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Mastering the Nikon D700

258 pages

Mastering the Nikon D700 provides a wealth of information and professional insights for owners of this powerful new camera. Each chapter explores the features and capabilities of the D700 in detail, surpassing basic user manuals by providing step-by-step menu setting adjustments coupled with illustrations and logical explanations for each option. The authors' writing style allows the reader to follow directions in a friendly and informative manner, as if a friend dropped in to share his experienced knowledge without "talking down" to you, explaining the how and the why.

The learning experience for D700 beginners (and refresher information for professionals) goes beyond the camera itself. When camera features and options expand to additional Nikon equipment (such as with the use of optional Speedlights) the authors add the necessary information. Their frequent references to user manuals provided by Nikon (complete with specific page references) allow the reader to easily navigate past the confusion factor that often comes with new equipment.

Mastering the Nikon D700 is another title in the Nikonians Press series-the exciting, new, joint venture between Nikonians and Rocky Nook.

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Mastering the Nikon D700ii
Darrell Young James Johnson
Darrell Young (DigitalDarrell) is an infor- James (Jim) Johnson. When Jim retired
mation technology engineer by trade and has from a 25-year career as a sofware developer
been an avid photographer for over 35 years. for IBM, he had already been working as a
He has a rather large family, with his wife and contract technical editor for Microsof. Afer
fve children, so he has a constantly interest- his retirement, technical editing and technical
ing fow of photographic opportunities. In writing became his primary source of income
fact, his entire family uses Nikon cameras to to cover the cost of his ‘toys’—most of which
pursue what has become a cohesive family were computer equipment and photographic
hobby. equipment.
Darrell delights in using Nikon’s newest digi- Jim’s involvement with cameras began in the
tal cameras but if pressed, he will admit to mid ‘50s when he needed to record the
intebeing a “closet” flm user too. Living next to rior of caves in Kentucky. At the time, the
the Great Smoky Mountains National Park greatest challenge was to provide adequate
has given him a real concern for, and inter- illumination, and in a manner that did not
est in, nature photography. Darrell loves to defle the cave, thus he purchased a Leica 3F
write, as you can see in the Resources area of camera (which was the norm among cavers
the Nikonians.org community. He joined the at that time) and experimented with
numercommunity in the year 2000, and his literary ous lighting sources. In the late ‘60s Jim
purcontributions led to his invitation to become chased a used Nikon FTn, and it’s been a
proa Founding Member of the Nikonians Writers gression of Nikons ever since. Te Nikon 990
Guild. was his introduction to digital photography,
but the D100 provided the ability to use all
those SLR lenses he had accumulated over the
years. A D300 is his current working tool. iii
Mastering the Nikon D700
Darrell Young
Jim Johnsoniv
Darrell Young (aka Digital Darrell)
James Johnson
Editor (Rocky Nook): Gerhard Rossbach
Editor (Nikonians): Tom Boné
Production Editor: Joan Dixon
Copyeditor: Judy Flynn
Layout and type: James Johnson
Cover design: Helmut Kraus, www.exclam.de
Printer: Tara TPS Co., through Four Colour Print Group
Printed in Korea
Cover photo: Nikon, U.S.A.
Back cover photo: James Johnson
1st Edition (3rd Printing, June 2010)
© Nikonians North America 2009
Rocky Nook Inc.
26 West Mission Street Ste 3
Santa Barbara, CA 93101-2432
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Young, Darrell, 1958-
Mastering the Nikon D700 / Darrell Young, James Johnson. -- 1st ed.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN 978-1-933952-23-9 (alk. paper)
1. Nikon digital cameras--Handbooks, manuals, etc. 2. Single-lens ref ex cameras--Handbooks, manuals,
etc. 3. Photography--Digital techniques--Handbooks, manuals, etc. I. Johnson, James, 1935- II. Title.
TR263.N5Y685 2009
Distributed by O‘Reilly Media
1005 Gravenstein Highway North
Sebastopol, CA 95472
All product names and services identif ed throughout this book are trademarks or registered trademarks of their
respective companies. T ey are used throughout this book in editorial fashion only and for the benef t of such companies. No such
uses, or the use of any trade name, are intended to convey endorsement or other af liation with the book. No part of the
material protected by this copyright notice may be reproduced or utilized in any form, electronic or mechanical, including
photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission of the copyright
owner. While reasonable care has been exercised in the preparation of this book, the publisher and authors assume no
responsibility or errors or omissions, or for damages resulting from the use of the information contained herein.
T is book is printed on acid-free paper. v
Table of Contents

x Foreword 2 Using the Nikon D700
3 Nikon D100 - Generation 1
3 Nikon D200 – Generation 2
xii Preface
4 Nikon D300 – Generation 3
6 Nikon D700 – Generation 4
7 EXPEED Image Processor
7 FX vs DX Image Sensor
8 12.1-Megapixel CMOS Sensor
8 Five or Eight Frames per Second
9 Noise Control
10 Live View
10 3-Inch Monitor
11 Fine-Tuning
11 Sensor Dust Cleaning
11 Picture Control
12 Active D-Lighting
12 51-Point Autofocus
13 12-Bit or 14-Bit Color Depth
13 Lossless Compressed NEF (RAW)
14 Exposure Delay Mode
14 Retouch Menu
14 My Menu
14 95% Viewf nder Frame
15 Rubber Covers Instead of Lost
ScrewOn Caps
15 HDMI Device Port
16 My Conclusionsvi
2 3
18 Exposure Metering, Exposure 40 Multi-CAM 3500FX Autofocus
Modes, and Histogram
41 What Is the Multi-CAM 3500FX
Auto19 Metering Systems focus Module?
19 3D Color Matrix II Meter 42 Understanding the Focus Modes,
AF20 Fine-Tuning Matrix Metering Area Modes, and Release Modes
20 Using Flash with Matrix Metering 43 Focus Modes in Detail
21 Center-Weighted Meter 44 AF-Area Modes in Detail
21 Where’s the Circle? 49 Release Modes in Detail
22 What About the Averaging Meter? 53 My Conclusions
22 Spot Meter
23 Exposure Modes
24 P – Programmed Auto Mode
25 Get Down, Grandpa!
25 S – Shutter Priority Auto Mode
26 A – Aperture Priority Auto Mode
26 Understanding Depth of Field
28 M – Manual Mode
29 Histogram
30 Understanding the Histogram
35 How Does the Eye React to
Light Values?
35 Computer Adjustment of Images
38 My Conclusions vii
4 5
54 White Balance 66 Shooting Menu Banks
55 How Does White Balance (WB) Work? 67 Setting Up Shooting Menu Bank A
55 Color Temperature 69 Shooting Menu’s 20 Item Review
56 Method 1 – Manual White Balance 73 NEF (RAW) Format
Using the WB Button 78 TIFF Format
61 Method 2 – Manual White Balance 78 Combined NEF and JPEG Shooting
Using the Monitor LCD’s Shooting 80 Notes on the Image Formats:
Menu RAW, TIFF, and JPEG
62 White Balance Bracketing 85 Picture Controls
63 AUTO White Balance 100 My Conclusions
64 White Balance Tips and Tricks
65 My Conclusions viii
6 7
102 Custom Setting Banks 156 Playback Menu
103 Setting Up Custom Setting Bank A 157 Delete Function
104 Conf guring the Custom Settings 158 Playback Folder
124 Shooting/Display 160 Hide Image
138 How to Use the Auto Bracketing Sys- 161 Display Mode
tem 164 Image Review
141 Controls 165 Af er Delete
155 My Conclusions – Using the Shooting 165 Rotate Tall
Banks and Custom Banks Together 166 Slide Show
168 Print Set (DPOF)
169 My Conclusions ix
8 9
170 Setup Menu, Retouch Menu, 212 Nikon Creative Lighting
and My Menu System
171 Section 1: Setup Menu 213 What Is the Nikon Creative Lighting
199 Section 2: Retouch Menu System (CLS)?
206 Section 3: My Menu 213 How Does the D700 Fit into the CLS
211 My Conclusions Scheme?
214 What Is Commander Mode and How
Does it Work?
215 Using the Nikon D700 in Commander
220 Nikon SB-600 Speedlight Slave
Conf guration
222 Using the Nikon SB-800 Speedlight as
a Commander Device
227 Examining the Nikon SU-800 Wireless
Speedlight Commander Unit
232 My Conclusions
235 Nikonians Voucher
237 Image Credits
239 Indexx Foreword
When Nikonian Jim Johnson (TechRead) retired from a 25-year career as a sofware developer
for IBM, he had already been working as a contract technical editor for Microsof. Afer his
retirement, technical editing and writing became his primary source of income to cover the
cost of his “toys”, most of which were computer hardware and Nikon photographic equipment.
Hungry for knowledge and being himself a suferer of the dreaded Nikon Acquisition Syndrome
(NAS), he ft right in at the Nikonians community.
When ofered the opportunity to coauthor this D700 book, Jim found that he—and the
D700—were at a crucial juncture: an age of 16-megabyte Compact Flash cards, capable of 133X
(and faster!) data transfer speeds to support extensive high frame-rate shooting; terabyte hard
drives for storing very large numbers of large RAW fles; 20-inch, and larger, high-resolution
monitors that provide outstanding color accuracy and contrast; quad-processor computers
for efcient Photoshop processing of these large RAW fles; Capture NX 2 and Photoshop CS4
for maximum fexibility in image enhancement; vibration-reduction (VR) lenses for op-ti
mal image stabilization; programmable, wireless Speedlights that run on AA batteries; and a
camera body that provides literally hundreds of menu options, allowing the rank amateur to
capture impressive images of family history, the photojournalist to document the scene at that
moment, or the accomplished professional to create magnifcent fne art. Tat represents an
amazing number of combinations and permutations in the fusion of end-user objectives, co-m
puter hardware and sofware, lenses and camera accessories, and a magnifcent camera body.
To adequately understand and manage such an aggregation requires a careful presentation
of the relevant parts and processes, which Jim attempts to share in this book. Te idea of sha-r
ing is therefore not strange to Jim. In fact it is a way of life; Jim also teaches classes on digital
photography, Photoshop, and the various versions of Windows and Microsof Ofce. A D300 is
his favorite current working tool, while lusting for a D700 afer using one intimately and exte-n
sively for the writing of this book.
Jim and his wife Heather live on the California coast with their home overlooking the Morro
Bay estuary. Te coast, the bays and the mountains all combine to host a vast array of botan-i
cal subjects, which are the focus of Jim’s current photographic interest. Jim joined as a Gold
member of Nikonians, having been introduced to Nikonians by Rocky Nook while working on
the editing team for the Nikonians Press frst volume,M astering the Nikon D300, by Nikonian
Darrell Young, with whom he co-authors this new book, Mastering the Nikon D700.
About the Nikon D700 camera Jim said: “Indeed, the D700 is quite an exquisite compilation
of features, all in a reasonable size and weight. Even the price is realistic.”Foreword xi
In this book, you will fnd in detail why and how to make the most out of it, as the many
Nikonians owning one have discovered in awe.
We congratulate Jim and Darrell for this work, the third of the Nikonians Press books, in
association with Rocky Nook.
Bo Stahlbrandt (bgs) and J. Ramón Palacios (jrp)
Nikonians Founders and Administrators
A note from the publisher:
Darrell Young’s Mastering the Nikon D300, also published by Rock Nook, has received
sterling reviews for its depth of content, breadth of coverage, and warmth of delivery. As the
Nikon D700 is a level of technical evolution beyond the D300, the decision was made to
likewise evolve the D300 book for this newer Nikon camera. To that end, coauthor James W.
Johnson has used Darrell’s work as the basis for describing the new features and functions
of the D700 while maintaining Darrell’s frst-person observations and commentary.
Nikon has added some very interesting and valuable features to the D700, which have
necessitated numerous changes to the technical details established for the D300 book. Te
intended audience is not those wishing to compare the features of the two cameras.
We welcome your comments and concerns...
Mastering the Nikon D700 covers the vast majority of the camera's menus, the camera's
operation, and factors to consider in selecting customization options. However, if you
have a question not addressed by the book, please drop a note to the publisher at this email
address and we'll get you an answer: D700@rockynook.comxii Preface
I grew up looking at pictures.
Ever since I was a baby my mother took hundreds of photographs of our family life,
capturing small pieces of time frozen in little negative squares. Today, I can still look
back at those images and they awaken memories that would otherwise be forgotten.
In 1968, my dear Mom gave me my frst Brownie Hawkeye camera, and that little
camera ignited a fre in me for taking pictures. I remember my mother’s words of
instruction, “Load the flm in a dark place, never open the flm door until afer you
rewind, and keep the sun behind you when you shoot”.
From that day forward I ofen carried a camera with me. I took the fuzzy pictures
of a 13-year-old as I hiked up the Roosevelt Mountain in Rockwood, Tennessee, USA,
with my brother Steven and a friend named Scott. Every major event of my life has a
few frames attached.
As an adult, I began photographing my own family, and to this day I’ve been
documenting the growth of my fve children. From my earliest memories, photography has
been a part of my life, and I’ll keep on shooting as long as I am able.
Te year 1980 was a milestone for me; that’s when I got my frst Nikon camera. It
was a nearly new Nikon FM, and I reveled in its incredible build, and the unbelievable
images it produced. Before then, I had been shooting with Kodak 110 and 126 cameras,
and although those images have priceless personal value, they would win no contests. I
graduated from negatives to transparencies in 1981, as I realized that even sharper and
less grainy images could be created in those delightful little two-inch squares. I loved
flm, and shot a lot of it. I wanted to shoot even more, but the cost of raising kids took
precedence over the cost of flm and processing.
Te year 2002 changed everything for me photographically. I had been playing
around with a Kodak P&S digital camera, and I fnally got a Nikon Coolpix 990. While
the pictures were fun and easy to make, they did not equal the quality of my 35mm
images, so I viewed digital photography only as a toy. Ten Nikon released the six-MP
D100, and Digital Darrell was born. Never before had I shot so many images. With
the “free” use of the camera, I took thousands of photographs that I would never have
considered taking with expensive flm, and thus I moved to a new level of photography
in the process. Digital cameras can ofer an educational course in photography within
My love of digital photography grew, as did my relationship with the world’s premier
Nikon User Community, www.Nikonians.org. I came on board as a charter member in
late 2000, and afer my D100 arrived I really become involved as a member. I wrote a
camera review that J. Ramón Palacios liked, (JRP is one of the co-owners of the Nikonians.org
website, along with Bo Stahlbrandt) and he asked me if I’d like to write a few articles for
Nikonians.org. At that time, I didn’t even know I was a writer! Tank you, JRP!Preface xiii
I practically lived on Nikonians.org, spending hours there each day, frst as a
moderator, then as founding member of the Nikonian Writer’s Guild. JRP asked me to write
as ofen as I could, and he posted my articles for others to read. Wow, did my ego swell!
In 2005, I bought yet another of Nikon’s excellent workhorse cameras—the D200.
Tis camera seemed to refect a direction toward a truly professional build in a smaller
bodied camera. It has a high, 10 MP resolution, a weather-sealed frame, and a fexible
feature set that includes the ability to fully use Non-CPU lenses, such as Nikkor AI and
AI-S primes. I used this camera on an almost daily basis, as a “carry” camera, since the
size was reasonable and the image quality outstanding. Generation Two!
Ten in 2007 my photographic world was tremendously enriched. Nikon released
a camera that made my eyes pop, and my Nikon Acquisition Syndrome (NAS) become
overwhelming. Te Nikon D300! Tis is third-generation 12 MP digital photography!
Tis is the afordable, yet professional-level tool for passionate creativity!
I opened that user’s manual of 421 pages and read some of it. “Wow, what a complex
camera”, I thought. I struggled to understand how the autofocus and other systems
worked. All these modes, and banks, and custom settings! Over the next few weeks, as I
learned this new and extremely powerful camera inside and out, I began writing
chapters of the Mastering the Nikon D300 book, partially to teach myself how to use the
complex and very fexible features of the D300, and also to help readers master their
new D300. Now, we're doing it again for the Nikon D700.
Additional help is available to you at the world’s premier Nikon User’s Community,
Nikonians.org. Tis truly is an International Community of over 170,000 Nikon users.
Talk about a Nikon resource! As a Nikon user, you are probably already a member, but
if you are not, please log on tow ww.Nikonians.org and become at least a Silver
member. Nikonians.org is a gold mine of photographic knowledge for Nikon users and is
unmatched by any other resource available.
Tis book is a joint efort to ofer a resource to you that will help you understand the
complexities of the important, most-used features of Nikon’s latest “wonder camera”.
It’s also designed to help you have some fun with your D700.
I feel greatly privileged to be a Nikonian, to have such knowledgeable and friendly
associates, and to help provide yet another, much requested resource in the form of a
printed book. I hope you enjoy this book and that you greatly beneft from it, and most
of all that you fnd joy in using your chosen photographic tool … the Nikon D700.
Keep on capturing time …
Digital Darrell
(Darrell Young)2 Using the Nikon D700
Using the Nikon D700Nikon D200 – Generation 2 3 1
Digital imaging changed my photography. For Soon my hard drives were overfowing with
the last few years I’ve been on a technologi- many thousands of digital images. I bought
cal and artistic trip that I’ve come to treasure: bigger hard drives and soon flled them up
Nikon digital imaging! too. My “digital imaging” had just begun!
I will begin by ofering a background
perspective introducing both the camera and my
Nikon D200 – Generation 2
own personal viewpoint. Let me reminisce....
Since I was just a kid, I’ve always enjoyed In 2005, my NAS (Nikon Acquisition
Synphotography. However, the cost of flm pro- drome) overcame me and I was one of the frst
cessing kept me from shooting nearly as much in line for the newN ikon D200, featuring 10.2
as I wanted to. Raising a family through the megapixels. Nearly double the resolution of
'80s and '90s didn’t leave much money for my frst DSLR!
extras. Tis camera was even more “professional”
I’ve had all sorts of flm Nikons, from my in build, with seals and gaskets providing
frst, a Nikon FM (1980), to my last, a Nikon protection like my pro flm Nikon F5 had. Te
F5 (2004). But, one Nikon changed every- body was big and robust, with an alloy frame,
thing, and my photography hasn’t been the robust shutter, and many internal controls.
same since. About that time I discovered the Nikon
Creative Lighting System (CLS) and loved to
use the D200 as a “commander” for my SB-800
Nikon D100 - Generation 1
and SB-600 fash units. I also got into stock
I bought my frst digital single-lens refex photography about that time, so I started
car(DSLR) Nikon back in fall 2002, when I got rying the D200 with me everywhere I went.
the Generation 1 Nikon D100. Man, was that I was amazed at how much nicer the
camera cool! All my friends had digital envy 2.5-inch monitor was, with its 230,000 dots of
when they saw it. I no longer needed flm, resolution. Te images looked so much clearer
and I was able to shoot until I was satisfed. It and warmer on that larger monitor. My D100’s
changed my photography forever. Experimen - tiny LCD screen now seemed a bit obsolete.
tation was now afordable, and I learned a lot I eventually gave the D100 to my daughter to
from being able to view my images immedi- replace her point-and-shoot digital.
ately. I discovered that a digital camera could Te images from the D200 were more
efbe a short, fast course in improving one’s pho- cient too. I could make big enlargements now
tography. without too much trouble and felt that they
At the time, I still had wet darkroom equip- were giving me a better look than 35mm flm.
ment, but that was soon gone. I discovered Being somewhat of a techno-geek, all this
Photoshop, bought a color inkjet printer, luxurious camera technology was also helping
upgraded my computer with more memory me enjoy my photography. When I wasn’t out
and a faster video card, and set up a nice digi- taking images, I could play with the camera,
tal darkroom. My 6-megapixel D100 could scroll through the menus, and think about
make sharp medium-sized enlargements, taking pictures.
which were pretty close to what 35mm flm I wanted even more, and Nikon answered.
could do. I bought a Nikon D2X pro-level DSLR
camera. Wow! Tis D2X is like driving a Porsche. 4 Using the Nikon D7001
“I’ll never need another camera,” I thought to to my wife as a present, right? It didn’t quite
myself. I never expected what came next. work out that way!
In April, I decided to take a little trip with
my family to Hunting Island, South Carolina,
Nikon D300 – Generation 3
a beautiful coastal island with a 5-mile white
When the D300 hit the market, I thought, sand beach bathed in Atlantic Ocean sunrises.
“Well, this is a nice camera, but with my D200 I fully intended to use my Nikon D2X to shoot
and D2X, I probably don’t need one”. With the a lot of great travel stock images, and maybe
help ofN ikonians.org contacts and the sup- grab a few frames with the D300.
port of Nikon’s USA press relations organiza- Te frst day out, I was on the beach at
tion, I was given the opportunity to feld-test a 6:30 a.m. with the D2X on a tripod waiting
D300. I used this experience to write some of for the sunrise. I carried the D300 over my
the detailed “menu” sections of this book. It shoulder just in case I wanted to take some
seemed like a desirable camera, although a bit handheld shots. Te sun came up in all its
complex, as it sat there next to my computer orange glory and I shot some great images
as a reference device for chapter creation. with my D2X. Since it was on a tripod, and
In fact, the D300 was so complex that I had an 80-400 mm lens on it, I couldn’t use it
didn’t have enough time with it to write a for much more, so I started shooting with the
detailed book. So, I fgured I’d just go ahead D300.
and buy one to complete the book. Afer the I took a few pictures and noticed how
book was done, I could always give the D300 smooth the shutter sounded. Te images
on that 3-inch monitor looked like actual
Figure 1 – Hunting Island Atlantic Ocean sunriseNikon D300 – Generation 3 5 1
Figure 2 – Photographer watches a Hunting Island Atlantic Ocean sunrise
pictures. I was shooting some really beauti- Tat 3-inch 920,000-dot LCD monitor was
ful shots, and enjoying it. I can’t explain how simply amazing. I could see my images in
exactly, but the D300 “felt diferent” from my great detail by zooming all the way in past the
D200. Something about it just felt more pro- 100% pixel-peeping level.
fessional, smoother, and faster. I hate to admit Te sensor, at 12.3 megapixels, captures
it, but by the end of a couple of hours of wa-lk twice the resolution of the D100 I started with
ing around with the D300, I was head over back in 2002. In printing, I’ve found that the
heels in love with the camera. Why? Look at D300 meets or exceeds anything I’ve done
the image in fgure 1, for instance. with my flm-based medium-format cameras.
I was taking pictures that curled my eye- Way better than 35mm flm!
lashes! I was walking around with this cam- It makes me kind of sad to admit this to
era taking images that were so captivating I you, but my D2X became a backup camera
couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I was using body for my D300. I barely used the D2X for
Nikon’s latest technology and my eyes to cre- the rest of that trip, and I came back with
ate some of the best images of my life. over 1,500 absolutely premium images of the
island. Since then, the camera has literally 6 Using the Nikon D7001
gone everywhere I go. People have become FX-format image sensor used on the profe-s
accustomed to “Darrell with his Nikon”. I just sional D3...except this one also has a
dustsmile, and take their picture. removal system akin to that found in the D300
Te D300 is absolutely a stock shooter’s (and not available in any form on the D3).
dream machine. Te body size is neither too Tere are several other diferences that set
small nor too large. It feels well-balanced in the D700 apart from the D300, and we’ll look
my hand and shoots with a smoothness that at them as we go through the book.
has lit a new fre in my blood for imaging. • One thing I’d like to mention, before I go
In fact, the image inf gure 2 expresses a into the details of this latest generation of
certain emotion that a picture can say better near-professional Nikons, is something
than words. Have you ever felt this way? that might sound a little weird to some but
speaks to why I now use the D700 over the
D2X most of the time. Te D700 is
basiNikon D700 – Generation 4
cally a miniaturized D2X, for the following
In July 2008, Nikon announced the avail- reasons:
ability of the D700. Its major innovation was • Both provide 12+ MP resolution, but the
the full 24× 36 mm image sensor, the same D700 creates an FX image (24 × 36 mm).
Figure 3 – Nikon D700 top view with Nikkor 24-120 mm f/3.5-5.6 G LensFX vs DX Image Sensor 7 1
• Te D2X shoots natively at fve frames per
second, as does the D700 (though the D700
can shoot eight frames per second with the
MB-D10 Battery Pack).
• Te shutter has been tested out to the same
number of actuations as the D2X (150,000).
• It has the same types of seals and gaskets
protecting it from the weather.
• It has exceptional color depth with 12-bit
(like the D2X) or 14-bit.
• It has virtually all the functionality of the Figure 4 – Nikon D700’s EXPEED image
processorD2X in a smaller body, similar to the
professional Nikon F6 flm camera.
My conclusion is that the D700 is like a small Te EXPEED does what it implies by
movD2X. In fact, it has deeper color depth, more ing data of the sensor chip with “extra speed”.
powerful autofocus, better metering, a much Te D700 needs that speed because not only
better monitor, a wider ISO range, and tre- can it shoot in the normal 12-bit color depth
mendously better image-noise control. Te that other cameras use, it also has a 14-bit
D700 is, in many ways, better than my D2X, mode that captures 64 times as much color
and become more like the Nikon D3 and the information.
even-newer Nikon D3X. It has become my Plus, the name sounds extra cool. Most of
“carry” camera of choice. It truly is a near-pro- the major camera brands are creating names
fessional camera! like this. For instance, there’s Sony’s Bionz,
Instead of simply reviewing the D700, the Canon’s Digic, and Pentax’s PRIME image
intent is to discuss the signifcant features processors. Being that I am a Nikon guy, I
and functions of this camera and how to make favor the name EXPEED…don’t you?
good use of them. Tese things are interesting
for people who enjoy camera technology and
FX vs DX Image Sensor
who want to get the most out of their camera.
Figure 3 shows my favorite view of a D700. Heretofore, digital cameras in this price range
Now, let’s look at some of my favorite features ofered only “half-sized” image sensors. For
in the D700. Nikon, these were classed as DX cameras with
an image sensor measuring approximately
24 mm × 16 mm. Te Nikon D700 provides
EXPEED Image Processor
a full 35mm camera-sized image sensor
Te EXPEED microprocessor found in the (24 mm × 36 mm), known as an FX image
D700 is a Nikon invention for their newer sensor.
DSLRs ( fgure 4). Not only does it compress When a DX-class lens is mounted, it will
and transmit the RAW image data, but it also generate the same sized image on the new
performs noise-reduction, dynamic-range, sensor as it was designed to create for the
and color-algorithm adjustments on stored DX-sized sensor. Tis will result in the
apparJPEGs. ent 1.5X focal-length advantageD X image
sensors provide, but—with the D700 set to 8 Using the Nikon D7001
DX-format or the D700 being allowed to another camera arrives on the scene. As with
automatically recognize when a DX lens is 35mm flm of old, this image size has enough
attached—will result in 5-megapixel images. resolution to cover the greatest majority of
(Te image from a DX lens will always be reasons to take a picture. Even when a newer
the same size; attempting to fool the camera camera comes out with higher resolution, the
by forcing it to FX mode when a DX lens is D700 will remain useful for many years.
attached will result in a full-frame picture that
sufers serious degradation of that portion
Five or Eight Frames per Second
of the image that falls outside the normal DX
image area.) If you are an action, sports, or wildlife
shooter, you can now use a smaller body and
still get the high-speed frame-rates you need
12.1-Megapixel CMOS Sensor
to capture fast-moving subjects. If shutter
A major factor in the D700’s excellent image speeds are high enough, the D700 shoots at
quality is the 12.1-efective megapixel CMOS five frames per second with only a singleE
Nsensor. It captures RAW data with up to 14 EL3e battery. TheM B-D10 Battery Pack adds
bits of color for each of the red, green, and a little extra amperage and allows the
camblue channels. Many other DSLRs in this class era to jump up to eight frames per second.
only capture at 12 bits per channel. Tis gives I just went to YouTube.com and searched
the D700 an advantage in reproducing fner on “Nikon D700 Shutter” and found several
color gradations, better shadow details, and a videos that allow one to hear the sound of a
wider dynamic range. Figure 5 shows the sen- Nikon D700 firing at eight frames per second.
sor used in the D700. If you don’t have a D700 with an MB-D10
BatTe D700’s 12+ megapixels gives me an tery Pack, check out the videos. It’s
impresimage fle that is sharp and colorful enough to sive!
make enlargements in the 16 × 20-inch range If you have an 8- or 16-gigabyte (or higher)
and larger. Tis used to be the sole territory of compact fash (CF) memory card, you can
medium-format flm cameras. hold hundreds or even thousands of images
With this level of resolution, the camera on one card. Te D700 is plenty fast, and with
will not become immediately obsolete when a fast CF card (think “ultra direct memory
access” (UDMA), capable of 40 MB/sec ),
your card will hold the results. Try it out for
More on Bits and Memory
Unlike with the D300, color bit-depth has no
impact on frame rate in the D700.
Figure 5 – Nikon-designed 12.1-megapixel
CMOS sensor unitNoise Control 9 1
Figure 6 – Spring in Tremont, Great Smoky Mountains National Park,
Tennessee, USA, at ISO 100
Noise Control
the available light, I had to crank the ISO up to
If you are just now entering the digital world, 3200 to get enough shutter speed to
successthink of “noise” as the digital equivalent of the fully capture the image. I took several frames,
“grain” you worked with in flm, but this time and they seemed awfully nice-looking on my
with the addition of some really ugly extra little camera monitor. Later at home, I pulled
color speckles here and there. them up on the computer screen, and let me
However, when I’m shooting stock photos I tell you, I was simply amazed. I’ve never seen
want noiseless images if I can get them. When an ISO 3200 image look this good before. I was
I look at a beautiful nature scene, my eyes used to seeing my D2X images at that ISO, and
don’t see a bunch of noise foating around in there is no comparison. I mean that. Te D700
that deep blue sky, so I don’t want my images images at ISO 3200 were somewhat noisy, but
to have any noise either! the noise didn’t impact the edges of the color
So far, I’ve found that the D700 controls changes the way I was used to. Sharpness
noise very well when I shoot JPEGs and let the didn’t seem degraded at all. I normally don’t
EXPEED processor do its adjustments. Te shoot at high ISOs like that, but the
circumother day, I was shooting images in an indoor stances required it, and I was able to come
auditorium. Te speaker was half a football away with some reasonably clear images.
feld away from me, so I was using a 400 mm When I’m out shooting nature, I ofen take
Vibration Reduction (VR) lens. I was not the D700’s ISO below the normal 200, to the
allowed to use a tripod, so I had to rely on the L 1 setting, which is approximately ISO 100.
VR to help me keep the images sharp. Under I had grown used to my D2X images at ISO 10 Using the Nikon D7001
100, which makes noiseless images at low suddenly realized that this would be a lot
ISO. When I saw the D700 images at the same easier if I could stand back a little bit. I turned
ISO 100 setting, I realized that it was very on Live View mode and was amazed at how
much the same as the D2X. Tere is virtu- easy macro shots were when I was not
hoverally no noise in a D700 image at ISO 100. Te ing over the camera so closely. Figure 7 shows
only words that can describe the images are the result of that shoot taken while using Live
smooth and colorful. I shoot stock mostly at View mode.
ISO L 1 and have had excellent results. For this type of shot, I was able to focus in
Here, in fgure 6, is an image shot at ISO Live View very accurately, and I think I’ll fnd
100 in the Tremont area of Great Smoky other ways to use it.
Mountains National Park in May. Tis image
has excellent dynamic range and detail in
3-Inch Monitor
the shadows and highlights, and virtually no
noise. Tis is one of the reasons I started using the
D700 over my D2X. I made some images on
the D2X, and they looked okay on the
moniLive View
tor. I shot similar images on the D700 and
At frst I didn’t see any point to Live View, realized that I could see more detail on the
but afer using the camera for a while, I’ve screen.
found distinct uses for it. My favorite way to Te D2X has a 235,000-dot screen
resoluuse Live View (where you see the image using tion, while the D700 has 920,000 dots. Tat’s
the Monitor LCD instead of the normal view - nearly four times more resolution! In fact,
fnder) is while shooting macro images. the little monitor on your D700 is roughly the
I was shooting a pipevine swallowtail tiny equivalent of aV GA resolution computer
(Battus philenor) butterfy on a tree in Great monitor. Te color saturation and contrast is
Smoky Mountains National Park. I had the great too. What you see on your camera
monicamera on a tripod, using an older AI-Nikkor tor is pretty much what you’ll see on your big
200 mm f/4 manual-focus lens on a bellows, monitor later at home.
to shoot larger than life-sized macro images. Tis has allowed me to be more
aggresI was using my normal viewfnder when I sive in deleting fles. I was used to shooting a
huge number of images so that I could weed
through them later to fnd the best ones. Te
monitors on previous cameras just didn’t
have enough resolution to show tiny faws in
the images. With this new VGA-level
resolution, I can see very clearly when an image has
a problem, delete it immediately, and then
reshoot it. I fnd that I’m now ofen deleting
over half of the images I normally would have
taken home with me and stored on my
overloaded hard drives. Te images I do keep are
higher quality, since I’ve been able to validate
Figure 7 – Pipevine swallowtail (Battus
them in the feld.philenor) butterfy in macroPicture Control 11 1
I’ve read articles that claim this is not
parIn previous cameras, you would ofen hear of ticularly efective in some cameras. All I can
people complaining how this lens or that lens say is that since I’ve had my D700 I’ve only
had ‘back focus’ issues on their camera. Or, seen one dust spot on a series of pictures.
someone would complain that they felt their I had just come back from the beach and
meter underexposed or overexposed, so they expected to fnd lots of sandy dust on my
senkept 1-stop of compensation dialed in all the sor. However, I found only that one tiny spot.
time. I immediately fred up the vibrating dust
Te Nikon D700 solves this issue. Later in removal system and then made some test
this book, you’ll read about how to fne-tune shots. Te dust spot was gone. Tat’s been my
your light meters, your autofocus, and other total experience with dust and the D700. Since
parts of the camera. If you have an obse-s that time, I have my D700 set to clean the
sensive personality as I do, you’ll probably enjoy sor on startup and shutdown.
fne-tuning your D700. Add that to the ability
your camera gives you to remap buttons and
Picture Control
you can make the D700 into a very “personal”
shooting device. Under the Shooting Menu you’ll fnd the Set
Picture Control selection. We’ll cover this in
detail later in this book, but for now I wanted
Sensor Dust Cleaning
to mention it since I think it is quite clever.
The D700 has a high-frequency “ultrasonic” Tere are four settings inS et Picture
vibration dust removal system. The camera Control:
wiggles the low-pass filter in front of the • Standard
sensor at a very high frequency to dislodge • Neutral
dust particles. Many people don’t realize that • Vivid
the sensor itself is not exposed to dust. It is • Monochrome
covered by the filter, which gets dusty over Each setting gives a diferent look to your
time. A dust-removal vibration system is image. I shoot in Neutral most of the time
expected in this class of cameras these days. because I fnd that it gives me a little lower
Let me quote Nikon’s website: contrast and some extra dynamic range.
Since I will cover this later, let me just
“Dynamic integrated dust reduction make a comparison here. If you want your
system: Self-cleaning ultrasonic sen - camera to emulate certain famous flms of
sor unit minimizes degradation of old, here are my opinions about what these
image quality due to dust particles.” modes do for you:
• Standard – Quite similar to Fuji Provia,
Sounds good to me, and it seems to work with its mildly saturated colors and
reasonpretty well, too! able contrast.
In addition to the vibration cycle, the flter • Neutral – Very similar look to Fuji NPS or
is coated with a tin oxide coating that is anti- Kodak Portra flm. Lower color saturation,
static in nature and helps prevent dust from lower contrast.
sticking to the sensor. • Vivid – I bet you couldn’t guess that I was
going to mention Fuji Velvia here. Tis 12 Using the Nikon D7001
mode gives you intense colors that makes Processor is quite powerful, and is a
foreshadscenics, fowers, and anything that needs owing of things to come in the future.
high-contrast color saturation really pop. How would you like a camera that will
Te contrast is quite high, which means allow you to shoot 12 stops of light range,
that shadow detail sufers. But, you get which is enough to cover the detail in shadow
some very satisfying blacks from this mode and highlights on a sunny day? From my own
that, when combined with intense color unscientifc experimentation, I believe that
and high contrast, really make powerful the D700 gives me at least seven stops of range
nature scenes. Tis will also help when you in most instances.
are shooting on a very low-contrast
overcast day and want to add some snap to your
51-Point Autofocus
• Monochrome – You can select from nor- Te D2X and D200 both have 11 autofocus
mal Black & White (B&W) or use the ton- points. Te D700 gives you 51, which allows
ing control to set any one of seven tints you to move the little active AF point all over
available forS epia (warm-golden), Cyano- the place in your viewfnder. I fnd that it
type (cool-bluish), Red, Yellow, Green, Blue
Green, Blue, Purple Blue, and Red Purple.
Each of the tints allows you to fne-tune the
saturation of the tint, from mild to heavy.
With the D700’s Set Picture Control, you can
control the look of your images in a way not
possible with many other cameras.
Active D-Lighting
If you’ve worked with Nikon Capture NX or
Figure 8 – Active D-Lighting in the D700
Capture NX 2, you are probably familiar with does two things: controls shadow
the D-Lighting system. If you aren’t, then let detail and controls highlight
detailme tell you about what the camera can do.
When I am shooting JPEGs, I’ll usually
have the Normal setting enabled. What this
does is try to extend the dynamic range of an
image so that the shadows retain detail and
the highlights don’t “blow out”.
It actually works pretty well. I fnd that the
camera retains highlight detail better than
without it, which gives me more control. I can
push my histogram closer to the right edge
without losing my highlights. It also tends
to lower the contrast in the image by
bringFigure 9 – There are fve settings under the ing out detail in the darker areas. Amazingly,
Active D-Lighting section of the it does this quite well without adding a lot
Shooting Menu: Auto, High,
of noise in the process. Tis EXPEED Image
Normal, Low, and Of

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