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Author Topic: D700 - The What and Why - A First Field Report  (Read 22626 times)
Theodore
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« on: July 22, 2008, 07:28:11 PM »
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I've just read Michael's very interesting write-up of his initial impressions of the Nikon D700.  I thought it worth adding a footnote here that in the US the D3 is now down to $4699 at both the big NY stores (hint, one starts with an "A", the other with a "B").  With the vertical battery grip the D700 is priced within $1460 of the D3.

Michael already mentioned the reviews of the D3 on www.DPReview.com and by Thom Hogan at www.bythom.com.  DPReview also has, as Michael has posted, a D700 preview.  I've also been following Bjørn Rørslett forum posts as he puts the D700 through several tests to test / confirm Nikon's specifications and otherwise put the camera through its paces.  It is much different from Michael's write-up, but does include interesting bits like:

"The normal-temperature test ended with the camera's battery dying while I was asleep. According to the linear regression model, I got an estimated 4400 exposures @22 C (jpg normal, 24-70, 30 secs intervals) which tallies well with Nikon specifications, just like the D3. I probably got nearly 10% better performance than the official figure.

The D700 is now gasping for battery power in the deep freezer (-26 C), it won't last long, probably less than 200 exposures. The final run will at at approx +2 C which a very common temperature in my neck of the woods."

That was with the little OEM battery, mind you - not the larger D3 battery which can be used in the optional grip.  He also tells a tale of the camera being dripping wet as it thawed after being in the freezer and it was fine to shoot the whole time.  My goodness.  His "as he tests" posts are available here: http://nikongear.com/smf/index.php?topic=10771.0

He also has some technical insights that I haven't seen elsewhere re: what's in common between the D3 vs. the D300, such as the data is routed through the same 12 channel path (if I recall correctly the description) as the D3, which makes for faster processing like the D3 rather than the D300.

I pass it along in case anyone else might find it of interest.

Again, an excellent and interesting field report Michael.  Many thanks.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2008, 08:02:42 PM by Theodore » Logged
madmanchan
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« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2008, 07:39:50 PM »
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I think you meant 4699 and not 2699 for the price of the D3.
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Theodore
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« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2008, 07:46:50 PM »
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I think you meant 4699 and not 2699 for the price of the D3.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=210049\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Yes, thanks - I may have caused someone undue palpitations.  I've fixed that typo.
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Panorama
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« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2008, 08:26:59 AM »
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Interesting over view of the D700. In most ways it's a stripped down D3 in a small form factor, but I''m sure Nikon is going to sell a ton of these things and I welcome the market competition. Now, if Sony can do something other than talk, we'll all enjoy some real choice in the market.

While I have little to no faith in Canon - they've had years to produce good/great offerings and they've given us some real disappointments and mediocrities  - the real judgment of Nikon's offering must wait until a head-to-head comparison can be done with Canon's next 5d, if such a thing exits.

The D700's (and D3's) deficient 12MP resolution is an area where Canon is sure to score well, but beyond that, I'm sure Canon will look for every opportunity they can find to cut corners. (one can always hope for an awaking on Canon's part that being cheap isn't going to cut it anymore, but precedence says that's not to be...).

As an aside, I'd like to understand MR's "relationship" with Nikon. Since the camera isn't shipping, yet he has a "production" version unavailable to others, I found myself wondering how that happened.  Any answers out there?
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Theodore
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« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2008, 09:17:15 AM »
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As an aside, I'd like to understand MR's "relationship" with Nikon. Since the camera isn't shipping, yet he has a "production" version unavailable to others, I found myself wondering how that happened.  Any answers out there?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=210140\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

As I understand these things generally, Nikon / NPS will provide certain reviewers with pre-production or production models of yet-to-ship cameras so that they can be reviewed.  Those reviewers need not have any relationship with Nikon - for example, Thom Hogan writes about Nikon but refuses anything free from them (travel, etc.) to maintain a no conflict of interest position.  Similarly, DPReview has no particular affiliation with Nikon or Canon or Sony or Pentax or ... . NPS will also send some photographers bodies to try as well - again, photographers with no relationship to Nikon.  As an example, a wonderful wedding photographer based in the UK, Jeff Ascough, who is a Canon 1Ds Mk II and III user was recently sent a D3 and lenses to try for a month by NPS.  

Of course Nikon also sends bodies early to Nikon-sponsored shooters for the purpose of getting publicity photos for brochures and the Nikon web site, e.g. Joe McNally with the D700 (http://www.joemcnally.com/blog/)  or Cliff Mautner with the D3 (http://cliffmautner.typepad.com/), and generate some blog excitement but that's a different story.
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Pete Ferling
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« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2008, 09:26:03 AM »
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The D700 at half the price and 95% of the D3 is likened to the Canon 40D and the old 5D.  I tested both of these cameras at the store and was hard pressed to opt for a 5D as backup to my 1Ds, with the 40D giving me what I wanted at half the cost of the 5D (or a savings of a good lens).  However, a new 5D may tip the scales in favor, (and I'm curious of a head-to-head with the D700 as well).

So, the D700 may undercut D3 sales in similiar fashion, however an upcoming D3 replacement would remedy that.

In once sense the both companies may be undercutting their better cameras with cheaper alternatives, but are in sync with each other.

Then again, that's technology and competition for you, and in any case, we as customers benefit.
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michael
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« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2008, 09:54:09 AM »
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As an aside, I'd like to understand MR's "relationship" with Nikon. Since the camera isn't shipping, yet he has a "production" version unavailable to others, I found myself wondering how that happened. Any answers out there?

The answer is simple. There is no "relationship". I publish a popular web site and write for several major magazines. Manufacturers provide me with either pre-production or early production camera so that I can write reviews. They do the same thing for other journalists, bloggers, and magazine editors. That's about the long and short of it.

I don't accept freebes, gifts, or other forms of "presents". All loaned products are returned, or in the case of some (like large printers, which are not wanted back after 6 months to a year of long term testing) they are donated to an educational institution. Software is not returned.

I accept meals and drinks at a trade show or meeting, but as often buy them for others, so it all evens out. I also do not accept advertising from manufacturers.

BTW, this is the way that most online reviewers work. In the magazine world there is typically a "chinese wall" between editorial and advertising, and how porous that wall is depends on the ethics of the publisher. Most consider it sacrosanct, but with some, like the late unlamented Peterson's Photographic it was hard to tell the difference between advertising and editorial.

There are always complaints about bias, but in my 30+ years of writing for print and online I have found that this is rarely the case. Writers typically just tell it like it is – at least from their perspective.  

Michael
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vandevanterSH
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« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2008, 10:29:50 AM »
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"In the magazine world there is typically a "chinese wall" between editorial and advertising, and how porous that wall is depends on the ethics of the publisher. Most consider it sacrosanct, but with some, like the late unlamented Peterson's Photographic it was hard to tell the difference between advertising and editorial."

I think most consumer mags do "softball" reviews.  This is probably a result of the need for ad dollars and the fear of law suit.  I think the Bose v Consumers Union law suit really had a chilling effect on "product" reviews.
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Kenneth Sky
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« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2008, 10:34:07 AM »
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Michael
Personal perspective is a form of bias. Not all online reviewers are as honest with themselves and their audience as you are. Interestingly Ctein has an article on "payola" on TOP saying much the same as you do. Notwithstanding that, there is quite a controversy on DP review about how they rate DSLRs. Obviously, your approach to reviewing new products by explaining your personal bias and noting real world results has lead to you being one of the most credible reviewers online.
Keep up the good work. Most of us appreciate it greatly.
Ken
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michael
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« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2008, 10:53:40 AM »
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I think most consumer mags do "softball" reviews. This is probably a result of the need for ad dollars and the fear of law suit. I think the Bose v Consumers Union law suit really had a chilling effect on "product" reviews.

I disagree. In fact Consumer Union won that case on appeal because there was no proof of "malice"

I'm not saying that there aren't "soft ball" reviews, just that in my years of writing for magazines what I've seen is that they either print the review pretty much as written, or they decline it. Not wanting to piss off an advertiser is understandable though. (Which is one of the reasons I don't accept advertising (except for B&H, who sell all products)).

I also rarely see any attempts at manufacturer influence. Years ago I wrote a scathing review of a new computer / gaming device for a consumer electronics magazine. I subsequently received a telephone call from a VP of that company threatening me with legal action if I didn't write a retraction. I told what he could do with his "legal action" and never heard more about it.

On another occasion after doing a very negative review of a DSLR on this site I got a call from an individual who identified himself as an attorney for that company. He didn't threaten in any way, but politely asked if I would wish to meet with some of the company's engineers to discuss some concerns about my review. I replied that this would be fine, but that I was curious as to why such a call was coming from a lawyer. I never heard from them again and not long afterward they got out of the DSLR business.

Michael
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ruraltrekker
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« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2008, 11:00:09 AM »
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While I have little to no faith in Canon - they've had years to produce good/great offerings and they've given us some real disappointments and mediocrities  - the real judgment of Nikon's offering must wait until a head-to-head comparison can be done with Canon's next 5d, if such a thing exits.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=210140\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

What? I just don't understand this statement. And here is why:

If you look back a few decades, Nikon was the camera of professionals. End of story. Canon, although they had professional offerings, made their mark in the consumer sector. Fast forward to the last 4-6 years and the tables got turned a bit. I for one got feed up with Nikon's apc format stance & switched to Canon. Now, finally Nikon has gotten their act together. This is good for both companies and the marketplace in general.

Canon has done more for moving the bench mark for the small format camera then all the other small format camera companies combined. Yes there is tons of complaining about the aging wide angles but who complains about their long glass? Or the special lenses such as the 85 1.2?

The 10, 20, 30, 40D's were traditional Canon bringing the camera technologu to the masses - on a consumer level approach. Nikon's approach has always been slightly different - more working photographer.

The 5D - holy cow man - this camera existance is a huge milestone. Yeah, it may not be perfect but look what it did. Would we even being talking about a full frame Nikon right now?

Ken
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vandevanterSH
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« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2008, 11:37:01 AM »
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I disagree. In fact Consumer Union won that case on appeal because there was no proof of "malice""

That is correct, but it was a fourteen year legal battle by Consumer Union and a final decision by the SCOTUS...a very expensive victory.  My "soft" opinion is based more on my perception of changes in audio and automobile publications over the last fifty years.

Steve
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Quentin
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« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2008, 01:41:14 PM »
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Small point, but "bit of a shocker" in Britain means "very bad", not of course the right interpretation here but for a moment I was worried  

Quentin
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Quentin Bargate, ARPS, Author, photographer entrepreneur and senior partner of Bargate Murray, Law Firm of the Year 2013
Panorama
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« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2008, 05:52:58 PM »
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What? I just don't understand this statement. And here is why:

If you look back a few decades, Nikon was the camera of professionals. End of story. Canon, although they had professional offerings, made their mark in the consumer sector. Fast forward to the last 4-6 years and the tables got turned a bit. I for one got feed up with Nikon's apc format stance & switched to Canon. Now, finally Nikon has gotten their act together. This is good for both companies and the marketplace in general.

Canon has done more for moving the bench mark for the small format camera then all the other small format camera companies combined. Yes there is tons of complaining about the aging wide angles but who complains about their long glass? Or the special lenses such as the 85 1.2?

The 10, 20, 30, 40D's were traditional Canon bringing the camera technologu to the masses - on a consumer level approach. Nikon's approach has always been slightly different - more working photographer.

The 5D - holy cow man - this camera existance is a huge milestone. Yeah, it may not be perfect but look what it did. Would we even being talking about a full frame Nikon right now?

Ken
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=210172\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

End of story? Canon turned the tables "a bit" in the last 4-6 years? OK, we disagree on some issues (like the 20+ years ago that Canon trounced Nikon with superior AF and then IS lenses, and hasn't looked back since), but if we can avoid a C/N battle right now as we do agree on some things I'd prefer it. I've been shooting over 30 years, have used both systems, and I'm a working photographer. I prefer Canon, but they're wearing me out.

I'm not a Canon lens complainer and I've replaced a lot of them in the last few years. I love my 85L's (still have two but sold one Mk I  a month ago), all my other L primes except the 50L which is a crap lens, my 3 TSE's, my L zooms, and I just purchased another 300mm f/2.8 IS 6 weeks ago. I have no problem with Canon glass, and even love my 16-35 bthough people tell me I shouldn't. I have no Nikon glass envy and think 14-24 aside, Nikon is second fiddle as far as I'm concerned.

As for bodies , which is what generated my comment, I think it's clear that Canon is doing little beside spewing new bodies with minor upgrades to keep people upgrading and buying. They've released good sensors in most cases, but little else. Enough is enough. Their pricing structure vis-a-vis what they provide is so skewed it's ridiculous. After two 1D3's, my budget for a new 1Ds3 has been permanently shelved. Who in their right mind wants to pay $8k for a $5k camera (assuming you have the choice to skip it that is, and I do)? Nikon is providing feature on a $1700 camera Canon expects over 3x that price (100% VF and pro level AF are two examples).

I've owned four 5d bodies along side 1 series bodies, and while I thought it was novel when released, I found it strangely over priced. It's a 30d with a FF sensor.. nothing more.. I held the camera for 30 seconds and my gut said "not worth it". I love the IQ ( better than my 1Ds2) and think it's surpassed only by the 1D3 (and I'm told the 1Ds3).  I'm not complaining about that and disagree with MR about the 5d IQ vs. the D700 at low ISO. I only have my own trained eyes to tell me the truth and don't have the necessary naivete to believe authors/web site that tells me I'm mistaken. As long as my eyes work, I'm going with Canon, especially in the studio. IQ aside, I like the 5d, but I have never loved it. It's a lower mid-level amateur camera with a good sensor. The rest of it is, well, not that good.... What can I say?

What Canon does is take features such as 100% VFs and make you pay $4500 for it (and then give you a cropped 1d3 sensor). They hit the AF in the head with a hammer before putting it in any non 1 series body; Nikon has reversed that trend. Canon cripples frame rates; Nikon is offering choice. Canon uses outdated Digic 3 processors (appeared 3 years ago in P&S cameras) in their $8k flagship and even have the gall to stick a crummy low res LCD on the back (give me a break on that one..). I actually had a Canon rep tell me the LCD was just as good as what Nikon was using (both cameras were in front of me). I stared at the guy, asked him if he was serious, and then walked away; it was clear I couldn't have an intelligent conversation with someone making that comment. Look at canon's UDMA support (if you can find it). The list continues; Canon is about over charging for features and always has been. Even my 20+ year old New F-1 lacked a 100% VF, while the F3 had it. The difference is that I've been willing to pay the freight in the past. I'm finally fed up and don't want to play the game anymore.

It's time Canon stepped up to the plate. They can do so much, but they are so cheap from a features perspective it's incredible. You may feel differently.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2008, 06:17:43 PM »
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I'm not complaining about that and disagree with MR about the 5d IQ vs. the D700 at low ISO. I only have my own trained eyes to tell me the truth and don't have the necessary naivete to believe authors/web site that tells me I'm mistaken.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=210280\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Have you tested a D3/D700 yourself in order to form this opinion?

Cheers,
Bernard
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A few images online here!
BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #15 on: July 23, 2008, 06:22:42 PM »
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Interesting over view of the D700. In most ways it's a stripped down D3 in a small form factor, but I''m sure Nikon is going to sell a ton of these things and I welcome the market competition.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=210140\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

In most ways it is a D3 in a small form factor would probably be more accurate.

This is coming from a happy D3 user.

Cheers,
Bernard
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A few images online here!
Theodore
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« Reply #16 on: July 23, 2008, 09:19:38 PM »
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Two updates - yesterday, when looking the price gap, I noted the D3 was priced at $4699 at the two large NYC stores.  I note that the D3 is down to $4591.97 on Amazon today.  Finally - I note that B&H has the D700 (body or kit) listed as "In Stock" as of this evening.  July 23 beat my expectations by a bit (and it seems a great customer satisfaction practice to promise a date a bit later than when the company thinks it will really be able to deliver the first shipments).
« Last Edit: July 26, 2008, 07:07:51 PM by Theodore » Logged
BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #17 on: July 23, 2008, 09:57:34 PM »
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Two updates - yesterday, when looking the price gap, I noted the D700 was priced at $4699 at the two large NYC stores.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=210324\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The D700 is listed at 2999.95 US$ at B&H, not sure where you got that 4699 price from.

cheers,
Bernard
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Theodore
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« Reply #18 on: July 23, 2008, 09:59:47 PM »
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The D700 is listed at 2999.95 US$ at B&H, not sure where you got that 4699 price from.

cheers,
Bernard
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=210332\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Hi Bernard - yes, I hope by typo (my second similar one this thread!) was obvious - it's the D3 that was at $4699 and was then at $4591.  Nikonrumors.com has been tracking the price fall and has updated again tonight that Calumet is now listing the D3 for $4499.99 - $200 less than the lower price of 24 hours ago (or a difference of approximately $1260 (give or take a dollar or two) between a D3 and a D700 with the battery grip).
« Last Edit: July 23, 2008, 10:21:02 PM by Theodore » Logged
Ray
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« Reply #19 on: July 23, 2008, 10:23:09 PM »
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Internet prices seem to vary a lot. In Australia, the lowest price for the D3 I found is A$4,500. The D700 is $3749. I paid around A$5,000 for a Canon 5D body almost 3 years ago, but the Aussie dollar has risen in value since those days. It's now worth around 96 US cents.
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