The next big selling point of the D700 is its astonishing ISO range, again matching that of the D3. The camera covers ISO 200 to 6400 within the normal range with additional High and Low settings adding ISO 100 at the bottom and up to ISO 25600 at the top of the scale. These extended settings appear to use a bit-shifting algorithm, that is, the increase is achieved mathematically rather than the normal signal boosting used within the sensors natural range. Furthermore, by keeping the large sensor less densely populated the individual pixels are larger than those on an APS sensor with a similar pixel count. This means the pixels possess greater light gathering power and so less noise is produced.
Nikon claims to have improved the additional 1005 RGB sensor, housed in the pentaprism and used for metering and AF functions, leading to the advanced scene recognition last seen on the D300. This helps the camera to recognise certain subjects and achieve better white balance and auto exposure. The metering still uses Nikon’s tried and tested 3D Colour Matrix metering II system, with centre-weighted and 1.5 degree spot metering also included.
Picture control is built in, allowing customisation of colour modes, with four standard parameters that can be adjusted for colour, sharpness, tone, brightness and saturation. Nikon has also included Active D-Lighting to enhance the dynamic range in a variety of lighting conditions. Nikon claims that the system includes localised tone control rather than global adjustments to ensure decent contrast.
Like its big and little siblings, the camera offers full flash support with a PC socket for external flash, a hotshoe and wireless connection to compatible Nikon Speedlite flash units. Unlike the D3 it also boasts a built-in flash unit offering wide enough coverage for a 24mm lens and a Guide Number of 17m at ISO 200 or 12m at ISO 100.
The camera records in raw and JPEG files, either separately or together and accepts CompactFlash media. It also offers an HDMI output and images can be viewed directly on Hi-Def TV. The camera comes with Nikon software, but the optional Nikon Capture NX 2 is needed for more control over raw files, while Camera Control 2 is available for PC based camera control.
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