Oh Internet… I must admit… I’ve had a love affair for the last year and a half with what I’ve decided to name, Alejandro. And yes. I WILL be singing the Lady Gaga song to him, probably, every day. After a year and a half long wait, I finally purchased a Nikon D700! For the last 3 years I’ve been shooting with a Nikon D80. I’ve gotten a lot of complements on my work and when people ask what camera I use, I’m usually embarrassed to say, “D80″ because where I am at in my business and the type of work I do, it’s not really on the same level as the other professionals I know and work with. Usually the next thing they say is, “Wow! I would have never guessed!” Which then makes me feel ok about it.
The biggest problem I’ve had with the Nikon D80 is that back when it was made, the technology for the ISO sensor was not as developed as it is today. Shooting at 1600 ISO on the D80 in a low light situation (in a situation where you don’t want to use a tripod and you need a relatively fast shutter speed and you’re as open as you can get with your 1.4… aka 1.4) is very grainy. I’m not a big fan of grain. In some photos, it works because it adds a fine art type element to the work, but that only works in certain photos (relative to my style). The Nikon D700 has an amazing ISO sensor.
Take the below photos for example. The first photo was taken with my Nikon D80 at a women’s expo for the Metropolitan Club in Chicago. This photo was taken at 2,000 ISO, F3.5, at 1/30th of a second. The second was taken at 1,600 ISO, F1.4, 1/80th of a second. Given these two are not taken at the same ISO, I’ve included a 3rd image that I tested last night in the parking lot on my friend’s Jeep at 6,400 ISO around 10pm last night, so it was completely dark outside. The only lights were from lamp posts and other buildings, which is a much more low light situation than the first photo below. How amazing is 6,400 ISO! Such a HUGE difference! There is still grain, but it is clean and not distracting at all.
ISO 2,000, F3.5, 1/30th (this has been edited, but the grain was not enhanced or reduced, so this grain is SOOC=straight out of camera)
ISO 1,600, F1.4, 1/80th (photo was barely edited, you’ll see a side by sides below, but grain was untouched)
ISO 6,400, F1.4, 1/40th (SOOC)
Now… Just for kicks, here’s a photo at ISO 12,800, F1.4, 1/30th. That’s right! 12,800!!!!!!! This is also SOOC.
The next beautiful thing about the Nikon D700 is that it is a full frame camera. I was just AMAZED when I put my 50mm 1.4D on my Nikon D700, took a picture, and then put it on my Nikon D80, not moving from the same spot, took a picture and saw how much more cropped the 50mm 1.4 is between the two. See below. The following two photos are unedited/SOOC. Look at the difference in crop! I always thought 50mm felt so far zoomed in, but little did I know, it’s because of the DX crop on the Nikon D80 vs the FX crop on the Nikon D700. Not only that, but the D700 has much clearer images that are sharper and more true to the white balance.
I also really love the clarity of the images between the Nikon D80 and the Nikon D700. The D700 is a very powerful camera and I’m so glad I finally feel like I’ve joined the ranks of my colleagues. Don’t get me wrong. I still believe that buying a fancy camera doesn’t make you a better photographer, BUT it makes it easier for me to produce the type of images I like to produce. The Nikon D700 also does up to 5 frames per second on one battery in continuous-servo mode and up to 9 frames per second with a double battery pack, however, yesterday, I clocked 17 frames in 3 seconds. Did I mention that the sound of the shutter is SOOOOO beautiful? It’s music to my ears. Fo sho! So… I could go on and on about how happy Alejandro makes me, but, I have things to do today, including taking Alejandro out on the town. So… I leave you with a few of my favorite photos from yesterday’s little excursion. These are before and afters (the first photo being the after, the second being the before).