#7 – ARCHIVE FEBRUARY 2009: Nikon D700 Low Noise Performance

After nearly 4 years of reliable performance, I’ve relegated my Nikon D70 to the shelf as a back-up camera. In it’s place, and at great cost, I’ve invested in a Nion D700. What an incredible camera!

I’m more of a photographer than a camera enthusiast, but the D700 is just amazing. Yes it’s bloody expensive, and I still need to buy some top class glass for it, but even with the old Sigma 24-70mm I’m using, the pictures I’ve got so far have been stunning.

What is most impressive is the lack of noise in images. As I often shoot in low light situations, I decided I needed a camera that was capable of shooting with a minimum of noise, especially at high ISO’s, as I don’t always use a tripod. The D70 produced usable images at ISO1600, but things have moved on since that camera was introduced in 2004.

As a quick test of the D700, I popped out one evening to a local pub near a canal. I’d taken some handheld images here for a college project here a few years ago, using a ISO1600 film and a 50mm F1.8 lens, so I knew that handheld images were possible if I didn’t leave it too late.

1/100 at F5 ISO 6400Larger size here

1/40 at F3.2, ISO 1000. Larger size here

What this does is open up a whole new range of possibilities – the ability to retain detail at ISO6400 means that faster shutter speeds / more depth fo field is possible at low light, and this is why a number of pro sports photographer have switched to the D3 (which shares the D700’s sesnor). The camera will actually shoot up to an equivalent of ISO25600 (!!!!), which coupled with a fast leans such as a F1.8, should make photography possible in situations that were previously unimaginable!!!

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