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11-05-2016, 11:55 PM   #1
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d700 in 2016

I was wondering if anyone might be able to comment on the d700 as a choice for journalism and sports.

For a little bit of background, I shoot semi-professionally, doing work for my university's newspaper and sometimes events & concerts. My equipment is fuji, but the AF and MF are just not up to action. I've been offered a d700 for about 600$ canadian, and already have some lenses from my F3 that would work, so I'm considering it. My two major concerns are IQ and viewfinder size/brightness.

What brought this about is that I was shooting rugby this afternoon, brought along my F3 with a 180mm on it, and realized that I was nailing more shots with MF than my fuji does with AF. Focusing through that big VF is just so much easier...
It was a real revelation, and cemented a few thoughts I've been having for a while. EVFs just aren't there yet.
So, will the d700 have IQ to keep my editor happy and a big, bright viewfinder to make my life easier?

My main concern is high ISO.

11-06-2016, 04:08 AM   #2
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The D700 is a nice camera. It is a couple of generations old, so dynamic range and high iso performance are not going to be cutting edge, but it certainly will get you by. Auto focus should be better than Fuji, although once again, even APS-C cameras of more recent vintage will have passed it up.

For newspaper work, the image quality and 12 megapixels should be more than enough.

My biggest concern would be the age of the camera your buying and its reliability. Depending on the number of shutter actuations it has on it, it will probably be fine, but a five year old camera could have all sorts of electronic stuff give out eventually that would make it not work any more. If the camera looks in good condition and doesn't have too many shutter actuations, it is probably OK, but I would be a little careful.
11-06-2016, 05:34 AM   #3
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You could probably pick up a new (or newish) D7100 or D7200 for a price that is comparable to what you have seen for the D700. For sports they would do the job, and their pentaprism viewfinders are pretty bright. I'd also look out for used D600 or D610 if you really need FF. There seems to be a lot of them floating around used.
11-06-2016, 08:11 AM   #4
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The D700 has a few years on it. What is the shutter count? How much will you be depending on this camera for paying work? If you are going to have other cameras and you want to get into Nikon then it might be a good buy, but depending on the shutter count it might be getting close to needing work.

How much do you have invested in Fuji? You aren't going to gain much high ISO (if any) with a D700 over a Fuji X-T1, but you don't say what Fuji you have. If you have lenses then jumping might not be worth the cost. The coming generation of EVFs (A99II and Olympus OMD-EMII) greatly reduce lag and both shoot high FPS without blackout.

If you are going to be depending on the camera for income I would be hesitant to spend $600 on a D700 unless it was in very good condition and had a low shutter count. If you know Nikon is where you want to be professionally in 3-5 years and you have a back-up body, then maybe its a good way to start the transition.

11-06-2016, 08:44 AM   #5
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If you have to have full frame, the D700 is a great camera. If DX is an option, the D7000 would be my choice, with Titanium-alloy body like the K-3. The D7100 and D7200 are a Polycarbonate body similar to the Canon 70D, light weight, but very "plasticky" and flimsy feeling.
11-06-2016, 11:41 AM   #6
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Thanks for the comments. I appreciate the feedback and will answer a few questions in case it makes a substantial difference. I think it's also worth mentioning that 600 CAD works out to around 450 USD.
My current setup is an X-E2 (most recent firmware) with the original 3 primes and the 16-55, plus a flash, some extra batteries, etc. I like the way the fuji handles for a lot of stuff, but it just can't keep up with action. Although the AF and VF are better than the X-E1, as a combination they really reduce the hit rate.
Sports really isn't my main line, and I'm not making too much money on photography right now, but I could take on a few more sports shoots if I had gear I could count on.
As for lenses, I have a few AF-D lenses (including the ED 180) because I have a film Nikon that I learned on. The reason I'm wanting to make the switch is because, as an experiment, I took my F3 with me to rugby yesterday.

I had an easier time manual focusing on the F3, and most of my shots came back in focus. Some would be very nice indeed if they were scanned properly. That big viewfinder made it very easy to follow action and time shots perfectly, where with the EVF I often feel I'm grasping and guessing for shots. Squinting through the EVF after using that big, bright OVF left me feeling like I just can't trust the Fuji in really fast-paced situations.

I've been thinking of running two systems, fuji with the small primes for everyday carry and certain kinds of work, and an SLR with a 24-70 and my 180 (eventually a 70-200) for really fast-paced situations.

FWIW I've shot a d750 for class, and 6d (newspaper's camera) and own a few good lenses on Nikon, including the 180 and a 50 1.2.
So, I'm a little spoiled on equipment, and really want something that feels solid and has a good control layout. Although I wouldn't mind going APS-C, it would have to be a well-built body.

My principal concern really is, at average viewing size will there be a big difference between the Fuji and the d700, assuming they're both shot RAW?
11-06-2016, 03:00 PM - 2 Likes   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by PGillin Quote
My principal concern really is, at average viewing size will there be a big difference between the Fuji and the d700, assuming they're both shot RAW?
Big difference? No. It has been a few years since I used the D700. I was a Canon 5D shooter for about 8 years. I was also shooting with a Contax 645 and an Olympus E-3 during most of that time. I have shot with the Pentax K-7, K-5, K-3, and currently I am primarily using the Pentax K-1. I have a Sony A7II as my casual camera. I can say that Pentax K-5, and all cameras using that sensor (including Nikon), produce better RAW files than the Canon 5D and probably better than the D700 for most lighting conditions. I have not tested it, but I suspect your Fuji is going to give you better files than the D700.

As someone who has shot multiple systems for years. Don't do it. If you are serious about photography as a profession. Pick a system and learn it. If you are on an assignment you need to work fast and know your controls. When I switch between my K-1 and Sony A-7II I have to stop and think and that isn't good.

People expect consistent color when they pay you for work. Using different systems with different color profiles makes this more challenging to delivery. Yes, there are ways to do this, but as you turn up the ISO different colors shift differently for different cameras. If you are always shooting in studio with the same lights at ISO 100 and you have a Passport color checker then its not a big deal. In the field under different lights at 800 ISO and you end up becoming a B&W "artist" because colors fall apart and unless you are really skilled with color management (I'm not) you can't give your client images with consistent color. Because of the X-Trans Fuji sensor, colors actually hold up pretty well at higher ISO. Probably better than the D700.

Shooting 2 systems is expensive. Invest your money in one system when you are starting out. Learn it. Nikon is good. Fuji is good. Pentax is good. Olympus is good.

11-06-2016, 04:49 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Winder Quote
Shooting 2 systems is expensive. Invest your money in one system when you are starting out. Learn it. Nikon is good. Fuji is good. Pentax is good. Olympus is good.
Agreed.

Not long ago, if you wanted to go FF, or had other specific gear needs, that might have been less applicable. But nowadays all the major brand systems have such a rich and ever-expanding range of gear offerings (yes, Pentax too) that staying within one system across your digital imaging career is more practical than ever before.
11-07-2016, 04:28 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Winder Quote
Big difference? No. It has been a few years since I used the D700. I was a Canon 5D shooter for about 8 years. I was also shooting with a Contax 645 and an Olympus E-3 during most of that time. I have shot with the Pentax K-7, K-5, K-3, and currently I am primarily using the Pentax K-1. I have a Sony A7II as my casual camera. I can say that Pentax K-5, and all cameras using that sensor (including Nikon), produce better RAW files than the Canon 5D and probably better than the D700 for most lighting conditions. I have not tested it, but I suspect your Fuji is going to give you better files than the D700.

As someone who has shot multiple systems for years. Don't do it. If you are serious about photography as a profession. Pick a system and learn it. If you are on an assignment you need to work fast and know your controls. When I switch between my K-1 and Sony A-7II I have to stop and think and that isn't good.

People expect consistent color when they pay you for work. Using different systems with different color profiles makes this more challenging to delivery. Yes, there are ways to do this, but as you turn up the ISO different colors shift differently for different cameras. If you are always shooting in studio with the same lights at ISO 100 and you have a Passport color checker then its not a big deal. In the field under different lights at 800 ISO and you end up becoming a B&W "artist" because colors fall apart and unless you are really skilled with color management (I'm not) you can't give your client images with consistent color. Because of the X-Trans Fuji sensor, colors actually hold up pretty well at higher ISO. Probably better than the D700.

Shooting 2 systems is expensive. Invest your money in one system when you are starting out. Learn it. Nikon is good. Fuji is good. Pentax is good. Olympus is good.
I guess the OP will need to decide if he wants full frame in the near or distant future. If so, then Fuji probably isn't the answer for him (nor Olympus/Panasonic for that matter). If crop cameras are fine, then any of the current cameras out there will work and I really don't think are bad ones on the market -- some are just a little better than others in certain situations/applications.

Supposedly the newest Fuji cameras are better with regard to auto focus (XT-2?), the only problem is that they are pretty pricey -- certainly a lot more than four or five hundred dollars.

But I agree, two systems would be too expensive for me to manage and when shooting professionally, it would make it tough to have two different bodies that have completely different layouts and ergonomics. I can't imagine shooting, say a portrait shoot, with a D700 and a Fuji.
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