updated 12:35 am EDT, Tue July 1, 2008
Nikon unveils the D700
After a long series of leaks, Nikon on Tuesday took the official wraps off its new D700 digital SLR camera, which features 12.1 megapixel resolution using the Nikon FX-format sensor that measures 23.9 x 36mm and is nearly identical to the size of 35mm film. Offering many of the same feature as the D3, but in a smaller, lighter body, the D700 features a dual-mode Live View mode, a hi-res three-inch LCD, its EXPEED Image Processing System, and Nikon's 51-point auto focus system with 3D Focus Tracking as well as its Scene Recognition System and a new active dust reduction system. The D700's 12.1-megapixel FX-format CMOS image sensor utilizes a large pixel size of 8.45 µm that Nikon claims allows for an extremely low signal-to-noise ratio and a wide dynamic range. The new FX-format Nikon D700 D-SLR camera will be available late July 2008 for $3,000 (body only).
The company says the 12-channel readout on the D700 enables accelerated information transfer, allowing the D700 to shoot at speeds of up to eight frames per second at full resolution (using the optional MB-D10 Multi Power Battery Pack) and quickly write image data onto the CompactFlash card. The D700 offers a versatile base ISO range from 200-6400, which can be expanded to range from ISO 100 (Lo-1) to 25,600 (Hi-2).
Faster startup, shutter lag, self-cleaning system
The magnesium alloy D700 boasts a startup time of 0.12 seconds and a "nearly imperceptible shutter-lag response time of 0.40 milliseconds as well as an eye-level view finder that provides 95 percent frame coverage with 0.72x magnification.
In addition, the D700 brings Nikon's first self-cleaning system designed for the FX-format sensor. Utilizing four distinct vibration frequencies, the D700 frees image degrading dust particles from the sensor's optical low-pass filter at start-up, shut-down or on demand. Nikon also claims that the the mirror box and entire shutter mechanism are constructed of materials that resist creating debris, which could affect image purity.
As previously reported, Nikon's D700 can record full-resolution JPEG images five frames per second (fps), or eight fps with the optional MB-D10 battery pack for up to 100 images, or up to 17 lossless 14-bit Nikon NEF (RAW) files. To write images efficiently, the Nikon D700 is also compliant with the next-generation of high-speed UDMA CompactFlash cards that will enable recording speeds up to 35MB/sec, the company said.
Nikon's Multi-CAM 3500FX autofocus sensor module features 51 AF points, but adds the ability to use 3D tracking to focus and lock-on a moving subject. The company said that the 15 cross-type sensors and 36 horizontal sensors can be used individually or in groups, with the option for Single Area AF mode and Dynamic AF modes using groups of either 9, 21 or all 51 focus points. The system adds 3D Focus Tracking with automatic focus point switching that takes advantage of all 51 AF points -- using scene color content and light information to accurately track the subject.
The camera also offers Picture Control System and Active D-Lighting to enhance photos during and after capture. The Picture Control System enables users to adjust their images to pre-set parameters such as Standard, Neutral, Vivid and Monochrome that apply tweaks to image sharpening, tone compensation, brightness, overall tone and saturation, while D-Lighting uses localized tone control technology to further optimize highlight and shadow detail (while maintaining natural contrast). Active D-Lighting lets photographers choose from various intensities during capture and a new Automatic mode also applies varying levels of D-Lighting to enhance photos while shooting.
Both Rob Galbraith and DP Review have an early preview of the Nikon camera, listing many of the differences from its larger D3 sibling.