The D700 uses a slightly different prism to the D3; it's not quite as big and bright (and only offers a 95% coverage compared to the D3's 100%), but it's still superb and clearly shows the benefit of a full frame sensor in this important area.

If you attach a DX format lens a box appears in the viewfinder to indicate the cropped area (rather than the grey mask used on the D3). Optionally you can also manually select the shooting format (FX: 36 x 24 mm or DX: 24 x 16 mm - the 5:4 format has been dropped from the D700). Since the speed advantage of the DX crop format has been lost there seems little point using it unless you're actually using DX lenses.

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The diagram below (adapted with permission from the D3 user manual) demonstrates the different image sizes (FX / DX), their image circles and the cropped area of the DX format.

The D700 features the same 51 point auto focus sensor as the D3 and D300; the center fifteen (3x5 grid) being cross point sensors even with F5.6 aperture lenses. There are two AF point selection modes (CSM a8), you can opt to be able to select from all 51 points or 11 points in a similar layout as the D2X. (Note that the D700's larger sensor area means that the AF points don't have as much frame coverage as on the D300 and also that the 11 point layout is slightly different). Obviously if you switch to DX cropped mode the focus points cover virtually the entire frame.

51 point AF selection mode 11 point AF selection mode

The D700's viewfinder view is, again, different to both the D300 and the D3 (though it's closer to the D300). Nikon is not using etching to indicate the AF points; all information is displayed using liquid crystal, hence when an AF point is not active there is no detrimental effect on the focusing screen. The full information available in the viewfinder display is shown below.

1 Framing grid 13 Flash compensation
2 AF area frame 14 Exposure compensation
3 Center weighted metering area 15 ISO sensitivity
4 Focus indicator 16 Frames remaining / buffer / exp. comp. value / WB rec / Flash comp. value
5 Focus indicator 17 Flash ready indicator
6 Metering mode 18 FV lock indicator
7 Auto exposure lock 19 Flash sync indicator
8 Shutter-speed lock 20 Aperture stop indicator
9 Shutter-speed 21 Exposure display / compen. / tilt indicator
10 Aperture lock 22 Battery
11 Aperture (f-number / no. stops) 23 Auto ISO sensitivity
12 Exposure mode 24 'K' when more than 1000 frames remaining

Battery, Compartment and Charger

The D700 uses the same EN-EL3e battery as the D300. It has a quoted capacity of 1500 mAh at 7.4V (11.1 Wh) and charges on the supplied MH-18a quick charger. Note that the D700 is also compatible with the larger EN-EL4a battery when the MB-D10 battery grip is attached (see below).

The battery compartment is located in the base of the hand grip. The compartment door is opened by pulling on a small lever, inside the battery holds itself part of the way in without dropping and without the use of a catch.


Battery information available on the camera:

  • Top control panel has a five segment battery life indicator
  • Camera Menu: Set Up -> Battery Info provides:
    • Battery meter (as a percentage)
    • Picture meter (estimated frames on current power)
    • Calibration (required / not required)
    • Charging Life (0 to 4 indicating if the battery has come to the end of its useful life)

Battery pack / Vertical grip (optional)

The D700 is compatible with the D300's new battery pack / vertical grip, the MB-D10. The grip doesn't require the removal of the internal battery or battery door instead connecting to a pair of terminals on the base of the camera (normally protected by rubber covers, removed for this shot). This allows the internal battery to be used in conjunction with the batteries in the MB-D10. This MB-D10 is more ergonomic than previous grips and integrates much better with the body, it also supports a wider range of batteries; the EN-EL3e, the large EN-EL4a used in the D3 as well as AA batteries. (Note that the MB-D10 plus batteries other than the EN-EL3e are required to achieve the full eight frames per second shooting speed).

Compact Flash Compartment

Unlike the D3 the D700 only has one Compact Flash slot, and unusually for a Nikon at this level there's no lock or release lever for the slot compartment cover (you just slide it backwards to open it). The D700 supports Compact Flash Type I including FAT32 (cards over 2 GB) and UDMA (high throughput), but notably becomes the first Nikon at this level to drop support for Type II CF cards (e.g. microdrives).