Thursday, August 23, 2012

Nikon D700 discontinued!

B&H Photo is listing the D700 as discontinued! Click here to see.

By all accounts the D600 is going to be a full-frame 24MP camera with the D7000 layout. If this is true, the D600 is not a replacement to the D700, but a mid-level model with scene modes, a lesser build quality, and a smaller size with a smaller battery. In effect, not a camera that a pro would necessarily want.

As a pro, I need a full magnesium weather-sealed body, no extraneous scene modes, more dedicated buttons, and stronger batteries.

This puts the Nikon line in a strange spot. The D800 isn't a replacement for the D700, too many megapixels and the high ISO isn't as impressive as Nikon and other websites lead you to believe. I shoot both side by side in low light situations and the D700 is superior hands down. The DX line is still topped out by the D300s which is surpassed by the D7000 in specs, but not in build quality and pro features.

An FX D600 would likely kill the Nikon DX pro-level cameras. If you can get a full-frame camera for around $1500 why pay $1800 for a DX camera? Then again, there's the build quality issue, and some sports and nature photographers prefer the extra reach that a 1.5X sensor provides, so maybe a D400 DX camera is in the future.

So what of a relatively low resolution D700 replacement? Possibly a 16MP sensor in a D800 body? I'd trade my D800 for a 16MP camera in a second. I don't need the 36MP for most of my work, but I DO need two camera bodies that are similar in form and function as I use two bodies simultaneously a lot of the time. Though the D700 and D800 and minor differences, they are similarly laid out and I can switch between the two effortlessly. Backing up a D700 or a D800 with a D7000 isn't a feasible option for most pros, the completely different layout causes you to have to pause between camera changes to get oriented with the button layout, this means missed shots.

I guess we'll just have to wait it out to see, and with PMA on the horizon I don't think the wait will be long. I'm betting on at least two cameras to be announced.


Barry Balderson said...

You know, given that "magic hour" and "blue hour" have always been "Prime time" for scenic shooters, why would Nikon discontinue a camera so similar to their newest DSLR, still loaded with "up-to-date" features, that handles those shooting situations so well? Yes, 4 years is a long time for a camera to "stay current." But seriously, the D700 is still much more capable than so many other cameras available.

J. Dennis Thomas said...

It's very rare that I buy a new camera and relegate it sa a backup, but that is what happened with my D800. My D700 is still the camera I grab for most of my work. At 4 years old, it's everything I need.

I seriously hope that Nikon hasn't given up on the low-resolution cameras just to compete with Canon. For many years Nikon stayed out of the "resolution race" and opted to put out cameras that were much better in low light. Being a working professional I find the need for a camera that has more than 12 MP very rarely, if at all.

All the D700 needs to stay "current" is a few tweaks. The D3s sensor, new metering and focusing modules, and HD Video would bring the D700 up to and even surpassing most cameras on the market. This would add one to two stops of ISO usability and give the video guys what they want.

As I understand it, one of the reasons for the disappearance of the D700 is Japan's new laws on batteries, which is why the D800 and D4 got new lower charge holding batteries.

So, all is not lost, there just may be a D700s on the horizon. THAT would be a great thing.

nycandre said...

Thanks for your many to the point evaluations, far more informative than most reviews.
Regarding your comment finding the D800 not being as capable as the D700 in low light shooting - I find it hard to reconcile with the well regarded DxOMark High ISO ratings which give the D800 at least a one stop advantage (the way I interpret their rating). A clarification or illustration of how you explain your different assessment would be much appreciated.
Andre in NYC (D700 user mulling a D600 or D800 upgrade)

J. Dennis Thomas said...

The ISO performance on the D800 is marked one stop better by DxO mark simply because the D800 runs a chroma noise reduction when it's processed even in RAW. The D700 retains more detail at high ISO than the D800.

I really love the D600 image quality. I've been using the D600 a lot. I'm not a fan of the camera layout, but the sensor is amazing. My D800 has pretty much been sitting on the shelf since I got the D600.

If you can deal with the lesser build quality of the D600 I'd recommend it over the D800.