August 24


Fond Farewell to the Nikon D700

By Dan

August 24, 2012

I weep today. Not for the death of a friend or loved one, but for the passing of an era that marks both the inevitable march of progress and the fond memories of nostalgia.

If you check out the Nikon DSLR product page, you’ll notice that it looks different than it did yesterday. The venerable D700 is missing from the lineup. As of today, it’s gone. It has been discontinued. No more will ever be made.

We knew this day would come. And of course, with the introduction of the D800 and the rumors of a possible D600, we knew that it was likely to come sooner than later. As with any digital product, we knew that it was only a matter of time before this wonderful camera reached the end of its run.

And oh, what a run it had! The D700 was, and is still loved by pro photographers around the world. It was the perfect camera for outdoor, adventure and travel shooters, because for an all out pro DLSR body, it was smaller, lighter and as rugged as you needed it to be.

It wasn’t nearly as bulky as the D3, and yet it still had all the pro features a working photographer would ever need. Full frame. Smart exposure meter. Impressive firing rate of 8 fps at top speed. Fast buffer. Incredible high ISO performance in low light. On board flash that would provide full control for an array of off camera Speedlights and strobes. So many custom functions. All packed into a more affordable chassis that would take punishment and keep on working. Believe me.

The D700 has not only been my number one DLSR body for over three years, it is in my mind, the best camera that I have ever used. Period. Ergonomic design on the D700 was perfect. It fits in my hand like no other body, and as the main tool in my profession, it did everything I ever asked of it. Always. It got the job done every single time. It will still do the job for me until I stop using it. As of right now, I have no plans to stop.

In some ways, I always thought that since the D700 was such a perfect camera, Nikon inadvertently painted themselves into a corner with it. It did so well because it wasn’t the D3, and even now, with the D800’s top speed of only 4 fps, guys like me still find it useful for sports and adventure. It was the totally ideal camera for so many people, how could any other model compete with it?

Currently, there is nothing else in the lineup to replace the perfection and masterpiece of the D700. The rumored D600 is said to be a cross between the D7000 and the D800, but we’ll only know that for sure when Nikon announces their next camera. Edit: The D600 is now out- read more info here.

I have to believe that whatever does come next will be a suitable successor. Maybe it will be even better. Surely Nikon knows how much we all loved the D700, and since they have admitted that the D800 was not its replacement per se, we can only hope that they’ve got something special up their sleeve.

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With the big Photokina trade show coming up next month, we’re likely to have our questions answered very soon. Hopefully we won’t be disappointed, although part of me can’t stop thinking that in some ways, I will be. I’m afraid that the D600 won’t be as rugged as the D700. Where then will I turn? D4? Too expensive. Too heavy. D800? Again, only 4 fps. Nikon needs to bring out the true little brother to the D4, just as the D700 was the D3’s little brother. If only the D800 was 6 fps, this would all be solved…

What we need is a true D700 v.2, not a consumer oriented full frame D7000 type. Unfortunately, I fear that for marketing reasons, Nikon will only give us the option of moving up or moving down. This will obvioulsy leave a big hole, but it will likely prevent Nikon from painting themselves into another corner. The truth is that a rugged, pro quality 16-24MP D700 replacement would no doubt siphon off more than a few potential D4 and D800 sales, mine included. Since neither of those cameras are even available on a mass scale yet, I can see Nikon not wanting to risk that right now.

At this point, though, we don’t know what Nikon will do, and until we hear differently, we can only cradle our D700s with love and cherish how much they’ve meant to us over the years. Many of us will keep using them until either they truly die in our hands, or until Nikon follows up with it’s true replacement, if they even do so.

To Nikon, I express my complete and total gratitude for giving us such a fine camera as the D700. I’m sad to see it go, and although I’m not quite ready to upgrade yet, truth be told, I can’t wait to see what’s coming next.

To all the other D700 users out there, know that you’re not alone as you too weep for the end of what has been a marvelous era. Perhaps in the next few days, I’ll share a few D700 battle stories. Feel free to share yours below.

About the author

Hi, I'm Dan Bailey, a 20+ year pro outdoor and adventure photographer, and official FUJIFILM X-Photographer based in Anchorage, Alaska.

As a top rated blogger and author my goal is to help you become a better, more confident and competent photographer, so that you can have as much fun and creative enjoyment as I do.

  • […] Yes, the D800 is an incredible camera that is the right choice for many photographers. However, there are some very valid reasons that you should not count out the D700.(Edit- August 24: Nikon has discontinued the D700. It’s still an awesome and relevant camera, and as of right now, it’s still my main DLSR body. Read my thoughts on this matter and my hopes for what may follow.) […]

  • Well, I have my two D700s and, while there might be a D800 in my future, there’s no way I’m tossing my D700s into the used bin. The camera is great and I’m hopeful I’ll have many more years of usage.

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