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Another D700 - Initial Thoughts.... (ISO shots added)

Discussion in 'Nikon FX DSLR Forum' started by Bandnuts, Aug 21, 2008.

  1. Here comes another quick new D700 user review. I'll talk quickly about the camera's feel, IQ, and ISO performance. These items can't be avoided. However, I might have placed this review in the lens lust section because (for me at least) it's more about how lenses work with the camera than anything else....

    Coming from a D300, what I like most is that my saved picture controls worked on the D700, the menus are almost identical, the viewfinder is much better and the actual "feel" of the camera is a step up from the D300.

    Picture quality is great, but I haven't taken any great photos yet. Between work and family, I've had no time but to take the mandatory "test" photos that we all tend to do with a new item.

    ISO performance has blown be away. I've always been good at handling higher ISO shots, but I was not expecting the shots I'm getting. Heck, some of my test shots are almost b&w looking there was so little light to bring out the color in objects (so I'll have to learn new processes to add color to a photos taken in low light). I'll put a bunch of samples at the bottom to show of some of the ISO performance.

    Now the real culture shock I'm going thru.... Basicly, I went from all prime lenses on a film SLR to zooms on a DX version DSLR. I had no real reference point for what zooms were. To me, 18mm on my DX camera wasn't that wide and 200mm was plenty long for a DX zoom.... Since, I never knew zooms on an FX camera, I'm a bit shocked in going from DX zooms, they are lighter (55x200 for example), smaller, easier to handle, and have fantastic ranges.

    I stuck a 24x120 on the camera (a lens I'm very much used to on my D300), looked thru the viewfinder and thought "WHAT'S WRONG????" Who's lens was this????? Everyone tends to do the math going from FX to DX because we tend to think that way. I'm hit with the reverse math. My 24x120 lens isn't 24x120, it's 16x80 (in DX terms)? So all of my lenses feel "wrong". My 180 2.8 looks like 120! The 35x70 has less long zoom than my 17x55, the 50mm now works fine inside the house, and I have to get closer than I'm every had to before when using the 85mm.

    Since I tend to shoot pictures from outside the center of activity, this change is going to take some work on my part. While I have no regrets about making the move, I thought I'd take time to share my thoughts as others making the change may wish to think about lens range when they are deciding D300 or D700.

    Ok, now for the samples.... Keep in mind that they are not artistic or pretty, just test shots. Also note that image IQ (on some of these shots) may not be perfect, but what do you expect at 6400 ISO :biggrin:

    This is where I test lens fine tuning. This was a shot just playing around. NO edits done at all, this is a straight JPG from the camera at 6400 ISO.

    Another 6400 shot processed via ACR. This was with the 35x70 at F/2.8

    6400 showing camera focus and off focus noise. Note that there is not much color as there was very little sunlight and some noise reduction was applied. This was with the 80x400 VR at 400mm wide open.

    Almost the same shot with a bit more light now (the sun was coming up). Better colors and 3200 ISO. This is almost straight from the camera (some levels I think). This was also with the 80x400 VR at 400mm wide open.

    How's this for a sharpness test at 3200 ISO. Noise is almost invisible with all the activity in the photo.

    Another shot at 3200 ISO showing sharpness and good practice at eye focus processes... :Angry:

    Moving to 1600 ISO noise is no issue at all.... No real edits made, so the lack of color is a lack of real lighting.

    450 ISO and image IQ... Again, these are great photos, just good tests.... This was with the 35x70 at F/2.8

    Testing the macro function of my 35x70. This was at 450 ISO

    Another 35x70 close-up. 250 ISO

    The money shot. The wife checked out this photo and actually said... WOW, I like that camera!!!! I LOVE my trusty 85!
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 21, 2008
  2. Nuteshack

    Nuteshack Guest

    my gosh Kap, these are -----------------> FANTASTIC!!!
  3. Ok Kap, you sold me. I am keeping my D700 and 35-70! It has definitely taken a readjustment of expectations since moving from a D300. My my experience as more "Oh, so that is how it is supposed to be." I always felt crowded in the DX world.

  4. Nice shots there! And good review, thanks!

    Could you do one more example for me? Take a shot at the lowest ISO (100?) and then take another one at the higher end, say 6400 of the same thing. That way I can see how much different it looks.
  5. Thanks Nute.

    Gosh, I'm totally lost in a FX lens world. I sold all my high end DX lenses and none of my current lenses act the way they are supposed to act. No joke, this change is going to be hard for me to handle.

    One other item that I didn't put in my initial review. My shots appear to be overexposed on the camera's screen. I've moved to -1 brightness and that's helped.
  6. Thanks John... I did that test and deleted those samples... I'll redo that tonight, but the results were about as expected. Quick tests (to me) showed almost no difference between 100 and 200 and there's really not a lot of difference from 400 to 100. On my D300 I saw a noticeable difference all the way from 400 to 100 at each step and I'd set the D300 at 100 ISO every chance I got. I have no clue where I'm going to land with the D700 yet, but so far I see no need in ISO 100 except to handle bright sunlight and wide open shots.

    I'll try to post a few ISO step shots tonight of something detailed so the IQ loss can be noted.
  7. kap....
    awesome thread
    i'm thrilled that you are enjoying the D700
    what a thoughtful and wonderful review

    i can't wait to see your next series of images
  8. My D700 arrived this week as well. I tied it out at a State Park and consistently grabbed the wrong lens. I hadn't realized I acclimated so well to the DX format - I was reaching for shorter when I needed longer - that pesky 1.5 crop factor had me instinctively picking up the wrong lens. That said, the FX format feels like I've arrived "back home". When I went from film to the D100 I adapted to the 1.5 crop factor but getting back to full frame is more satisfying than I thought it would be. The camera itself is one helluva picture taking machine. I really liked (like) the D300 and thought Nikon hit a home run with that cam but the D700 takes it up a notch. I really don't know how Nikon is gonna top this cam. IMO, it's to digital what the F100 was to film.
  9. Phillip Ino

    Phillip Ino

    Nov 26, 2007
    Congrats, Kap! Lovely images :biggrin:. I can't really say I had too much of a shock going from dx to fx in terms of lens lengths, but that's probably because I mostly shot wide in DX. Glad you're liking it!

  10. If you could, what I would like to see is not incremental steps, but 2 photos: 1 at ISO 100 and another at ISO 6400. Both shot at the same thing at relatively the same time (well, with the time difference of changing the ISO).

  11. Greg, Geoff, Francis... Thanks for the comments...

    John, you're gonna make me late for work, but this was fun to do...

    Here's 100 ISO thru HI2 all shot with a flash. The last shot is done in my normal setting with Auto ISO and no flash (kinda the way you would take the photo if you were shooting normal). Note that these have had NO edits at all, are straight from the camera in JPG format, and are 100% crops. (Added note: I did adjust WB as ISO when up to reduce the yellow from house lighting).










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