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Thread: Amateur shooting: D700 or the D7000?

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    Amateur shooting: D700 or the D7000?

    Hi chaps,

    I'm a keen amateur with all of 6 months of hard experience behind him, and already I'm looking for a new body to replace my rather feeble D3000. The little D3000 whilst a fine camera to take on holiday is really starting to show it's limitations as far as noise at highish ISO (anything > 800) and it's slight lack of dynamic range. The latter has become particularly apparent when trying my hand at landscape photography.

    So with that said, the two bodies that I have been looking at are the D7000 and the D700. Now I know that half of you have probably just rolled your eyes and muttered something about the two cameras being completely different breeds, but hear me out for a moment. Taking the FF and APC sensor debate out of the equation for the moment, my main requirements are as follows:

    • Versatility. The camera has to be able to perform well in a diverse range of shooting environments such as birding, racing, portraits to landscapes. Landscaping and portraiture being the most important from that list.
    • High ISO performance. I'd love to have good IQ up until around the 6400 mark.
    • Image quality. When shooting landscapes, I simply need the sky to be completely free of artifacts and noise. The D700 appears to particularly good for presenting beautifully noise free gradients. The D7000, unknown?
    • Flash control. The body needs to have the ability to remotely control flashes, possibly even PC sync for studio work if I'm not getting far ahead of myself here.
    • Video is not so much of a concern.


    So for those with many more years of wisdom under their belts, please look back and place yourself in my situation and let me know which body you'd opt for given the requirements. Criticism and suggestions are welcome as always.

    Thanks chaps!

    Joel

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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Read my comments as relating to what is available to buy at your local Nikon store today as they might be reversed next week ( or whenever the replacement for the D700 is announced ) or they may even swing over to a different model entirely depending on other model replacements.

    The most important aspects to consider ( and which you haven't told us about ) are which lenses you own or are planning to buy. If you are starting with a clean sheet in that department and wish to buy only quality DX lenses then your dollars are wasted on a D700. If you own or are planning to buy traditional wide FX lenses for landscapes they won't be wide enough on the D7000. Both bodies are going to give you excellent image quality if you are prepared to spend the necessary dollars on good lenses and you are unlikely to see artifacts and noise in printed images from either. If you want to pixel peep reduced size and quality images on the 'net you will generally start to see faults in pictures no matter which brand or level camera you use.
    Both bodies are going to do a similar job of sport and wildlife photography bearing in mind the need for longer ( more expensive ) lenses to obtain the same field of view on the FX body.
    High ISO ( to 6400 as you want ) is close after careful processing but straight out of the camera the D7000 wins. Above the 6400 mark the D7000 isn't in the race for many obvious reasons.
    Both bodies will work well in a studio environment dependant on the size of the room available and lenses used but I would prefer the FX focal lengths on the FX body.

    In a nutshell, the D7000 wins out for your uses if you buy appropriate lenses and the dollar savings will help you along the way there.

    This is rather appropriately written after spending a few hours yesterday "playing" with a D7000 and swapping a few lenses around between 2 D700 and 1 D200 body and having a look at the resultant ( non scientifically tested ) images.

    As I said at the start, take this as advice today, if I am asked the same question next week the answers might be different entirely but if you wait that long to decide you won't have taken any pictures.
    Last edited by I @ M; 20-12-2010 at 4:21pm.
    Andrew
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    I'm worried about your comments on "artifact/noise free skies", and suspect either a processing or exposure issue. Overcompressed jpegs can give considerable artifacts in skies. Also, high iso can contribute. But for landscapes, high iso is not a substitute for a good tripod. I've used a d40x (predecessor to the d3000) for 3 years, and have not had noisy sky issues.

    So, I am not sure that upgrading will necessarily fix all the issues that concern you.

    As to which camera to choose? Although I haven't used a d700, I can only agree with I@M's comments about the d7000. Regarding your points wrt d7000:
    Versatility - I think both cameras can do both jobs, but the FX format has an edge for portraits and landscapes IMO (and a downside of lens costs).
    ISO - the d7000 high ISO is good, and I have found it to be a big improvement over the d40x.
    Image Quality - Image quality is excellent. I have no sky noise issues - and I think they are not a camera issue.
    Flash - Good flash control will be more dependent upon the gear you hook up to the camera than the camera itself, and there is very little difference between the cameras. (I already had TTL metering, PC Sync and radio-control with the d40x through cactus remotes. The d7000 adds a control port that allows something like a pocket wizard to control the camera - but that is the other way around to what you are asking)

    Good luck with your choices.
    Regards, Rob

    D600, AF-S 35mm f1.8G DX, AF-S 50mm f1.8G, AF-S 24-85mm f3.5-4.5G ED VR, AF-S 70-300mm F4.5-5.6G VR, Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM
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    Member reflect's Avatar
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    Having sold the kids to buy a D700 and full suite of Nikkor lenses recently, I will say that the difference to my much loved D5000 is amazing. If not technically, certainly in feel and ease of use (I am bumble fingered..lol) . However looking at the specs of the D7000 it is mighty impressive and as I@M suggest the money will stretch further allowing purchase of some great glass (so critical). Either way as long as you stick to Nikon, happiness is assured (sorry, couldn't help it)

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    Cheers for the info guys. Regarding lenses, the idea was to grab either the 10-24mm (DX) or 16-35mm, 24-70mm f2.8 and the 70-200mm f2.8 over time. I don't own any glass besides the humble kit 18-55mm and 55-200mm that came with the D3000 at this point, so I'm not really locked into either format.

    I must say that I am starting to lean toward the D700. From the images that I have seen so far, the D700 appears to produce slightly cleaner results at most ISOs below 6400, and it also has the benefit of greater versatility of DOF.

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    Remember though, that the technology inside the D700 is OLDER than the D7000
    Either of these cameras is capbable of producing "slightly cleaner results at most ISOs below 6400"
    For this reason id tend to suggest the D7000, as its marked on a quality scale, between its predecessor the D90 and the D300s.
    The D700 is a hugely complex camera capable of great things, however since you're coming from a D3000 (which I have used before, yes) buying the FX lenses are very expensive. Remember that you can still use your DX lenses on the D700, but youwill be shooting at a meagre 5.1 megapixels when you do so - most images cannot be printed on a large scale at this resolution.
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    I was in the same dilemna but went with the D700 for a couple of reasons. 1. To avoid future GAS. Now I don't have to sit there wondering whether I will get better results from from a full frame camera, which I probably would have done after buying the D7000 . 2. Pricing cycles. The D700 is now as cheap as it's ever going to be, and the D7000 is as expensive as it's ever going to be. Even though the D700 costs more, I felt that I would have been "wasting" some money in the knowledge that the D7000 should be considerably cheaper in a few months time.

    One other factor for me was that I was keeping my D90 (well, giving it to my partner at least) - it's nice to have the option to shoot crop or full, as opposed to having two crop frame cameras.

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    Joel,

    Have a read of Thom Hogan's, fairly technical, review of the D7000 here:
    http://www.bythom.com/nikond7000review.htm
    In this review he makes comparisons to the D700 (and the D300s). It might give you some guidance and comfort.
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    Quote Originally Posted by I @ M View Post
    High ISO ( to 6400 as you want ) is close is close after careful processing but straight out of the camera the D7000 wins. Above the 6400 mark the D700 isn't in the race for many obvious reasons.
    I would like to see a few samples confirming this. From what I have seen, the D7000 applies what appears to be stronger in camera NR at higher ISO. When compared with D700 at same EV and ISO, the D700 displays sharper results and greater detail. If you turn the NR off on both bodies, the D7000 shows the traits of it's DX sensor.

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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
    I would like to see a few samples confirming this. From what I have seen, the D7000 applies what appears to be stronger in camera NR at higher ISO. When compared with D700 at same EV and ISO, the D700 displays sharper results and greater detail. If you turn the NR off on both bodies, the D7000 shows the traits of it's DX sensor.
    I am glad that you read my post Wayne

    Somehow when I edited it I managed to insert "is close" twice and then leave a 0 of the camera model.

    I will smack myself about the ears and re edit the offending line.

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    I tend not to apply in camera sharpening anyway as I believe this is something that should be performed on the raws in post processing. The little experience that I've got has taught me that much so far at least

    Alright, the D700 is looking like more and more of a winner. I just wish the price gap wasn't quite so substantial between the two bodies!

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    as an all rounder i would buy the DX version over the FX as it will give you longer reach for birding

    all others i wouldnt know about as i am a Canon guy... and have only had a few little plays with a D700 and never picked up a D7000

    M
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    Sorry to resurrect a sleeping thread, but I've stumbled across a Ken Rockwell review that was too interesting not to post. The his article "Nikon D7000 Sharpness versus FX", he compares the sharpness of the D7000 with a pretty cruddy 55mm f2.8 prime against the D3 (same sensor as the D700) with the beautifully sharp 85mm f1.4. Surprising results (to me anyway) ensue!

    Ken Rockwell's Nikon D7000 Sharpness versus FX article

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    Who let the rabble in? Lance B's Avatar
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    I have both the D700 and the D7000. I still prefer the D700 IQ results and I also believe that the D700 has less noise than the D7000 at high ISO's like 1600 and 3200 etc. I also prefer the D700 for handling.

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    While I'm at it, heres another interesting KR article which compares the high ISO performance of the D3/D700, D300, D7000 and Canon 5D mk2.

    Ken Rockwell's Nikon D7000, D300, D3 (D700) and Canon 5D Mark II High ISO Comparison

    The D7000 is obviously one hell of a camera..

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    Hey Skunky, I think you're taking the wrong approach here. The lenses are what make the most difference, and looking at your two pieces of glass, I can see that they're pretty slow lenses. If you buy a couple of fast lenses, say a 35 and an 85 f1.4, then your high ISO problems are solved, and you get all the benefits of the better glass, shallower DOF, better IQ, et al. The lenses should last a long time, whilst your bodies won't. This is where you'll see the most bang for your buck.

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    See the object of kr's iso showdown ? Its a self portrait
    Darren
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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=skunky;752062]Sorry to resurrect a sleeping thread, but I've stumbled across a Ken Rockwell review that was too interesting not to post. The his article "Nikon D7000 Sharpness versus FX", he compares the sharpness of the D7000 with a pretty cruddy 55mm f2.8 prime against the D3 (same sensor as the D700) with the beautifully sharp 85mm f1.4. Surprising results (to me anyway) ensue!

    Skunky!!.. beware KR hell!..... you only get one warning on AP re KR.(for further info on the man himself, do a Ken Rockwell specific search on AP as a research project )

    as a small tidbit of info as to why KR is so highly disrespected.. not only on AP, but on all other photography forums worldwide!

    Picture Control was amped-out as I usually shoot: VIVID and +3 saturation, and sharpening at 6
    seriously!!.. if he had any common sense as a tester he'd at the least know that meaningful testing is never done with any in camera processing at the least.. but also never to shoot in non raw formats in camera.
    For meaningful testing with useful results, the technology of the camera has to be taken out of the equation.

    His comment re the Picture Control on the camera is the sad giveaway here.... "amped out as I usually shoot" this comment leads the reader to assume two things: he has no idea, and he really doesn't do himself any favours by posting this garbage!

    55/2.8 micro is a very nice lens.. nice and sharp, so don't confuse an old lens for a cruddy lens either! I've been trying to find one (at a decently low price) for ages, but always seem to get side tracked with other distractions.

    having read your thread, I'd come to the conclusion that:
    1. the D700's price premium is a small issue?
    2. if the difference in price is an issue, then the problem of acquiring lenses to go with the D700 (at a decent price/performance ratio) is going to be a mountain of a problem to deal with.

    Fx lenses all have a hefty premium over Dx lenses, that makes the price difference between the bodies seem insignificant!!

    You seem to be attached to the idea of image sharpness as very high on the list of priorities for your gear. Nothing wrong with that at all.. but keeping that in mind... Fx at a reasonable price point is therefore not for you yet!
    ie. you'd really want to get into a D3x, and definitely not the lower Mp Nikon Fx bodies, if that is indeed the case.

    D7000 is going to give you decent quality high ISO at least, but ultimately more resolution(as distinct from sharpness!!) which is what you seem to want.

    TOM hit on a reasonable point too.
    For portraiture, you want nice fast lenses(50/1.4 + 35/1.8 on Dx works well in those situations, at a good price)
    You also said landscapes as a preferred genre, and here fast lenses are as good as tits on a bull (read that as) Canon lenses on a Nikon body (udderly useless! ).
    Good options for this stuff will be Sigma 10-20/4-5.6, Nikon 10-24/3.5-5.6 or (my preferred) Tokina 11-16/2.8.

    When you look at the optic options you have for the Fx format, all the the lenses required to cover the same FOV for the Fx format(as I listed for the Dx format), will end up costing you at least double.. closer to triple!.. just for the lenses.. never mind the price difference of the camera body itself.
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
    {Nikon} -> 50/1.2 : 500/8(CPU'd) : 105/2.8VR Micro : 180/2.8ais : 105mm f/1.8ais : 24mm/2ais
    {Sigma}; ->10-20/4-5.6 : 50/1.4 : 12-24/4.5-5.6II : 150-600mm|S
    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC


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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    Skunky!!.. beware KR hell!..... you only get one warning on AP re KR.(for further info on the man himself, do a Ken Rockwell specific search on AP as a research project )
    ..
    seriously!!.. if he had any common sense as a tester he'd at the least know that meaningful testing is never done with any in camera processing at the least..
    Oh dear. I take back all of my previous comments regarding Mr Rockwell's articles. I think I'll stick to reading Thom Hogans reviews exclusively from now on. Those really are some pretty poor oversights (and by me as a reader as well).

    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    having read your thread, I'd come to the conclusion that:
    1. the D700's price premium is a small issue?
    2. if the difference in price is an issue, then the problem of acquiring lenses to go with the D700 (at a decent price/performance ratio) is going to be a mountain of a problem to deal with.
    ..
    You seem to be attached to the idea of image sharpness as very high on the list of priorities for your gear. Nothing wrong with that at all.. but keeping that in mind... Fx at a reasonable price point is therefore not for you yet!
    ie. you'd really want to get into a D3x, and definitely not the lower Mp Nikon Fx bodies, if that is indeed the case.

    D7000 is going to give you decent quality high ISO at least, but ultimately more resolution(as distinct from sharpness!!) which is what you seem to want.
    Yes, image quality and resolution are very important as is the speed of the lens. Not having settled on any one area to specialize in, I seem to shoot in a wide variety of environments from portraits to landscapes to street to sports. Having a body that gives has enough resolving power to crop in if I've poorly framed a sports or birding shot is very important. Likewise, having a lens with enough DOF for portraits and a lens that is fast enough for street shooting at night is also important.

    I've got a confession to make as well. I had a couple of ales last night and finally gathered the the courage (stupidity?) to drop an order on the D7000, 17-55 f2.8 and SB-900 flash. So there it is, I'm locked into the DX format, albeit with very good gear. Wish me luck on cobbling together enough money for food over the next month. Priorities priorities..
    Last edited by skunky; 29-12-2010 at 2:33pm.

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    I hear 2 min noodles are a good substitue for a square meal...

    happy eating...

    at least you will be able to take some great shots, untill you eat the camera with a nice chianti wine...

    M

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