Leaning towards buying either a D700 or a 58mm f1.4G

Started Dec 22, 2013 | Discussions thread
windsprite Senior Member • Posts: 2,576
Re: Leaning towards buying either a D700 or a 58mm f1.4G

I've been reading your posts with interest, as I also came from Olympus four or five years ago, and I mostly liked the JPEGs from their earlier cameras.

Like other posters have been saying, it's hard to make any recommendations about color, but somehow I don't think the D700 would be the panacea you are hoping for. Then again, I've never used the D7000, so maybe I just don't know how bad it can get compared to the D700!

I do find the D2X Mode III picture control on the D700 gets me close to the "look" I liked in the Kodak-era Oly cameras (darker midtones than the modern Nikon defaults) and is actually nicer in some ways, because of the much better DR and tonality you get with the larger sensor. On the other hand, the reds seem to blow more easily, and I have gotten waxy orange skin tones from that camera at times. I don't do a lot of people photos, so it's not a big deal for me to adjust them, but you might find it happens enough to be an annoyance. I do love the D700 skin tones when using flash, so maybe it would be OK with studio lighting, but again, it's a matter of taste.

If you don't mind my saying so, I get the feeling that you just want an FX camera, and you won't be able to get the idea out of your head until you use one and see for yourself whether it lives up to the hype. I really think you should consider getting an FF body with the intention of continuing to use your D200 for portraiture. If it ain't broke, why try to fix it?

I suspect you would love using an FF camera for other stuff, though, and maybe also for portraiture under certain conditions. Owning both DX and FX opens you up to many more interesting lens options, for one thing.

As much as I "heart" my D700, I would recommend the D600 (or D610). You seem to be impressed with the D7000's high ISO, but the D600 is going to be so much better in this respect than the D7000 and even the D700. It will have better DR. It will give you an in-camera DX crop with decent-sized files (around 8MP?), which could be useful at times. It weighs a lot less than the D700, which is a fairly bulky, heavy camera.  Somehow it doesn't seem to make sense to get a heavier, lower-MP D700 with less DR and noisier high ISO just because it might have better skin tones than the D600. Maybe it will, but probably you will still like the D200 better and you will still end up using that. In that case, the D600 and its newer sensor would make a more versatile companion to the D200 than the D700.

I wonder if you would like a Fuji S5Pro. Same body as the D200, and their JPEGs are legendary. DR ought to be a lot better than you can get from the D200, too.  Less resolution, though, and some people seem to find the focus not as accurate as with the Nikon bodies.  The people who love this camera do seem to REALLY love it, though.


Stacey_K wrote:

Lately I have been shooting mostly portraits and at times a LOT of them (100+) at various events. I switched from olympus to nikon with a D7000. I fell in love with the 85mm f1.8G but not the skin tones I got from the D7000. I got a used D200 to use with the 85mm and love the OOC jpegs this combo produces. Being able to not deal with processing RAW files is a big bonus for me.

Lately I have been shooting some indoor/portable studio stuff (large groups, one or two people at a time) and the 85mm is a bit long, especially for groups/couples. 60-70mm on DX would work better but I have no fast zoom/prime in that range. I have a 17-70 f2.8-4 sigma but on DX, f4 is more DOF than I like. Most of the f2.8 reasonably priced zooms end at 50mm. I have an 80-200 f2.8 and feel this lens on FX would cover a wider range of portrait shots (without having to switch out primes) and still have the shallow DOF I like. I tried the 50mm f1.8G and was underwhelmed with the results compared to the 85mm f1.8g shots.

Which leads me to which body to get. My concern with the D610 is the colors OOC would be similar to what my D7000 produces, which would then require shooting RAW and PPing etc. The 10MP of the D200 is plenty for my needs so I assume the D700 file size isn't going to be an issue. Being an earlier generation camera, my thoughts are the colors OOC might be closer to what I get from my D200?

The other option I was considering is the 58mm f1.4G and use that on my D200. It's about the same money as a good used D700 body would be. From what I have seen, the images from this lens are stunning. The only hassle then is swapping between the 58 and the 85 depending on the group size vs using the 80-200 zoom. But then I would know the colors/skin tones I love from the D200 would still be there. With the D700 it's an unknown for me if I would like the skin tones OOC or not. The other advantage of the D200/58mm would be a much lighter weight setup over a D700+80-200 (and smaller, less intimidating to some people) but of course the zoom allows more flexability.

Understand I shoot at iso100 in this environment so high ISO shooting isn't part of this. But if the D700 colors are like the D200 and I gained some high ISO headroom for shooting other things, that would be a nice bonus.

Any advice/experience people have would be nice to hear.

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