Nikon D700 for professional photography in 2022
The same questions seem to be asked again and again, with anything to do with photo gear.
- Can I use this for weddings?
- Does this camera have enough megapixels?
- Do I need a newer camera?
- Is this lens good enough?
I would say that this is a result of the thousands of youtube reviews, many of them created by professional reviewers who make a living out of convincing you that you need the latest gear, even though 99% of the time, you do not!
I’m not going to bore you with yet another recap of the specifications of the D700, I’m sure you know already. What really matters is what you can do with it and can it do what you need it to do?
Despite the fact that the D700 has been around for more than a decade, it was one of the first professional cameras that had reached the level required for professional work and despite the fact that many more cameras have been introduced since then, with many more features, that does not mean that the D700 has take a step backwards, it is still a professional tool that can create images suitable for working photographers.
Therefore, I would urge you to firstly aske yourselves, what do I need from my camera? Not, what camera do I want to buy?
If you ask the former question, I am certain that in 99% of cases, the D700 will more than suffice, but if you ask the latter, you will be drawn in to the gear slave culture, always feeling that you need to upgrade, this is endless.
If you are a bird photographer, you may very well consider the D500, there is a reason for that. If you supply stock images for a library, that has a specific criteria, you may need a D850, or even a Fuji GFX100 or Hasselblad. It may be that you are a press, correspondence or war photographer, in which case, you will probably be best to choose a Nikon D4/5/6 or Canon 1DX. (although in some of these cases, a D700 will still suffice, although in this instance, the better ISO performance of the pro bodies will definitely be beneficial)
Do you see the process of making the choice?
If you are a wedding portrait photographer, there is no reason for you to need anything more than a D700, that is not to say that the D850 is not a better camera, it is, but your clients will not see the difference.
Let’s start with weddings, what do you need?
You will probably supply the happy couple with an album containing images that are 8×10 or 8×12, they may even opt for a larger album with 12×18/A3, which is not problem for the D700.
What if they want large prints?
Once again, how many couples really order images larger than 20×30 or 30×45?
I would say, hardly any, but even if they were to want larger images, would that be a problem with only 12mp?
Actually it would not. One factor that everyone forgets is viewing distance vs the detail that the human eye can resolve, as the image gets larger, the viewing distance increases and the resolution needed is lower.
The D700 image size is 4256×2832, An image that is say 20×30 would be viewed from at least 2m away, if not more, which would require a resolution of 90ppi (pixels per inch) this would be 2,700 x 1800.
An image that is 30×45 which would be viewed from at least 3m away requires a minimum resolution of 60ppi, which would be 1,800 x 2,700. All professional photographers will confirm this, but none of the youtube brigade will do so, they want you to click on their link and buy something new, if you need to do so, that’s fine, but if you are doing so because you feel pressured, do not!
if you are starting out in wedding and portrait photography, I would consider 2/3 D700 bodies, one or two with low shutter counts and one that can be high, as it is just a spare.
Then consider your lens buying strategy, you do not need a 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm and 105mm. They are too close to warrant changing, consider doubling focal lengths, for example, 24mm, 50mm and 105mm, or 35mm, 85mm & 135mm. Perhaps a standard zoom (some of the older pro f2.8 zooms are still good) plus an 85mm or a 105mm.
There is no reason for you not to be able to get together a pro kit including 2/3 bodies + 2/3 lenses for between £1,000 – £2,000. if you are earning well and the business funds additional gear, then you can buy what you need, when you need it, because there is a genuine reason to do so.
With regards to full frame vs crop frame, it’s not so much about quality nowadays, certainly not for portraits and weddings, however in my opinion, I still prefer full frame for this reason. I love the compression of the 85mm lens, bokeh aside, it is considered the beauty lens. When using a crop frame, you generally need to stick to a 50/56mm, because an 85mm would require you to be too far away. That is why I prefer full frame for this reason, but for weddings, it would be handy to also have a crop frame body, like a D300s for example, because the crop factor multiplies all your lenses by 1.5x, therefore you could use a 105mm on the D700 and then put it on the D300s and you would have field of view equivalent to 157mm, with a 135mm having a field of view of just over 200mm, which can come in handy for candid shots, especially if you have a second shooter with you, who could just walk around taking documentary images.
Ultimately the choice is yours, but one thing is for certain, unless you need a particular camera, for a specific reason, you could easily get going with the D700, it renders stunning images, it is built like a tank and it is more than capable of providing images of the highest quality.
Do not forget the golden rule:
Creativity – Light -Lens -Camera
The camera comes last!