Nikon D700 ISO Experiments

My friend Zack (@zackluye) just got the new, beautiful, Canon 7D.  This thing takes the most incredible video you ever did see, for under $2k!  It got me all in a mess.  I have this amazing Nikon D700 which has the insides of a Nikon D3 with a smaller outside.  Yeah it’s missing some of the features of the D3 but it also has a few that the D3 doesn’t have.  In the end, it takes identical photos as the D3, same chip, same processor, same images.

I went to Internet to read about the 7D, the Canon 5D Mark II, Nikon D700, D3, D3X and D3S and, to my surprise, I left happy.  I was expecting to read that the 5D and 7D have lower image quality than the D700 but shoot amazing video. Got that.

The Canon 5D Mark II has a full frame sensor but doesn’t handle low light nearly as well as my D700 but shoots at a higher megapixel and does video.  The Canon 7D has the same problem but is aggravated by a smaller sensor so even more noise.  But again, the video? Glorious.

I was expecting to hear that the D3, D3X and D3S all take better pictures than my D700.  NOPE!  While the D3X and D3S take arguably better pictures, there are caveats.

The Nikon D3X has a 24mp sensor that would allow me to print my photos even larger than my current (20×30 inches) which I would love.  But it’s low light performance is ranked below my D700 and it costs three times as much (or something like that.)

The Nikon D3S has the same size sensor but ISO sensitivity up to like a babillion. Basically it can shoot in the dark and still get great photos.  At ISO 12,800 the image looks like ISO 6400!  Incredible.

So, after shooting a weekend full of concerts and artists and having to deal with extremely low lighting situations, I decided to run a little ISO test. So check out the image below, click to view it a little larger, there will be a download link for the full size image if you really feel the need for that.

Nikon D700 ISO Experiment

Nikon D700 ISO Experiment click to download the (almost) full resolution image.

I wish I had my Nikon D80 with me right now to run the same test. I’m pretty sure it’s ISO 800 looks like the Nikon D700 at ISO 3200.  The results here are pretty impressive to me and it makes me feel just that much better about my purchase.  It will be a year in January. What shall we do for my Nikon D700 anniversary?!

And as far as shooting HD video? I’ll just keep experimenting with my Kodak Zi8 until I’ve grown up into something better.  Really do hope Nikon comes out with a DSLR that shoots video that competes with the Canon equivalents, with a full frame sensor and doesn’t cost a fortune

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Nikon D700 beats $32,000+ Cameras

Isn’t it wonderful when you find out that the “steal” you got turns out to be more of a heist?

Such is the case with my Nikon D700. Not only did I get it, brand new from an authorized dealer, for about $1,000 off retail price, turns out it’s better than a Leaf Aptus75S… which costs about $32,000.

Oh, did I mention that you still have to buy the $7-15,000 camera to use the Leaf Aptus75S?

Check out the stats here from DxOLabs

My camera wins over the latest and greatest Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III and the Leaf Aptus75S in…

  • Sensor quality
  • Low light ISO (noise)
  • Price
  • Pixel Pitch
  • ISO Latitude
  • Frame rate

And out of the three metrics where the Leaf Aptus75S wins, two of them are only by a hair.

Now, I will say that the Leaf digital backs are amazing and I’d definitely love to have one but if I can get similar and/or better performance with a more portable camera at a more affordable price, I’ll take it.

I’d much rather have a Nikon D700 in my bag than be stuck lugging around a heavy, and extremely pricey, medium format digital camera. If I ever want to make those stunning 20+ megapixel pictures, I’d probably be just fine with a Nikon D3x… Which, by the way, wipes the floor with the Leaf Aptus75S!

Oh happy day.


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