An Unscientific Review of the Nikon D700

An Unscientific Review of the Nikon D700

1800 1013 Jeb Inge

When I was first getting into shooting film, I suffered from the same ailment that plagues most of us at the beginning: a lack of disposable money. A raise at work wasn’t on the horizon so, my other fundraising options were selling either my plasma or my digital camera. My not insignificant phobia of needles whittled my options down to selling my camera.

It was a Nikon D7000 and for many years it was the only camera I owned. I still consider it one of Nikon’s best cameras – unbelievably well built and packed with a foolproof meter and excellent crop sensor. But from the moment a few weeks earlier when I’d shot my first roll of film (Fuji Superia in an all-but-destroyed Minolta) the writing was on the wall. I wanted to shoot film, and despite years of helping me become a better, more patient photographer, I was ready to drop my faithful digital camera like a bad habit. 

In the name of all things analog, I laid my D7000 as a sacrifice on the celluloid altar. I think I got $300 for the camera. It was enough to buy a Mamiya RB67 and a couple of lenses. I think I ran a total of five rolls of film through the Mamiya before it too was sold. I didn’t spend much time thinking about that camera after it left, but I often thought back to the D7000. 

Three years after selling my digital camera I found myself in the market for another. Between my time working in product photography studios I discovered that taking quality photos for my articles wasn’t easy or cheap without a digital camera. The process of researching which digital camera would work for me quickly became exhausting. Without meaning to sound trite, the terminology of digital imaging bores me to tears. Sensors, megapixels, processors, LCD screens – all these things are supremely uninteresting to me. Two people having a conversation about them is a better sleep aid than a cup of Chamomile tea spiked with Tylenol PM. 

Please don’t misunderstand me. I don’t have a problem with digital cameras. Especially these days, they are the most capable imaging machines. And while I have my own opinions regarding the digital versus film argument, I have little interest in that never-ending debate. But digital cameras are boring things. They’ve always been uninspired, homogenized products, with a design ethos that survives from the nineties and has only in the last few years been challenged by new formats and upstart models. Canon’s entire approach since their adoption of autofocus has been delivering highly capable and advanced but supremely boring camera bodies. And Nikon has been making different versions of the F5 for 25 years. If I counted the number of digital cameras that struck me as having an interesting or inspired design, I wouldn’t need more than three or four fingers. But design isn’t everything – just ask anyone that uses Sony cameras. 

I had to remind myself of that fact while browsing the used market for my own digital camera. My needs were simple: something to use for product photos and perhaps for some faster lens reviews. I knew I wanted something full frame and the investment in Nikon lenses helped narrow down the potential brands. My small budget narrowed down the options even further. I settled on the Nikon D700, which by 2019 was into its second decade of existence. Eventually I found one that had been used by a professional as his backup body, meaning it was in excellent shape and had relatively few shutter actuations. Three hundred euros and a few days later I was holding my new old digital camera. 

In Craig’s recent article on the Nikon F100 he (quite correctly) called the D700 a relic in the digital world. But we’re in the relic business here at Casual Photophile, and a camera with the pedigree of the D700 deserves its due, even in 2020. So I thought I would share my experiences with the camera, where it’s worked for me and where it hasn’t.

A brief history of the Nikon D700

By 2005 Nikon was falling far behind Canon in the race for digital supremacy. For most of the decade, Canon had released both professional and compact-professional camera bodies with increasing amounts of capability and sophistication. Released way back in 2002, the Canon EOS 1Ds was the first to have a full frame sensor with 11.1 megapixels. The 5D Mark II debuted around the same time as the Nikon D700, also with a full-frame sensor, but this time with a far greater number of megapixels, 21.1! 

At the same time, Nikon was a company in second place with competitors starting to gain ground. Professional Nikon users were still shooting either the flagship 4.1 megapixel D2H or the 10.2 megapixel D200, both of which still used the company’s crop-sensor DX format. 

Their first shot at closing the gap was 2007’s D3. This new flagship camera was Nikon’s first with their new full-frame FX format. It was also the first to use Nikon’s new 32-bit Expeed processor and a new sensor with 12 megapixels. At the same time they released the D300, which was meant to be the top-of-class crop-sensor DSLR. The D3 showed Nikon’s commitment to professionals, and the FX system opened up DSLRs to decades of Nikkor lenses.

But an even bigger surprise was the release of the D700 only 11 months later. 

Technically the D700 is classified as a compact professional camera, but it would be more accurate to simply call it D3 Jr. It has the same EXPEED image processor as well as the 12.1 megapixel sensor. While the imaging between the two cameras is the same, the D700 lacks some of the D3’s functionality – namely that it’s shutter is good for half as many actuations (150K to the D3’s 300K), a slower fps rate, only one card slot and a different viewfinder that shows 5 percent less than the one on the D3. As compensation, the D700 offered over the D3 a pop-up flash and a self-cleaning sensor.

At $3,500 (in 2020 dollars) the D700 wasn’t a cheap camera and wasn’t aimed at the consumer market. The D700 offered working photographers the same capabilities of the D3 in a smaller package and with 22 percent less weight.

The spec sheet of the D700 was top of the line in 2008, but today it pales in comparison to Nikon’s current lineup, including the most basic FX-class entry. This has been good news for those of us looking for a full frame DSLR on the cheap, but are we really missing out by not having a D780 or D850? That’s what I’ll try to answer with my experiences with the camera. 

Build quality and design

Build quality is probably the only category in which I think the D700 actually beats out the newer Nikon cameras. This camera exists solely within Nikon’s “absolute unit” approach to camera design. While the weight will differ, there’s not a ton of difference between holding this, a D3 or even an F5. It wasn’t until I held Nikon’s newest DSLRs that I realized the extent to which manufacturers have moved toward light, nimble cameras. The D700 is neither of those things. Yes, it’s lighter than the D3, but put anything more than a small prime on the D700 and you’ll wish you had a wrist strap as well. The advantage to this is that the D700 feels like it was built to take abuse. 

From a design perspective, there’s not a lot to drool over. Nikon’s cameras (non-mirrorless) have generally all looked identical since the mid-nineties. Maybe that’s due to the fact that it’s more economical to produce camera lineups this way, or maybe Giorgetto Giugiaro has been designing Nikon’s cameras for too long. Regardless of the reason, the D700 isn’t a beautiful camera. It’s ergonomic and effective, but it won’t be the inspiration for any love ballads or even find its way onto an ironic t-shirt. As far as design and personality goes, the D700 is more Bill Lumbergh than Bill Blass.

Shooting experience and performance

When I first bought the D700 it was for taking photos for my articles. But it quickly became more than just a product camera. It doesn’t take too many rolls of film to hit home just how expensive shooting film really is. That’s not all bad – it certainly makes me think more about my subjects and budgeting my exposures. But the cost-per-frame often doesn’t give me too much confidence to experiment with exposure.

Last summer while photographing waterfalls I took both the D700 and my F4 loaded with Ektachrome. I really wanted a good photo on Ektachrome, but I knew that I’d spent $15 on the roll and that it would be a challenging exposure. Enter the D700, here I could blast away until I found the composition and exposure settings I liked, then copy those settings to the F4 and take my shot. This has made the D700 a valuable tool for my photography (even if the same could be said about every digital camera).

Other types of photography have also gotten easier because of the D700. I’ve always been a fan of long exposures and nighttime photography. There’s something really zen to walking around Berlin at night, setting up the camera, and dialing in my photos through trial and error. To do the same with Cinestill and a Minolta might give me cool results, but the photographic process would be much more intensive and defeat the purpose of the exercise. I’ve also done my first panoramic photos with the D700, taking 5 to 7 vertical images and stitching them together in post. It’s just a quirky thing I enjoy trying out, and I’ve only felt comfortable messing with the process using my D700.

“But it only has 12 megapixels!”

If we were to rank the most prominent subjects of modern camera reviews, debates and arguments, sensor size and pixel count stand above the rest. The unspoken consensus is that more megapixels equals more resolution, which is good for a number of things like file size, image detail, moire, print sizes and more. Most importantly it’s a single number that’s easy to generalize and turn into a catch all metric for digital camera quality. 

So if more megapixels means a better camera, wouldn’t that make the 12.1 megapixel D700 the equivalent of a 30-year-old that still talks about their high school sports triumphs? Once impressive, but clearly past its prime?

Nah. I think 12 megapixels is enough for most of us. 

We often talk about the number of megapixels without considering their quality, or the sensor they’re squeezed onto. And the sensor the Nikon D700 uses is really excellent, with really wonderful color and high saturation. As someone who was ready to die on the hill of “nothing can beat film,” I have to admit that I love what I’ve gotten out of this camera.

We also all seem to have an unspoken agreement that we insist on being able to print our photos at billboard size while ignoring that a shockingly low number of us are actually printing photos anymore. Yes, it’s true that you would struggle to get quality 20×30 inch print with a three digit dpi from the D700. When it comes to shooting film, are the scans we get back typically more than what the D700 gives us in RAW format? Very rarely.

While we’re on the subject of digital negatives I’ll admit a dirty little secret: I really love working with RAW images. I know it’s not as romantic as the darkroom and burning and dodging in “real life,” but after getting back bad scans of consumer film and being frustrated at their limitations in post-production, working with the flexible RAW files from the D700 feels luxury. And while editing thousands of RAW files, I’ve been amazed at the usable amount of data I’ve been able to pull out of shadows.

What I don’t like about the Nikon D700

As I said before, this is a heavy camera. Lugging it around with a zoom lens for more than an hour is a struggle. I’ve looked at getting a vertical grip for extra balance, but the thought of more weight frightens me. It’s true that the extra weight stabilizes the camera during use, but it’s also true that you lose weight when you have the flu. Then again, I seem to gravitate to heavy cameras like the husky-jean wearing Nikon F4 and Mamiya RB67, so it feels a little phony to dock points for girth.

If I were to pick out a single thing that I wish the D700 had it would be a lower native ISO. I look at the D850 and Z7 shooting as low as ISO 64 with lustful jealousy as I’m relegated to only shooting as low as ISO 200. Still, this complaint is really nitpicky. I’ve never been unhappy with any of the images I’ve shot at ISO 200 and I often struggle to find any noise.

Conclusion: The pros far outweigh the cons

When I bought my Nikon D700, it was the cheapest full-frame Nikon I could find. I didn’t expect to use it for anything more than product photography, and didn’t expect it to wow me as much as my F4 or even my F100. But in that time I’ve used it for product photography, newborn photography, landscapes, long exposures and as a daily walkaround camera. And it was with the D700 that I’ve made most of my favorite images over the last two years. 

Yes, it’s not as advanced as the D850. It’s not as dynamic as the mirrorless Z series cameras. It’s quantifiably inferior to nearly every other new camera made by Nikon and many other manufacturers. But qualitatively it’s not so cut and dry. Underneath its Milquetoast shell beats the heart of a survivor. 

The Nikon D700 does 98 percent of what 99 percent of us actually need. And it does it for ten percent of the cost of cameras that provide the other two percent. I’ll never sell my D700, and not only because I’ll never get back what the camera’s worth. I have no doubt that this camera will keep clicking for many years to come. And unless I suddenly turn into a completely different photographer, there will always be a need for it in my camera bag.

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Jeb Inge

Jeb Inge is a Berlin-based photographer and writer. He has previously worked in journalism, public history and public relations.

All stories by:Jeb Inge
  • Khürt Williams May 29, 2020 at 1:14 am

    Without meaning to sound trite, the terminology of digital imaging bores me to tears. Sensors, megapixels, processors, LCD screens – all these things are supremely uninteresting to me. Two people having a conversation about them is a better sleep aid than a cup of Chamomile tea spiked with Tylenol PM.


  • enginetonegmailcom May 29, 2020 at 8:08 am

    I loved my Nikon D700. Funnily enough, I too had a Nikon D7000 before I bought a D700, and shot the D700 for several years at social swing dances and blues dances. The sensor was amazing for low light action, which was 95% of what I shot with the camera, and it was an awesome pairing with my Nikon F100. I could take the lens and flash(es) off my digital camera and instantly get similar results with my film camera, and both cameras felt roughly the same in the hand.

    Another thing I loved about the D700 was that the tactile experience is one of the best. The body was weighty but feels solid. The ergonomics were nigh perfect. Buttons and knobs had the perfect amount of resistance. But best of all, the shutter sound was loud and proud, with a loud clap announcing the arrival of each exposure. I know lots of people like their shutters quiet, and the later Nikons have worked very hard to mute their shutters, but I like my cameras noisy and hence loved my D700’s clacky shutter.

    When I moved away from low light action shooting to shooting motorsports, I swapped my D700 for a D7200. It was the right decision, but I still miss my D700.

    If cameras are cars, the D700 is W123 Mercedes 300D of Nikon’s lineup. Old, seemingly way out of date, but solid as a tank and still usable in the modern day-to-day.

    • Apparently the D7000 is some sort of photographic gateway drug. I really do miss that camera. I agree with you on the tactile aspect of the D700, but that was even stronger for me with the D7000 when it was on its battery grip. Nikon really knows how to mold a body.

      As far as car analogies I’ll go with the Volvo 850 GLT for the same reasons you said about the Merc. I’ve never loved an inanimate object as much as I loved that car.

    • Wonderful article and comments. I purchased a D700 in 2018 with 3,500 clicks and I absolutely love it. It is the slow food of photography and I carry a D7200 for the fast, action and crop stuff. Both cameras are great, but the D700 will always be a monument, I guess.

  • Jeb-This was a great read, and I also enjoyed the images you shared. This was well written, and it brought me an introduction to this camera of which I was unfamiliar.

    I know this is not about Canon history, but the Canon camera information is incorrect.

    The source is Canon.

    Canon had two parallel 1 series in the early 2000’s. All of the 1D were 1.3x crop sensor. The 1Ds series were the full-frame. One (1D) was geared toward speed and action use, the other (1Ds) toward studio photographers per Canon.

    The year of intro, MP and sensor size are as follows:

    Canon 1D Mark II 2004 APS-H-size (1.3 crop) sensor 8.2MP
    Canon 1Ds Mark II 2004 full-frame 16.7MP sensor (replacing their first full-frame DSLR, the 1Ds, introduced in 2002 with 11.1MP)

    Canon 5D 2005 12.8MP full-frame
    Canon 5D MarkII 2008 21.1MP full-frame

    I am not submitting this to be picky. Your article on the D700 was really good, and I just thought that the Canon info should be corrected.

    Thanks again Jeb for a great intro to this camera, and your experience with it.

  • Thanks for the correction, Ross, I appreciate it. And the truth pushes the narrative that they were ahead of Nikon even further. Thanks for reading!

  • Jeez, great article and photos.

  • Funny enough I still shoot a D700 as a backup, and even did a 20×30 print the other week using a shot from it. I’m actually very happy with the results. Great camera. I shoot a D800 as my primary, both are awesome. Can’t say enough about the build quality!

  • I really love reading a review like this! I own a D700 camera and honestly, I think it has been overshadowed by newer models. I worked as a photography comercial when it was issued and I remember it was a big success! A year later of the D3, D700 came out as a complementary Professional camera and I loved it from the first sight! It was the perfect camera, ergonomically well done and It fitted (and still fits) very well to my hands. It a perfect camera and yes, 12mp. are more than enough! Still loving it! Rgards

  • Way back when the D70 (not D700) was a thing, I saw a huge 60″ print from a 6mp D70. It depends a bunch on the upscaling as to how big you can go. I ordered a D700 the second (literally) it was announced. The retail was $2999.99. I have used that camera since up until I picked up a Fujifilm X-T1. While I don’t use the 700 very much any more, it is an amazing camera, and can do far more than this amateur will ever be able to do.

    As to a walk around camera with a zoom lens, The original 24-85G lens is very light weight and competent. if that isn’t enough the 24-120D (not any of the VR generations) is a great daily driver. Yes it’s a bit heavier than the 24-85 which is mostly of polycarbonate construction.

    I too, use the battery grip mostly but when I want that light weight walk around Nikon I strip the D700 down to just the body, lens and maybe a spare battery.

    I received my D700 in 2008. 22 years later it is still amazing, and Nikon has never really produced an upgrade, regardless of body numbers.

    Oh – had a D800 also. Sold it after it sat unused for over a year. Bought the X-T1 and never once regretted it.

  • Nice write up, enjoyed the read. Yeah, I agree that older cameras work great for 99% of us and bargain pricing the added benefit. I’ve been using a D7000 since purchased new 9 years ago, still does everything I need. Now clocking well over 100,000 shutter activations and still rolling. I picked up a second D7000 body used a few years back, perfect condition with 6000 clicks on the shutter for under $300. Older used gear is the way to go.

  • Lovely images and thoughts. I owned and shot every pro Nikon body made from 1999-2010. You are correct, the body design is from the 1900s. But that’s OK. With perfect ergos and years of muscle-memory, they just work(ed) for me.

    Nikon’s custom has always been to bring out the junior model about a year after the Pro $$$ model. After retiring, I grabbed a low-mileage one for myself. The D700 has been getting a lot of love lately on the interwebs. Maybe folks are starting to realize they don’t need 47MP and ISO 102,000.

  • Enjoyed reading the article and and viewing the incredible images!

    The D700 was the low-noise king in its day. Astrophotographers loved the camera.

    More recently, the D750 has held a special place in the hearts of many full-frame digital photographers because of the frequent discounts Nikon offered, the feature, low noise, and versatility. I anticipate the D750 being the next relic. People are not selling their beloved D750s to scramble for the D780. Nikon really needed to do more to win us over.

    Another relic that will gain momentum as they show up on the used market is the D810A. While Canon was the first to offer an “a” camera with higher IR cutoff for capturing emission nebula: the 20Da, and later the 60Da; both were cropped frame and both were a challenge to use for anything other than astrophotography. Nikon conquered with the high-res full-frame D810A, which could also be used for daytime photography. Canon priced their “a” cameras above their non-a models, but they were still affordable. Nikon forced D810A owners to pay $3,300, and Nikon never put the body on sale. I know…I watched for 3 years before finally forking over $3,300.

  • One more thought. I own the D850 and am not a big fan. For assignment work, I use both the D850 and D750. The D750 is my go-to camera for most work. Maybe because the size and weight of the D850 make it less agile, or maybe because the massive files are unnecessary for most commercial use, or maybe because the images are never quite as sharp as the D750, D810A, & D500,

  • A great read, Jeb. I bought a Nikon D800 for a very good price, and many things you wrote can be applied onto this camera as well.

    The newer and better sensor is great, as I use the camera to «scan» my images as well. Sure, it outperforms most of the older AF-D lenses I use with it, but I’d rather have my sensor limited by the lenses than the other way around. And having crisp scans of my Velvia or Provia is a big plus.

    Another aspect is the fact that it pairs so nicely with my (any) Nikon F100. Similar control layout, very similar ergonomics, no worries when switching lenses… It’s just one less thing to think about.

  • The Nikon D700 was the ONLY digicam I have regretted selling. It has a look that the newer cameras just don’t have and it’s low light performance is amazing. Maybe I will have to pick another one up ….

  • It is an extremely affordable Full Frame camera with pro features. It has outlived my dream of Nikon D4s and D810. Why I’m thinking, it definitely holds up by today’s standards? D700 is a true legend.

  • Great write up! My first full frame DSLR was and is the D700, purchased in 2018 with 3,500 clicks. The colors are absolutely stunning. Very film-like. Yes, it is a tank and I only take it out when I have time to go out and enjoy it. Always with a ‘nifty fifty’. My D7200 carries 400mm, awkward other lenses. Fast photography, Lightroom, cropping. Wonderful too, but different. Once, the D7200 will be replaced. My D700 remains. Together with my XD7 and X-500’s..

  • I bought my D700 AS-IS used from one of the big online sellers in late 2018. It worked perfectly fine with 100K clicks already on it. All I had to do was to redo the deteriorated grips with cheap aftermarket ones from eBay.

    I am not a “professional” photographer, but I do run a small retail side business. I take ALL of my product photos with the D700 + 50/1.8D, so I do use the camera to help make money.

    The OOC images are amazing. Just tweak the white balance and brightness to taste and they are ready to be posted. D700’s images have this smooth grainy look to them, not all crispy and clinical like the images from my high horsepower cameras.

    Hobby-wise, I have almost 30 film and digital cameras. The D700 is one of my favorites by far!

  • I sold my D300s and D7000 for 2 x D700’s with a couple of fast primes. Just love this camera.

  • Having grown up with a Nikon FE and later Nikon FM3a film cameras, I was reluctant to take the leap to DSLRs until the D700 arrived. I picked a winner! Still have it and will never sell it. Only 12 mexapixels, but they are really good big mexapixels. 🙂

  • I have a Soft spot for the D700 – Especially for weddings and events. I currently own 3 among my other workhorses.

    Bought my First D700 Brand New in 2008 / 2009, and still have it today. It was my Main Camera for along time and has over 400,000 Camera Actuations on the Original Shutter, today its a back up to a back up and is pretty much retired. Although I do want to see how many more clicks she still has in her.

    Second D700 was added in around 2012 to replace my back up camera at the time. It became my main D700 camera shortly after, and Today it has a round 225,000 Camera Actuations on the Shutter.

    Third one was bought recently, looks brand new, and is just getting broken in with only 18,000 Camera Actuations.

    For Commercial Work and Travel I have other cameras in my arsenal, but for weddings and Events I still believe the D700 is absolutely perfect.

    • I have a D3200 for the 24mp sensor, a D7000 for the color rendering, and just got a D700 for a song on eBay. I’d researched other full frame Nikons, and kept coming back to the D700. Lower MP count? Yes. Superior build and functionality? Definitely. As a bonus, I checked the shutter count: 3843 clicks, which matches the camera’s pristine condition!

  • I too love my D700, I bought it on a recommendation from a friend to give one a try. I am not disappointed with it in any way. Yes it’s heavy, but with that weight comes durability and reliability. I agree with your coments about shadow detail. I did a few blue hour photo walks in summer 2020 and I swear my D700 can see in the dark! The dynamic range of that ancient 12 megapixel sensor is outstanding and I can shoot at iso1600 without noise giving me too much grief. Worth every penny.

  • Wilhelm Hannweg May 2, 2021 at 1:44 pm

    Danke für den sehr schönen Bericht über die D700. Ich habe 1987 mit der F301 meine Liebe zu Nikon Kameras entdeckt habe mir nach einigen Wechseln ( Fuji Finepix Bridge, Panasonic Lumix FZ 300 , Nikon P510, Nikon P7100; eine brillante Edelkompaktkamera ! Über die D3100 den Weg zur D300 gefunden. Obwohl sie eigentlich eine
    Exzellente DX Kamera wächst mein Verlangen eine D700 zu bekommen immer mehr obwohl ich kein besonders begabter Fotograf bin.
    Ich erhoffe mir die positiven Erfahrungen andere Nutzer erlangen zu können da ich auch nicht dem Pixelwahn erlegen bin. Ich möchte eine solide
    Vollformat Kamera mit der ich ohne viel Schnickschnack anmutende Fotos ; auch bei schlechten Lichtverhältnissen schießen kann .

    Gruß an an Nikon Infizierten Fans

    • Danke für die Rückmeldung, Willi. Ich hatte eine ähnliche DX-Geschichte mit der D7000. Ich denke immer noch, dass es eine großartige Kamera ist. Der Umstieg von der 7100 auf eine D700 ist einfach und man wird den Sprung zum Vollformat nicht bereuen.

  • After years of break from photography (last cameras i used were d70s and f75) in 2020 I bought a d700 with ~40tclicks and immediately felt in love with it to the point i just got another one (a no-brainer – 80€ with 3 new Nikon batteries and a lot of clicks – over 300t, still working as new). All I’m afraid of is that if i ever purchase a new camera, I will not love it as much!

  • Very nice article about a superb camera. Like you, Jeb, I’ll never sell or trade my D700. I originally bought it for its full frame sensor and excellent low-light capability.
    Something you missed in regard to the sensor used in the D700: It’s not made by SONY or Nikon. It’s a Renesas sensor, and that’s the reason for its amazing performance. It renders colors beautifully and it’s superb low noise images are a result of that sensor (the same sensor used in the D3).

    • Thanks a lot for the info on the sensor, William. I had no idea that’s where it came from. I’m glad to hear someone else is still having a great time with the 700!

  • Your photos are gorgeous!!! I am excited about finding myself a used D700, especially after this post. Thank you!

  • I posted on here back in October 2020 but should have included my link showing how great this camera is. The majority all taken with 50mm 1.8G

  • I’m mainly a B&W shooter and I’m apparently a Nikon freak. Used them since around 1972 or so with a multi-year break when I was seduced by Canon’s AF. Currently I own about a dozen Nikon DSLRs of several generations. Newest are D800 and D810. And yet I still prefer the D700. I’m kinda in love with the look that comes from that 12mp sensor. The D8XX cameras are great but most times they just have too perfect a look to suit me. The D700 is more organic and versatile, for want of better words. They can have a wide creamy tonal range or they can be gritty and harsh when I want that. I’ve noticed this ability in the older 12mp Nikon digitals, from the D2x through the D3/D700/D300, even though I understand the sensors probably changed during this time. Maybe it was the processors, I dunno, but I like the look. Must also say I enjoy using the D700s about as much as any cameras I’ve ever owned. I currently have three of them, all bought used and all functioning superbly. And, yeah, adding the vertical grip battery pack makes it pretty darn heavy, heavier than a D3. And larger.

    It’s sort of amazing to me that, in the digital age, this old of a camera can still get people excited. Thanks for the article.

  • I’m in love with D700. To the point that I’m already afraid of failure, and it’s at about 90k~ photos. I try not to use it as much, treat it like a film camera – with care and respect. I’m though thinking of buying another more and more recently.. I use it mostly with 80-200/2.8. Superb combo!

    • You really don’t have to baby it. The D700 is built to last and the shutter can go deep into 100ks and way beyond with no problem. There are plenty of good D700s out there if you ever need another one. TBH, an old 12mp DSLR isn’t exactly a hot item in the world of 40mp mirrorless.

  • Thank you for the article. It further strenghten my love of this camera. 🙂

    I bought mine (2nd body) about two years ago and few months ago it started to show “CHA” error. I tried to change the cards, format them, bought new – – – nothing helped.
    I was told by Nikon service that due to lack of spare parts they cannot help me.

    Then I found some smaller non-brand service shop and they found broken contacts in the card reader unit – – and now they are sending it back to me repaired!!! Hooray. 😀

  • I absolutely love my D700, the camera does it all for me. I bought it last year with 465 clicks, it still looks brand new with 4000 clicks one year later. I would and will pick up anothe like new again.The photographs from this camera blow my mind, along with my d2x these cameras have some kind of special sauce deep in their body.

  • Thank you for the article.

    I´m a proud D700 owner (also have a D300s/D90/F100/F4s/F Photomic FTn), and I agree with all the shared ideas.
    Not interested at all in more megapixels, just the photo process,… and for that the D700 is one of the best tools ever made.

  • Lorenzo Villacorte March 6, 2022 at 7:59 pm

    I’m from the Philippines and I also own a D700 since 2020. I have owned and tried a number of DSLRs (D300, the D7000, the D7100, D5500 and D5300) but they all failed in comparison with the Legend D700. Truly, I love everything about this legendary camera and will not ever part with it. It gives me the feeling of being a true professional photographer owning this wonderful DSL.

  • Michael Pauliks April 9, 2022 at 5:48 am

    Nice review 🙂 Like the D700 too and do the night walks in Berlin either 🙂 You may try Nikon 35 1.8 DX on the D700, but using full frame 🙂 It works excellent even wide open imo.

  • Jay Dann Walker in Melbourne September 3, 2022 at 12:25 am

    The D700 is king to anyone who isn’t a commercial/professional photographer.

    I’ve always believed this is because we treat our cameras as part of our psyches, not as tools to bring in the bucks.

    Everyone (not “pro”) I know who previously owned a D700 and sold it, bought another not long after.

    It’s one of those phenomenal Nikons that does everything quietly and unobtrusively. And always produces the results.

    The most contented D700 photographer I know is 82 years old, a long-retired architect. Now and then we go out together to photograph old buildings. He has one D700 with a battery grip, a 28/2.8 and an 85/1.8. Both D lenses. That’s all. (He also owns a 50/1.4, but almost never uses it, so it can easily be left out of this narrative.)

    I have almost the same combo. Also an arsenal of D lenses – 20/2.8, 24/2.8 (both seldom used), two 28/2.8s (used a lot), 35/2.0, 50/1.3, 60/2.8 macro 85/1.8 and 180/2.8. My 28 is the most used of the lot, then the 85. Also one or two old zooms, these I take out now and then to remind myself I have them. One is an ancient 28-85 now firmly stuck on f/8. Used with care on one of my two D700s, it produces surprisingly good results. (I’ve even sold a few images taken with it. So!)

    At times I wonder wy I bought so many lenses. Two or three would have sufficed. But then hindsight is always 20:20…

    My friend loves his D700. I know because he always tells me when we are out – I carry his backpack for him as he is now too frail to deal with both the D700 and the lenses in one go.

    He has an amazing eye for outstanding composition and fine detail. His images blow mine right out of the water.

    He has hinted that he plans to leave me his D700 kit when he shuffles off to a place that most certainly isn’t Buffalo. Wo I will then have three.

    I will then be set up for life, what is left of it. Bliss…

  • Jay Dann Walker in Melbourne September 3, 2022 at 12:30 am

    4x post again, how ever do these messes happen? I had nuttin’ to do with it.

    Moderator, please can you fix up? I’m sure we will all be most grateful.

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Jeb Inge

Jeb Inge is a Berlin-based photographer and writer. He has previously worked in journalism, public history and public relations.

All stories by:Jeb Inge