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Top of camera controls (right)

The control layout on the right side on the top of the camera is identical to the D300. On the right side you will find the power switch, shutter release button, exposure mode and exposure compensation buttons. At the front and rear edges of this side of the camera, in line with the shutter release button are the two command dials (with a soft rubber coating). On the rear of the camera surrounding the AE-L/AF-L button is the metering mode selector, to the right of this the AF-ON button. Note that CSM f9 allows you define the exact function of the command dials including their rotation, which sets aperture / shutter speed and whether they can be used in menus and playback mode. The function of controls described below are for a camera with default settings.

Buttons combined with a dial turn are held while the dial is turned, however you can choose to simply have to press the button once and release, this is achieved via CSM f10 (like a Canon).

Power dial

OFF Power Off

Powers the camera off immediately, if there are images still buffered to be written the camera will remain on until the write has completed. When off the camera continues to display the remaining frames / frame count and CF status on the top LCD panel.
ON Power On

Switches the camera on, this is as fast as we can time it, as good as instant. There is simply no perceptible delay between turning the the dial and the first shot (you can even hold the shutter release and turn the power dial to test this).
Illuminate backlight

Flick the power switch to this position to illuminate the control panels backlight's (top and rear). The backlight stays on for the 'auto meter-off' time (CSM c2).

Buttons (combined with dial turn)

  Main command dial (rear) Sub command dial (front)
MODE Exposure mode (detail below)

 • Programmed Auto (flexible)
 • Shutter-Priority Auto
 • Aperture-Priority Auto
 • Manual
No function
Exposure compensation

 • +/- 5 EV
 • 0.3, 0.5 or 1 EV steps (CSM b2)
No function

Buttons (single press)


The AF-ON button is an alternative to half-pressing the shutter release, it triggers the camera's auto focus system. You can if you wish have the camera set to that AF is not triggered by a shutter release half-press (CSM a5) and only by the AF-ON button (useful for fast action photography where continuous AF tracking is required).

AE / AF Lock

Pressing this button locks the current exposure and focus, in its default mode both AE and AF remain locked as long as you hold the button. CSM f7 allows you to change the function of this button with a range of AE / AF hold / lock options as well as other camera functions (such as metering, bracketing etc.)

Metering Mode

3D Color matrix metering II / Color Matrix II / Color Matrix

3D Color matrix metering uses a 1005 pixel CCD to calculate the best exposure for the frame. 3D color matrix metering is only available with G type or D type lenses where the range information is used in conjunction with metered light. Color matrix II metering is used with other CPU lenses. Color matrix metering is used when focal length and aperture are entered manually using the 'Non-CPU lens data' menu item.
Center-weighted metering

The camera uses the entire frame for light measurement but assigns a greater weight to an area in the center of the frame (by default an 8 mm circle indicated on the viewfinder focus screen). The size of the circle used to define the "center" of the frame can be set by CSM b5.
Spot metering

The camera measures light only in a circle 3 mm in diameter. This is tied to the currently selected AF area point unless dynamic AF or a non-CPU lens is used when it defaults to the center of the frame.

Exposure Modes

P Programmed Auto (flexible)

In this mode the camera automatically selects aperture and shutter speed based on the current metered exposure value, exposure compensation and selected ISO sensitivity. Flexible program allows you to select one of a range of identical exposures (using different combinations of aperture and shutter speed) by turning the main command dial. Example:

 • 1/125 sec, F9 (turn left one click)
 • 1/160 sec, F8.0 (turn left one click)
 • 1/200 sec, F7.1 (metered)
 • 1/250 sec, F6.3 (turn right one click)
 • 1/320 sec, F5.6 (turn right one click)
S Shutter-Priority Auto

In this mode you select the shutter speed and the camera will calculate the correct aperture depending on metered exposure, exposure compensation and ISO sensitivity. Turn the main command dial to select shutter speed in the range of 30 to 1/8000 sec (in 0.3, 0.5 or 1.0 EV exposure steps depending on CSM b3).
A Aperture-Priority Auto

In this mode you select the aperture and the camera will calculate the correct shutter speed depending on metered exposure, exposure compensation and ISO sensitivity. Turn the sub command dial to select aperture (in 0.3, 0.5 or 1.0 EV exposure steps depending on CSM b3). The exact range of apertures will depend on the lens used.

Manual Exposure

In this mode you define the exact exposure by selecting the aperture and the shutter speed manually. As above use the main command dial (rear) for shutter speed, sub command dial (front) for aperture. The meter on the viewfinder status bar and top LCD will immediately reflect the exposure level compared to the calculated ideal exposure, if outside of the range of the indicator bar (+/- 2 EV on the viewfinder LCD and +/- 3 EV on the top control panel) an arrow ('<' or '>') will appear at the end.

Top of camera controls (left)

The top left side of the camera has the mode dial which allows you to select the camera's drive mode, with a choice of single frame, two continuous speeds, live view, self-timer or mirror up. This dial is locked from accidental change and can only be turned by holding the lock release pin to the top left of the dial. On the top of this dial are three buttons for quality, white balance and ISO sensitivity.

Mode Dial

S Single frame shooting

One frame is taken with one depression of the shutter release button. You can of course still 'pump' shots as quickly as you can re-press the shutter release. The D700's shutter release button is the soft-press type which easily facilitates quick re-press.

Continuous low speed shooting

Camera shoots continuously while the shutter release is depressed. In this mode the actual shooting rate can be set between 1 and 7 frames per second (through CSM d4), the default is 3 frames per second. Images are buffered as they are taken and written out to the Compact Flash card in the background. Current buffer space is indicated on the viewfinder LCD status bar as a number prefixed with a lower case 'r' (eg. r25).


Continuous high speed shooting

Camera shoots continuously while the shutter release is depressed. In this mode the camera shoots at its maximum speed of 6 frames per second (note that like the D3, and in contrast to the D300, the maximum frame rate does not slow down in 14-bit RAW recording mode). Images are buffered as they are taken and written out to the Compact Flash card in the background. Current buffer space is indicated on the viewfinder LCD status bar as a number prefixed with a lower case 'r' (eg. r25).



Puts the camera in live view shooting mode. In this mode you activate through-the-lens live view on the LCD monitor by first pressing the shutter release button (it's a bit counterintuitive) the mirror will raise (blanking the viewfinder) and the LCD will activate.To focus either use manual focus (press the magnify buttons to provide a larger magnified view) or press the AF-ON button to use contrast detect AF (slow but maintains live view) or phase detect AF (quicker but requires the mirror to drop first). The camera does not return to live view after a shutter release, you have to press the shutter release button once more.


Camera takes a shot after a predefined delay. This can be set to 2, 5, 10, or 20 seconds via CSM c3.

Mirror Up

Press the shutter release once to raise the mirror, again to take the shot. As we commented in our D2X and D200 reviews it would have been nice to have this combined with a self-timer so you don't need to touch the camera (or use a remote) to trigger the actual shutter release. (CSM d9; exposure delay mode; offers something similar but the delay is not long enough).

Buttons (combined with a command dial)

  Main command dial (rear) Sub command dial (front)
QUAL Image quality

 • RAW
 • Fine JPEG
 • Normal JPEG
 • Basic JPEG
 • RAW + Fine JPEG
 • RAW + Normal JPEG
 • RAW + Basic JPEG

Image size (all except RAW quality)

 • Large (4256 x 2832)
 • Medium (3184 x 2120)
 • Small (2128 x 1416)

WB White balance mode

 • Auto
 • Incandescent
 • Fluorescent
 • Direct sunlight
 • Flash
 • Cloudy
 • Shade
 • Color temperature (Kelvin)
 • White balance preset
White balance adjustment

 - Fine tune A6 to B6 (A=Amber, B=Blue)
 - Fine tune A6 to B6
 - Fine tune A6 to B6
 - Fine tune A6 to B6
 - Fine tune A6 to B6
 - Fine tune A6 to B6
 - Fine tune A6 to B6
 - Temperature 2500 K to 10000 K
 - Preset 0 to 4
ISO Select sensitivity (ISO equiv.)

 • L 1.0 (100 equiv.)
 • L 0.7 (125 equiv.)
 • L 0.3 (160 equiv.)
 • 200
 • 250
 • 320
 • 400
 • 500
 • 640
 • 800
 • 1000
 • 1250
 • 1600
 • 2000
 • 2500
 • 3200
 • 4000
 • 5000
 • 6400
 • H 0.3 (8000 equiv.)
 • H 0.7 (10000 equiv.)
 • H 1.0 (12800 equiv.)
 • H 2.0 (25600 equiv.)

(You can choose 0.3, 0.5 or 1.0 EV steps for ISO selection via CSM b2)
No function
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Total comments: 12
David Rogoff

Question: I want to move up from a Sony A33 to a full-frame DSLR. I'm mostly interested in low/natural-light indoor and architectural photography. Given this, what would I miss out if I picked up a used D700 vs. the latest D610? I think 12MP would be fine if they're good pixels!



Ahsan khn

hey ...i jst got a new nikon d700 and i m a newly user of this camera so tell me about a photography of this camera


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

1 upvote

@ zakk9:

what is it with telephoto long lenses,btw.


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.


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.


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


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


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

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.


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 :)


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

Son Of Waldo

Excellent review!

Total comments: 12