Tuesday, July 1, 2008

New Nikons

Well, after a week or so of leaks Nikon has announced the new D700 pro/enthusist level camera. They also announced a new Speedlight flash, the SB900.

More after the jump.

The Nikon D700 is a full frame digial SLR camera that is situated between the D300 and the D3 cameras. Indeed, for all intents and purposes it is a D3 scaled down into a D300 sized form. The D3 retains some features over the D700, while the D700 has some refinements that may or may not make it into the D3 via firmware updates. There are a couple of D700 features that are hardware related that are not on the D3 like the Info button and a built-in pop-up flash with remote Commander mode for the Advanced Lighting System. All-in-all the D700 is expected to have the same image quality as the D3, with a slower frame speed and fewer of the bells and whistles of the D3. The D700 is estimated to retail at US$2,999 compared to the US$1,700 for the D300 and the US$4,999 for the D3.

The camera fills a similar place in Nikon's line-up that the Canon 5D did in Canon's camera line. Until now the 5D was the only smaller form factor full frame DSLR on the market. It is also a three year old model that is expected to be upgraded soon as well.

The specifications and speculations are flooding the photography sites, so instead of retyping them here I will just link to some of the better ones.

DPReview D700 preview
Thom Hogan's take on the D700
Rob Galbraith's D700 page
PopPhoto.com's D700 page
... and last but not least Nikon's Official announcement.

Nikon also announced the release of a couple of perspective control, i.e. "tilt-shift" lenses that were previously announced to be in development. These types of lenses are very expensive and meant for very specific professional applications. If you don't know if you need one or not, then get a Lensbaby instead. Similar capability for a fraction of the cost for a hobbist.

Finally, Nikon announced a new flagship Speedlight flash ... the SB900. This flash improves on the current top of the line SB800 in a number of ways. It has a new, more intuitive interface, it zooms from 14-200mm, it auto detects DX or FX lenses to control power output and light spread, it rotates 180 degrees both left and right, and it has controlable light shaping. Another new trick is that it can auto detect gel filters and adjust the camera's white balance automatically.

Joe McNally has already been playing around with the SB900s and has a post about his hand's on with them here. The lucky guy gets all of the new toys first.

So what do I think of all of these announcements?

I wish I could afford them ;-)

Seriously though, the D700 looks like nice camera and I would consider getting one when I need to upgrade my D80. However, the D300 is very similar and quite a bit closer to my needs right now, thus likely it would be the next camera I get if something should happen to my D80. The D700 would pair well with either the D300 or the D3 depending on the photographer's needs.

The SB900 looks like a great flash. I will wait to see some more hands-on with it, but I can easily see it being my next flash.

The new PC lenses are well out of my budget and needs. Don't need them, so they have no lust factor for me. If I start doing professional arctectural photography, then I'll change my mind.


Dorky Musician said...

Having a full frame sensor sounds like it would be nice. But, with the lenses designed for crop sensors such as the Sigma 10-20mm and Canon 10-22mm lens, I'm not sure I'll need to upgrade for a while.

The tilt-shift lenses look pretty cool. I read an article on how Ansel Adams used them in a recent copy of Outdoor Photographer. It got me thinking that I wouldn't mind playing around with those.

Craig Lee said...

Yeah, the DX/FX lenses are something to be concerned about. Luckily, the D3 and D700 can still use the DX lenses, but they will be in a cropped mode and only at 5.1 megapixels. Still, it is better than not being able to use your lenses at all.

Craig Lee said...

I forgot to mention the tilt-shift lenses. Tilt-shift lenses try to approximate the lens and focal plane movements that view cameras have been able to perform for so long. Ansel Adams used a view camera, so it makes sense that he would use that capability of them.

Lensbabies are a more affordable way for hobbists like us to get similar capabilities. I've seen some very unique photographs taken with Lensbabies.

Dorky Musician said...

About the tilt-shift lenses, that's what the article mentioned. I'll have to do some more reading on the lens babies. I've seen pretty cool pictures with them too. I recall a lot of pictures were studio/table-top photos, an area that I want to dabble in when I get some good lighting.

I'm set for lenses right now... at least until I get bored of my new one. I posted a few shots I took last night on my blog. You gotta get yourself one. They're a lot of fun. I have more shots that I took this morning but haven't had time to get them up. They'll be up before my head hits the pillow tonight though.