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Thread: Would appreciate some input on my D700 upgrade path

  1. #1
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    Would appreciate some input on my D700 upgrade path

    Hi all,

    Well, my title is probably enough to send everyone running for the hills, but here goes - the advice I have received at GetDPI has always been helpful, so I save you folks for my thorniest decisions.

    I have two main digital camera systems - My Nikon (now a D700 and mostly older vintage but superb glass) and my Fuji (XT-1/XP1 combo and mostly primes except for the 18-55 kit).

    When I travel abroad, it is just Fuji now - mostly for ease,compact nature and less intrusive. The reason I mention this is that all of this frustration started with an upcoming trip to visit my daughter in Morocco and a last minute decision to forgo the Fuji 18-135. Just could not convince myself it was worth the investment and now I have cash to invest in camera gear and, well, you know how this goes.

    I moved to the SW a few years ago and more recently we have been taking lots of short trips to places that used to require huge 3 week endeavors when I lived in NYC. A nice problem to have. So with this extra 1K available I have the opportunity to trade in the D700 and move to a D750 or a D810. The "main" use will be landscape, but I own the older 84mm f/1.4 and do enjoy portrait work. Probably the only thing I will not use the new camera for is sports (still have my D2X for that).

    I have the computing power and storage for the bigger D810 files, and while the most practical approach would be to go to the D750 and use what I have left to upgrade my 17-35 (have never loved it's performance on the D700), I keep coming back to the 36MP on the D810.

    So any input would be greatly appreciated, I tend to keep my gear for the long haul so the cost differential between the two does not bother me much. Part of me is annoyed with Nikon for screwing up my decision tree by introducing the D750, but oh well.

    As an aside - would also appreciate any advice on the upgrade for the old 17-35, not interested in the 12-24 for various reasons, seriously considering the 16-35 vs a great prime.

    Thanks, as always,

    JT

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Would appreciate some input on my D700 upgrade path

    My vote: Keep the D700 and buy a gently used D800 or D800e as they are selling unbelievably cheap now; and the net image quality is not appreciably different from what the D810 delivers. The D810 does have a wee bit more DR, but I had to add black to D800/e files a lot of the time as it was. The D810 also has some nice bells and whistles that make it easier to use in certain conditions. For landscape, about the only thing the D810 offers over the D800/e is improved live view -- but the LV on the D800/e is still serviceable.

    And FWIW, I enjoy my 17-35/2.8 on my D800's and 810 so much so I sold off my 18 through 35 primes except the 24PC-E and 28/1.4. I may have an exceptional copy, or it may be the focus fine-tuning helps significantly, but that lens is excellent centrally and only loses it in the extreme corners -- and the extreme corners hardly ever matter for landscapes...

    My .02
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Re: Would appreciate some input on my D700 upgrade path

    I agree with what Jack wrote. But I would recommend to go directly to D810. While the improvement of D810 over D800 is limited, collectively, D810 is a much better camera.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Would appreciate some input on my D700 upgrade path

    Quote Originally Posted by Ocean View Post
    While the improvement of D810 over D800 is limited, collectively, D810 is a much better camera.
    I would not directly agree with "much better" -- but undeniably some welcome conveniences have been added. I don't think many would argue any significant increase in image quality though, and given that right now a D810 is about $1100 more than a gently used D800e and more like $1500 more than a gently used D800, I think they warrant consideration for those on a budget, especially if their budget requires selling off an existing, good camera to obtain it. That's all...
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Re: Would appreciate some input on my D700 upgrade path

    Hi guys!

    I had noticed the free fall in the D800/D800E used prices. Kind of amazing.

    Not surprisingly, when the D800 came out originally I had toyed with the idea of moving up as it felt like real successor to the D700. 2 things stopped me:

    1. The stürm und drang over the AF early on in the release.
    2. The back and forth over the "E" version

    I finally lost my resolve and stuck with the D700. In the meantime I've really enjoyed my Sony Rx1r (go everywhere camera) and when the D810D and D750 came out my interest was piqued again.

    Your point is well-taken Jack (as always) and I will start to dig into the 800/800e vs 810 question a bit more. I will have to convince myself that I can find a "good" version of the 800/800e from a trusted source as that is a fair amount of coin for a used item. There is always the chance that my better half will balk at spending 2K for a used item and insist I go with the D810 .

    And yes, the rule around here is that prior cameras are sold to pay for new ones (though I paid for my Ebony 45SU by selling my motorcycle!). But maybe that rule can be broken for a great price on one of the 800's - good idea.

    I will definitely wait to sell off the 17-35 f/2.8 until I try it out on the new camera - you're right, it may surprise me and I really was torn over the prime issue.

    Really appreciate the insight,

    JT

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    Senior Member danielmoore's Avatar
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    Re: Would appreciate some input on my D700 upgrade path

    Taking the D800/E as an example, imagine your sexy, brand new D810 depreciating to very nearly half it's purchase price in only a few years. I couldn't agree more with Jack.

    I've seen D800/E's go for ~1900.00, and there are lots to choose from with low miles. I'm very happy with mine. I plan to wait for the successor to the D810 and see if I want it, if not, I'll pick up a used D810 and live in the shadow of the latest and greatest as long as I can and enjoy the benefits of saving a lot of cash that just goes out the window with these things.

    Today we have a veritable junkyard of displaced, high quality cameras and used choices are getting ridiculously good for it.

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    Senior Member Swissblad's Avatar
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    Re: Would appreciate some input on my D700 upgrade path

    I agree with a used D800 / D800E - prices are ridiculously low - and IQ is great.

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Would appreciate some input on my D700 upgrade path

    If I were you, and since you mention "landscapes", I would go for a D800. Great value for money.

    If it was me (I also have a D700 and a D2Xs plus a D300, all of which I use), I would keep the cameras I have and buy a D3X, partly because I like the files from that camera, partly because I love the ergonomics of the body and also because those four cameras can share batteries and cards between them, which simplify logistics for events, sports events in particular. But that's me

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Would appreciate some input on my D700 upgrade path

    D800E would be my recommendation at the current prices . I have used all but the new D750 (but I handled one at the show in NYC last week). The D800E is built a little better and the files will be limited only by your lenses and post processing skills. The Nikon 24MP sensor is exceptional for all around photography ....nice balance of all considerations ...but the 36mp sensor would be much preferred for landscape work .

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    Re: Would appreciate some input on my D700 upgrade path

    I sense a growing consensus .

    So after Jack's original advice to think about the 800e I spent some time delving back into the seemingly endless D700 vs D800 discussions back when the 800 was released. What a mess. After going back through all of that I must admit I am getting cold (OK, cool) feet regarding the 800/810 track.

    I don't think that I read a single review (from folks who's opinions I respect) that did not discuss obtaining good output from the 800/800e as a serious struggle. And glenerrolrd, your comment re: post processing skills is well-noted ). Obviously these cameras are not a jack of all trades like the D700 - I accept that and as I noted, the driving force for moving on from the D700 was higher resolution for landscapes (though my printing very large days are likely over). But the impression that I get is that the 800/810s are not a grab and go camera and that achieving focus remains challenging. (Bringing up the question of whether Live View on the 810 is the "killer" advantage I suppose.)

    Yes, complaining about achieving focus sounds bizarre coming from someone who still shoots large format , but I don't want to turn my more portable camera system into a large format- like experience. There is a persistent undercurrent that mastering the 800 series is a struggle. Is this overblown?

    Reading over this I sound like a wuss - amusing since my "day job" focuses on being decisive. Argh.

    One good thing, if I go used 800E there is a chance I can hold on to the D700. But man, I will never hear the end of it around here if I spend the $$ on an 800E and still reach for that D700 most of the time . Not to mention the fact that the improved high ISO on the D750 is a bit enticing.

    Do you guys find the 800E a struggle? And what about that AF?

    JT

    Oh, and no D3x - no more motorcycles to sell off.
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    Senior Member Swissblad's Avatar
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    Re: Would appreciate some input on my D700 upgrade path

    Those "seemingly endless D700 vs D800 discussions" kept me from buying a D800 for ages, until my local dealer made me an "offer I couldn't refuse" - and I've not looked back. The IQ of the D800 is great - but it requires good glass and technique (tripod) - it is not my normal walk around camera - the X-T1 has taken that place.
    Problem - what to do with the old D700….
    Hope you end up with a satisfying solution…..
    Last edited by Swissblad; 4th November 2014 at 11:05.

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    Senior Member danielmoore's Avatar
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    Re: Would appreciate some input on my D700 upgrade path

    I wouldn't call it a struggle at all. I did have to learn to take a bit more care in how I use the camera to get the most from it. For me that meant a high quality carbon fiber tripod. I went from a D700 to the D800E myself and my trusty old tripod was no longer so.

    There will be plenty of times you'll want to use the D700, when it'll be the right tool for the job. Down sampling a D800 file to 24 mp I suspect may eliminate any high ISO advantage if there is one. I very rarely use anything higher than ISO 800 unless I know I'm going to down sample. The loss of dynamic range tends to be a bigger factor in my photography rather than noise.

    After a trip to the service center my AF works as intended. When it arrived it couldn't focus on anything accurately, that bad. Now I don't even need to dial in the fine tuning adjustment. Don't let that scare you off. You'll just need to be sure you have the option to confirm focus is working properly if/when you pick one up.

    If it's higher resolution for landscapes you're after, and are willing to accept the responsibilities that go along with such a sensor, you won't do better.

    Also, buying at this point in time means you will likely lose nothing if you decide to turn around and sell it in the near future. It's almost as if you have nothing to lose. : )

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Would appreciate some input on my D700 upgrade path

    Quote Originally Posted by JCT View Post

    Do you guys find the 800E a struggle? And what about that AF?
    No struggle at all. As I recall you used to shoot LF, so you are familiar with focusing to an optimal PoF point in your frame and choosing an appropriate aperture and usually some tilt to render the desired optimal DoF zone for your image. Once you've taken the time to carefully AF fine-tune all your lenses (including your chipped manual lenses!), the process I use is for landscape is similar. 100% review on the new LCDs is so good and AF fine-tuning so accurate I personally rarely find myself bothering to use live view. I do chimp to confirm everything is properly organized in the frame once composed so I am ready to go at the decisive moment. It is so much faster than any View or Tech cam ever was, live view or not. And then as a plus, all your lenses now AF precisely to whatever you have your active AF point on when you focus. Seriously, AF function is so good on these cams that I commonly shoot my 50 and 85 wide open and never bother chimping, and then on review generally have at least a 90% success rate, and even then the ones that are off are only off slightly.

    My .02 only,
    Last edited by Jack; 4th November 2014 at 11:21.
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    Re: Would appreciate some input on my D700 upgrade path

    OK - I'm confident in this decision, no more waffling. Spent the evening looking at 800/810 landscape pics - beautiful tones.

    Will be a nice match to the Jeep my husband just bought to give us a bit more range on camping trips!

    I'm fine with the 800E, but will let the better half decide if he wants to pitch in for the 810, he has always gifted me my cameras so I'll let him make the call. But it looks like I get to keep the D700

    Thanks again, all - like Swissblad I've been mulling this decision for a log time!

    JT
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    Re: Would appreciate some input on my D700 upgrade path

    A guy at work who just got a used D700 - looked at my 20 x 30 colors prints which I made with my D800E and literally had tears in his eyes realizing he ^&%$ up getting the 700 .

    he wont even talk to me about photography anymore

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Would appreciate some input on my D700 upgrade path

    Have a look at the photo below. The background image on the long wall is printed 3.0 x 2.4 meters, upper part covered by semi transparent blue and text, and has been going the rounds at trade fairs around Asia for one and a half years now. It's making people go "oooh" and "aaah" everywhere it goes, whether they see it from a distance or up close.

    It was taken at a badly lit fish processing plant using a 16MP GH2 on a beast of a tripod with Panasonic 7-14mm and a couple of strobes to even out the light. While some details would have been sharper if I had used a camera sporting 36MP or more, it would have no effect whatsoever on how people see it as a description of a fishmeal plant.

    Your friend should buy a handkerchief and a nice lens for the money he saved not buying a D800E, and then go out to take some photos

    Things I sell: https://www.shutterstock.com/g/epixx?language=en
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    Senior Member Swissblad's Avatar
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    Re: Would appreciate some input on my D700 upgrade path

    I'm with Jorgen on this one.
    There is a difference between discussing gear and discussing photography.
    Too often we get bogged down in the former and neglect the latter.
    So use whatever you have and go out and do some shooting.....
    Last edited by Swissblad; 15th November 2014 at 11:26.

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    Senior Subscriber Member Steen's Avatar
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    Would appreciate some input on my D700 upgrade path


    Whether size matters or not - it be sensor size, pixel pitch or pixel amount - always depends

    In my opinion


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    Re: Would appreciate some input on my D700 upgrade path

    OK, figured I would check back in with the decision - going with the D810 and will give my existing 17-35mm f2.8 a good tryout for my main WA lens on the new body.

    If I'm not happy I'm going to take the plunge on a Zeiss 21mm f2.8 ZF2 . Haven't mentioned that last part to my husband yet...

  20. #20
    Senior Member Swissblad's Avatar
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    Re: Would appreciate some input on my D700 upgrade path

    Enjoy your new toy - and post some pix!

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    Re: Would appreciate some input on my D700 upgrade path

    Thanks! Hopefully will have the D810 by next month.

    Oh and your avatar always gives me a grin. I have 3 film bodies I will never, ever part with - my late father's Leica, my Mamiya 7II and my Hasselblad 503CW. Such a beautiful piece of gear.

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