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I'm currently using D7000 and considering moving to full frame. At its current price, the D600 is a little too steep for me, so I'm considering buying a used D700.

As per my understanding, moving from D7000 to D700, I'll be gaining the following:

  • More coverage at wide-angle
  • Ability to achieve shallower DOF (one of the main reasons for this switch)
  • Larger and brighter viewfinder
  • Better built and a more rugged body with better weather-sealing
  • Better AF system
  • Bigger buffer for continuous shooting
  • Ability to shoot upto 8 fps using the MB-D10 battery grip

But I'll also lose the following features:

  • Video recording (I hardly ever use it)
  • About 4 MP in resolution
  • Some focal length at the longer end
  • Ability to bracket more than 1 EV
  • 95% vs 100% viewfinder (with 0.94x magnification vs 0.74x magnification)
  • 2016-pixel RGB metering sensor vs 1005-pixel RGB sensor

Will I be losing anything else that's significant?

How does the D700 compare to the D7000 in terms of overall image quality, dynamic range and low-light/high ISO performance?

And in a nutshell, does it make sense to upgrade from D7000 to an older generation camera, albeit a full frame one?

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Seems like you answered your own question. I'd stop at 95 vs 100% viewfinder which is the reason I never considered a D700. Once you are used to seeing the whole frame, there is no going back. –  Itai Mar 28 '13 at 12:55
    
I'll disagree with Itai on that point. It depends on what you want to do with a camera. For me the D700's utter brilliance as a photo taker is worth the small annoyances [tm] of eg < 100% viewfinder. I have a D700 AND a Sony A77 (about the top APSC camera going)(despite than N & C people say :-) )(DPReview says so). As an overall integrated photo making system the A77 trounces the D700 and anything without a pellicle mirror. (Really). For sheer low noise performance the D700 is wonderful. Pixel for pixel a D700 is lower noise than a D800 or D600. Borrow one and play - the ONLY way to know. –  Russell McMahon Mar 28 '13 at 13:57
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2 Answers

You'll also lose the dual card slot, if that's important to you. The D800 and D600 have it, but the D700 did not.

If you want full frame, then it's certainly not a bad upgrade to go from a D7000 to a D700. Along with FX, you do get better AF and build quality.

You talk about the coverage at wide-angle. True you don't have the crop factor, but there is a 12-24mm DX lens available, whereas most FX lenses start at around 16-18mm, so you're almost as wide on DX really.

DxOMark rates the two sensors about equally, the D7000 having better dynamic range, and the D700 having better low light performance.

The D600 trumps both cameras - better dynamic range and high ISO performance than either of the other two. Here in New Zealand a used D700 goes for almost the price of a grey market D600.

I moved up to a D700 from a D90, but that is a bigger step than from a D7000. I felt it was well worth it, and I love FX. I think if I were you, unless there was something about the D700 I couldn't do without, I would hold on to the D7000 and look at something in the D600/D800 range when I could afford it. It also depends on if you have a number of DX lenses to replace if you move to full frame.

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As per my understanding, moving from D7000 to D700, I'll be gaining the following:

More coverage at wide-angle
Ability to achieve shallower DOF (one of the main reasons for this switch)
Larger and brighter viewfinder
Better built and a more rugged body with better weather-sealing
Better AF system
Bigger buffer for continuous shooting
Ability to shoot upto 8 fps using the MB-D10 battery grip

You will have q wider field of view at all focal lengths. What you will also get is faster apertures possible for a given field of view, e.g. a 24mm f/1.4 on a D700 will give you the same field of view as a 15mm lens on a D7000, but the fastest 15mm currently available is two stops slower at f/2.8

Depth of field will be shallower for the same angle of view and same f-stop. Due to the point above depth of field will be much shallower for wide shots.

But I'll also lose the following features:

Video recording (I hardly ever use it)
About 4 MP in resolution
Some focal length at the longer end
Ability to bracket more than 1 EV
95% vs 100% viewfinder (with 0.94x magnification vs 0.74x magnification)
2016-pixel RGB metering sensor vs 1005-pixel RGB sensor

Number of megapixels is not the same as resolution. You'll lose 4MP (which is not that much, basically the D700 images will be 87% of the width and height of the D7000 images) but by virtue of the full frame sensor not requiring as much enlargement to get the images on screen they will suffer less degradation, leading to a greater average level of sharpness. Note corner performance may be slightly less than using FF lenses on the D7000, but centre performance will be much better!

Reach will be reduced, compared to the D7000, so you may have to spend much more on telephotos to get the equivalent field of view, you'll also run into AF limitations fast as maximum apertures get smaller as lenses get longer.

Don't worry too much about the reduciton in viewfinder magnification, as the focussing screen is much larger to start with the viewfinder will still appear larger. Again 100% viewfinder coverage is not a huge deal unless you are exceedingly precise in your compositions!

Dynamic range at base ISO is greater with the D7000 thanks to the newer Sony sensor, but the D700 will have higher dynamic range in low light, and better low light performance, thanks to the larger sensor.


The D700 is an older and less well spec'ed body in many ways compared to the D7000. However it is full frame, so whether it makes sense to upgrade really comes down to that feature alone.

If you want the field of view a certain prime lens was intended to have, or if you want ultra-shallow DOF or just nice blurred backgrounds at short focal lengths, or if you want the absolute best contrast/sharpness from your images then there is no substitute for a larger sensor.

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