The DSC-D700 is a good looking camera, it really
looks like a well put together piece of equipment, a great
"eye full" for techno-holics like me, sleek curves
(the rounded "bottom" at the back) the excellent
choice of colours and surfaces and the great SLR-look-alike
is a sure win. In your hand it feels comfortable and like
a "real camera". It's about the same weight as the
Pro 70 so I'm fairly used to having a digital camera such
as this in my hand. One thing, the right hand grip has a nicely
recessed which "hooks" your fingers very well and
makes the camera feel very firm to grip.
Zoom control is by a traditional zoom ring on the
end of the lens assembly, the image left shows
the two extents of the length of the lens, the
zoom ring is fairly stiff but reassuringly smooth
(very similar action to the newer aspherical zoom
lenses from Tamaron). At 28mm the lens is extended
very slightly and at 140mm it's fully extended
(as shown in the lower image).
When you've been using the D700 for a while you
really appreciate the speed and accuracy of a
traditional zoom ring such as this, going back
to the "zoom+/zoom-" of other cameras
gets real slow...
All other controls are easily at hand, within
a fingers reach of either hand, the focus ring tucked slightly
insdie the case design, the settings wheel is used to control
most of the major camera functions.
Size comparison with the Canon Powershot Pro
Rear LCD Display
The LCD on the D700 is BIG, it's 2.5 " across,
bright and easy to see in any light, by default it's turned
off and you have to hit the DISP button to turn it on, it
also has it's own brightness, contrast, colour and sharpness
settings in the setup menu to allow you to tweak the LCD for
Here's an example of the LCD in record (CAM) mode.
The top LCD displays is big and clear and covers
all the information on the back LCD (and some
more) which means that the camera can effectively
be used without having to use the rear (more power
sapping) LCD. I got into the habit of using the
LCD and found it to be just as easy to navigate
ALL the camera settings and know exactly what
my setup was at any one time.
My one "would have been nice" would be
a backlight option.
Rather than be brave and try to explain all the
items displayed I've shamelessly scanned the relevant
diagram from the (excellent) D700 manual.
And here's one of the reasons there was so much
fuss over the D700, the fact that it has a TTL
viewfinder, what you see through the viewfinder
is what (in theory) the CCD will capture.
Well, almost, unfortunately the focusing surface
on the D700 isn't up to much, it doesn't have
any fancy split focus angles cut into it or enough
of a ground glass effect to REALLY be able to
tell if you have a good focus or not, that combined
with the larger depth of field of digital cameras
and the fact that your eye can actually focus
THROUGH this viewfinder (even if the subject isn't
in focus to the camera) makes it somewhat difficult
to fully appreciate.
One more thing, you really have to be looking STRAIGHT
through the viewfinder otherwise the view will
vignette left or right.
Here is the (rather disappointing
by the quality of the rest of the controls) odd little
dioptric adjustment, it does work but takes some tuning
(I used the LCD display as a focus point rather than
anything through the lens).
This image represents the
view through the viewfinder, subject center and metering
points marked as the square brackets, below that the
LCD readout of current settings and exposure details
As per the top LCD details I've shamelessly scanned
the diagram describing the through-the-viewfinder
LCD from the supplied manual: