Nikon D700: Camera Test

So what exactly is Nikon's new D700? A D300 on steroids? A D3 Lite?

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Nikon has done an excellent job of keeping noise under control with its recent DSLRs. If you showed me this image 5 years ago and said it was shot at ISO 800 I wouldn’t have believed you. Yet, even at ISO 800, the D700 keeps the image acceptably sharp, with vibrant, accurate color and lots of detail, even in the shadows and highlights. Shot details: Nikon D700; ISO 800; 1/50 sec.; f/4; AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED zoomed to 70mm

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Nikon’s 3D Matrix Metering II does a really great job of determining exposure. Here’s it managed to maintain detail in both the bright parts of the bark of this tree while also holding detail in the deep shadows on the bottom left. Shot details: Nikon D700; ISO 400; 1/125 sec.; f/8; AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED zoomed to 60mm

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The center of a flower is often a good place to look for fine detail and this flower doesn’t disappoint. Again, this was shot at ISO 800, but that doesn’t stop the D700 from serving up a great image. Shot details: Nikon D700; ISO 800; 1/60 sec.; f/8; AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED zoomed to 70mm

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This flower is certainly more mangled than the previous one, but even though I boosted the camera’s sensitivity, the image isn’t. If you look toward the upper left you can get a sense of the film-like grain that the D700’s noise takes on at ISO 3,200. That’s a far cry from the golfball sized blotches you’d get with ISO3,200 film. Shot details: Nikon D700; ISO 3,200; 1/125 sec.; f/8; AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED zoomed to 70mm

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I’ve never been adept at reading sundials, but the stone base this one is set atop is telling me that the D700 holds on to detail well at ISO 1,600. Nikon D700; ISO 1,600; 1/160 sec.; f/5.6; AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED zoomed to 34mm

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While the D700’s Matrix metering chose a more sensible exposure for this flower, I pushed the exposure compensation up to +1.33 to make the petals on the right light up and accentuate the shadow of the calyx played out on the rest of the petals. The D700 retains an impressive amount of detail in the bright petals given the harsh exposure. Shot details: Nikon D700; ISO 400; 1/100 sec.; f/8; +1.33 exposure compensation; AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED zoomed to 70mm

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Thanks to its full-frame sensor, the D700 lets you get the most out of your wide angle lenses. In this case, I shot at 16mm and was able to capture a nice shot of the sign above the entrance to the Staten Island Ferry terminal at the southern tip of Manhattan. The doors on the bottom right give a good sense of the distortion you get at that wide an angle, even though this Nikkor is among the best at controlling such distortion in such a wide zoom lens. Shot details: Nikon D700; ISO 1,600; 1/80 sec.; f/13; AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED zoomed to 16mm