About me

Nikon D700

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Firsy lets have a look at some of the more understandable technical specifications, you will see that some of these D700 specs are far from being whats considered as the best on the current day market. But looking at the camera overall, you will not find a similar competitive product at the same price, and that includes the Canon 5D Mark II and the Sony Alpha A900.

I have seen some excellent wildlife images from the Canon 5D Mark II, and yes it is a superb camera for high resolution work and video; if you need the megapixels and 1080p movie capabilities. Sony A900 is also great on megapixels and has in-body image stabilization, but tests and examples what I have seen suggests that it performs poorly at high ISOs and has no movie support.

The Nikon D700 has the cleanest images at low and high ISOs and comes with Nikon’s best 51-point autofocus system. I personally dont care an owls hoot about the movie functionality – I buy my cameras for taking pictures.
Resolution is not critically important for wildlife in my opinion– In most cases I prefer low noise to high resolution.
So, a few resons here why the D700 is clearly the choice for my type of shooting, as in most situations, taking wildlife images in Great Britain, Im never going to obtain txt book lighting.
I have weighed up what is more important for me, without forgetting investment in lenses, accessories and know-how.

Important stuff for me as a wildlife photographer

Autofocus Performance

Ive always been suprised that Nikon use the same Multi-CAM 3500FX 51-point AF system found on the D3, instead of putting something slower or inferior. Although the Nikon D300 and D300s both have a 51-point AF system, it is not as good as the AF system on the D700/D3/D3s/D3x cameras. It is both slower and slightly less accurate in comparison (especially in low light). I know that some bird and wildlife photographers will argue the point on this one, but if you have used the D300 (or indeed the D300s)and D700 side by side for fast action photography, you will notice the difference.
In addition the FX viewfinder is so much larger than any DX viewfinder, making it is easier to see if your subject is out of focus.
All in all, Nikon’s 51-point AF system is still the best on the market today.

Metering and Exposure

I mainly shoot in 3D Matrix metering mode, and occasionally in spot and center-weighted metering modes. All three have given me good exposures on the D700 in normal lighting conditions.
When the light is tricky, I will usually use exposure compensation to get the results I need. There are times when I dial + EV, but I believe Nikons tend to over expose as default, so much of my shooting is done using negative compensation, but this is worked out on a shoot by shoot or situation by situation basis. But overall the metering sensor on the D700 is usually very accurate.

Dynamic Range.

This on the D700 is good, and details in shadows and light areas can be recovered with little
trouble, and Im no whizz kid on post processing software.
Since becoming the owner of the D700 my testing (not read reports or reviews) has proven that shooting between ISO 200 and 800 is quite acceptable without much loss of dynamic range. Anything beyond ISO 800 however will decrease dynamic range dramatically, especially beyond ISO 1600. If I was a landscape photographer (which Im not) I would probably try to stay below ISO 800.
I am totally wildlife, and at times I have cranked up ISO up to 3200 and on some early morning wildlife shoots sometimes even to 6400. My best results however have always come from ISO`s below 1600.