D700 too much of a camera for me?


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Mar 14, 2009
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I am a new user to this forum so forgive me if I posted this in the wrong forum.

I got my first camera, Canon PowerShot S3 IS, roughly 3 years ago and have been photographing ever since then. You can see my photography at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/001fj/

I am planning to upgrade to a DSLR hopefully this summer. After many weeks of searching on the Internet and reading reviews and so on I feel that Nikon offers the cameras I am looking for especially the D700 (let’s assume that its price tag is not an issue for now.) But recently I have been having doubts if I really need the D700 and if that the D300 wouldn’t be more than enough for me.

The reason I want to upgrade to a DSLR is mainly because of its high ISO performance. I frequently take pictures of my little nieces and nephew but the PowerShot S3 IS makes it almost impossible to focus on them and output decent (low noise) images indoors since kids are almost always moving. And also I like night photography…without the blur or the flash.

If I buy the D300 to save $1,000 then I have to buy DX lenses, but I am certain in few years I would want to upgrade to full frame and then I would have to not only buy a new Nikon camera but also new FX lenses. I know it is a big jump from a PowerShot to a full frame DSLR but I really don’t want to spend my money on DSLR cameras that will leave me just as frustrated as the PowerShot. I’d rather spend one or two thousands extra and get the results I want.

Another thing I am concerned about is the D700 weight and grip. Since I am planning to buy it online I am not sure how it feels in the hand. And I do like to go for walks that last hours and take pictures so its weight might be an issue here. But I know that my next camera will be a DSLR and that means I have to get used to heavier cameras anyway.

So my question is: how do you feel about the D700…is it too much of a camera or is it easy to get used to? And any helpful advice will be appreciated.

Looking forward to your replies.

personally i feel that as a first dslr the d700 is definetly too much, i think you would be more then fine with a d90 or a used d80 and can get even more glass. keep in mind you can use fx glass on dx cameras.
keep in mind you can use fx glass on dx cameras.

What he said. With the price difference, you could easily buy some good, fast lenses. Taking pictures in dim conditions isn't (just) about your camera's ISO performance -- a major, major part of it is the glass strapped to the front of the camera. Slap a slow lens on that D700, and the results will be disappointing. Slap good glass on a D90, on the other hand, and it will knock your socks off. :D
Go into your local camera shop, if they don't have a D700, they'll have a 300, they feel very similar, except the 700 is alot more "dense".

IMO get a D90, you'll hate how heavy the 700 is and how expensive the lenses are.
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If money is no object, get the 700! Why not? You can always learn and grew into it. No reason one cannot. This is all taking into account money is not an issue! I always buy the best I can afford. There are times I have my $7,600 600mm f/4 L IS lens mounted on my Rebel XTi and out there shooting and loving every minute of it. When not using the Rebel, I have a lowely 40D. Big deal. I don't own a pro body, but I have one of Canon's most expensive lenses. I say if you can afford it, get it. At least you won't want for anything more in your camera body for awhile. I hear that the 700 is fine piece of equipment.

Basic idea is, if money is not an issue on DSLR body AND the GOOD lenses. I do not see why not unless as stated in your post, you do not want to carry a heavy body around.

However, good lenses are usually heavy too.
I would definitely say get the D700. It will be the best choice, and you won't out grow it for quite, quite some time, and with a 50 1.4, you will have incredible low-light.
Thank you for your feedbacks. I certainly agree that I do need a fast lens to get good pictures indoors. The reason I am encouraged to buy the D700 because this website, http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d700/lenses.htm , has suggest some pretty good lenses for pretty cheap price. For example he suggested the 50mm f/1.4 AF-D (about $290) “For photos of family and friends in any light without flash.” To me that sounds like a good deal.

So my question is: do you think a person can get cheap and good lenses for the D700 like this website suggests?

PS: Thanks AlexColeman you answered my question before I asked it!
I would say somewhat.
The 50 1.4, is an amazing low light lens, however for anyother ranges, you want the 24-70, it has incomparable qualty.
I don't know exactly what you mean by too much camera? Too heavy to carry for your purpose? too technically advance for you? or too much capability for your purpose?

I look at your pictures on flicker and I don't think the D700 is too advance for you at all, I think that p&s is holding you back. If you're just using to take pictures of nieces and nephews at night, I don't think you need a D700, a D90 would more than surfice, in fact, just about any DSLR would do.

As far as weight, it's gonna be heavy, I shot with a D80 with 17-55 F2.8 lens before and you can definitely feel the weight of that thing, the D700 is even heavier.

Oh yeah, you can use FX glass on DX body, not the other way around. So even if you buy DX body now, just get FX glass and you'll be fine once you decide to go full frame.
If you have to ask if it is too much, it probably is. However, like others have already said, it will not hurt to have a good body (assuming you can afford good lenses and a good body). You may not get the most out of it or use all of its features, but at least you will know that the body is not your weak point. You will have fewer equipment related excuses.
Why is the D700 "too much" camera?

Is it vastly more complicated to learn than a D300? Does it require significantly more skill to operate than a D300 or a D90?

It's really a cost issue. The OP did say "assuming price is not an issue for now"... so that takes this off the table for the moment.

I would say the biggest limiting factor is the price. To buy a D700 and some quality glass to go with it will require a small fortune. Other than that, the skill/knowledge required to operate a D700 isn't any more involved than what's required to operate other DSLR's really.

I didn't find my 5DMk2 to be any more complicated than my 50D to operate.

The weight of the camera might be an issue for him (per is comments), in that case a D300 or D90 would make a little bit of a difference. For me a few ounces here and there isn't that big of a deal, but others may think differently. Heck, I think my 70-200 F/2.8 IS makes a good walk around lens. If you listen to some folks complain about the weight/size of that lens, you would think it requires dolly to lug it around. :)

I would get what you can afford. If you can afford the D700 and a couple good lenses, go for it. The D700 is one of the best, if not the best, camera out there right now for the money.
IOh yeah, you can use FX glass on DX body, not the other way around. So even if you buy DX body now, just get FX glass and you'll be fine once you decide to go full frame.
You can with the D700, it will adjust for the difference but are limited to ~5MP image.

I have a D80, D300 and D700. Other than the Nikkor kit lens and the 12-24mm, I have (9 I think) all FX lenses and they work on all the bodies.

The learning curve from the D80 to D300 is steep to begin with but not insurmountable. The D300 to D700 is small. I was cetainly impressed with the D300 and over the moon with the D700.

I volunteer to photograph dogs and cats at my local animal shelter. I know what you mean about constant movement. Either body will suffice for that requirement. My two sons are grownups now, so shooting toddlers is way gone. :)

Good luck.
You can with the D700, it will adjust for the difference but are limited to ~5MP image.
Good luck.

you're right, I forgot about that, but that doesn't count haha. Well, you get the same megapixel as a D1X but with better color and much lesser noise. It's still a waste of a body though in my opinion.
There is no such thing as "too much camera", however there is such thing as more camera than you need. I believe a D300 would suit you well. I would buy 1 DX lens and the rest FX lenses with the extra money. If I were you, this is what I would get:

Tokina 12-24 F4
Sigma 24-70 F2.8
Nikon 80-200 F2.8
50mm F1.8

This will give you all FX lenses and one DX lens, so you should be all set if you want to upgrade to a D700.

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