Nikon Announces D700 FX-Format DSLR
Also introducing Nikon SB-900 Speedlight with expansive zoom and user-applied firmware updates and new PC-E Micro Nikkor 45mm f/2.8D ED and PC-E Micro Nikkor 85mm f/2.8 lenses
Press Release—Nikon, Inc. has introduced the new D700 digital SLR camera featuring a 12.1-effective megapixel Nikon FX-format sensor (Nikon's full-frame) that measures 23.9 x 36mm, which is nearly identical to the size of 35mm film.
The D700 incorporates Nikon's EXPEED Image Processing System, Nikon’s renowned 51-point auto focus system with 3D Focus Tracking and two Live View shooting modes that allow photographers to frame a shot using the camera's three-inch high-resolution LCD monitor. The D700 also features Nikon’s sophisticated Scene Recognition System and a new active dust reduction system.
Compiled by Ellis Vener
A 12.1 effective mp FX format (AKA Full Frame) DSLR capable of up to 8 fps when using the optional MB-D10 Multi Power Battery Pack.
Pricing and availability (USA): The FX-format Nikon D700 D-SLR camera will be available late July 2008, and will have an estimated selling price of $2,999.95* (body only).
Imaging pipeline: A 12.1 (effective – meaning image making) megapixel 23.9x36mm Nikon FX-format CMOS using 8.45 micrometer (micron) pixel pitch cells with a low signal-to-noise ratio and wide dynamic range (about 12 stops in the D3). A 12-channel readout for faster information transfer allows for a 5 to 8 full size, full resolution FPS rate (see more details below).
ISO range: nominally 200-6400 + down to ISO 100 (Lo-1) and up to ISO 25,600 (Hi-2).
Viewfinder: a bright .72x magnification eyelevel viewfinder utilizing a high refractive index pentaprism (I assume made of glass elements) wit ha 95% frame coverage. A framing grid can be super imposed on the finder screen per a photographer’s preferences of format size.
Shutter: Shutter curtains are formed of a Kevlar and carbon fiber composite hybrid material. This shutter has already been tested on full y assembled cameras through at least 150,000 cycles. Shutter unit has a self-diagnostic unit, which constantly monitors shutter performance to maintain precision.
Body Construction: The camera body, rear body and mirror box are made from a high-strength magnesium alloy. Connection points in the body are weather sealed with precision O-rings to keep out dust and moisture.
Start up, shutter lag times, buffer size and write speed: Start up from off is accomplished in .12 seconds. Shutter lag response time is 0.40 milliseconds. Nikon claims these makes the D700 currently the fastest in its class.
Full Resolution JPEGS: up to 5 frames per second (FPS) or up to 8 FPS with the optional MB-10D for up to 100 frames.
NEFs 17 14 bit per channel lossless compressed NEFS.
With the new high speed UDMA CompactFlash cards camera to media write speed is up to 35 megabytes per second.
Auto-focus: The D700 uses Nikon’s Multi-CAM 3500FX autofocus sensor module with 15 cross-type sensors and 36 horizontal sensors that can be used individually or in groups. In Single Area or Dynamic AF modes, users can select groups of 9, 21, or all 51 focus points. The system also utilizes 3D Focus tracking with automatic focus point switching using all 51 points in conjunction wit h the metering systems 1,005 pixel RGB sensor to accurately track moving objects using color content and light information.
Self Cleaning mode: a first for a Nikon FX format camera, The self-cleaning system uses 4 distinct vibration frequencies to shake off dust particles from the camera’s low-pass filter. System is activated at start up, shut down, or on demand. Additionally the interior of the mirror box and the whole of the shutter mechanism are made of materials that inhibit debris creation in the first place.
Active D-lighting: Active D-Lighting lets photographers choose from various intensities during capture, while a new Automatic mode also applies varying levels of D-Lighting as, and when needed, to enhance photos while shooting. Active D-Lighting uses localized (very localized: as in on the individual sensor pixel) tone control technology to further optimize highlight and shadow detail while also maintaining natural contrast, giving photographers the ability to make better exposed photos, even in difficult lighting conditions.
LCD monitor: A 3-inch (diagonal) 920,000-dot VGA TFT LCD display covered with tempered glass features a 170-degree viewing angle.
Live View and working tethered: Live View Hand held mode uses the TTL phase detection AF utilizing all 51 AF points and allows the photographer to reframe the image prior to making the photo.
Live View Tripod mode is for very precise focusing accuracy with the camera mounted on a tripod with still subjects. Focal plane contrast detection AF can be activated on any desired point with in a specific area. (Note: Using tripod mode Live View on the D3 I use the camera in manual focus mode and enlarge the preview on the LCD monitor if not working tethered to a computer using Nikon Camera Control Pro 2 software.)
Also new is the ability to superimpose the Virtual Horizon feature over the Live View monitor image.
The camera also outputs a video signal to an HD television using the new smaller HDMI-C standard, which clients and workshop participants will appreciate.
Press Release—The SB-900 Speedlight will provide Nikon digital SLR photographers with a flash capable of a wide zoom range, increased versatility, faster recycling time, and a wealth of intelligent features to enhance the already vast functionality of the Nikon Creative Lighting System (CLS). Building on the success of the popular SB-800 Speedlight, the SB-900 provides users with extensive creative lighting possibilities with a simplified interface and the ability to stay up to date with future technologies through user-applied firmware updates.*
The SB-900 offers unprecedented zoom range coverage from 17 to 200mm, to increase flexibility in a variety of shooting conditions, while automatically adapting itself to Nikon’s FX or DX-format cameras. Additionally, light output has been increased to a maximum guide number of 48/157.5 (ISO 200, meters/feet at 35mm FX-format and Standard). Photographers can now also select from three light patterns; “Center-weighted” provides the highest guide number and is suitable for images such as portraits, where light falloff at the image edges is of less importance. “Standard” provides a familiar pattern, similar to the SB-800, and is ideal for general photography and “Even” which delivers the most consistent edge-to-edge coverage, making it ideal for situations such as group photography. Additionally, Nikon’s newest flagship Speedlight provides photographers with advanced wireless i-TTL capabilities allowing the utilization of multiple Speedlights with ease and confidence on location or in the studio.
The SB-900 Speedlight is engineered to address the creative lighting challenges faced by today’s photographers including a need for fast, on-demand performance, and the ability to adapt seamlessly to nearly any lighting scenario. The SB-900’s innovative design has the
Xenon flash tube and reflector system moving independently – allowing for a wider zoom range from an extreme wide angle of 17mm (FX) to the telephoto setting which reaches 200mm without the aid of accessories or as wide as 12mm in DX mode with the built-in wide-angle panel engaged.
The SB-900 offers a quick recycle time of 4.0 seconds (at full power) with four Alkaline AA batteries which drops to a mere 2.3 seconds (at full power) while using four rechargeable NiMH batteries—about 25 percent faster than the SB-800 with its fifth battery attachment.
While ease of use has always been a defining hallmark of the Nikon CLS System, the user interface has been even further refined to simplify control and offer faster operation. Controls for setting the wireless Master and Remote have been relocated to the outside of the unit for easier access and frequently used functions are easily adjusted with a new Rotary Select Dial. A larger LCD screen is easy to read, even in direct sunlight, and photographers can assign “My Menu” hotkeys for quicker access to commonly used functions. A new thermal cut-out protection system monitors conditions when the flash might overheat due to excessive rapid bursts. Helpful operating temperature information is provided to the photographer with an innovative temperature gauge displayed on the LCD screen.
For the first time, Nikon SB-900 Speedlight users will have the ability to take advantage of future performance advancements, by way of user-uploadable firmware. The user will be able to download the firmware onto a flash media card and upload it to the flash through select digital SLR cameras.*
The SB-900 Speedlight is Nikon’s most intelligent Speedlight ever, created in response to the needs of today’s digital photographic professionals. When using the included fluorescent or incandescent filters and adaptor, the flash automatically recognizes what filter is being used and automatically adjusts white balance accordingly on the latest Nikon D-SLRs.* Additionally, the SB-900 aids auto focus with a broader AF assist beam that covers a wide 20-105mm that is matched to all of the D3, D700 and D300’s 51 focus points. The bounce and swivel capability of the SB-900 has been expanded to include: tilt up to 90 degrees, down minus 11 degrees, and a full 180-degree swivel left or right, allowing more creativity for on or off camera use, or as a remote Speedlight.
The SB-900 serves as the new core for the Nikon Creative Lighting System when used in combination with Nikon SLRs, and supports Advanced Wireless Lighting as a master or a remote Speedlight, inviting photographers to discover endless creative possibilities. While using one or more Nikon Speedlights wirelessly, photographers can artistically use shadows, highlight details, and light complicated angles with ease. Along with the SB-900, the Nikon Creative Lighting System features a comprehensive assortment of personal lighting tools that include the agile SB-600 and SB-400, and the remarkable R1 and R1C1 Wireless Close-up Speedlight systems.
The SD9 Battery Pack boosts flash recycle time to a mere one second (at full power). For faster recycling or all-day shooting it accepts up to eight AA batteries. To enhance the weatherproof ability of Nikon D-SLRs, optional Water Guards will be available for select cameras to protect the connection between the flash and camera, allowing users to utilize the flash when weather conditions are less than ideal.
Price and availability
The new Nikon SB-900 Speedlight is scheduled to be available in August 2008, and will have an estimated selling price of $499.95.** The SB-900 will come packaged with the Speedlight Stand, Bounce Adapter, Color Filter Holder, Intelligent Color Filter Kit, Diffuser Dome and the Soft Case. The SD9 Battery Pack is also scheduled to be available in August 2008 with an estimated selling price of $230.00.
For J.D. Power and Associates award information go to jdpower.com
* With D3 and D700 Cameras only
** Estimated selling price listed is only an estimate. Actual prices are set by dealers and are subject to change at any time.