Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Nature photographers now have six models from which to choose at widely varying prices. These cameras are about more than just a larger image sensor.
The D700 features essentially the same sensor, ISO range and image quality as the D3 in a lighter, more compact and less costly package. It also uses the same AF and metering systems, and is a great choice for the outdoor photographer who wants to travel light or is on a tighter budget.
Besides the smaller, slightly less-rugged body, differences with the D3 include no 5:4 format (the D3 and D3X can shoot images in 5:4 “magazine cover” format; with the D700, you’ll have to crop your cover shots yourself), a viewfinder that shows about 95 percent of the actual image area (the D3 and D3X show approximately 100 percent) and a maximum shooting rate of 5 fps (up to 8 fps with the optional MB-D10 Multi-Power Battery Pack) versus 9 fps for the D3. The D700 has a convenient built-in manual pop-up flash unit (neither the D3 nor the D3X has one), as well as a useful self-cleaning image sensor (also absent on the D3 and D3X) that uses four different resonance frequencies to remove dust from the low-pass filter that covers the sensor.
Like the D3 and D3X, the D700 features a 3.0-inch, 920,000-dot LCD monitor with Handheld and Tripod AF modes and an Electronic Virtual Horizon that makes it easy to level the horizon in landscapes. The D700’s battery is the same as the one in the D300, and the D700 gets up to 1,000 shots per charge per the CIPA measurement standard. The shutter is tested to 150,000 cycles.
The D700 is sure to be a huge hit with nature photographers for its combination of a robust feature set and a reasonable price. Because it has so much in common with the D3, many will inevitably think of the D700 as the little sibling, but the fact is that the D700 has an identity all its own. Estimated Street Price: $2,499. Contact: Nikon, www.nikonusa.com.
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