Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Nikon D700 to Rise in Price

Buy a Nikon D700 now before the price goes up, seriously! With the release of the Nikon D600 last week, Nikon made it perfectly clear that the D700 was a mistake and that there was not going to be a successor model. Why say mistake? Well, back in 2008, Nikon was neck-in-neck with Canon and needed some hot product to take itself into the lead. That camera was the D700. As for why it was a mistake, now ahead of Canon, Nikon has no need to launch a camera that is 95% of a D4 for half the price like the D700 was to the D3 for risk of cannibalizing flagship model sales.

Result: no D700 update is in the offing.

By looking at Nikon's current lineup, one sees that it is trying to clearly situate its new products into their own, specific niches. First up, the D4 and upcoming D4x, which are the top bananas of Nikon and armed with every bit of technology that the company can muster. Taking a step down, there's the D800/D800E, lightweight pro models that take many cues from the D4 line but are missing just enough so as to make them completely different animals, but with enough resolution to challenge medium format cameras, which cost several times as much. Stepping down another notch and crossing the proverbial line in the sand, one is now in amateur territory with the D600, which takes a lot of its design, and vastly inferior user interface, from the DX D7000. Below the D600, there's the rest of the DX line consisting of the old D7000 and D5100 as well as the new D3200.

Clearly, there's no room for a low-Mp, D4 lite, as the D700 was to the D3, which makes the D700 the first and last of its kind an an instantly hot item for serious photographers on a budget.

In the age of technology, it is uncommon for anything that is considered obsolete to appreciate in price, but it is not unheard of, even for digital cameras. Back in 2005, Canon announced the EOS 20Da, with the 'a' standing for 'astro' as the camera was specifically designed for astronomical photography of deep space objects through telescopes. New, the camera sold for around $1600. However, citing poor sales, Canon discontinued the camera the following year, at which point used 20Das started selling on Ebay for $3000, or more! Why? There was simply nothing else like it anywhere else.

Come 2012, the same could be true of the Nikon D700 as Nikon has a pair of current choices, bboth of which may be undesirable for many. First up, the D800. Loaded with a 36Mp sensor, the D800's files are so big that they will quickly clog the workflow of anyone who likes to process his or her pictures, especially if one is shooting in NEF (RAW) mode. Along with the camera one had better invest in a high-powered computer, too! In addition, thanks to having to process such a huge amount of data, the D800 is a bit of a slow poke, only able to manage 4 fps. The D600, well, it's a great imaging machine but its user interface just plain sucks.

Together, these drawbacks of both the D800s and D600 go to make the D700 all the more attractive as the D700 has the pro-grade control system, files that are small enough to manage (though plenty big for most people), a lot of speed (it can do 8fps with the battery grip), and a price tag under $2500. Oh, yes, the D700 has better noise performance than the D600, too.

So, what' s going to happen? My take: after the D700, which is selling for around $2300 new right now becomes unavailable as factory new, look for scalpers who have been hoarding D700s and showing up on Ebay and other online auction sites with the cameras, along with the idiots who will be willing to pay upwards of $3000 for them. Bottom line: if you want to pick up a D700, don't wait around as they're not going to be sticking around for long anymore. If you can't find a new D700, don't hesitate to buy a factory refurb as they're the same as new, perhaps even better since you know the camera's been given an extensive going-over by a Nikon tech.

Any way you slice it, the D700 is the end of the line, so get yours now before they're gone-forever.

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