DPReview has posted its highly anticipated review of the Nikon D700 full-frame (FX) digital SLR camera. Like many other excellent camera reviews by DPReview, it is very comprehensive and you can find a great deal of details from the review.  It basically explains each and every button, functions, displays, lists all the menu items, goes through all the specifications, and shows you various charts of various tests results.

Like another Nikon D700 review has pointed out, the Nikon D700 is basically a Nikon D3 stuffed inside a D300 body. However there are many things that are different from the D3 and D300. 

I was a little surprised to see the D300 actually holds up quite well in the noise comparison. If the highest ISO you need is ISO 3200, you probably don’t need the D700.

Nikon’s active D-Lighting can preserve both shadow and highlight details. The example in the review showed that with one stop less exposure (1/15s vs. 1/8s), the shadow details is about the same while more highlight details are preserved. This is a good demonstration but it seems to be a little odd.  It is easier to get more details off shadow than from the highlights. That’s why I think it may be more practical to just keep the exposure the same and compare the outputs. It should be able to show more shadow details and brighter shadow area.

The noticeable cons of the Nikon D700? Well, 12 megapixel is indeed a lot less than 24.6 MP (Sony A900) or 21.4MP (Canon EOS 5D Mark II). It can certainly be a deal breaker for many. Basically it is a trade-off between pixel count and low light/high ISO performances.  Another issue was the steeper tone curve that clips the highlights (no problem if you show RAW or use custom setting). The automatic white balance under artificial lighting also has more to be desired but shouldn’t be a real problem.

It is interesting to note that the tested maximum frame rate is 8.1fps. Slightly faster then Nikon’s claimed 8fps. On the other hand, Canon EOS 5D Mark II has a frame frame spec of 3.9fps. I found it interesting that Canon engineers cannot stretch just 0.1 more fps out of the camera. 4fps will sound faster than 3.9fps, even though it doesn’t make a whole lot of real difference. This is like the pricing psychology, shops price item $9.99 rather than $10 to make it appear cheaper.

Will I buy one? Probably not. The current financial/economic situation makes me feel a little nervous. So I guess I will wait until things look better out there. By then, I will likely be thinking about buying Nikon D800 (or whatever the next affordable full frame DSLR from Nikon will be).

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