The Nikon D700 was announced on July 1, 2008. The D700 is slotted in Nikon’s lineup between the D300 and D3, which is fitting given that it shares characteristics of each. The D700 is a 12.1 megapixel, full frame DSLR, which features the image quality found in the pro-level Nikon D3, yet it has the more compact size of the Nikon D300. The D700 features the some sensitivity levels found the D3 – covering an extendable range of ISO 100 to ISO 25600.
The Nikon D700 carries a suggested retail price of $2999; however, the price has been substantially reduced since its introduction. It is available to order at the following trusted retailers:
Photography Bay Review and Additional Coverage
Nikon D700 Reviews
Don’t be blinded by a few more pixels. The D700 performs better than its rivals in many areas.
It is merely a slightly reduced D3 while retaining most of the important features. Therefore, the D700’s strengths are essentially the same as the D3’s, minus a few somewhat important but not absolutely critical features such as a 100% viewfinder and dual compact flash card slots, but it is roughly 1/3 cheaper and a lot smaller.
It offers you a fantastic mix of photo quality, performance, build quality, and features, without having to spend the money on a D3.
Wired (hands-on review)
In short, though, the D700 kicks ass. It’s easy to use, and takes an incredible picture, even in the dark.
On top of the saving you also get a built-in flash (certainly useful for some) and integrated sensor cleaning. Specification is one thing though and image quality and performance are another. Luckily though the D700 is on a similar level as the D3 in these areas as well.
Excellent Image Quality. It’s not just high ISO that’s good, the dynamic range is the best of the Nikon DSLRs, the acuity is excellent, white balance is better than ever, and, once mastered, the Picture Controls do give you plenty of control.
Is it worth the asking price? Well that depends on your own would-be use and needs. For the amateur there are more affordable alternatives, but for the professional needing full frame capability it can be considered a steal.
The D700 isn’t an upgrade from the D300. It’s a whole new camera. Something that many D300 users will want to use along as a second body or for people who want FX but not in the size of the D3.
Deciding whether the D700 is worth its substantial price tag proves far more difficult than almost any other part of this test. The image quality, most of the handling and even the less tangible ‘want factor’ should all make the D700 the perfect balance of professional qualities and price.
Does the D700 obviate the more expensive D3? Not for high-end pros: Hardcore types who find themselves shooting in the Arctic one month and the desert the next will prefer the D3’s extraordinarily tight level of weathersealing.
The D700 just takes a better looking photograph than the D300 (and really, that’s what it’s all about-all the rest is really just bells and whistles). The new sensor, the autofocus, the low noise-it all adds up to photos that just beat the D300 (with the D700 you get D3 quality photos, which the D300, good as it is, just can’t deliver).
I think any photographer with experience would fall in love with the Nikon D700. There’s something to be said for having a 24mm lens work like a 24mm lens again, and the extremely high ISO setting available on this fine digital SLR make once-unthinkable images as easy as a press of the ISO button and a twist of the Main command dial.
By essentially squeezing the D3′s full frame and high ISO quality into the D300′s more portable and affordable form factor, Nikon’s done just that with the new D700.
Detail is crisp and clean, sharpness (again within the parameters of the optic used) is very good, and the tonal range within the images is beautiful. Noise is also exemplary, with no worrying noise at all until you go over ISO 6400. There is some noise at ISO 12800 and ISO 25600, but I think we can allow Nikon some slack here.
The D700 is so good that I’m suggesting people buy a D700, then sell their D3s and pocket the cash.
At any sensitivity up to ISO 1600 there’s little of concern in terms of low noise. Uncanny. At ISO 3200 a slight bit of luminance noise appears, but it can be easily removed in post. ISO 6200 is still eminently usable, and even ISO 12,000 equivalent is acceptable for reportage.
If you don´t have time to read the full review and want to get the summary in one sentence, then here it is: If you can, get it!
The D700 joins the D3 as a fully-fledged ‘professional’ model; it has the same tank-like build quality (though we’re sure the pop-up flash will cause a few raised eyebrows), and gets you the full pro service from Nikon.
Nikon D700 Resources
Nikon D700 Press Release
Nikon FX-format digital SLR – exceptional performance combined with superior mobility and functional versatility to provide serious photographers with outstanding value
TOKYO – Nikon Corporation is pleased to announce the introduction of its newest FX-format digital SLR, the Nikon D700.
The D700 features an FX-format first introduced with the Nikon D3. Highly praised for its outstanding features, the D3 established a new level of professional performance in terms of overall image quality, extraordinarily low noise, ISO sensitivity range, continuous high-speed shooting, color gradation, image crispness, durability, weather-resistant operation, system versatility and more.
The new D700 incorporates an extensive array of features that boast a level of performance that is in many ways comparable to the D3. At the same time, it derives a wide range of benefits – including functionality, flexibility and operability – from the more agile D300, Nikon’s flagship DX-format D-SLR.
The D700 has everything it takes to satisfy a broad spectrum of photographic needs. The 12.1-megapixel FX-format CMOS sensor with a sensing area of 36.0 x 23.9 mm; a sensitivity range of ISO 200 to 6400; continuous shooting at up to 5 frames per second (and up to 8 fps with the optional Multi-Power Battery Pack MB-D10; Nikon’s exclusive 51-point AF system; Scene Recognition System for optimum autofocus, auto exposure and auto white balance detection – these are but a few of the advanced capabilities of the extraordinary new D700.
Large image sensor, developed by Nikon; 12.1 effective megapixels
The D700 employs an FX-format CMOS image sensor with an area of 36.0mm (h) x 23.9mm (v). It provides superior picture quality throughout a wide ISO sensitivity range, with advantages that include a large pixel size to ensure a higher signal-to-noise ratio and wide dynamic range, and improved circuit layout to efficiently increase the strength of the electrical signal from pixels. High-speed, 12-channel readout enables fast continuous shooting of high-resolution images at up to 8 frames per second (with Multi-Power Battery Pack MB-D10 and Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL4a/4 or eight AA-size batteries).
Wide sensitivity range
The D700 offers an extremely wide sensitivity range of ISO 200 to 6400. It delivers extraordinary image quality at low sensitivity settings, while also delivering outstandingly low-noise characteristics at ISO settings as high as 6400. Furthermore, sensitivity can be increased to HI 0.3, HI 0.5, HI 0.7, HI 1 (ISO 12,800 equivalent), HI 2 (ISO 25,600 equivalent), or decreased to Lo 1 (ISO 100 equivalent), Lo 0.7, Lo 0.5 and Lo 0.3, to expand shooting versatility.
Features a startup time of approximately 0.12 second, and a shutter release time lag of only 40 ms* – both equivalent to the flagship Nikon D3. The continuous shooting speed is up to 5 frames per second with the included Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL3e, and up to 8 fps when using the optional Multi-Power Battery Pack MB-D10 and Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL4a/4 or eight AA-size batteries. The Nikon D700 is also compliant with the next-generation high-speed UDMA CompactFlash cards, that will enable 35-Mbyte recording speed.
* Based on the new CIPA guideline established in August 2007.
EXPEED image processing
Nikon’s state-of-the-art EXPEED digital image-processing incorporates remarkable intelligence and technologies accumulated and optimized throughout our long history. It makes possible a diverse range of functions that ensure superior picture quality and high-speed image processing.
Scene Recognition System
Improvements to the exclusive 1,005-pixel RGB light sensor have allowed information from the sensor to be utilized for auto exposure, auto white balance and autofocus. 3D-Tracking in AF, for example, achieved by using the Scene Recognition System, tracks subject position and automatically shifts the AF points used to match the subject’s movement within the frame. This system also contributes to higher accuracy of auto exposure and auto white balance detection.
Picture Control System
Nikon’s Control System enables users, from novices to professionals, to create the pictures they envision by making specific selections and adjustments to image sharpening, tone compensation, brightness, tone and saturation. Even with different cameras, when the settings are the same, you get the same picture tone. Picture Control System offers four fundamental setting options – Standard, Neutral, Vivid and Monochrome – for easy customization of image parameters.
Active D-Lighting lets photographers choose from various intensities – Auto, High, Normal, Low or OFF (Unchanged) – prior to shooting. Instead of employing the conventional compensation method of simply expanding dynamic range, localized tone control technology is utilized to ensure proper contrast and eliminate flat images with lost highlights and shadows.
AF system with high-density 51-point AF
The D700 incorporates a Multi-CAM 3500FX autofocus sensor module featuring 51 AF points. Fifteen cross-type sensors located in the center enable subject detection with lens apertures as small as f/5.6. The functioning of the AF points is linked to the Scene Recognition System, to deliver superior subject detection and focus tracking performance. A single AF point can be selected from the 51 or 11 focus points. In Dynamic-area AF mode, you can select from either 9, 21 or 51 AF areas. The 51-point option offers 3D-Tracking mode, which automatically shifts the focus point to match the subject’s movements. Auto-area AF mode gives greater priority to the subject’s position when selecting AF points.
Choose from two Live View modes
Live View allows shooting while confirming the subject on the 3-inch, 920,000-dot color LCD monitor. In Handheld mode, which lets you recompose the frame prior to actual shooting, ordinary TTL phase-detection AF is activated, using all 51 AF points including 15 cross-type points. Tripod mode is designed for precise focus accuracy with still subjects and tripod stabilization. It enables focal-plane contrast-detect AF on a desired point within a specific area. Remote view, focusing and shooting can also be controlled from a PC (via connection or wireless) using optional Nikon Camera Control Pro 2 software.
DX cropping mode
The Nikon D700 lets you select from either FX format (36 x 24) or DX format (24 x 16). At the default setting of [Auto DX crop], the camera will automatically select DX format when a DX NIKKOR lens is attached.
High-definition, 3-inch VGA, TFT LCD monitor with wide viewing angle
The ultrahigh-definition [920,000-dot VGA (640 x 480)], 3-inch LCD monitor with tempered glass provides a 170° viewing angle. The large monitor is remarkably effective when confirming the focus with enlarged playback images. The wide viewing angle enables easy recomposing of the frame in Hand-held mode with Live View.
Viewfinder provides 95% frame coverage, 0.72x magnification in FX format
The viewfinder features an eye-level pentaprism with high refraction index and provides 95% frame coverage with 0.72x magnification. Fifty-one AF points and a framing grid are superimposed on the finder screen. The eyepoint is 18 mm (at -0.1 m-1), and the diopter can be adjusted within a range of -3 to +1 m-1.
Image Sensor Cleaning
Vibrations at four different resonant frequencies remove dust from the optical low-pass filter in front of the image sensor. This function is automatically activated each time the camera is turned on and off, and can also be activated on demand by the photographer.
Built-in flash with wireless commander function
With a guide number of approximately 17/56 (m/ft., ISO 200, 20°C/68°F) and 24mm lens coverage, the high-performance built-in flash enables i-TTL flash control that evaluates flash exposure with greater precision for exceptional results. Compatible with the Nikon Creative Lighting System, the built-in flash controls up to two groups of remote units as a master/commander in Advanced Wireless Lighting.
A magnesium alloy is used for the exterior cover, rear body and mirror box to reduce weight and provide rugged durability. O-ring sealing where connections are made gives you valuable protection against dust and moisture. The shutter unit developed and manufactured by Nikon employs shutter blades made of a new material (a hybrid of carbon fiber and Kevlar). Tested on fully assembled cameras, the D700’s shutter unit has been proven through 150,000 cycles under demanding conditions. The self-diagnostic shutter constantly monitors and maintains shutter precision.
Multi-Power Battery Pack MB-D10 (option)
The optional Multi-Power Battery Pack MB-D10, which uses one Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL4a/4/3e or eight AA-size batteries, is equipped with a shutter-release button, AF-ON button, multi selector, and main- and sub-command dials. When attached, it enables high-speed continuous shooting of 12.1-megapixel images at a rate of up to 8 fps*. * When using EN-EL4a/4 or eight AA-size batteries.
Exclusive Wireless Transmitter WT-4/4A (option)
The WT-4/4A supports both wired LAN (10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX) and wireless LAN (IEEE 802.11b/g, 11a), and incorporates a thumbnail mode. A PC allows wireless connection of up to five cameras, for display of thumbnail images and downloading of selected images. Using Camera Control Pro 2 (option) and the Live View function, wireless remote view/control shooting is also possible.
Fine tuning for AF
The focal point in AF for the current CPU lenses can be fine-tuned and registered. A certain level of adjustment set for up to 12 lens types is applied when a lens of the same type is attached. When using a lens that has not been registered, the same level of adjustment can be applied.
Improved Function button feature
In addition to the exclusive Function button, this feature can be assigned to the Preview button and the AE/AF Lock button, for optimum flexibility. Furthermore, NEF copy recording together with JPEG image can be assigned to the Function button.
HDMI output (High-Definition TV) supported
The D700 complies with HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) Ver. 1.3a for the transfer of global-standard video and audio signals. A Type C mini connector is provided.
Various shooting information is displayed on the LCD monitor, including shutter speed and aperture. Character color can be adjusted to match lighting conditions – black for light locations, white for dark locations. Auto switch mode can also be set.
A variety of setting options can be customized under My Menu, then added to, deleted and reordered.
Electronic Virtual Horizon
Using a sensor incorporated in the body, the inclination of the camera is detected and displayed in the LCD monitor.
ViewNX/Nikon Transfer image-management software included in Software Suite CD-ROM
The ViewNX viewer application offers quick display of images; Nikon Transfer enables simple transfer of taken images to a computer.
Nikon Digital SLR Camera D700 Specifications
Type: Single-lens reflex digital camera
Lens Mount: Nikon F bayonet mount with AF coupling and AF contacts
Picture Angle: Equivalent to angle produced by lens focal length (1.5 times when DX format is selected)
Effective Pixels: 12.1 million
Image Sensor: CMOS sensor, 36.0 x 23.9 mm; Nikon FX format
Total Pixels: 12.87 million
Dust-Reduction System: Image sensor self-cleaning function, Image Dust Off reference data acquisition (Capture NX 2 required)
Image size (pixels):
- FX format (36 x 24): 4,256 x 2,832 [L], 3,184 x 2,120 [M], 2,128 x 1,416 [S]
- DX format (24 x 16): 2,784 x 1,848 [L], 2,080 x 1,384 [M], 1,392 x 920 [S]
- NEF (RAW): 12 or 14 bit, lossless compressed, compressed, or uncompressed
- TIFF (RGB)
- JPEG: JPEG-Baseline compliant with fine (approx. 1:4), normal (approx. 1:8), or basic (approx. 1:16) compression ([Size priority]); [Optimal quality] compression available
- NEF (RAW) + JPEG: Single photograph recorded in both NEF (RAW) and JPEG formats
Picture Control System: Four setting options: Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome; each option can be adjusted
Storage Media: CompactFlash (Type I, compliant with UDMA)
File System: Compliant with DCF 2.0, DPOF, Exif 2.21, Pictbridge
Viewfinder: SLR-type with fixed eye-level pentaprism
Diopter Adjustment: -3 to +1 m-1
Eyepoint: 18 mm (-1.0 m-1)
Focusing Screen: Type B BriteView Clear Matte VI screen with superimposed AF points and framing grid lines
Frame Coverage: Approx. 95% (vertical/horizontal)
Magnification: Approx. 0.72x (50mm f/1.4 lens at infinity; -1.0 m-1)
Reflex Mirror: Quick-return type
Depth-of-field Preview: When CPU lens is attached, lens aperture can be stopped down to value selected by user (A and M modes) or value selected by camera (P and S modes)
Lens Aperture: Instant-return type, with depth-of-field preview button
- DX AF Nikkor: All functions supported
- Type G or D AF Nikkor: All functions supported (PC Micro-Nikkor does not support some functions). IX Nikkor lenses not supported.
- Other AF Nikkor: All functions supported except 3D Color Matrix Metering II. Lenses for F3AF not supported.
- AI-P Nikkor: All functions supported except autofocus and 3D Color Matrix Metering II
- Non-CPU AI Nikkor: Can be used in exposure modes A and M; electronic rangefinder can be used if maximum aperture is f/5.6 or faster; Color Matrix Metering and aperture value display supported if user provides lens data
Shutter Type: Electronically controlled vertical-travel focal-plane shutter
Shutter Speed: 1/8,000 to 30 s in steps of 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV, Bulb, X250
Flash Sync Speed: X = 1/250 s; synchronizes with shutter at 1/320 s or slower (flash range drops at speeds between 1/250 and 1/320 s)
- Single-frame [S] mode
- Continuous Low-speed [CL] mode
- Continuous High-speed [CH] mode
- Live View [LV] mode
- Self-timer [mark] mode
- Mirror-up [Mup] mode
Continuous Shooting Speed:
- With Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL3e: 1-5 frames per second in [CL] mode, 5 fps in [CH] mode
- With Multi-Power Battery Pack MB-D10 with batteries other than Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL3e or AC
Adapter: EH-5a/EH-5: 1-7 frames per second in [CL] mode, 8 fps in [CH] mode
Self-timer: Electronically controlled timer with duration of 2, 5, 10 or 20 s
Metering: TTL full-aperture exposure metering using 1,005-pixel RGB sensor
- 3D Color Matrix Metering II (type G and D lenses); Color Matrix Metering II (other CPU lenses); Color Matrix Metering (non-CPU lenses if user provides lens data)
- Center-Weighted: Weight of 75% given to 8-, 12-, 15- or 20-mm circle in center of frame, or weighting based on average of entire frame
- Spot: Meters 4-mm circle (about 1.5% of frame) centered on selected focus point (on center focus point when non-CPU lens is used)
- 0 to 20 EV (Matrix or Center-Weighted Metering)
- 2 to 20 EV (Spot Metering) (ISO 100 equivalent, f/1.4 lens, at 20°C/68°F)
Exposure Meter: Coupling Combined CPU and AI
- Programmed Auto (P) with flexible program
- Shutter-Priority Auto (S)
- Aperture-Priority Auto (A)
- Manual (M)
Exposure Compensation: ±5 EV in increments of 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV
Exposure Lock: Exposure locked at detected value with AE-L/AF-L button
Exposure Bracketing: Exposure and/or flash bracketing (2 to 9 exposures in increments of 1/3, 1/2, 2/3 or 1 EV)
Sensitivity: ISO 200 to 6400 in steps of 1/3, 1/2, or 1 EV; can be set to approx. 0.3, 0.5, 0.7, or 1 (ISO 100 equivalent) EV below ISO 200, or to approx. 0.3, 0.5, 0.7, 1 (ISO 12800 equivalent), or 2 (ISO 25600 equivalent) EV over ISO 6400
Active D-Lighting: Can be selected from [Auto], [High], [Normal], or [Low]
Autofocus: TTL phase-detection AF, 51 focus points (15 cross-sensors) by Nikon Multi-CAM 3500FX autofocus module; Detection: -1 to +19 EV (ISO 100 at 20°C/68°F); AF fine tuning possible; AF-assist illuminator (range approx. 0.5-3 m/1.6-9.8 ft.)
- Autofocus: Single-servo AF (S); Continuous-servo AF (C); Focus Tracking automatically activated according to subject status
- Manual focus (M) with electronic rangefinder
Focus Point: Single AF point can be selected from 51 or 11 focus points
- Single-point AF
- Dynamic-area AF [number of AF points: 9, 21, 51, 51 (3D-Tracking)]
- Auto-area AF
Built-in Flash: Manual pop-up type; guide number of 17/56 (ISO 200, m/ft., 20°C/68°F) or 12/39 (ISO 100, m/ft., 20°C/68°F)
- TTL flash control with 1,005-pixel RGB sensor; i-TTL balanced fill-flash and standard i-TTL fill-flash available with SB-900, 800, 600 or 400
- Auto aperture (AA): Available with SB-900, 800 and CPU lens
- Non-TTL auto (A): Available with SB-900, 800, 28, 27 or 22s
- Distance-priority manual (GN): Available with SB-900, 800
Flash Sync Modes:
- Front-curtain sync (normal)
- Slow sync
- Rear-curtain sync
- Red-eye reduction
- Red-eye reduction with slow sync
Flash Compensation: -3 to +1 EV in increments of 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV
Flash-ready Indicator: Lights when Speedlight such as SB-900, SB-800, SB-600, SB-400, SB-80DX, SB-28DX, or SB-50DX is fully charged; blinks after flash is fired at full output
Accessory Shoe: Standard ISO 518 hot-shoe contact with safety lock
Sync Terminal: ISO 519 standard terminal
Nikon Creative Lighting System: With Speedlights such as SB-900, SB-800, SB-600, SB-R200, or SU-800 (commander only), supports Advanced Wireless Lighting, Auto FP High-Speed Sync, Flash Color Information Communication, modeling flash and FV lock; built-in flash can be used as a commander
- Auto (TTL white balance with main image sensor and 1,005-pixel RGB sensor);
- Seven manual modes can be preset with fine-tuning; color temperature setting; white balance bracketing: 2 to 9 exposures in increments of 1, 2 or 3
Live View Modes:
- Hand-held mode: TTL phase-detection AF with 51 focus areas (15 cross-type sensors)
- Tripod mode: Contrast-detect AF on a desired point within a specific area
LCD Monitor: 3-in., approx. 920,000-dot (VGA), 170-degree wide-viewing-angle, 100% frame coverage, low-temperature polysilicon TFT LCD with brightness adjustment
Playback Function: Full-frame and thumbnail (4 or 9 images) playback with playback zoom, slide show, histogram display, highlight display, auto image rotation, and image comment (up to 36 characters)
USB: Hi-Speed USB
Video Output: NTSC or PAL; simultaneous playback from both the video output and on the LCD monitor available
HDMI Output: Supports HDMI version 1.3a; Type C mini connector is provided; simultaneous playback from both the HDMI output terminal and on the LCD monitor not available
- GPS: NMEA 0183 (Ver. 2.01 and 3.01) interface standard supported with 9-pin D-sub cable and GPS Cable MC-35 (optional)
- Remote control: via Ten-pin terminal
Supported Languages: Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian,
Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish
Battery: One Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL3e
Battery Pack: Multi-Power Battery Pack MB-D10 (optional) with one Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL4a/EN-EL4 (battery chamber cover BL-3 required) or EN-EL3e, or eight R6/AA-size alkaline (LR6), Ni-MH (HR6), lithium (FR6) batteries, or nickel-manganese (ZR6) batteries
AC Adapter: AC Adapter EH-5a/EH-5 (optional)
Tripod Socket: 1/4 in. (ISO 1222)
Dimensions (W x H x D): Approx. 147 x 123 x 77 mm/5.8 x 4.8 x 3.0 in.
Weight: Approx. 995 g/2.19 lb. without battery, memory card, body cap or LCD monitor cover
Humidity: Under 85% (no condensation)
Supplied Accessories:* Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL3e, Quick Charger MH-18a, USB Cable UC-E4, Video Cable EG-D100, Camera Strap AN-D700, Body Cap BF-1A, Accessory Shoe Cover BS-1, LCD Monitor Cover BM-9, Software Suite CD-ROM
*Supplied accessories may differ depending on country or area
Main Optional Accessories: Wireless Transmitter WT-4/4A, Magnifying Eyepiece DK-17M, AC Adapter EH-5a, Capture NX 2 Software, Camera Control Pro 2 Software, Image Authentication Software