Nikon launches D700, new full-frame DSLR

For years, Nikon refuted rumours of developing full-frame DSLR, despite Canon dominating the full-frame DSLR market for many years. Then in August 2007, Nikon revealed the D3 and christened ‘FX’ to denote full-frame 35mm format (DX for 1.5x cropped-frame). D3 is the top-range DSLR to replace D2X.

From there on, people again started to speculate whether Nikon would release a more compact and affordable FX DSLR. Yesterday, Nikon finally announced D700, a hybrid of D300 and D3, the best of both models, a compromise of both too.

Deciding to buy D700 is not a simple upgrade from my current DSLRs, because D700 is a 12MP full-frame DSLR while all my current DSLRs are DX format. Based on my existing lens collection, I only have 2 DX lenses, which means I can use all other lenses on FX DSLR. Actually, I can also use the DX lenses on FX DSLR but I only get 5MP image size.

Another important consideration is my semi-retire status from wedding photography. The major advantages of D700 is excellent low-noise at high-ISO and ultra-wide angle coverage. While one can claim that a camera alone doesn’t make good images, having a camera with low-noise at high-ISO will help the photographer make clear images at low-light situations.

Another consideration that I have to remind myself here is that the FX market is yet to mature, so there is still a limited number of ultra-wide angle lenses that allows FX to replace DX DSLRs. To state my point, you can get a FX-equivalent 15mm coverage using a DX lens for S$900 (Tokina 11-16mm f2.8), but you have to pay $2400 for similar coverage for a FX lens (Nikon 14-24mm f2.8), not forgetting the additional equipment weight. Well, you could settle for a similarly-priced 3-year-old full-frame Sigma 12-24mm f4.5-4.6 lens for about $1000, but that’s a different class of lens that you wouldn’t want to use on your new D700.

One thing is for sure, that is, FX is here for good. So I can take my time to consider if I really want to go to FX format in future. For now, I’m hanging on to DX format to take advantage of the lighter lens and the fake-crop advantage.

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