Thursday, January 6, 2011

D700 Day Is Here!

My "new" Nikon D700.
Well, it's here: my new (to me) Nikon D700 arrived yesterday evening. In a way, it's still surreal that I have this camera sitting in front of me as I type this, but it's here. Frankly, if it weren't for my lens focusing problems (1 Sigma and 2 Canons, yes, 2 Canons) and inability to fix them thanks to a lack of AF microadjust capability, I'd still be perfectly happy with my trusty Canon 30D, which has never let me down and is still, other than lacking AF microadjust, a perfectly good camera.

 It's here!

 Opening the box.

 I've struck gold!

 D700 box opened (top protective shield removed from camera)

The complete kit.

So, what of the D700?
At first glance, the D700 looks just like any of the crop-frame Dx00 line cameras except for the large viewfinder chamber, which is noticeably taller than on the croppers. However, for the real impact of the larger viewfinder, one must look through it.

Crop frame 30D next to full frame D700, note how much taller the 700's viewfinder chamber is.

First off, all I can mange to say after looking through the viewfinder is “holy $^#% that thing is big!” To compare, look through a throw-away film camera's viewfinder and then through that of your sub-frame dSLR. See the difference? Now, imagine another step-up in size just as big when moving from a crop to a FF dSLR. Frankly, you feel as though you could just about step into the picture you're about to take.

Onto the other things.
Next up: the LCD screen. For anyone used to the previous generation of LCDs (namely the 230,000 dot, 2.5” inch ones everyone was using), moving up to a 920,000 dot (yes, that's almost 1Mp on the screen alone!) is quite an experience. Believe me, if you're even the slightest bit out of focus, you'll know it!

The D700 is about the same width as crop-frame Nikon Dx00 cameras as well as the canon xxD models, but it is obviously taller thanks to the giant viewfinder FF allows.

In terms of in-hand feel, the camera is pretty hefty, but not huge (at least to me with my long fingers). In terms of density, the D700 is solid. It makes my 30D and the D200 I got to play with awhile back feel like toys in comparison.

Controls? If you've ever shot with a Dx00-series Nikon before, you'll be familiar with the D700. Sure, a few buttons have been moved/changed, but the overall layout is identical. No learning curve here.
Pictures? Well, I got to snap a few last night with a borrowed lens (my 50 f1.4 AF-D should come today) and all I can say is that the image quality is simply stunning. As good a the D7000 I played with last month was, the D700 is still far better in terms of producing clean images in poor lighting conditions. Here's a sample (I don't think the eagle sculpture would mind) as many of the others were candids of fellow Black River Astronomical Society members.

Eagle sculpture at ISO 6400, standard JPEG settings.

Why do FF cameras produce such low-noise images and cost so much? It's the big sensor!

Needless to say, the next few days should be fun!
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