Nikon D700 Review
Conclusion - Pros
- Class-leading high ISO performance, usable up to ISO 12800
- Clean, artifact-free low ISO output with good resolution and detail
- Well-balanced noise reduction; more chroma NR, less luminance NR (film-like grain)
- Very fast (instant power-up, short shutter lag and short viewfinder black-out)
- Excellent continuous shooting capabilities (even more so with optional battery grip)
- Massive dynamic range headroom in 14bit RAW files
- Compatible with DX lenses with auto crop mode (only 5.1MP, however)
- Large, bright viewfinder (although small by the standards of the class)
- Good build quality, weather-sealed
- Highly configurable Auto ISO function (can set maximum ISO and minimum shutter speed)
- Effective chromatic aberration reduction (JPEG, RAWs through Capture NX)
- Fast and accurate 51 point auto-focus even in low light
- Auto-focus fine-tuning by body or per lens
- Reliable metering
- Powerful built-in flash with reliable metering and exposure
- Large and bright high resolution LCD (delivers full-color VGA; 640xRGB x 480)
- Live view with up to 1:1 pixel view (excellent for manual focusing)
- HDMI video output (up to 1080i)
- Clearly arranged and intuitive menu system
- Clever features from built in tilt sensor to help system, Active D-Lighting, Overlay, Multiple exposures an intervalometer
- Highly customizable (custom functions, FUNC button)
- Comprehensive range of image parameters
- Very comprehensive battery information display (% charge, shots, aging)
- Integrated sensor cleaning
- Effective vignetting correction
Conclusion - Cons
- Lower resolution than the competition (the price you pay for brilliant high ISO performance)
- Very steep default tone curve can lead to clipped highlights in JPEGs
- Unreliable auto white balance in artificial light
When we reviewed Nikon's first full-frame DSLR, the D3, in April this year we said it was 'possibly the most compelling, capable and well-rounded professional digital SLR ever made.' Only three months later Nikon announced another full-frame camera with the D700. The new model's 'compact' dimensions and much more affordable price tag make it a more appealing proposition than the D3 to many professional photographers and serious amateurs alike but can it keep up the high standards that have been set by its bigger brother?
There is no doubt the answer to this question is yes. Considering the cost advantage over the D3 (almost $1700 at the time of writing) the difference in specification between the two cameras is surprisingly small. You get a larger, truly pro-grade body, faster continuous shooting and a slightly bigger viewfinder with the D3 but if these things aren't too high up on your priority list you should definitely take the D700 into consideration. On top of the saving you also get a built-in flash (certainly useful for some) and integrated sensor cleaning. Specification is one thing though and image quality and performance are another. Luckily though the D700 is on a similar level as the D3 in these areas as well.
Unsurprisingly the D700 produces excellent output that is very similar to the D3’s. At low sensitivities the D700’s image results are very clean, virtually noise- and artifact-free and look pleasantly ‘unprocessed’. If you prefer a crisper, more consumer-friendly look to your images there’s more than enough latitude for fine-tuning the sharpness, contrast and saturation settings – either in-camera or in post processing. Having said that, the D700's default tone curve is steeper in the highlights than its bigger brother's which can lead to clipped highlights. You can keep this under control by adjusting the default settings but if you want to get the maximum out of the camera your best bet is, as usual, shooting RAW. The D700 offers an enormous, almost five stop RAW headroom that allows you to even pull back highlight detail that has been blown out beyond recognition.
The D700's most obvious strength though is its high ISO performance (which again is very similar to the D3's). It's the combination of the huge photosites on the full frame sensor and Nikon’s very sensible approach to noise reduction (heavy-handed on chroma noise and much more lenient on luminance noise) that lets you (within limits) take usable pictures up to a sensitivity of ISO 12800. The ISO 25600 setting might be a slightly dubious compromise in terms of image quality but at the very least you can keep shooting at minimum light levels. At the time of writing the D3 and the recently announced Canon 5D Mk II are the only other cameras on the market offering such extreme ISO settings. However, the image quality of the latter is still an unknown at this point in time.
Speed wise the D700 is as good as it gets in this class of camera. Read/write and buffer times, shutter lag and power on are excellent and even the 5 frames per second continuous shooting should be good enough for most applications. If you use the optional battery grip with the big EN-EL 4a or AA batteries you can even push it up to 8 frames per second - pretty close to D3 performance (you don't get a speed advantage by shooting in DX mode though).
Let's have a look at the cons then and as you might guess from looking at the list above this will be a fairly short paragraph. The first thing that springs to mind is the D700's 12 megapixel resolution. If this is good enough for your purposes you will only be able to decide yourself but it's a fact that the competition in the shape of the Canon 5D Mark II and Sony DSLR-A900 offers almost double the amount of sensor resolution - at a similar price point (with the Canon you also get HD video on top). However, the lower resolution is the price you pay for the D700's staggering speed and high ISO performance - you can't have everything in life.
While a lack of resolution could be a potential deal-breaker for some the slightly unreliable auto white balance performance in artificial light probably isn't. Nor is the steep tone curve that we've mentioned above. Simply use custom white balance and change the default settings or - even better - shoot RAW to work around these minor issues.
In conclusion the Nikon D700 is an excellent camera that is extremely versatile and performs well both in the studio and on location. No doubt it sets a benchmark in the 'compact' pro bracket of the market. For how long remains to be seen. We will know more after we've reviewed the Canon 5D Mark II and the Sony DSLR-A900.
Rating (out of 10)
|Ergonomics & handling||9.5|
- 18 Photographic tests (Noise)
- 19 Photographic tests (DR)
- 20 Photographic tests (DR)
- 21 Photographic tests (Falloff)
- 22 Photographic tests
- 23 Compared to
- 24 Compared to (JPEG)
- 25 Compared to (JPEG)
- 26 Compared to (JPEG)
- 27 Compared to (RAW)
- 28 Compared to (RAW)
- 29 Compared to (RAW)
- 30 Compared to (Higher ISO)
- 31 Compared to (Resolution)
- 32 Conclusion
- 33 Samples
|Montréal Dépaneur Out of Business DP by MarioSS|
from Your City - Out of Business
|Wish You Were Here by Dutch Newchurch|
from Street musician playing
|Flight of a Puffin by cjf2|
Instagram is currently testing a major change to the app's profile layout: replacing the 3-photo across grid with a 4-photo grid... and some users are NOT taking the news well.
A report by USSRPhoto is shedding some light on the return of the famed Zenit camera brand. It seems the full-frame mirrorless camera they're working on will be made in part by Leica using components from the Leica SL.
According to a reliable Korean report, Samsung is developing a smartphone sensor that's capable of super slow motion. Translation: Samsung's next batch of Galaxy smartphones may be able to shoot 1,000fps.
This simple photograph of a seahorse and Q-tip has taken the internet by storm. We spoke to photographer Justin Hofman about how it was captured, and what it means to him.
After a massive leak last week, Profoto has officially debuted the Profoto A1: the company's first on-camera flash system that they're calling "the world's smallest studio flash."
"When the first hyperfocal distance charts were designed, someone decided that an acceptably sharp background contained some blur — enough to notice in a medium-sized print [...] After that point, nearly every other hyperfocal chart followed suit."
The Canon EOS Rebel SL2 (also known as the EOS 200D) is the company's impressively compact entry-level DSLR. Packing a 24MP APS-C sensor, DIGIC 7 processor and Dual Pixel AF, it promises a lot of bang for the buck. And while not mind-blowing, it handles most tasks very well.
Correct these four common composition mistakes and your photos will be more balanced, tell a better story, and lead your viewer's eye where you want it to go.
The rugged, compact 360° action camera Kodak unveiled at Photokina in 2016, the Kodak PixPro Orbit 360, is finally available in the United States.
iOS 11 launches tomorrow, and it'll save all of your pictures in a new high efficiency image format called HEIC. Fortunately, there's now a converter that will let you turn those photos back into JPEGs.
Photo protection company ImageRights recently released a new service that lets non-subscribers take advantage of their streamlined copyright registration system that checks for errors and fills out all the required forms for you.
What's the difference between a $200 circular polarizing filter and a $100 circular polarizing filter? Roger Cicala at Lens Rentals put six different filters through a few tests to find out.
A flurry of leaks reveal that GoPro's upcoming Hero6 will shoot 4K at 60fps, 1080p at 240fps, will cost $500, and is scheduled for announcement/release on September 28th.
Before he became the iconic director whose name we've all heard, a teenage Stanley Kubrick struck up a business relationship with New York’s Look magazine. No surprise: he was an incredibly talented photographer.
WD's new G-Technology G-Drive mobile SSD R-Series is a portable solid state option for photographers who want the reliability of an SSD in a rugged water and dust-resistant package.
Fast, stabilized and affordable is an appealing combination when it comes to lenses. With its latest 24-70mm F2.8, Tamron aims to upgrade autofocus speed and stabilization. We've got a full gallery from this updated full-frame zoom.
Photographer Clay Cook tells the story of his most ambitious photographic dream and career goal coming true: photographing A-list actress Jennifer Lawrence.
In an interview with a Chinese website, Nikon Japan's Director of Development dropped a bombshell, saying that a Nikon mirrorless camera "must be full-frame."
Here's a side-by-side spec comparison of two flagship devices with particular attention to the things that really matter – at least to people who prioritize photography features.
A month and a half after revealing the finalists of the 2017 EyeEm Awards, the photo sharing community and licensing marketplace has finally revealed the winners.
Photographer Josselin Cornou tells the breathtaking story behind two beautiful photos captured while snorkeling with humpback whales in Tonga.
The Sony RX10 IV is a fixed lens camera with a 1"-type sensor and 24-600mm equivalent lens that can shoot 4K video or stills at 24 fps, but that's not what we think is interesting about it. The addition of phase detection autofocus is pivotal to all those features.
The announcement date is set! Google will reveal their next generation Pixel phones—their response to Apple's shiny new iPhone X—on October 4th. Let the smartphone camera wars begin.
Sony just debuted three palm-style 4K camcorders that steal a bit of speedy phase detect autofocus technology from the company's RX10 IV. In fact, they kind of improve on it.
Earlier today, NASA's Cassini spacecraft plunged into Saturn's atmosphere, ending a 20 year long mission. Here are 21 of our favorite photographs captured by this incredible machine and its makers.
Fans of film photography should keep an eye out for the widespread theatrical release of Kodachrome, a movie staring Jason Sudeikis about the final days of the iconic film stock.
Photographer Manny Ortiz breaks down the pros and cons of shooting natural light vs off-camera flash, and explains why he chooses to shoot one, the other, or both in any given situation.
A leaked product page and a bunch of leaked photos shows Profoto is preparing to release its first ever speedlight: the Profoto A1 Air TTL
The Yashica camera brand disappeared in 2003, but a new teaser video and website hint at a comeback. Excited?
Western Digital just debuted a new, higher capacity WD Gold internal hard drive. The new drive offers 12TB of storage and class-leading reliability to the tune of a 550TB/year workload rating.