Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Product Review (among other things): Nikon D700

Finally, I have a full frame DSLR camera. So, what is a DSLR? DSLR stands for Digital Single Lens Reflex and basically means you can change lenses out and that there is a mirror inside the camera that allows you to look straight through the lens. This mirror raises and falls each time you press the shutter release button. What does full frame mean? It means that the sensor is the same size as a 35mm negative which has some pluses and minuses over what we call a crop sensor camera (APS-C). What is a crop sensor camera? A crop sensor DSLR is a DSLR that has a sensor smaller than that of a 35mm negative causing the image to be cropped from what a Full Frame camera would produce. The crop factor is 1.5 for Nikons and 1.6 for Canons. That means if you have a lens that is 100mm on a Full Frame camera and you put it on a Nikon it becomes a 150mm lens (or 160mm on a Canon).

Full Frame cameras typically have much better low light performance than crop sensors (ISO performance). This is because the pixel sites are larger on the full frame causing less noise. See one of my older post for greater detail about ISOs and noise. You can find that HERE.

If you own a DSLR then chances are you have either a full frame sensor or a crop sensor. There are medium format DSLRs out there but they run $15,000+ so they tend to be out of most peoples price range. Additionally, there is a relatively new type of camera on the market called a micro 4/3rds. These have sensors smaller than that of a crop camera, have interchangeable lenses but do not contain a mirror…so they are not technically DSLRs but have been grouped with them in most cases.

Anyway, sorry about the technospeak…..  Now, on to the review.

What I am going to talk about now is the Nikon D700 Full Frame camera. You can find ALL the technical information on Nikon’s website so I will not go into that level of detail on this post. I just want to cover the basic pros and cons of the Nikon D700 camera

• Full Frame Sensor (finally, wide angle lenses are wide angle again)

• Solidly built (Magnesium alloy frame)

• Great low light performance: I can easily get usable photos from an ISO of 3200.

• Up to 8 frames a second. This frame rate is great for action shots. (or if you just want to look cool around other photographers)

• Clear viewfinder

• Very high image quality


• Larger file sizes (storage is cheap now though)

• You loose the crop factor meaning that the focal length of your lens is not increased (also a pro…see above)

• Cost: Full Frame cameras are much more expensive than APS-C cameras

• No video (not a deal breaker for me since I don’t shoot video)

I am highly impressed with the performance of the Nikon D700 and consider it one of the best full frame cameras on the market today.

Camera Equipment DOES NOT make you a better photographer...  It just gives you more options.


  1. Jason,
    LOL you did lose me on the tech speak. My eyes crossed!

    Thanks for the quick lists of pros and cons. The reminder is great, too.

    It is NOT the paint brush, it is the one holding it. ;)

  2. I tend to stay away from technobabble on the blog whenever possible but with photography there are times when you just can't get away from the "gear talk". I felt a little explination was needed here before moving on to the Pros/Cons... Thanks for reading and I am glad part of my post translated to painting as well.