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*July 1, 2008 - *Nikon today introduced the D700, offering several key features taken directly from its pro-level D3 camera, but at a fraction of the price. In fact, during our pre-announcement product briefing, the phrase used time and time again to describe the new D700 SLR was 'just like the D3.' A brief rundown of the features where the two cameras are identical:
same 12.1-megapixel CMOS sensor (roughly the size of 35mm film frame)
same EXPEED processing chip
same ISO range (up to 6400 plus expanded range to 25600 equivalent)
same 51-point auto focus system with 3D tracking
same 920,000-dot LCD screen
same scene recognition system
Of course, there are differences between the two cameras, as we'll outline in a moment, but these core qualities that make the D3 so desirable have been incorporated in a D700 that's smaller, lighter and significantly more affordable, at $2999.95 for the body alone or $3599.99 bundled with a 24-120 VR lens, compared to $4999.95 for the D3 body alone.
One significant difference between the two cameras is frame rate. The D3 can run 9 frames per second, while the D700 manages 5fps, though you can boost the D700 up to 8fps by adding an optional MB-D10 external battery pack. The D3 has two card slots, where the D700 has one. The shutter on the D3 is rated at 300,000 shots, while the D700 is rated at 150,000.
However, there are several intriguing areas where the new, less expensive model outperforms the D3. The D700 includes Nikon's sensor-shake dust reduction system, which was unavailable when the D3 was introduced. Both cameras offer Live View mode, but the D700 enables Live View with the virtual horizon feature enabled, which is not possible with the D3. The D700 also has built-in flash, which the all-pro D3 forsakes.
Nikon claims the D700 will start up in just 0.12 second and deliver a shutter-lag response of 0.40 milliseconds. The popular Picture Control System, which allows photographers to tweak a wide array of image capture features on one camera, then store them on a CompactFlash card and automatically input the settings to additional cameras, is supported in the D700.
There are two Live View modes, one designed for handheld shooting, the other for tripod-mounted photography. For playback on an HDTV screen, the D700 includes a mini HDMI cable (versus the full-size HDMI of the D3).
The D700 will be slightly taller and longer than the D300, to accommodate the larger sensor, but otherwise will maintain the earlier camera's relatively compact form factor. The solid magnesium alloy body is weatherproofed with O-ring seals to withstand wet and dusty environments.
The D700 is scheduled to ship late in July.