Having used an older (2002) digital camera for years and then film -- it was a real interesting experience using the D700 this first time. It is the newest camera I have owned (2008). Since about 2004 I have shot with Canon exclusively, and the transition to Nikon was complete with the sale of my 1Ds and the purchase of the F5.
Canon has some really nice lenses, and the ability to use some "alternative" glass on the Canon bodies was super appealing to me. Canons' lens mount is larger than that of Nikon, so it allows for the use of Pentax, Olympus Zuiko and yes, even Nikon -- among others on a Canon via an adapter. With Nikon, really the options are limited due to the smaller mount.
This is not a deal breaker, as Nikon didn't hose their customer base on this front. Their older lenses are both FABULOUS and you can use them on all F mount cameras. Nikon did hose their customers with the new repair policy that went into effect in July of this year -- but I won't get into that now (hopefully I won't need any repairs also).
My Tokina lens, as mentioned in previous posts, is Nikon based. I had been using that on my Canon via a fotodiox adapter. It worked fine, and I discovered a fabulous lens - and probably drove the resale up on it. Sorry people! This made the transition a bit more "natural" to Nikon - as I didn't need to mess with the adapter, even though it really is no pain.
When I was in the market for a film body, I looked at the EOS-3, 1V, Nikon F5 and F100. The EOS-3 supposedly didn't meter correctly for manual focus glass and the EOS 1V is still $500+. No thanks. I was looking at the F5 and F100. The F100 is a superb camera, and I actually had an F100 and 2 F5s in my "stable" at one point in time. I kept the F5 as the F100 didn't have mirror lock up, and I liked the form factor of t he F5 better than the F100. The F100 is a beast, and built better than the EOS-3.
Nikon really nailed the design and function with the F5. Many people say the F3 is the most amazing 35mm film camera on the planet, with the F5 close behind it. The F5 feels great in the hand. Yes it is heavy, but you know it is up to any task you ask of it. The experience I had this summer with the F5 swayed my decision to stick with Nikon, when the time came to get back into the digital realm.
After about a month of research on cameras, I decided on the D700. Canon really fell asleep at the wheel on their bodies the last 3-4 years. I looked at the Canon 1Ds2 when looking at cameras, but it simply was not an upgrade enough for me. The IQ is outstanding on the 1Ds2, but it still is nearly 8 year old technology, uses old bulky batteries, ISO maxes out at 1600 (usable up to 800), no Live View or useful LCD.
The 1Ds3 is a great camera, but it is still nearly 3 grand on the used market. The 5D2 has amazing IQ, but lets get real; the build quality is pretty embarrassing -- especially for a camera that was aimed squarely at landscape and wedding photographers. It is basically the build of a 40/50D with the same 9 point AF and a FF sensor. No thanks. I don't shoot in a bubble, so I need something that can fall a few feet and not miss a beat. In my research for durability and such on the Nikon, I came across this nice article. Pretty much sealed the fate of the 5D2.
I decided against the D3 mostly because of the cost. Sure the D3 has the larger form factor that I like and a brighter viewfinder, but other than that, it was pretty much the same camera. When i picked up my D700, I didn't know what to expect. You see, hadn't even touched a D700 prior to this purchase. First thing I noticed was the heft of this thing. With the lens attached, it weighs as much as my F5, without the 8 AA batteries.
This is the first camera I have owned that has had Live View and a beautiful LCD. When I took this out to shoot, I noticed a few things that are thoughtfully laid out. I shoot in manual mode 100% of the time and use Mirror Lock-up 95% of the time. With Canon, MLU was buried in the menus. With the D700, it is on the control dial, as is Live View. Very convenient! Another thing I noticed is that with non AI-S lenses, you can add a lens profile. You simple enter the largest aperture the lens is and what focal length, and save the profile. My camera knows what aperture I am shooting at, and my lens is fully manual -- and you change the aperture via the barrel of the lens! Pretty smart, if I do say so my self.
Live View, while I am still a very novice at using it, looks like it will come in handy when the composition calls for a rather interesting perch of the camera. SO instead of contorting my body to see through the viewfinder like I used to, I can simply use Live View to "cheat"! Gotta love technology.
Lastly, the lens is probably the real star of the show. This lens impressed me immensely with the 1Ds, blew me away with my film experiment, and now - even when I thought I knew how good this lens was, I am besides myself. Gets me giddy to think I can get even better results with a higher grade lens!
If you read through all that, you impressed me! I hope you found this somewhat informative. Here is a photo from yesterday. Until next time..