Magazine Article


Nikon D700
DSLR offers full frame and much more

An impromptu holiday portrait, ISO set at 800, lit with the SB-900 Speedlight bouncing off the ceiling.
© Diane Berkenfeld

An example of the Monochrome setting. When shooting B&W on a DSLR, I set the camera to capture NEF + JPG. Capturing the NEF file means that I can always go back to the color data if I want. I used a Lensbaby 3G on the D700 to capture this image in available light.
© Diane Berkenfeld

This image is shown at 100%, its a close up of the shot shown below. That image was shot with the AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm 1:3.5-5.6 G ED VR lens, set at 32mm; f/5.6, ISO 200. Note the red box in the below photo, it notes the area in this image.
© Diane Berkenfeld

This is the full frame, wide angle image that the above closeup is from. Shot in Cologne, Germany at photokina.
© Diane Berkenfeld

This image, taken of David and Annie, is their first maternity portrait. At 100%, the detail of each stitch of her sweater, the yarn in the buttons, and the rest of the image are amazingly crisp. So much so, you can read the date on the face of Davidís watch. For the final image, I actually desaturated the color image in Lightroom 2.0 and presented them with a timeless B&W.
© Diane Berkenfeld

This past summer, Nikon added the D700 to its line of digital SLRs. The D700 packs a full frame 12.1-effective MP FX-format CMOS sensor and a wide array of features into a compact body. Designed for the pro, Nikon has incorporated the company's proprietary Expeed image processing system, 51-point AF system with 3D Focus Tracking and two Live View shooting modes; as well as Nikon's Scene Recognition System and a new active dust reduction system into the D700.

Building on the quality and performance of the D3 and D300. The D700 joins the D3 as Nikon's second full-frame sensor digital SLR; however photographers can choose the DX frame format, if necessary, which crops the image on the sensor, at a smaller resolution. The camera offers a broad ISO range of 200 to 6400 with the ability to expand it down to 100 (Lo-1) and up to 25,600 (Hi-2). You can shoot at speeds up to 8 fps at full resolution when using the optional MB-D10 Multi Power Battery Pack.

New to the D700 is Nikon's first self-cleaning system for its FX-format image sensor. If you remember, the D300 with its DX sensor offers a dust-reduction system built-in, but the flagship full frame D3 does not.

The D700 can record full-res. JPEG images at five fps, or eight fps with the MB-D10 battery pack for up to 100 images, or up to 17 lossless 14-bit Nikon NEF (raw) files. The camera is compliant with the next-generation Type 1 UDMA CompactFlash cards.

The D700 affords its users the capabilities to enhance images during or after capture with its Picture Control System and Active D-Lighting. The Picture Control System lets you set such parameters as Standard, Neutral, Vivid, and Monochrome, which applies tweaks to image sharpening, tone compensation, brightness, overall tone and saturation depending upon the setting. Nikon's D-Lighting uses localized tone control technology to optimize highlight and shadow detail while also maintaining natural contrast to images.

The D700 offers two Live View modes, a handheld mode and a tripod mode. When using the Live View modes, you're offered the 3-inch TFT LCD for composing images. When using the handheld mode, you can recompose the frame before you actually shoot; and the tripod mode is designed for shooting still subjects, with the camera on a tripod. You can also control the remote view, focusing, and shooting from within Nikon's Camera Control Pro 2 software.

In addition to connectivity via USB, and Video Out, the camera also offers an HDMI-C connection for viewing what the camera sees on a large monitor--ideal when clients or art directors are in the studio--or for photographers who teach, and need for their students to see exactly what the camera sees.

Nikon designed the rugged D700 using magnesium alloy for the camera body and mirror box; in addition to O-rings that keep dust and moisture from entering the camera.

Real world Use

I've been shooting Nikon cameras for about 20 years now--beginning with the F3, built like a tank with the scars to prove it; to the F5 and F6 flagship film cameras; to the digital D100, D200 and now the D700.

For my own work, I don't need a full-featured camera with all of the bells and whistles, like the D3, so I can really appreciate the form factor of the D700 with all of the great features that have been packed inside its compact body.

The camera feels natural in your hand, especially if you're a Nikon shooter, you'll notice right away that dials and buttons are right where you expect them to be. The camera offers a large 3-inch LCD with which to review images, zoom into images to check sharpness, and even compose when using the Live View modes.

Like most of Nikon's other DSLRs, including prosumer and pro models, the D700 also incorporates a built-in pop-up flash. While it isn't as powerful as a Speedlight, it is useful. I find this type of flash extremely helpful when you need to add a little bit of fill light or don't have a Speedlight and can use every bit of light you can get.

Shooting at low ISOs, as expected, the image files are free of noise; but high ISO files are also relatively noise free. Even images captured at 12,500 or 25,600 are acceptable for certain uses.

Like most DSLRs, the camera features aperture- and shutter-priority, manual and automatic modes. Shutter speeds range from 1/8000 of a sec. to 30 sec. plus bulb. In addition to auto white balance, and the usual options, you can manually dial in the Kelvin temperature and set white balance presets.

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