Nikon D700 review: a 2016 perspective

Build and design

The Nikon D700 uses a design very similar to the Nikon D300s, with a professional grade build quality and button lay-out. Nikon still uses the same basic design for the D810 and the new D500 APS-C camera also has a design that is very much like the good old D700. The button layout is very similar to that of the real professional body’s like the D3, 4 and 5 making using them side by side easier. That sturdy build does make the D700 quite chunky. The body weighs just a little less than one kilogram (2 pounds), but it does give you the feeling you’ve got a real high-end camera in your hands.

Nikon D700 review 2016
Pro-style button layout on the Nikon D700

The pro-style body layout means there are some details that are different from the consumer cameras. For instance there isn’t a PASM switch like you’ll find on a D7200 and other DSRL’s. Instead Nikon has mounted a combined drive-mode (single, continuous low speed, continuous high speed, live view, timer and mirror-up) and settings (ISO, Quality and White Balance) buttons on the left shoulder of the camera. You switch between the PASM modes with a different button on the right side of the camera. Another feature you’ll only find on the pro-style body’s is a dedicated AF-on button. You can use that for back button focus, a feature action photographers use a lot. The D700 has some other handy buttons and switches that make adjusting settings quicker and easier without diving in to the menu’s.  It has a switch to change the focus field from one focus point, to a group of focus points or using all the focus points. It also has a switch for adjusting the metering-mode. All those buttons may look a little intimidating for a beginner but if you have a little experience with Nikon cameras you’ll quickly feel right at home.

The Nikon D700 has got the round eyepiece just like you find on the other high-end full frame cameras by Nikon. It has got a big and bright viewfinder, that gives you a much better view of your subject than the smaller viewfinders of a APS-C DSLR. That also comes in handy for manual focussing, but that is even better when you use the live view mode. The finder has a 0.72x magnification and a 95% coverage. That means you’ll get a little more in your photo than you see in your viewfinder. The finder has got a small switch to close the finder for shooting long exposure shots and making sure you don’t get any stray light in your photo trough the eyepiece. The D700 also had a built in flash. Something most semi-professional cameras don’t have. I almost never use the built-in flash, but it does come in handy as a controller for external speedlights or when you need some extra light and don’t have a speedlight at hand.

Nikon D700 review 2016
Big round viewfinder just like all the other high-end full frame DSLR’s by Nikon

One of the greatest features Nikon has reserved for the professional body’s is the option to set the middle button of the 8-way controller to zoom to 100% when reviewing you images. This makes checking the focus very easy and quick. The only thing you have to remember is that it will zoom past the 100% zoom, which makes the image a little fuzzy. The first time using it I expected it to zoom to 100%, so I thought my images weren’t perfectly focused even while they were. After you’ve realized that you’ll find that this is a great function, that saves you a lot of time bashing the + button. I can’t understand why Nikon doesn’t add this function to other body’s, as it is a great function.

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