need to pay and decide according to your priorities.
    The most important cons that you should consider is the telephoto range that you'll get with an FX body. If you plan to leave with the same lenses you have, you'll lose 1,5 times reach of your DX body. Consequently, you may need to have a new portrait lense. I am still hessitating to decide, whether my 85 mm was performing better on my D300 or not; and am thinking to trade it with a 105 mm to both serve my portrait needs with additional macro feature.
  6. For macros I would stick to DX. Typically more depth of field, and more magnification.
    Other than that, sorry, Peter is right, it is a bit weird. You want to upgrade for the advantages of FX, and next ask what the advantages of FX are.
    And equally right question is: what do you loose going to FX? FX isn't the end-all and be-all, it is another tool with other strong points, and other weak(er) points. It would help if you tried to ask far more specific for your use whether FX would be of added value. Else you get a lot more DxO Mark figures, which will tell you nothing about how a camera works for you and your style of photography.
  7. I don't find the image quality from the D700 to be much better than from the D300 frankly. Unless you're planning to shoot quite often at ISO 1600 and above, the D700 isn't really worth the money.
  8. You want to upgrade for the advantages of FX, and next ask what the advantages of FX are.​
    I only know of a few advantages in what I read, but don't know all other advantages that may be, that's why I asked.
  9. Advantages? Aside from the ones already covered, you get to enjoy a camera with a much larger viewfinder. And get a wider field of view. And smoother colors. And perhaps better white balance. And faster AF (than many bodies). And perhaps a few more features.
    Do you need more pixels? Probably not. More isn't always or necessarily better.
    The bottom line is that the D700 is a great body that you will enjoy for many years.
  10. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Sim, if you just want a D700, I would suggest to go ahead and get one. However, the way you are asking your question here is totally backward: you want a D700 and then want everybody to provide the reasoning; that does not make any sense at all.
    There is little doubt that the D700 will be replaced in 2011. When something newer and better becomes available, the desire to upgrade again will return in no time.
  11. Thanks everyone for your help.
    I read a review about the D700 and its advantages over DX format, such as better ISO, and better low light results, therefore I became interested in it. So I am asking users that have used it, and maybe they could highlight other advantages of it as an FX format over the DX. I thought its the best way to know more about it this way rather than from reviews.
  12. I don't find the image quality from the D700 to be much better than from the D300 frankly. Unless you're planning to shoot quite often at ISO 1600 and above, the D700 isn't really worth the money.​
    Unless you have some wide-angles you'd like to properly use.
  13. Emilio, I have the Nikon 10-24mm DX zoom, and it goes wide enough for me on my D300. I don't care to shoot any wider than that, so your argument doesn't work in my case. I also love the Nikon 10.5mm DX fisheye lens, which I hope to own again one day. It's a tiny little gem.
  14. Sorry David, I meant to say "full-frame wide-angles". My bad.
    Maybe the D700 it's not worth the money (I think it's a bit overpriced), but the other choice is to get a used 1st-gen Canon 5D and put a Nikon-F mount adapter on it. Obviously Nikon is taking advantage of that.
  15. Sim, I might have missed it, but what camera do you have today ?
    Something I got from a site this forum will not allow to be linked to.
    FX Advantages & Disadvantages

    The FX sensor format has many advantages, and some disadvantages. Which is best for you may be dictated by your shooting style an usual subject matter.

    • High Sensitivity

      As each physical pixel on an FX sensor is much larger than a pixel on an equivalent-megapixel DX sensor, the FX version has more area from which to capture light. This translates into a higher sensitivity, or, to put it another way — lower noise. Where the D700’s sensor is concerned, this means it outputs amazing high-ISO images far beyond those of DX and indeed other 35mm full-frame chips.
      Additionally, the larger light-gathering capability of an FX pixel also helps to improve dynamic range and allow for finer tonal graduations.
    • No crop factor

      As described above, the DX 1.5x “crop factor” means that what used to be wide angle is no longer quite so wide – eg. your 24mm becomes equivalent to a 36mm. With FX, this is no longer a problem – wides become properly wide again. Of course, this is somewhat mitigated by newer DX-only lenses such as Nikon’s own 12-24mm, but for many this is a great return to what we learnt photography with. If you mainly shoot telephoto – wildlife, perhaps – then the DX sensor may actually be a better choice for you, as it’s 1.5x crop factor brings you that much closer to your subject.
    • Large, bright viewfinder

      The FX sensor size means that a larger mirror is used, which in turn means that a larger viewfinder prism is used. This has the result that your view through the eyepeice is large, bright and detailed – which can be quite a revelation if you’re used to DX tunnel-vision!

    • Larger, more complex lenses

      As the image circle that is projected by DX lenses is smaller than that project by FX lenses, the DX versions can be made somewhat smaller and lighter. This isn’t always the case – the Nikkor AF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 DX lens is quite a beast – but is a valid consideration if you want a small, light package to carry.
    • Image Uniformity

      The FX sensor really does stress the lens being used. If you use an FX lens on a DX body, you’re just using the “sweet spot” in the centre of the lens. On FX, you’re also using the edges of the lens, which a never as sharp as the centre. This has been a problem recently, as people who snapped up the D3 found some corner issues with the pro Nikkor AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8 lens.
    The result of this is that the CMOS FX sensor used in the D700, and the D3 before it, became an instant classic. It blew the doors open for low-light and high-ISO photography that simply wasn’t possible with a DSLR before. In the past, Nikon had always lagged behind their main competitor Canon in the high-ISO stakes. With the D3 that changed overnight.
    some good reading
  16. I only stay away from FX because I can't afford the great glass to put in front of it.​
    If you don't need modern f/2.8 zoom lenses with vibration reduction, there are lots of inexpensive lenses that work beautifully on FX -- especially low resolution FX like the D700 and D3. The large pixels and fairly low resolution of a D700 let it work well with some lenses that are unimpressive on DX. The large bright viewfinder also lets you work easily with a huge variety of manual focus lenses, many of which are quite good for low prices.
  17. I believe the D700 has many drawbacks, the main one being that the viewfinder only shows you approx. 90% of what you get in the final image. Below is an example of an image I took with my D700. Note the obstruction in the top left corner of the image. It did not appear in the viewfinder when I composed the image. Nor did the bar at the lower left side of the image. Annoying to say the least! That was one major reason I decided to sell the D700 and go back to the D300. Any camera that touts itself to be a pro camera should have a 100% viewfinder or at least very close to that. Shooting film is one thing, the image gets cropped at printing or when the slide is mounted, but in digital I like to see the whole image in the viewfinder. I get this with the D300, not with the more expensive D700.
    The other reason I like the D300 better is that lenses are cheaper and smaller. I love the 16-85mm VR zoom, and the FX equivalent is the 24-120mm VR, which is a huge and expensive lens. I can't justify spending $2k on a lens as I'm not shooting for money. If I were a pro, I would consider it, but even then it's a lot cheaper to rent for the job.
    Also handling is better for me with the D300. The D700 is a little too chunky for me. Hopefully Nikon will be able to make a smaller body for the eventual replacement of the D700, which is now more than two years old.
  18. Forgot to attach the image. From my D700 (since sold):
  19. Thats a very valid and important point by Dave lee re: the viewfinder coverage; at that price I agree it should be 100 %.
  20. I should also add that the above image was taken with a 1977 vintage Nikon 35mm f2 AI manual focus lens. This lens performed beautifully on the D700! To think you need to buy new expensive glass for the D700 is really not true in my experience. It could be said of any good digital camera like the D300 as well. I shot mostly with my manual focus Nikon primes, as well as a second hand Tamron 17-35mm f2.8-4 SP Aspherical zoom lens, which I still use on my F100. I love that lens, and I compared it to my Nikon 28mm f2.8 AIS and Nikon 35mm f2 AI and could tell no difference between them except maybe in the very far corners of the image where the Nikkor optics were marginally sharper (which I would expect between a zoom and prime anyway).
  21. putting a slow 2.8 lens on a camera and then cranking up the ISO seems a little counter intuitive to me. if you want low light performance, your first stop should be fast glass. that may be all you need on your current body, and if you still need the extra low light, maybe look at the D700. However, you could get an Olympus Pen EPL-1 with a Voigtlander 0.95/25mm lens which will outperform a D700 with 1.4/50mm lens, for low light (all things considered), at a fraction of the cost.
  22. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Thats a very valid and important point by Dave lee re: the viewfinder coverage; at that price I agree it should be 100 %.​
    Not having a "100%" viewfinder has never been a concern to me. There is no Nikon DSLR that has a truely a 100% viewfinder. I have tested the D3, D3X, and D3S; even their so called "100%" viewfinder only shows about 98% of the actual area captured, and the D700 shows around 89%. During the film era I mainly shot slide film, and the slide mount regularly blocks the edges of the frame. Typical prints also blocks the edges of the negatives during the printing process. When I compose, I always leave a bit of room regardless of whether it is slide film, print film, or digital, with a 100% or 90% viewfinder.
    In case you end up with extra stuffs in the frame, just crop it in post processing. I rarely print 3:2. My standard paper is 8" x 11.5" so that I crop most of my images anyway.
  23. I shoot at night quite a bit, especially in winter. Currently using D300. I tried a D700 on two different weekends and got about one more stop ISO. Just didn't see enough difference for me to justify the cost difference. I put my money into NIkon's first class lenses instead and those made a noticeable difference. I'm simply waiting for a "D400" to replace D300 as no doubt it will equal or surpass current D700 and save me thousands of dollars better spent on a trip to Baffin Island.
    Kent in SD
  24. Well this might not be important to you but the 18mm ziess zf on the d700 is awesome and I would say the coolest thing about full size sensors is the variety of wide angle glass, and true wide angle is a beautiful thing...
  25. Jean-Yves Mead "It's a fairly low resolution camera."​
    Says who? I have had 24 x 36 inch prints made from this "fairly low resolution camera" that are sharp as a tack. Several images I have shot for jewelry stores have made it to billboards. Not bad for a "fairly low resolution camera"
  26. One other thought. You shoot portraits. The difference between a "pro" portrait and an amateur one is the lighting, not the camera gear. What lighting system do you have? For me, I've found that a large and capable lighting system has opened up entire ways of shooting just not possible before I had it.
    Kent in SD
  27. If one waits for the best, there will always be one better. I had a D300 and sold it only because of the finder and DX issues with all my old film lenses.
    The jump to FX for me is a step back to what I like about Nikons F film models. The D700 will satisfy me and at less than $2k used, thats a lot of camera for the money. I was also tempted to go to $3k and get a used D3, but it would be too big for me.
    That $1k difference buys me a good landscape lens and I considering the alternatives there.
  28. This probably will not answer your question, but maybe it will help. I shoot portraits and weddings. The full frame sensor and low light performance were critical to my decision to purchase the body and it has been a wonderful performing camera.
    What do I miss? Well, I am beginning to understand why I would want to have HD video built into my still camera. The other thing I would like to have would be higher resolution (16-18 megapixels), but not at the expense of ISO performance. Dual card functionality with video on one card and stills on the other card would be a nice feature as well.
  29. Well maybe; as " Marc Hauser " was taught photography by his dad, " cropping is for famers ".
    Just depends .
  30. I crop in camera, never in post unless I'm selling an image to a client. I also shot film and printed the entire image as often as I could. I guess I'm a purist in that way. Having the ability to shoot a clean image without needing cropping afterwards is an important skill. And I prefer the 3:2 aspect ratio to remain a constant in all my images for slideshows, etc. The D300 is as close to 100% as I've ever experienced in a digital camera, and I can't go down from there. The 89% of the D700 is just a joke, frankly, at the price they charge for it.
    And Kent is spot on, the lighting and lenses matter more than FX or DX. Save your money on the camera body with the D300s, and spend the leftover on a good lens. You won't regret it.
  31. I had to buy myself an expensive 12-24mm zoomlens to 'regain' wide angle performance on my then new DX D200. That was $1100 (or so) that could have been saved if I could have used my old-'n-trusted 24/2.8's on a FX body..
    Amazing! After 5 years I'm still mourning and moaning about that.
  32. The D700 is the single most satisfying camera I've used, and I've used lots of cameras. I love the feel of the body, the flexibility the chip gives me for adapting to changing light levels when shooting hand-held, the fact that I can use all the f/2.8 zooms and fast primes I used to use on my film cameras, the infinite range of things I can do with the image once I've made it, and on and on.
    Yes, the slightly cropped viewfinder takes a bit of time to get used to, but there is nothing wrong with the image that was posted that a flick of the mouse won't fix in PhotoShop. We aren't shooting slides any longer, folks.
    On the other hand, the simple fix for the viewfinder is to crop one's images to what the viewfinder shows, and voila, a 100% viewfinder. I bet it can be done automatically.
    Must be the season, but many of the responses on this thread to the original question are especially testy, uncivil, and downright grouchy. This is supposed to be a kind of community, folks; lets try to be neighborly.
  33. If you don't need modern f/2.8 zoom lenses with vibration reduction, there are lots of inexpensive lenses that work beautifully on FX -- especially low resolution FX like the D700 and D3.
    there's two sides to this argument.
    1) if you do need a 2.8 VR zoom, nikon currently doesnt make one in the all-important 24-70 (FX) or 17-55 (DX) range -- but both tamron and sigma do, for DX. these are relatively inexpensive as well, certainly less than the non-VR nikkors.
    2) having a d700 or d3 series camera opens up new possibilities. a 300/4, for instance, can be had used for under $1000. the slower aperture, as opposed to the 2.8 version, can be compensated for with little image quality loss by raising the ISO and maintaining a high shutter, on an FX camera.
    this brings us to another salient point: "low resolution FX"
    12mp isnt exactly low resolution, but its a truism that the higher the rez, the better the glass needs to be. this is true throughout the nikon line. for instance, the 18-70 was great on the 6mp d70. but even on my 10mp d80, its shortcomings became more apparent. or take the 70-200 VR I, which was developed before nikon had an FX camera. d3 and d700 users noticed fairly quickly the corners dropped way off on FX, necessitating nikon to come up with the VR II. and if you look at the DPreview article on the d7000, they state in no uncertain terms that the 18-105 VR kit is underpowered for a 16mp Dx sensor.
    all of which means that, as mp counts rise, legacy glass may not be up to the challenge. my suggestion, therefore, is to find a medium between sensor and glass that's right for you. 12mp is a decent benchmark--most older nikkors work well on d700/d3/d300/d90--but there are already reports that "my lens isnt as sharp as i thought it was" on a 16mp d7000. this could lead to either increased cost or increased frustration, unless a sensible lens/body strategy is pursued.
    btw, my sigma 15-30, purchased for $160 used, is looking pretty spiffy on my $5k D3s. i'm sure the 14-24 would be better, but i'm pretty pleased with the results.

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