New D700

by mobileblogger on November 3, 2009

Ok, finally I bit. Considering the approaching holiday season, the closing in of the Christmas time, I jumped the ship to a different league and got myself a D700.

Almost a year ago, I wrote a review after I spent a couple of days with a D700. Quite reluctant to spend at that time, but still wanting to get the camera, I made myself a plan to ease the financial burden of the transition towards the full-frame format. One thing you have to know BEFORE you make any serious commitment for a full-frame Nikon: the costs are higher.

I really don’t know to what extent spending on such outfit is justified for an amateur. However, when it comes to toys, experience says that rational arguments and logic have nothing to do with the burning desire of owning a certain gadget. Unfortunately – and this can be witnessed on the majority of photographic phorums – photography nowadays is more about the technicalities of achieving the “ultimate quality of the image”, seldom the story that should be behind each shot. For some, this translates in more megapixels and “detail rendition”, for others in “high ISO noise performance”, for all – the peeping at 100% maginification in continuous quest of the noiseless gradients and perfect texture of, for example, the toilet paper roll photographed at 20mm focal from 100 feet away.

I am a far less pretentious guy and frankly I give a damn about my 10,000 stuck pixels on the frame I took at ISO 6400 with 30 sec exposure and lens lid on. I can even go further and say that I am not at all impressed by the razor sharp capilaries that I see on my wife’s face (neither is she impressed, thus I often have to soften the image). Moreover, I barely look for the hairs in my neighbour nostrils as I look over his face in NX2, while I’m trying to remove, in post, that forest which attracts the eyeballs more than Jenna Jameson in Grand Central.

I take 100 photos of pure shit for one photo that I like. Which, I agree, makes me a lousy (or at least, careless) [amateur] photographer. But whenever I experience the need to go back and look at a certain photograph I took, I am happy that I have the gear I have. Believe me or not, most often people like the imperfect photos I take: some are overexposed, some under, some have noise or are out of focus, from a technical perspective they are junk. But there is always something behind all this that makes it look good, that attracts your mind and makes you feel something. And that one shot for 100 other I toss, makes this hobby worth its money.

Thus, the first step was to find a way to (ex)change my dear 17-55 F/2.8 DX Nikkor for a 24-70 F/2.8 FX Nikkor. After using the D700 kit 70-120 (or something) and witnessing the horrendous results of such a poor lens on such a magnificent camera, I did a couple of tests with the 17-55 in both cropped mode (DX) and full-frame since it was the only pro-grade lens that I had at that time. Boy, the difference was huge ! By the way, at 55mm extreme, the 17-55  has very low vignetting in FX on the D700 and can be used in full-resolution mode. That holds valid up to a focal of apx. 25mm when the corners sharply degrade to a complete blackout vignette. I decided that I have to get the 24-70 and luckily a friend helped me and exchanged my 17-55 with the 24-70.

And my cat just jumped for it.

Cat on a hot thin spoof

Cat on a hot thin spoof

(to be continued…)

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