Is Nikon D700 Obsolete?

36 megapixel Full Frame camera sounds great, doesn’t it? What you get in a D800 is, basically, exceptional high ISO performance, as demonstrated by Nasim in his review, and resolution that, heretics say, can rival some of Medium Format digital backs. One of the best cameras currently on offer, surely. One of the best for several years to come, it is almost a revolution, both in camera market as well as your pocket, as creatively described by Bob Vishneski. Extremely tempting, completely justified again and again in your mind. People would understand, wouldn’t they? Even your wife, with some persuasion, could see reason. And yet something is not quite right, not quite settled. Is it the old-ish D700 poking you at the shoulder? Never too far away, the brother. Always haunting, always showing off its huge sensor, its lower than ever price tag. The D800 shines above it day and night, yes, you see it in your dreams, you see it in the hands of other photographers – calling out to you, always bright, but the older brother is persistent. After all these years, after almost decades it seems now, D700 is still trying to drop a shadow on your face, still trying to be noticed and loved just as it was before the new kid came to town. A desperate pensioner.

But as it happens, pensioners are hardly desperate. John Ronald Reuel Tolkien wrote “The Lord of the Rings” when he was 62. What can we expect of D700, then?

Plenty, actually.

D700 at Weddings

I’ve had my D700 for about a year now, I think. Ever since I bought it brand new, after saving up for months and months, I’ve taken it with me wherever I could, and what a companion it is. Everything around me is a little different now; a little less defined, a little more poetic. Sometimes it’s as if I have a camera to my eye, even when I do not, even when I’m just walking down a street, or looking at Bee cook. Everything around me is art, every movement, every moment, and I trust my old, wise D700 to capture it perfectly.

D700 at WeddingsD700 at Weddings

But it’s not just the personal appeal. I’ve never wanted it to have more resolution – it has just enough. I’ve never wanted it to be better at high ISO’s – the D700 has been up there with the big boys for about 4 years now. And I like the grain. My clients never complained, either – resolution was plenty, everything was plenty. They were too busy admiring, I think. Too busy remembering and laughing.

D700 at Weddings

If you are thinking of buying the D800, by all means, go ahead. It’s a revolution, nothing less. But if a couple of months ago you dreamed of D700, you knew 12 megapixels were enough, you knew you did not need video, and then D800 messed up everything for you, brought all those “what if?” questions to your life, stop and think. The old camera is no less good now just because there’s something newer. It didn’t get worse, and it’s not going to anytime soon. I will be keeping my D700 for at least a few more years, even if I have a D4 by then, or the D800. Hell, I could buy two more of them for the price of a D4 and there would still be room for a fast prime. And I will keep it as a professional wedding photographer, not just as a hobbyist. I need the best equipment, I need to trust it completely. And I trust my D700, plenty other photographers do, too.

You may want those 36 megapixels. Few photographers need them, and fewer clients still. Not for a while.

D700 at Weddings

With D4 at the top of Full Frame line-up and D800 in the middle, D700 has just become what we’ve all been waiting and wanting for years – a truly affordable, entry-level Full Frame DSLR with pro set of features. We now have choice, and choice quite often is a good thing.

It’s still got it, then, the D700 is an amazing piece of gear. Only now, it’s for a lot less money.

Comments

  1. 1
    ) Peng
    April 3, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Great article Roman.

    • Avatar of Romanas Naryškin
      30
      ) Romanas Naryškin
      April 5, 2012 at 1:21 am

      Thank you, Peng!

  2. 2
    ) Mahesh
    April 3, 2012 at 11:26 am

    completely agree … Roman. i am just getting into a full frame camera and i chose to go with D700. think its well worth to move ahead for a couple of years with it.

    • Avatar of Romanas Naryškin
      31
      ) Romanas Naryškin
      April 5, 2012 at 1:22 am

      It’s a great camera, Mahesh, congrats on a new purchase. :)

  3. 3
    ) Arne
    April 3, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    I compared the prices for a new D700 and used D3, and bought the D3 in January. It has several advantages, e.g. the dual slot and voice memo. And if I carry around a D3 or D700 with MB-D10 makes no difference in size and weight, and the D3 looks and feels much better.

    BTW: I came from a D300s and had to buy two new lenses, but I was lucky to get a used 20-35/2.8 and 35-70/2.8 which cost together half of a used 24-70 alone :-)

    • Avatar of Romanas Naryškin
      32
      ) Romanas Naryškin
      April 5, 2012 at 1:24 am

      Congrats on your purchase, Arne.
      I think that both D3 and D700 have their advantages and disadvantages. I prefer D700 as I don’t need the super fast frame rates, but dual card slots are great.

  4. 4
    ) Gojira1976
    April 3, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Yay, This is my set-up, well, actually, it’s the Nikon D700, Nikkor 50mm 1.4D, 2 UDMA SanDisk 16GB CF’s, plus an adater for multiple cards to CF;my beautiful wife,2 children;2 dogs,one cool black kitty girl; water,ice; strong black coffee, and my two legs! I can’t wait to learn more! Oh, by the way, I am a recent Nikkor guy, straight from the equally awesome canon 5d mk ii and zeiss 35mm f/1.4 ze! please excuse my poor grammar :(

    • Avatar of Romanas Naryškin
      33
      ) Romanas Naryškin
      April 5, 2012 at 1:24 am

      How did you like the Zeiss, Gojira? :)

  5. 5
    ) Joe
    April 3, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    Finally a D800 vs. D700 analysis that speaks to me! I love my D700. Thanks for articulating so well what many of us have been feeling for a while now. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. I love my D700 and my clients love what it does. I’ll admit I have a D800 on pre-order – largely due the “what-if” voices in my head that you talk about. I just haven’t had the courage to cancel yet. I’m much closer now. Thanks much for the great article! I’m hoping for an upcoming “D700S” type camera which updates the camera technology and perhaps adds video without what I consider the “overkill” resolution that I don’t want or need.

    • Avatar of Romanas Naryškin
      34
      ) Romanas Naryškin
      April 5, 2012 at 1:26 am

      Joe, I’m glad you liked it.

      D800 is a wonderful camera, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that D700 didn’t get any worse overnight, and so if it’s enough, it’s enough. If you feel the D800 will make things easier for you in some way, it may be worth the investment. A D700 and D800 could be a powerful duo. :)

  6. 6
    ) spencer
    April 3, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    Bravo! I love my D700 and thanks for a great read!

    • Avatar of Romanas Naryškin
      35
      ) Romanas Naryškin
      April 5, 2012 at 1:27 am

      It was my pleasure, Spencer, thank you for reading!

  7. 7
    ) Jeff
    April 3, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    I really wanted one for $2199 but they didnt have it anywhere. But today amazon has it back in stock! I wasnt willing to go any higher because then you wonder into should I just pay more for the D800 if Im spending $2350 or more already.

    • Avatar of Romanas Naryškin
      36
      ) Romanas Naryškin
      April 5, 2012 at 1:27 am

      It’s a great camera, Jeff, you will love it. :)

  8. 8
    ) Allan
    April 3, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Absolutely. The D700 is superb, exactly what I need and more; it is not going away anytime soon. Now, if I could afford another FX lens and if I only would just update my website with all those D700 images……

    • Avatar of Romanas Naryškin
      37
      ) Romanas Naryškin
      April 5, 2012 at 1:28 am

      Thank you for reading, Allan!

  9. 9
    ) Eric Duminil
    April 3, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Shhhhhhh! Be quiet!

    I was hoping to be the only one noticing it : the D700 is still perfectly fine, and then some.
    I’m saving to finally make the switch to FX, and use my precious 85 f/1.4 to its fullest!

    • Avatar of Romanas Naryškin
      38
      ) Romanas Naryškin
      April 5, 2012 at 1:29 am

      I’m sorry. I had my doubts as well if I should actually remind everyone how good it is, but hey, lets not be greedy. ;)

  10. 10
    ) Andrey
    April 3, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Great article, thanks! I am upgrading to full frame and just got my D700 from Amazon today. That’s the only place right now where they have it in stock at the new low price. Also have a D4 on pre-order. This one is specifically for low-light shooting of my daughter’s gymnastics. For daylight and carrying around – D700.

    • Avatar of Romanas Naryškin
      39
      ) Romanas Naryškin
      April 5, 2012 at 1:29 am

      I hope it will serve you well, Andrey!

  11. 11
    ) Marcie
    April 3, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    I love you……….You have just saved me hundreds because I was soooo leaning to the 800 even if I had to sell body parts to get it but I dont want video………so its 700 for me (unless I find an outstanding D3 that is used)

    • Avatar of Romanas Naryškin
      40
      ) Romanas Naryškin
      April 5, 2012 at 2:28 am

      I’m glad I could help, Marcie!

  12. 12
    ) Randy
    April 3, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    You put into words so well what I have been thinking. I have had my 700 for a few years now. It trust it. It is fast (FPS wise) and very competent in low light! This is precisely why I bought it in the first place. I do dance recital photography, and the D700 fits the bill perfectly. Sometimes those few extra FPS are just what’s needed to catch a dancer’s split leap at its peak — to me the D800 is just lacking here. Always, those recital auditoriums are horrid for lighting, but the D700 handles it easily. The D800 would require that I “babysit” every shot by down-sampling to get that kind of ISO performance. No thanks… time is money.

    Of course the D4 is very interesting, but also VERY much out of my range. While I make some money with my hobby, there is no justifying an upgrade to the D4 when my D700 is still capable.

    • 13
      ) Randy
      April 3, 2012 at 8:10 pm

      Another thing that I think I have gathered about the D800 is that they have made AF selection more difficult. With my D700 I mostly shoot with AF as an all-area auto select, but on occasion it gets confused (multiple dancers on stage with lots of movement happening) and with a quick flick of my right thumb (without taking my eye from the action) I can switch to the single sensor mode (I guess it’s actually two clicks, but just one thumb flick gets it done); this can happen so seamlessly that I don’t miss the action and the AF change gets the camera back on track. My impression is that the D800 would not be able to do this — although perhaps it also wouldn’t get confused like my D700, so it may not be the draw back that it seems.

      • Avatar of Romanas Naryškin
        41
        ) Romanas Naryškin
        April 5, 2012 at 2:39 am

        I was rather reluctant about the AF selection, too, in the D800. But can’t really say before I try it :)

        Anyway, I’m glad I could help you out!

  13. 14
    ) Sid
    April 3, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    “it is almost a revolution, both in camera market as well as your pocket” Lol!! :) Great article Roman! I bought a d7000 a weeks back. i hope I feel the same way about it in the many years to come the same way you do for your d700 right now :)

    • Avatar of Romanas Naryškin
      42
      ) Romanas Naryškin
      April 5, 2012 at 2:39 am

      I’m sure you will, Sid, just don’t forget why you bought it – photography ;)

  14. 15
    ) Dan
    April 3, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Roman,

    Thank you for the thoughtful piece on the D700. I have recently made the move to FX from DX and am the happy owner of a D700. I’m a part-time photographer who uses camera equipment one or two generations back. I am very pleased with the D700′s performance, and it just feels right in my hands. I’m confident that my careful use of the D700′s capability will continue to provide beautiful art for a long while yet.

    Thank you again for your encouraging words for one who recently made the move up to a D700.

    • Avatar of Romanas Naryškin
      43
      ) Romanas Naryškin
      April 5, 2012 at 2:40 am

      Well then, welcome and have a good time photographing with it ;)

  15. April 3, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    Good article Roman. I LOVE my D700,you can’t beat it,not just for the money aspect,but it just can’t be beat,period.You can do any and all types of photography with this camera and do it excellently. You can not do sports,action or birding with the D800 because the FPS of 5 or 6 is not quite fast enough for it, but you can do all of this with the D700 at 8 FPS and do it well. I am not about to spend another $3,000 just to get more resolution and a little bit of improvement on ISO performance. I don’t need or want and could not afford to print pictures that are 60″ by 80″ in size and I believe that (60″x80″) is way beyond 80% of the potential customers and the buying public’s budgets and need or want in size. How many people in these hard economic times even have a house that is big enough to hang a picture of that size?? Get real, a D700 is real and a good deal!

    • Avatar of Romanas Naryškin
      46
      ) Romanas Naryškin
      April 6, 2012 at 11:23 am

      Hello, Bruce. Thank you for reading!

      I think both cameras are great, it’s all about what one needs. Great to have a choice :)

  16. 17
    ) Dylan
    April 4, 2012 at 12:28 am

    Just bought a mint condition used D700 for $1600 Canadian (virtually $1600 USD). I think it’s a total steal! Buying the much maligned for 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6 VR for $240 tomorrow. It may not be as good as the bew f/4 version, but for $1000 dollars less or so, I’ll survive as this is my first DSLR, plenty of learning curve ahead. That and a 50mm f/1.8 and I’m laughing! Happy to have joined team Nikon!! :)

    • 29
      ) James
      April 4, 2012 at 6:15 pm

      Hi Dylan. That’s an awesome deal for your D700! Congrats. However – seriously – DO NOT get the older 24-120…it really is that bad. You’d be better off with the 18-105.

    • Avatar of Romanas Naryškin
      47
      ) Romanas Naryškin
      April 6, 2012 at 11:25 am

      Congrats on your purchase, Dylan! I’m quite sure you won’t want to take that 50mm off your camera :) 24-120 isn’t such a good lens, though, unless you choose the f4 (which Nasim has already reviewed, http://photographylife.com/reviews/nikon-24-120mm-f4g-vr). The older lens, while having a nice zoom range, VR and decent price, won’t do your D700 justice, I think. Still, if you find it good enough, I’m glad for you :)

      • 49
        ) Dylan
        April 6, 2012 at 11:33 am

        Thanks guys! Funny enough, I read James’s response on the way to buying the lens! Thank you for the recommendation regarding the f/4 version, I just didn’t have the money to spend an extra grand. If nothing else, it’ll be good to learn what type lens I’d like to buy next (leaning towards the new 85mm 1.8g, would love a review from you guys!) as this is my first DSLR as it covers quite a range.

        Great work at mansurovs.com Nasim, Roman & company, best mix of informative and light hearted commentary regarding Nikons, teaching us noobs camera information and post-processing. Keep up the great work, best photo website around!

        • Avatar of Romanas Naryškin
          51
          ) Romanas Naryškin
          April 6, 2012 at 11:37 am

          The new 85mm f1.8G is a great lens. Check the D800 review Nasim posted a while ago, samples are made with that lens. Nasim loved it :)

  17. April 4, 2012 at 2:19 am

    Roman, you exactly expressed what I thought abaut my D700; It’s a solid reliable piece of work; I like it’s grain too because it’s near film. And even I would have a D800, specially for event shooting (you cannot mount it on a tripod) it would be the cam of my choice still;

    But in fact I like the D800 too which is again a quantum leap nikon made;
    cheers
    /Karl

    • Avatar of Romanas Naryškin
      48
      ) Romanas Naryškin
      April 6, 2012 at 11:27 am

      I like the high ISO noise too, Carl :)

      I think both the older and newer camera go well together.

  18. April 4, 2012 at 2:50 am

    Hi, Roman! Thank you for great article.
    I want to upgrade my D90 and I don’t know what to do. I can’t afford D800, so I’m looking for some good camera. Now, my choice is D700 or D7000, I can’t get used d700 almost for the same price. I do really want a pro FullFrame camera and also a video mode, but D700 don’t have it. I know that D7000 is great new camera, but it’s crop and not very pro camera (unlike the d300s) it’s kind of disappointment factor. I even thought to sell all my gear and go for Canon 5D II…
    May be should I wait to the D400? But I’m sure that d400 will be a clone of d7000 with minor differentness, just with double price.

    • 25
      ) David
      April 4, 2012 at 11:34 am

      Get the D700. Unless you do most of your shooting at ISO 100 or your main subject is wildlife.

    • Avatar of Romanas Naryškin
      50
      ) Romanas Naryškin
      April 6, 2012 at 11:35 am

      D400 will be great, I’m certain. It is also rumored to have Sony’s 24 MP sensor and, I think, they’ll make it work better than Sony did. It’s also going to be much faster than D7000, better built, better handling wise, and so on. You could wait if you feel DX is sufficient for what you do (wildlife, for example). Also, D7000 is a great camera with a great sensor. It would be a definite step up from the D90, which, too, is nice. But the D7000 has a better AF system, is faster and has a better sensor, ergonomics and build quality (part magnesium alloy). It’s a worthy upgrade if you don’t need FF.

      For what I shoot, however, I’d go with D700, especially if I couldn’t afford D800. If you must have video, D7000 is great!

  19. 20
    ) Srini
    April 4, 2012 at 5:51 am

    Nice article Roman!

    It is almost at half the price of its big brother. Suddenly, it looks pretty cheap by comparision for a nice full-frame DSLR. As you pointed out, it is likely to remain a backup camera for many.

    • Avatar of Romanas Naryškin
      52
      ) Romanas Naryškin
      April 6, 2012 at 11:38 am

      Yes, that’s true. The best part is – we get a choice!

  20. 21
    ) Tim Layton
    April 4, 2012 at 6:13 am

    Roman, great article in simple terms. Love your style, keep up the good work. I agree with your thoughts. In fact I still use my F5 all the time. I bought it new back in the 90′s and it has never let me down. In fact, I get a look with the F5 and film that I can’t accomplish with any other digital camera. In fact I did an event this past week with it and used my 24mm f1/4 prime and Ektar and the client was blown away at the images. I bought an RZ67 Pro II and a Mamiya 7 back in the 90′s as well and still use them on a weekly basis. To your point, it isn’t about the next “thing” or advance, it is about the photographer and their work. If you really need the advanced of a D800, then get it. I suspect very few actually need it. As a professional it is about controlling your expenses and delivering quality to your clients. I shoot film probably 90% of the time (Large Format, Medium Format and 35mm) and there are times based on client requirements that shooting digital makes sense. In those cases my D700 and D3 are the workhorses when paired with fast prime lenses that deliver over and again. If I need an image larger than 12MP or need to significantly crop then I just use Perfect Resize (previously Genuine Fractals) and have made 120″ pano’s from my D700 and D3. I’ve made beautiful 40″+ prints from scans of my F5 negatives. West Coast imaging offers a high res scan on 35mm negatives that can produce 60″ prints. The D700 is the best kept secret to a professional or advanced amateur in my opinion. It is about as perfect as it gets.

    Tim Layton
    openskyimages.com

    • Avatar of Romanas Naryškin
      23
      ) Romanas Naryškin
      April 4, 2012 at 6:28 am

      Someone who shoots film. Now that is a friendly soul.
      In fact, I am slowly working on a Mamiya RZ67 Pro non-technical review, which is my most beloved camera. :)

      Thank you, Tim, it was a pleasure reading your thoughts!

      • 28
        ) Tim Layton
        April 4, 2012 at 6:14 pm

        Roman, thanks. You may want to review an article that I wrote and Mamiya posted on their blog about the RZ at http://blog.mamiya-usa.com/?p=993 I’ve written about the RZ many times. I also get a lot of emails about this article where I cover closeup and macro work with the RZ – http://blog.blackandwhitefineart.net/2011/01/rz67proii-macro/

        Keep up the good work and I look forward to see what you come up with on the RZ article. I love your writing style and Nasim is lucky to have you part of the team. He is a good guy.

        Tim
        openskyimages.com

        • Avatar of Romanas Naryškin
          53
          ) Romanas Naryškin
          April 6, 2012 at 11:39 am

          He is, Tim. Thank you! I’ll be sure to take a look.

  21. 22
    ) Allan
    April 4, 2012 at 6:16 am

    I concur with Bruce Randall’s comments. Most of my work ends up as letter size to 11*17 (inch) prints, which is what most of the public seem to have room for. The D800 may be better suited for magazine images for example, where the publisher is looking to see the most minute of detail. Not to say the D700 is lesser at that, but new toys always get a lot of folks thinking the ‘old’ toy is suddenly no good.

    • Avatar of Romanas Naryškin
      54
      ) Romanas Naryškin
      April 6, 2012 at 11:43 am

      Allan, thank you for your thoughts, I agree it’s a matter of choice of what you need. Still, D800 is a great camera, many of current D700 users will likely upgrade at some point. :)

  22. 24
    ) Sören
    April 4, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Very well put! The D800 looks like great camera but it won’t work for sports where you need fps and not huge files. The D700 is right now also below the 1900euro level (in Germany) and that puts the camera into an outstanding price/performance ratio!

    Sören

  23. 26
    ) David
    April 4, 2012 at 11:44 am

    New D700 and used D3s cameras are the best deals in photography right now.

    • Avatar of Romanas Naryškin
      56
      ) Romanas Naryškin
      April 6, 2012 at 11:46 am

      I agree, they are great cameras :)

  24. 27
    ) Gulabiguy
    April 4, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    Fantastic and realistic article. I’m glad you aren’t supporting the Joneses, consumerism, or “the latest is greatest” mentality. It is obvious that you are a true professional because you don’t fall for the “gimmicks.”

    • Avatar of Romanas Naryškin
      57
      ) Romanas Naryškin
      April 6, 2012 at 11:49 am

      It’s not that D800 is gimmicky, it offers a lot of useful features. The question is whether everyone needs them. Those who do will be very happy with their purchase. ;) I am happy with older gear, I still use a D300 and D700.

      • 60
        ) Gulabiguy
        April 7, 2012 at 12:44 am

        Yeah, I too use older equipment. And especially for the type of work I do, newsprint, I don’t have the need for the latest and greatest. Btw, It’s not that the D800 is gimmicky, rather, it is a fantastic camera that offers a lot for a good price. I was more talking about the gimmick of “the next is best.”

  25. 44
    ) Neil D
    April 5, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    Roman, I’m am so torn!

    I currently have a D90 setup with the kit lens (18-105), 50 1.8D, 35 1.8G (DX) and a few crummy telephoto lenses. Love using prime lenses (mainly portrait stuff) and would love to turn my hobby into something more one day maybe….

    I am in a position to get a D700 and perhaps a 35mm F2 D and an 85mm F1.8 D which with my 50mm F1.8 D would give me a great setup I believe. Plus the fact that I know Nikon meaning a D700 I think would be easy to pick up and run with, but….

    I’ve had my eye on Fuji and what they have been doing since the X100, and now they have brought out the X-Pro1! Doesn’t look like a perfect camera (slow AF etc…) but the IQ looks fantastic, even OOC jpg and the smallish size is appealing. However I would only be able to get the 35mm 1.4 and that is about it for the same as the D700 setup!

    So I guess your review has made me lean back towards staying with Nikon and getting the camera I’ve wanted for a long time and the lenses that I think would work for a nice long time!

    What do you think Roman? WWRD (what would Roman do)?

    Kind regards,

    Neil

    • Avatar of Romanas Naryškin
      58
      ) Romanas Naryškin
      April 6, 2012 at 11:53 am

      lol
      Hello, Neil.

      Roman would keep the D90 and buy D700 with the mentioned lenses. It would be more than enough for starting a business, trust me! I started with much older gear, a D40 and a D80.

      I’ve also set my eye on the new Fuji, and I already see how I could use it during weddings, but it’s not utmost priority, and thus my D700 is more important. :)

      Best of luck, Neil!

  26. 45
    ) Adam
    April 5, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    Thanks for your comments here. I’m a part time pro, I’ve just about worn out my d300, and have been caught in the middle of the D4 and D800. The D4 is just too expensive for my business to support and it’s really too much camera. The D800 pixel count is ridiculous. If I’m going to support that kind of file size with computing power and backups I may as well go medium format. I hadn’t really thought of the D700, but I like the thought of it now. Mainly what I think I need for my business is fullframe…thanks again!

    • Avatar of Romanas Naryškin
      59
      ) Romanas Naryškin
      April 6, 2012 at 11:55 am

      It would serve you well, Adam. You could also give a used D3s a thought, it’s a great camera, I’d try to get one if I had the budget. :)

      • 65
        ) adam
        April 7, 2012 at 10:22 pm

        Thanks Roman. That D700 is looking better and better!

  27. 61
    ) Anthony
    April 7, 2012 at 5:32 am

    Dear Roman,

    I have been contemplating purchasing either a D7000 or D800 for a while now. I have had a D200 for a while now (5 years) and it is time for an upgrade. After reading you article, I was reminded about the D700. Humans, we forget so easily….. I completely forgot about the D700! Your article did the job – am back to the D700.

    Now, advise me … I take a lot of family pictures in CHURCH (weddings, baptisms, communions) so I need a very good camera at ISO’s of 1800 plus; at HOME, I take a lot of indoor pictures of my children playing, eating, sitting with grandparents, birthday parties; OUTDOORS, at the swimming pol , football games, beach, and so forth. Will the D700 do the job?

    If the D700 can do the job, what lens would you recommend for great Bokeh’s, weddings and everyday ‘get and go’ . I will purchases two lens. One for the Bokeh and one for everyday.

    Eagerly waiting for your thoughts and comments.

    Thanks in advance …

    Anthony

    • Avatar of Romanas Naryškin
      62
      ) Romanas Naryškin
      April 7, 2012 at 7:38 am

      Hello, Anthony, thank you for reading! I’m glad I could be of help.

      Either D800 or a D700 would be great for your needs. Often, while working as a professional wedding photographer, I’m not afraid to push my D700 above ISO 3200 with a fast lens, like the AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, so it’s very competent in low light. Compared to your D200, the D700 is MUCH better, you’d be amazed!

      As for the lenses, I suggest you take a look at Nikkor AF-S 50mm 1.4G (Nasim has a review of it here: http://photographylife.com/reviews/nikon-50mm-f1-4g), or the the slightly “slower” aperture wise, but some think even better and cheaper Nikkor AF-S 50mm 1.8G (Nasim’s review: http://photographylife.com/reviews/nikon-50mm-f1-8g). I have the 1.4G and it’s my main lens at weddings, about 80-90% of my work is with that lens. If I had to buy one now, I’d take a close look at the 1.8G as well, at least as a backup to my 1.4G or the someday upcoming 1.2G (I hope we’ll see that one soon). The 1.8G is cheaper, sharper at wide apertures and also focuses faster.
      If you don’t need it to be so wide and want something more specialized, you can also take a look at the new AF-S Nikkor 85mm 1.8G lens. Nasim should have a review shortly, he likes the lens very much! It’s very good for close-up portraits, while the 50mm’s are good for wider, more general view portraits.
      Depending on your budget, you could also take a look at a used 85mm 1.4D AF lens – I have it and it’s great.

      Then, for general purpose, the AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 VR is great, gives nice range, constant aperture, good optical quality, the price can seem a little steep, but it’s still cheaper than the 24-70 pro zoom. Nasim has a review here: http://photographylife.com/reviews/nikon-24-120mm-f4g-vr

  28. 63
    ) Vinny
    April 7, 2012 at 9:58 am

    I purchased a D700 with the price drop. Awesome body on my FX lenses. I shoot middle and high school sports and it does the job well. I did my first outdoor portrait shoot for a friend and the images were outstanding.

  29. 64
    ) OC Mike
    April 7, 2012 at 11:55 am

    Roman’s quote, “Everything around me seems a little different now… a little more peotic. ” Congratulations Roman, you’ve written words worthy of Shakespeare! 95% of D700 owners (like myself and every non-professional reading this) will NEVER reach the true capabilities of the D700! The only thing the D800 gives is slightly more dynamic range. However, the 95% of all owners would more wisely spend their time to master lighting, composition and the EV lighting tricks that few will ever master on the D700. The D800 brings absolutely NOTHING to the table to assist in our lifelong pursuit to learn these skills. ACTUALLY, the D800 makes learning these skills HARDER! First off, who would want to buy a product with so many manufacturing issues? Secondly, who wants a camera that is more difficult to take nonblurry pics when we’re handholding at f1. 4 at slow speeds? Thirdly, who wants to waste time reducing huge files. Fourth, where am I going to put my NEF+ JPG combo shots at 14 (max pixels), these are monstrous! Fifth, now I am supposed to fill up my memory card like a couple of rolls of 36 exposure canisters. And finally, I love the depth of colors of my D700! Roman, my sincere thank you’s to YOU! You article is majestic in its wisdom! You’re great!

  30. April 8, 2012 at 1:33 am

    Hello Roman,
    you you convince me, i am not a pro, like to buy a full frame camera think it’s gone be the D700. Like you set don’t need all that extra stuff, video, megapixels etc. Just print Photo not greater then A3 plus so i think with the 12 megapixels that more then enough. Even with my D90, Dx, i get a very good print so why give a lot of money for something you don’t need.
    Thank You

  31. 67
    ) Julie
    April 8, 2012 at 4:54 am

    Я , конечно, ничего не смыслю в технической части этого поста, но посмотреть ваши работы… Вот это да… :)

  32. 68
    ) yogesh
    April 8, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Hi Roman,

    Great article about D 700. I own D90 at this time and looks like not ready to jump towards higher end cameras.

    My question is, i am planning to invest in better lenses. At this time, i have 50 mm f 1.8g an 18-200 mm both nikon lenses. If i decide to buy 70-200 f 2.8g and 14-24 mm wide angle lens, can it give same performance with d90 or those lenses work better with higher end cameras like d700?

    Your suggestion will definitly help me. My feeling is, lens is a better investment than expensive cameras,aslong as i can produce good quality pictures with my d90.

    thankyou

    yogesh

    • Avatar of Romanas Naryškin
      70
      ) Romanas Naryškin
      April 9, 2012 at 4:06 am

      Hello, Yogesh!

      The 70-200 f/2.8G would be a great lens on the D90, however the rather specialized 14-24 doesn’t make all that much sense. It would be sharp center to corner, however it was designed specifically as an ultra-wide for full frame cameras, so using it on a crop sensor would be a waste. Maybe you should look for something more flexible? Assuming you plan to upgrade to FF someday, the 16-35 VR is a great lens (http://photographylife.com/reviews/nikon-16-35mm-f4g-vr), and would give you a slightly more useful focal length range compared to 14-24 in the long end. It’s also lighter and can use protective filters.

      • 74
        ) yogesh
        April 9, 2012 at 6:44 am

        Hello Roman,

        million thanks to u. I think there are sooo many happy readers like me who are soo grateful to u, nasim and your whole team for answering every single comments/questions thouroughly.

        I 100% agree with u on your suggstions and i will look in to buying those lens soon.

        Down the road it would help all of us faithful readers if u allow us to post pictures and give feedback since i work very carefully on the suggestions from this website and try to take pictures but sometimes, i feel its not giving me that crisp picture. I take pictures manually and take RAW format pictures.

        Again thankyou so much for the kind of work u do, have a great day

        sincerely
        yogesh

        • Avatar of Romanas Naryškin
          75
          ) Romanas Naryškin
          April 9, 2012 at 6:45 am

          All planned, Yogesh, all is planned. The biggest concern now is the funding, but we won’t let that stop us :)

  33. 69
    ) Yuri
    April 9, 2012 at 3:15 am

    Very nice article, funny to see my exact feelings about the D700 written out. I shoot it with f/1.4 primes only and can totally relate to everything being more “poetic” around me. It’s even spoiled me to the point that I am no longer satisfied with the results from any smaller sensor. :-) I’ve had it for two years now and will be using it for years to come, hopefully.

  34. 71
    ) Anthony
    April 9, 2012 at 5:48 am

    Dear all on this wonderful Forum…. HHHEEELLLLPPP… I have decided to purchase a D700 but no one has any in stock online! Does anyone out there know were we can purchase at $2199 actually have a D700 in stock?

    Also, I have narrowed my lens to two:
    - 50mm F/1.4G and
    - 24-120mm f/4 VR

    I am very sure about the 50 mm for portraits and weddings but not too sure about the 24 – 120 mm f/4 VR. Is it a good lens for everyday pictures with a good ‘zoom’? For example, kids playing football / swimming / walking a park/ etc.? If you think it isnt the right lens, can you please recommend an equally good lens, cheaper then this?

    Finally, which website would anyone recommend for used lens – ‘clean lens’.

    Happy Easter Everyone!!!!!!!

    • Avatar of Romanas Naryškin
      72
      ) Romanas Naryškin
      April 9, 2012 at 5:50 am

      Happy Easter, Anthony. At this moment I am working on a lens suggestion article, and Nasim should have a Lens Purchase Guide ready quite soon, too. :) Stay tuned!

    • 73
      ) yogesh
      April 9, 2012 at 6:40 am

      Hello Anthony,

      i am not a professional photographer but thought of writting u. I own 50 mm f/1.8g lens and its the best lens when comes to taking portraits at the price i paid for. I think 50 mm f/1.4 g lens u r planning to buy is much costlier than f/1.8 g and not much difference for f/1.4 and f/1.8

      i also have nikkor 18-200 mm lens, its good combination of sort of wide angle and zoom lens which i am planning to sell and looking forward to buy little higher end cameras.

      This website has served me a great deal and appreciate roman taking time to answer almost every single comment.

      I am also planning to buy d700 when the time is right, it sounds like everything i want in a camera, not a big fan of video feature in dslr cameras, so i m looking forward to buy this camera hopefully soon.

      thanks
      yogesh

      • 76
        ) Anthony
        April 9, 2012 at 3:10 pm

        Yogesh,

        Thanks for the input. At this moment, all inputs are welcomed!

        I think you are right about the 50mm F/1.8G. I will look for a used 50mm F/1.4G, then. Meanwhile, I am still stuck on the 24-120mm f/4 VR for the long range pictures.

        If you ask me, I think you should make a jump to the D700. My D200 is 5 years and still kicking strong but its pictures are nothing compared to what you get from the D7000 or the D700. I will one day move to a FX camera, so I thought to myself “why not now” since I have to invest in lenses.

        Take care and thanks for your input….

        Anthony

        • 77
          ) yogesh
          April 9, 2012 at 4:43 pm

          Anthony, agree with u. Just have to convince my wife now that’s it:-). I have 18-105 mm and 18-200 mm nikon lenses I have to sell them first:-).

          Otherwise,, I m set to buy d700 soon.

          Thanks and happy clicking.
          Yogesh

          • 78
            ) Anthony
            April 10, 2012 at 5:23 pm

            I agree…. my wife still doesnt know about my purchase :-) I have to cook for her a nice dinner – her favorite food – before i tell her hahahahahahahah.

            • 80
              ) OC Mike
              April 11, 2012 at 6:20 am

              Anthony, try the 85mm lens for portrait on a full frame camera. I think you will be pleasantly surprised or pleasantly shocked. I have a 50mm f1.4 that I bought with the camera,but I haven’t used it once since I bought the 85mm f1.4. There’s some secrets that aren’t obvious, such as 1.) portrait lens should be 85mm/105mm/135mm or 200 mm, 2.)lens like an 85mm are great landscape lens and the 105mm macro lens is even better…but amateurs insist on going wide where all things in the distance that you want will become tiny, I just returned from a vacation where I only carried 1lens, the 85mmf1.4 . And they think you cannot used a 105mm macro for either half body portraits or landscape where it just rocks! Bokeh in portraits brings a semi 3D effect and the 85mm is the king. My 200mm blows the 85mm away for certain types of portrait shots. A little less sharp is the 135mm Defocus Control lens but experts go sharp then soften in post. Why not just get a excellent finished product with the 135mm DC at the moment you snap the pic? This would actually make a good subject for an article. Nobody has unlimited funding for lens, the good ones that cost so much, when you are just starting out or when using DX. But once you’ve seen the creamy bokeh with the huge circles of color floating and circling your subject’s head…you’ll just be in awe (of your talent:-)). You’ll see that most DX users shoot in the range of 20-70mm range. While most FX shooters shoot in the extreme wide less than 24mm but also greater than 85mm! Ironically, that’s just the total opposite!! DX has zooms with great depth of field whereas FX has superb primes with shallow depth of field capabilities AND great shots at f8-f11 too.Remember, the sharpest part of the lens are at these small apertures before you get to the smaller yet apertures where they lose a bit of acuity.Don’t buy anymore lens until after you save up for the D700, you will be blown away with the colors, the huge light sucking pixels and unimaginable bokeh. Have fun!

  35. 79
    ) Robin
    April 11, 2012 at 5:23 am

    Hi everyone
    Here in Australia the release of the D800 drastically reduced the cost of the D700. So I am now the thrilled owner of a brand new D700. I figure the D800 didn’t make the D700 a bad camera or an obsolete camera it just became a classic or cult camera. I am currently using a Nikkor 24mmf2.8D for wide angle lens and Nikkor 50mm f1.8G for normal lens. I hope over the next few months to put enough money together to get a Nikkor 70-200 VR2 for telephoto lens.
    So, thank you D800 for making my brand new D700 so affordable and thank you Mansurovs family for your D700 review that gave me confidence in my decision.
    Regards
    Robin.

  36. 81
    ) Anthony
    April 11, 2012 at 8:00 am

    OC Mike,

    Thanks for the long writing. I will take the time to look at the 85mm f1.4. It is a bit price, though.

    I cant wait to get hold of the D700. It is out of stock everywhere! Even the lens are out of stock! Am going nuts … like a baby who wants his toys but cant get them :-) Do you know where we can get our hands on a D700?

    Thanks … keep the posts coming :-)

    Anthony

    • 82
      ) yogesh
      April 11, 2012 at 12:08 pm

      Hello OC MIke,

      i like many others, am a fan of nikon 85 mm lens but the price is little issue for me. So needed to ask u whats your opinion about sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX DG?

      It seems that sigma has compatible lenses but die hard nikon fans always find something not to buy any other lenses but nikon.

      Thankyou.

      yogesh

    • 83
      ) yogesh
      April 11, 2012 at 12:19 pm

      hello anthony,

      i was also looking at Nikon 85mm f/1.8G AF-S NIKKOR Lens. Its not released yet i guess, and its 499$. Only thing is, would like to know if thats a good alternative for buyer like me and u i guess. Since Nikon 85mm f/1.4G AF-S is 1500$, sigma 85 mm is 900 plus $.

      So, i would like to find out more about 85mm f/1.8G and if thats compatible, might go for that.

      Thanks
      yogesh

    • 86
      ) OC Mike
      April 11, 2012 at 7:39 pm

      The choice of lens depends far, far more on what you are taking a photo of…Total cost of all of your lens goes up if you don’t use a lens.In the full frame world, there are some qualities that your will be learning to avoid rather than learning to possess. Why? Because the move to full frame will be a very pleasant but rude awakening for you. Pleasant because you won’t believe how the highlights and shadows will seem to come alive. Rude because once you SEE it, you’ll be infected forever with the bug. Sure, you can take any a crummy shot, but now you will be striving for just that pic that makes your friends go Oh Wow.And you can do it. Back to the lens…you’re going to want to avoid softer lens from your DX days. Next, you’re going to want that 3D effect called bokeh. The bokeh of the King of Bokeh is king because there’s a certain quality that this lens has that others do not.The non Nikon lens may or not create the Wow Factor but you will find testimonials how a 1.4 just does magic. One takes your chance, do you go with a sure thing or do you gamble with chances. I never gamble when buying lens over a thousand dollars, do you? I looked at the price for the huge Sigma lens and it’s only a couple hundred cheaper. Check out some review and you’ll seem discussions on coma and other great qualities heretofore never seen before. You go with that logic. If all you can afford is a 1.8, then buy it and do not look back. The D700 will blow you away with the difficulty to learn..as a hobbies photographer.It is a complicated camera…but it’s great. The camera is the tool but the photographer is the creative brain. If the f1.8 cramps your learning, you’ll know it…but it won’t happen. The D700 is the best camera you’ll own in the next one or two decades. If your photos aren’t up at the professional level (and they won’t be),you can’t blame the camera, it’s YOU. First and foremost, have fun!

  37. 84
    ) yogesh
    April 11, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    sorry anthoy,

    a typo error by me.

    it should be nikon 85 mm f/1.4G that is 1500 $ not 1.8G in my earlier post.

    yogesh

  38. 85
    ) Nick
    April 11, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    Roman,
    What a wonderful article. I’m glad I stumbled upon this while I’ve been frantically reading reviews in my sleepless nights trying to figure out how I should spend my money on my first full frame purchase. I’ve been playing heads or tails with the D800 and the D700 for about a week now, but I think you just made my decision for me. Wonderful pictures by the way, I think that’s what sealed the deal!

  39. 87
    ) Jett
    April 19, 2012 at 12:00 am

    Roman…. I have just made the FX plunge after reading your vivid article, THANKS! I found a brand new D700 at Ritz Camera in Jacksonville Fl, and just drove 2 hours this eve to snag it! I have a D7000 which I will keep for added reach of the 70-200, and video of course… should I ever need video! After reading your article I asked myself, “do I really need a 36mp, 75mb file making monster”!? The answer was clearly “NO”…. not for me! I can see where some may actually benefit from the higher res, but for the majority of us, it’s just not a beneficial move! I have no desire to try to tackle those size files in PP, just more headache on top of headache! If you ever doubt the D700 and it’s ability to deliver the goods in style, just search the thousands of images that have been produced by the beast in the past few years! In all honesty, it’s just about the perfect camera for folks that just love to get out and go shooting! I’m not making excuses to myself to save money or because I couldn’t afford a D800! I had the coins tucked away for over a year for the D700 upgrade, or what I thought was going to be the D700 upgrade! Then what I saw unfold before my eyes was actually a D3X upgrade….. in a smaller carcass! Nope… I will be waiting for the smaller, cheaper D4 when it arrives. Until then I will throughly enjoy this new 700 and my 8 fps when my kids go up for the ball… or baton ; )

    Thanks again for the read, Roman!

  40. 88
    ) Marc
    April 19, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    Hey Roman, nice article! My previous DSLR was the D700 before I decided on the D800. I must say the D700 is definitely a keeper for those who can. Results can be amazing on the D700, in fact no one can blame the D700 for bad pictures… only the photographer.

    Did you use a tilt & shift on the photo of the guy in front of the old vehicle?

    • Avatar of Romanas Naryškin
      89
      ) Romanas Naryškin
      April 19, 2012 at 12:10 pm

      Nope, I didn’t. Would love to have one, though ;)

  41. 90
    ) Sam
    April 20, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    i love it! i bought a d700 with 50mm af-s 1.8G! my wish has come true.

    in few years there will be d900 which will hopefully shoot faster and have better iso performance.

    since you guys all writing so good,
    could you help me to catch a storm flash ?
    i read many articles, but i can’t catch it :D

    • Avatar of Romanas Naryškin
      91
      ) Romanas Naryškin
      April 22, 2012 at 3:50 pm

      We might just try to do that, Sam :)

      • 92
        ) Sam
        April 22, 2012 at 3:55 pm

        :D alright! that would be great!

  42. 93
    ) Ali
    April 26, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Hi All.
    I just love my D700
    I need your help as im a little unsure when it comes to using the right lens for asian weddings as you can imagine the vibrant colours and allsorts of magic happening, can you help recommend what lens would be ideal for asian weddings?

  43. 94
    ) Daniel
    May 2, 2012 at 9:49 am

    Great article. I love my D700. You nailed something that I’ve had in my mind but have not ever been able to formulate properly or express: “Everything around me is a little different now; a little less defined, a little more poetic … Everything around me is art, every movement, every moment…”.

    Thanks for a great read and that first photograph, in my opinion, is just classic and beautiful!

  44. 95
    ) Savvy
    May 17, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Roman,

    What an awesome write up. In recent times I have been torn between getting the D800 or the D700. Its true what you have said about how a camera doesn’t become obsolete overnight. The photographer makes the shot. The camera is the tool to get the job done. Its the D700 camera for me. I will just keep reading your article from time to time if I have any doubts! Lol

    • 96
      ) Sam
      May 17, 2012 at 3:44 pm

      nikon should delete this post than, it decimates their profit :D

  45. 97
    ) Sam
    May 24, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    d800, d600, d400 -> d700 obsolete ? :D

  46. 98
    ) Jude
    June 11, 2012 at 12:21 am

    Thank you for a great article. I had a D700 and sold it a year ago and immediately regretted it, it was the best camera I ever had. I thought I could get by with the D7000 and the range of much cheaper DX lenses, but I always held on to my Nikkor 50mm 1.4 for the memories of the great pictures it took with the D700. I could not take it anymore, result is, the D7000 and the DX lenses are now on eBay, and I am now happily at home with my brand new Nikon D700, happily reunited with with the 50mm single lens I now have, but I would rather have this combination, than any other I have owned over the years. Now saving up for some FX compatible lens.

  47. 99
    ) Adrian
    June 16, 2012 at 1:15 am

    Very interesting article. My predicament:

    I currently use a D90 from when I got in to DSLRs a few years back. Now I know what I shoot and will likely shoot. Fashion and catwalk shows, some well let, some very poorly. Also concerts / gigs. Again, varying lighting but often demanding ISO 3200 and very slow shutter speeds to get the shot. For me the D90 performs very badly in these environments, even with 2.8 lenses (24-70 and 70-200). I don’t do video and have not used it once. So, options:

    First I looked at the D800. Fantastic. But heavy price and 36 MP sensor for 80MB RAW files!! Too much, I don’t need for me, and that 36 MP sensor will introduce a lot of potential handling problems (e.g. shake).

    Next I considered waiting for the D600. But will it be what the D700 is? Will the AF be as good? Will quality be as good? Will IQ be as good? Will high ISO be at least on par with the D700 or better?

    Also the D7000. But, I have the FX lenses and want to get the best from them.

    So, finally comes back to the D700. The biggest single thing for me is the high ISO capability. Is the D800 THAT much better than the D700? I ask this because while I might be mistaken I can’t see the D600 being as good as the 800, or will it even be as good as the 700?

    If high ISO on the D800 is MUCH better I may wait to see what the 600 brings. If it’s barely noticeable I may go for the D700 either now or after the D600 is released (just to be sure on the high ISO assumptions). The risk then is, no more D700s to be had.

    I read a lot about the D600 being a souped up D700 ‘toy’. What I can’t see is Nikon slitting their own throats by pitching a camera at around the $2,000 mark and making something poor quality.

    • 100
      ) Sam
      June 16, 2012 at 1:27 am

      hi, i am not a Pro, but i tested D800E and, i´d say

      if you have the money, buy it. if you don’t, buy D700 and you will be happy for a verily long time.

      i bought D700 sind i had to pay 1,3k € more for D800. 1,3k are spend on a better lenses.

      if you do not downsample D700 has a much better high iso performance, i was disappointed.

      some things on D800 are a bit better, dynamic range etc. but with a D700 in good hands, you won’t miss anything. if you buy D800, you will have to buy new hard drive, i do have 5-10 TB, but it won’t be enough, since i am using RAW and not deleting a lot. D800 files are 60-80mb hugh, D700 12-15Mb.

      i will wait, next 3 years, d900 will be realeased than, which will be “really” better than D700, without downsampling etc.
      may be i had a bad version of D800E, but i don’t thinks so.

      • 101
        ) Sam
        June 16, 2012 at 1:29 am

        comma after “if you do not downsample, ” and some other mistakes, sorry

      • 102
        ) Sam
        June 16, 2012 at 1:30 am

        If you want a high ISO machine and perfect focusing in the dark, look up to D4 …
        6k € are so obsolete … :D

        • 103
          ) Adrian
          June 16, 2012 at 2:17 am

          Hi. Thanks. Roughly what i was concluding. I could but perhaps am not willing to drop $3,000 on the D800 here when I know I can get a brand new D700 for around $1,800 or less. I’m not sure the high ISO performance of the 800 $1,200 better than the 700, given that’s ALL I want, and especially as some more usable buttons have been buried in menus.

          I’d love a D4 but that’s a def no-no.

          I did consider the D7000 but I think the IQ will be lower, DOF properties inferior and it will not get the best out my 2.8 lenses. I will also have the D90 as a back up and DX body. I frequently shoot with 2 lenses (e.g. a 24-70/ 70-200 and a 35 1.8 / 11-16 2.8) so the two bodies will be useful.

          • 104
            ) Sam
            June 16, 2012 at 4:48 am

            D700 you´d love it :D, i do!

  48. 105
    ) Adrian
    June 20, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    I’m really tempted to go D700 now I have to say, and in all honesty it’s not about saving cash either. On quite a few forums you will see people say “if you can afford it get the 800″ when talking about choosing the 700 or 800. For some shooters, that might be right. But the ONLY thing I’m really interested in upgrading from the D90 for is low-light performance. The other benefits I get will mostly come by default when switching to ANY FX (DOF and colour rendition, IQ etc etc).

    The more I think, I realise the crux of the matter for me is that there is a price difference of $1,100 here between the 800 and 700 and for me the 800 just doesn’t deliver $1,100 worth of low-light improvement. From what I read it seems the 800 is either the same or marginally better in terms of low-light unless cropping really hard, and I rarely do. I would only spend the extra $1,100 on a significant, not marginal performance in low-light over the 700. The low-light users are still waiting for their model I believe. The 800 for me is well and truly out the window though, simply because for an extra $1,100 the low light performance has not improved enough.

    The only consideration for me now is the yet to arrive D600. This COULD be it, with 24MP and a better sensor. The issue there would perhaps be how much will it cost and how many corners they may have to cut if it is to come in at $1,500 for body only. If it’s $2,000 ‘body only’ it might carry enough features perhaps not to be too ‘entry’ level compared to the 700.

    I’m still sorely tempted to go for a 700 now. I have a feeling that despite being old tech it will still be a class camera, esp next to the 600. For me the 600 would be a contender again ONLY if low-light performance was significantly better than the 700 AND it wasn’t to cut back functionality and quality wise. At the price being aimed at I’m not sure it can be. A few weeks back the 700 was still a $2,700 camera ‘body only’. Is it possible the 600 can compete at $1,500 today, even with technology advances?

    I suppose that it still makes sense to wait, maybe the 700 will drop further if the 600 gets close to it performance wise. Then again, the 700 might then be very hard to get. As yet it seems we are fairly sure of the 600 spec, it’s just the price and the body style we don’t know. If it’s $2,000 body only and full FX style (rather than a D7000 body with reduced functionality) I’d be interested, but not if it’s a ‘cheapo’ style camera unless that it, its low-light capability was significantly better than the 700. Then it would be hard not to go for it. I’d put up with a lot for better high-ISO for my $.

  49. 106
    ) Michael
    June 29, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    At last a voice of reason within a sea of megapixel minded minions. I too was on the fence with this decision. D700 vs. D800 for weeks now. Obsessing to the point of making good ole fashioned pro con lists; many of them. The 800 is not a replacement for the 700 but rather replaces the D3X. Agreed? Moving up to FF is an exciting time. Finally getting to put all those investments in 2.8 glass to work on a proper pro body. The idea of buying a camera body that’s 50% slower that my current D7000 makes me cringe. Not to mention the extra time in front of the mac watching the kaleidoscope pinwheel for the next few years. Maddening! Of course you could down sample, but still. Having said all that, I also have those what ifs. What if I had 36mp’s on a craggy coast in Northern California at salmon light. hmmmm. One thing’s for certain. Camera’s always get faster. When the processor catches up to the resolution and speed is once again realized I will jump! For now my new D700 is being packed by the nice people at Adorama along with the grip and goodies. Ah, camera body anticipation again.. Life is good and I have nothing but excitement for my new D700.

    Take care.
    Michael

  50. 107
    ) Sören
    June 29, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    Same with me, just received a brand new D700 to be used together with my D3. Fast and the same AF as is implemented in my D3 this is just a dream twin for the action shootings and I slowly begin to understand how to use both with 70-200 / 400 mm lenses mounted.
    I was on the fence for a D3s but could not find one in my price range – so for now I am pretty much set and Ill have a look at the D600 hero whenever it appears but an intro FX body with SD cards, no pin connector, less sophisticated AF, smaller buffer etc. will not do it for me even if it is 24MP and an ISO hero.
    Its also great to have one card format and EN-EL4a’s for all bodies.
    Kind Regards, Sören

  51. 108
    ) Mike
    July 13, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    Great article. I’ve been worried that if I purchased the d700 then something like the d600 would come out and I would be wishing I had waited. I hate second guessing myself but after your article I’m going to take the plunge in to the d700 kool aid! And I’ll be able to afford a proper lens!

  52. 109
    ) Adrian
    July 13, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    I’ve now decided on the D700.

    The D800 is not a D700 replacement. Totally different type of camera. IMHO a D700 replacement would have to improve at high ISO by at least 1 – 1.5 stops and that starts to put it into D4 territory. I can’t see Nikon doing that with a body (the D600) that will be pitched at $1,500 – 2,000. I suspect the D600 will be a great camera but entry level. If the D700 gets replaced I suspect it will have improved high ISO (even the D800 is only as good as), not far off D4 standards, and that it will come in a body with a $2,500 – 3,000 price tag. Next year maybe? But I can’t see the D600 being that replacement.

    I’d love a D4 but can’t justify the cost for 1-2 stops high ISO over the D700 which is a third of the price new. So, I’ll go for a D700, await its proper replacement and then use the 700 as a second body when the replacement arrives. Question is, will they replace it at all?

  53. 110
    ) Tim Layton
    July 14, 2012 at 6:46 am

    As of my comment there are 109 comments! Obviously this article and information has struck a cord with many of us. I initially commented and now I am back again. I would argue as many others have as well that too much focus is place on equipment and the never-ending upgrade treadmill. Most of my photography is with vintage cameras and lenses from the late 19th century and when I need something modern or digital when the vintage equipment won’t work I use my D700. I even mount my D700 on the back of my large format field camera when I need a digital file quickly but want all of the advantages of large format (movements, wider range of glass to choose from, etc). I never plan on replacing the D700 because it meets every need I have. If I need to make a bigger print I simply use Pefect Resize (previously Genuine Fractals) and it works flawlessly. The only feature I wish it had was the 5:4 crop like the older D3 bodies because I mostly print in that format and I always have to guess how much I am going to have to crop. Most all of the other D3 features are had by adding the grip to the D700 so besides the crop factor I actually prefer the D700 because I can make it smaller and lighter if I want to and still have the same engine as the D3.

    My suggestion to anyone in the market for a camera like the D700 would be to simply buy it and then buy the best glass you can afford and take some classes, courses, or workshops to stretch your creative aspects and stop thinking about the equipment. Equipment is just a tool and any good photographer can overcome almost any technical limitations within reason. Think about prints and forget about the gear.

    Tim Layton

    • July 14, 2012 at 11:47 am

      Indeed, too much focus on the gear. It is the print or whatever the final product is that is important. I sell prints at art shows, and the great majority of customers are toys agnostic, thank goodness.

      I am extremely happy with the D700 and the appropriate glass, even if the new toys could make breakfast!
      Allan

  54. 112
    ) Anthony
    July 31, 2012 at 5:21 am

    Hi All,

    I just got my Nikon D700. Waiting for my prime lens: 50 mm f/1.8 G – can wait!

    But, I need your advice. I want a zoom lens for taking pictures in Church, at home and for outdoor family occasions (pool, football games, playground) etc… Please advise me. Which lens will do?

    I am not a professional photographer, just someone who takes photography as a serious hobby.

    Thank in advance :-)

    Anthony.

    • 113
      ) Vinny
      July 31, 2012 at 5:34 am

      If you don’t need a low light lens get the 70-300, if you need the 2.8 70-200 is the standard but at 3 times the price of the 70-300.

      • 115
        ) Anthony
        August 2, 2012 at 3:09 am

        Vinny,

        Thanks for your input. I guess I will go for the 70 – 300 because the 70 – 200 is quite expensive.

        Thanks!

  55. 114
    ) Max
    August 1, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    This article couldn’t have been anymore spot on. I share the exact same feelings as you which is why I hunted a used D700 for months. I finally found one with 5000 clicks and an mbd10 which I negotiated down to $1850, and the guy even threw me a nikon 50mm 1.4d when I went to purchase it ( I almost cried). I also picked up a bit of an odd ball lens. The 35-70mm 2.8 push pull which I basically haven’t taken off the camera. I stumbled upon this article and just wanted to thank you for elaborating how I feel every morning when I see my D700 strap peaking out of my camera bag.

    -Max

  56. 116
    ) Blaine
    August 15, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    thanks for the great perspective. As the rumored D600 is on the horizon I keep wondering if it’s worth waiting for the newest of the new, or just buying a tried and true d700. It seems that nikon keep upping their line with the latest ‘hd-slr’ movie functions, and in the end, all I really want and will use is a camera that is made to be, well, a camera. I am currently squeezing every bit of life out of my d80 with the occasional paid shoot, and saving for a full frame camera. Just can’t decide. I totally agree with your sentiment about sticking with the tried and true. I feel that if I bought a new or slightly used d700 i’d save some money for a new lens. Seems like a smarter road to go down. Then again, should I wait to see what the new september body has to offer?

  57. 117
    ) tongy
    August 17, 2012 at 3:16 am

    awesome article… you’ve hit the core…excellent…you have in there what i feel.
    i am a hobbyist with d700 and 24-70mm…
    i found this buddy a perfect partner for me.
    if we talk about time we spent on editing and image post processing, who wants to have that 36megapixel; that even D700′s 12mp is slower on conversion and image processing in standard computer. the bigger the image size you are editing, the longer time you take on single image. how much more on 1000 images.
    i agree w/u, D700 is already a perfect match as a partner…

  58. 118
    ) Luis C.
    August 28, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    Hi Everyone,

    A used D700 has shown up at a local retailer and I have gone to have a look and it looks mint. Selling for $1799 CDN which is about the same in USD.

    I’m thinking of picking it up but wondering if I should go for the 1.8 trinity as well (28, 50, 85). Question is would any of you pickup BOTH the 50 and the 85 or would you choose one between the two?

    I don’t currently own any Nikon gear…

    • 119
      ) Sam
      August 28, 2012 at 1:53 pm

      nice choice, i´d say you dont need the 50, i´ve got wide with zoom and longer zoom, thats enough for me to carry… weight is still amazing

      • 120
        ) Luis C.
        August 28, 2012 at 1:58 pm

        Ok, that was my question… Everyone just raves about the 50 focal length and for me I like the 35 on a FF the best… the 35 1.4 is out of the question at the moment and the 28 1.8 doesn’t seem too bad.

        Thanks for quick reply

        • 121
          ) Sam
          August 28, 2012 at 2:05 pm

          it depends, 50 is just something in the middle, its perfekt, its sharp, but its kinda a child of two worlds… you get not a lot in the picture, but you loose bokeh or you get bokeh, but not that good, or its not wide enough and not zooming enough… i still have the 50´s (1.2 55mm, 1.8 50mm) and …they are amazing yes, but useless, since i borrowed 85mmm 1.4 which is so much better than 85 1.8 (may be i am wrong, but its feels like). someone has written: ” i not a better photographer since i have expensive stuff, but i do have more fun with it!” … its all your style, buy it and try it :D

    • 122
      ) Blaine
      August 28, 2012 at 3:23 pm

      I would still buy the 50mm as a god all around lens and it really does excel at portraits. It’s so cheap that it seems like a no-brainer, but if you don’t think you’ll need it, then that’s fine. I have the 85mm f1.8G and it’s a reat lens too. It seems to let in a bit more light due to the larger element, which is always welcome. The 85 is great for portraits also, but does have a slightly different feel (look) than the 50mm. I think it’s a bit smoother in the bokeh areas, whereas the 50 is more defined out of focus shapes.

      • 123
        ) Luis C.
        August 28, 2012 at 3:33 pm

        The 50 is relatively cheap but I am trying to seal the expenditure shut with the most essential stuff. The 50 is so cheap that if I really think I need it I could pick it up later.

        Thanks for the feedback on the 85, I really like that focal length and prefer it on portraits.

        BTW… The D700 sold :( waited a couple of hours too long… Now sourcing another one, slightly more expensive, $50 more, oh well.

    • August 28, 2012 at 4:52 pm

      As owner of the D700 along with 35mm, 50mm and 85mm prime lenses (all f/1.4), I definitely recommend you buy a 50mm, for two reasons: 1) small & light 2) cheap. Look at it this way: yes, you can always add the 50mm later because it’s cheap, but if you buy it first, you *might* end up realizing you don’t actually need the 85mm, saving yourself quite some money. Or it will make you realize you actually prefer to add a 35mm for wider shots.

      I love both my 35mm and 85mm, but if I want to travel “light” and not sure what I will be shooting, I’ll take just the 50mm. I’ll add the 35mm and/or 85mm depending on the type of event. Even if I know for sure I’ll be needing both the 35mm and 85mm, I’ll often throw the 50mm in the bag as well, simply because it’s lightweight.

      In summary: I don’t think you can go wrong with a 50mm purchase.

      • 125
        ) Luis C.
        August 28, 2012 at 4:58 pm

        That’s very well put…

        I will give it a second thought… The 1.4 trinity is simply envy invoking. I found that the 50 is just too tight indoors since I really like getting close with WA lenses. The 35 one day, I love that lens.

      • 127
        ) Luis C.
        December 27, 2012 at 3:01 pm

        UPDATE: I have the D700 with the 50 1.8 (also, 24-85 zoom, SB700). I am so happy with the body and lens. Thanks for the advice, it has made me realize that, I will have the 35 1.4 in the future and perhaps the new 70-200 f4. But, I will keep the 50, it is truly a standard for a good reason.

        Anyway, golden advice and cheers!

  59. 126
    ) Bogdan
    December 27, 2012 at 12:22 am

    My D700 is here to stay until it breaks down so badly it cannot be fixed anymore. I had my share of issues with it but ready to part with it I’m not.

  60. 128
    ) Susan
    May 21, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    I have had the Nikon D700 for almost five years and have been extremely happy with it. I have a few FX lenses but now since I have been photographing more action like wild horses etc. and also events where I need a second body (one for telephoto, the other for wide angle, no time to change lenses back and forth) wondering what anyone would suggest. I heard the D7100 is good and my FX lenses would go further on the crop camera. Or is the D800 a better fit? I need it to be fast and sometimes I feel my D700 is better for portrait, macro, landscape etc then action. I would appreciate any help. oh yes, I am also shooting video and would need that to be good in the new camera. Thank you!

    • 129
      ) Blaine
      May 21, 2013 at 4:33 pm

      Hi Susan,

      When you say you need it to be fast, are you referring to focus or shutter speed? I think my d700 focuses pretty fast for me as a portrait photographer. If it’s shutter speed you need, have you considered adding a battery grip to the d700 to increase the shutter speed? if you’re using af-c mode and a good lens that lets in enough light to adequately find focus, i’d think you should be good on focus speed. If you need much more than that, i’d say you should be looking at the D4.

  61. 130
    ) Tuan Anh Luu
    June 4, 2013 at 4:00 am

    Thank Romanas,
    And your article clear all the doubt of the my choice. I bought D700 of about 6k shots from my friend few days ago, for 1300$, after long wait of D600 oil-dust issue to be solved.
    I am only the above beginer level of shooter, using mostly in the landscape travel trip in diferent countries, and torn between the upgrading to D600 or D800 from my 5 year-old D70. If there were no oil-dust issue,D600 would be no-brainer for me. Then the think of D800, which a perfect specification for my style of shoppting , but a little bit edge of my budget but the biggest prob is the requirement of processing big file which I hardly need.
    THere still some drawback of D700 , like the limit of CF card speed, or the viewfinder coverage, but I think D700 will save me for about another 2 years or so, before the D600 or D800 replacement come with better option.
    Now I am just enjoying shoot.

  62. 131
    ) chris
    July 7, 2013 at 11:57 am

    Hi, I am considering purchasing a camera for wedding shoots, as I am looking at a new business venture. I would like advice on what to go for. I currently have a D300 which is great.
    but am concerned at low light in churches. I like the idea of the D700 but is it good enough with low light situations, although the lenses I am considering are the Nikon 24-70, 2.8, and 70-200, 2.8.

    Any advice would be welcome!

    ps If anyone out there needs a second shooter or just need any general help please get in touch!

    • July 7, 2013 at 1:18 pm

      I am not an event photographer. I do however use my D700 in night and low light situations a lot, and think this is a great camera in these circumstances. The size of the sensor pixels make this a great camera for this use. My images tend to be from multi seconds through multi minutes, though not much beyond 10 minutes in duration. I have not been in a situation that required longer. The images are low or free from noise, and I do use NR sometimes. I use a 17-35 f2.8, and an old 70-210; never an issue.

      I hope this helps. I have heard of people acquiring a D700 for the use you describe.

      • 133
        ) chris bradley
        July 7, 2013 at 3:36 pm

        Thanks Allan for your feedback. I am feeling more inclined to go for the D700 at the moment -glad to hear it is ok in low light situations.

    • 134
      ) Blaine
      July 7, 2013 at 5:24 pm

      Chris, When the d700 came out, it was renowned because of its high iso range. It had an iso range that could produce images that were still of high quality yet at high iso’s (remember in film days, 800 was considered high). This low light capability is still competitive with the newer bodies. I feel perfectly comfortable shooting my D700 at iso 3200, and even 6400 if I have to. The quality is a little iffy(grainy) at 6400 but certainly still acceptable to give to clients. Hope this helps. If you can’t afford a D800, but want the magnesium body and nice control layout that the d600 doesn’t have, i’d go for it. It always was an excellent body, and still is.

  63. 135
    ) Evomm
    November 11, 2013 at 8:26 am

    Amen!
    When I was shooting DX and the pros were earning their bred, taking amazing, breath taking photos with the d700 I was afraid to even dream about it.
    The announcement of the d800 made it possible to me to get a used one.
    Nikon still can not give me a reason to take my credit card out of my wallet.

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