Tag Archives: D700

Only with the Nikon AF-D 50mm f/1.8

Wow, what a few weeks it’s been.

I’ve sold my Nikon D80, crop mid range zoom and wide angle zoom to fund an upgrade to a D700.

I absolutely LOVE the low light performance and robustness of the new camera body.

BUT…

I’ve lost a lot lens and focal length range!

So, on a recent family getaway, all I had was my 50mm.  At first I thought it was going to be very restrictive and I would not be able to get the shots I wanted, but in the end I think it’s been a very liberating experience!

No more having to play with 2 variables of distance to subject as well as zoom for viewing angle.  No big heavy zoom to lug around.  And I found having no zoom has FORCED me to be more creative in my shooting and composition.  I was very happy with the results and don’t think I missed out on too many shots where I needed a different focal length.   It forced me to think more about the shot and pre-visualise it instead of just standing on the spot and twisting the zoom ring.   And now it’s really made me think twice about whether I should get the 24-70 f/2.8 at all.

The only complaint about the Nikon AF-D 50mm 1.8 is that the bokeh can sometimes produce circles with quite a hard circumference line in conditions with spots of light coming through (like light through the leaves of a tree).  Besides that, it’s extremely good value and every Nikon shooter should have a 50mm!

Here are a few of my favourites from our trip away…

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Perth Lindy Exchange and the D700

Last weekend, the Perth Swing Dance Society held its annual Lindyhop Exchange – called Hullabaloo!  It’s a fantastic long weekend of swing dancing, classes and social get togethers.  People from all over Australia come to Perth to socialise and dance!

Unfortunately, wifey and I don’t do many of the events or classes anymore – in the last few years we’ve just turned up for one social dance night only.   I guess we’re getting “over” it a bit.  Plus it’s hard to find babysitting.  Yes – I thought it would get easier when the kids got older, but they just end up with more extra-curricular activities!

We did get out to the Saturday night dance – it was the Hullabaloo Hop in the wonderfully character North Perth Town Hall.   The Hullabaloo Hop is the traditional night when they hold the Jack and Jill competition – basically a social dancing fun competition where entrants get paired up with some other random entrant, and you are judged on how much fun and connection you have with each other.   Entrants wear a number on their back to identify them.   We also had an extra special treat – the local Oz Big Band swung the house with many Basie and other swinging charts!

I took the opportunity to take my new Nikon D700 out for a spin.  Armed with my 50mm f/1.8 and 85mm f/1.8 lenses, and looking forward to using 3200 to 6400 ISOs, I had a ball!  The D700 performed better than I expected – photos even at 6400 ISO were usable with not as much noise as an 1600 ISO image from my old D80.   And there’s something about the D700 sensor – the colours just seem so much nicer.

Here’s a selection of some of the photos from the night!

D700 Unboxing

Finally!

I finally ordered a D700 from T-Dimension a week ago.

And then, as a nerdy nerd, I tracked its progress every hour across the globe..  well, from Hong Kong, to China, to Singapore then to Perth.

And then I waited as it got held up in customs.

And then I rang Fedex, bugging them about why it’s been sitting in Perth for a day without me hearing anything.

And then I decided to drive TO the Fedex depot in Perth, and just demand that I want to pick up my camera.

And after paying the import duty, I had to wait nearly 30 minutes whilst they tried to locate my parcel.

And then it was IN MY HANDS!

Even though I missed out on getting it cheaper, I’m glad I did, because I’ve since found out that many Hong Kong (and probably other) stores have a very small supply of Nikon gear in their inventory, and that’s it – they don’t know when they will get more from Nikon because there’s a worldwide shortage due to the earthquake and tsunami.

After unboxing, the things I immediately noticed:

It was REALLY HEAVY!  I thought, “How am I going to lug this thing around?”  I can’t even hold it with one hand easily!!  I think I nearly strained my wrist holding it with one hand.   Heavy is good for one thing though – it’ll help you steady the camera when hand holding a shot.   Besides that, the only other positive I can think of is it’ll help me burn more calories when I take photos due all the lifting I have to do!

It was BIG!  Well, bigger than the D80 I was using before.  Definitely not inconspicuous at all.  With a small 50mm or 85mm on there, it’s OK.  But I dread to think how big it will be with a 24-70 zoom.  Luckily it still fits into my camera bag.

It felt PRO!  The rubbery texture, the metal housing, the number of buttons and dials.   The lack of “scene” modes like Portrait, Landscape, Sports – that’s right – no more hand-holding.  You need to be comfortable with Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Program and Manual modes.   And then going through the menus – the sheer number of configurable items – do we need ALL these things to be configurable?

One of the first things I did was put on my 50mm f/1.2 manual non-CPU lens.  Amazingly, the D700 can automatically set exposure for the lens, and although there is no autofocus, the in-focus indicator in the viewfinder works which helps report if the camera thinks the image at the focus point is in focus.  Sweeet!

A more detailed review with some shots to follow…

Screwed by jump in Nikon D700 prices

Aarghh!

My move to a full frame Nikon is complicated!

I’ve finally sold my Nikon 17-55 f/2.8, and Tokina 12-24 f/4 through eBay.  No problems with the Nikon lens, but hit a snag with the Tokina when the first winning buyer decided to change their mind after winning the auction.   Even more frustrating is the delay from waiting to be able to raise a non-paying buyer case and then closing it, coupled with the fact that with eBay now, you can’t leave negative feedback for a non-paying buyer!

Anyway, that’s all done and it’s all sold.

Then I moved onto buying the Nikon D700 body.

I did my normal thing of comparing the prices on B&H, and on eBay sellers like DigitalRev.  Then I decided to look local, and found that PRA Imaging had the Nikon D700 body for only $2295!  What a steal – that’s even cheaper than eBay or B&H! 

Unfortunately they didn’t have any in stock last week and I was told that there should be some coming in on Friday.  I thought, cool, I’ll go in and pay by cash.

So I called on Friday, and they said that the shipment will be coming in on Monday instead – today.

So I called today at lunch, and they said that they’ll be coming in this afternoon but I should put a deposit on one if I really want one.

I was scared that they will all be sold out, so I gave them my credit card details and was ready to go ahead with the deposit when I asked to double checked the price.

$2295 right?  NO!!  Apparently that was last week’s sale price!!  It’s now gone up to $2785, practically $500 more – or a ~20% price increase!   It seemed that they would not budge on the price even if I paid by cash, citing the worldwide Nikon price increases due to stock shortages and the impact of the tsunami on the Sendai plant where they manufacture the D700’s.

I was sooo frustrated and angry with myself.  Why didn’t I just pay for it by credit last week at the fantastically low price?

Too bad for PRA, it was straight to eBay for me – I just need to now pay GST/duty when it comes in *sigh* but it will still be significantly cheaper.

The next problem?  Getting back the wide range on my lenses.  I’ve literally just got a 50 f/1.8, 85 f/1.8 and my 70-200 f/2.8 now! 

I can’t afford the 24-70 f/2.8 yet, so it’s looking like either a third party zoom, or maybe just a prime like the Nikon 35mm f/2.  I can’t stomach buying a 24mm f/2.8 if I will buy a 2.8 mid range zoom one day.

And the next thing?  Selling my good old D80 body as the final part of funding my change to full frame.

Can’t wait until this is all over…

D800 Rumour Roundup

OK.  I’ve got my mind set on full frame.   After a really long think over the last few weeks, I’ve chosen the D700. 

But then I had a look at the product timeline and saw how “old” the D700 is, saw that the actual price of D700’s have dropped in Australia and realised the D700 is due for an update.

But when?  How much?

It’s ALL rumours at the moment, but it’s entertaining googling this topic and seeing all the predictions (and how wrong many of them have been!).

Here’s a smattering for your enjoyment!

PhotoRadar – predicting a February or March 2011 release – http://www.photoradar.com/news/story/nikon-d800-release-date-news-specs#ad-image0

NikonRumors – predicting a March or April 2011 release – http://nikonrumors.com/2011/01/20/what-others-are-saying-nikon-d800-and-pro-mirrorless-in-marchapril-of-2011.aspx

DigitalRev – predicting 16 megapixels, HD video, early 2011 release – http://www.digitalrev.com/en/nikon-d800—the-best-goes-to-those-who-wait-6474-article.html

Nikon-D800.net – predicting 20MP, HD video, August/September 2011 release – http://www.nikon-d800.net/2011/02/nikon-taking-pre-orders-for-nikon-d800.html

Nikon-D800.net – a commentor says second week of August 2011 release – http://www.nikon-d800.net/2011/01/update-so-when-will-book-on-nikon-d800.html

Ken Rockwell – predicted 24MP, release in summer 2009, ship end of 2009 – http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d800.htm

Thom Hogan – predicting 18-24MP, HD video, announced end March 2011 – http://www.bythom.com/2011predictions.htm

TruPhotos – predicting a March 2011 release – http://www.truphotos.com/2010/12/30/d700-replacement-d800-in-3-months-time/

Rumours on DPReview.com – someone predicting 16-18MP, a March or April 2011 release, at $2,000 – http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1021&message=37438737

And there were a whole lot of rumours about a D700x or D700s in the past few years that were obviously not right.  (For example, Ken Rockwell predicted a Feb 2010 announcement of the D700x here:  http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d700x.htm and see another prediction for Fall 2009 here – http://nikonrumors.com/2009/06/26/nikon-d700x.aspx)

But then I thought. 

Do I need a Nikon D800?  I mean, I’m upgrading from a Nikon D80 with only 10.2MP.  The D700 will have 12MP and fantastic high ISO performance.  More megapixels will likely mean worse low light performance since each pixel site is smaller.

Do I need 16 or 24MP?   I’ve rarely blown up an image past 20×24 and that already looked superb at 10.2MP.

Do I need video?  I’ve already got a Sony High Definition handycam that works for me and my interest is currently in photography, not videography.

D7000 or D700 full frame?

Aarghh!

I want to upgrade my camera this year, but I really can’t decide.

Stick with the DX crop sensor and lenses and get the Nikon D7000?

Or make the shift to full frame, get a Nikon D700, and have to sell my Tokina 12-24 F4 DX and Nikon 17-55 F2.8 DX lenses and upgrade to perhaps the Nikon 24-70 F2.8 FX lens?   (Luckily my other lenses are full frame ready).

I know the D700 route will be much more expensive in the end, but will it be more worth it in the long run?

Nikon D7000 – http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikond7000/ and http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d7000.htm

Nikon D700 – http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikond700/ and http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d700.htm

Looks like I’m not the only one pondering this question!

http://photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00XJa7

http://artoftheimage.blogspot.com/2010/11/nikon-d7000-vs-nikon-d700-high-iso.html

http://nikonrumors.com/forum/topic.php?id=2527

[Update 9 March 2011]

I’ve finally decided to go full frame.  At the back of my head, if I went DX, I would always think that the low light, high ISO performance wouldn’t be the best I could get within my budget.   One useful site I’ve found is snapsort, which lets you compare features of cameras.

Here is the comparison between the D700 and D7000 – http://snapsort.com/compare/Nikon_D700-vs-Nikon_D7000

The thing that swayed me is the noise performance.  According to DXOMark, a picture at ISO 1167 on a D7000 will have the same amount of noise as a picture taken at ISO 2303 on a D700.  Wow – a full stop! 

And comparing to my current D80 – http://snapsort.com/compare/Nikon_D700-vs-Nikon_D80

D80 ISO 524 is equivalent to D700’s ISO 2303.    That’s just mind boggling.

I’m thinking – you can always invest in new lenses, but the noise in the sensor is fixed by your body.  A D700 with a 50mm 1.4 lens, or a mid range 2.8 zoom would be amazing.