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I Had a Nikon D700... PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vincent Diamante   
Thursday, 02 October 2008 16:03

(8:13:28 PM) sklathill: Two days ago I bought a Nikon D700.
(8:13:31 PM) sklathill: Today I returned it.
(8:13:34 PM) sklathill: HATED it.
(8:15:15 PM) whitefinder: That bad?
(8:15:18 PM) whitefinder: Why's that?
(8:15:35 PM) sklathill: High ISO... brilliant. Absolute brilliant.
(8:15:48 PM) sklathill: But god I hated how it felt.
(8:16:06 PM) sklathill: it had a very substantial hand grip, but I always felt like I was barely holding the camera by my fingertips.
(8:16:22 PM) sklathill: And the way I had to scrunch my fingers up to use buttons on the top side while in shooting position.
(8:16:46 PM) sklathill: The way I had to compromise stability in shooting position if I wanted to do functions that required my left hand (for example, changing ISO or shooting mode)
(8:17:14 PM) sklathill: The position of the command dial by my right index and thir dfinger just felt aboust as wrong as it possibly could have been.
(8:17:29 PM) sklathill: The menus... ugh. I hate trawling through the menus.
(8:17:52 PM) sklathill: And their solution for faster operation is to give the user their own custom menu that they can add items to? I couldn't stand it at all.
(8:18:48 PM) sklathill: I absolutely hated it. People told me that I could learn it... but my gut says there's no way I could learn to enjoy using this camera.
(8:19:02 PM) whitefinder: You ought to write an otacracy review!
(8:19:18 PM) sklathill: I should...

Honestly, the D700 is a fantastic camera. It takes some absolutely amazing pictures in available darkness, has a solid body, lots of features, a great viewfinder, and excellent shot-to-shot performance.

It just wasn't the right camera for me.

I've owned a relatively large amount of digital SLRs for someone who's a hobbyist/fly-by-night event photographer, and most of those cameras would be considered vastly inferior to the D700: Konica Minolta 7D, Sony A100 and A700, Pentax K10D and K20D.  The A100 was notorious for being the noisiest of the 10 megapixel SLRs, the K10D had a reputation for not being able to render a sharp line, and the A700 was poo-pooed for its smudgy, watercolor-like high ISO performance.

But man did I love those cameras.

From the moment I laid hands on them, I realized that I didn't just love them: I believed in them.  I could stand beside them and what they stood for, and they stood for far more than contrarian consumerist attitude.  I felt like I could perform with those cameras in my hand.  From changing lenses to swiping flashes in and out of hotshoes to toggling AF modes, every motion executed on the camera felt right... because it was my motion.  It was my performance, and the camera never got in the way.  In fact, from the very beginning, those Minolta and Sony and Pentax SLRs seemed to push me to discover the way I wanted to use the camera.

That was something I never got from the D700.  I read the manual, I studied the UI, I held the camera and did my best to grok positions and functions as I did with cameras before.  I eventually knew how to do most everything it allowed me to do.  From switching white balance mode to changing the CL frame rate or switching the Active D-Lighting, I felt like I knew how to use the camera... but it was how the camera wanted me to use it: no more, no less.  It never seemed like there was any space there for me to turn that the execution into something that was my own.

Yeah, I'm being touchy-feely here.  But hey: at least I'm consistently touchy-feely!  If you ever hang out with me, you probably know about my barebones Mazda 3 (rollup windows! manual locks!), and you might want to try asking me how to change ISO... with flourish!

(Names in the chat exchange above have been changed to protect someone who needs no protection...)

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