I’ve been shooting with the D700 exclusively now for a week (never picking up the D3) and the frame counter has just hit 10,000 so I thought I would pass along a couple of D700 thoughts. It is without doubt the funniest little camera I’ve shot with in a long time, even replacing the D200 as a favorite. Since I’m basically in “tour” mode, as in getting off the boat and walking the streets of Kona, I wanted a “small” camera over my shoulder. The D700 without the MB-D10 is just that, it’s a small camera and quite a delight to be carrying around while capturing BIG image quality (I honestly don’t see why you’d buy a small camera and then make it big by adding a battery pack when you bought a small camera but that’s just me). Having a pop up flash is really sweet especially with the larger size of the SB-900. Having the pop up flash working as a commander makes the amount of gear to carry less which is a plus.
The image quality is exactly what you’d expect from the D3 sensor which now has a new home. The buffer size being the same, the shooting experience is exactly the same as the D3. That’s a good thing because I’ve become quite use to that. The battery life I have to admit is a lot better then I thought it would be. I’ve only charged the battery once since first starting to shoot with the D700. I have to admit not having a vertical firing button has messed me up mentally a couple of times though. So has the slightly slower fps. The D3 and D700 are so darn similar it’s spooky!
One thing I’m not liking at all is the door for the CF card. It’s this new fangeled thing that you slide sidewise and then it pops open. It’s not built like a rock to say the least. A couple of times walking, my arm as slid it open by accident and one time when that happen, it caught on an object and instant panic as I thought I was going to break it off. I’m not liking that at all. But on the flip side, the image preview PIP is VERY cool and I like that a ton and find it to be something I’m wanting in the D3. Same with the active AF sensors selected when shooting in AAA. I love it in the D700 and hope Nikon incorporates it in the next D3 firmware upgrade.
Would I personally make the D700 my prime shooting camera? NO, I’ll stick with the D3. Would I go out on a project with a D3 as my prime camera and the D700 as a backup? In a heartbeat and without hesitation! Other than missing a couple features as I previously listed in my 1st D700 blog, you couldn’t find a better 1 for 1 backup then what you find in the D700. More then a week ago, I highly recommend it and while I’ve not has an opportunity to add it to Moose’s Camera Bag in writing, you can now count it as in.
Photos captured by D700, 14-24AFS/24-70AFS on Lexar UDMA digital film
Off the boat we went this afternoon looking for that classic Hawaii landscape. Well some folks were much more successful in finding it than me, I seemed to be in a locals portrait mode. I started off by photographing down a locals waterhole at a kid in a natural slide. Next, the kids older brother was on the bridge and with his good looks and tatoo, he was the next victim. We then meet the son of the local chief, a really nice guy that until you talked to him, would scare you to death. Then traveling to the other side the island (we’re on Maui) we ended up at this temple with a monk who was great to photograph. Finally we had a great sunset for a portrait with the very uninhibited Stephanie. It was great fun (none were models, just folks on the sand)!
The fun thing is all these photos were taken with the D700 and SB-900. The first couple were done with the SB-900 hardwired in with the SC-28. Last couple were with the D700 in commander mode driving the SB-900. The D700 was set to -2 stop and the SB-900 was set +1, center-weighted lighting, with a 1/2 cut CTO in the SB-900 filter holder with the soft dome over it. It all worked seamlessly and beautifully.
Photos captured by D700, 24-70AFS, SB-900 on Lexar UDMA digital film
The D700 is a pretty schweet camera, no doubt abut it. It instantly fit into my photography easily replacing the D300 for my EDL camera (I love having full frame). But for many, the D700 has brought up a major question. The D3 or the D700? Since both use the same sensor (as in exactly the same), it is a very good question.
As you can see above, the D700 isn’t really that much smaller than the D3. Attach the MB-D10, it’s the same height. The D3 weighs in at 3.16lbs and the D700 at 2.62lbs (battery included). So just going by size and weight, not a huge difference. The fps of the D3 is 8, the D700 is 5 and goes to 7-8 with the addition of the MB-D10 (depending on battery) so there is a little difference there. Stock D3 & D700 have the same buffer size but now with the buffer upgrade, the D3 doubles that of the D700 (& adding $500 to the cost). So looking at just the specs it’s real easy to see why folks are wondering which was to turn.
That’s until you look at the price. Yeah, the D700 saves you bucks and in this day, that is an important factor. Do you loose something by spending less? You do loose the dual CF slot, you do loose the faster fps going with the D700 but you gain the sensor vibration which so many seem hooked on. You can read the Nikon DSLR comparison brochure or the D700 IB which might help with your decision making.
My answer for most folks is, go with the D700 as dual CF & fps isn’t mission critical for most photographers. Personally, I’ll just be adding the D700 to the D3 fleet because especially now with the buffer upgrade, the D3 solves the problems I run into. Either way though, you’ll have a pretty darn nice machine!