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Thread: D700: What's in a name?

  1. #1
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    D700: What's in a name?

    I find it endlessly fascinating that Nikon chose to name their semi-pro FX camera a D700.

    This makes me think that Nikon is unsure what direction the market will take. Will the consumer still be interested in DX cameras like the D300, or will the D700 signal the death knell for that format?

    By choosing to name their semi-pro FX camera a D700, it seems that it gives Nikon wiggle room for future models. If the D300 proves to still be a good seller, future iterations would follow the logical nomenclature of D400, D500 and D600. If FX takes off, subsequent D700 models could move up or down in the naming sequence. D600, D500, and maybe D400, could all be full-frame FX sensor models with fewer features and cheaper than the D700, as prosumer FX models. If the D300 continues to attract buyers, that model will continue to evolve upward, D400, D500, and D600, and the D700 will evolve upward, D800, D900, and D1000.

    Is this possible, and does it make any sense?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Talking Re: D700: What's in a name?

    You guys must be stumped , either that or you're too busy taking pictures to worry about it.

    I just think the naming of this camera, in particular, might be a clue what Nikon is thinking.

  3. #3
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    Re: D700: What's in a name?

    My head hurts trying to figure out what you said

  4. #4
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    Re: D700: What's in a name?

    How do you think my head felt writing it?

    Let's see if I can be clearer.

    The D700 is named far enough away from the D300 to allow a future FX model to be either a higher number or lower number, or both, higher and lower.

    If sales slump on the D300 and take off on the D700, Nikon might stop upgrading their D300 (it would be the last model) and the D700 would be upgraded (D800, D900, and D1000 as semi-pro FX models) and downgraded (D600, D500, and D400 as consumer FX models).

    If sales remain strong with the D300, then the D300 will continue to evolve as D400, D500, and D600, and the D700 will only be upgraded as D800, D900, and D1000.

    Sorry about having a hard time getting my point across. Hope this is clearer. If you think about it, it seems to make sense, to me anyway.
    Last edited by Player; 3rd July 2008 at 09:31.

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: D700: What's in a name?

    Have you ever considered writing a book about this interesting theme?

  6. #6
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    Re: D700: What's in a name?

    Not really Jorgen, I'm having a hard time just getting across, what really is, a simple idea. Imagine hundreds of pages of this mess.

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    Re: D700: What's in a name?

    I think the market for the DX sensor will remain. There are applications where the crop factor is helpful. The people I know that like to take bird and wildlife shots want the longest reach possible.

    I also think that there is a constituency that wanted what the D700 offers, the superb sensor of the D3 without size.

    So, while there are a number of people that are going to sell the D300 for the D700 there is a pretty big difference in price point between the two and not everyone can afford the D700.

    Now back to your question on naming...I see what you are getting at but I don't have answer.

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    Re: D700: What's in a name?

    I think there is room for both formats period. There are types of images that are best done with one over the other. This will continue for a long time, or at least until even the DX format reaches 24mp also, if that is even possible. I know people say it is and others who say impossible due to whatever technical reasons which sounds more gobbledegook then what Player started with. I find that most of my images could be done with DX but I also own a 5D in addition to the Nikon gear. Advances in technology has a way surpassing obstacles all the time. Once we thought that a supersonic airplane would rip out atmoshere away from the planet, before that, it would be impossible to go faster then sound....I see no reason that somewhere down the road we will have 50Mp chips in what ever format that are much smaller then what we can imagine today with much better DR, etc. Just look back in a Popular Science or Mechanics from the 1940-50's when they would predict how things were. It will be the same thing with this, will DX last forever or even FX for that matter...who knows, but I am sure it will be different than anything we can imagine now....

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    Re: D700: What's in a name?

    Quote Originally Posted by DonWeston View Post
    This will continue for a long time, or at least until even the DX format reaches 24mp also, if that is even possible.
    Well,
    they can definitely add more pixels. The question is keeping the image quality. Look at the pixel density of small sensor cameras.

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    Re: D700: What's in a name?

    I agree there's a market for both sensors. If you hang around here long enough you might begin to believe that everyone is fortunate enough to be able to have the best and latest gear. But there are a lot of shooters with more modest budgets and the DX is a wonderful option.

    As for product IDs, heck, at some point in the future, the "D" for digital won't even be necessary. Digital will be a given. At that point, it's a whole new ballgame. Maybe they'll take after Apple and start naming them for animals or (my preference) fish!

  11. #11
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    Re: D700: What's in a name?

    Don and TEB, thankyou kindly for your thoughts.

    If you guys are indeed right, it seems we'll have a successor to the D300, and the D700 will be incrementally improved. I'd like to see a less expensive version of the D700 though, maybe a D90 FX. Let everyone (pros and amateurs) choose between the two formats.

    The reason I brought this up is because I originally found it odd that Nikon would name an FX camera with a hundred series number, but then again, the D3 supplanted the D1 and D2, so maybe it's not that strange afterall.

    I think it's been mentioned somewhere that the pro models are named with one digit (D3), the consumer models with two digits (D60, D80, etc.), and the semi-pro models with three digits (D200, D300). Thanks again.

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    Re: D700: What's in a name?

    I know TR, the photographers around DP1 seem to blessed with the latest and great gear, but I always thought it was because most shooters here are professional.

    Around the year 2000, I used to find it humorous that people were saying that film will become an alternative process; it seems to be that now. I've stubbornly held onto my darkroom though. I always loved isolating myself in a little space under the warm glow of a red light. There's nothing stopping me still except digital is so amazing and so good, all-around. Thanks.

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    Re: D700: What's in a name?

    Hi there.
    I thought your post was interesting. But, like Terry I think there will always be scope for a DX camera, not least because of lens sizes.
    As far as pixel size is concerned, dpreview have added an interesting 'pixel density' figure to their database. As far as I can remember:
    d3: 1.4
    canon 450d 3.7
    Olympus e3: 4
    Canon G9: 28
    on that basis its hard to believe that it isn't going to be possible to go way beyond 24mp with DX or 4/3.
    Last edited by jonoslack; 3rd July 2008 at 17:33. Reason: Correcting pixel density'

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  14. #14
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    Re: D700: What's in a name?

    Hi Jono, I just wonder if photographers, economics aside, were to choose between DX and FX, which do you suppose they would choose? It seems to me that DX will still be around simply because it's cheaper. And I find it hard to believe that long lens shooters would prefer to shoot with smaller sensors just because of the reach advantage of DX. Afterall, in the film days, if you wanted to shoot small animals, you bought longer lenses. Was anyone complaining that they needed a 600mm lens instead of a 400?

    If my theory is right about cost determining the choice between DX and FX, it seems inevitable that FX will eventually prevail. Some day it's going to be very inexpensive to produce larger sensors, and the last obstacle will be hurdled. Plus the whole inertia thing of traditional photography and the adopted 35mm format, and the comfort of being able to use a 20mm lens as a 20mm lens.

    In my mind, the advantages of FX totally wipe-out the advantages of DX. And we know that computer technology, in this case imaging sensors, will get cheaper as time marches on. It doesn't seem to be a question of "if," but of "when."

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    Re: D700: What's in a name?

    Quote Originally Posted by Player View Post
    Hi Jono, I just wonder if photographers, economics aside, were to choose between DX and FX, which do you suppose they would choose? It seems to me that DX will still be around simply because it's cheaper. And I find it hard to believe that long lens shooters would prefer to shoot with smaller sensors just because of the reach advantage of DX. Afterall, in the film days, if you wanted to shoot small animals, you bought longer lenses. Was anyone complaining that they needed a 600mm lens instead of a 400?
    No, but that was because they didn't know any different! If you offered them a 300mm lens with the same speed, same quality, same field of view at 2/3 of the price and half the weight, then there aren't many who wouldn't have jumped (I'm thinking of 4/3, and the quality isn't the same . . . .yet - see below)

    Quote Originally Posted by Player View Post
    If my theory is right about cost determining the choice between DX and FX, it seems inevitable that FX will eventually prevail. Some day it's going to be very inexpensive to produce larger sensors, and the last obstacle will be hurdled. Plus the whole inertia thing of traditional photography and the adopted 35mm format, and the comfort of being able to use a 20mm lens as a 20mm lens.

    In my mind, the advantages of FX totally wipe-out the advantages of DX. And we know that computer technology, in this case imaging sensors, will get cheaper as time marches on. It doesn't seem to be a question of "if," but of "when."
    Hi There
    You obviously don't have a 4/3 system and an FX system! The difference in weight between the two is almost exactly a factor of 2, for travel and nature photography that's a really big deal. Whether the sensor price remains an issue is one thing, but fast lenses for FX are always going to be much more expensive than those for smaller sensors - without there necessarily being any obvious quality benefits either.

    Then, looking at the improvement in sensor technology over the past year or so, I really think that in another 5 years it will be possible to get high dynamic range and good noise characteristics out of a 4/3 sized sensor (a little smaller than APS-C). Let's face it, if someone can give us a 30mp sensor with great dynamic range that goes up to 6400 ISO, that's enough for most purposes.

    Why would anyone pay more for a system AND carry twice as much if the difference in quality can't be seen up to a 60X40" print?

    I'm rather 'playing the other hand' here, and I do think there is room for both, but I still reckon that when sensors have improved, a system like the 4/3 with a large lens mount, telecentric lenses and reasonable size and weight is likely to be favorite for a lot of people (certainly for me).

    In the meantime I love my D3, and I'm standing in the queue for a D700.
    Last edited by jonoslack; 4th July 2008 at 01:34.

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  16. #16
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    Re: D700: What's in a name?

    Jono, I never believed that the size and weight thing was that much of an issue, but I'll take your word on that; in fact, I didn't even really factor that into my equation. And, if as you say, there's no quality difference in the future between FX and DX, although I'm having a hard time accepting that, then you're probably right.

    One thing I keep thinking is the reasons many photographers chose to shoot medium format film as opposed to 35mm. Even if you were just making 8x10 prints with both formats, medium format had an indescribable (to me) quality that 35mm couldn't approach: a depth or almost 3D quality, even though both examples were free of grain and very sharp. I can't shake the notion that bigger is better, and that serious photographers will always scarifice weight for any "quality" advantage. This is assuming that the bigger digital examples are analogous to film, in which I'm not sure either.

    I appreciate your thoughts, thanks!

  17. #17
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    Re: D700: What's in a name?

    Just to add Jono, I saw some examples from a guy on photonet who had access to a D700, and these pictures just POP, same as a D3 I'm sure which I hadn't investigated. I've never seen an APS-C sensor look that 3D. There is an example from a D200 too, and although it looks great, the D700 images are just better.

    http://photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00Q35g

    I feel pretty safe, from what I've seen, that the bigger sensor will always be superior to a smaller sensor, now and into the future, like medium format beats 35mm, hands down, and not even a Leica 35 Summicron (which I owned) can compete.

    Personally, I would bear the extra weight and size for the improvement that a larger sensor offers. JMO.

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    Re: D700: What's in a name?

    Hi there
    Quote Originally Posted by Player View Post

    I feel pretty safe, from what I've seen, that the bigger sensor will always be superior to a smaller sensor, now and into the future, like medium format beats 35mm, hands down, and not even a Leica 35 Summicron (which I owned) can compete.
    Well, as for the present I'm quite sure you're right . . . but I wasn't really speaking of the present (as you weren't in your original post).

    Still - I can agree with 'the bigger sensor will always be superior to the smaller sensor'. Of course, the logical conclusion to this will never be reached - 10X8 sensors will clearly be better then MF - etc. etc. But we all have a point of compromise, which, for many might be FX at present.

    But IF the difference between 35mm and 4/3 digital could only be seen on prints bigger than 60X40" (which I think is quite close to us - especially if bayer is superseded). For most of us it would no longer be worth spending the extra, and, more to the point carrying the extra.

    Quote Originally Posted by Player View Post
    Personally, I would bear the extra weight and size for the improvement that a larger sensor offers. JMO.
    Even if you could only tell the difference on REALLY huge prints? would you STILL?

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  19. #19
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    Re: D700: What's in a name?

    >>>>Even if you could only tell the difference on REALLY huge prints? would you STILL?<<<<

    No, I wouldn't. But you seem to think that the future APS-C sensors will pop and be 3D-looking even at small print sizes. If that's the case, there's no reason to bear extra size and weight. I hope you're right about that.

    Thanks!

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    Re: D700: What's in a name?

    Quote Originally Posted by Player View Post
    >>>>Even if you could only tell the difference on REALLY huge prints? would you STILL?<<<<

    No, I wouldn't. But you seem to think that the future APS-C sensors will pop and be 3D-looking even at small print sizes. If that's the case, there's no reason to bear extra size and weight. I hope you're right about that.

    Thanks!
    Of course, I'm only guessing, but history does tell us that things get better. . . actually, I have more hope for the 4/3 sensor in that the large lens mouth and small sensor makes it possible to build very very good telecentric lenses (like the modern Zuikos)

    Only time will tell

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    Smile Re: D700: What's in a name?

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Of course, I'm only guessing, but history does tell us that things get better. . . actually, I have more hope for the 4/3 sensor in that the large lens mouth and small sensor makes it possible to build very very good telecentric lenses (like the modern Zuikos)

    Only time will tell
    No kiddin', I was thinking that Olympus would eventually have to pack up its tent and move on. If I've been skeptical of APS-C, I've been down-right moribund about Olympus' future.

    Yes, "time" is the great equalizer.

    Five or ten years from now, one of us is going to be saying "I told you so!"

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    Re: D700: What's in a name?

    Jono, I can't seem to leave this alone, but is there anything that might prevent Nikon or Canon from increasing the pixel density in a FF sensor to keep it "superior" to smaller sensors?

    What surprises me is that you're essentially predicting that, to use an analogy, that 35mm film will surpass medium format film.

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    Re: D700: What's in a name?

    Quote Originally Posted by Player View Post
    No kiddin', I was thinking that Olympus would eventually have to pack up its tent and move on. If I've been skeptical of APS-C, I've been down-right moribund about Olympus' future.

    Yes, "time" is the great equalizer.



    The trouble with Olympus at the moment is that they haven't got the best sensor manufacturer - the Kodak sensor in the earlier cameras were lovely - the E1 especially had a lovely glow and delicious colours - but like all kodak sensors their high ISO noise was bad - now they are using panasonic sensors, which are okay, what they really need is a great sensor.

    The design idea is excellent - the wide lens mount throat and the small sensor means that the lens design can be maximised (niether Nikon or Canon can do this so well, even on APS). The upshot of this is that the Olympus lenses are, almost without exception, absolutely excellent - for instance, when I compared the 12-60 (24-120) Zuiko with the new, much heralded Nikon 24-70, the Zuiko won hands down in terms of corner sharpness and vignetting - and it's half the price and half the size. Even the tiny 14-42 (28-85 equiv) is really good, and the f2 zooms are stellar (and expensive too).

    when you consider that the pixel density on the Olympus E3 is 4, and on the Canon 450D is 3.7 (and the Canon G9 is 28), you can see that there is scope for an improved sensor.

    Basically - you're setting YOUR 'compromises' at or around where FF is now - fine (I think that's where I sit too), and I think that'll trickle down a long way over the next few years, but other people will have very different preferences. I have some lovely 24x17" prints made from the Olympus E3: for most people that's at least twice as big as they're ever going to print . . . . what on earth is the attraction of paying all that extra money to carry around something huge . . . if it really doesn't confer any benefits.

    Quote Originally Posted by Player View Post
    Five or ten years from now, one of us is going to be saying "I told you so!"
    Nah - in five or ten years time everyone will have forgotten about still cameras, they'll be using video's which will do 24mp still shots wherever you want

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    Re: D700: What's in a name?

    Quote Originally Posted by Player View Post
    Jono, I can't seem to leave this alone, but is there anything that might prevent Nikon or Canon from increasing the pixel density in a FF sensor to keep it "superior" to smaller sensors?
    No, you can't leave it alone can you - but isn't it nice to have somewhere where one can discuss this without everyone getting hot under the collar!

    Of course, there is nothing to prevent higher pixel density in a FF sensor (Canon have already done 21, Sony 24 - and soon Nikon too I guess)

    Quote Originally Posted by Player View Post
    What surprises me is that you're essentially predicting that, to use an analogy, that 35mm film will surpass medium format film.
    No I'm not; to correct your analogy, what I'm predicting is that 35mm film will, in a few years, surpass where medium format is NOW. (not quite the same thing), an that there is a limit to what one needs.

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  25. #25
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    Thumbs up Re: D700: What's in a name?

    Okay, fair enough Jono. I think I finally understand what you're saying: APS-C, and even 4/3rds, will become so good that FF isn't necessary, and FF sort of exists now as a stop-gap measure. So essentially the smaller sensors will obsolete the FF sensors. Photographers buying into FF now are biding their time until smaller sensors reach their full potential, whether they know it or not. If I still don't get it, I might have to throw-in the towel.

    And yes! It is terrific to be able to discuss, and even disagree sometimes, without being tarred-and-feathered, and burned-at-the-stake, which I have the scars to prove.

    This site is an Internet treasure.

    And thanks for your patience and understanding. Greatly appreciated!

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    Re: D700: What's in a name?

    Quote Originally Posted by Player View Post
    Okay, fair enough Jono. I think I finally understand what you're saying: APS-C, and even 4/3rds, will become so good that FF isn't necessary, and FF sort of exists now as a stop-gap measure. So essentially the smaller sensors will obsolete the FF sensors. Photographers buying into FF now are biding their time until smaller sensors reach their full potential, whether they know it or not. If I still don't get it, I might have to throw-in the towel.
    Throw it in then matey - you're mostly right, I"m saying that APS-C and 4/3 will get as good as FF is now - but I think there will always be a place for both (and MF as well). You were implying that as FF became cheaper, smaller sensors would disappear, whereas I think that they will always take up a larger part of the market.

    Don't bang your head though, it must be that I'm bad at explaining myself

    Quote Originally Posted by Player View Post
    And yes! It is terrific to be able to discuss, and even disagree sometimes, without being tarred-and-feathered, and burned-at-the-stake, which I have the scars to prove.

    This site is an Internet treasure.

    And thanks for your patience and understanding. Greatly appreciated!
    I've got the scars as well, and on dpreview it's such a pain trying to have a serious conversation with all the going on

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  27. #27
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    Re: D700: What's in a name?

    Okay Jono, it's crystal clear now. Just because 35mm film improved with T-Grain technology and so-forth, it didn't mean that large format film would go away. Not an exact analogous match, but close enough. I hope.*

    *I'm so gun-shy I expect to get flamed at any moment.

    And no, I don't think you're bad at explaining, it's just maybe you give me more credit than I deserve.

    I've only read dpreview, I knew that even a Kevlar suit wouldn't help me there. lol

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