Revisting my Nikon D700 purchase

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by richsimmons, Jun 29, 2016.

  1. I love this camera. I really do.

    Anyway, it's weird. I have a D7100, which is a very good camera, but I find myself picking up the D700 more often now. At first I thought, well, it's new (to me) and you have to learn how it works. But now, I really like the way it handles. I keep a grip on both cameras and the weight doesn't bother me, even with the 70-200mm. What I really like is the control layout. I get it. It works for me. Also, I really love the colors sooc and the bright viewfinder.
    So, this little gassy voice in my head decides to speak up and is saying to me, "Hey, you should sell your D7100 and get a D800 or D810." Am I like, "Yeeeaahh, maybe I should."
    Out of the six lenses I own, four are full frame. But then I think to myself, "Those files would be massive from the D8x0, do you really want to do events with that burden when you normally shoot 500-600 frames at an event? That's 48 gigs of RAW data."
    And gassy says, "Yes, you can crop like a mad man and still get great captures."
    I say, "I could buy another D700."
    He says, "Then you'll lose video, you need video sometimes and you don't need three bodies."
    A D610 has the same controls as the D7100 so familiarity would be there, but a D500 has the controls I like, but it's still DX. The D750 has the functions, but the same control layout as the D610 (and reports of shutter issues makes me leery). Crap.
    I always said to myself, I don't need full frame. DX is wonderful. And it is. But, now that I've tried full frame, I really like it. So, the question begs, does anyone here find using a D8x0 cumbersome for event work? For portrait work I think it would be amazing, but I'm being called upon to do more event stuff. Using the D700 and the D7100 in tandem showed me some interesting things. The D700 handled shadows really, really well. I found myself pulling it up to my eye more often.
  2. The D700 is a heck of a good camera. It was my first "serious" digital and I used it along with my F100. It's uncomplicated and has a great feel. When I replaced it with a D800, I got better technical image quality but in other ways I thought it was a step backward.
  3. d700: no need watching people using live view out on a sunny day:)
  4. I don't find the D810 cumbersome at all, I shoot sports and events with it. Other than maximum frame rate vs D700 with grip and battery, it feels fast. My current combo is D810 and D3s, and I pick up the D810 first every time. You can select reduced resolution but I never do. D800(or e), similar image quality, just a little less refined operation, IMO, the D810 feels faster in practice.
    Rent one to try.
  5. @Andy L When I replaced it with a D800, I got better technical image quality but in other ways I thought it was a step backward.​
    What did you mean by this?
  6. Hmmm, the best way to determine is probably to rent the rig. I got the D610 after D700 and found it somewhat smaller and like what the camera is capable of (+ full size viewfinder). I had no reason to go to D8xo and deal with large files....the phys size of the camera didn't have any sway on me. I guess it's all relative....and what your personal desires are.
  7. When I got my D800, I had my D700 as a back-up camera. When I upgrade to a D810, I got rid of the D700 because I was never using it. The D8x0 is better in low light, which I didn't expect. The dynamic range at low ISO is amazing (if you think you can recover shadows in a D700, you've seen nothing yet - the D810 at ISO 64 has nearly three stops over a D700 at ISO 200). The per-pixel sharpness is much higher (the D700 has a really strong low-pass filter). Bear in mind you can get a D800 to a D700-matching 5fps just by dropping it to a 25MP 1.2x crop. On the D810, that hits 6fps. You can't do the D700's 8fps trick with the grip, but there's always video.

    Downsides... the meter is technically more capable than the D700's, but I find it a bit less reliable (less so on the D810 than the D800). ISO control positioning (with remapping control) and better auto-ISO are much better, but most other cheese has moved the wrong way - on a D700 both AF area and meter mode are on the right hand, but they're where I can't reach them on the D810 (though there are workarounds, and the D5/D500 bios seems to help a bit more). The D800's live view is a bit nasty - the D810's is better, though. Otherwise, nothing to complain about, so long as you can buy the storage. It's a shame that small raw wasn't really what we all wanted, though.
  8. Purely subjectively, I adored my D700. Easiest body to shoot hand held - so easy to get on with all round and did so much fun traveling / so many great trips / took so many favorite images with it. Objectively it had very little room to crop images with just 12MP to play with and my prints are usually on the large side.
    Curiousity got me and I upgraded to the D810 and sold my D700. I actually took the trouble to go to the big smoke to try the D750 but the button / layout on the D750 was nothing like the D700, once the D750 was up to my eye I was fumbling for locations and was not willing to learn a new layout (lazy and frightened I'd suggest)
    The D810 makes a better image than the D700........when I get it right. I have found hand holding the D810 and getting regular uber crisp images to be more difficult than the D700 was (same lenses) but when I hold the camera steady the D810 makes brilliant images.
    If Nikon make a 24MP FX body with the button layout like the D810 then I may cop a loss and trade over to that model. In the mean time I can only remember how easy and fun the D700 was and work on my hand held skills with the D810.
  9. for "event stuff," the D750 is a more logical camera than the 800 or 810.
  10. Perhaps because I have used my D700/MB-D10 for as long as I have, but nothing else feels right in my hands perhaps with the exception of the D3. It is very robustly built and with the aftermarket microprism screen I have in it, it is for me a digital equivalent of my F2 or maybe F4. And I have yet to find 12.3 MP to be a hindrance. I have had images of mine I took for clients wind up as billboards with no problems whatsoever, nor have the magazines I have had images of mine published (Field and Stream and Nature Mag) ever complained a single time about IQ.
  11. @Scott Murphy
    I have yet to find 12.3 MP to be a hindrance​
    Neither have I and I do really large pieces. Sometimes 6-7 feet tall. I do have a RIP though.
  12. I should stress that, despite espousing the merits of the D8x0 series, I'm in no way saying that a D700 isn't a very good camera, and the majority of photographs that I took with it were way more limited by my own inability than by the technical limitations of the camera.

    I have "run out of pixels" - once for an ultra-wide shot that I want to view from up close for the correct perspective (a 40" print), and on several occasions where I needed to crop the result heavily. 12MP is by no means low resolution, but 24 or 36MP are clearly more, especially combined with the increased per-pixel sharpness. I do find it harder to achieve accurate focus on the D8x0 series, but I suspect that has more to do with more visibly in-focus regions. Still, it's the dynamic range that made me buy a D800, the resolution was just a bonus. It's also why I've not been tempted by Canon since I switched camps when I got my D700. (The 5D3 is arguably more a "better D700" than anything Nikon make, I just don't find it better for my purposes than the D810 I own.)
  13. When the D700 came out, it was the cats Meow in my very amateur opinion. I had it together with the D300s and that was the ultimate combo. But seriously, I would put my D7200 ahead of the D700. The technology is so much better. I get the control layout, as I am not fond of the D500/D800E layout, but love my D750's control lay out. Different strokes for different folks. Image quality is also better as the sensors have come along way. But that is just me.
  14. I've got a D810--but I keep my D700 around and still use it regularly for certain things.
    One is professional boxing. As long as the light is decent, the files from the D700 are going to be fine--and you can't beat the 8 frames per second. I just wish the high ISO performance was anywhere near the newer cameras' for when the light isn't so good.
    I also use the D700 when I'm shooting some commercial thing where there won't be a lot of cropping done, and I don't want huge files for ease of transfer and/or because I'm not sure of the client's computing power--if they don't insist that they are set up well enough to handle 36 megapixel files, then I do them a favour and give them something they can deal with comfortably yet which will still fulfil their needs. (Really, for about 90% of the paying commercial stuff I do, 12.3 megapixels is perfectly fine; so I've kind of reserved the D810 for when I'm shooting something I find quite interesting or when someone is planning on printing really, really big.)
    Because the two cameras feel so similar in use, it makes life easier for me to switch back and forth between bodies depending on the situation. And while I could of course shoot lower res with the D810, it's just a bit less fuss to shoot with the D700 when that's sufficient.
    So in sum, I'm keeping both cameras, and the older one isn't just going to sit around gathering dust--it's still quite useful even if you have a D8x0 series camera at hand.
  15. Used D700 are close to $800 now, so a lot of camera for a pretty reasonable price.
    I now have a D200 and D700, I use the former for less important pictures. It still works well.
  16. Thanks for all of the advice.
  17. So, the question begs, does anyone here find using a D8x0 cumbersome for event work?​
    D8xO series are demanding cameras. You have to be on top of everything to fully maximize their 36mp potentials. It is not everyday camera. on top of that, it still uses the old 3500FX multicam AF module which is not very precise. It has only 15 cross-type AF points, which makes autofocusing job difficult. You have to focus via LV to get more accurate focus, and yes, even in the daylight! I recently acquired D500 which focuses so accurate, it becomes my everyday camera in any situation. It leaves my D800e in drybox most of the time.

    To be able to get the best of (incredible) D8x0 sensor:
    1. Get the best lenses (that yield the best resolution) you can get. Only a few of them in nikon lineup. 24-70/2.8 is not one of them. Even the VR version. and also all "prehistoric" nikon lenses. :)
    2. Focusing in live view to get the most accurate focus.
    3. shoot on tripod, with cable release (or self timer) and with Mup (mirror up) mode.
    and optional:
    4. upgrade your computer with lots of hard drive space.

    Do that, and you get the best of D8x0. Do it not, better stay with the D700.
  18. I think Edward is over-stating it a bit. Yes, I too have trouble nailing focus at wide apertures on the D810 (and more so on the D800 - the D810 is a bit better) using phase-detect AF - I'm looking forward to any AF upgrades in a successor. But the AF system is still perfectly capable, particularly with f/2.8 or lower - I just don't trust it at f/1.4. The D800's live view is a bit broken compared with the D810's, too - particularly with the D800 freezing until the capture has been written to a memory card, which the D810 doesn't do.

    Likewise, MUp (and the D810 EFCS) help in the "danger zone" between about 1 and 1/100s - and camera shake above that will show up more because of the resolution. But keep the shutter speeds higher and use the right lens, and it's fine. Yes, the absolute best option is to lock everything down (as with any camera), but I wouldn't suggest it's impossible to use a D8x0 camera hand-held.

    Agreed about the lenses, but correction software can help. Lenses that look good wide open on the D700 benefit from losing a stop or two on the D8x0, even good ones. Some lenses became unusable - for me, the 28-200, the 28-80, the 80-200, the 135 f/2 (though that was iffy anyway...) and I've just given up on my Samyang 85mm f/1.4, and the 50mm f/1.8 AF-D was so bad that I had to buy an AF-s version just to test my AF when I got the D800. The 70-200 f/2.8 remains very good if stopped down slightly; the 14-24 is good if you get the focal plane right (or wimp out and shoot at f/7 as I tend to); the Sigma Art lenses are very good if you can get them to focus. I've just (finally) got a 24-120, although I'm definitely expecting to have to stop that down to make it useful. I've also just acquired the Tamron 24-70, which appears to out-resolve the Nikkor versions. There's no shortage of decent glass if you don't slum it!
  19. I'm still perfectly happy with my D700, as I love the handling of these bodies (had a D300 before it, so already the move to the D700 was like a pair of old shoes you love). Somehow, the D7x00/D6x0-style layout doesn't quite work for me.
    Everything that the D8x0 has more/better/improved over a D700 are things I've yet to miss in my actual use of the camera. So I rather keep the money in my pocket and see what happens when the D810 gets replaced, and how prices stack up at that time. If the D700 stops working, though, at present the only camera I'd consider would be the D810. The 100% viewfinder and improved AF would be nice to have (which despite its age still is pretty top notch and stating it makes things difficult is incredibly exagerated); video can be a valid argument (not for me, but needs vary). It's not just about the sensor, it's about the whole package after all. The D810 ticks a lot of boxes right.
    You have to be on top of everything to fully maximize their 36mp potentials.​
    Might be true, but the real question is: do you always need to maximize those 36MP to start with? 12MP already can print very large, so at what point does the pursuit for pixel perfection stop being about the image and become about technicalities and pixel peeping? And is getting the best of that sensor (with highly expensive lenses only, apparently, "to do it justice") the only valid reason to move to from D700 to a D810? Seriously? Are we making photos, or collecting perfect pixels?
    If I'd get a D810, I'd use it with the same lenses I have today, as they work for me today, so they'll be as good or better with a better sensor behind it.
  20. I'm with Wouter. The dynamic range change is a significant advantage, and I care much more about that as a sensor difference than I care about the resolution - though it does mean the DX crop is actually useful. Don't print big or don't produce 1:1 images and any ability the D810 has to show up limitations in the lenses tends to disappear - lenses don't become worse. No Nikon DSLR is a brilliant choice for video, though it's nice that the D810 has the D3's trick of a separate aperture lever motor (so you can change aperture in video/live view and variable aperture lenses maintain their aperture as you zoom); I'd sooner tack a BlackMagic PCC, Sony A7S or similar if I cared more about video. Better control over ISO and auto-ISO (although the ISO-less sensor makes it less relevant) are nice, and highlight priority metering helps a bit. Despite the inconvenience of having two card types, support for Eye-Fi is potentially handy. I campaigned for the split live view - the D810 implementation isn't quite what I wanted for tilt-shift lenses (independent quadrants rather than two views from one row), but it's potentially better than nothing, though I concede I've rarely used it so far. But if Nikon just hadn't swapped the + and - buttons so swapping cameras didn't drive me nuts, I'd probably still have my D700 as a back-up body.

    Occasionally there's something to be said for resolution, though. I happened (unexpectedly) to be near an osprey nest over the weekend - and by "near" I mean "several hundred metres". I have a few shots with my 200-500. They're actually a bit blurry (which I hope was the atmosphere rather than the lens - the lens is tack sharp at 500mm at shorter range) but I've still got more to work with than a D700 would have given me - at 1:1 the nest is roughly VGA in pixels (filling the LCD). I'll probably share at some point if only to check my lens is okay.
  21. The dynamic range change is a significant advantage, and I care much more about that as a sensor difference than I care about the resolution -​
    Keep in mind that post processing software keeps evolving. Updates are free, a new body is not.
    Capturing a high dynamic scene is a matter of proper technique.
    Here's an example of what a d700 can do when images are captured and processed correctly. Shooting into the setting sun should turn the foreground pitch black.
  22. A lot of great advice. Thanks. I'm still tossing up a D8x0, D500 or just keep the D7100 and get another D700 and use both of those during an event. At least I'd know the colors would match sooc.
  23. You can almost, hammer nails with a D700. Check out Bjorn's site/thread with the broken plastic mount on a D810.
    I consider my D7100 as a downgrade, compared to a D700.
    No one ever spends a few $k on a new camera body & complains about it. (I'm a non-pro & happy in 10-24mp land.)

Share This Page