Moving to FX D700 - what really changes?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by bmm, May 18, 2009.

  1. bmm


    Good morning all,
    This thread / question I hope takes a slightly different tack to all those which talk of the technical details of moving from a DX model to D700 - a jump that many Nikon shooters anticipate or at least dream about I'm sure.
    But I want to go in a different direction which is to ask those of you who have recently made the jump, or who operate both FX and DX bodies, for some real practical first impressions type stuff.
    That is, when you first take D700 out of the box, if you're used to D80 or D300, what do you notice? What do you first think is great? How does it feel? What changes?
    Then when you bolt on a lens and take those first few images around the house, whats the first impression? What takes time to get used to compared to the DX models? What do you find you need to think about?
    In essence I'm interested in recollections of people's first week with D700 and how they 'grew into' the model in those first few shoots with it. Please assume that I've read the many threads about the technical stuff and - intellectually at least - understand the basic issues of focal length change, ISO performance, etc
    For information I'll be coming into "D700 land" in about 6 weeks, from my current D80.
  2. An interesting question with, I'm sure, many different answers. I was a film shooter who switched to the D200 in 2005. Great camera but it "felt" different that my 35mm camera. Specific to your questions, when I took the D700 out of the box, put on one of my current lens, and started shooting around the house, it felt like my old film camera. Something about the perspective, or field of view with my familiar lens, just made me feel at home. Technically, the D700 is a wonderful camera, but to your point, I've simply felt at home with it from the very beginning.
  3. My first reactions....
    for a lot - reach is so different. :) But wide becomes so wonderfully wide. :) Feels like the D300 & so similar in setup. Body so much alike.
    Negative - - I now am really ticked off about the viewfinder not being a true representation in the fact that it's about 90%. Framing is suddenly a pain. :-( In the D300 I have 100% viewfinder - I like that.
    Past that - The D300 & the D700 are very similar - though I do find my D700's red channel far more sensitive than my D300s.
    I love the smoothness of the shots from the D700.
    The step from the D80 to the D700 will be rather huge I think. For many reasons.
    Have fun
    Lil :)
  4. I, too, upgraded from D80 to D700 a few months ago. The first thing I noticed was the difference in its weight (of course!) and impressed with the quick response of the release as well as high ISO capability - not that I use it all the time, but expanded the potential. I am not a long time hardcore Nikon user, so I cannot use inspirational words, but the weight made me realize that this was "serious". I did enjoy D80 for a while, but wasn't really happy - can't say why. And less and less I spend time with it. After getting D700, I bought a few more lenses and enjoy time with camera more and more. So much so that I go out with camera every weekend and walk for hours - good for health, too.
    I wish I could tell more "experienced" impression. I just am sure that you will enjoy D700.
  5. bmm


    Guys - thanks for this brilliant start to what I hope is more answers. I was a bit worried about putting the question but you have all so 'got' the kind of practical and almost 'gut-feel' aspect that I am looking for.
    Gary - I've heard a few film guys say what you have, that the D700 is like 'coming home'... obviously this might work in the opposite direction for people like me who have only known DX digital
    Lil - so you really feel the change in reach? One of my very few fears is that I will lose what I love about my 85/1.4 on DX for exactly this reason... Viewfinder I think is less of an issue as I am used to this deficiency on D80 (and make sure to check my edges for this reason)
  6. The first thing I noticed taking the D700 out of the box was size. It is a big camera body. Weight. Looking through the viewfinder I was blown away. It's a proper viewfinder, not the tiny DX finder you may be used to. Not to mention you're finally seeing the view you expect to see through your lenses, not a cropped one.
    However, as I've been a full-time professional pixel peeper for the past 10 years, I was not impressed with the final image quality from the D700 coming from the D300. In other words, the per-pixel sharpness of the D300 is in fact higher than the D700. So it was a bit of a letdown for me in that area. I shot with the D700 for six months and sold it and am now back with a D200. I'm content to wait until I can either afford a D3x or see what happens with the D700's successor.
    One lens I absolutely loved on my D700 was the 105mm f2.5. I couldn't get enough of it. It was brilliant on that camera and I bought a second hand mint condition F100 recently for $150, and will shoot some slides on holiday this August with it.
  7. Moving from a D200 to the D700, the most striking thing I noticed (or didn't notice) was the the two are very, very similar. Sure, lots of details are different, but fundamentally the buttons are in the same places and the cameras operate similarly. I think this would be even more true in moving from a D300 to a D700.
    But, a BIG difference that came up soon after is that it's full frame. I had a few lenses left over from my old film days, and they right away became useful. My 16mm fisheye, for example.
    You can go wide, and there are lots of options, ulike the case with DX, where there are only a few. 24mm is really wide!
    Next comes the IQ. 12MP, just 20% more than the D200, but they are huge. And, ISO 400 or more becomes entirely satisfactory, which means that slow zooms become convenient, and so does shooting indoors.
    I put my very old 85mm f1.8 on the D700 the other day to shoot a few quick portraits under a shade tree, and the results are terrific, with almost no effort on my part. The background was terrible (neighbor's fence and garage), but wide open or nearly so the background is entirely blurred. Incredibly sharp. I can see every hair. Maybe more than I need for a portrait, but my thinking is that it's better to capture all that's there and then you have lots to work with in post.
  8. Bernard -
    since my primary focus is on birds - - sure focal length is very obvious. Having my 300mm back as a 300mm is a huge difference to have it act as a 450mm in the DX world.
    With an 85mm/1.4 I would not worry too much. You can just take a step forward. That's no huge difference. For me - where often water will come in between me & a bird - - I do not most of the time have the option to take a step forward.
    Viewfinder - I constantly have to rethink on framing. But there are many times I look at my shot & go -- what happened??? Then I remember & I know. So at times it means I have to clone something out or leave it.
    Lil :)
  9. bernard, up until about four days ago i was a d90 shooter. my d700 is scheduled to be in my hands tomorrow afternoon. i won't have my d90 to compare the two right away, and my impressions will be a little distant, but i'll happily send you my thoughts once i open up and start shooting. i sold my 17-55 and d90 and then worked as much as i could and now i have a 50/1.8 sitting on my shelf waiting to not be a short telephoto on my new camera tomorrow. i'll let you know. great timing.
  10. The camera is a breath of fresh air... shooting at ISO 1600 doesnt make me feel bad anymore.. but the biggest thing that I notice is the difference in depth of field. If you are used to shooting people, and you know what to expect at f/2.8 for instance, you can get yourself in trouble by not leaving yourself enough DOF in certain shots.
    I use f/2.8 for a lot of things on DX that I use f/4 for on FX
  11. bmm


    Wow thats interesting... so in a sense the extra ISO headroom is kind of required because the DOF becomes so razor thin when you're wide open... I can only imagine with what you describe at f/2.8 what my 85/1.4 would give opened up then... and maybe its a better option then to stop down a touch so as to keep a bit of DOF and to bump up ISO instead...
    I'm really glad I asked this question... the feedback sofar has been really interesting.
  12. I still remember when I used to shoot with my Canon 30D. Then I made the jump and bought D300. What a difference in quality of camera body itself. Then I added D700, and felt 'at home' after a long while (I used to shoot film till 5years back).
    Whenever I pickup D700 (even now), it gives me a feeling of pride, a feeling of 'something right'. Its an ultimate killer photo taking machine. When I put my 24-70 2.8 on that body, it produces remarkable images. When I look thru the viewfinder, and locks focus on a object, with a beep confirmation sound, I know I am going to get a crispy, well exposed, well saturated image according to the custom curve of my liking, which I can upload into the camera from the seductive NX2.
    Do you wanna listen more, or are you convinced enough??
  13. The viewfinder is fantastic - large and bright when compared to my old D200. IMHO, the 90% viewfinder complaints are way overblown. But that's probably because I still shoot a Mamiya 7 and framing isn't quite so precise. Besides, if it really bothers you, then add a crop in batch and *make* it a 100% finder. Nikon could have cropped in firmware, but I'm glad they didn't cave to the marketing folks. It's more fun to hear people whine.
    The high ISO performance was also striking. I shoot indoor sports and it's made a huge difference in my shots.
  14. I shoot both a DX (300) and an FX (700), there are a few things I'd noticed with the D700 v D300 in the 'beginning'
    - With the D300 I shot lower ISO and was using a tripod more often due to increased exposure times. With the D700 I normally shoot ISO 800 with no visible noise, it has changed the way I shoot sunrise and sunsets.
    - With the D300 my 70-200mm f2.8 had 50% more reach due to DX crop factor. I still use the D300 as my primary bird and wildlife body, then again most of these shots are taken under daytime lighting conditions. Sometimes if there are great landscapes at the same location I will also take the D700 with either the 17-35 or 24-70 lenses.
    - For light travel, I still like my 18-200 and the D300 as a highly versatile combo that there is no equivalent for in the FX world. I can't imagine shlepping a 24-70 and 70-200 around Rome or Barcelona and switching lenses out in the 'wild'.
    Hope these points help...
  15. For me, getting the 50mm and 35mm lenses back in the normal and wide range was great, especially the 35mm. I have big hands, so the size of the D700 is very comfortable to me. Live view is great for focusing the PC Nikkors, but the D300 has this feature too. Nod to the rear display, which is big and detailed.
    However, the biggest change, and it is huge in my opinion, is the ability to dial-up the ISO with impunity. I have never had anything like this and it makes the D700 stand head and shoulders over my D200 and every other film camera I have used over the years.
  16. Wow thats interesting... so in a sense the extra ISO headroom is kind of required because the DOF becomes so razor thin when you're wide open... I can only imagine with what you describe at f/2.8 what my 85/1.4 would give opened up then... and maybe its a better option then to stop down a touch so as to keep a bit of DOF and to bump up ISO instead...​
    The razor thin depth of field is awesome, though... when you want shallow depth of field you can get it really shallow... I suddenly like the 105 f/2 better than the 85 1.4 for tight headshots, though, because most of the time 1.4 is a little too open and f/2 seems just right.
  17. Moving from a D300 to a D700, the big differences I noticed were:
    * Viewfinder - the 90% coverage Drove me CRAZY at first (and still a little now) but what it has done is made me more deliberate. I find I'm thinking even more about framing, looking for things that I don't immediately see at my focal point, but that might mess up the framing. So a mixed blessing I guess
    * I Don't carry a flash anymore. The higher ISO negates that, and when it doesn't the built in flash is good enough for a small bit of fill if needed.
    * I miss DX glass. Especially the amazing 50-150 F 2.8 HSM. Such a light, small, fast focusing wide aperture lens is possible only on DX. The comprable 70-200 is too big and too unwieldy to be useful, I just crop instead.
  18. Actually the depth of field is better, you get more with FX. With DX you had to stop down one additional stop to get what you would get with FX at f11, for example. If you were shooting with a Nikon 35mm lens, and you used the scale printed on the lens to calculate your hyperfocal distance, with DX you have to stop down to f16 to get what it says on f11. With FX you don't have to do that, which is great. At least that is my experience with the two formats.
  19. I went from D200 to D700. The first thing I noticed was the grip -- the D700 is less comfortable in my hand. It doesn't have the little sculpted part on the back of the camera towards the bottom, it's thicker from front to back, and the finger groove on the grip doesn't seem quite so deep and grippy.
    But I quickly got past that. After a couple days of shooting, I set it up for Auto ISO allowing it to run up to 6400. I configured the AE-L/AF-L button to bring up the Auto ISO menu, so I can quickly adjust the minimum shutter speed when I change lenses (I generally set it to 1/f).
    And now I find myself shooting in situations I'd never have dared before. The smoothness of the results at high ISO are just amazing -- here's an example at ISO 3600 (click to see it bigger):
    I do find that I miss my 18-200 sometimes. It was my only zoom (I have seven primes and a Lensbaby). I'm on the lookout for a 50-135/3.5 Ai-S with zoom action that's not too loose.
  20. I was the proud owner of a D300 until I "upgraded" to the D700. Although the camera is better at high iso I prefer the D300 The extra detail that you can get from the D300 to me is worth more than the high ISO so it depends what you want to shoot.
    I will be waiting to see what comes out when the D300 is replaced.
  21. i've sold my d90, and right now i am waiting for my d700's battery to charge to try it out. i already have my 50/1.8 mounted on it and i've read the manual before online and now am looking through it in print. i'm trying to decide my banks of settings. i'm not sure if this is unique to the d700 or if the d300 users had this flexibility and control, but i'm not used to the ability to define some many buttons, like the DOF button +dials, fn,fn+dials, AE/AF-L with and without dials, and the ability to switch my metering mode with the dial above the AE-L button. I'm really excited that the 50 will be normal angle and not some telephoto. i like the pro chassis and the weight, the great viewfinder coming from a d90, and that it still has the popup to control my sb900. i haven't even clicked teh shutter yet so i'll let you know first impressions later. i'm looking forward to being able to switch metering modes and autofocus modes with dials that i can switch without removing my eye rather than digging through menus. a friend and i are going to go out and walk around town and test her out, he on my old canon xs that i sold him and myself on my beautiful new d700.
    also, i'm contemplating getting a katz-eye for the ai lenses i plan to buy. i'm looking at an 85/1.4 ai and a 135 Q (no idea where that Q comes from but it seems to be the case) and some wide primes as well. i think this might be the best part that i can meter with spectacular, smooth-focusing $100-$200 a pop metal, mechanical lenses.
  22. @Dave Lee:
    Actually the depth of field is better, you get more with FX. With DX you had to stop down one additional stop to get what you would get with FX at f11, for example. If you were shooting with a Nikon 35mm lens, and you used the scale printed on the lens to calculate your hyperfocal distance, with DX you have to stop down to f16 to get what it says on f11.​
    If you can see the same scene from a given spot through the viewfinders of both an FX and a DX body (if, for example, you have a 30mm lens on the DX and a 45mm on the FX) then the FX camera will provide less depth of field at the same aperture, not more. Generally, you'd need to open up the DX camera one stop (this is very approximate) or close the FX down one stop to get a closer match between the two.
    Think of how difficult it is to obtain a very shallow depth of field on compact cameras, with their tiny sensors, using normal focal lengths, even at f/2. Conversely, remember how many large format photos have a very limited DoF at normal focal lengths and, say, f/8. (Hence the f/64 club co-founded by Adams, Weston et al for their LF work.) As sensor size increases, DoF decreases for a given aperture, assuming angle of view and position of photographer remain unchanged.
  23. When I stepped up from my D300 to D700, the first thing I noticed was that the shutter of D700 is a lot noisier than that of D300. In fact, I hated D700 for that. But slowly you get used to it.
    The 95% viewfinder of D700 was not much of an issue. But when I took shots with my 50mm f1.4G at night at higher ISO and with 28-200mm during day time, D700 was the winner by a mile.
    But I still like the rugged feel of my D300.
  24. My first impression was the size. I have the 24-70 nad he 70-200 to go with it and - altough they are great lenses - they are huge. I'm in good shape and very accustomed to sometimes walking around a city with my camera for 10-12 hours on a day off from work, but carrying that combo around India (the only place I have done it so far) wore me out. Additionally, I really miss the comfort of being able to just carry a 18-200 4.5 fr ordinary travel shots. I thought I would really miss the reach - the 200 being 200 instead of 350 - but I haven't found it to be a problem and the width is wonderful. The DOF takes some getting used to. I had to relearn how to shoot close up. But, the high ISO is unbelievable. As many have noted, I don't carry a flash most times and the picture quality is fantastic.
  25. I have noticed that most of you are happy with their D700.
    As far as I can tell, only Dave has sold it, and returned to a DX camera again.
    Are there anyone out there who are directly unsatisfied, and regret buying it (apart form selling it to get funds in these financial hard times) ??
  26. ...In addition to Per-Christian's question (if I may be so bold): How many of you would suddenly regret having bought the 12Mpx D700 when a (D3X-like 24Mpx) follow-up model would be introduced sometime soon, at a 'reasonable' pricepoint?
    That's a question from someone who is for sometime now postponing the acquisition of a D700 ( being one reason there).
  27. Well, I thought about waiting for the follow-up and probably should have, but I "lost" (ie, stupidly left it in an airport while boarding) my D300 and waited six months to replace it and I was just going crazy without one. I realize it may not be the best decsion, but there is always something new coming along and I don't regret it. It is a great camera.
    As far as being unsatisfied, I am really happy with the IQ. But, think hard about the weight. It's not a trivial thing. The camera is big, but the glass is huge. I decided that I really cared about getting the best I could and hopefully using the lenses for a decade or more so I didn't skimp, but I seriously underestimated how much trouble they are too lug around and how much trouble changing lenses frequently can be. Some things to think about:
    1. A super-zoom, such as a 4.5 18-200 (which is a 27-350 on DX) is just so versatile. You have to use a tripod more and can't get the same DOF, but for walking around in a dusty city, it's hard to beat. When I was just exploring, not looking for serious work, I could carry the D300 and one lens and not even take a bag.
    2. Changing lenses with that 70-200 is cumbersome and difficult. I worry about dust getting in the sensor (although it hasn't been a problem so far) as it takes me about 30 seconds to change a lens. I could do it in 5 or so on the D300. The mechanism is the same, but the logistics of taking the lenses in and out of the bags and trying to hold them is different. I also worry about someone snatching something while I am fiddling.
    3. It is REALLY noticable. The D300 with a super zoom has more reach (although you may have camera shake issues that stop you from using it) so you can sometimes get a street shot from further away and is somewhat smaller. When I put the D700 with that 70-200 up to my eye, it's like a movie when a stranger walks in a bar and everything comes to a halt. people NOTICE. That said, when I shot a concert the other night, people assumed I was a pro and just moved right out of my way and let me to the front.
  28. "3. It is REALLY noticable." is an interesting argument!
    I had difficulty accepting that my D200 needed the 12-24 for normal wide-angle photography, especially for walking-around photography. Because that combination feels so "really noticable" - on an african village road, for example. I started using my F3 + 24/2.8 instead, because that felt so much more comfortable and less obtrusive. I am actually hoping that a D700 + 24/2.8 will give me something of that old feeling back!
  29. "In addition to Per-Christian's question (if I may be so bold): How many of you would suddenly regret having bought the 12Mpx D700 when a (D3X-like 24Mpx) follow-up model would be introduced sometime soon, at a 'reasonable' pricepoint?"
    I don't need more pixels, and I'm very happy with the high ISO performance. So, for me, no regrets.

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