I have been using a Nikon D700 in anger now…
…for about a year. I had previously sported a D80, which Mrs ND and I still use, and a D200 which died an unfortunate death at an inopportune moment on the other side of this pretty planet.
I deliberated for ages what I should replace the D200 with, as Mrs ND and I couldn’t survive with just one camera between us, and after dithering between the D300/D300s line and the D700 I finally plumped for the slightly bigger device for various minor reasons that seemed worth it at the time.
I have subsequently not been disappointed in my choice.
Now we have rumours…
…that the D700 is out of date, along with the D3s and that both will be replaced by D800 and D4 models this summer. What a surprise! Next there’ll be rumours that Apple will release another iPad. Oh, hang on…
I like gadgets, grew up programming computers and writing games, built things out of Meccano before that, and subsequently became a pilot in my spare time, owning my own aircraft. Yes, I like my toys 😉
However it’s really what you do with them that counts, not just collecting gadgets to “potter around with”. If money’s no object and you don’t have a need to feel achievement then go ahead and potter to the content of your favourite camera manufacturer’s bank balance, but that’s not photography, it’s collecting, daydreaming or merely passing the time.
I’m not a professional photographer, but enjoy trying to improve at what I do. My output is disparate, fleeting between subjective, compositional and post-artistic whims, fuelled by a sense of adventure to find new things in life, and in doing so randomly happening on the opportunities to record some of them.
Serendipity echoes stronger through my photography than a deliberate attempt to create, I concede that, but I think that I do enough to feel satisfied when I have an image that “came together well”.
My point here is…
…liking or otherwise for gadgets, I try to use them to achieve something else, and not necessarily for the sake of having them.
Will a D800 make me more satisfied than my D700? I will get an itch to have the better camera, but I’m old and ugly enough to approach that in a level-headed manner and enjoy the expensive purchase that I have already made, in creating more pictures that please me.
I admit that the 12MP resolution of my camera is a bit limiting as I tend to blow images up and print them at much larger scales than 12MP can natively achieve. I have gotten away with it so far, but I am also choosy about which images I treat in this way.
No doubt the D800 will sport a higher resolution whose itch I’ll be tempted to scratch, but the estimates rumoured go no higher that 20MP at best, and that’s short of only double the pixel count I currently enjoy. For the print sizes I’m after I need a much higher native resolution than that to truly satiate my needs, and whilst it means I can do less in post-processing to appease my friendly local printing firm, it’s not a big enough jump really.
Though yes, as the D7000 has shown over the D90/D300s, the detail will be generally a little sharper for such a resolution boost.
I concede also that one minor reason for my D700 choice was the usable ISO ability that it offered, and indeed I have been pretty impressed more by its ability to run a higher shutter speed at fast-moving events in broad daylight than it’s ability to salvage a dark blob from the mirk and gloom of a cold winter night.
The D800 may sport a higher ISO, and the release of the D7000 and its jump over previous generation DX cameras, even the excellent D90, portents that. However, my photography has gone in strange directions over this last year, and I have made pleasing images from an iPhone 3Gs where I deliberately wanted grain and lack of focus to, ahem, “enhance” the image.
The D700 WILL get a successor this year…
…because technology marches on relentlessly. In fact, if you listen to Ray Kurzweil as I had the pleasure to do in San Francisco a couple of years ago, then you’ll hear that progress in many areas of our lives (technological, biological etc) is not only growing but exponentially so, or just about on the verge of becoming exponential.
I’m not interested in “All the gear, no idea”, I want to get better as a photographer and the equipment I use is ultimately irrelevant to that goal, however much its seeming relevancy may weigh on me at times in the field, or on the computer afterwards.
Mrs ND will be pleased to hear that I will not be jumping on a D800 when it arrives, and that I’ll be perfectly happy with my D700 for a bit longer.
Though, she is making noises about a D7000 replacing our D80!