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Compared to...

For the studio comparisons we've opted to put the D700 up against Sony's brand new full-frame flagship, the A900, Canon's 'compact' full-frame camera, the EOS 5D (we do not yet have a reviewable 5D Mark II but we will update this article once it is available) and last but not least the D700's little brother, the Nikon D300 which offers the same resolution albeit on an APS-C sized sensor. To get things started let's have a look at how the D700 manages against the 24MP Sony.

Lenses used

For direct comparisons we always use sharp prime lenses stopped down (F7.1-F9). Here we have used the Canon EF 85 mm F1.8, Nikon 50 mm F1.8 , Nikon 85 mm F1.8D and Sony/Carl Zeiss Planar 85mm F1.4 (we use 85mm lenses on full frame cameras to give approximately the same field of view as a 50mm lens on a cropped sensor camera).

Studio scene comparison (JPEG)

This is our standard studio scene comparison shot taken from exactly the same tripod position. Lighting: daylight simulation, >98% CRI. Crops are 100%. Ambient temperature was approximately 22°C (~72°F).

Nikon D700 vs Sony DSLR-A900

Camera settings:

  • Nikon D700: Nikkor 85 mm F1.8 lens, Aperture Priority, ISO 200 (default base)
    JPEG Large/Fine, Manual WB, Default Parameters (Normal), Self-Timer, Exposure delay
     
  • Sony DSLR-A900: Sony 85 mm F1.4 lens, Aperture Priority, ISO 100 JPEG Large/Fine,
    Manual WB, Default Parameters (Standard), Self-Timer (auto MLU)
Nikon D700
Sony A900
3.7 MB JPEG (4256 x 2382)
6.1 MB JPEG (6048 x 4032)

They say 'Better is the enemy of good'. This saying springs to mind when looking at the output of these two cameras. Default sharpening is still a little conservative but the D700 produces a very good level of detail and natural colors. The image is also very clean and the highlight roll-off on the paper clips very nice indeed.

However, the amount of detail that is rendered by the Sony's new 24MP sensor is quite simply astonishing. If resolution and detail at low sensitivities are high up on your priority list it'll be difficult to ignore Sony's new flagship. Default colors and sharpening are not far off from the Nikon's though.

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Comments

Total comments: 10
CDNPHOTO12

I Just Got A D700 For A Replacement For My D200, £854 With 3,000 Actuations. From WEX Photographic.

0 upvotes
driftnomore

@ zakk9:

what is it with telephoto long lenses,btw.

@chrisippus:

i guess that would be a good buy,with only under 1700 shutter count,lens and the battery grip. had it been here in my place,i'm gonna get it.

0 upvotes
zakk9

No problem with long telephoto lenses, and I expressed myself a bit clumsily. What I meant was that a crop sensor, like the one in the D300 (which I also have) gives more reach at the same pixel count. The D300/700 combination is very convenient, since the two cameras share more or less the same body and use the same CF cards, batteries and vertical grip.

0 upvotes
driftnomore

does anyone here know the shutter actuation of the d700? i'm considering buying a used one with 39,000 shutter count for 900 euros.is it a good buy for a 39k count?

2 upvotes
MusaOmar

I think they are rated for 150,000.. So 39k is not that bad. Just bought one with 38K for $1300

2 upvotes
Jamesbond6668

I've used this camera for many photo shoots for over 2 years and still have it as my backup camera. (My main one is the D4). If you don't care about video, this is the camera for you! Much better than the D600 and probably very similar to the D800 (though the D800 has way too large image files for most shooters.). The images from the D700 with the right Nikkor lenses will keep you very happy for many years! (I only switched to the D4 for it's low light ability and faster shooting speed.)

1 upvote
Chrysippus

I have been looking for a replacement camera for my D40 and in my research discovered the D700. I can now get a used one in perfect condition with less than 1700 shots taken plus grip and lens (waiting to hear which lens) for 890 Euros. Would you say this is a better option than a Fuji X-E1 or Olympus OM-D E-M5 in terms of usability and image quality? I am looking for a camera to take stock photos with.

0 upvotes
zakk9

The D700 is an excellent camera if you don't need video or long telephoto lenses. It's particularly ideal if you want to use wide aperture primes and play with shallow depth of field. When it comes to image quality, it's a 5 year old camera, and many of the smaller sensors approach the once unique qualities of the D700 (I use a Panasonic GH3 in addition to the D700 myself). There are no obvious choices, and it mostly boils down to the user experience. Do you prefer an OVF or an EVF? Are you ok with a camera that is twice as heavy? The rational choices nowadays are probably a mirrorless camera, but the D700 is a classic. They are all good :)

2 upvotes
Lyndzihardy

I have just brought a D700, please can someone help with the mind field of lenses!! do I need FX lenses?
Thanks in advance

0 upvotes
Son Of Waldo

Excellent review!

0 upvotes
Total comments: 10