Nikon has announced the D700, a camera that has seemed so logical that it's been widely anticipated ever since the professional D3 came out last summer—a smaller, lighter camera with the D3's super-duper full-frame DX 12.1-MP CMOS sensor. The new camera is just slightly larger than the D300 in size—5.8x4.8x3" (WxHxD) vs. the D300's 5.8x4.5x2.9, and appreciably but not excessively heavier—1,073g (~38 oz.) with battery vs. the D300 at 903g (~32 oz.) with battery. The D3 is 6.3x6.2x3.5 and 1300g (~46 oz.) with battery.
The D3 has reportedly been a striking success for Nikon, facing demand so strong that Nikon was obliged to increase production significantly over initial targets. The D700 is set to sell initially for $3,000 in the U.S.
Start-up time and shutter lag are identical to the D3; frame rate is 5 fps without, or 8 fps with the optional battery pack, which also takes AAs. The viewfinder, at 95%, .72x, and 18mm eyepoint, is very close to that of the F100 film camera (96%, .76X, 21mm), which will seem amazingly great to most DSLR-only shooters used to DX finders. The shutter is a full professional type tested to 150,000 cycles. Viewing screen is 3" and the latest high-resolution type. The D700 supports the latest UDMA flash cards, is weather sealed, and has live view.
Also announced were a dedicated flash, the SB-900, and two professional PC-E shift lenses, a 45mm and an 85mm, that will be of limited interest to most amateurs and hobbyists.
Featured Comment by Ben Marks: "If this camera has the same sensor as the D3, I can tell you that it was a game-changing camera for me. My images from the D3 are the first digital ones I have made that did not make me regret that film has receded into the dusty background with 8-track tapes and roller skates with metal wheels. Don't get me wrong, I have a freezer with several thousand feet of the stuff, but the sensor on this camera can do some amazing things. True, I do pine for the occasional roll of Ektar 25 print film...but in general this sensor is da bomb."