Saturday 17 January 2015

The D700 a Couple Months Later

Nikon D700, 50mm f1.8D

I've had the D700 for a little over 2 months now. Shooting hasn't been too terribly intense, due to other commitments and a lack of interesting subjects. Late fall just isn't all that photographically interesting to me and even 3 weeks into winter all we have here in Toronto is a colder late fall look.

That said, I am liking the D700 a fair bit. The ergonomics are great and the results are as well. It's a bit of a beast to carry around daily due to the size, but that is something I expected. A compact mirrorless system this is not, and I had gotten spoiled by the portability of those systems.

In terms of IQ I'm quite happy. Like the D200 I don't really miss the extra pixels of the newer bodies. For my actual uses, i.e. posting online and prints up to 16x24 in size, 10-12MP is actually just fine. Unlike the D200 I'm not losing the high ISO capabilities of the newer bodies, while the D700 does trail the current best of breed bodies, it's still better than any DX body at high ISO's and within shouting distance of the FX bodies. On the DR front it remains weaker than today's sensors, but is notably better than the D200. My D3200 is still my best body for DR, although the D700 is not really far behind it. I can still rescue more highlights with the D3200, but I can pull up more shadows with the D700, although some of that is my ability to shoot in 14 bit mode with the D700 (D3200 is 12bit only) which means I have more data in the shadows.

In terms of handling, I'm even happier. The D700 is damned near perfect for handling at that body size. The controls are well located and well chosen. It's still got a proper metering control around the AE-lock button unlike the newer bodies and the rest of the controls are well located. I'm naturally running AF on the AF-on button, and since two of the three AF lenses I use on a regular basis are AF-S, this works very well Unfortunately this works less well with screwdriver AF since there is no DMF mode in Nikon land.

On the lens side of things I have a pretty decent set of primes for everyday use. Currently I've got a 28, 100 and 135 manual focus primes, the 35/1.8DX (which covers FX for the most part) and the 50/1.8G as my regular kit. I've also got a 300/4.5 prime for long-lens work and a 19-35 and 70-300G zooms to cover the ranges outside my prime set. All do pretty well on the D700 except the 19-35 which is just not up to the demands of FX. I'll probably replace it with a 17-20mm prime since it really is just a 19mm prime as I use it. The 70-300G is somewhat of a surprise, it was a $50 insurance policy for last falls airshow, but it actually performs pretty decently if you avoid situations which generate lots of CA. I wouldn't try it on a high-MP body but on my low MP D700 and D200 it's quite acceptable for my rare usage in the 135-300mm range. For the future, I'm still undecided on whether or not to go all-in on modern Nikon AF glass or stick to classic manual focus lenses. My recent acquisitions (50G and 28/2.8 AI) split the difference. I am leaning to a mix for now, primarily MF with a couple duplications in AF land for when I want the convenience, like a 50.