Tomorrow is D700 Day for me. Hints?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by luisarguelles, Oct 1, 2009.

  1. I’ve just ordered a D700. If everything goes well, I’ll receive it tomorrow. Well, just for the initial tests, I would like to get punchy, Velvia-like, jpgs files from the camera (there will be time for playing with RAW and all the bell and whistles of the camera). For that, what in-camera sharpening, contrast, brightness, saturation and hue do you recommend?
    Also, some hints for “discovering” the camera are really appreciated (including those as “don’t forget to smell the thing just after opening the box” :)
  2. For Velvia looks, quick and dirty, use the "Vivid" picture style.
    The most obvious hint... the manual. I assume it's as much of a book as the D300's novel. Maybe not so much to read it yet (although I find it a rather good manual), but more to look at it for a while and consider it's a camera that needs more than 400 pages for a manual :)
    And congrats on a great camera which I do not own (yet?) ;-) I'm not without envy....
  3. Set Picture Control to 'Vivid' and most of the job is done already there. I also set Active D lighting to 'Auto' and that can work incredibly well.
    I do find Vivid a bit lurid though and mostly just set it to Neutral or sometimes Standard but I only ever shoot in RAW where of course you can change all of that. Do you have/are you getting Capture NX2? It may have a clunky interface designed by Lucifer but it makes your NEFs sing better than Lightroom can (although I do use Lightroom most of the time).
    Congratulations on your purchase - you will love it.
  4. Putting the battery in the charger is the first action you have to take and then unpack the rest and start reading the manual, register the camera and so on. When you are ready to do things hopefully the battery is charged.
    Settings: D2Xmodell
  5. A Flickr user created a Velvia picture control that you might want to try:
    Installations instructions:
  6. Congrats! The D700 is the first and only camera that is getting my film out of the way... I bet you will "suffer" it too. And don`t spend too much time shooting JPEGs; I agree, although I like Aperture and sometimes Ps, IMHO the best of this camera is on NX2 (RAW).
    Hints? Don`t know if you use glasses, if not, buy as soon as possible a Nikon original eyecup. I find it as essential as the memory card. Thanks God this camera has the right eyepiece.
  7. If you have any favorite cameras, you better go use them today, because after the D700 comes tomorrow you'll never want to use them again :)
  8. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    My general suggestions:
    • Check out custom settings a1 and a2, and set those to what you prefer.
    • Figure out how exposure bracketing is set. I don't use that feature, but the real problem is that it is fairly easy to engage it unintentionally. The symptom is that you get a lot of inaccurate exposures in consecutive frames.
    • The D700's viewfinder covers about 89% of the frame in terms of area. Shoot a few test frames to get familiar with how much "extra" coverage you actually get.
    • Don't try to squeeze a Type 2 CF card into the D700; it won't take it. But I am quite sure that you don't have any microdrives.
  9. Wouter, James, thanks for the “vivid” and “D-lightning auto” hints. I’ll do then just like in my D80 (which I’ll try to sell in the immediate future). About manuals, I must say I love them, but used to the Nikon DSLR interface I’m sure I’ll jump immediately to the camera!
    James, I use Lightroom and I don’t plan to use Capture NX2 (I think that at this price level Nikon should include it in the package) However I’ll experiment a bit comparing the results from NEF files in LR and in ViewNX, despite being a basic software. In any case, I love LR and I feel at home with it.
    Hans, it will take lots of perceived time to load the battery, I’m just sure!
    Robert, thank for the great links. This can be made using ViewNX, right? Now if only there were Tri-X and Fuji Acros presets...
    Jose Angel, yes, I use glasses, but when you have used the viewfinder of such cameras as a Leica I standard or IIIf, you can use everything :) Also I’ve tried the D700 in “El Corte Ingles” and it has worked fine for me. Interestingly, one of the reasons I’ve decided for the D700 is because it will allows me to think in terms of traditional 35mm photography (or at least I hope so).
    Ok Joseph, this afternoon I’m going to go outside with both my Zeiss-Ikon ZM and Leica M2 in order to take some captures. They are my favourite cameras and I suspect they will continue in that way... for b&w work at least, fingers crossed.
    Shung, you can bet sure no microdrives live at home! Thanks for the bracketing ergonomic issue. I’ll check also settings a1 and a2.
    Well, about 18 hours to go and counting down....
  10. pge


    Obviously the most touted performance issue of the D700 is its lack of high iso noise. The camera is not noise free so don't expect that, but it is likely the best camera made so far on that issue. The key to low noise at high iso imo, even up to 6400, is to properly expose for what is important in the photo. I tend to use spot metering in low light situations and I spot meter on the faces, assuming there are some in the photo. It is an amazing camera, have fun.
  11. pressing the flat, black button above the on/off switch takes a picture.
  12. Nothing is going to look EXACTLY like Velvia except Velvia itself, but you'll get in right ballpark with the Vivid preset. Go into the fine tuning controls and boost the saturation and contrast one or two notches.
    When shooting in the "golden hour" use the Daylight (Direct Sunlight) white balance preset to approximate the color response of daylight film. (After the sun sets, Auto WB usually works better.)
    If you're shooting JPEG, you're going to have to under-expose everything by -2/3 to -1. The D700's meter is tuned to the capacity of its 14-bit RAW files. 8-bit JPEGs are going to be overexposed frequently.
    Tip: Buy a copy of Capture NX 2 and shoot RAW.
    Keep in mind that the D700 has a lot more exposure latitude than slide film. The deep black shadows of Velvia now contain tons of detail. You can recover a lot of that detail if you shoot in RAW mode.
    The D700 makes amazingly clean images at ISO 1600 and even ISO 3200 - something that's absolutely impossible with film - but as with any digital camera, it performs BEST at lower ISOs. ( 200 - 400 )
  13. Turn the sound off. I cannot recall where it is now, but there's an annoying beep that comes as factory setting. You can
    turn it off easily. In fact, after turning the camera on, that was the first thing I found how to turn off with relative ease.

    Also, look for a pdf "unprintable" copy of the D700 in the Nikon website. It's the whole thing, but the printing is disabled
    (you can download a "printable" copy if you can supply the serial number of your camera). It'll save you time and will
    answer some questions you may have.

    Take care and congratulations! Getting mine out of the box was such a joy... And yes, that's the one and only camera I
    was expecting to see before abandoning film.
  14. Inspired by Joseph I'be just scanned an image taken with my M2 and Zeiss ZM 50mm f/2 using Fuji Acros:
    Just click on the attached file in my comment. Different things, of course, but analog b&w will always have a place inside my soul.
    Tomorrow I'll post some comments before receiving the camera. Now it's time to go bed!
  15. Vivid is punchy, but I very rarely use it, it's too heavy handed. If you plan to do any remotely serious shooting, just shoot RAW+JPEG and get the advantage of being able to process later if needed.
  16. Reverse the direction on the control wheels so that they work in the logical direction ;)
    Do some reading on the AF system. It is very capable but also pretty confusing with the amount of settings available.
    Be sure to try your RAW files in NX2 (demo comes with the camera I think) even if your default RAW converter is something else. NEFs really do look better when processed with NX2.
  17. Bravo Luis! You and it (he? she?) will do good work together.
  18. Congrats on the new D700! I remember you contemplating it not too long ago. I definitely agree about NX2, and until you process your NEFs in NX2, you have not seen the full extent of what your camera can do (if it's a Nikon DSLR, that is). I see you use Lightroom regularly, and I make this observation: The higher up in ISO you go, the better NX2 will fare as compared to Lightroom. It handles the noise much better than LR. Shun posted a good comparison earlier this year, and it was the last word for me (until my own experience with the two, that is).
  19. Mark, actually I think the control wheels work in the correct direction. Volume (exposure) up is clockwise, volume (exposure) down is anticlockwise.
    Luis, congrats on your D700 purchase. You will love it. Shun is right, practice with the viewfinder, it takes some getting used to for some (myself included). Ultimately I ended up going back to the D300 after my D700 foray, as much as I liked it, the technology is too young for me (I expected better low ISO performance and will wait a few years for better per-pixel sharpness). Also the D700 is too big and bulky for me, even the D300 is too much at times. I just scored a mint used Nikon P6000 for less than $200 on ebay and so far it's a pretty sweet little point and shoot that will go with me everywhere.
  20. Phil – Yes, no detector on Earth is noise-free, but I was really surprised with the test results I took in a store at 6400 ASA with the camera (please note that I write ASA instead ISO: I’m from the old school :)
    Dan - Only Velvia can match Velvia, of course, but I’ll play with Vivid and the fine tuning controls. Thanks also for the WB and exposure tricks! By the way, NX2: 1 vote.
    Francisco – The least noise, the better, I completely agree (hey, we both shoot with Leicas, too :) Also, it will be nice to have the pdf at hand in the computer. Finally, I also agree with you that the D700 probably will give me the feelings of handling a (color) film camera.
    Oskar – RAW+JPEG, Good idea. Nowadays diskspace is the cheaper factor.
    Mark – That’s right, the AF system has so many capabilities that it’ll deserve a deep reading and testing. By the way, NX2: 2 votes.
    Joe – Yes, in Spanish it’s “La camara” (she). Lovely bodies, you know!
    Josh – I’ll install the NX2 trial and will decide. Of course I’ll compare results with those produced in LR, but everybody is pointing in the same direction, uhmm. By the way, NX2: 3 votes.
    Dave – Yes, the D700 is not a light camera, but two weeks ago I conducted a simulation spending a weekend in Aveiro (Portugal) with my Leica R8 and Elmarit 24mm f/2.8 That configuration weights more than any combination of the D700 + my prime AF lenses (from 20mm all the way up to to 85mm). Ok, maybe the 85mm f/1.8 plus the D700 it’s a bit over the R8+24mm, but not by far. As you can imagine, the simulation of weight –several hours/day- resulted very well.
    By the way, NX2: I'm sure you all are right!
  21. It's here!!
    It arrived at 9:56 local time (MEZ) and the battery is already getting charge, of course. Here are just some pictures I wouldlike to share with you...
  22. However, after one minute it changes the look...
  23. Let's open the box...
  24. And finally, the body. She looks really sexy
  25. Looks good! Bit like an F6 ;-)
  26. Luis,
    I have one too. Today is a good day :)
  27. Do not forget to change the setting which locks the camera shooting when it has no card in the slot! You don't wanna shoot for 2-3 hours and discover later on that the card is in the card reader, at home.... ;-)
  28. Petros, the battery is already loaded, but the card is at home. No pictures taken yet :)
  29. Congratulations. Enjoy it!
  30. Congrats! :)
  31. Although I don't own D700 I had a chance to play with it a little and I must say you bought your self nice piece of photo machine. ;) Congrats! This camera is way out of my financial reach, but one day, who knows... ;)

    What I wanted to say, forget about LR and get NX2 and Color Efecs Pro for NX too, if you can. This combination is all that you need. All my photos are edited in NX and if it could make frames and put text on photo, it would be only photo software I'd have installed.

    But, I must warn you that NX is memory hungry and If you don't have at least 2GB of RAM in your computer, go by some. I don't know on what system you work, but if it is Windows XP than don't install more than 3GB, they can't use more anyway. If you are on Vista or XP64 than go for 4GB. D700 makes bigger NEFs than D80. ;)

    Hope I helped a little. Enjoy your new camera!
  32. I wish that box was at my house.. Next year.....
    I found with my 300, the book "Mastering the D300" was the best for information as to setting the the many, many menu options the camera offered. I know there is a "Mastering the Nikon D700". It may be helpful.
    Enjoy your new treasure,
  33. Actually, I think NX 2 is more processor hungry than memory hungry. If you have iStat Pro on a Mac and look at the amount of processor power being used, it's a behemoth of a program. Going from an older MBP to a new one with 4 GBs of RAM hasn't altered the landscape for much too much in terms of actual RAW processing. I'd say it probably makes jpeg conversions faster, though.
  34. I've also got a D80 at the moment but I look forward to the day when I can unwrap my D700 or perhaps a D800 too :)
    Do enjoy your new camera. I heard it's a splendid machine!
  35. My little woman handed me one of these for my birthday on the 17th. Blew my mind. Didn't even think she knew what a D700 was. Guess she is a keeper! Super camera. Have fun ... Ray.
  36. After a very few hours behind the camera I'm speecheless.
    I've mounted a Nikkor AF-D 35mm f/2 on it and handling, although a bit heavier when compared to a D80 is great. Results, at least as seen from the screen, are spectacular. Later in the night I'll install the software on my 24" Mac. Also I'll comment your postings. You all are helping me to have a really great day!
  37. Hello Luis,
    I don't really know which jpg setting would get the Velvia look; I only shoot in raw. But I've stumbled across a few setting that to me are really useful. These are just a couple of my personal favorites. They work well for my shooting style; they may not for yours. Anyway, here's what I like:
    The AF-on button. The D700 has a dedicated AF-on button which, for me, is really really convenient. I've turned off the shutter-button autofocus activation and set the camera to af-c (continuous). That way you autofocus until you get what you want, stop pressing the af-on, recompose, and shoot. So far the funtionality is about the same as shutter-button autofocus gives you. The advantage is that now you're always ready to shoot a fast moving subject that requires continuous focus. Also, in a pinch, you can manually focus without setting the camera to manual focus. With regular af lenses you turn the autofocus motor when you do this, which may not be a good idea, but at least you have the option.
    I set the function button to call up my "favorite setting" (auto iso) in the "my menu". (I think I have those names right, but I'm not sure). This way if I'm shooting in, say, aperture priority mode with auto iso, it's very quick to change the minimum shuter speed (in auto iso) to change the "shuter-speed/ISO compromise" as lighting conditions change.
    If you shoot in RAW, one of the most important settings you can change is in the jpg processing control menu. If you take a photo in raw and look at the histogram, you'll see that histogram of the photo as processed by the camera , not the raw histogram. In other words, with standard jpg control settings, the histogram will tell you that you're getting less dynamic range than you actually are. To see what range of data is actully being captured (where the higlights and shadows are actually being clipped), set the contrast as low as possible in the jpg control menu.
    So those are the setting that I've found to be useful or important. Maybe they won't be to you, but that's your call.
    Congrats on the new camera,
  38. pge


    I other hint/suggestion/though. There are some new Nikon Picture Control profiles on the nikon site that you can download and install on the D700, might be worth checking out. I installed the Portrait and Landscape ones. There are also 3 profiles that match the D2x, interesting but I did not install them.
  39. Getting a Velvia look with take time, homework and practice. In the D700, as in the D300 and D3, you have have three levels of menus to control how you shoot: shooting, picture control and custom. Get to know them...all in all over 100 variables. Scared? Have I put you off? Don't worry. There are spreadsheets on Nikonians that you can use to get your settings correct.
    But cutting to the chase on mimicking Velvia, use "vivid", and experiment with increasing saturation to your taste. Leave hue and contrast at normal. Increase sharpening to 4 or 5. Thats a good start if you are producing Jpegs. If you shoot RAW, all that is irrelevant, and you make these adjustments later.
    I have a D300 and the D700 or D3 is my upgrade path. I really don't need any more resolution as I don't make big prints.
  40. Well, only two samples obtained after connecting the camera to Lightroom. The first one at 400 ASA, the second one at 640 ASA. Both from RAW files
  41. The second one
  42. I got mine about a week or so ago, with the MB battery pack. The owner's manual is very daunting, 444 pages! This camera has a lot of features I will most likely never use, but they are there if I need them. I would strongly recommend you get a book by J. Dennis Thomas, entitled "Nikon D700 Digital Field Guide" from Wiley Publishing. The ISBN is 978-0-470-41320-3. It is small enough to fit in any camera bag and a lot easier to understand than the owner's manual.
    I am only using my manual focus AIS lenses with it but have had some terrific results. I changed out the standard focusing screen with one with a microprism center. I have to admit, I am a little scared. I have used my "Old Faithful" Nikon F2's and a Hasselblad 500C/M for over 35 years but this thing is exciting!
  43. Got mine about 4 weeks ago, my first DLSR, so it was a big step. I've got a couple of F301's and my old fav a FM2, with the associated manual lens's , hence my interest in an "affordable" FX format.
    Because of my non CPU len's I turned every thing off and went manual. Read the manual (probably need a second read), and bought "Mastering The D700" from the Nikonians (via Amazon), this is well worth the money. (Also signed up for 25 days free service and got a whole load of questions answered.)
    Yes Vivid is the recommended Velvia setting, but your just scratching the surface. I didn't want to shellout more money for NX2, (though via the trail period , it does look excellent but I object to buying a very expensive camera and not having the software included.), I have PSE 6 (mac), and all I needed to do was get the lastest RAW file 4.7, also get DNG converter, it's Adobe's attempt to standardise RAW files, and it might just work. Shoot in RAW, why the hell not, adjust all your files before finalising, as though it's in the camera. Depending on what editing programme you have you may not be able to shoot in 14 bit.
    Once your in RAW forget about in camera tweeks, everything can be done post camera.
    It's easy to get tempted to setting to auto ISO, you'll end up taking amazing pictures, in light levels that should really need a flash. Make sure you set the high ISO noise reduction, then think.. why do I need this and turn off auto iso, and make the decisions yourself.
    So much to learn, have you notice how bloody heavy the thing is!. I haven't yet bought a "proper" neck strap, but I will, with my manual 28-85 it weights 1.7Kg!. And the strap you get is rubbish.
    The battery is amazing, but I can see my self buying a second back up. Don't think the optional camera charger also charges the battery, as it doesn't (or so Nikonians tell me).
  44. By the time I got my D700, I had switched to a sturdy and comfortable Tamrac neck strap, which costs about $20 or so. It's also a lot less eye-catching, which I appreciate.
    Luis: I love your first shot there. Very well done :). Great lighting in particular.
  45. I didn't want to shellout more money for NX2, (though via the trail period , it does look excellent but I object to buying a very expensive camera and not having the software included.)​
    The D700 comes with ViewNX and TransferNX. They're very stable and useful. Capture NX 2 is an upgrade over the freebies.
    Once your in RAW forget about in camera tweeks, everything can be done post camera.​
    Maybe I'm "old school" (or just plain lazy), but I don't want to edit thousands of images when I can just set a few preferences in the camera and have them come out looking nearly perfect.
    It's important for my workflow to "get it right" in the camera. When I open NEF files in Lightroom, they look hideous (all washed out). It's not very inspirational. I want to play a slideshow and have my best images POP out at me. I'll devote time to tweaking the best, but I don't want to fuss with the rest.

    Make sure you set the high ISO noise reduction​
    Again, it's a personal choice, but I find that I don't need High ISO NR with the D700 unless the ISO is over 3200. If an image is noisy, I'll fix it with software rather than running the risk that High ISO NR might degrade IQ.

    have you notice how bloody heavy the thing is!​
    It's a feature. You get a workout every time you shoot! ;)
  46. Luis it is nice to see you share your excitement and congratulations on the D700.
    NX2 is not to bad to work with on a PC if you have a recent computer. I've found that a clean install of Windows XP helps out. Nothing beats getting the right exposure in the first place then you have less pain using NX2 :).
    I would recommend getting a second EN-EL3E battery.
  47. Congrats Luis! I remember how excited I was too. You gotta love the 35/2 AF-D.
  48. Folks, you can’t imagine how fine I feel with so much support from you. I was planning to answer every message, but that would take hours (that sure would be stolen from picture-taking time :)
    Well, about software, Lightroom is producing great results. Yesterday I used the RAW+jpg settings and soon I erased all the jpg files in the computer. These 14bits RAW files offer a lot of room for adjustment and there is room to produce incredible final images. Previously I had experienced RAW files with Olympus DSLRs, and both a D40 and D80. No one camera from these offer so much flexibiity as the D700, or at least these are my first impressions after playing a bit. By the way, my computer is a 24” iMac with 4 GB of RAM, enough to handle these files. Again about jpg files, I know I’ll do a lot of trials and tests because the D700’s ability of defining your own “profiles” deserves it. Buy the way, black & white conversions from RAW files seem to be very interesting: I have never reached a so much b&w “film” results with any previous digital camera I owned since 1999. A word of caution, although: This doesn’t mean it can replace my rangefinder system for the “purest b&w photography” as a friend of mine usually says, oh well.
    About weight: Yes, it’s not a feather, and the strap is just the same you can find in the D40 (Nikon should offer something better at this price). However, since I only use primes from 20mm to 85mm, weight is still inside my personal comfort.
    About autofocus: It seems like an updated version of the one in my F100, and since I’m not a sport photograph, this doesn’t seem complex, at least for the moment. I like the area covered by the AF sensors and I don’t need it being larger.
    Well, my todo-list is the following one: 1) Install the Nikon software and compare it with Lightroom. 2) Explore the control profiles for having different “films” in the camera, specialy profiles for producing b&w files. 3) Deeply research on b&w conversion from D700’s RAW files: as already noted, this camera promises a lot.
    As hardware “updates” I plan: 1) getting a new CF card (mine is only 2GB), 2) getting a better strap and 3) getting a second battery .... when the wallet can again breath without effort! :)
  49. Enjoy. Better strap and I found Ken Rock**ll's D700 user guide very good. Downloaded it. Printed A4 and had it bound.
    Much easier to read and understand than the Nikon one. You don't have to pay but to be fair on the guy it's well worth the $5 he asks for.
    Wise choice Luis.
  50. If Lightroom works for you then use it. Capture NX is buggy and slow, the only reason to use it is that it offers high image quality. As I understand it, Capture NX is better than LR in high ISO, although I don't currently have LR so I can't verify this myself.
    The color quality and BW possibilities are indeed much better than in older models, there's plenty of potential in this area.
  51. Well, I finally went out in order to take a few pictures, or better said, in order to test adjustments. I’ve uploaded some of the pictures in my portfolio. Please, take them only as “first-day” pictures, that is, don’t expect the more artistic work on Earth, but in any case I can say I’m really happy with my new camera. Well, let’s see the pictures:
    Landscape: Taken in Vivid mode (jpg) and translated to b&w in LR. Nikkor 24mm AF-D:
    A small sleeping: Taken also in Vivid mode (jpg). I used here a Nikkor 200mm f/4 and matrix metering:
    Trying a backlight: Taken with a 35mm AF-D lens, this is almost unretouched after adjusting the monochrome mode in the camera. Not Fuji Acros yet, but it works very well. Metering is center-weighted with AE-Lock and adjusting the center-weighted area to a semi-spot (the minimum diameter allowed), much in the way of what Leica-R cameras calls “selective metering”:
    A portrait: Same technique as the previous one:
    The Velvia look. Vivid and no RAW, directly in jpg. Minimum processing in LR and an exercise in color. 35mm AF-D:
    The “at home portrait at the well known armchair”. 35mm AF-D in RAW format. Minimum processing in LR:
    Well, that’s all. It’s a great experience to share the results with you all.
  52. Congratulations Luis! I'm thrilled for you and your photos are wonderful. (I remember that chair from the Wednesday thread!) I'm very excited for you. I will never own a D700 (unless I win the lottery, and since I don't ever remember to buy a ticket... ;-), will live vicariously through you. Enjoy your new "baby"!
  53. Luis, I wish years of fun. For my part, the one thing I found most useful was the setting up of a 'My Menu' with a handful of frequently used items like ISO setup (Auto ON:OFF). I also read Ken Rockwell's User Guide which I found informative; it isn't free but is the best value for money.
  54. First off, congratulations on the camera! It's a remarkable machine and, in your hands, it will render great results.
    Now, I know fully well I'm not in your league (I've checked your site and your work is superb). However, you may want to take advantage of my humble experiences and a first-time dSLR user, so take a peek at my blog The Neophyte's Guide to the Nikon D700, not because of my text and shots, but to check out the links I have there.
    Bookmark the DTown one. You'll find it offers very good advice about camera handling, and some other features that help.
    Again, congratulations! Last November, I was just in the same place you are, after buying my D700 and AF-S 24-70. It was a wonderful time of discovery... Now, the camera and I are old pals, but the thing always can come and surprise me.
    Take care!
  55. Jeannean, Eddy, Francisco, thanks very much for your encouraging words. Jeannean, about gettig a new tool ... one never knows. If only I had your technique and patience for macro shots! Francisco, your work with your M4 and M6 is exquisite, not to mention your blog.
    Well, after almost three days I think I already have an introductory idea about what this camera is able to do. This afternoon I've been out for one hour and I've uploaded the results in my "test" folder. All the pictures have been taken in RAW in the city of Oviedo, Spain, using a Nikkor 24mm f/2.8 AF-D. All processing with LR: (please, don't forget to view the pictures in "large" format).

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