"Finally, my (nearly) perfect camera"4.5 starson by Cliff3
Pros: Brilliant sensor performance, perfect size and handling
Cons: 95% viewfinder
Summary: I recently switched from the D2x I've been shooting with for the past 4 years to the D700. The D700 product announcement caught me by surprise last summer as I thought I had another 6 months to a year before seeing this product released. I had replaced my sole DX lens, a 17-55 f2.8, with a 14-24 f2.8 and a 24-70 f2.8 in the spring of 2008, so at least I was ready for the change to FX format cameras.
I have had the camera for a few weeks now, and I am truly pleased with it. High ISO performance is brilliant. I took the camera out to a museum where the challenging lighting conditions have gotten the better of my D2x on past visits. The D700 captured flawless images at 1600 and even 3200 ISO at this venue.
The benchmarks all say that the color acuity and dynamic range of this sensor place it at the pinnacle of what is available in the market right now. My eyes can't argue with those assessments - this camera is in a completely different league from my D2x.
The size of the camera is perfect. Traveling or hiking with a body like the D2x is tough. It's big, square, and heavy. The D700 is the perfect size for my purposes. My camera bags have all gotten larger again - but for all the f2.8 glass I pack them with, anyway....
I am still getting accustomed to some of the new features in this camera. Live view hasn't been of much value to me yet, while the virtual horizon feature is a tremendous convenience. Using the on board flash to control external flashes works perfectly, although the D700 is limited to controlling 2 groups of flashes compared to the 3 that the SB-800 can control as a commander. I do miss having a 100 percent viewfinder. I have not yet been in a shooting situation that would tax the autofocus system of the new camera.
I wish I could understand why some reviewers lament the absence of features in this camera that are present in the D3. If you need a vertical grip, if you need a high frame rate, a choice exists - it's called the D3. Me, I have no plans of sticking a battery pack on this camera - it's just right like it is.