Nikon D800 vs D700 for amateur wildlife photo

Started Jul 12, 2012 | Discussions thread
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valdok
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Nikon D800 vs D700 for amateur wildlife photo
Jul 12, 2012

I'm an amateur photographer, not a professional.

I'm shooting with Nikon D300 for about 4 years, and pretty much satisfied with it. It's a real workhorse, very fast and reliable, ergonomically awesome (in my taste) with infinite customization features. Nevertheless when it comes to high-ISO signal/noise and dynamic range - due to its technology age it's not on par with newer cameras, such as D7000 and new FF cameras. Plus I don't have ultra-wide DX lenses, hence extreme wide-angle is out of my reach.

I'm thinking toward moving into the FF world (all of my lenses are for FF). The question is what would it be: D700 or D800.

Since I'm not a professional - D700 will suffice most of my needs. I don't really need the huge resolution, and the resolving power of D700 with high ISO, though lower than that of D800 (after resolution equalization), still very much superior than that of D300.

My only concern is about telephoto/macro. Small pixels of D300 effectively lead to greater object magnification. That is with my 70-200 telephoto lens on D300 I get a FOV equivalent to 105-300 on D700. OTOH I don't have a budget to buy a pro-grade 300mm lens.

I know that in low-light D700 may outperform even in telephoto, or when an ultra-short exposure is required (due to a better high-ISO performance), but sometimes there're perfectly good shooting conditions. Here the 4-year old D300 will be superior. So that moving to D700 will sacrifice the telephoto capabilities, at least in good shooting conditions.

D800 doesn't have this drawback, its pixels are even smaller than those of D300. So that in bright light I can shoot in full resolution and squeeze the highest resolving power. There's however another problem with D800: its very low shooting rate.

Recently I've also thought about using 70-200 on D700 with TC (teleconverter). However I've heard TC degrades the focusing speed/accuracy significantly.

So, my question is, what should I buy?

In favor of D700:

  • Suffices most of my needs.

  • Significantly cheaper than D800.

  • TC may be used to increase the resolving power

  • High shooting rate

In favor of D800:

  • Natively outperforms D300 in telephoto/macro

  • Low shooting rate improves when used in DX mode + grip.

  • More expensive than D700, but relatively close. OTOH contains many improvements, such as:

  • 100% viewfinder coverage, Virtual horizon

  • Useful auto-ISO

  • Improved auto-focus

  • Better Video

  • In-camera HDR

BTW another question about D800: how well does it process the images in reduced resolution? Raw/JPeg?
Is it a good idea to directly shoot JPeg in reduced resolution in low-light?

Thanks in advance.

Nikon D300 Nikon D700 Nikon D7000 Nikon D800
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