I was sceptical about changing from the D200 to the D300 as I couldn’t really see any major benefits, especially as my D200 was only around 4 months old at the time.
I was glad I waited. The D700 is a revelation! I had a look at it in the shop and was impressed with the way it handled. I was pleased to see most of the features, menus and buttons in the same place – that’s one of the attractions of Nikon; once you get used to one you can pick up any of them.
It felt well built and robust, nice in the hand and not as cumbersome as the D3 which I had coveted previously.
I took a few shots in test mode inside the shop at ISO 5600 and had a look on the screen (also much improved) and I was, to be honest, blown away and sold at the moment. I know that what you see on the screen is a jpeg rendition and doesn’t compare to the output of a RAW file on a big monitor or print but I figured if that was the jpeg preview then I really wanted to see the final RAW!
Unfortunately, owing to the appauling weather we are having in northern Scotland this morning I can’t show you some real "in the field" examples so I have done the next best thing and set up a still life.
To really test the sensor I picked a black clay buddha’s head, a couple of coins, some glass bottles (two colours) with labels and a lens chart. This little set up was lit entirely by two large windows at 90degree angles to eachother and thus around 45degrees to the still life on either side.
If the weather doesn’t pick up (not much sign of that happening) then I will be shooting some still lifes inside with the D700 acting as a remote commander unit to the SB800 flash unit this afternoon.
All the images were shot with the camera placed on a Manfrotto tripod, using the same Sigma 24-60 f/2.8 lens with settings matched shot for shot.
The results are as follows (Note that the originals were shot as RAW files and the only processing done was to resize and save them for the web):
Of course, the D700 actually goes even higher than this to a staggering 25600 which is almost complete darkness by all accounts.
It would be realistic to use upto 1600 for almost any purpose and 6400 for pre-monochrome conversions would also work well whereas with the D200 I was never really satisfied with anything above 400. So, it’s a vast improvement.
Having the full frame sensor does alter the image proportions slightly. When scaled to 600pixels along the horizontal the height of the D200 image is 402 pixels whereas the D700 image becomes 399. File sizes are considerably bigger and I am going to order yet another external hard drive as I can see my existing resources being engulfed fairly soon. The average file generated by my D200 was between 16MB and 22MB whereas I am getting consistantly 32-35MB for the RAW files of the D700 and I am not even shooting at 14-bit yet!
I hope that this report provides a little insight into the range of the D700. It’s only my initial impression and more reports will follow. Thanks for reading.
Is the Nikon 24-120mm really that bad? A comparison between the Nikon 12-120mm 1:3.5-5.6 VR and the Sigma 24-60mm 1:2.8
First in the field: a report on a days shooting with the Nikon D700 “in the field”