Upgrade to D700 or no?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by acm, Jan 7, 2010.

  1. acm

    acm

    I am using Nikon D90 with 18-200 VR, 50 f/1.8, and 105 micro f/2.8. I am contemplating some upgrade in 6 month's time. Should I go for D700 with 24-70 f/2.8 or keep D90 and acquire 17-55 f/2.8? Of course, I would sell off 18-200 if I go full frame.
     
  2. What is wrong with your D90? Is there something the D700 will do for your photography that your D90 cannot? I can't answer your question without more insight.
     
  3. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Based on the fact that the OP even needs to ask this question in the first place, the answer is very obvious.
     
  4. Apurva,
    If you take lots of hand held photographs in dim light with your D90 then the D700 will give you even more low noise / high ISO performance than your current D90.
    I have checked out your photo portfolio here on p.net, apart from some indoor travel shots and some indoor Cathedral shots and some worthy still life work I see you travel a bit and shoot mainly outdoors. You have taken some very nice photos with your current combination, I can't see where it might be holding you back.
    The D700 will offer a slightly better auto focus unit which may assist with wildlife photography - maybe a D300 (which shares the same AF unit as the D700) might suit you better if you are happy to retain the 18-200mm super zoom which you appear to favour for travels.
    If you wait 6 months the D700 might be "old hat' and superceeded by another camera in the FX entry level class........
     
  5. Nobody ever asks how big you print.
    If you don't print above 8 x 10, you will not see a difference between a well-shot image on FX vs. DX. Most people who want FX don't need it.
    If you are generally happy with the images you are getting, you really don't need FX.
    In short... if you don't KNOW you need FX you almost certainly don't need it.
    If you use a lot of telephoto, you are better with DX.
    If you have money to blow and just want to have fun, well... if that were me, I'd have a D700 if only for the bigger viewfinder. But I don't have money to burn.
     
  6. acm

    acm

    Thanks Matthew for some informative and to-the-point answer. The rest of you, thanks for taking time to read my question but your answer is hardly any answer.
    All that the OP is asking is 17-55 on D90 is as good as 24-70 on D700? I would be most obliged if someone gave me some fact or opinion based answer rather than going into my motives and wondering about my cedentials.
    Of course there in nothing wrong with D90, but then Nikon should stop making new bodies. And none of the photographers in this world should ever get a new camera if he/she has D90 or anything like it!
    And suppose I have money to blow, any problem out there?
     
  7. Apurva - both the 17-55 and 24-70 have been reviewed at http://www.photozone.de/
    I find this site's graphs to be very useful in evaluating lens choices for Canon. I'm sure you can get a solid idea of performance on these Nikon lenses.
    Naturally you should check out the 24-70 on full frame review since that's how you plan to use it. Remember that you cannot compare the absolute resolution figures between different senors, but the graphs are labeled good/very good/excellent, and you can compare those labels to get an idea of how these lenses compare.
    Part of the reason you got the answers you got is because you did not specify your shooting style or needs. It's hard to answer your question without knowing these things.
    Good luck!
     
  8. The reason you didn't get answers you like is because your original question was "Should I go for the D700" without telling us what types of photos you shoot. If all you are going to do is use the equivalent midrange zoom in good light and print 8x10 then you won't see much difference between the 17-55 on DX or the 24-70 on FX because both lenses are good and both the DX and FX sensors are good in good light. I think the lenses choices you want to use should drive the sensor size you pick. If you plan on a lot of telephoto stick with DX. If you plan on very low light, extreme wide angles or PC/tilt lenses then go with FX.
    Personally I have a D3 that I use in low light with 28, 50, 85 f1.4 primes. The D3 also gets used for sports where I need the fast AF. I also have a D90 that I use with the 12-24, 18-70, and 70-300 consumer zooms for travel.
     
  9. Apurva, I upgraded from the D200 to the D300s this year after several years of D200 ownership. The momentum from the buzz surrounding the D300s (and a new lens purchase) has me shooting a lot more now than I did last year. If it were me, I'd buy the D700.
     
  10. I don't have any of the lenses in question nor have I used the 18-200mm. I suggest you check Bjorn's site as well for your research. http://www.naturfotograf.com/index2.html
    I would say the D700 with 24-70mm is the best combonation but you pay considerably for that last percentage of improvement which may be hard to see.
    I do think you have left out details of your needs for asking a question like this. If your NAS has an itch then by all means scratch it. I did even though a D300 would have met most of my needs. I do enjoy using it and will use it until it wears out, a personal requirement I set before purchase. One of the reasons I choose the D700 was to use manual wide primes as well as zooms. If you need the extra stop then go for the D700. If you travel alot then I would look closely at the Tamron 18-50mm f2.8 and get a great light tripod to carry also. Currently my D700 with the Tamron 28-75mm weights 4 pounds then add another two pounds for extras. That is 20 percent of my total overnight carrying weight including what I wear, glasses, shoes, socks, wallet, etc when hiking. I would be better off with a D90, 16-85mm weight wise.
     
  11. acm

    acm

    One of the attraction for D700 for me is its capability of throwing the background out of focus better than APS cameras. Another is its low light capability. Above all, the almost sentimental feeling of getting the original 35 mm size back!
    I consider Fx bodies as almost equivalent to medium format quality of film times from the reports that I have been reading.
     
  12. I've been happy enough with Nikon 17-55mm f2.8 on a D300. I'm a night photographer and am very picky about lenses. I have tried a D700 and 24-70mm f2.8 for a few weekends. I didn't see enough difference to make me want to switch at this time. I won't sell more photos because I have a different camera.
    Kent in SD
     
  13. Apurva, you simply will not see much of a difference between the D90 image quality and the D700 image quality until you get up to around ISO 1600 or higher. Certainly one could argue that there are noticeable differences starting at ISO 400, but those are slight indeed. One thing you might miss after upgrading from the D90 to the D700 is the handling. The D700 is a heavy, chunky camera in your hand. It is more like a 645 medium format SLR than a 35mm camera like the D90. That was one thing I noticed right away going from the D300, which handles much like the F100 film SLR. As for throwing the background out of focus, any good f2.8 DX zoom as others have mentioned, will do this for you on DX format very well. The Nikon 35mm f1.8 DX AF-S prime will also do this very well. You try it and see! FX format has a long way to go, the D700 is merely the first generation of sensors for Nikon. I went back to the D300 after shooting with a D700 for six months. It was great but the D300 is the best one for me. I have a D80 before that, and I loved the handling of that camera in my hand.
     
  14. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Apurva, as far as I can tell, you are merely trying to come up with justifications for another camera. If you indeed need low-light performance and shallow depth of field, I would add to your lenses first, such as a 17-55mm/f2.8 AF-S DX or a 35mm/f1.8 AF-S DX.
     
  15. As for throwing the background out of focus, any good f2.8 DX zoom as others have mentioned, will do this for you on DX format very well.​
    On DX, f/2.8 will "throw the background out of focus" about the same amount as f/4.5 on FX. Since you can also get f/2.8 lenses for FX, that lets you throw the background more out of focus. If you want that subject isolation with some of the shorter lenses -- 28mm, 35mm, or 50mm -- there are f/1.4 and f/2 lenses for FX that are hard to match with equivalent lenses for DX, as far as speed and DOF.
    Apurva, as Shun suggests, it sounds like you're looking for justifications, but if you have an almost sentimental feeling of wanting FX, what else are you going to do? Wanting less depth of field and better low light capability are legitimate reasons to want FX, so you may as well try it.
     
  16. I am a fan of FX, but consider that a 33% crop from the D90 or D700 is still 4 megapixels. This is pretty good at A3 but 8mp which you would get from a D3X would be even better. I would look at the Sony A850 or Nikon's next high rez FX sensor as an upgrade, but the D700, not so much. And I agree with you about the importance of backgrounds, but you can do better with them in your software than your lenses.
     
  17. Apurva, if it seems like I, and others, said you don't "need" FX, or maybe I only implied it, but consider this analogy. (Note: I still don't think you necessarily "need" FX).
    I am a musician (a church musician by profession as a matter of fact) and my main instrument is guitar. A really good guitar costs about a thousand bucks and a really good amp about 600 or 800. My main guitars cost 3 times what a "really good guitar" costs and my main amp costs about double what a "really good amp" costs. They probably sound no better to almost everybody, but there is a difference in workmanship, in appearance, in playability to a certain extent... and the fact is even though most musicians can't tell the difference (let alone just music listeners)... they're worth every penny. I play way better with my 4,000-dollar Anderson guitar than I did with a 1,000-dollar Fender.
    worst case scenario... a D700 and 24-70 zoom takes the same exact photos (in appearance in print) as a D90 with a 17-55... but let's say you enjoy shooting with the D700 way more... you enjoy it so much, in fact, that you spend more time taking pictures and hence, take better ones. (For me, I'd be happier spending the amount you'd spend on a D700/24-70 on a D90 with a whole bunch of cool lenses... I think... doesn't matter, I can't afford a D700, I spent all my money on my guitars...)
    If you can afford it... go for it... just the fact that you enjoy it more should be enough justification. Otherwise, how many cameras would Leica sell?
     
  18. If the money isnt a problem, get the D700. Its a wonderful camera with a lovely feel to it, get the grip as well. The ISO settings arent just for really low light, you can shoot f/8 in average light with ISO 1600-3200 with very little noise. It gives you more options and handles beautifully. Everyone talks on these forums about the best value for money - a lens or camera upgrade and for me that is important, and i made a concious professional choice to get the D700, and reap the reward of the pictures. BUT theres plenty of people for who the money isnt an issue. The D700 is 95% of the D3 for about half the price, and much less than half the price of the D3s. Get the camera and the best lenses.
     
  19. To address Apurva's follow up question about the comparison between 17-55 on DX and 24-70 on FX. Yes, the results are comparable. Both of them are killer sharp. This is a subjective evaluation. But I have used the 17-55 on the D300 (same sensor as D90, I think) and the 24-70 on the D700. And I'd say the 17-55 is the way to go.
    Peter Hamm brings up that a D700 is more satisfying to use than the D90. If you are taking that into account, then the D300s is the body to get with the 17-55.
    The D700 is the way to go only if you are doing low light photography and need the sensor with the extra stop of light or if you are doing wide angle and need the full frame for that. Otherwise, the D300s is pretty much the same as the D700 and gives you video and dual card slots.
     
  20. Matthew Brennan [​IMG], Jan 08, 2010; 04:51 a.m.
    If you wait 6 months the D700 might be "old hat' and superceeded by another camera in the FX entry level class........
    That is unlikely to happen. Perhaps I just mis-read what you said, but the D700 is hardly "entry level", it is full blown professional level.​
     
  21. acm

    acm

    Thank you very much all of you, taking time for a healthy discussion. Now, suppose I go for the D700, is Canon 5D II worth a consideration? Is it better? I know I would have to overhaul all the lens collection for that.
     
  22. I'd like to chime in here, since I am in the same position as Apurva. I have started doing a lot of 13"x19" prints for exhibition and I notice that noise levels in ISO 400 and above are very noticeable and sometimes require me to run Noise Ninja, which also robs me of some detail. Will there be a considerably lower noise level in ISO 400 on the D700? How big is the difference? One ISO stop or more?
     
  23. Oh the old canon 5D II vs D700 question!!
    in very short
    d700: Better focusing especially important for shots with action and movement, marginally better ISO performance (but they are both excellent), and many people think better ergonomics and design.
    5D II: significantly higher resolution
    so whenevery you see tests done comparing the two, you end up with the canon looking much sharper in close detail, as the the nikon shot has to be enlarged losing detail. This is a little misleading. The nikon is fantastic at 12mp. If you print huge prints then there is an advantage in the canon, but they would need to be fairly large to render a visible difference. If you only have the shots on your computer and printed smaller than A3 or so (95% of people) then you dont need the canon MPs. I shoot happily with my D700 and can print as large as i need to, if i needed to cover the side of a bus for a job, i would hire a MF camera. The high MP in the canon require very sharp lenses and often a tripod to translate into sharp shots.
    BUT the MP are very useful for cropping, you can take quite a small section out of the shot and it is still large enough to be printable. So thats the very brief and as unbiased as possible from a D700 owner. For me, the focusing of the D700 far outweighs the MP of the canon, especially if i have to lug a tripod around everywhere, and 12mp is more than enough for me, i probably dont need more than 8-10mp and i make my living of this camera.
    Lars, regarding noise the D700 is over a stop better than the D90, ISO 400 on the D90 is roughly equal to ISO 1000 before any noise reduction, see http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/eng/Image-Quality-Database/Compare-cameras/%28appareil1%29/296|0/%28appareil2%29/294|0/%28onglet%29/0/%28brand%29/Nikon/%28brand2%29/Nikon
     
  24. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Apurva, Canon's 5D Mark II is a very different camera from the D700. The Canon has more pixels and video capture but is generally slower, has an inferior AF system and not as well built. There are already tons of threads comaring the two. However, IMO your real "problem" is NAS, which will not be fixed by getting another camera.
    Lars, if you have excessive noise at ISO 400, most likely it is due to underexposure. The D3/D700 should give you an extra stop of high ISO result than the D300/D90/D5000, and the D3S is yet another stop better. But if you underexpose, you can get excessive noise at the base ISO on any camera.
    Given that the PMA is merely a little more than a month away and pre-PMA product announcements are already coming in, at this point I would wait a couple of weeks to see what Nikon has to introduce. The D700 is 1.5 years old and based on the D3's technology, which is no longer state of the art.
     
  25. idl

    idl

    Hello Apurva, I am sorry but when you brought the canon into the picture, I think you are just having us on. Great fun to see these answers that take you seriously and good advice to. Buy the D700 and whichever lens that is convenient for that one. Stick to D90 for telephoto. I have a D700 and D300 and I love the D700, ( it's just a feeling ), and I like the D300 alot. I also love to travel with one camera in my hand and the other in a slingshot on my back. For an old photographer doing this for years, I find this a good solution for me. Good luck buster.
     
  26. Apurva, I see two dimensions in your question. The practical view, reflected in the above responses, is that your current kit is fine and you don’t need to upgrade to the D700. The spiritual dimension is harder to address, as it speaks to your desire to work with the best equipment. A ‘vision quest.’ The images you obtain with a D700 may not appear all that different from those you currently get with your D90, or they may be of an entirely new level because you have accessed something inside you that you previously couldn’t reach. But the question cannot be answered by others, only you. For me personally, I use the D90 and am quite happy with it, but I lust for the D700 for entirely non-practical reasons. If I could afford it, I would buy the D700 with a 50mm f/1.4 lens and not look back. Good luck and kind regards, Phil
     
  27. Apurva, my radar screen for the market says that all the major manufacturers of DSLRs will move to full frame 35mm format. Moving to a D700 is a wise step, although I forecast the existence of 1,000$ full frame bodies for 2012.
     
  28. Richard: Thank you for the very informative link. The noise characteristics sounds very promising for D700. If I can only get it at the right price...
    I probably exaggerated the D90 noise problem at ISO 400. As you say, it's mainly in underexposed shots it is visible in prints, but sharpening also worsen it. If the light is dim, chances are that you try to get a shot, slightly underexposed, just to get the shutter speed down. In my prints, it is not really a problem until ISO 800. But being able to use that ISO level should really increase the number of usable exposures. Many of our best shots are taken in low-light conditions when the light is exciting, so this is important.
    But, as Ivar says, keeping the D90 for telephoto is tempting, but that solution will be more expensive. We'll see...
     
  29. Lars,
    I'll bet you your problem was with under-exposure, not ISO noise endemic to the camera. So, yes, you probably exaggerated the noise issue.
    Put it this way. An underexposed shot on a D90 at any ISO will look worse than a properly exposed shot at that same ISO on my D50. I've discovered recently that properly exposed high-ISO shots on that old camera can be stunning at any size. I bet a properly exposed shot at ISO 3200 on a D90 will be way cleaner than an under-exposed shot at ISO 800 or even 400.
     
  30. How about first getting the 24-70mm to use on the D90? Sure, it will not be as wide as the 18-200mm you'd be replacing, nor the 17-55. But, do you use the wide end that much? If you don't, then you'd be getting a lens that will provide better IQ than the 18-200mm, and get you ready for the eventual FX body that you crave for DoF reasons. However, just because the 24-70 f/2.8 allows wider apertures than the 18-200mm, you'd be better off in the shallower DoF arena anyway even without the D700.
     
  31. I recommend that you read Thom Hogan's article "D3 or D300?" Much of what is said there would equally apply to the comparison "D90 or D700". See http://bythom.com/d3ord300.htm
     
  32. Sasvata,
    Have you actually used a DX DSLR with a lens that only went out to 24? For most of us, that would simply be frustrating and annoying. It's not wide enough.
    Wiley, I forgot about that article. It's a good one.
     
  33. Regarding underexposure on the D90: what is underexposure, really? Is it underexposure if I turn the exposure down by 1.67 eV just to get the lighting of an evening scene correct? Yes, in that case I underexpose a lot. But what are you supposed to do in a situation like that? Expose correct and adjust lighting in the computer?
     
  34. Hi Peter,

    Sure, I have a D300 and the 24-70mm and I use that combination all the time. I do not have a FF DSLR, but I do use that "G" lens on my N70 in shutter-priority mode. I am not that much of a wide shooter, and this lens works fine for me for people photography at events like parties, I do not find I am shooting too much with "my back to the wall". Even at 24mm, i.e. 36mm FOV equivalent on FF, I find that there are beginnings of perspective distortions that I don't like for people photography, and would not want to go wider. For rare occasions where I want to go wider (usually architecture or landscape), I find that I want to go ultra-wide for the peculiar perspective such focal lengths provide, and for that I do have a Tokina 12-24mm.

    In any case, it is not about what I like or others like. It will depend on whether the OP uses the wider end much on his DX body or not.

    Shash
     
  35. I can't answer the OP's question, but here are a few things to consider.
    (1) The D90 is a very nice camera - small, lightweight, versatile, excellent image quality.
    (2) The 17-55 f/2.8 DX is a lot less expensive than the 24-70 f/2.8 G.
    (3) The combination of D700 and 24-70 is (a) expensive and (b) very heavy. I have no idea how strong you are, but I'm a relatively large person and that combination gives my arms and shoulders a real workout.
    (4) The 24-70 is extremely sharp up close, but it impresses me less when I shoot objects that are some distance away. If you're shooting weddings and events, it's amazing. If you're shooting mountains and cityscapes, it's less impressive.
    (5) If you want the D700 primarily for High ISO shooting, it's an ideal camera. If you want it for high resolution capture, there are better cameras on the market.
    (6) You just never know when the infamous upgrade monster is about to strike.
     
  36. Hi Apurva! First of all, I am not a great photographer. I used to have a D80 and then I jumped to a D700 with a 24-70mm 2.8. Did my photos improved? Well I think they did! I Focus much faster, Mi pictures look sharper on the screen and on print. I am HAPPY with my new toy. Is it heavy with my 24-70? Well yes, but so what? I am not that weak. I am rich with money to burn? NO but I do have the money to please myself. I have taken tons of pictures with low light and the D700 is just perfect. It focus very well and FAST. Do not think anymore Apurva. Buy it!
     
  37. Luis - your radar seems to be malfunctioning.
     
  38. Go FF, but sometimes you will miss your D90 + 18-200 combo.
     
  39. I would say get the new camera. I have a friend who upgraded from a D200. He used flash for all of his low light indoor shots. Now that he has the D700 he can go without the flash, but he doesn't like the look of the photos. I think he has issues with the white balance. It just looks like film shots to me.
     
  40. Why does one want to upgrade? If one camera or lens limits your current style of taking photographs. "Upgrading" won't make you a better photographer. At the beginning you have a new toy and will possibly use it with great interest, but after a month or so it just boils down whether a new body or lens is needed to enhance your photographic style. I have newer cams, but still use my D70s, and as noise suppression algorithms have improved since then, with an up-to-date Lighroom or Capture NX2 I obtain now results from the D70s RAW files that does it not make look so old. So, D90 RAW files should still give you plenty of freedom for the future.
     
  41. I think the real question is whether it makes sense to spend money on DX lenses. Lenses will be with you much longer than bodies. I have an 18-200, but I find that 17-55 or 24-70 gives much better sharpness and pictures with better subjective quality. So, if you can get a used 17-55 for not too much, that's an attractive choice. But I wouldn't want to spend $1200 for one now. You might try thinking more broadly about lenses, including fixed focal length lenses.
     
  42. acm

    acm

    The very reason that I had to post this question is the mixed feeling I am having. On the one hand I don't want to loose the convenience and practicality of D90/18-200 combo. On the other, I am attracted to Fx quality and performance of "gold ring" optics. Throw in some NAS and you have the precarious situation of the OP!
     
  43. http://bythom.com/upgradepath.htm
     
  44. Uh Oh. I was all satisfied with a D700 and a set of fine lenses, and now I've just read that I should be wanting gold ring lenses. None of my lenses has a gold ring. The 180mm AF-D has a label with some shiny gold-tone text, but no ring (unless you count the aperture ring, but that's not gold).
    I was hoping to get through at least half of 2010 without buying cameras or lenses, but now that I know the gold ring lenses are out there, waiting, I might not be able to resist. Do chrome or aluminum rings count?
     
  45. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Apurva, you can always paint a gold ring yourself on all of your lenses. Otherwise, the 18-55mm/f3.5-5.6 AF-S VR DX has a gold ring around it and it is available at a very affordable price.
    However, as long as you have NAS, after you get the D700, you'll want the new sensor on the D3S because it gives even better high-ISO results. In fact, the difference between the D700 and D3S is about the same as the difference between the D90 and D700 in terms of high -ISO results. Moreover, you'll also soon need 24MP and more and more and more ....
     
  46. Also, Nikon may be introducing a replacement for the D700 this year, so that may be something to consider...
     
  47. Also, Nikon may be introducing a replacement for the D700 this year, so that may be something to consider...​
    There are strong rumours of 'D900' in the offing indeed!
     
  48. This is not a rumor site. Anybody who actually knows something isn't talking.
     
  49. Hi there Apurva, I do not know the D90 but I have not long since got rid of all my DX stuff. I used a D70, D200, D2X and D300. I had the 18-200 which is a super lens and was the only reason I held back once I had a D3. I now use a D3 and D700 with the 14-24 afs f2.8; the 24-70 afs f2.8 and the 70 - 200 afs f2.8. I print mainly A3. The D3X tempted me but Nikons price hike was a bit too much for me. I use an assortment of other lenses - primes - 16mm fisheye; 24mm PCE; 105 micro; 105 f2 DC; 70-180 micro, 300 f4; 500 f4P and 1000 f11 reflex Nikkors -- Zooms : 70-300; 80-400 VR Nikkors. I enjoy the FX part of my set up. I'm no longer working out multiplication factors and in many ways this is more of what I'm used to being an old Nikon bod from the days of the Nikon F Photomic and before. If you wish to print on the side of a building, then go for a D3X - A3 or A2 and the D3 or D700 are great. Always get the best glass you can afford as the bodies change but the glass changes are a lot slower and I'm still using a couple of 30 years old plus lenses. Wait for a D700 replacement? All they seem to do of late is add better video facilities and I'm a stills photographer; Also once you have what you decide on it will probably be upgraded within 18 months. I did keep an old D100 and 17-55 DX kit lens but I had it's sensor converted for Infrared and I tend to use an older 17-35 f2.8 Nikkor on that one.
     
  50. Getting back to a simple answer to the OP's original question. The D90 is truly an excellent camera and you've stated that you are thinking of the upgrade to full frame in about 6 months. As such, I agree with Shun and others. The D700 technology will be about 2 years old by then and we don't know what Nikon plans to do in this next 6 months, but a reasonable bet is that there is a new FF body in the works that will be "state of the art", probably with an upgraded sensor, probably with at least the AF module of the D700 or better, probably with HD video and more.
    I am waiting for the same to occur to consider a possible move from my D300 to whatever the new FF body looks like. Bottom line, have patience and put your NAS on the back burner. You'll still be able to do some excellent photography with the D90 during the wait.
     

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