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Complete guide to the nikon d700 (1st. edition)
 

Complete guide to the nikon d700 (1st. edition)

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    Complete guide to the nikon d700 (1st. edition) Complete guide to the nikon d700 (1st. edition) Document Transcript

    • Version 1.00Thom Hogan’sComplete Guideto the Nikon D7001st EditionBy Thom HoganbyThom PressThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 1
    • Version 1.00Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700First Edition 2008Published in the United States bybyThom PressEmmaus, PA 18049http://www.bythom.com© 2008 Thom HoganAll Rights ReservedCopies of this work may not be distributed in any form or byany transmission method.All photographs by and © Thom HoganThis book is not sponsored by Nikon Corporation.Information, data, and procedures described herein arecorrect to the best of the author’s and publisher’s knowledge;all other liability is expressly disclaimed. Nikkor, Nikon, andSpeedlight are registered trademarks of Nikon Corporation,Japan. CompactFlash is a trademark of SanDisk Corporation.All other products or name brands are trademarks of theirrespective manufacturers.The author and publisher shall not be responsible for errorscontained herein or any damages in connection with thefurnishing, performance, or use of the material in this book. Inparticular, the author and publisher shall not be responsiblefor any damage to the sensor of the camera of any reader whofollows the cleaning instructions contained in this book. Theauthor and publisher shall not be responsible for damage tocamera electronics by anyone attempting to make their ownexternal power supply based upon the ideas presented in thisbook. It’s a sad commentary on our society that I even need toinclude this disclaimer.1st Edition, version 1.00: 9/24/08Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 2
    • Version 1.00AcknowledgementsBecause the D700 is so close to the D3 in most aspects, thiswork is derived from my Complete Guide to the Nikon D3.That eBook was extensively reviewed and commented on bya number of readers, most notably Ron Armstrong, EdwinBodo, Matt Buedel, Eric Carlino, Shun Cheung, Al Hart,Yischon Liaw, Robert Lively, Robert W Von Mayr, JohnSchulte, Tom Vadnais, and Arthur Yeo. The D700 draft wasalso reviewed by Jay Abramson, Michele Arling, ShunCheung, Michael Erlewine, John Schmidt, Jerry Smith, and JimUnderwood. This work is better because of their efforts.Several Web sites proved useful in researching aspects of thisbook. While I mention others at appropriate points in theeBook, several need to be singled out for D700 users:• Phil Askey’s http://www.dpreview.com has some of the most thorough reviews of digital cameras (yes, even more thorough than the ones on my own site) and an ongoing forum that’s useful for getting answers to tough questions (select Nikon D3 – D1 / D700 from the Discussion Forums pop-up in the left navigation panel).• Nikonians http://www.nikonians.org is another of the “well-attended” public forums that are useful for Nikon D700 users. Click on Forums, then click on the D700 Users Group link.• Nikon Café http://www.nikoncafe.com is a relatively new moderated forum and has had a lively discussion of the D700. Click on Lighting and Flash, Cameras, and gear, and then click on the Nikon D700 forum link.• Nikon Gear http://www.nikongear.com is a moderated forum with notables such as Bjørn Rørslett involved. Click on FORUM at the top of the page, and then click on the The Nikon D700 forum link.• Photo.net http://photo.net has a moderated forum on all things Nikon. Click on the FORUMS tab at the top of the main page, and then click on the Nikon forum link.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 3
    • Version 1.00About this eBookThis eBook was created using Adobe Acrobat directly frommy original files. I’ve tried to retain as many of thenavigational features as Acrobat allows (for example, theBookmarks section at the left is derived from the Table ofContents and is fully active—click on an entry and you’ll betaken to it). Curiously, trying to create a fully functional eBookusing Adobe’s tools is worthy of an eBook itself (most of thechapters would be centered on trying to get promised featuresto work, and how they keep changing between AcrobatProfessional versions, sometimes going backwards in ability).Your Rights versus MineI make my living documenting Nikon equipment. Thus, I haveregistered the Copyright for this work in order to protect myrights.That said, I have not enabled copy protection, forced you toenter a serial number, asked you to agree to a LicenseAgreement, or in any other way limited access to theinformation in this eBook. I trust you to honor my Copyrightand to follow a few simple guidelines: 1. Treat the CD you received as you would a printed book. 2. I grant those of you who purchased this eBook directly from Thom Hogan the specific permission to print or have printed by a third party a single copy of this eBook for your own private use. You may not resell that printed copy, and must destroy it if you sell or pass on the original eBook you received to someone else. Do not print a copy if you don’t agree with the previous sentence. 3. I grant everyone who purchases the eBook directly from Thom Hogan specific permission to create a backup copy of this eBook file for their own privateThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 4
    • Version 1.00 use. However, you must destroy that backup copy and any other copies you have of this work, printed or electronic, if you sell or pass on the original eBook you received.It is a violation of Copyright law to distribute or sell copies ofthis work. It is also a violation of Copyright law to put thiswork in any public forum, send it to any newsgroup, place iton a Web site, or allow it to be accessed on any file sharingservice.This work is registered with the Copyright office. That meansthat punitive damages and legal fees can and will be soughtagainst anyone found illegally copying this work. Ignorance ofthe law and claims that someone else told you that you hadrights to resell this work 1 are not legal defenses.Printing the eBookOn to a more positive subject: if you’d like a hard copy of theeBook, you can print a copy for your personal use byselecting Print from the File menu.It’s possible to print on both sides of the paper and get a realbook-like experience by using the Print: Odd Pages Onlyand Print: Even Pages Only options on the Print dialog, butI don’t recommend this unless you’re good at keeping track ofpaper, know how to properly re-orient the paper for thesecond pass, and are sure that your printer won’t choke on apage somewhere. With some HP printer drivers, for example,you can print the odd pages, put the pages generated backinto the printer correctly oriented, then select Print: EvenPages Only and Print Back to Front, saving you the step ofreordering the pages before the second pass.1 I have not and will not pass rights for this work to other parties. Yes, other peoplefraudulently claim that they own the rights when they don’t. And they hear from mylawyer when they do. Don’t say you weren’t warned should you try this.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 5
    • Version 1.00Some recent printers offer something called “duplex printing,”where the printer itself handles flipping the paper. That’s howI print my eBooks for myself on my HP Officejet, whichsupports duplex printing. Here’s the relevant dialog on myMac filled out correctly for this eBook:Since there are so many printers available and their dialogboxes all allow different printing options, I can’t help youfigure out the most economical or convenient way to printyour eBook 2. Yes, it even took me a few minutes to figure outhow to create front and back copies on my laser printer, so Iknow it’s a hassle. A complete set of step-by-step instructionsthat work for the three printers I have available are includedon the CD in a separate file, called PRINTING.PDF.Take the resulting pages to your copy shop, have them trimthe edges (the final page size is 5.5 x 8.5” unless you’ve letAcrobat rescale the book to fit the full page) and bind. ThiseBook is actually in three specific sections that could bebound separately (“Before You Take Pictures,” “ShootingPictures with Your D700,” and “After You’ve Taken Pictures2 Since I get the occasional question as to why I don’t publish a paper version, I’llexplain: paper versions turn out to be more expensive to produce in the smallquantities at which a niche publication like this sells. Producing this eBookelectronically allows me to create it on demand, reducing waste and cost, and tokeep it up to date as I learn new things about the camera. It also gives me a chance tocorrect the inevitable minor typos that somehow creep into every major production.On that last point: I keep a current errata list on my Web site. You’ll find the one forthis version of the eBook (1.00) at http://www.bythom.com/d700guideerrata.htm.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 6
    • Version 1.00with Your D700”); I’ve tried to keep the instructions you’dwant while out shooting in the middle section.If you’re really the type that doesn’t like to struggle throughthe paper handling idiosyncrasies of your printer, mostKinko’s and similar copy shops can print, collate, and bind anice portable version of this book for you (show them thestatement on the back cover or on the previous page if theybalk at printing a Copyrighted work). Make sure they knowthat the final page size is 5.5” x 8.5”.Note: Kinko’s and other copy shops should actually refuse to make a copy of this eBook, as it is protected by Copyright. Show them the boxed area on the back cover of the eBook jacket, my Web page for the eBook, or Item #2 in the “Your Rights versus Mine” section where I grant you permission to print or have printed a copy for your personal use. If that doesn’t work, have them email me at thom_hogan@msn.com to verify that this is okay. If you encounter a copy shop that doesn’t ask you to show permission to reproduce a copyrighted work, or one that still refuses after being shown permission, I’d like to hear about it. If the former and the copy shop is a chain, it is probably violating direct court orders that mandate that they don’t do this. I’ve not put Digital Rights Management on this file to block all copying and printing, because it’s a hassle for the user. So, please respect my rights and help report those that willingly violate them.Note: Some Kinko’s now use a special piece of software to print from PDF files, such as the one for this eBook. Since that software first attempts to extract all text from the file and I have selected to block text extraction in Acrobat, this means that such software fails to work with this eBook. Kinko’s can still print it by simply running Acrobat, but this limits some of the fancier options they can do.This eBook is designed to help you get quality results fromyour Nikon D700. While I’ll try to provide introductorymaterial that should help even a photography novice get by,this eBook isn’t the place to learn what an aperture or shutterThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 7
    • Version 1.00speed is (check out http://www.bythom.com/bookrecs.htm if youwant some recommendations for general photography books).Nevertheless, I will try to explain the concepts andterminology that are necessary to understand how a D700works. If you find something in this eBook unclear, or that I’veassumed knowledge on your part that you don’t have, don’thesitate to drop me an email asking for an explanation. Notonly will I answer your question, but it will give me someinsight on what I might want to change in future editions tomake the eBook even clearer.Besides dealing with the practical side of the camera andshowing you how all the basic functions work, I’ll alsoprovide you with some tips on how to squeeze every last bitof image quality out of your camera as well as how to makeup for some of its shortcomings.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 8
    • Version 1.00Note on the First EditionWhile this is a first edition, the D700 is enough like earlierNikon DSLRs and the recent D3 that I’ve been able to re-purpose and rewrite portions of earlier eBooks—specificallythe D3 eBook, as the D700 shares quite a bit with thatcamera—which means that much of the information here hasbeen previously vetted.One thing I have done with my recent eBooks, though, iscompletely restructure them from my previous ones. With myeBooks on advanced Nikon bodies I’ve received feedbackfrom readers that indicates many of you want a tighter workwith more suggestions, and something that you can take withyou.So, to better serve my readers, I’ve made some changes fromthe way I put together the D2 series eBooks. In particular, I’veremoved the introductory material on DSLRs, added manymore suggestions on how to use various camera controls, andproduced a hard copy supplement entitled Thom Hogan’sD700 To Go. That supplement isn’t designed so much to beread as to be referred to for quick reference while outshooting.At the same time, there may still be some of you who arecoming to the D700 who want additional introductorymaterial. I’ve moved that to a separate PDF file on the CDentitled Introduction to DLSRs (INTROTODSLRS.PDF on theCD).But that’s not all. I’ve taken what used to be the “softwaresection” completely out of my eBooks and made it into acomplete eBook of its own entitled Introduction to NikonSoftware (NIKONSOFT200.PDF on the CD). This new eBookis also found on the CD you received and includes completedescriptions on the current Nikon software (if you’re aWindows user and don’t know how to find files on anAutostart disc, read the inside front cover of the disc package).By putting the software into a separate work, I’ve been able toThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 9
    • Version 1.00expand it considerably and will now be able to keep it up todate separately from the cameras.Since I mentioned the change in structure earlier, let meelaborate on it so that you know what to expect in this work.This eBook is separated into three distinct sections:• Things you should know and consider before using the D700 (labeled “D700 Background” and starting on page <27>). In this section I cover how the D700 came to be, its specifications and capabilities, and how it differs from previous Nikon DSLRs. I also cover how to set up your camera for shooting. This section is up front because it’s the background material you need to get up to speed with the unique aspects of your camera.• Things you need to know while using the D700 (labeled “Shooting Pictures with Your D700” and starting on page <234>). This is the “how-to” section of the eBook. Here’s where I walk you through each feature of the camera as you’d use it. I’ll explain why you might use it, how to make that feature active, and what your options are. Yes, you may find a few things repeated in this section from the first, but in the interest of making for a complete “how-to” section, I’ve elected to repeat some set-up and other instructions. The separate Thom Hogan’s Nikon D700 To Go is a highly abbreviated version of this section.• Things you need to know and do after you’ve taken your pictures (labeled “After You’ve Taken Pictures with Your D700” and starting on page <768>). When you come back from shooting with your camera you still have things you may want to do, like print, view, or improve your images. Note that I don’t cover what you do on a computer with your images in this section—that’s reserved for the new Introduction to Nikon Software eBook that came with this one.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 10
    • Version 1.00The structure of this eBook also mimics the order you’ll wantto follow as you master your new camera: initiation, use, andpost production.As I wrote earlier, this eBook incorporates a few bits andpieces from earlier eBooks I’ve written about Nikonequipment. It’s not easy keeping up with all the changesNikon keeps making to its DSLR lineup and software. So ifyou have any of my previous eBooks, you’ll find that mywords and explanations may have changed, even for featuresthat were common across many models. So don’t skip overanything—read everything here as it stands, not as you think itmight be.As I receive comments from readers of this eBook, I updatethe original file. Since I generate this eBook directly from myfiles, this means that I am usually able to keep the text nearlyerror-free while adding or modifying sections to make a pointmore clearly. Every now and then I make a full pass throughthe manuscript, augmenting what I’ve previously written withknowledge I’ve learned from using the camera, teachingworkshops, and from other sources. When I do that, I iteratethe “edition number.” And when I create a new edition, I offerlow-cost updates to people who bought the original eBook.So, if you do find an error or confusing wording, take a lookat http://www.bythom.com/d700guideerrata.htm to make surethat the problem hasn’t already been discovered; drop me anemail telling me about it if it hasn’t.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 11
    • Version 1.00Table of ContentsACKNOWLEDGEMENTS...................................................................................... 3ABOUT THIS EBOOK ........................................................................................... 4 YOUR RIGHTS VERSUS MINE ........................................................... 4 PRINTING THE EBOOK .................................................................... 5NOTE ON THE FIRST EDITION............................................................................ 9TABLE OF CONTENTS....................................................................................... 12CONVENTIONS USED IN THIS EBOOK ........................................................... 21INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................. 23D700 BACKGROUND.......................................................................................... 27 THE D700’S HISTORY ................................................................. 27 IS IT BETTER THAN FILM? .............................................................. 34 DEBUNKING S OME MYTHS ........................................................... 39 D700 BASICS .............................................................................. 43 D700 Design ........................................................................ 43 The D700 Sensor.................................................................. 48 Sensor Specifications (Size) ............................................................... 51 Sensor Specifications (Pixels) ............................................................ 52 Sensor Filtration ......................................................................... 53 Tonal Range ............................................................................... 64 Dynamic Range -- Dark v. Bright............................................... 70 Spectral Characteristics.............................................................. 74 Noise .......................................................................................... 75 Hot and Dead Pixels .................................................................. 83 Sensor Longevity ........................................................................ 84 Sensor Wrap-up ......................................................................... 86 EXPEED ................................................................................. 86 POWER ....................................................................................... 88 Changing Batteries ............................................................... 92 Charging Batteries ................................................................ 93 Battery Storage ..................................................................... 95 Clock Battery ........................................................................ 95 Alternate Power Sources ...................................................... 96 Battery Life.......................................................................... 100 Battery Notes...................................................................... 107 IMAGE S TORAGE ........................................................................ 109 Buffer Sizes ......................................................................... 112 CompactFlash..................................................................... 114 UDMA...................................................................................... 115 Solid-State CompactFlash ........................................................ 116 Using CompactFlash ................................................................ 119 Nikon-Approved Cards ............................................................ 122Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 12
    • Version 1.00 How Much Card? .................................................................... 124 CompactFlash Troubleshooting ............................................... 125 Image Formats .................................................................... 129 Pixels ........................................................................................ 131 JPEG ......................................................................................... 133 Setting JPEG..................................................................................... 136 JPEG Rendering ............................................................................... 146 JPEG Artifacts .................................................................................. 148 JPEG Recommendation ................................................................... 153 TIFF Format .............................................................................. 154 Setting TIFF...................................................................................... 156 TIFF Recommendation .................................................................... 158 NEF Format .............................................................................. 159 Compressed NEFs............................................................................ 163 Why NEF?........................................................................................ 166 Setting NEF ...................................................................................... 168 NEF Recommendations ................................................................... 173 EXIF .......................................................................................... 174 IPTC.......................................................................................... 178 DPOF and PictBridge............................................................... 179 File Names and Folders...................................................... 180 Folders...................................................................................... 181 File Names ............................................................................... 188 File Number Sequence............................................................. 195 CAMERA SETUP.......................................................................... 197 How Menus Work .............................................................. 197 The SETUP Menu ............................................................... 200 Date, Time, and Language ....................................................... 204 Setting Date and Time ..................................................................... 205 Setting Language ............................................................................. 210 Programming a Comment ........................................................ 211 Copyright Information.............................................................. 214 Setting the LCD Brightness....................................................... 218 Set Up Recommendations Summary ....................................... 221 Viewfinder Adjustment....................................................... 222 Focus Screens........................................................................... 224 Resetting the Camera ......................................................... 224 Resetting Basic Settings............................................................ 224 Settings after Reset........................................................................... 225 Resetting Other Settings........................................................... 225 Settings after Reset........................................................................... 227 Resetting Custom Settings ........................................................ 227 The Last Resort Reset ............................................................... 227 Firmware Version ............................................................... 228SHOOTING PICTURES WITH THE D700 ........................................................ 234 CAMERA AND SHOOTING CONTROLS ......................................... 234 D700 Controls .................................................................... 235 Front View................................................................................ 235Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 13
    • Version 1.00 Top View .................................................................................. 236 Back View ................................................................................ 237 Side View ................................................................................. 238 D700 Displays.................................................................... 239 D700 Top LCD......................................................................... 239 D700 Color LCD ...................................................................... 241 D700 Viewfinder...................................................................... 245 IMAGE QUALITY ........................................................................ 248 Approximate Maximum Images Per Card ....................................... 250 METERING AND EXPOSURE ......................................................... 257 Metering Methods .............................................................. 258 Center-weighted....................................................................... 265 Spot .......................................................................................... 266 Spot Meter Point.............................................................................. 268 Metering Compatibility ................................................................... 268 Setting the Metering Method ................................................... 268 So Which Metering System Should You Use? ................... 269 Metering with Digital Requires Care .................................. 271 Locking Exposure................................................................ 275 Options for Evaluating Exposure ........................................ 276 How to Interpret Histograms ................................................... 281 Exposure Modes ................................................................. 290 Flexible Program....................................................................... 293 Program Exposure Table (at ISO 200) ............................................. 294 ISO Sensitivity..................................................................... 295 Noise Reduction Settings ......................................................... 307 Auto ISO .................................................................................. 312 How ISO Values are Created ................................................... 317 ISO Operating Suggestions ...................................................... 317 Exposure Bracketing ........................................................... 321 D700 Exposure Bracketing Values Table (Exposures) ..................... 323 Exposure Compensation..................................................... 330 Active D-Lighting ................................................................ 333 White Balance .................................................................... 337 D700 White Balance Settings ................ D700 White Balance Bracketing Values Table ............................... 360 UniWB...................................................................................... 361 Picture Controls.................................................................. 363 Contrast Parameter .................................................................. 384 Hue Parameter ......................................................................... 386 Saturation Parameter................................................................ 388 Brightness Parameter................................................................ 389 LENSES AND FOCUSING .............................................................. 391 An Aside About Lenses ...................................................... 395 Lens Compatibility .............................................................. 398 Using DX Lenses................................................................. 402 Lens Differences When Using FX versus DX................................... 406Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 14
    • Version 1.00 Lens Angle of View ......................................................................... 407 Setting Image Area ................................................................... 408 The Autofocus System........................................................ 411 Focus Mode (Single Servo, Continuous Servo, and Manual) .. 418 Single Servo versus Continuous Servo Autofocus ........................... 419 Autofocus Area Modes ............................................................ 422 Autofocus Summary................................................................. 424 Autofocus Settings Summary ........................................................... 424 Trap Autofocus......................................................................... 426 Autofocus Assist ....................................................................... 427 Lock-On (Focus Tracking) ....................................................... 429 The Pro Approach to Autofocus .............................................. 430 Adjusting Your Lenses ........................................................ 431 Chromatic Aberration Correction ...................................... 439 Vignette Correction ............................................................ 439 Manual Focus ..................................................................... 441 Depth of Field Preview....................................................... 443 FX Depth of Field ..................................................................... 445 20mm Lens (FX Format) .................................................................. 445 24mm Lens (FX Format) .................................................................. 446 28mm Lens (FX Format) .................................................................. 446 35mm Lens (FX Format) .................................................................. 447 50mm Lens (FX Format) .................................................................. 447 70mm Lens (FX Format) .................................................................. 448 85mm Lens (FX Format) .................................................................. 448 105mm Lens (FX Format) ................................................................ 449 DX Depth of Field .................................................................... 449 18mm Lens (DX Format) ................................................................. 449 20mm Lens (DX Format) ................................................................. 450 24mm Lens (DX Format) ................................................................. 450 28mm Lens (DX Format) ................................................................. 450 35mm Lens (DX Format) ................................................................. 451 50mm Lens (DX Format) ................................................................. 451 70mm Lens (DX Format) ................................................................. 451 Diffraction ................................................................................ 451 Other DOF Theories ................................................................ 453 Sharpening.......................................................................... 454 SHOOTING CONTROLS .............................................................. 462 Shutter Releases.................................................................. 462 Shutter Lag ............................................................................... 463 Shooting Method (and Frame Rate) .................................. 465 Self Timer ................................................................................. 468 Live View .................................................................................. 469 Using Hand-held Live View ............................................................ 474 Using Tripod Live View................................................................... 477 Frame Rate Troubleshooting .................................................... 481 Interval Shooting ................................................................ 482 Multiple Exposures and Overlays....................................... 490 Remote Control .................................................................. 493Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 15
    • Version 1.00 Connecting to a GPS .......................................................... 493 Shooting Information Display (INFO Button) ................... 498 Virtual Horizon ................................................................... 501 D700 Menus....................................................................... 503 PLAYBACK menu ( icon) .................................................... 504 SHOOTING menu (õ camera icon)....................................... 505 Setting and Naming Shooting Menu Banks.................................... 509 CUSTOM SETTING menu ( pencil icon) ........................... 513 SETUP menu (Ø wrench icon) ................................................ 514 RETOUCH menu (folder icon) ................................................ 518 MY MENU (checked icon) ...................................................... 519 RECENT SETTINGS (file folder list icon).................................. 525 Error Messages.................................................................... 528 IMAGE REVIEW AND PLAYBACK ................................................... 535 Image Review ..................................................................... 535 Image Review Options............................................................. 536 Rotating Images........................................................................ 546 The PLAYBACK Menu ........................................................ 548 Deleting Images ....................................................................... 549 Image Recovery............................................................................... 554 Protecting Images..................................................................... 554 Dealing with Folders ................................................................ 555 Hiding Images .......................................................................... 558 Other PLAYBACK Menu Items................................................. 561 CUSTOM SETTINGS .................................................................... 561 #C Custom Settings Bank ................................................... 568 #R Reset Custom Settings for Current Bank....................... 573 #A1 Continuous Servo AF Priority ..................................... 575 #A2 Single Servo AF Priority .............................................. 578 #A3 Dynamic Area AF Customization............................... 579 #A4 Set Focus Lock-On Parameters................................... 582 #A5 Autofocus Initiation Method ...................................... 583 #A6 Focus Area Illumination.............................................. 585 #A7 Focus Point Selection Wrap ....................................... 586 #A8 Number of AF Points .................................................. 586 #A9 Autofocus Assist Illumination ..................................... 588 #A10 MB-D10 AF-ON Button Options ............................. 589 #B1 ISO Increment............................................................. 590 #B2 Exposure Control Increment ....................................... 591 #B3 Exposure Compensation Increment ........................... 592 #B4 Exposure Compensation Control ................................ 593 #B5 Center-weight Metering Circle Size ............................ 595 #B6 Meter Compensation .................................................. 596 #C1 Shutter Release Exposure Locking .............................. 598 #C2 Meter/Camera Active Time ........................................ 599Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 16
    • Version 1.00 #C3 Self Timer Delay Setting ............................................. 601 #C4 Color LCD Active Time .............................................. 602 #D1 Sound Feedback Setting ............................................ 603 #D2 Grid Line Display in Viewfinder ................................. 604 #D3 Show Tips on Shooting Info Items ............................. 605 #D4 Continuous Low Shooting Speed............................... 606 #D5 Maximum Continuous Shots ...................................... 607 #D6 File Number Sequence............................................... 608 #D7 Shooting Info Display Style ........................................ 609 #D8 LCD Illumination Control ........................................... 610 #D9 One Second Shutter Delay ........................................ 611 #D10 Battery Type in MB-D10 .......................................... 612 #D11 Order Batteries are Used ......................................... 614 #E1 Flash Top Sync Speed ................................................. 615 #E2 Flash Low Shutter Speed Barrier ................................. 616 #E3 Flash Mode for Internal Flash...................................... 617 #E4 DOF Preview Triggers Modeling Flash ....................... 621 #E5 Exposure Bracketing Method ...................................... 622 #E6 Manual Exposure Mode Bracketing ............................ 623 #E7 Bracketing Order......................................................... 625 #F1 Power Switch Illumination Function ........................... 626 #F2 Direction Pad Center Button....................................... 627 #F3 Additional Direction Pad Control ............................... 630 #F4 Direction Pad Scrolling during Playback .................... 631 #F5 FUNC Button Setting .................................................. 631 #F6 DOF Preview Button Setting....................................... 637 #F7 AE-Lock Button Function ............................................ 641 Button Assignment Interdependencies .............................. 644 #F8 Shutter Speed and Aperture Lock ............................... 646 #F9 Command Dial Functions ........................................... 647 #F10 Pressing or Holding Buttons ..................................... 650 #F11 Lock Camera with No CompactFlash ....................... 651 #F12 Reverse the Manual Metering Bar ............................ 652 USING FLASH ............................................................................ 653 What Happens When Flash is Used .................................. 653 Flash Basics......................................................................... 654 Digital Flash Differences .................................................... 655 More Hidden Flash “Gotchas” .......................................... 658 Allowable Apertures in Program Mode ................................... 658 Flash Modes ....................................................................... 659 i-TTL Balanced Fill-Flash .......................................................... 659 Standard TTL ............................................................................ 662 High-Speed TTL (TTL FP)......................................................... 662 Summary of i-TTL Flash Modes....................................................... 663Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 17
    • Version 1.00 Non-TTL Flash Modes .............................................................. 663 Setting Flash Options ......................................................... 667 Flash Option Interactions......................................................... 670 FV Lock..................................................................................... 670 Flash Exposure Compensation ........................................... 672 Flash Features Available using a D700 with Speedlights ................ 674 Controlled, Repeatable Flash Results................................. 675 Third Party Flash Units ....................................................... 679 Studio Flash ........................................................................ 679 D700 INTERNAL FLASH ............................................................. 680 Internal Flash Basics ........................................................... 682 To Set TTL on the Internal Flash .............................................. 682 To Set Manual Flash................................................................. 683 Internal Flash Guide Numbers (Feet)............................................... 685 Internal Flash Guide Numbers (Meters) .......................................... 685 To Set Repeating Flash............................................................. 685 Wireless Flash........................................................................... 688 EXTERNAL FLASH MODELS FOR THE D700 .................................. 699 SB-400 ................................................................................ 699 Specifications ........................................................................... 699 To Set TTL Flash ....................................................................... 699 SB-400 Usable Apertures and Flash Range in TTL mode (feet) ....... 701 SB-600 ................................................................................ 701 Specifications ........................................................................... 702 To Set TTL Flash ....................................................................... 702 SB-600 Usable Apertures and Flash Range in TTL mode (feet) ....... 704 To Set Manual Flash................................................................. 704 SB-600 Guide Numbers at ISO 100 (feet) ....................................... 705 SB-600 Guide Numbers at ISO 100 (meters) .................................. 705 SB-600 Guide Numbers at ISO 200 (feet) ....................................... 706 SB-600 Guide Numbers at ISO 200 (meters) .................................. 706 To Manually Set the Zoom Head............................................. 706 To Set Flash Exposure Compensation ...................................... 707 To Set Red-Eye Reduction........................................................ 707 SB-600 Notes ........................................................................... 708 SB-800 ................................................................................ 709 Specifications ........................................................................... 710 To Set TTL Flash ....................................................................... 711 SB-800 Usable Apertures and Flash Range in TTL mode (feet) ....... 712 To Set Manual Flash................................................................. 713 To Set Repeating Flash............................................................. 714 Maximum Number of Repeating Flashes at Each Power Setting ..... 715 To Manually Set the Zoom Head............................................. 716 To Set the Distance Scale to Feet or Meters ............................ 717 To Set Flash Exposure Compensation ...................................... 717 To Set Red-Eye Reduction........................................................ 718 SB-800 Notes ........................................................................... 718 Flash Troubleshooting ........................................................ 720Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 18
    • Version 1.00 USING A D700 IN THE FIELD ...................................................... 722 The “Routine” .................................................................... 722 General Settings You Make Once............................................ 722 Things To Do Before You Head Out on a Shoot ..................... 722 Check Each Time You Turn the Camera On............................ 724 Settings You Change Rarely (and then only for a reason) ....... 725 Settings You Change Often ...................................................... 726 Things To Do After Each Shooting Session .............................. 727 Keeping Track of Batteries ................................................. 729 Maintaining Image Quality................................................. 730 Which Type of Photographer are You?.................................... 732 Dealing with JPEG.................................................................... 734 Custom Curves......................................................................... 735 Color Profiles and Color Spaces............................................... 735 Setting Color Spaces and Color Modes in the Camera.................... 740 Setting Color Spaces and Profiles in Your Software ........................ 740 Fine Tuning the Color ..................................................................... 743 Special Lighting Issues ........................................................ 745 UV and Infrared ....................................................................... 745 Ultraviolet ....................................................................................... 746 Infrared ............................................................................................ 747 Shooting Under Fluorescent Lighting....................................... 750 Other Field Shooting Issues................................................ 752 Keeping the Sensor Clean ........................................................ 752 It’s Not Just Static Cling ................................................................... 761 Worst Case Scenario ....................................................................... 762 Temperature Considerations.................................................... 762 Humidity .................................................................................. 763 White Balance Settings............................................................. 763 White Balance Color Temperatures ................................................ 764AFTER YOUVE TAKEN PICTURES WITH YOUR D700................................ 768 THINGS YOU DO AFTER THE SHOT IS TAKEN ............................... 768 THE RETOUCH MENU ................................................................ 769 D-Lighting ........................................................................... 770 Red-eye correction ............................................................. 773 Trim .................................................................................... 775 Monochrome...................................................................... 778 Filter Effects ........................................................................ 780 Color Balance ..................................................................... 783 Image Overlays................................................................... 786 Converting NEFs to JPEG in the Camera ........................... 792 TRANSFERRING YOUR IMAGES TO YOUR COMPUTER.................... 793 Connecting to a Computer................................................. 795 PRINTING YOUR IMAGES ............................................................ 796 Selecting Images to Print .................................................... 798 PictBridge Printing .............................................................. 801Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 19
    • Version 1.00 Printing Resolution ............................................................. 803 Output on Commercial Printers......................................... 807 VIEWING YOUR IMAGES ............................................................. 808 Television Playback ............................................................ 808 Slide Shows ........................................................................ 812D700 ACCESSORIES........................................................................................ 815SPECIFICATIONS.............................................................................................. 819GETTING SERVICE ........................................................................................... 822QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS.......................................................................... 827Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 20
    • Version 1.00Conventions Used in this eBookIn this eBook I occasionally make comparisons between theD700 and previous Nikon models. In general, whenever thiseBook uses the term D1 or D1 series, I’m referring to theentire D1 family (i.e. the D1, D1h, and D1x). The same is trueof the D2 series (D2h, D2hs, D2x, and D2xs). Use of anindividual model name in the text indicates a model-specificfeature or characteristic. In tables, if there are differencesbetween the cameras, I’ve either added columns for eachcamera, or separated the information into model-specifictables.Why am I including some D1 and D2 information in thiseBook? Many readers own multiple DSLRs or have experiencewith previous Nikon models. Moreover, many D700purchasers followed the earlier camera developments butheld off buying one until Nikon came out with a camera thatwas less expensive. The introduction of the D700 was whatthey were waiting for, though the resulting camera is a bitdifferent from the earlier models they learned about. Finally, itis just good form to know how your camera compares againstother Nikon DSLRs.When software products are mentioned, including those thatNikon supplies with the camera, I try to identify the version Iused for this eBook when I introduce the product. I also noteany significant differences between versions that I think youshould be aware of. If I refer to a software programgenerically, as in “use the Unsharp Mask in Photoshop,” thisusually applies to the entire range of Photoshop versions.Specific instructions for software, as in “select RemoveRedeye in the JustDoIt menu,” are for the version current asof the publication of this eBook. Also, you’ll note that I use adifferent font to distinguish menu items or messages thatyou’ll see on the computer or camera screens—this makes iteasier for you to differentiate what I’m writing about fromwhat you should be seeing on your equipment.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 21
    • Version 1.00Instructions that apply to using the camera are marked startingwith a õ. Anywhere you see that symbol, grab your D700and follow along!As I have with all my previous books and eBooks, I use myWeb site (http://www.bythom.com/d700guideerrata.htm) toreport any corrections or clarifications of information orinstructions (you’ll also find some helpful product reviews andgeneral articles). Write me at thom_hogan@msn.com if youhave any questions or comments.-ThomThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 22
    • Version 1.00IntroductionYou’ve purchased a Nikon D700 and are looking for help ingetting the best possible pictures from it. Or perhaps you’reconsidering purchasing a D700 and want to know how itworks and what it is capable of. Welcome. You’ve come tothe right place.First a little background for the newcomers: I’ve been usingNikon cameras most of my life and for the last dozen yearshave spent much of my time creating articles, books, and aWeb site explaining the nuances of these cameras to others—successfully, I think (I hope you’ll agree by the time you finishreading this work).You probably fall into one of three categories: 1. You’ve never used an SLR3 type of camera before. Previously, you probably used either a 35mm or digital point-and-shoot type of camera. Those all- automatic, all-in-one cameras are small and convenient, but tend to be somewhat slower to shoot and limited in control. You probably decided to try a D700 to get away from one of those two traits: you’re hoping that the autofocus is fast and accurate, that there’s no delay between pressing the shutter release and the time the picture is taken, and that you can buy accessories that allow you to take pictures you can’t with your compact camera. I’ll cut to the chase: you’ll be happy with your D7003 SLR stands for Single Lens Reflex. That may not mean a lot to you yet; the key pointis that an SLR uses a mirror relay system (the “reflex” portion of the name) to let yousee exactly what the lens is zoomed and focused on. Yes, there used to be a TLR(Twin Lens Reflex), which is a system where you look through one lens via a mirrorsystem, and a second lens is used for taking the picture. The old Rolleiflex andYashicaMats are examples of a TLR.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 23
    • Version 1.00 (though I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that something like a D40, D60, D80, or D90 might be all that you need—the D700 goes far beyond the point- and-shoot capability and is more complex than what you may be looking for). But you’ve got a lot to learn, as SLRs tend to be more complex and sometimes require more decisions than do the automatic point and shoots. If you fall in this category, you’ll want to read this entire eBook very carefully—there’s really no section you can skip. You’ll also want to take a look at the separate PDF named DSLRINTRO.PDF supplied on the CD. 2. You’ve used a film SLR before, but are just now switching to a digital SLR (DSLR). You probably picked the D700 because it is one of Nikon’s top DSLRs, yet affordable. Your film SLR worked just fine, but you’re looking for the advantages that digital brings: instant review, no wait for developing and processing, no per-image costs, and convenience for emailing and sharing pictures. You’re probably a little worried about image quality—is a digital SLR like the D700 as good as an F5 or F6 shooting 35mm film? Again good news awaits you: yes, you’ll get all the conveniences you seek and give nothing up in image quality. If you fall into this category, you probably don’t need to read the separate DSLRINTRO PDF, and can just concentrate on this main file. But don’t skip over the “D700 Background” section that starts this eBook: there are some things that those of you who are new to digital need to know.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 24
    • Version 1.00 3. You’ve used a digital SLR before, so the D700 is likely your new primary body and your older DSLR now your backup. You probably picked the D700 because it has been advertised as being as good as the currently top-of-the-line D3 in image quality and with virtually the same set of features, but at a much reduced price. The D700 indeed has impressive image quality with just about every feature you’d care to name, all wrapped in a professional caliber package. Or perhaps you currently have a D100 and decided it was time to upgrade to a new level of equipment (your D100 will become your backup body). Again, you’ll find that you’ve made a good choice (though the D300 might have been a perfectly adequate choice, since it shares many of the D700’s features and nearly equals its quality, at a much lower price). Your primary worry is whether you can get up to speed with your D700 as fast as possible. The good news is that you’ve already got a huge head start on the others, as the D700 doesn’t deviate from Nikon’s previous designs, it only expands on them—thus, you really only need to brush up on the new features and capabilities. If you fall into this category, you can probably skim through the “D700 Background” section (do make sure to pay attention to “The D700 Sensor” and “Camera Setup” chapters, though). You’ll want to read the section labeled “Shooting Pictures with your D700” (see page <234>) very carefully, and depending upon your familiarity with Nikon’s software and workflow with Nikon DSLR images, you may want to also review the section labeled “After You’ve Taken Pictures with the D700” (see page <768>), and the Introduction to Nikon Software eBook (NIKONSOFT200.PDF on the disc).Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 25
    • Version 1.00But don’t worry, it doesn’t matter which category you fit.You’ll find everything you need to know in this eBook (or inthe other materials included on the CD).Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 26
    • Version 1.00D700 BackgroundIn this section we’ll look at the D700 specifications, howit differs from previous Nikon DSLRs, and how to set upyour camera.We’ll also look at how the D700 is powered, how imagesare stored, and spend time looking closely at the sensorthat does the primary work.The D700’s HistoryThe Nikon D700 was an unexpected announcement in July2008. While an FX sensor in a smaller DSLR body had beenexpected for some time—Canon had produced one in the 5Dway back in 2005—the timing and specifications of theannouncement took most Nikon followers by surprise.The surprise was that the D700 is essentially a D3 in a smallerbody. Sure, there are some minor changes in specification,most notably the single card slot, a 95% viewfinder, and aslightly lower frame rate, but the bulk of D700 features areidentical to the D3.Actual shipments of the D700 began within three weeks ofthe announcement.The triple digit model numbers (e.g. D700) in the Nikon DSLRlineup are pro models, but not top-of-the-line pro models.Amazingly, the D700 comes remarkably close to the D3,though.Historically, here’s the basic lineage that leads to the D700:Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 27
    • Version 1.00Blue models are film bodies, black and gray are digital. Thick lines are directlineage, thin lines are indirect lineage.I include the film SLRs in that lineage for a reason: The F4pioneered Nikon’s modern pro build, while the F5 pioneeredmany of the technologies—such as the CCD-based matrixmetering system—that distinguish the current models. Thecommon aspects to all the single digit models are a highquality build that stands up to abuse, features that introducenew technology into Nikon’s lineup, all wrapped in a bodywith an integrated vertical grip.As I noted earlier, the D700 announcement was a surprise.Most Nikon followers, including me, had been expecting ahigh resolution full frame sensor pro body to be announcednext. But the D700 is essentially a smaller D3 at a lowerprice. Given that the D3 had been out for only about a halfyear when the D700 suddenly appeared, this was aparticularly aggressive move on Nikon’s part. The D700lopped nearly US$2000 off the D3 price but little else. At theannouncement, it wasn’t clear why Nikon would do this.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 28
    • Version 1.00I should note that the delay between each generation ofNikon’s pro cameras has been longer than that of the amateurcameras. The D1 was introduced in 1999, the D1h/D1x in2001, the D2h in 2003, the D2x in 2004, and then there wereminor tweaks to the D2h and D2x in 2005 and 2006 (theD2hs and D2xs, respectively). Looking at it another way, theD1 generation was launched in 1999, the D2 generation in2003, and the D3 generation in 2007, which represent fouryears of technology development per major iteration.Meanwhile, on the “junior” pro models, the D100 wasannounced in February 2002, the D200 in November 2005,the D300 in August 2007, and the D700 in July 2008. Again,there tends to be a multi-year development cycle, thoughthere seems to be some acceleration of that in recent history(down from three years to something more like two).Let’s recap the digital professional D-model cameras for amoment, which should reveal just how far Nikon has movedthe bar in a short period of time. First the single-digit models: D1 D2 D3Introduced 6/99 (D1) 7/03 (D2h) 8/07 2/01 (D1h/D1x) 9/04 (D2x) 2/05 (D2hs) 6/06 (D2xs)Sensor 2.6mp CCD (D1) 4 mp LBCAST 12.1mp CMOS 2.6mp CCD (D1h) (D2h, D2hs) 5.3mp CCD (D1x) 12.2mp CMOS (D2x, D2xs)Best Bit Depth 12-bit RAW, 8-bit 12-bit RAW, 12- 14-bit RAW, 16-bit ASIC rendering bit ASIC rendering ASIC renderingWrite Speed 2MB/sec, 21 frame 9.6MB/sec, 40 35MB/sec+, 60 buffer (D1) frame buffer (D2h) frame bufferShutter lag 58ms 37ms 41ms (74ms blackout)LCD 2” 130k dots 2.5” 211k to 235k 3” 920k dots dotsShooting Speed 3 to 5 fps 5 to 8 fps 9 fps (11 fps DX)Autofocus CAM1300 (5 CAM2000 (11 CAM3500 (51 sensor) sensor) sensor)Viewfinder 100% view 100% view 100% viewMajor added GPS support, Everything from D2features multiple exposure, plus AF calibration, WT-3 wireless, Active D-lighting, FUNC button Live View, WT-4Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 29
    • Version 1.00Now the triple-digit models: D100 D200 D300 D700Introduced 2/02 12/05 8/07 7/08Sensor 6mp CCD DX 10mp CCD 12.1mp CMOS 12mp CMOS DX DX FXBest Bit 12-bit RAW, 12-bit RAW, 14-bit RAW, 14-bit RAW,Depth 8-bit ASIC 12-bit ASIC 16-bit ASIC 16-bit ASIC rendering rendering rendering renderingWrite Speed 2MB/sec, 6 9.6MB/sec, 37 35MB/sec+, 35MB/sec+, frame buffer frame buffer 60 frame 60 frame buffer bufferShutter lag >100ms 50ms 45ms 41ms (74ms blackout)LCD 1.8” 118k dots 2.5” 230k dots 3” 920k dots 3” 920k dotsShooting 3 fps 5 fps 6 fps (8 fps 5 fps (8 fpsSpeed with grip) with grip)Autofocus CAM900 (5 CAM1000 (11 CAM3500 (51 CAM3500 (51 sensor) sensor) sensor) sensor)Viewfinder 92% view 95% view 100% view 95% viewMajor multiple Everything Everythingadded exposure, WT- from the D200 from the D300features 2 wireless, list plus AF list FUNC button calibration, Active D- lighting, Live View, WT-4, sensor cleaningYes, you’re reading those tables correctly. In eight yearsNikon has quadrupled the resolution, doubled the number ofbits used to record tonal ramp values while rendering JPEGs,improved write speeds by 15x+, octupled the resolution of thecolor LCD and more than doubled its area, doubled or tripledthe continuous shooting speed, increased the number of AFsensors by 10x, and added a host of other features. That’s a lotof improvement.The curious things about the D700 announcement were theinclusion of sensor cleaning (not available in the D3 on whichthe camera is based), the 95% viewfinder (due to the sensorcleaning; more on that later), and the inclusion of a flash (theD700 is the highest specified Nikon DSLR that has had one).Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 30
    • Version 1.00These changes from the D3 left many scratching their heads—two are improvements over the D3, one is a step back.Overall, the D700 very closely resembles the D300 in sizeand shape. It even uses the same batteries and chargers, andshares the MB-D10 vertical grip. From a distance, the onlything that easily distinguishes the two from the outside is thelarger prism area on the top of the D700. The 10-pin and PCSync connectors have a slgihtly different cap design, whichyou’ll notice if you look closer. Look even closer and you’llfind a few others small changes: the inclusion of an INFObutton, a different card door design (no interlock), and a realbutton in the center of the Direction pad, for example. Otherthan those small things, externally the D700 and D300 arevery similar.Internally, the D700 is more like the D3, using the samedigital IO board, same sensor, and most of the sameelectronics.Thus, Nikon has cleverly used parts and ideas from both theD3 and the D300 bin.The primary differences between the D700 and the D3amount to these:• Viewfinder. The D3 has a 100% viewfinder, and uses the older pro style to display indicators over the focus screens. The D700 has a 95% viewfinder, and uses the newer consumer style LCD overlays on the focus screens. The slightly reduced viewfinder size apparently has to do with the inclusion of the sensor cleaning mechanism. The mountings for the cleaning mechanism pushed brackets forward of the shutter in a way that restricted how large the mirror could be, according to Nikon. The slightly smaller mirror dictates the 95% view. Meanwhile, the overlay technology provides the D700 with on-demand grid lines the D3 doesn’t have, but it also means that the D3’s bright red autofocus sensor indicators are nowThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 31
    • Version 1.00 rendered in a less visible black and aren’t capable of the instant updating in some autofocus modes that D3 users get. Both changes—viewfinder coverage and display technology—are slight steps backward from the D3.• Body. The D700 is missing the integrated vertical grip and controls of the D3, though you can add these back by purchasing the optional MB-D10. The good news is that this makes the D700 smaller and lighter than the D3 in standard form. Also, when using the MB-D10 grip you have more battery flexibility and potentially more battery life—an EN-EL4a in the grip and an EN-EL3e in the D700 body give you more available watt hours (see “Power” on page <88>). The bad news is that the size of the D700 with the MB-D10 mounted is actually larger than a D3, and the combination can be just as heavy. Also, the D3’s incorporation of a built-in grip provides it with room for an extra small LCD and a row of four more buttons for directly controlling things. The D700 has to forgo that and this changes the definitions of the three button cluster on the top left of the camera. Another key change is the CompactFlash storage. First, the D3 has two slots for cards and the D700 has only one. Second, the D3 has a card door interlock that prevents you from accidentally opening the door while shooting while the D700 does not have this feature.• Features. The D700 has a few feature differences from the D3 that should be noted. I’ve already mentioned the built- in sensor cleaning function. But the D700 also has a built- in internal flash, plus a dedicated INFO button and some important changes to how it is used. The information arrangement in the viewfinder is also different. Other feature changes are modest and not particularly worth noting at this point in the eBook.Everything in the imaging chain of the D3 and D700 areidentical, however. So if you need the same high imagequality out of a smaller, lighter body, the D700 is a perfectchoice.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 32
    • Version 1.00Virtually every autofocus lens Nikon has made will work onthe D700, as will most manual focus lenses (with a meteringlimitation you’ll learn about).As the D700 is an FX body, its sensor is the same frame sizeas film, which is what most Nikon lenses were designed for.I’ll have much more to say about this in the section on “LensCompatibility” on page <398>. The D700 also supports DXlenses (with the ability to automatically crop the image tomimic the smaller sensor size of a DX body).Nikon has made everything from fisheye (takes in 180degrees) to exotic telephoto, from macro (close up) to tilt andshift lenses (to control perspective). No compact point-and-shoot camera has the lens versatility that SLR cameras do.And few DSLRs have the usable lens choices available tothem that a D700 has, since every lens Nikon has made since1979 is fully compatible with the camera, something thatvirtually no other camera maker can claim.Next, let’s compare the D700 and the D300:• The big difference is the sensor. The D700 uses a larger FX sensor, and that sensor has a number of aspects that give it improved image quality over the D300, mostly at higher ISO values. It also can run at 14-bits while shooting NEFs without losing frame rate, unlike the D300.• The D700 viewfinder is bigger and brighter than the D300’s, the difference due to the larger sensor (frame) size. Likewise the shutter and mirror are bigger to cover the larger sensor area. The D300 has 100% coverage, though, while the D700 has only 95% coverage.• The D700 and D300 are approximately the same speed (5 fps versus 6 fps, both are 8 fps with the optional MB-D10 grip and the appropriate batteries (EN-EL4a or full voltage AA).In short, the D300, D700, and D3 are all very similar camerasin most respects. The D700 indeed slots in between the D300Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 33
    • Version 1.00and D3 in terms of performance and featues, just as it does inprice.I’ve been shooting regularly with all the Nikon DSLRs sincethey came out, so I can safely say the following after using theD700 for even a short period: the D700 is a top notch DSLRthat is a bargain in price when compared to the very similarD3.Is it Better than Film?Some of you reading this may still be pondering whether ornot to make the big switch from 35mm to digital. The thingthat usually holds serious users back is their fear that thereisn’t enough resolution in digital cameras. The argument that35mm film provides more resolution than the D700, whilepotentially true in at least one aspect, is a bit misleading.The largest file a D700 generates contains about 12megapixels. While digital scans from 35mm film can producefar larger files, they don’t necessarily resolve more detail. Forexample, Nikon’s own midrange desktop scanner, theCoolscan 5000, generates files from 35mm film slides with afar higher pixel count and a slightly larger color depth than aD700 shot, but if you were to look at the finest detailrendered by each, you might be surprised to find that theD700 resolves that detail slightly better, and without revealinggrain patterns. That’s especially true at higher ISO values,where film grain becomes quite evident and masks detail.In practice, I don’t see major differences in resolutionbetween film and the D700 showing up in prints, especially atthe sizes most people print. Most of the amateur worldwouldn’t be able to tell the difference between well-producedprints from film or a D700. Even pros will have difficulty atthat task.Still, because the D700 only has 12mp when some competingpro cameras have more, almost everyone who ponderspurchasing a D700 at some point asks the same question: “isThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 34
    • Version 1.00the resolution as good as 35mm film?” Some ask this questionin a slightly different way (e.g. “can I get professional resultswith a D700?”), but the issue is essentially the same: just howgood are the pictures taken with a D700 compared to thosewith a 35mm film camera?As I previously noted, on a pure pixel level 35mm film canstill win. Let’s look at the numbers more closely. The D700generates a maximum of 4288 x 2848 pixel images with 14bits of data per color channel. The Nikon Coolscan 5000,generates 5782 x 3762 pixel images with 16 bits of color dataper channel from a full 35mm film frame (expensive drumscanners generate even larger files). Thus, one would betempted to say that the D700 is, at best, slightly better thanhalf as good as 35mm film on a middle-of-the-line desktopscanner (12 megapixels versus 21 megapixels, with onlyseven-eighths the color information at any point). But thatwouldn’t be completely accurate4. I’ve looked at a lot ofCoolscan film scans and D700 images, and I have to say thatI’ll take the D700 images almost every time. If nothing else,they’re simply easier to work with. Also, acuity up to thebreaking point of the digital image is simply better.Let’s try another way of looking at the issue. Most pros tend tobelieve that the very best film can be scanned at up to about4000 dpi. Anything less than 3000 dpi leaves a small bit ofdetail behind; anything above that (e.g. 5000 dpi) doesn’tresolve any additional detail. The long axis of the D700’ssensing area is about and inch-and-a-half and it resolves 4288points in that distance. In other words, the D700 is working atsomewhere around 3000 dpi at the sensor, or almost the samevalue you could get from film in that same area scanned on agood desktop scanner.4 There’s also a school of thought—which I subscribe to—that believes that lack of“noise” in an image is more important than additional resolution. Our eyes andbrains are very sensitive to “detail,” but false detail (noise) can be very distracting. Todemonstrate this in action, one only has to compare an enlargement from a scan of agrainy film to one from a low-noise digital camera.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 35
    • Version 1.00Still, the cleanliness of the digital detail versus the grain in thefilm detail makes things about a draw as far as I’m concerned.I’ve heard people describe the D700’s resolution as equal thatof film, perceptually, and I’d tend to agree it’s at least thatgood, probably better.Unfortunately, it’s not quite so simple to just state a resolution“number” like I just did earlier. Digital cameras do well up toa point, and then they “break down” in terms of resolvingobjects. If you photograph a black and white test chart (seeexample, below), you’ll find that the digital camera simplydoes far better than the film camera up to the point wheredigital sampling artifacts get in the way. In other words,there’s a difference between what happens when detail goesbeyond the resolving power of an analog device (film) and adigital one (a DSLR such as the D700).On such test charts, the digital camera generally has highercontrast and clarity up to the point where the pattern becomesclose to or slightly less than the sampling frequency. Notehow the big, diagonal lines above the “10” (top row) in theabove example are resolved well but as we get to smaller andsmaller versions (to the left) the lines start getting “beatfrequencies,” or false line reflections (very obvious in thediagonals above the “5” and “6”). (See also the exampleshown in “Sharpening,” on page <443>).The anti-aliasing and Bayer filters digital cameras need (see“The D700 Sensor” on page <48>), unfortunately, complicatecalculating exactly where the real resolution versus falseresolution changeover occurs. As you can see, once theThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 36
    • Version 1.00samples are too small, it might look like detail is beingrecorded, but this is false detail—mostly artifacts5 that mimicdetail. Film, being purely analog in nature, has no suchproblems. At some point grain effects become visible andcompete with detail, but essentially film doesn’t have thesame kind of “break point” as does digital. Of course, if youscan the film digitally, all bets are off!We also have print technology to contend with. Most digitalcolor print technologies max out at slightly more than 300 dpi(dots per inch). Inkjet printers often only need about 240 dpi;even the top print technologies generally don’t benefit bygoing beyond 360 dpi). At 300 dpi, a D700 file generates aprint size approximately 9.5 x 14” (>ISO A4). The re-samplingtechniques used in Photoshop (or used with a program suchas Genuine Fractals) can easily generate images twice theoriginal dimensions with invisible artifacts (essentiallyunnoticeable at viewing distances), so clean, detailed 19” x28” prints are easily obtainable using D700. That, by the way,is larger than the consumer Epson photo printers (R1800,R2200, R2400, R2880) can produce (they max out at 13” x19”).Note: Those of you who own an Epson or other inkjet printer probably read that last paragraph and said, “but wait, my inkjet says it prints at 1440 (or 2880) dpi.” A close reading of the Epson literature, however, shows that their printers don’t necessarily place that many dots every inch, but instead use a spray adjustment technique to simulate that resolution (the size of the dot is varied). When moving the paper the Epson technologies typically max out at increments of 1/720 of an inch. The practical physical resolution you need to give the Epson inkjets is about 288 dpi; beyond that and the actual gains are subtle and often5 Artifact, used in this context, means an unwanted visual side effect. Digital imagingis full of artifact-producing technologies—the analog-to-digital conversion,sharpening, noise, and JPEG compression, for example—but for the most part theseartifacts are extremely small and subtle and don’t impact image quality in ways thatmost people can see. Certainly you can’t see these artifacts by casual, arm’s lengthobservation.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 37
    • Version 1.00 not at all visible. Other maker’s printers are similar. While it’s a bit out of the scope of this book, there is a reason why printers use higher dpi settings during printing. Note that you can present the printer with a 288 dpi image and still have it print at 1440 dpi—the printer driver does a very good job of creating the additional information, and with high quality papers you can usually see a small difference if you look closely. We’ll talk more about printing in the last section of this book.So, the question really should be addressed in a different way:how do you intend to use your images? If the answer is thatyou’re going to print them on an inkjet printer, virtually anydifference you see between a D700-generated image and ascanned 35mm film image is going to be subjective, notobjective. Most photographers I know say the D700 image isactually better, as the sampling artifacts of the camera’s sensorare less objectionable than those from desktop scanners, andthat’s especially true at higher ISO values, where the D700’sgraceful noise handling trumps film’s grain buildup. TheD700 image also tends to have less noise6 in the red and bluechannels than most low-cost desktop scanners and of courseresolves no grain; it just looks better, especially if you’recomparing ISO 800 from a D700 with ISO 800 film from afilm camera.In short, if you want the very best available resolution,consider going to a medium format camera (and paying theprice of doing so). As far as 35mm film versus digital goes, therace favors digital for moderate print sizes, due to the lack offilm processing and scanning costs. And yes, I’ve put mypocket book where my mouth is: with the introduction of theNikon D1x in mid-2001 I stopped using most of my film-6 I’ll detail what noise is and how it gets generated in the section entitled “Noise” onpage <75>. Until then, think of noise as inaccurate detail.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 38
    • Version 1.00based cameras and now shoot nearly all digital. I normallyuse a D700 or D300 in my shooting as I write this7.Debunking Some MythsIf you haven’t already purchased and started using a D700,you’ve probably been perplexed over some of the contentiousand sharply worded posts on some Internet forumsconcerning several D700 traits, or the rumors that seem tofloat through some photo shops. Indeed, you may havepurchased this book in an attempt to determine which claimsare true and which aren’t. Here’s my quick take (some ofthese things are revisited in detail later in the book):• It’s only 12mp. For some time Nikon has been lambasted by a group I call the “counters.” They count megapixels, compare the numbers, and declare a winner. Generally, quality of the megapixels never enters into their consideration; more is simply better. That’s not been Nikon’s philosophy. And many of us felt that the 12mp D2x produced images that held up well against the 16mp Canon 1DsII. The simple fact is that it takes quite a few additional megapixels to “double” resolution. To double the D700’s resolution, for example, you’d need ~50mp (8576x5764). And there’s a balance between megapixel count and quality of the underlying pixels. Higher megapixel counts (all else equal) produce noisier images and have more problems with other issues, such as diffraction, than do lower megapixel counts. The real trick is to get the balance right: adequate count and high quality. Bottom line: the D700 has adequate count and high quality. Enough said.7 Yes, those of you who read my Complete Guide to the D3 will have noted thedifference. The D700 has replaced the D3 in my bag. That’s mainly because theimage quality is the same but I need smaller and lighter bodies more than I need theextra card slot and frame rates that the D3 provides.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 39
    • Version 1.00• The 95% viewfinder is a huge disappointment. I like a 100% viewfinder more than a 95% one, too. But I fail to see what all the complaints are about. If you need completely accurate framing there’s always Live View. While that won’t work for casual, impromptu shooters, such photographers generally aren’t the ones that want or need a 100% viewfinder in the first place. Bottom line: it’s not a deal breaker.• The Canon <name a model> is better. Nikon and Canon have both been producing interesting and quality products. As I write this, the Canon 1DIII provides slightly fewer megapixels than the D700 at a slightly higher price, the Canon 1DsIII provides not quite double the pixel count at a higher price, and the Canon 5DII provides not quite double the number of pixels at about the same price. I’ve used all of these cameras and would be happy with any of them; my personal choice would be the Nikon D700, with any of the Canon’s a close second (each for different reasons). In particular, the D700’s flash system is more reliable and I find its autofocus system more flexible. The high ISO results on the D700 seem more natural to me (and the D700 clearly does better than the 1DsIII). Most people find the Nikon user interface more approachable and direct. That’s not to bash the Canons— they are perfectly fine cameras in their own right. In most well trained users’ hands, though, neither a Nikon nor Canon DSLR is going to be “better.” The further we get into the digital age, the less tangible difference I see between the products of either company, at least when it comes to image quality. Sure, there are some small differences. The D700 tends to produce less chroma noise than the Canon models when noise is produced, the Canons tend to block up colors slightly at higher ISO values, while the D700 uses a noise suppression technique that produces small artifacts in absolute black that make it slightly less useful forThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 40
    • Version 1.00 astrophotography. Bottom line: The visual differences aren’t strong enough to suggest one brand over another. My suggestion is to try both brands and go with the one you like better from a handling standpoint.Remarkably, there hasn’t been a lot of D700-bashing sincephotographers have started using them. Indeed, just theopposite: a lot of Canon pros who’ve sampled the D3 andD700 report liking the Nikons just fine. A small number haveeven switched brands because of things they liked about the12mp Nikon sensor’s imaging quality. The fact that therehaven’t been a lot of tangible complaints about the D700, butrather a lot of positive gushing, shows just how good aproduct Nikon created this generation. It’s good. Real good.Certainly if I were told I could only use a D700 for the nexttwo years, I wouldn’t have any complaints. Handled properly,the D700 can produce quite stunning images. Don’t believeme? Well, take a look at the image on the next page.On the other hand, there’s a lot to learn to master the D700and get stunning images. That’s why an eBook like this one isso important: I’ll deal with the abilities of a D700 in apractical and no nonsense manner, hopefully explainingalong the way why “digital” does not equate to “perfect” andhow you can use the D700 to consistently produce highquality images regardless of any of its minor imperfections.No such thing as a perfect DSLR exists—but you can perfectthe way you use your DSLR.The bottom line is that the D700 is one of Nikon’s mostcapable cameras ever, and with the right settings, producesstate-of-the-art digital images. My goal in this eBook is to helpyou do just that.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 41
    • Version 1.00D700 NEF converted with Adobe ACR; f/13 at ISO 800; Tamron 28-300mm lens at 92mm handheld. Other than a bit of highlight recovery, I’veleft everything at the defaults during the conversion for a reason: we’re atISO 800 yet there’s still plenty of dynamic range to capture a contrastyscene, there’s no visible noise even at actual pixel view, and even aconsumer lens is resolving small detail a quarter of a mile away or more.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 42
    • Version 1.00D700 BasicsIn this section we’ll look at the controls of the camera,how it is powered, how images are stored, and theimportant things you’ll need to set up before you first useyour D700.D700 DesignThe D700 design derives directly from the D3 and D300models that preceded it. Most of the differences between theD3 and D700 are external, most of the differences betweenthe D300 and D700 are internal.Essentially, the D700 has the digital heart of a D3. This meansthe latest autofocus system, a state-of-the-art card writemechanism, and a metering system has been tricked out inways not seen before the D3 appeared. Externally the D700body design is essentially that of the D300; the size, powersource, controls and menu system are basically the same. Theone external difference between a D300 and D700 comes inthe prism area, where the larger sensor size of the D700dictates a larger prism than the D300.From the front, the primary differences between the D700 (left) and D300(right) are the covers for the 10-pin and PC sync sockets (upper right) andthe bigger prism to cover the larger sensor area. Still, these cameras couldbe twins.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 43
    • Version 1.00From the front, the D700 (left, mounted on MB-D10) and D3 (left) are alsohighly similar. The integrated vertical grip of the D3 makes it somewhattrimmer. Surprisingly, the addition of the integrated flash doesn’t really showup as a visible physical difference, though the white Autofocus Assist lampon the D700 is one clear giveaway that a flash is present.The D700 uses the same mount for interchangeable lensesthat Nikon has used since the first F-series camera, introducedback in 19598. While Nikon has made subtle improvementsto the mount to support electronic exposure calculations,autofocus, and vibration reduction, the physical attributeshave remained virtually unchanged. This allows D700 ownersto use virtually any manual focus or autofocus lens Nikon hasmade (for a list of the very few that can’t be used, see “LensCompatibility” on page <398>).Another carryover: the D700 body can matrix meter witholder, non-CPU manual focus Nikkor lenses; note that youhave to manually set maximum aperture and focal length inorder to allow matrix metering on a D700 (see “Lenses andFocusing,” on page <391>).The D700 features the “button and command dial” interfacefor most major controls that was first seen on the N8008 andF-801 in 1988. The D700 uses the version of the exposuresystem first found on the F5 and D1 series and refined in the8 Note that lenses made from 1959 through 1979 are generally pre-AI and won’twork without modification on a D700.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 44
    • Version 1.00D2 series and pushed to new capabilities with the D3. TheD700’s exposure system is shared with the D300 and D3 andrecognizes both scenes and subjects (it is also connected tothe autofocus system). Speaking of the autofocus system andsharing: the D700 includes the state-of-the-art CAM3500FX9focusing module and all the new focusing capabilities that gowith it.The D700 has a similar viewfinder design as the D300, usingLCD overlays for what appears in the image area. The DXcrop is thus handled differently than it is with the D3: insteadof graying out the out-of-frame areas, the D700 uses lineoverlays to show the DX frame area. Like the D300, theD700’s manual metering bar is below the viewing area, noton the right side as it is in the D3.From the back, the D700 (left) and D300 (right) are still very similar, withthe larger prism and round eyepiece being the most noticeable difference.There’s now a dedicated INFO button, and the Direction pad has a centerbutton.9 While Nikon has given different names to focus module for the D3/D700 versus theD300, the part that does the actual focus detection appears to be the same. It’s in thesupport circuitry that there are differences (the D700 is faster at getting andintegrating information from the autofocus sensors than the D300).Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 45
    • Version 1.00From the back, the D700 (left, shown with optional MB-D10 grip) and D3(right) are more noticeably different. The larger size of the D3 providesroom for an extra informational LCD and four buttons that the D700 doesn’thave, even with the grip installed.In short, the D700 will be remarkably familiar to D300 users,and still quite recognizable to D3 (or D2 series) users.If you’re coming from one of the consumer Nikon DSLRs,especially older ones such as the D70, you’re in for a lot ofsurprises; the D700 is a huge step up from those cameras;almost everything is better designed and deeper in functionthan you’re used to.Indeed, if you’re coming from any Nikon DSLR previous tothe D3 or D300, you’ve got a lot of learning to do. Let mebreak it down into two groups.If you’re coming from a D200 or D2 series camera:• Learn the new autofocus system. The D700 has Nikon’s most capable autofocus system yet. But it has a great deal of complexity to it, and there are a lot of things that you need to learn to maximize your use of it.• Be prepared to find matrix metering differences. The D700 integrates even more data than before, and it has a tendency to “just do the right thing.” You’ll find that you’re using exposure compensation less often. But it’s not perfect, so you have to learn what things still fool it.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 46
    • Version 1.00• Get new cards. If you don’t already have UDMA-enabled CompactFlash cards, you should get some. Otherwise you won’t get the full benefit of the D700’s speed.• Look for the small differences. Picture Controls take over for Image optimization. A few Custom Settings are changed or have different options. Note the new raw storage options.• Test the image quality. You’ve got a lot of image quality options to deal with. But in particular you want to find a Picture Control that works for you (if you’re a JPEG/TIFF shooter), and find the ISO values that are usable for your form of work (which also requires you investigate the noise reduction settings).If you’re coming from a D40, D40x, D50, D60, D70, D70s,D80, D100, or any of the D1 series bodies:• Be prepared to be overwhelmed. The D700 is a highly complex camera and has far more options than these camera bodies; the D700 even has a much deeper feature set than the D1 series. You’ve got a lot of options to learn about (which is probably why you purchased this eBook).• Learn the new autofocus system. The D700 has Nikon’s most capable autofocus system yet. But it has a great deal of complexity to it, and there are a lot of things that you need to learn to maximize your use of it. If you’re coming from the old CAM900 and CAM1300 systems, the D700’s autofocus system will seem quite foreign to you.• Be prepared to find matrix metering differences. The D700 integrates far more data than any of these older cameras, and it has a tendency to “just do the right thing.” You’ll find that you’re using exposure compensation less often and differently than before. Flash exposures will also be different for you, especially those coming from the older bodies.• Get new cards. If you don’t already have UDMA-enabled CompactFlash cards, you should get some. Otherwise you won’t get the full benefit of the D700’s speed.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 47
    • Version 1.00• Check your batteries and accessories. The D700 can only use the EN-EL3e batteries (and EN-EL4, EN-EL4a, and AA batteries if you have the optional MB-D10 vertical grip). Only a few of the cameras in this group of upgraders have batteries that will work with the D700—the early EN-EL3 and EN-EL3a versions of the battery will not work in the D700. So it’s likely you’ll need to get some new batteries. Likewise, the D700 uses the 10-pin connector for remote releases, while most earlier consumer Nikon DSLRs used IR or special cable releases.• Be prepared to learn new software. Nikon View, Nikon PictureProject, and Nikon Capture are all gone, replaced by Nikon ViewNX and Nikon Capture NX2, both of which work differently than the previous versions.But don’t worry too much. This eBook is going to step youthrough every aspect of the D700 (and the software will beaddressed in the companion eBook you received on the CD).The D700 SensorThe key element of any digital camera is the image collectiondevice, called a sensor. In the case of the D700, that is aproprietary Nikon-designed CMOS (Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor) sensor. This continues Nikon’s trend inusing unique sensors in their pro models, whether slightlyaltered from a Sony original (D1, D1h/D1x) or Nikon-designed and proprietary (D2h, D2x).The big change for Nikon is that the D700’s sensor is thesame size as the old 35mm film frame (24x36mm), whichNikon now calls FX. The smaller sized sensors used inprevious Nikon bodies are called DX (~16x24mm).Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 48
    • Version 1.00 Sensor sizes are drawn to scale. Note the right-hand diagram, where I’ve rotated a DX sensor and overlaid it on an FX sensor. Yes, the DX sensor is slightly less than half the area of an FX sensor.Sensors all work in basically the same way: they have anarray of photosites that collect, store, and manage the lighthitting a sensor. A D700 has a rectangular grid of 4288x2848photosites that are exposed to light (it actually has morephotosites than that; we’ll discuss the others when we get tothe sections on demosaicing and noise).Within an individual photosite there is a light collection areacalled the photodiode, which is where light photons arecollected and converted into electrons. These electrons arethen stored in a “well” temporarily (while additional electronsare also collected during the exposure). When the exposure iscomplete and the sensor is no longer exposed to light, theelectrons in the well are then transferred off the sensor andinto the camera’s main digital circuitry. In this process theyare counted (the analog number of electrons is converted intoa digital value).Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 49
    • Version 1.00The CMOS, CCD, and LBCAST10 terminology used to describevarious sensor technologies refers primarily to the transistortype in the sensor and defines the underlying electronicsmethodology used to perform the collection, conversion, andtransfer of light data. The actual process (collect photons,convert to electrons, store the electrons, move the electrons toa counting mechanism) is the same amongst the varioussensor types, though.CMOS is likely the long-term winner in the sensor wars.While it is more difficult to design (especially for high speedtransfers, as are used in the Nikon D2 series, D300, D3, andD700), the manufacturing costs are much lower. You can alsodesign more electronics into the sensor itself. But CMOS hasthe problem of being inherently more problematic in severaltypes of noise than is CCD technology, all else being equal(see “Noise,” on page <75>). CMOS is also somewhat moredifficult to engineer, since it allows photosite-level electronicsand the external circuitry addresses each photositeindividually. Still, many of the advantages that the matureCCD technology has had in the past have eroded as more andmore research has been put into advancing the CMOStechnology, and engineering CMOS sensors is nowcommonplace at sensor design shops.Nikon curiously hasn’t said much about the CMOS sensorused in the D700 other than to say that they designed it. I(and others) suspect part of that suspense is that there is likelya lot of cross licensing of technologies underlying the sensor’sdesign, and Nikon is reluctant to share that informationpublicly, probably for competitive reasons. Of the Japanesesensor design shops, Nikon’s appears to be the most open interms of looking for and using the “best solution” approach(as opposed to “only invented here”). Some of that may come10 The Nikon-designed sensor used in the D2h and D2hs. LBCAST stands for LateralBuried Charge Accumulator and Sensing Transistor, a technology unique to Nikonsensors. LBCAST is a relative of CMOS—the primary difference being that LBCASTuses a different type of transistor.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 50
    • Version 1.00from the intertwined relationships Nikon has with others:Nikon’s Precision division makes the semiconductorequipment that many sensor manufacturers use to createsensors.What Nikon has said about the D700 sensor is that one majorchange they made is in the microlens design. We’ll get to thatin a bit. The two primary lines Nikon has used in talkingabout the new sensor are: “is a CMOS sensor developed byNikon” and “adoption of an element structure that improveslight-utilization efficiency.” The D700’s sensor (the greenish blue area surrounded by the black metal frame; that frame is holding the low- pass filter that sits on top of the sensor). Any dust or dirt that gets into the mirror box (behind the lens) seems to ultimately work its way and attach itself to the low-pass filter. See “Keeping the Sensor Clean” on page <752>.Many newcomers to digital photography are confused by thepublished information about imaging sensors. Here are thekey specifications for the D700 and other recent Nikon DSLRmodels:Sensor Specifications (Size)Camera Size “ Size mm Photosite SizeD70/D70s .93 x .61 23.7 x 15.6mm 7.8 micronsD100 .93 x .61 23.7 x 15.6mm 7.8 micronsD200 .93 x .62 23.6 x 15.8mm 6.05 micronsD300 .93 x .61 23.7 x 15.6mm 5.49 micronsD2h/D2hs .93 x .61 23.7 x 15.6mm 9.4 micronsD2x/D2xs .93 x .62 23.7 x 15.7mm 5.49 micronsD3/D700 1.42 x .94 36 x 23.9mm 8.46 micronsPhotosite size is more important than it first looks, because the criticalissue is the square of the size. Thus, the D700 has 72 square micronscompared to the D300 at 30 square microns, or less than half thearea.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 51
    • Version 1.00Nikon now refers to all the ~24x16mm sensors they use asDX (and in Japan you’ll sometimes see them referred to asAPS-DX11). The D3/D700 sensor (and future 36x24mmsensors) is referred to as FX. The primary thing to note is thatthe photosite size of the D3/D700 sensor is significantly largerthan that of the other 12mp cameras Nikon has made (D300,D2x, D2xs). All else equal, a larger photosite size means morepotential dynamic range and less noise due to the superiorlight collection area.Sensor Specifications (Pixels)Camera Active Pixels Bit DepthD70/D70s 3008 x 2000 12 bits (but compressed)D100 3008 x 2000 12 bitsD200 3872 x 2592 12 bitsD300 4288 x 2848 14 bits12D2h/D2hs 2464 x 1632 12 bitsD2x/D2xs 4228 x 2848 12 bits13D3/D700 4256 x 2832 14 bitsNote: Nikon’s pixel dimensions are always for the active imaging area of the sensor. Moreover, Nikon has sometimes chosen a slightly different active area than the sensor manufacturer suggests (3008 x 2000 instead of 3000 x 2000 for the D100, for example). But the active imaging area may be slightly less than the number of “effective pixels.” You’ll note, for example, that Nikon claims the D700 has 12.7 million total pixels, but the image only ends up with about 12.1 million. That’s because some of those extra pixels at the edges are masked off and used for noise management and other purposes.Obviously, not all sensors are built to the same specifications,so what are the key differences, and what do they mean?11 Canon uses an ever so slightly smaller sensor size called APS-C, as well as a somewhat larger one called APS-H.12 Nikon uses 16-bit processing for the full 14-bit image data for JPEG and TIFFprocessing on the D3 and D300.13 Nikon uses 12-bit processing for JPEG data on the D2x, D2xs, and D200.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 52
    • Version 1.00First, note that the physical size of the D700’s sensor isimmensely larger than that of the all-in-one consumer digitalcameras, such as the Coolpix models, which use sensorsmuch smaller (typically 4 x 5.4mm or 5.4 x 7.2mm, whichworks out to a twentieth the area of the D700 sensor in thebest case). Likewise, the individual areas used to capture lightand generate pixel data—called photosites—are much, muchlarger for FX sensor cameras than for the Coolpix models (thearea is approximately 72 square microns on the D700compared to the best case Coolpix, the no-longer madeCoolpix 5000 at about 12 square microns). Note that theD700’s photosites are significantly bigger in area than those ofall previous Nikon DSLRs other than the D2h, as well.Photosite size is directly related to the ability to record a wideand accurate tonal range and inversely related to the amountof noise in the image data. Note that the D700’s performancein almost every respect is even better than that of the D2h,which has larger photosites. That just goes to show how fasttechnology has changed in the sensor world14.Sensor FiltrationThe D700 uses a Bayer-pattern filter over the photosites,named for the Kodak engineer who originated the method,Dr. Bryce Bayer. Each individual photosite has a colored filterover it so that the underlying photosite is responsive to aparticular range of color:14 You might wonder if the pace will continue as quickly in the future. Perhaps, butother issues will start to make such advances less important. For example, the D3’ssensor is good enough to clearly show the differences between poor and good lenses.We’ll likely get software that addresses physical lens defects if sensors continue todownsize (increasing the photosite per millimeter ratio). I personally don’t expect thepace of sensor innovation to go down in the coming decade versus that of the last.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 53
    • Version 1.00Adjacent photosites have different colored filters over them,which produces an alternating array of colored filters. Here’sa close view of a small portion:Basically, odd-numbered pixel rows alternate filters toproduce red and green values, while even-numbered pixelrows alternate filters to produce green and blue. It’s veryimportant for D700 users to understand what this patterndoes, and the consequences it produces in images.Many first-time digital users wonder why the green filter isused for twice as many photosites as the blue and red filters.One reason is that photodiodes, like our eyes, are mostreceptive to light wavelengths in the 500 to 600 nanometerrange (i.e. green). Likewise, green light waves are in betweenthe red and blue positions in the spectrum, and are found tosome degree in most visible colors. Duplicating the greenThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 54
    • Version 1.00value gives the camera a better chance at discriminatingbetween small differences in color and the amount of light(luminance) in a scene. (Photosites are least responsive toblue wavelengths [~400-500 nm], which produce otherproblems we’ll discuss later.)If you’re saving images in NEF format (see “NEF format” onpage <153>), the camera simply saves the values it recordedat each photosite into a file (along with some additionalcamera data). Note that this is not color data, but simply acount of the photons converted to electrons collected at eachphotosite during the exposure. (Remember, there’s a colorfilter above each photosite that only allows a limited set ofwavelengths—colors of light—to pass through.) Software onyour computer (Nikon Capture NX2 or one of the many third-party RAW file converters that are available) is then used tointerpret the photosite information to produce the actual RGBvalues of your visible image.If you’re saving images in JPEG format (see “JPEG” on page<133>), the camera must first process the photosite data intoimage data. It does this by a process called interpolation15.Interpolation looks at a block of photosite data and “guesses”the actual RGB values for any given photosite location(remember, at any given photosite, the camera only sees Red,Green, or Blue data, not all three; interpolation produces themissing two data elements).Most interpolation routines examine a 5x5 or larger block ofadjacent data to determine the actual RGB pixel value for anygiven location. This is one reason for the difference in numberbetween the “effective megapixels” and actual megapixelcount in an image that is produced: extra photosites along theedges of the sensor array (white in the following illustration)15 Technically, the actual name given to routines that convert Bayer pattern data intoRGB pixel data is demosaicing. (The data is a mosaic of color information, and thatmosaic must be reinterpreted into image data, thus the routine is called de-mosaic-ing.) Interpolation is a more general name given to any conversion that involvescreating new data from partial or smaller datasets.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 55
    • Version 1.00are there solely to provide data for the interpolation routine tolook at in order to calculate the pixels that end up at the edgeof your image (gray in following illustration):Interpolation has several serious consequences:• Green data is the most accurate. Because the Bayer pattern repeats green, the camera has more data from which to make its guess. It also helps that the photodiodes in the sensor are most sensitive to the green bandwidth. Moreover, subtle differences in green values actually make for larger perceived differences in colors, especially skin tones (yes, there’s some green value in skin colors).• Red and Blue data generate the most “noise.” Since both the red and blue photosites aren’t repeated in the Bayer pattern, there are fewer of those color data points from which to predict each pixel’s value. Worse still, when the light hitting a red or blue photosite is low, noise becomes a significant possibility in the photosite’s value (see “Noise,” below). For example, you’ll sometimes see noise in the red channel of a blue sky, or noise in the blue channel for a skin tone. Since the blue photosites are not very sensitive to light, indoor lighting can be a real problem for a sensor, as very small amounts of blue wavelength light is produced by incandescent lighting, and the lighting indoors tends to be dim to start with. That said, overall the red channel on the D700 tends to be theThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 56
    • Version 1.00 noisiest (at least until the camera’s noise reduction circuitry comes into play).• Red to Black and Blue to Black transitions compromise detail. Black is defined as the absence of light in all three channels (R, G, and B). Thus, when you have a pure red area adjacent to a pure black area, the Bayer pattern gets in the way (no value is being reported by the G and B photosites, thus only one in four photosites is providing useful information that can be translated into image detail). Red to Blue transitions can also exhibit a similar problem, though usually not as visually intrusive as the Red to Black or Blue to Black ones. Shooting a scene with only red and black renders three quarters of the photosites inactive, as only the red photosites are providing measurable light values. Compare this matrix to the previous one and you’ll see that the effective resolution has decreased (I’ve made the patterns the same size).• Moiré patterns may appear. When the frequency of image detail changes at or near the pitch of the photosites (imagine a photo of the screen on a door where the line intersections of the screen hit almost, but not exactly on the photosites), an artifact of interpolation is often a colored pattern called moiré.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 57
    • Version 1.00 Moiré shows up as added “detail” not in the original, usually with a color pattern to it. In this example I’ve exaggerated the contrast and color so that you can see wavy patterns that weren’t in the screen being photographed (the original screen is silver with a tight diagonal weave in a regular pattern—those curvy lines and color changes don’t appear in the screen’s pattern). You get moiré most often from things like screen doors, tightly woven fabrics, and any other object that has a small, repeating, regular pattern of detail.Before we leave the sensor filtration topic, we need to discusshow information gets to and from the sensor, since it can alsoinfluence the image results.I’ve mentioned the photodiode already, the part of thephotosite that is exposed to light and makes the conversion oflight photons to electrons. What I didn’t mention is thatphotodiodes are sensitive to the angle at which light hitsthem. The general rule of thumb has been that light must hitwithin 15° of perpendicular for it to be accurately captured bythe photodiode. Light hitting at more oblique angles producesless photon-to-electron conversion, which falls into a generalcategory of sensor design issues called “shading.” Wephotographers see a similar effect as vignetting in the cornersof our images.In order to “align” the light more properly with the sensor, amicrolens is placed over each photosite. The microlens hasthe task of trying to make the light hit the photodiode at amore perpendicular angle, thus reducing shading effects.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 58
    • Version 1.00Like the Bayer filtration, the microlenses are part of the sensoritself and manufactured at the same time as the sensor.Indeed, microlenses aren’t so much a lens as you wouldnormally envision it, as they are a coating that produces lens-like visual impact (re-focuses light). Imagine a coating thatproduces evenly formed “bubbles” that mimic lens elementsand you won’t be far off.We don’t want light hitting the photosite from oblique angles,because it might not get into the photosite’s photodiode (thegray section in the above illustration). So the microlens isdesigned to take light hitting at all angles and redirect itstraight down into the photosite well.One difference on the D700 sensor is that it has a gaplessmicrolens over each photosite. This approach has the impactof making all the light hit the photo diode, and is a key part tothe D700’s low light capabilities. All light gets redirected by the microlens layer so that it is very perpendicular to the photo diodes.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 59
    • Version 1.00Nikon has done two things to make light hit moreperpendicular to the sensor’s photodiodes for the D700:• Microlenses—As already described, this lens-like layer added to the sensor redirects light hitting the sensor from angles and reorients it more towards perpendicular. The gapless microlens design does a better job of this than earlier microlens designs.• New lens designs—Even prior to introducing the D1, Nikon appears to have begun designing wide angle lenses with a modified rear element design (the first was the 17­ 35mm f/2.8 Nikkor). Essentially, all Nikkor wide angle lenses introduced in the digital era are designed with rear elements that don’t try to make a final dramatic “bend” in the optical path, thus light is already coming to the sensor area in a more perpendicular direction than it would be in older wide-angle lens designs.On top of the D700’s sensor sits a separate “low-pass” filter,sometimes called an anti-aliasing (or AA) filter16. The low-passportion of the filter is used to prevent (as much as ispossible17) color aliasing artifacts (like moiré). However, thelow pass filter used on the D700 isn’t an overly aggressiveone—D700 images show modest anti-aliasing. The D1 series,D100, and D200 had relatively high anti-aliasing appliedcompared to the D70 and D2h. The D300 and D2x aresomewhere in between, with the D700 being slightly moretowards the D70 and D2h side.Here’s a crop from an unmodified D700, with the cameraplaced at a distance so that it would just start to show moireon the 1 line per mm target (lower left).16 Nikon’s penchant for jargoning-up the terminology and then abbreviating it leadsthem to call it an OLPF (optical low pass filter) in some of their literature.17 From a designer’s viewpoint, the engineers must balance the intensity of the anti-aliasing filter with the destruction of resolution. The stronger the anti-aliasing effect,the more the acuity of small detail suffers. Likewise, the less strong the anti-aliasingeffect, the easier it is to trigger unwanted moiré. Personally, I’d rather have theadditional detail and deal with the moiré than vice versa, but some users hate moirébecause it requires strong post-processing skills to remove.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 60
    • Version 1.00And here’s the same thing after removing the low-pass filterand replacing it with plain glass (with an infrared blockingcoat):Note a couple of things. First, the random information (that’sweathered paint on my neighbor’s garage door) appears toreveal a bit more information, almost as if it were “sharpened”slightly (both images are unsharpened). But note the color haschanged (the automatic white balance is finding some low-level color information it didn’t before) and we now have allsorts of strange random color in the test target. If you wereThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 61
    • Version 1.00able to examine the full image carefully, you’d also find thatthe modified camera also shows some evidence ofstairstepping on diagonal lines. And should you make thismodification on your D700, you’d have to live without theautomatic sensor cleaning. Living with or without an anti-aliasing filter has its drawbacks.Nikon has chosen slightly more conservatively than I wouldhave, but it also makes it difficult to produce trulyobjectionable results. I had to do some calculations to find thepoint at which I could trigger moire. I’m over 50 feet awayfrom a credit-card sized test target with 1 line per mm!Moreover, the low-pass (anti-aliasing) component of the D700is a two-parter. In the filter is a top layer that separates outhorizontal detail components, and just before light gets to thesensor is the layer that separates out the vertical components.This separation reduces the production of moiré.The actual material used in most anti-aliasing filters is lithiumniobate, which has a crystalline structure. Lithium niobate is amaterial that’s not quite as hard as the best glasses, butdefinitely harder than most optical plastics (resins). You’llappreciate that when it comes time to physically clean thesensor, because you’re not actually cleaning the sensor itself,but the anti-aliasing filter that sits just above it.Embedded in the anti-aliasing filter is another component: UVand IR light blocking. Photodiodes have sensitivity to lightoutside the human visual range. This is particularly an issue inwhat is known as the near-IR spectrum. We can’t see thatlight with our eyes, but it if is allowed to be added to the redcomponent of a pixel, the resulting pixel colors will beincorrect.Many dark fabrics—such as police uniforms—reflect a fairamount of near-IR. Thus, if near-IR wasn’t filtered out before ithit the sensor, all the red photosites in the camera would get“extra” photons outside the visual range we see. Once thatThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 62
    • Version 1.00extra data got into the RGB pixel data, colors will drift. Itwasn’t unusual, for example, in early DSLR cameras to seeblack fabrics go magenta (the Kodak DCS2000 was notoriousfor this, for example).Yet another component of the anti-aliasing filter on a D700 issomething called an Indium Tin Oxide coating (usuallyabbreviated to ITO). This costly and optically transparentcoating is applied to the front of the anti-aliasing filter in orderto reduce the small static charge that builds at the front of thesensor and which can attract dust. The key word in thatprevious sentence is “reduce.” ITO isn’t a dust removalsystem; you can still get dust clinging to the front of an ITOanti-aliasing filter, it just is less likely than on an uncoatedfilter.The downside to ITO is that this very thin layer is somewhatmore fragile than the underlying filter it sits on, and using theimproper chemicals or techniques in cleaning can easily andpermanently damage it.If you’re getting the idea that the D700 sensor is a “sandwich”of things, you’re correct. Here’s a run-down of the things lighthas to go through to get to the actual “light-sensing” area onthe sensor:• Dust resistant coating layer that is shaken for sensor cleaning (ITO) [on top of low-pass filter]• Infrared removal filter (“IR cut”) [in low-pass filter]• Low-pass filter (anti-aliasing) [in low-pass filter and sensor]• Microlenses [coating applied to sensor top]• Bayer-pattern filter [coating applied to sensor top]Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 63
    • Version 1.00 The anti-aliasing filter (top gray layer) filters out high frequency detail and near infrared energy in the light (orange arrow) before it gets to the microlenses and Bayer pattern dyes that sit over the photosites.Note: Why is the filter called a “low-pass” filter? Artifacts— unwanted data—are produced by any analog-to-digital conversion. There’s a basic rule of conversion that all input frequencies below something called the Nyquist frequency will be correctly produced, while those above the frequency tend to more easily generate aliasing artifacts (often visible as moiré or color fringing in digital cameras). The filter on the D700’s sensor attempts to pass the data below the Nyquist frequency for the sensor pitch, and reject data above that frequency, thus the name “low-pass.”Note: The IR-cut and anti-aliasing filter can be removed from some cameras (with a great deal of fussy disassembly that will void your camera’s warranty). Why would you want to do that? Two reasons: (1) By removing this filter you remove all the anti-aliasing. This can produce higher acuity, but at the potential expense of more incidence of moiré and aliasing of diagonal edges. (2) By removing the IR-cut filtration and substituting a visible light-cut filter you can convert a camera into a dedicated infrared camera (see “Infrared” on page <747>).Tonal RangeThe sensor in the D700 can capture images with either 12-bitor 14-bits of data for each photosite position.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 64
    • Version 1.0014 bits-per-pixel tonal range may not seem like much, but ittranslates into the ability to render 16384 shades (using 14bits) of an individual color versus 4096 (using 12 bits) or 256(using 8 bits)18. While the capability of most human eyes isclose to what an 8-bit capture contains (our eyes are usuallysaid to distinguish about 16 million colors, which isapproximately what 8-bit RGB produces; 256 x 256 x 256 =16,777,216), the extra tonality of 14 bit captures is still useful.When we “sharpen” and apply other corrections to an imagein post-processing, it is usually easier to keep suchmanipulations from becoming visible with the extra bits (i.e.we can “hide” some of our manipulation in the extra tonality,and rounding errors have less visible consequences). Here’s a tonal ramp rendered two ways. On the top, it’s rendered as a continuous spectrum from black to white. On the bottom, I’ve arbitrarily separated it into 19 different tones (slightly better than a 4-bit value can contain). The more tones we use to go from black to white, the more subtle transitions like this look. This is one reason why pros prefer to use raw files, which have 12-bit or 14-bit values, instead of JPEG, which have compressed 8-bit values.But there’s more to bits than just the subtlety of the tonalramp. Once we reduce our data into 8-bits for a JPEG or TIFFimage, we’re stuffing some of the stops of exposure data into avery small space.Programmers might already know where I’m headed: thenumber of bits available for recording low values is morelimited than the number of bits available for recording highvalues:18 n bits can enumerate 2^n values.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 65
    • Version 1.00 ---X XXXX used for lowest stop XXXX XXXX used for highest stopPut another way: there are 32 possible values possible in thatbottom stop of exposure, but 256 possible values possible inthe top stop of exposure 19. Therefore the accuracy of thehighest stop of data (highlights) is going to be greater than theaccuracy of the lowest stop of data (shadows), especially if westart using curves and other manipulations to move the datawithin the limited available space. That’s the reason why Istrongly suggest shooting raw files on DSLRs instead of JPEGs:by keeping the data in 12-bit or 14-bit space you have moredata accuracy when you make changes, and fewer roundingproblems and errors.Just for the heck of it, let’s assume that the D700 can captureexactly seven stops of dynamic range and we spread thatevenly across the bits (we’ll get to the reality in a bit). Put in atable this 8-bit versus 14-bit difference looks like this: 8 Bits 14 BitsFirst Stop Values of 0 to 36 Values of 0 to 2340Second Stop 37 to 73 2341 to 4680Third Stop 74 to 110 4681 to 7020Fourth Stop 111 to 146 7021 to 9361Fifth Stop 147 to 183 9362 to 11701Sixth Stop 184 to 219 11702 to 14042Seventh Stop 220 to 255 14042 to 16384The critical element to note is the number of different values that can berecorded in each “stop” of exposure. There’s a big difference between 36and 2340. The higher that number, the less likely that you’ll see steps orroughness in the tonal ramps of your image.It should be obvious that the data in each stop of exposurehas more potential subtlety in 14-bit data than in 8-bit data.19 It’s even worse than that. The linear nature of sensors means that we get a greatdeal of highlight differentiation but little shadow differentiation. But that’s getting abit ahead of our discussion.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 66
    • Version 1.00Thus, you’ll want to keep your data in the higher bit realm aslong as possible.Fortunately, the D700 does just that. The EXPEED imageprocessing system does the image demosaic and appliescamera settings on 14-bits of data20. Only at the final stage ofcreating the JPEG or TIFF does the D700 reduce data to 8 bits.Better still, the D700 captures dark to bright in a somewhatmore predictable fashion21; 35mm film tends to have a widelyvarying response (density of image) to exposure, producing adistinct S-curve when you plot exposure against density.Worse still, most film has a property called reciprocityfailure—the tendency to require a different exposure atextremely short or extremely long shutter speeds. The bottomline on digital tonality is that the shadow areas are less likelyto “block up22” in underexposure, as they do with most slidefilm, for example.One thing that is a bit unexpected about the D700’s tonalrange as it gets interpreted by the EXPEED processor is that itisn’t perfectly flat, as it has been on most previous Nikon proDSLRs. By “flat” I mean that the rendering of the white-to-black patches on a Kodak stepped grayscale chart don’t resultin the expected flat line (see chart, below).20 Actually, the internal processing is done using 16 bits (the 14-bit value is pushedinto the top of those 16-bits).21 “Predictable” isn’t quite the right word to use, as no imaging device I know of has aperfectly predictable response to light. My point is that a D700’s tonality curve ismore regular than film’s, which tends to vary more with brightness and exposurelength.22 Imagine a chart with 64 increasingly brighter shades of gray from black to white. Ifyou were to photograph that chart, a “blocked up” shadow area would be one thatdid not reproduce differences between adjacent dark grays, essentially renderingmany of them black (or near-black). Because film has a non-linear response to light,many different light values are sometimes produced as black. Fuji Velvia, a slide filmfavored by many professionals, has a pronounced tendency to render any objectunderexposed by more than three stops as a rich, velvety black. The same problemcan occur at the bright extreme, as well. Blocked up highlights would be all brightobjects rendered as the same white (or near-white) color.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 67
    • Version 1.00There’s a slight “hump” in the middle range of the tonal curve(at least at the camera’s default settings), with “droops” atboth the deep shadow (left) and bright highlight (right) ends.Curiously, the D700’s hump is much less pronounced thanthe D300’s with the same camera settings. I suspect theD700’s excellent noise handling has caused Nikon to hold asmuch dynamic range as possible compared to the D300,where they chose to let shadows go black faster to de-emphasize noise. Virtually all Nikon Picture Control settingsproduce a slight hump of some sort in the mid-range. Theoverall impact of this is a slight bit more mid-range contrastthan previous Nikon pro bodies, and a little less of the “Nikondrab” look some have complained about in out-of-cameraJPEG images from earlier cameras.Note: Some of the test charts presented in this eBook and on my Web site are pieces of the elaborate testing results that the Imatest testing software produces. Imatest is also the software I use to verify the things I see in D700 images. While I don’t always present the test results in this eBook (you’ve got enough pages and examples to wade through as it is), almost all of my statements about image quality properties have been empirically tested by both careful image shooting and running standard test charts through Imatest. Imatest is probably the most precise testing facility easily available to the average user. I highly recommend it as aThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 68
    • Version 1.00 way to get to know the nuances of your camera’s response. One small thing, though: you’ll need a number of test charts to take full advantage of the program, and some of these charts are expensive because they’re produced to exacting standards. See http://www.imatest.com for more details. And don’t forget to tell Norman that I sent you.We also have to talk about the “linear” nature of sensors.Simply put, twice as much light means twice as manyelectrons get collected and counted. Unfortunately, thehuman eye isn’t linear. Here’s what the difference looks like: Green is our eye’s non-linear response, blue is the sensor’s linear response to adding lightTo make these two response systems “line up” a digitalsensor’s data is adjusted with a “gamma curve.” Thisintroduces additional issues with the way bits end up in thefinal pixel values. If you start with too few bits and startapplying complex tonality curves to the underlying data, youend up with rounding and other issues in the final data.However, the question on most D700 user’s minds isn’t 8-bitsversus 14-bits, it’s usually 12-bits versus 14-bits. If you shootJPEG or TIFF because you need ready-from-the-cameraoutput, you have to live with the 8-bitness of your output(though you can still optimize a few settings to help thecamera’s processing). But if you’re shooting NEF to get“optimal” data, the question quickly becomes whether to use12-bits (which makes for smaller file sizes) or 14-bits (whichincreases file sizes). Given the rapidly dropping cost of cardstorage, I think this is a no brainer: shoot 14-bits.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 69
    • Version 1.00But the question that has been a lively discussion on manyInternet fora is whether there is an eventual visual differencebetween shooting in 12-bit or 14-bit. On the D700 I can see asmall, but clear, difference in tonality at the higher bit level, atleast using converters that are using precise math(surprisingly, many have problems with the math involved). Itappears to me that the D700’s signal-to-noise ratio is just highenough to require 14-bits to fully capture what the sensor iscapable of. A lot of us have spent an enormous amount oftime studying this, but I keep coming back to the sameconclusion: if you shoot 12-bit NEF you’re arbitrarily cuttingoff the signal-to-noise ratio slightly under what the D700produces at optimal exposures.Dynamic Range -- Dark v. BrightIn any photographic situation we find ourselves in, there isalways a range of brightness, from dark to light. In our officeswe try to keep the range minimized—in other words, there’susually not a big difference between the darkest areas and thebrightest. But in the real, uncontrolled world, the range fromdark (densely shaded area) to bright (sun bouncing off ametallic object) can be considerable. We call the brightnessdifferences we encounter the scene’s dynamic range. We referto the ability of our film or digital camera to capture a rangeof brightness the camera’s dynamic range 23.We measure both ranges in terms of stops; each stoprepresents a doubling of light. So if I were to say thatsomething I wanted to photograph had four stops of scenedynamic range, that would indicate that the brightest areasare 16 times lighter than the darkest. Unfortunately, manyoutdoor settings can have 10 or more stops of range in them.That’s a huge range of light.23 “Dynamic range” is the common short-hand term used for both things. I’ve electedto add an adjective in front of the two terms here so that you’ll know if I’m talkingabout the scene or the device.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 70
    • Version 1.00Overall, the D700 has slightly less dynamic range capabilitythan was captured by the best print films, but substantiallymore dynamic range than most slide films could handle.What does that mean in numbers? My measurement systemsays the D700 maxes out somewhere just above 8 stops ofusable camera dynamic range (some others measure a bitdifferently and come up with a slightly different number; we’llget to that in a moment). Using the same system for the slidefilm I use (Provia F), I can capture about six stops of range.With the negative film I use (Portra) I usually measure eight ornine stops (processing and printing can have an impact).Note: You’ll see camera dynamic range figures posted in various reviews that disagree with each other. Some of these numbers aren’t actually measuring scene dynamic range that can be captured and reproduced, but instead measure stepped reflective targets that range from black to white and measure the maximum signal to no signal values. The reflectivity and efficiency of the target comes into play, as do other factors, such as the camera settings when shot in JPEG. Other tests take a single target and vary either the amount of light hitting it in a series of tests with the camera’s settings constant, or keep the light constant and vary the camera’s settings from underexposure to overexposure. Unfortunately, you can only compare numbers from a single testing method, and then only if the test is done with rigid controls. You’ll note that I don’t quote a specific number in the paragraph above, but say “just above 8 stops.” This pronouncement comes from measuring many scenes with incident and reflective light meters to determine the scene dynamic range that was being shot, then observing where the cutoff of “useful” information is. This is then checked against using a single target with varying camera settings in a constant light. Since some camera settings impact the actual value that can be obtained, I prefer to report a number that can be clearly achieved with absolute consistency, regardless of how your camera is set (e.g. just above 8 stops). But keep reading, I’ll try to elaborate…The camera dynamic range of the D700 is fixed, but thesituations you’ll encounter and wish to photograph aren’tThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 71
    • Version 1.00fixed in their scene dynamic range. Sometimes you’ll findscenes that have very little range in exposure (said to be lowin contrast), sometimes you’ll encounter situations that haveextreme variations in exposure range (said to be highcontrast).In terms of our sensor and the buckets in which it collectslight (photosites), camera dynamic range is restricted at eachend by different things. At the bright end, as I’ve alluded tobefore, the bucket has a limit to what it can hold. Once thebucket is full, it doesn’t matter how many more light photonsstrike it, they won’t be collected, and thus not measured.At the other extreme, we also have an inability to measuresmall amounts of light. Imagine it this way: let’s say you justwashed your bucket and gave it a quick wipe to dry it. Nowone drop of rain hits the bottom of the bucket. Can youmeasure how much rain has fallen? Well, no. There’s residualmoisture in the bucket from the cleaning, and we haven’tcollected enough new water to distinguish that from theresidual moisture. Likewise, with sensors: there are residualelectrons in and around the photosite and we need to convertenough light photons into electrons so that we candifferentiate the two.Technically, engineers measure camera dynamic range as thedifference between the full bucket (electron well capacity ofthe photosite) and the measurable empty bucket (theminimum data that can be read, which equates to thebaseline of underlying noise). On a D700, this results in ahigh value of about 11.8 stops at the base ISO.Photographers measure dynamic range a bit differently,usually defined as being between the lowest point at whichusable shadow detail occurs up to the point where highlightclipping occurs. On my D700 I measure that to be:Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 72
    • Version 1.00ISO Dynamic RangeLO1 9 stops (but watch for clipped highlights)200 9 stops400 8.6 stops800 8 stops1600 7 stopsDue to the amplification involved, dynamic rangecontinues to drop as you increase ISO.Curiously, when using the DX crops I get slightly lowernumbers.I want you to notice one thing about the numbers I justreported: Higher ISO values mean less dynamic rangecaptured. Noise increases with ISO, thus the possible capturerange gets smaller. As you can see, this is probably trivial (justabout a stop, and still higher than some previous NikonDSLRs at their base ISO) at up to as high as ISO 800, but eachISO boost does rob you of more and more capture capability.With a DSLR, you are in charge of getting the exposure“right.” That means that you have to consider what the D700can capture (camera dynamic range) versus what you’re tryingto photograph (scene dynamic range). I’ll have much more tosay about exposure as we proceed to learn about the camera(see “Metering and Exposure” on page <257>, for example).But suffice it to say that the sensor in the D700 has a fixedrange that it can capture while the situations you want tophotograph will present quite a variety of ranges you’ll needto deal with. Don’t fret—the D700 has a plethora ofautomated features to help you. But you’ll want to pay closeattention to exposure, and knowing what the sensor cancapture is part of getting exposure “right.” If you underexpose,for example, you lower the range that the camera records (bynot using some of it at the high end). That’s akin to setting ahigher ISO value.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 73
    • Version 1.00Fortunately, your D700 doesn’t have one exposure problemthat plagues film: reciprocity failure, or the tendency torequire a different-than-expected exposure at extremely shortor extremely long shutter speeds. If you can measure the lightin a scene, the D700 can be set for that directly, with nocompensations for short or long shutter speeds.So what is the usable camera dynamic range of the D700? Icertainly don’t have any problems extracting eight clean stopsof data from my NEF images at low ISO levels. When I’mworking at the base ISO level and getting my exposureperfectly aligned, I can get as much as another stop. A fewother pros have reported that they rate the D700 at nine stopsof dynamic range.Spectral CharacteristicsThe spectral characteristics of the D700 sensor areunavailable. Unlike the D2h and some earlier Nikon DSLRs,the D700 does not seem to have a near-infrared pollutionproblem, which requires using a hot mirror filter to correct.Indeed, the D700 seems to have intensely reduced reactionsto all light outside the visible spectrum. Both UV and near-infrared response is lower on the D700 (and D3) than it hasbeen on any previous Nikon DSLR I’ve tested (see “Infrared”on page <747>); essentially I’d say it is nearly impervious toUV and IR light. The low UV response of the D700 will havea minor impact on some purple values, which live down inthe high UV spectrum.We can tell a little bit about spectral characteristics by howNikon “sets” the white point of the sensor. You find this bylooking for the white balance that creates matching values inthe red and blue channels on a known neutral source. On aD2x and most previous Nikon DSLRs, that is usuallysomewhere between 5200K and 5500K. On the D700, it’s at4260K, a much lower value. This seems to indicate that theD700 is less sensitive in the blue channel than red. See“White Balance” on page <337>.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 74
    • Version 1.00NoiseNoise refers to pixel data values in your image that aredifferent from what a “perfect sensor” would produce.For example, in a “perfect sensor” three adjacent pixels froman evenly exposed gray card might be rendered with 8-bitRGB values of 128,128,128. Most digital sensors aren’t closeto being that perfect (and note that there’s rounding going onsomewhere to get to an 8-bit value for JPEG images, whichslightly exaggerates noise), so you might have one pixel that’s128,129,128, another that’s 128,128,129, and a third that’s128,128,128. As noise increases, the divergence of thosevalues would increase. For example, if the proper value is128,128,128, then a value of 122,124,127 is clearly “noisier”(and less accurate) than one of 128,126,128. On the left are a full image and a 200% blowup of a small piece of it, taken with a D3 at the 3200 ISO value with everything else set at defaults (a D700 would produce the identical image). I’ve been testing Nikon DSLRs in this gym under identical conditions for some time now: the D3/D700 simply blow away every previous body I’ve tested in these conditions. Color saturation is clearly better (note the rim is still bright orange) and dynamic range at ISO 3200 is about as good as the D300 at ISO 1000 and the D200 at ISO 500. Put another way, the D3/D700 sensor is performing almost a stop-and-a- half better than the D300, and almost three stops better than the D200 (and D2x for that matter). Here I’ve taken the same imageThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 75
    • Version 1.00 and run a light noise reduction and an aggressive sharpening. On most camera bodies at ISO 3200, that would result in a disaster. Here, we’ve lost all semblance of noise and can even tell that one of the players forgot to take off his ring before playing. Note also that I’m shooting from under the far basket with a 24-70mm lens!Sensors produce noise in two primary ways:• Shot noise. Photons, like almost everything in life, have a randomness to them. In absolutely even light, there still is a statistical chance that any given photodiode does or doesn’t see a photon at any particular moment. This statistical photon noise, called shot noise, is equal to the square root of the number of signal photons collected, and this relationship does not vary from sensor to sensor. What does vary from sensor to sensor is the number of photons collected. Remember that the D700’s collection area is larger than that of the D300 and other DX bodies, and substantially bigger than that of the Coolpix cameras. Thus, it should be obvious that the visibility of a D700’s shot noise is lower than other Nikon digital cameras. The generally accepted value is that it takes a signal-to-noise ratio of 2.7 before you can get meaningful data beyond the shot noise. Put another way, the minimally theoretical light fluctuation that can be accurately discriminated by a sensor is 8 photons. That’s usually okay for us, as our brightest values in our shots are usually collecting tens of thousands of photons, but do watch out for underexposure of your shadow areas—there might not be a lot of photonsThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 76
    • Version 1.00 represented there, and shot noise will rear its head when there aren’t.• Read noise. Likewise, we have to store the photons, then move the electrons from the photosite to the ADC and count correctly. That can be less than perfectly accurate, too. We might lose or gain a few electrons in the process, and our Analog-to-Digital converter might not count accurately.Sensors tend to produce more noise when:• left exposed to light for long periods of time. Electrons get more chance to migrate from where they should be to places they shouldn’t.• exposed to low levels of red or blue wavelengths of light. The demosaic routine uses all adjacent photosites in calculating pixel values, so when one channel (color of photosite) is very low in value and thus has a low signal- to-noise ratio, it can contribute that noise to all the channels in the final adjacent pixel values.• used in very warm environments. Those pesky electrons follow the laws of thermodynamics: they get more willing to move about as they are exposed to more energy (heat). The rule of thumb is that every 20°C temperature decrease results in an order of magnitude decrease in unwanted thermal electron accumulation24.• you set higher ISO values. Higher ISO values generate more noise because they’re obtained by essentially amplifying the underlying data values, so small disparities become more visible as you increase the amplification. Moreover, Nikon DSLRs adjust the ADC circuitry at higher ISO levels to better match the available bits against the actual number of photons converted to electrons, and this has an influence on how noise looks in high ISO shots.24 Thermal electron = internally generated. Photo electron = generated by externallight trigger. We don’t want the former and do want the latter.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 77
    • Version 1.00Noise shows up in photos as incorrect pixel values, and iseasiest to see in large areas of a single color (like the sky, orthe background in the basketball image) or in deep shadowareas where very few photons were collected. Noiseessentially shows up as false detail (detail that wasn’t actuallyin the scene).“Dark current” is the name for a form of thermally-inducedcurrent that the sensor produces even when it isn’t struck bylight25 (thus the “dark” in the name). Each individual sensortends to have a different dark current noise pattern, much likehumans have unique fingerprints. That pattern will change abit over time, and with temperature. Nikon, like all digitalcamera makers, masks off light from some photosites at theedges of the sensor so they can determine what the sensorthinks is absolute black (read: the average dark current), butthis system isn’t foolproof. Thermal properties can be differentat the center of the sensor than they are at the edge, forexample.Better still, with Long exp. NR turned On the D700 createsan exact “map” of the dark current in the sensor by taking asecond “blank” exposure at slow shutter speeds (longer than 1second), allowing the camera to further reduce noise bysubtracting the exact dark current map from the image data.Dark current noise handling on a D700 is usually quite goodwith this option turned On.Another type of noise a digital camera can produce is called“amp noise” (not to be confused with noise due toamplification). This refers to noise generated by thermal leaksfrom other electronics near or adjacent to the sensor. Suchnoise is so low in value that you won’t see it unless you shootextremely long exposures. For example, here’s a 10-minuteexposure taken with my D700 and the lens cap on (the entireimage should therefore be black, even though I didn’t use anyform of noise reduction):25 Actually, struck by photons.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 78
    • Version 1.00However, while there is no amp noise in this image (whichwould show up as purplish blotches), all is not good news.The image has substantive hot pixels in it (the ambienttemperature was approximately 74°F). Here’s a close view at300%:That’s not good, obviously. In general, Long exp. NR does aperfectly fine job of getting rid of these hot pixels, at theexpense of doubling the time between shots. However, thereis worse news: try the same exposure at ISO 6400:Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 79
    • Version 1.00Now you can see the amp noise (orange and purple).Moreover, you can see the stitch point on the sensor (straightedge on left and right side, more visible on the right here).Bottom line: stick with base ISO for long exposures, and turnLong exp. NR to On.Finally, since the D200 appeared with “banding noise” issues,I need to address the notion of “pattern noise,” since everyoneis looking for it these days. With film, the individual grains inthe light-responsive layers were essentially ordered randomly.Thus, when grain became visible (say in a very large print), ithad no distinct pattern to it26.With digital, the photosites are most decidedly not laid out inrandom patterns. They are on a fixed grid and in fixedpositions. Moreover, there are additional patterns on a sensor,most notably the power lines and readout connections. Thelocation of electron wells and the photodiodes they relate tohave fixed relationships.26 Even those that argued that some grain seemed “clumped” were only seeingstochastic random patterns.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 80
    • Version 1.00This means that certain types of noise can have patterns inthem. Shot noise doesn’t, for example, since it is a randomvariance of photon detection. But read noise often does, asdoes dark current noise. What the pattern will be and howvisible it is depends upon a number of factors. In general,Nikon has done a good job of suppressing such patterns inimages taken normally, especially when you turn on thevarious noise reduction schemes the camera supports. On theother hand, if you turn off noise reduction, underexpose, anduse a high ISO value, you very well may see some patterningto the noise production in your shots. Moreover, underextreme stress (hot temperatures and high ISO) you seesomething interesting with the D3/D700 sensor:This shot I think reveals something about the way the FXsensor was created by Nikon. The 36x24mm size is largerthan can usually be placed down on a semiconductor die inone pass by the stepper. What Nikon has done is stitch fourplacements on the die for each sensor (small slice at left, twolarger areas in the center, and another sliver on the right, asvisible in the clear lines [joins] in the above illustration).In general, however, proper exposure and camera settingsshould help you avoid ever seeing anything close to what Ijust showed.Before I wrap up this section on noise, I need to differentiatebetween sensor noise and image noise. So far in this sectionI’ve talked about noise that is generated by the sensor and theThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 81
    • Version 1.00accompanying signal capture electronics. Once a final imageis produced by the imaging ASIC27 in the camera and we haveRGB pixels to look at, we talk about noise differently.Specifically, we refer to two types of noise we can see in thefinal image data: luminance noise and chroma noise.Luminance noise is essentially brightness changes from pixelto pixel that are incorrect. If you see a pebbled texture ofsame colored pixels in a broad single tonal area, such as sky,you’re seeing luminance noise. This often looks similar to filmgrain. If you see pixels of color (typically red, blue, or green)where they aren’t supposed to be, you’re seeing chromanoise. This type of noise is decidedly un-film like.Luminance and chroma noise are how the noise from theunderlying sensor and supporting electronics end upappearing in the final image. The D700 is aggressive at tryingto control chroma noise, but less so at controlling luminancenoise. You have some ability to control this aggression byusing the High ISO NR settings in the SHOOTING menu.One last thing about noise: Nikon truncates it in raw files.What do I mean by that? Normally noise has a bell-likedistribution around the actual value:But what happens when a data point has a value of zero?Noise should distribute equally to either side of zero. Indeed,Canon raises the “zero” value high enough in the bit storageso that the distribution shown above is true for all data values27 Application-Specific Integrated CircuitThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 82
    • Version 1.00in Canon raw files. But Nikon places zero at zero, whichgives us a noise distribution that looks more like this:I mention this because it has impacts on some types ofphotography, most notably astrophotography. Having noiseevenly distributed across all values makes it easier to stackmultiple images and extract the real data. With the Nikonbodies, the zero and near zero values have a slightly differentnoise distribution, which impacts the stacking results.Hot and Dead PixelsOne potentially annoying visual variant of sensor noise issomething known as “hot pixels.” Relatives of hot pixels arestuck pixels and dead pixels:• Dead pixel—a dead pixel is one that is non-responsive to light and/or produces no electrons for the ADC to count. Dead pixels always appear as a single black data point (in a raw file) that is always at the same location. In the process of manufacturing a camera, Nikon detects and maps out dead pixels via software in the camera. Virtually all sensors have a dead pixel or two, so this is a normal process. On occasion, a sensor will develop a dead pixel after leaving the factory, in which case you’ll need to have it mapped out.• Hot pixels—a hot pixel appears as a brightly colored pixel in your image, usually blue, red, or green, but sometimes white or another color. Again, these pixels tend to appear in the same place from image to image. Hot pixels are caused because a photosite has a charge leakage or retention unlike that of neighboring photosites. Since we’re talking about electrons, thermal properties and timeThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 83
    • Version 1.00 are the two largest contributors. In other words, you’re more likely to see them if the camera is warm or if you’re using a long exposure. Hot pixels tend to come and go, though a photosite that has the tendency to produce one tends to retain that tendency. You can use Long exp. NR to remove them if you shoot exposures longer than 1 second on your D700. Otherwise, you need to either cool your camera, use a shorter exposure, or use a lower ISO value (amplification tends to make minor hot pixels into major, visible ones). One other point: the D700 has more of a tendency to hot pixel when you use the DX crop. I suspect this is a firmware bug not mapping the known hot pixels found during manufacturing correctly. Still, I say don’t panic about a few hot pixels. I’ve seen many sensors where some hot pixels simply go away with use. If one persists, you can map it out later. But my first approach to hot pixels is to cool the sensor (e.g. get the camera out of the sun).• Stuck pixels—some people have started to refer to permanent hot pixels as stuck pixels. If you have a bright pixel that never goes away, no matter what the temperature of the camera or what the shutter speed, you’ve got a stuck pixel. These generally need to be mapped out.I’ve mentioned “mapping out” pixels several times now.Nikon does this at the factory, and can do it at any of theirauthorized service centers. If you’re in the “don’t fix it if itisn’t really broke” category, you can also use software toanalyze and correct your images after you take them. Themost commonly mentioned product in this category is thedonation-ware Pixel Fixer, unfortunately only available forWindows: http://www.pixelfixer.org.Sensor LongevityAnother question about sensors that gets asked a lot is “howlong will this sensor (and thus digital camera) last?” From thereliability and mechanical standpoint, the answer is as long asa film camera. But the Bayer and IR filtration may come intoThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 84
    • Version 1.00play here. After examining a number of patents and technicalmaterials on the filtration methods, most appear to be resistantto fading with exposure to light.The good news is that, even if you take tens of thousands ofshots, the sensor is being subjected to light for only fractionsof a second at a time. In short, the overall light accumulationfor even a heavily used D700 is going to be minimal, andyour shutter is likely to give up the ghost long before you’velet in enough light to start impacting the filtration methodsused in the camera.Consumer cameras such as the Coolpix expose their sensors(and thus filtration) to light almost constantly, and we’ve yetto see any significant fading problems with units that are morethan a decade old. Thus, I don’t expect filter fading to be anissue at all with a D700, even after years of use, and withheavy use of Live View. Still, I’ve added a caveat to mycleaning instructions later in this book and on my Web site:clean quickly and not in the presence of high-powered lightsources (i.e., the sun).Another concern that comes up on Internet forums from timeto time is cosmic rays. A direct hit by a cosmic ray on theright portion of a photosite could definitely damage it. Butcosmic rays are relatively rare here under the earth’satmosphere. Even up in space we have a number of digitalcameras (NASA uses Nikon D2x bodies on the space shuttle),and they don’t seem to be worse for the wear due to cosmicray penetration. As they say, “take a chill pill” if things likethis worry you. You’re far more likely28 to drop your camerathan have it compromised in any way by excessive lightexposure or cosmic ray penetration.28 By “far more likely” I’m not talking about an order of magnitude or two. More likeorders of orders of magnitude. Computer memory is also subject to change by cosmicray. What most university computer science programs teach is that sometime in thenext century, one computer bit will be flipped randomly by a cosmic ray in a runningprogram and cause a problem. So I repeat: don’t worry about these things.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 85
    • Version 1.00Sensor Wrap-upOne final reminder about photosites: their light-catchingregions (photodiodes) don’t fill the entire area the sensor arrayoccupies. This catches some digital newcomers by surprise, asthey imagine that the photosites are all jammed up againstone another and the entire sensor captures light. Thephotosites are jammed together, but the light-sensing portionsof most sensors, including those in the D700, are significantlysmaller than the overall photosite size, partly in order to keeplight-produced electrons from migrating too easily to adjacentphotosites, partly to allow room for other signals on the chip(power and data transfer, primarily).I’ve also sidestepped one issue in this discussion of how asensor works: how the amount of light (an analog value)becomes digital data. To make a very complicated story short,the light photons captured by the individual photosites areconverted into electrons at each photosite. These electronsare stored in a “well” on the photosite during the exposure.When the exposure is complete and a signal is received bythe sensor from the camera’s main electronics, these electronsare moved through parallel analog-to-digital converters. Theseconverters have a relatively simple job, which is to count thenumber of electrons they see from each photosite and convertthat into 12-bit or 14-bit digital values that are then passed onto the rest of the camera’s EXPEED circuitry.Tip: For a fuller discussion of how sensors work, see http://www.bythom.com/ccds.htm.EXPEEDAs part of the D3 (and D300) introduction, Nikon finally gotaround to giving a name to the digital imaging system internalto their cameras. The D700 gets that same system.On a digital camera, there are a handful of parts that areinvolved in the imaging. First, we have the imaging sensor(see “The D700 Sensor” on page <48>). Either the sensor hason-board ADC (analog-to-digital converter) or an externalThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 86
    • Version 1.00ADC is used. (The D700 has external ADC, the D300 on-board.) From there the image data is placed in a memorybuffer where it is looked at by a custom ASIC that handlesinterpreting the data. After processing, the data is placed backin the memory buffer (where the imaging ASIC may continueto work with it). Finally, when the memory buffer contains afinished image file, that file is moved to the camera’s storagecard.Canon was first to name their imaging system. They use theDIGIC name specifically for the imaging ASIC that does mostof the heavy data lifting (demosaicing, applying camerasettings, figuring out white balance, etc.). Sony named theirimaging ASIC Bionz.While Nikon has always had an imaging ASIC in their DSLRs,the marketing department didn’t get around to naming it untilthe D3 and D300. And instead of naming just the imagingASIC, they decided to give the whole system a name instead.The name Nikon chose was EXPEED. It even has a fancy logo:Unfortunately, Nikon hasn’t done much more than throw outsome vague press releases on what EXPEED is or what it does.Essentially, EXPEED is just the name given to representessentially all of Nikon’s digital knowledge and algorithmsthat are applied in the camera’s electronics. You’ll note thatNikon has already applied the EXPEED nomenclature toCoolpix models as well as DSLRs such as the D700.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 87
    • Version 1.00Inside the D700, sitting just behind the sensor and just in frontof the color LCD, there’s a PC board dedicated to the digitalprocess. Curiously, somewhat contrary to Nikon’s marketing,there’s only one chip on that board labeled EXPEED (thelargest chip outlined in white in the photo below), and that’sthe imaging ASIC. Also interestingly, the D700 shares thesame electronics on that board as the original D3, whoseboard is shown below.PowerThe D700 uses two batteries, only one of which is user-accessible. The main battery is a 7.4V, 1500mAh29 Lithium-Ion EN-EL3e pack, the same as was used in the Nikon D80,D90, D200, and D300. If you’ve moved to a D700 from oneof these models, your extra batteries will work just fine inyour new camera. Each EN-EL3e battery weighs about 2.829 What’s mAh mean? That stands for milliamp hour. In other words, the batterycould provide a constant 1500 milliamps of current for an hour. Since the camera atidle draws less than 3mA, the camera could be left on for over 20 days before thebattery would go dead. Of course, once you start taking pictures and using the manypowered features of the camera, that number drops considerably.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 88
    • Version 1.00ounces (80g), which makes carrying multiple batteriespainless.The EN-EL3e is similar to but not the same as the EN-EL3 orEN-EL3a that was used in the D50, D70, D70s, and D100. Ifyou’ve moved from one of those cameras to the D700, youwill not be able to use your extra batteries.The differences between the EN-EL3e and the previous EN-EL3 and EN-EL3a are: 1. The EN-EL3e stores more mAh than the EN-EL3 (1500mAh versus 1400mAh; the EN-EL3a was also 1500mAh). 2. The EN-EL3e has a third connection terminal (marked S for “status” on the latest versions of the battery) that the camera uses to monitor the battery condition. Neither the EN-EL3 or the EN-EL3a have this connection.It’s this third connection that makes it impossible to use EN-EL3 and EN-EL3a batteries in the D700: the camera will notoperate at all if it can’t get information about the status of thebattery.However, note that an EN-EL3e battery works fine in a D50,D70, D70s, or D100; none of the older cameras can see thebattery status connector and thus it is ignored.To keep the confusion to a minimum, EN-EL3e batteries—theones that work in a D700—are gray instead of the black colorof the earlier, incompatible batteries. Bottom line: gray Nikonbatteries work in the D80, D200, D300, and D700; gray orblack Nikon batteries work in the D50, D70, D70s, D80, andD100.Note: Like all EN-EL3 type batteries, the terminals are exposed, so the risk of shorts that can cause battery damage, explosion, or generate heat that could start a fire are a small issue while carrying batteries without the protective cover. KeepThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 89
    • Version 1.00 the protective cover on the battery when it is outside the camera or charger, if possible.Note: In the US, the Department of Transportation (DOT) no longer allows batteries like the EN-EL3e to be packed in your checked luggage (unless it is inside a camera in your luggage; it can’t be in your luggage outside of the device it powers). You need to carry extra EN-EL3e batteries with you in your carry-on luggage instead of in your checked luggage. The reason for this has to do with fires. The extinguishers in the cargo area of passenger planes do not work on fires that have lithium fueling them while the extinguishers in the passenger cabin do work on lithium fires.Be aware that clones and counterfeits of EN-EL3e batteriesexist. Some of these are from legitimate companies trying togive users a lower cost option (Nikon tends to charge apremium price for all accessories, including extra batteries).Unfortunately, many counterfeit batteries exist—and I use theword counterfeit because most of these batteries are markedto look exactly like the Nikon original, in some cases, rightdown to the hologram. My experience so far with most ofthese counterfeit attempts is that they don’t work in the D700(though curiously most of them work in my D200, but not inany other model that uses the EN-EL3e).Thus, if you’re tempted to buy third-party EN-EL3ereplacements, make sure you do so from someplace that willaccept returns if it doesn’t work, and be especially wary ofno-name, unpackaged options. If you end up having to payfor a second third-party battery to get one that works, youmight as well have bought the Nikon battery in the first place.Also note that some devious folk will tell you that the FujifilmNP-150 (used in the Fujifilm S5 Pro, which is based on theNikon D200 body) will work in the D700. It won’t. Theinformation on the S pin (third terminal) on a battery insertedinto a D700 has to be precisely what the D700 is expecting.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 90
    • Version 1.00In the United States, the battery and MH-18a Quick Chargerare supplied with the camera; in other parts of the world, thebattery and charger may need to be purchased separately. Inany case, you’re most likely going to want a spare EN-EL3e. The charger is light (3.6 ounces, or 100g) and modestly sized. The battery “docks” in the charger by sliding it into the charging position (don’t worry, you can’t do it wrong). The AC power cable is removable.The design of the EN-EL3e battery makes it impossible toinsert it incorrectly into the D700’s battery compartment, sonever force it. The same is true of putting the EN-EL3e into thecharger. The MH-18a Quick Charger can fully charge a fullydepleted EN-EL3e battery in a little over two hours (two hoursand fifteen minutes to be exact). The MH-18a is fullycompatible with 120 or 240 volt, and 50 or 60Hz outlets.Another point of confusion for D700 purchasers coming fromolder consumer Nikon DSLRs will be the MH-18 versus MH-18a charger. It shouldn’t be. Technically, the MH-18a is thecharger designed to work with the 1500mAh batteries (EN-EL3a and EN-EL3e) while the MH-18 is designed to work withthe older 1400mAh batteries (EN-EL3). But either will chargea D700 battery. The only real difference between them is thatthe older MH-18 is a little bit bigger than the MH-18asupplied with the D700. For those of us who travel a lot, thatwas a welcome change.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 91
    • Version 1.00The fact that the charger only has two connection terminalswhile the battery has three also confuses some users. Thecharger just charges the battery—more sophisticated batterysystems sometimes use extra connections to tune or balancecells within the battery, which the MH-18a doesn’t do—sothe MH-18a only needs the two power connections. Thatthird middle connection on the battery is only used by thecamera, and it specifically is used to report the status of theinternal power cells in the battery.Note: Unlike the NiMH batteries used for the D1 series, the Lithium-Ion EN-EL3e used with the D700 shouldn’t have to be “conditioned” prior to use. Still, it has been observed by many that new EN-EL3e’s seem to improve slightly with use, which means that they may have some storage or initialization effects that need to be rectified. I would suggest, therefore, that you fully exhaust the battery (<10% charge remaining) the first two or three times you use it and make those first charges thorough ones, waiting until the battery cools before removing it from the charger (i.e. don’t pop it off the minute the light stops blinking; let it continue to trickle charge for another few minutes).Changing Batteriesõ The EN-EL3e battery is inserted into the camera as follows: 1. On the bottom of the camera, push the small indented button (green arrow points to it) on the Battery Compartment door towards the center of the camera (towards the PacMan-like symbol). The door should pop open.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 92
    • Version 1.00 2. Slide the EN-EL3e into the camera. 3. Once the battery is fully inserted, push the door closed. You should hear the door retainer click into place.õ To remove the battery: 1. On the bottom of the camera, push the small indented button on the Battery Compartment door towards the center of the camera (towards the PacMan-like symbol). The door should pop open. 2. Hold the camera so that the battery slides out of the camera. Don’t worry, it won’t fall to the floor; there’s a retainer on the side of the battery compartment that only allows the battery to stick 3/8” (1cm) out of the camera. 3. Firmly grasp the edges of the battery and pull it from the camera. You’ll feel a bit of resistance at first, but the internal retainer should let go of the battery if you tug firmly.Note: The camera power switch should be in the OFF position before removing (or inserting) an EN-EL3e battery pack. If you change batteries and forget to turn the power off while doing so, the D700 sometimes thinks a new card was inserted and a new folder may be created. Multiple folders on a card are a problem that may cause you to forget to transfer images (you may have images in folders other than the current one).Charging Batteriesõ To charge the EN-EL3e:Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 93
    • Version 1.00 1. Remove the battery from the camera. 2. Plug the MH-18a charger into a wall socket. 3. Slide the EN-EL3e battery into the cut-out on the top of the MH-18a. The status lamp on the MH-18a should begin blinking, indicating that the battery is charging.Note: The legend next to the light on the charger confuses some people. If the charge light is blinking (), the battery is charging. If the charge light is in a steady on state (•), the battery is fully charged.Note: You do not have to completely discharge the EN-EL3e before charging it. Lithium-Ion batteries do not usually exhibit the “memory” effects that NiCad batteries did, and thus can be “topped off” at almost any time without consequences. That said, generally you’re better off not charging the battery if the level is at 90% or higher, as doing so repeatedly can reduce the overall capacity slightly. Likewise, you’re best off if you don’t run the battery down to <5% all the time, as repeated deep charges tend to reduce the life expectancy of the battery slightly. Neither is of enough concern to worry about, but if you’re trying to fully optimize your battery life, only charge it when it’s between 20 and 80 percent capacity if you can.The battery charger can’t be used to power the camera, as isthe case with some other cameras. This is a serious designflaw, in my estimation, adding extra cords and gadgets aD700 photographer shouldn’t need to deal with. (It doesn’thelp matters that D1 series models used different chargers andbatteries than the subsequentD50/D70/D70s/D80/D90/D100/D200/D300/D700, which inturn use different chargers and batteries than theD2h/D2x/D3. Meanwhile, the D200/D2h/D2x/D3 use one ACadapter while the D80/D90/D300/D700 use another. Thisproliferation and non-alignment of battery/charger/ACadapters is a very frustrating aspect of using Nikon DSLRswhile traveling.)Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 94
    • Version 1.00Battery StorageIf you’re not going to use an EN-EL3e for a long period of time(several weeks or more), you should make sure that thebattery is neither fully charged nor almost empty. In the caseof the former (fully charged), storing it for a long period maycause it to lose some of its capacity (a couple of deepcharges—from <5% capacity to full—on the charger mightrestore that, but not always). In the case of the latter (empty),the battery could discharge too deeply and be damaged bythat.Thus, always store the EN-EL3e battery with a mid-rangeamount of charge left in it.Clock BatteryThe D700 also has a small, internal battery for keeping thedate and time. This battery has an expected charge life ofabout three months. Keeping the camera powered for twodays (either with an EN-EL3e battery in it or by connecting thecamera to the AC Adapter) fully recharges the internal clockbattery.When this battery depletes, a & symbol appears and blinkson the top LCD and two other symptoms appear: the Intervalshooting method doesn’t work properly, and image files nolonger have a date and time stamp.Top LCD:To recharge the clock battery, simply make sure that thecamera has a fully charged EN-EL3e in it for two days.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 95
    • Version 1.00Note that charging the clock battery is one of the reasons whyD700 users report that their battery life improves after the firstuses of the camera. Once the clock battery is fully charged, itneeds only trickle charge energy from the EN-EL3e to keep ithealthy.Alternate Power SourcesAs an alternative source of main camera power, you can usethe EH-5a AC Adapter, which plugs directly into the DC Insocket on the left side of the camera. The AC Adapterprovides the camera with 9 volts at 5400mAh (i.e. any thirdparty battery or adapter that would connect to the DC Insocket would have to supply the same voltage30).If you have an older EH-5 AC Adapter, you can also use thatwith your D700.Here’s the weird thing: the D700 uses the same batterytechnology (EN-EL3e series) as the D200, but uses a differentAC adapter. It’s an important detail for those of us who travelwith and own multiple Nikon cameras. Personally, this wasbad news for me, as at the moment I shoot with a D3 (uses anEH-6), a D300 and D700 (use an EH-5a), and an IR-convertedD200 (uses an EH-6). This means that to have all the powercapabilities I might need I end up having to travel with twosets of batteries, two battery chargers, and two AC adapters.Note: Note that when running the D700 from the EH-5a without a charged battery in the camera, if you accidentally “pull the plug” during shooting, any images in the internal buffer are lost, and the CompactFlash card may be corrupted due to an incomplete write cycle. I generally recommend that you30 You’d also need to find the right connector which, unfortunately, is yet anotherNikon-proprietary one. Here’s the trick to get around that: buy the EH-5a. Cut thecable from the EH-5a to the camera in half. Wire the cut cable ends with a standardmale/female connector set of your choice, and then use the same set on your externalbattery supply. You must be very careful to keep the voltages and polarities on pinscorrect. Failure to get these correct could fry the electronics of your camera, makingit inoperable. Please read the legal disclaimer on the Copyright page beforeattempting to make your own external power supply.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 96
    • Version 1.00 always have a battery in the camera when using the AC adapter.Note: The camera power switch should be in the OFF position before removing or inserting any connection to the DC In slot.The D700 can also be powered by a variety of batteries in theoptional MB-D10. The optional MB-D10 comes with two trays: one that allows you to use eight AA batteries to power the camera (shown above), and one that allows you to insert EN-EL3e batteries. Moreover, there’s an optional adapter, the BL-3, that allows you to use EN-EL4 and EN-EL4a batteries (from the D2 series and D3).The MB-D10 can hold one EN-EL3e battery, eight AAbatteries (alkaline, NiMH, or lithium), or one EN-EL4 or EN-EL4a battery.õ To use the MB-D10: 1. Mount the MB-D10 to the D700 body. a. Remove the rubber cap covering the contacts on the D700’s camera bottom and place it inThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 97
    • Version 1.00 the recess on the top of the MB-D10.  b. Remove the plastic cap from the MB-D10’s connectors and slide the MB-D10 onto the bottom of the D700 (green arrows, below). As you do this, make sure that the tripod socket and outer alignment tabs on the MB-D10 are going onto the D700 correctly. Do not twist the MB-D10 in relation to the camera. c. Use the large, knurled knob (direction of red arrow, above) on the MB-D10 to secure the MB-D10 onto the camera. 2. Open the MB-D10’s battery compartment by lifting up the Battery Door Latch handle and then turning itThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 98
    • Version 1.00 counter clockwise. 3. Remove the battery tray by pulling out the tray. 4. If you wish to use AA batteries in the MB-D10: a. Place eight AA batteries into the MS-D10 tray in the orientation etched at each tray position (four batteries insert into one side, four on the other side of the tray). b. Push the battery tray back into the MB-D10. c. Set Custom Setting #D10 to the type of AA batteries you’re using. (I recommend using NiMH rechargeable batteries of at least 2000mAh.) 5. If you wish to use a EN-EL3e battery in the MB-D10: a. Place the EN-EL3e battery into the MS-D10EN tray in the orientation etched on the tray. (To remove the battery from the tray later, push down on the black bar etched with the word PUSH and lift up the battery.) b. Push the battery tray back into the MB-D10.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 99
    • Version 1.00 6. If you wish to use an EN-EL4 or EN-EL4a battery in the MB-D10: a. Clip the optional BL-3 battery chamber door onto the battery. b. Remove the clear protective cap on the battery (if it has one) and push the battery into the camera. 7. Close the battery compartment door on the MB-D10, turn the Battery Door Latch handle clockwise, then fold the Battery Door Latch handle back against the MB-D10. 8. Set Custom Setting #D11 to tell the camera whether to use the battery in the normal battery chamber or the MB-D10 battery(s) first. Normally, you want the camera to use the MB-D10 battery first, as it is the only one that’s easily accessible with the MB-D10 mounted on the camera.Note: If you want to use the MB-D10 grip without a battery in it, use the optional BL-3 door by itself. If you use one of the other trays without a battery, there’s an odd problem that occurs with some settings, specifically you can’t get to i-TTL with an external flash.Battery LifeYou’ll probably be surprised to learn that the D700 uses verylittle energy when it sleeps between shots (<3mA). Whenturned OFF, it uses almost as much (typically <2mA). Thus, itmakes little sense to turn the camera OFF between shots.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 100
    • Version 1.00The D700, like the D200 and D300 that preceded it, usesmore energy during shooting if you take NEF (or TIFF) imagesthan it does if you shoot only JPEG. Nikon’s published batterylife numbers for the D700 are based upon JPEG shooting.Nikon’s manual gives several battery life figures, but let’sconcentrate for the moment on using the camera with thesupplied EN-EL3e: approximately 1000 shots using the CIPAstandard test, approximately 2500 shots using Nikon’s owntest (the CIPA test uses the flash).Another way to think about battery life is by thinking aboutwhat batteries are actually installed:Internal Battery MB-D10 Battery Total Watt-HoursCompartment Compartment AvailableEN-EL3e 11.1EN-EL3e EN-EL3e 22.2EN-EL3e EN-EL4 32.2EN-EL3e EN-EL4a 38.9EN-EL3e 2500mAh AA 35.1 EN-EL3e 11.1 EN-EL4 21.1 EN-EL4a 27.8 2500mAh AA 24.0More rigorous testing produces some more useful data:• Shooting any form of NEF (or TIFF) reduces shots per charge. This is an unexpected result and unique to the D200, D300, and D700 bodies at the moment. The only explanation I can think of is that something in the write- to-card mechanism is drawing power unexpectedly. But it’s clear and repeatable: the minute you begin to shoot NEF or TIFF your shots per charge reduces a bit (though not as much on the D700 as on previous bodies). This is not a manageable parameter; if you shoot NEF or TIFF, you get slightly reduced battery life, period.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 101
    • Version 1.00• A full image review on the color LCD reduces shots per charge by perhaps as much as half. If you have Image Review set to On and the Monitor Off time (Custom Setting #C4) set to the 10s value and don’t manually turn off the image on the color LCD after the shot, you’ll reduce your shots per charge by about half. This, however, is a manageable parameter, and the curve is predictable. Cut your image review down from 10 seconds to 5 and you reduce the battery impact by half (i.e. you’d get a 25% reduction in shots per charge).Note: Most D700 users use the color LCD to review the histogram, but there’s still a trick you can use to preserve a bit of power. After you’ve reviewed the shot for exposure, press the shutter release partway to activate the metering and autofocus systems. The camera thinks you’re getting ready to take another picture and turns the color LCD off (normally, the image would stay on the color LCD until the LCD time-out is reached or until you pressed the  button to turn it off).No other factors are as critical to shots per chargeperformance as the two just mentioned. However, here aresome additional tips on power consumption with the D700:• Use of autofocus lenses doesn’t significantly contribute to power drain. That’s because it’s a short draw of power. The peak power draw may be high, but since it’s normally such a short time during which this load occurs, it isn’t a big deal. The difference in power consumption using AF and AF-S lenses is negligible. But VR (vibration reduction) lenses reduce battery life by another 10% or more when the vibration reduction feature is activated (the vibration reduction in the lens is powered by the camera). Since many users tend to keep VR activated by holding the shutter release partway, VR use can shorten battery life by very observable amounts.• Power consumption is highest when the camera is “active” (metering, focusing, taking a picture, transferring images to the CompactFlash card, etc.). Reducing theThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 102
    • Version 1.00 amount of time the camera is active (metering and focus active) is another key to reducing power consumption. Thus, you’ll get fewer pictures per charge if you leave the camera active for longer periods. You can cut the active timeout to 4 seconds via Custom Setting #C2 (see “Meter/Camera Active Time” on page <599>).• Long exposures. The camera is “active” throughout the exposure, not just when you partially press the shutter release to activate the metering and focus systems. Thus, when you take long exposures, you’re doing the same thing as holding the shutter release partially down.• Power consumption is also high when the camera is connected to a computer or to a PictBridge printer. This is one of the reasons I recommend using an external card reader for transferring files. While the camera is connected to the computer via the USB cable and the camera is on, the camera consumes significantly more power than normal. It’s not unusual to see the battery indicator go from full to half or half to empty when transferring from multiple, large cards or shooting tethered for a long period. The same is true for PictBridge sessions: the camera is drawing significant power the entire time it is connected to the printer, so remove the connection when you’re not using it. Printing just 16 images with a Sony PictureStation printer connected dropped my battery power by almost half, for example.• The WT-4 Wireless Transceiver draws significant power from the camera. While the D700 is relatively smart about keeping the WT-4 in low-power or no-power modes when the camera is not active, if you’re using a WT-4 you will consume batteries much faster than without it. If the WT-4 is powered on continuously it will drain the camera’s battery in less than three hours. Fortunately, Nikon times out the power to the WT-4 after a few seconds when it isn’t being used, so battery life is substantively better than that.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 103
    • Version 1.00 Unlike the D2h, where the file sizes are small, the D700 has the additional attribute of keeping the wireless transmitter active longer while transmitting a single picture (at least at maximum resolution). Thus, if you’ve used a D2h with the wireless transmitter, be prepared to get fewer image transfers per battery charge with the D700. That’s because the USB port and its associated circuitry, when connected and communicating, is drawing power. You can minimize the battery hit by shooting smaller image formats (JPEG instead of NEF, which take less time to transmit).• Likewise, a GPS connection to the camera reduces battery life. This is doubly true if you use one of the camera- powered GPS receivers, like the one made by Dawn Tech.• The Lithium-Ion batteries of the Nikon D700 do not lose capacity over short periods of non-use. If you store the battery for a long period of time, it will probably lose some charge, though. It takes very long periods of time to see significant power reduction on a battery not being used (a month or more). See “Battery Storage” on page <95>. On the other hand, the D700 isn’t completely quiescent when the Power switch is in the OFF position. In particular, the D700 uses an LCD overlay mechanism in the viewfinder, which requires a small, but constant power source. This overlay supplies the AF sensor markings, the grid lines and warnings (if enabled). You can verify this by looking through the viewfinder while removing the battery: the display will get darker without the battery in the camera. The consequence of the LCD overlay needing power is that if you store a D700 for a month, at the end of that month you’ll have either a discharged or low battery. Moreover, you’ll likely be running the battery fully down, which as I’ve already mentioned, is not the way to leave Lithium Ion batteries if they’re not going to be used for aThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 104
    • Version 1.00 period of time. Remove the battery from the camera if you’re not going to use it for long periods of time.• Cold can appear to impact apparent battery life. Lithium- Ion batteries have pretty good cold weather performance—I’d be surprised if you see any differences down to freezing temperatures—but they still will have a tendency to produce power for shorter periods in extremely cold conditions. If you must use the camera in sub-zero temperatures, carry a fully charged backup battery with you and keep that in a warm place (some outdoor apparel has inside pockets for just this purpose). As performance drops on the battery in use, swap it with the warm one. Cold doesn’t actually “drain” a battery; it’s the change in internal resistance at low temperatures that causes reduced function. So, once the replaced battery is again warm, it functions normally. You can usually juggle two EN-EL3e batteries this way and get the full number of expected exposures from each.• Fully charge your batteries. When the charger indicates the battery is fully charged, it may not be. I generally leave my battery in for a short time after the charger indicates that the battery is charged. The test: if the battery is cool to the touch and the MH-18a light is in a steady on state, the battery is fully charged.• 5% is about the point where you definitely want to change batteries. It is okay to ignore the battery level right down to about the 5% mark without any risk of losing the next picture (this is for a single EN-EL3e battery; users of two EN-EL3e batteries (one in the MB-D10 and one in the camera can let the first battery run down completely but should follow this advice for the second battery). Below the 5% level you’ll want to switch batteries if you can, as VR, autofocus, and other major power drains can catch you unawares and leave you without the picture you just shot. I’d double that cut-off value if I were using the WT- 4, a GPS, or tethered to a computer. That said, I’ve runThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 105
    • Version 1.00 batteries down to the 0% mark—the meter is that accurate. What I’m trying to point out is that once you’re below the 5% mark, heavy current loads can make the camera power down suddenly, so you usually want to replace batteries to avoid potentially missing a shot, especially if you’re filling the buffer. In a pinch, though, you can take the battery right down to empty. If you do, I’d recommend you do it one shot at a time, though. Overall, it’s generally not a good idea to run your battery completely down (below 5%), as you risk a “deep discharge” cycle if you do and don’t immediately get the battery onto the charger. You can take batteries down until exhaustion if you have to, but you shouldn’t do this regularly, and you should immediately put a battery discharged this way on the charger, if possible.Overall, the D700’s battery performance is decent. Byminimizing use of a few power-hungry features and shootingonly JPEG, you can easily get by on one battery in a full dayof shooting (and I mean full).Two fully-charged batteries are all I’ve ever needed shootingNEF images on my D700 during a full day, and that seems tobe true for others I’ve talked to, as well. (Again, this might notapply if you’re using the wireless transmitter, GPS, connectingto a computer, or printing with PictBridge.) The problem forme comes with multi-day trips in the backcountry, where Iused to be able to carry two EN-EL3 batteries with my D70and come out the other end of the trail a week later still takingpictures. With the D700, that won’t happen unless I shootJPEG, so I have to carry more batteries and watch my powerconsumption carefully.The good news is that carrying extra EN-EL3e batteries isn’treally a big burden. They’re small and light. But if you findyourself going through multiple EN-EL3e batteries regularly onshoots, you might want to consider getting the optional MH-Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 106
    • Version 1.0019 Multi Battery Charger, which can charge two EN-EL3ebatteries (it does so sequentially, one at a time). It’s pricey(more expensive than buying two MH-18a units, go figure),but if it lowers the number of gadgets you have to carry itmight prove useful.Tip: The MH-19 comes with a cord that connects to standard automobile electrical outlets, so can be used in your vehicle between shoots. Better still, this connection is what is used for the Brunton roll-up solar panels. I have successfully used the Brunton 14 and the MH-19 to charge EN-EL3e batteries in Africa where I had no other power sources.Battery NotesThe D700’s battery charger can be used worldwide, at anyvoltage from 100 to 250 volts. You do need to obtain thecorrect cables and/or adapters for the power socket, however.Sets of socket adapters can be found at any Radio Shack andmost travel stores.Since the D700 uses an intelligent battery system, you’ll wantto pay more attention to the information the camera tells youabout the battery. Besides the usual battery status icon (on thetop LCD), the D700 has the ability to tell you much moreabout your battery: 1. Press the MENU button to see the menu system. 2. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the SETUP menu (yellow wrench icon).Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 107
    • Version 1.00 3. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the Battery info option and press the > key to select it. 4. The screen that is displayed next (below) tells you several useful things about your battery: One Battery Two Batteries (via MB-D10) • Bat. Meter (battery meter) is a precise value for the amount of power left in the battery. • Pic. Meter (picture meter) tells you how many images you’ve taken so far using this battery charge. If you’re trying to estimate how many batteries you need for an event and you’ve been paying attention to this number (hint: look at it just before changing batteries) you’ll have a very good idea. I routinely see values aboveThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 108
    • Version 1.00 500 images when my battery is low when shooting NEF images. • Charging Life (charging life) tells you about how many more uses you can get out of this battery before you need to replace it. When the small yellow triangular indicator is above the right edge of the bar and reads 4, you should consider retiring the battery and obtaining a new one, as it won’t be able to hold charges well.Image StorageWhile the D700 has an internal memory buffer thattemporarily stores data obtained from the sensor, it uses aCompactFlash memory card to permanently store digitalimages.When you take a picture, the electrons stored in the sensorare converted to digital values by the Analog-to-digitalconverter (ADC; initially 12-bits in the case of JPEG and TIFF,12-bits or 14-bits depending upon what you choose in thecase of NEF files), placed as data into the internal memorybuffer, interpreted by the EXPEED image processing system,and then moved back into the buffer as images. Images storedin the buffer are moved as soon as possible to the memorycard. After an image is written to the memory card, the bufferspace it used is freed up. Put another way: on the one side theD700’s sensor, ADC, and imaging ASIC (blue items indiagram below) are filling up the buffer, while on the otherside the storage circuitry (green items) is emptying it.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 109
    • Version 1.00Having a memory buffer is a very important concept tounderstand, as it has practical implications:• Internal buffer memory space is limited. The D700 can buffer up to 100 JPEG Fine Large FX-sized images, but only 17 uncompressed 14-bit NEF FX-sized images at normal settings and with a UDMA card installed. The camera cannot take additional pictures when the buffer is full. As images are written to the CompactFlash card, buffer space is freed. Any time that there is enough space remaining in the buffer for an image, the camera can again take a picture. When using the D700 set to a Continuous shooting release shooting method, once the buffer is full the camera slows, essentially to the speed at which it can write a single image to the card (and on a D700, card speeds are a factor in clearing the buffer).• Internal buffer memory is temporary storage. Images in the buffer are not accessible directly—only the camera’s electronics can touch the buffer memory—and until an image is written to CompactFlash, your photo has not been “saved.” If power is completely lost with images in the buffer, those images not yet moved to the storage card are also lost. When the camera is writing data from the internal buffer to the card a small green LED light on theThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 110
    • Version 1.00 back of the camera is activated (it’s not labeled and is just below and to the right of the Direction pad).• Some controls impact buffer size. Specifically, both Long exp. NR and High ISO NR reduce buffer size, as do JPEG compression set to Optimal quality, ISO sensitivities of H0.3 or higher, Active D-Lighting turned On, or Image authentication turned On.Why does the camera need an internal buffer? Well, the D700has to deal with a large amount of raw data for each image(~25MB for the largest NEF, ~350KB for the smallest JPEG).Even at fast write speeds to CompactFlash permanent storage,it takes a measurable amount of time to write these files fromthe camera to the storage card. While JPEG images are muchsmaller in size, the camera still has to create that image fromthe original data, which also takes a small amount of time.Without a buffer, the camera would force you to wait a largeamount of time between taking pictures. The buffer allows theD700 to be doing two things at once (take another picturewhile handling the data for the previous one).Note: The D700 can lose images. When you turn the camera off it may still be writing images from the buffer to the storage card. The green indicator light stays lit to indicate this—in other words, while you turned the camera off it is smart enough not to actually listen to you until the buffer is empty. But if you take a CompactFlash card out of the camera while that indicator light is lit, you’ll not only lose some images, but you could corrupt the formatting of the card, potentially losing all the images on the card. So make sure the light is off before opening the card door and removing the CompactFlash card.Tip: Here’s one not many D700 shooters know about: you can clear the buffer! This is done by holding down the Delete button (the trashcan: p) while turning the camera off. The camera will finish writing the current image (so that it doesn’t corrupt the card formatting) then purge the rest of the images in the buffer.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 111
    • Version 1.00Buffer SizesThe remaining buffer is always shown by the r indicator31while shooting, so it is always easy to see where you stand interms of remaining memory. But a number of options impactbuffer size. Here’s what my D700 says is available at myusual camera settings: Normal High ISO Long exp NR NRNEF+JPEG 19 19 12NEF 21 21 14JPEG Fine L 29 29 22These numbers show up in the viewfinder as r values wherenormally you see Frames Remaining. Example: R15These numbers differ from what Nikon says in their manual(pages 423 and 424; though the footnotes do say figures areapproximate). The reason has to do with buffer efficiency.The D700 never reports more than 50 images available in thebuffer, but if you set up the camera to shoot a series of imagesin Continuous High (CH) shooting method, you’ll note that,especially for the JPEG sizes, the buffer remaining indicatordoesn’t seem to count down with each image you shoot. Aftershooting 10 images continuously, for example, my bufferremaining count had only dropped by 6 images.Thus, the camera reports the actual number of images that itcan still store, while the manual reports the number of imagesthat you can still shoot before the buffer hits zero. If you’vegot a fast UDMA type of card in the camera, the camera willbe storing images almost—but not quite—as fast as it canprocess them for JPEGs. Indeed, as you get to the smaller JPEGsizes and lower quality (which produce smaller files) you can31 Both the top LCD and the viewfinder Shots Remaining indicator switch to a ShotsRemaining in Buffer indicator when the shutter release is pressed partway, and asmall r is used in front of the number to indicate this. What you don’t want to see isr0, which means that the buffer is full.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 112
    • Version 1.00essentially shoot with the camera right up until the self-imposed 100 shot limit32 is hit.The numbers I report in the table above are absolutely safe upthrough ISO 1600: they represent absolute worst casescenarios, no matter what speed card you use. I suggest thatyou use them as your guideline rather than Nikon’s numbers;that way you’ll never be disappointed in the bufferperformance. But if you want Nikon’s numbers, here they are:Image Format FX DX Image Area Image AreaLossless Compressed 12-bit NEF 23 65Lossless Compressed 14-bit NEF 20 46Compressed 12-bit NEF 26 95Compressed 14-bit NEF 23 63Uncompressed 12-bit NEF 19 39Uncompressed 14-bit NEF 17 31Large TIFF 17 23Medium TIFF 20 29Small TIFF 28 59Large JPEG fine 100 100Medium JPEG fine 100 100Small JPEG fine 100 100Large JPEG normal 100 100Medium JPEG normal 100 100Small JPEG normal 100 100Large JPEG basic 100 100Medium JPEG basic 100 100Small JPEG basic 100 100Remember, some camera settings reduce the buffer size: Long Exp. NROn, JPEG compression Optimal quality, High ISO NR On (and ISO H0.3 or higher, which always set this), Auto ISO sensitivity On with ISO setto 2000 or higher, Image authentication On, Active D-Lighting On.32 Why is there a limit? To keep the circuitry from overheating and contributing toimage noise, apparently.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 113
    • Version 1.00Card performance can also change the numbers justpresented (always lower—these numbers are for UDMA-enabled, the fastest cards). Moreover, the camera will neverreport over 50 images remaining in the buffer.Note: If the number of images that can be stored on the card is less than the free buffer size would allow, the r Buffer Remaining indicator indicates how many images are left on the card. Thus, as you get close to filling a card with images, you’ll start seeing the Buffer Remaining indicator mimic the Frames Remaining indicator. Put another way, you can’t put images into the buffer that can’t be saved onto the card.CompactFlashThe D700 has a single CompactFlash card slot (the D3 hastwo such slots). Nikon does not supply a CompactFlash cardwith the D700 (i.e. you must purchase one separately if yourdealer didn’t include one with the camera).CompactFlash cards come in two sizes, Type 1 and Type 2,the primary difference between them being the thickness ofthe card. CompactFlash storage also comes in two types:solid-state memory (usually Type 1), and miniature hard disk(usually Type 2, such as the Microdrive). The specificationsfor CompactFlash are maintained by the CompactFlashAssociation (CFA), and updated regularly (currently at version4.1). The organization’s Web site is athttp://www.compactflash.org.As I write this, CompactFlash cards are readily available froma wide range of vendors in sizes ranging from 8MB to 16GBin size (the limit keeps getting pushed up; now that cameraslike the D700 support FAT32, we’re a long way from thetheoretical limit of 137GB). The two types of CompactFlash card vary only in thickness (the top card is a Type 2 card; the bottom card is a Type 1 card). The D700 accommodates one Type 1 card.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 114
    • Version 1.00The D700 can use a Type 1 CompactFlash card, and can holdone card at a time. Most D700 users own and use manycards. When the card is full, you simply swap in an emptycard, just like you’d load in blank film after exposing a roll ina 35mm film camera. Make sure that you turn the cameraOFF before swapping cards, and don’t remove the card untilthe green light on the back of the camera is no longer lit.UDMAOne new twist in the D700’s CompactFlash support is that itis one of the first cameras to support UDMA33 (Ultra DirectMemory Access). UDMA cards available as I write this cansustain transfer speeds up to 45MB/sec (300x34). In practice,the highest sustained rates I can achieve with a UDMA card isabout 30MB/sec, which is still three times faster than any ofmy D2 series bodies could transfer data. Even faster UDMAcards are being developed (the current CompactFlashspecifications have support for 133MB/sec maximumtransfers).Using UDMA cards in a D700 makes a difference when youencounter buffer full conditions, as the time it takes to writean image to the card and free a space in the buffer is far lesswith a UDMA card than it is with older, non-UDMA cards.Moreover, the faster write speed of a UDMA-capable cardmeans that the buffer fills slightly slower in the first place, asimages are cleared out of the buffer faster while you’reshooting bursts of images (see “Buffer Sizes” on page <112>and note the discussion on buffer efficiency).You don’t have to use a UDMA card in the D700: the camerawill work with any of the previous generations ofCompactFlash cards. But there’s a clear performance33 The D300 and D3 were the first. Canon’s 1DsIII, Olympus’ E3, and Sony’s Alpha700 also support UDMA. It’s likely we’ll see many cameras support it in the future.34 While I’ve listed the equivalent here, one thing I’ve found is that the speedmarkings on most cards aren’t even close to accurate. I’ve seen 133x cards that are50% faster than ones marked 300x, for example.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 115
    • Version 1.00advantage to using UDMA cards in a D700. The fastest non-UDMA SanDisk card is the Extreme III, for which I get figuresjust a bit faster than 20MB/sec on a D700. The UDMASanDisk (the Extreme IV) clocks in at 50% faster, at 30MB/sec.Consider getting at least one UDMA card for use when youneed optimal buffer clearance (i.e. when you’re shooting athigh continuous speeds).As I write this, only a few manufacturers offer UDMA cards:• SanDisk Extreme IV• Lexar Professional UDMA 300x• Delkin UDMA Pro• Hoodman 280xIn my experience, the SanDisk Extreme IV (and ExtremeDucati, which has been discontinued) provides the bestperformance on the D700.More entries are likely in the near future, as UDMA has clearperformance advantages on cameras that support it.Note: You’ll also want to invest in a UDMA-capable card reader if you opt for UDMA cards. Regular card readers can handle UDMA cards, but will operate at their usual, slower speed.Solid-State CompactFlashMost CompactFlash cards contain nonvolatile memory chipsand are of the slim Type 1 variety that the D700 requires.These solid-state cards have chips that retain informationstored on them even when power is not present (that’s whatthe “nonvolatile” refers to). While not indestructible,CompactFlash cards are designed to withstand a 10-foot dropwithout damage, and they’re relatively impervious to theelements (they shouldn’t be immersed in water, however). Ifyou keep your CompactFlash cards in their small, plasticstorage containers when not in the camera, they should last aslong as the camera does.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 116
    • Version 1.00 The internal mechanisms of CompactFlash cards are only produced by a handful of companies. Thus, both the memory and the controller chip used in many flash cards are the same. Still, read and write speed can vary considerably. Size of the card? About 1 ” x 1 ” x 1/8” (43 x 38 x 3.3mm)The memory of a CompactFlash card is organized like acomputer disk, complete with file directory, file allocationtable (FAT), folders, and files (ironically, I find that a book Iwrote over a decade ago, Programmer’s PC Sourcebook, hasdetailed information on the structure CompactFlash uses).Like a disk, a CompactFlash can develop “bad sectors” overtime and files can become “fragmented” if you deleteindividual files. Fortunately, the act of using the D700’scontrols to “format” a CompactFlash card generally removesfile fragmentation (as well as the file information!). Formattinga card using a PC also isolates bad sectors, but only if youavoid using the Quick Format option35. Generally, I don’trecommend formatting a card with a computer unless youknow that you need to absolutely restore the card to a knownstate.If you use Windows XP to format a card, be sure to specifyFAT (FAT16 on some computers) if your card is less than35 Virtually all disks and storage devices have a few “bad sectors” on them. That’snormal, and all manufacturers “mark” these sectors with a flag in the tables at thestart of the drive, so that the operating system doesn’t use them. But if the flags geterased for some reason, they aren’t restored with Quick Formats (which is what mostdigital cameras do, by the way—they rely upon the memory controller in the card tocatch any sector failure and map it out). Likewise, if another sector eventually goesbad (which eventually happens on all drives), it isn’t found and marked by QuickFormats. If all that isn’t enough, there is a difference between a “low level” formatand “high level,” or “logical” format. Bottom line: if you begin experiencingproblems with a single storage card, try performing a full format of it on a PC. Thismay mark a sector that has gone bad and restore the usefulness of the card. If that stilldoesn’t correct the problem, you’ll probably have to return the card to themanufacturer for replacement.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 117
    • Version 1.002GB in size, not the FAT32 format normally used by a PC36.Note that Windows Vista uses a different file format asstandard, and you must make sure that you use a FAT formatwhen formatting cards.CompactFlash cards that have solid-state memory do have alimit to the number of times that they can be written to.Fortunately, you’re not likely to hit that limit (usuallymeasured in the hundreds of thousands) in the lifetime of yourD700. You’re more likely to encounter problems with theD700’s shutter mechanism (typically good for 150,000 cyclesor more) before you will with your CompactFlash card.Moreover, the controllers in CompactFlash cards areintelligent and should recognize when a sector has beenwritten to the maximum number of times and remove it fromthe available sectors that can be used. Since you don’t alwaysfill a card with images, this means that a well-used card that isnearing write capacity will likely first start showing lowercapacity each time you use it, a strong warning that youshould probably consider retiring it.Different card types work at different speeds. You’ll see themmarked with ratings like “100x,” “280x”, or even “305x.”From a technical standpoint, things are greatly complex underthe covers; the current CompactFlash specification runs to194 pages of dense technical information. And it seems thatinterpretations of what “100x” means varies quite a bitbetween manufacturers. As I mentioned earlier, I find littlesupport for using those markings as performance indicators. Ifyou’re interested in seeing how a variety of cards perform onthe D700, go to http://www.robgalbraith.com and click on the36 The D700 supports FAT32, but using FAT32 on cards that are 1GB or smaller isinefficient. Unless you have a card at least 2GB in size, use plain old FAT. Moreover,Macintosh users don’t have easy access to FAT32 facilities. If you know what you’redoing, you can drop down into the command line interface and use something likenewfs_msdos -F 32 -b 32768 /dev/disk1 to format your card, but this is a utility foradvanced users who know what they’re doing.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 118
    • Version 1.00CF/SD link in the upper left corner. Rob’s figures pretty muchagree with what I’ve found.Using CompactFlash The card goes in connector-edge first, with the main label facing the back of the camera. You’ll feel a bit of resistance when you’ve pushed the card most of the way in—you need to continue to push until the card is fully engaged with the connector inside the camera.õ To insert a CompactFlash card in the D700: 1. Turn the D700’s power switch to the OFF position. 2. Open the CompactFlash Card Slot door by sliding it towards the back of the camera. The door should pop open as you do so. 3. Insert a CompactFlash card into the slot. Connectors go in first, with the label side towards the back of the camera. The camera prevents you from inserting it incorrectly, so if it seems like you need to use excessive force, you’re probably inserting the card backwards. The gray Card Release button below the slot will pop out when the card is engaged, and the CompactFlash Access lamp will light briefly. 4. Close the door that covers the CompactFlash slot. 5. Turn the camera ON.Tip: It is possible to “take” pictures without a card in the CompactFlash slot if Custom Setting #F11 has been set to Enable release (the default!). With this setting, the camera acts like it takes pictures and even displays them on the rear LCD (with a red DEMO in the upper left corner of the display), but because there’s no card in the camera nothingThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 119
    • Version 1.00 will be saved (unless you’re connected to a PC running Nikon Camera Control Pro 2). If no card is present in the camera, you’ll see an -E- on the top LCD instead of the frames remaining indicator.õ If you haven’t previously used the CompactFlash cardbefore inserting it into a D700, or if the card contains imagesyou no longer need, you should format it as follows: 1. Turn the D700’s power switch to the ON position. 2. Hold down the two buttons labeled k (in red) for two seconds. (One is just to the left of the viewfinder and also labeled p; the other is just in front of the top LCD and also labeled MODE.) When the top LCD begins blinking the label FOR, release the buttons. 3. Immediately press the two k buttons again. Formatting time varies with the size of the card; a fast 1GB card usually takes a few seconds. The top LCD shows FOR in the Frames Remaining indicator while the camera is formatting.Note: Step #3 is a bit confusing to new Nikon DSLR users. Apparently, Nikon didn’t think that holding down two buttons once for two seconds was a unique enough combination to preclude accidental formatting. Since erasure is a loss of data, I agree with Nikon’s conservatism here.Once the card is formatted, the Frames Remaining indicatorresets and shows the number of images you can take at thecurrent image quality setting on the current card (if thatnumber is larger than 999, then K is displayed just above theFrames Remaining indicator; 1.7 in the Frames Remainingindicator with the K also showing would mean 1700 framescan be taken).õ Alternatively, you can use the Format option on the SETUPmenu, but the method just documented is usually quicker,and doesn’t eat up battery power by lighting up the colorLCD.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 120
    • Version 1.00 1. Press the MENU button to show the menu system. 2. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the SETUP menu (yellow wrench icon). 3. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the Format memory card option and press the > key on the Direction pad to select it. 4. Use the Direction pad to navigate to Yes and press the OK button to select it.Note: Formatting a CompactFlash card “removes” all information and images from the card. Always save your images to a computer before formatting a card! I use the quotes around “removes” because the image data isn’t actually erased; only the directory information that points to it is rewritten. While it is possible to recover images immediately after performing an in-camera format, it is a hassle to do, and may not be fully successful if anything has been written to the card since the format.The D700 tells you when a CompactFlash card is full byblinking 0 in the Frames Remaining indicators in the top LCD,Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 121
    • Version 1.00and blinking CD in the viewfinder. Your card isn’t necessarilyfull, however. The card didn’t have enough room to storeanother picture at the current image quality setting.Tip: If you absolutely need to take another shot and don’t have another card handy, try picking a file format that uses less storage space. For example, if you were shooting NEF, try JPEG. If you were shooting JPEG fine large, try shooting JPEG norm medium. This often allows you to capture a few extra shots on a card.õ To remove a CompactFlash card from the D700: 1. Turn the D700’s power switch to the OFF position. Important: Before moving to Step 2, confirm that the green CompactFlash Access lamp is not lit (the camera does not completely shut down until buffered data is written to the card). 2. Open the door by pulling the CompactFlash Door cover towards the back of the camera. The door should pop open as you do so. 3. Press the large, grey, square button just below the CompactFlash card. The card should pop out slightly, allowing you to grab its edge. 4. Remove the card from the camera. 5. Insert another card into the slot, if desired. 6. Close the door that covers the CompactFlash slot. 7. Turn the camera ON. Check to make sure the Frames Remaining counter shows a value, and not CHA.Nikon-Approved CardsNikon used to make a big deal about “operation notguaranteed” unless the CompactFlash card has been testedand approved by Nikon. The list is short (though subject tochange):• Lexar Media: Professional (80x LT) 512MB, 2GB.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 122
    • Version 1.00• Lexar Media: Professional (133x WA) 1GB, 2GB, 4GB, 8GB.• Lexar Media: Platinum II (60x) 4GB.• Lexar Media: Platinum II (80x) 512MB, 1GB, 2GB.• Lexar Media: Professional UDMA (300x) 2GB, 4GB, 8GB. These are UDMA capable cards.• SanDisk: Standard (SDCFB) 1GB, 2GB, 4GB.• SanDisk: Ultra II (SDCFH) 1GB, 2GB, 4GB, 8GB.• SanDisk: Extreme III (SDCFX3) 1GB, 2GB, 4GB, 8GB.• SanDisk: Extreme IV (SDCFX4) 2GB, 4GB, 8GB. These are UDMA capable cards.I’ve used a wide range of other cards in the D700, and haveyet to find any that cause operational issues with the camera.However, note that counterfeit cards do exist and are oftensold on auction and other Internet sites to the unsuspecting.However, not all cards marked the same perform the same.Two cards marked “300x” can perform at very differentspeeds in the D700. In my experience with the D700 theSanDisk Extreme IV and Extreme Ducati are the only cardsthat seem capable of reaching the 30MB/sec benchmarkyou’d expect for UDMA. And, curiously, the smaller theSanDisk card, the faster it operates (e.g. the 2GB Extreme IV isfaster than the 8GB Extreme IV). At present, the only cardsthat I can reliably recommend for performance on the D700are SanDisk Extreme IV, SanDisk Extreme Ducati, and theLexar Professional 300X.If you don’t mind a moderate drop in performance for a bigbreak in price, the SanDisk Extreme III works quite well onthe D700 (about two-thirds the maximum speed of anExtreme IV). Beyond that, almost anything goes. The worstcards I’ve encountered are somewhat generic ones, whichcan write as little as one-tenth the speed of the fastest. If youbought a D700, you were looking for pro-level performance.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 123
    • Version 1.00Don’t compromise the camera’s performance by skimping oncards.Rob Galbraith keeps a reasonably comprehensive list of cardspeed tests on his site (http://www.robgalbraith.com click onthe CF/SD link in the upper left corner), and his tests agreewith what I’ve found.My understanding is that Nikon technical support no longerrefuses to deal with troubleshooting a camera that uses a cardnot on Nikon’s list. That’s not to say that at some point thecard itself can’t be isolated from the problem (remember thatthere are counterfeits starting to flood the market 37), so Igenerally recommend that you have at least one Nikon testedcard handy, as this sometimes allows you to remove thestorage card type from the list of suspects for the problemyou’ve encountered.How Much Card?Files created by the D700 are large; larger than you’re used toif you’re coming from a previous Nikon DSLR other than theD2x, D2xs, D3, or D300. As you’ll find out in comingsections, this can put a crimp on the number of shots you canget on a card.Let’s put it in perspective: shooting 14-bit uncompressed NEFformat you might get less than 50 images on a 1GB card. Adda JPEG Fine image to your NEF shooting, and that drops stilllower. You can get more images by using the highest NEFcompression and 12-bit, which should net you about 70images depending upon the data in the images (more on thiswhen we discuss Compressed NEFs on page <163>). Still,none of those numbers are much more than a couple of rollsof film.37 It’s actually pretty simple: buy or create a generic card and slap a label on it thatlooks like one of the top performers.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 124
    • Version 1.00For uninterrupted shooting, you’re really going to want atleast 2GB cards in your D700, and probably 4GB if you shootuncompressed NEFs. As I write this, 2GB cards are the bestcompromise between capacity and price, though you can findexcellent deals on slightly slower 4GB cards (hint: SanDiskExtreme III).Personally, I’m using multiple solid-state UDMA 4GB cardsbacked up with an Epson P-5000. One 4GB card is usuallyenough to shoot for long periods of time without having toworry about running out of space, and UDMA provides veryfast continuous shooting performance. Still, I carry some olderSanDisk Extreme III 4GB cards with me, as well, which workfine in the D700, especially for less intense shooting.Unlike my books on some other Nikon DSLRs I’ve made aseparate section in this eBook about card size to call attentionto the fact that you’re going to chew through storage space.I’ll have some more to say on that subject as we get down tothe details, but I wanted to warn you up front that, if you’regoing to shoot at the full size this camera is capable of, beprepared to move beyond your 512K and 1GB storage cards!CompactFlash TroubleshootingProblem: The capacity of your CompactFlash card seems tobe a little less than the one stated on the label (e.g. you seemto only be able to store 114MB of data on a 128MB card).Solution: Actually, this is normal. CompactFlash works justlike a disk drive on a computer, with an area set aside for afile allocation table and a file directory. In addition to thereserved space, storage manufacturers sometimes use 1K tomean 1000 instead of the more correct 1K=1024. Also, thenumber of folders created has a small impact on overallcapacity. Like disk drives, sometimes areas of the card aremarked as “bad,” and this, too, reduces capacity.Problem: It seems to take longer to store information on aCompactFlash card than it did when you first obtained it.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 125
    • Version 1.00Solution: If you erase individual files instead of reformattingthe card, it’s possible to get file fragmentation on the card.When this happens, data for any given file is non-adjacent,and the camera has to write extra information into the filedirectory. This, in turn, can cause slightly longer write timesdue to the extra information that must be written in thedirectory.Likewise, it’s possible for cards to get lost clusters38 and fileson a card. Use the D700’s format function to erase allinformation from a card instead of individually deleting files.Alternatively, you can reformat cards on your computer if youhave a card reader (it works just like formatting any diskdrive—open a window for the drive in Explorer [Windows] orFinder [Macintosh] and use the normal formatting procedurefor drives; just make sure that you pick FAT, not FAT32 ifyou’re using a recent version of Windows, such as XP, andaren’t using a 2GB or larger card).Problem: You get occasional “black” frames instead ofimages. Another symptom is sometimes excessively longwrites to the card (or the green “writing to card” light stays lit),or you get large black areas through your images.Solution: Two possibilities. First, your battery may be low.Replace the battery and see if the problem goes away. If not,there’s likely a bad sector on the card that isn’t marked assuch. You need to perform a full format39 on the card using acard reader attached to a PC (which should detect and markbad sectors). However, if black frames appear on more thanone of your cards or on a regular basis, you should have yourcamera checked by Nikon. Random black frames are also a38 Clusters are the basic unit in which information is stored on disk drives (andCompactFlash). A file is made up of many clusters, and the directory and otherinformation stored at the beginning of the disk keeps track of which clusters belong towhich files. When a cluster is damaged, the information being tracked is lost. Thismeans that your data may still be intact, but that the structure of the disk is incorrect,hiding that data. As noted elsewhere, having a good disk recovery utility handy cansometimes help you retrieve precious photos you thought the camera had lostforever.39 Note that in most versions of Windows the default is to perform a Quick Format.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 126
    • Version 1.00possible indication of a shutter problem on D700 bodies,though usually the camera’s self-monitoring system will reportERR on the Top LCD at the slightest hint of a shutter failure.Problem: Part of the frame (typically the lower portion)doesn’t seem to have all the colors or has lines and streaksrunning through it.Solution: This is almost always a card write problem. It oftenhappens when shooting continuous bursts and a card is failingin some way (either the controller is bad or memory isn’tgetting marked as bad). Try other cards to see if the problemreplicates itself. If the problem is card specific, try doing alow-level format of the card. If the problem appears onmultiple cards, have Nikon check the write-to-card functionon your camera.Problem: You can’t find images on the card or the computercomplains about damaged files when you try to transferimages from camera to PC.Solution: One of several problems is likely present on thecard: (1) the FAT (File Allocation Table, which tracks clustersin use) is corrupt; (2) the directory has incorrect informationabout files, usually either cross links of data between twoimages or missing cluster information; or (3) something else iswrong with the data or structure on the card, such as adamaged sector, an incomplete file, an unexpected End-of-File marker, and so on. In every case, you must immediatelyfix the problem or risk the permanent loss of your image data.You may or may not be able to fix the problem, but ifanything gets written to the card before you begin attemptinga correction, your ability to recover data is compromised.Macintosh users should be extremely careful when mountingproblematic cards on their computers, as several behind-the-scene tasks can write to the card without your knowledge.So how do you fix the structure and data and recover yourimages? The best choice is to use a product such as PhotoRescue (http://www.datarescue.com/photorescue). This tool—versions are now available for both Macintosh andThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 127
    • Version 1.00Windows—generally can find and recover images that are theresult of most structure errors, though you may have to go intothe advanced mode and play with some of the settings inorder to do so. Current versions of Photo Rescue understandthe NEF format, and can resurrect a raw data file, completewith the proper extension. If you haven’t written anything tothe card after the error occurred, you can often recover everyimage on the card. Note that to use Photo Rescue you need away to mount the card either by inserting the card into aPCMCIA adapter on a portable, or by putting the card into acard reader attached to your desktop machine.Personally, I travel with Photo Rescue installed on my laptopand with a card reader so that I can recover images fromcards, when necessary.Problem: Images you shot don’t seem to be recorded on thecard. Recovery software finds no record of them, and the filenumbering seems sequential.Solution: You probably turned the camera off and pulled thecard out before the buffer flushed all the images. Remember,the camera is buffering images to memory before writing themto the card. If you have a full buffer of 40 images it can take afew seconds to clear that buffer to CompactFlash. Fortunately,the D700 doesn’t have the design problem of some previousNikon DSLRs, which you could turn off before flushing thebuffer completely (the D1 series only flushed one imagebefore letting the camera turn off). But you can still get toohasty and pull the CompactFlash card out of the camerabefore all of the images have been written to the card. Payattention to the green CompactFlash Access lamp—if it’s on,the camera is still writing images to the card and youshouldn’t remove the card.Problem: A 4GB or larger capacity card only shows 2GB ofstorage space available.Solution: To fully address the 4GB of space on the card itmust be formatted using FAT32 formatting. If the card wasformatted using FAT (or FAT16 as it is sometimes called), theThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 128
    • Version 1.00maximum capacity is limited to 2GB. Note that some recentcards with large capacities also have a switch that must beflipped to enable them to be used above 2GB.Image FormatsThe D700 is capable of saving images to the CompactFlashcard in three image formats: JPEG, TIFF, and NEF.• Saving an image in JPEG format performs the necessary steps to convert the 12-bit40 sensor data into 16-bit image data using the camera settings that are in effect, reduces the image data that was used by the imaging ASIC during this process to 8 bits, copies the camera settings into the EXIF fields, and applies data compression that loses image information.• Saving an image in TIFF format performs the necessary steps to convert the 12-bit sensor data into 16-bit image data using the camera settings that are in effect, reduces the image data that was used by the imaging ASIC during this process to 8 bits, and copies the camera settings into the EXIF fields; no compression is applied to the image.• Saving an image in NEF format creates 12-bit or 14-bit image data, this data is optionally compressed in either lossless or visually lossless form, then copied to the card as a file by adding the camera settings into the EXIF fields. In addition to the raw sensor data, NEF format also creates and stores a JPEG basic image as a “thumbnail” that is added to the file.If you want the highest quality image the D700 is capable of,use 14-bit uncompressed or lossless compressed NEF (thoughthis requires that you use appropriate software to decipher thedata; see “NEF Format“ on page <159>). If you set yourcamera’s exposure, white balance, and other settingsknowledgeably, know your way around digital image editingprograms, and immediately convert your JPEG files into a40 14-bit data can only be created via NEF images, and only by setting the 14-bit NEFcapability directly. If you shoot NEF+JPEG the data used for the JPEGs is 14-bit.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 129
    • Version 1.00lossless format—such as Adobe’s PSD (Photoshop data)format—any actual loss of data that occurs using JPEG or TIFFcan be kept essentially invisible, at least at moderate viewingsizes that don’t require post processing.The primary difference between JPEG/TIFF and NEF is that, forJPEG and TIFF the camera’s electronics have to do all thework of assembling an image from the data and your settings,while with NEF that work is postponed until you get to acomputer. JPEG and TIFF (potentially) suffer from three thingsthat can “harm” image quality:• The camera’s electronics are static. They’re only as good as the state-of-the-art in early 200741 when they were locked down in design. Those of us who’ve been using DSLRs for years know that image processing software is still getting better every year. By delaying the processing, you potentially can take advantage of image techniques that came to be after the camera was designed.• The camera’s electronics “reduce” the data set. In particular, tonal data is reduced from 14 or 12-bits to 8- bits in the process of creating a JPEG or TIFF image. That’s not a big issue if you never post-process your images, but it can be if you make drastic changes in post-processing of the image later on. Note that the D700 doesn’t reduce the data set until it’s done manipulating the image. All in- camera adjustments are made in 16-bits by the D70042. Still, if you’re going to make any changes after the fact to the image, 8-bit data storage is a limiting factor.• The camera uses the settings you made. Make a mistake on setting white balance, sharpening, or some other camera setting? Well, with JPEG and TIFF that mistake is41 The D700 uses the same electronics as the D3, thus when the D3 locked down, sodid the D700.42 It’s unclear exactly how the data goes from 12-bit to 16-bit internally. But acommonly accepted programming practice is to place the 12-bits of data into thehighest order bits of a 16-bit field. Doing that one thing before doing any otherprocessing on the data would tend to reduce rounding errors that might occur as thedata is manipulated.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 130
    • Version 1.00 encoded into the image file that’s created, and it’ll take careful post-processing to take it back out (if that can be done—not all such mistakes can be undone). NEF allows you to alter many of your camera settings after you’ve taken the picture.If you’re getting the feeling that I’m strongly in favor of theNEF format, you’re right. For serious photographers, shootingin NEF is like retaining and working with a negative whileJPEG and TIFF is like accepting the print that comes out of thelab. The reason most amateurs avoid NEF format is that theydon’t want to spend any time post-processing their images.Likewise, some event photographers shoot so many imagesthat post processing all of them would take too muchcomputing power and time.Fair enough. Just realize that you’re going to have to makesome choices about how you shoot with your D700, and thefile format you choose is one of the key ones. Make sureyou’re making the right decision for yourself43.Okay, let’s delve into the details so you can better understandwhat you just read.PixelsBefore we get to the individual data formats, let’s make surethat we have some basic understanding of the underlyingelement used in them: pixels.A pixel is the smallest element of a digital picture. You’veprobably seen camera resolution figures expressed in the formof two numbers, say 4288 x 2848. This means that the cameraproduces results that have 2848 rows containing 4288columns of data. At each row/column intersection, there’s a43 JPEG shooters should note that the D700 does a pretty darned good job ofrendering into the format. It’s not that JPEG quality is bad, it’s that NEF quality can bebetter in the right hands. By these comments I don’t mean to try to scare anyone offfrom shooting JPEG—I do it myself from time to time when the situation warrants it—but only to point out that you give something up by doing so.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 131
    • Version 1.00pixel, which is used to describe the color that should bedisplayed there.Pixels contain color information, usually expressed asindividual values for red, green, and blue 44. Each color valueis stored in a series of bits. Bits are the smallest data elementscomputers understand; a single bit has a value of either 1 or 0(thus, an example 8-bit value is 0100 1101). While the D700 iscapable of producing 12-bit or 14-bit values for each color(assuming you shoot NEF and use a converter that retains thatdata), most computer imaging programs, includingPhotoshop, normally use 8-bit values for most work 45.In computer jargon, eight bits are called a byte, and most diskand memory storage capacities are expressed in bytes. Forexample, the main memory of your computer might have1,073,741,824 bytes (1GB) of space. The non-round numberis caused by the binary nature of computers, where everythingis expressed as a power of 2. A thousand in computercounting turns out to actually be 1024; therefore most storagecapacities are slightly understated. CompactFlash cards usedby the D700 have storage capacities expressed in bytes, aswell.To form one complete digital image you must store 24-bit (forJPEG or TIFF) or 12-bit or 14-bit (for NEF) values for eachpixel. Why 24-bit for JPEG and TIFF? Remember, we need 8bits to store each of the three primary colors for these files,while NEF files just contain a single 12-bit or 14-bit data pointfor each photosite (the remaining color information isdeciphered later). You do this in a compilation of bytes calleda file. On a D700 at its highest in-camera resolution, thatamounts to a minimum of 36,636,672 bytes of data (4288 x2848 pixels at 3 bytes per pixel), which we’d normally just44 When I write about the Red channel, Blue channel, and Green channel elsewherein this eBook, I’m referring to these individual color data points. 45 Photoshop now allows most of its image editing tools to function with 16-bit data, but since all consumer printers and almost all commercial printers only accept 8-bit data, some people still use Photoshop only with 8-bit data. Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 132
    • Version 1.00round off and call 37MB. That means that a file containingthat image would contain a string of over 290 million 1’s and0’s (actually, slightly more than that, since most file formatsrequire some additional information that describes thecharacteristics of the data in the file).To put that in perspective, this eBook only has a little over ahalf million characters in it, so if you took every letter in thiseBook and made it into a 1 or a 0, you’d need almost 600eBooks just to contain the data for one image. (Puzzled by the290 million number? Remember, there are 8 bits in a byte!)Obviously, we’re talking about a huge amount of data. Tohelp deal with the storage issues all that data raises, Nikoncompresses the image data (i.e. makes image files smaller).This is true for JPEG and NEF 46 files on a D700.JPEGThe D700 normally stores images in JPEG format 47 (inWindows, the three-letter file extension limit reduces this to.JPG, so you may also have seen this format referred to asJPG). JPEG (pronounced JAY-peg) stands for JointPhotographic Experts Group, which developed and ratifiedthe original standard for this file format.JPEG files can be read by a wide variety of programs, andJPEG is one of the file formats directly supported by HTML,the standard language from which Web pages are created.46 Even an uncompressed NEF image can be thought of as “compressed,” as it doesn’thave Red, Green, and Blue data points for each image pixel; that saves 16 bits perpixel location from what would be stored if RGB data were there. Yes, that isn’texactly compression, but the point being made here is about file sizes, not the imageimpact of compression. From a file size standpoint, a NEF file is a reduced set of datafrom the final image, which can be thought of as a form of lossless compression.47 Technically, JPEG isn’t a file format, but simply a data compression scheme.However, the fact that most computers use a file extension of .JPG or .JPEG for suchfiles has caused users to call it a file format. I’ll bow to this common practice in thiseBook.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 133
    • Version 1.00The wide acceptance of the JPEG format means that you canshare a JPEG-encoded file with others, regardless of what typeof computer or software they have.To produce a JPEG file from the final digital imageinformation created by the imaging ASIC, the following stepsare performed (note that the words in parentheses are grossoversimplifications to help you understand the process): 1. The image is divided into 8 x 8 pixel blocks. 2. The information in each block is run through a series of “transforms” (calculations) to produce a set of 64 “coefficients” (results) that are then “quantized” (compressed) 48. Essentially, pixels are converted from numbers into equations (the calculation used is called a Discrete Cosine Transform). Blocks are operated on from top left to bottom right. Essentially, detail within each 8 x 8 pixel block is reduced, the amount of reduction determined by the amount of quantization (compression) applied. 3. The quantized (compressed) results for each block are gathered into a single binary sequence, and this block sequence is further encoded in a scheme called modified run-length algorithm, which generally produces further compression of the information (run- length encoding assigns the shortest bit sequence to the most-often-used pixel value, and the longest bit sequence to the least-used pixel value).Note that compression happens twice when a JPEG file iscreated. The first compression is variable in level, but resultsin permanent loss of information. Generally, it takes a JPEGcompression ratio of 10:1 or more to produce annoyingartifacts (see “JPEG Artifacts” below). JPEG compression ratiosof 4:1 or lower produce virtually imperceptible artifacts in48 An aside: which set of words you use (transforms, coefficients, quantized orcalculations, results, compressed) depends upon whether you’re a mathematician ora layperson. A nerdy party trick is to use the vocabulary of the one you aren’t.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 134
    • Version 1.00most common photo scenes. The second compression step(run-length encoding) is lossless, meaning that the originalinformation—in this case, the discrete cosine transformformula for each block—can be fully retrieved.The D700 can produce photos encoded in JPEG format. TheD700 has two settings that determine how much compressionis used. The first, consists of the type of JPEG image: fine,normal, and basic, which determines the gross level ofcompression. The second consists of the optimization of theJPEG compression, with your choices being Size priority orOptimal quality. In terms of the visual quality of the finalimage, your choices order something like this: Best Quality fine - Optimal quality  fine - Size priority normal - Optimal quality normal - Size priority  basic - Optimal quality Worst Quality basic - Size priorityNote: There is wide variance in the way JPEG compression levels are presented in software user interfaces. Some programs show you the approximate compression amount as a ratio (e.g. 4:1), some use descriptions (e.g. “high,” “moderate,” and “low” or Nikon’s “fine,” “normal,” and “basic”), and still others use sliders and other controls to continuously vary the amount of compression. The best programs show you a preview of the resulting compression, letting you visually determine how much compression to use.One interesting side note about JPEG: the process thatconverts the pixel values into equations ends up putting the“average” pixel of each 8x8 block in the upper left corner ofthat block prior to compression. Nikon doesn’t use thisaverage pixel directly (the D700 generates the image’sthumbnail using other methods; some Coolpix models usedthis pixel to generate the thumbnail).Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 135
    • Version 1.00Thus, if you want to create smaller images from the JPEGs thatthe D700 produces (say for Web use), the highest quality willbe obtained if you reduce the size to 1/8 (e.g. 536 x 356 fromthe Large JPEG size created by a D700). That’s becauseyou’ll force your image editing program to summarize the 8x8blocks used in generating the JPEG, and minimize anyartifacts that might be otherwise produced.Setting JPEGThe D700 allows you to create six sizes of JPEG images:Image Image Pixels Megapixels JPEG fineArea Size SizeFX Large 4256 x 2832 12mp 5.7MB Medium 3184 x 2120 6.7mp49 3.2MB Small 2128 x 1416 3.0mp 1.4MBDX Large 2784 x 1848 5.1mp 2.5MB Medium 2080 x 1384 2.8mp 1.4MB Small 1392 x 920 1.2mp 600KBNote that the size in the last column is basically a maximum for a scenewith average detail. You can create smaller file sizes by picking moreaggressive JPEG compression settings. Some highly detailed scenes mayproduce slightly larger file sizes.õ To set the D700 to record JPEG images: 1. Press the MENU button to show the menu system. 2. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the SHOOTING menu (green camera icon). 3. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the Image quality option and press the > key on the Direction49 Here’s an interesting tidbit: in the D700 menus the value is shown as 6.7mp. In theD3 menus the value is shown as 6.8mp. The actual value is 6,750,080. The D3firmware team (correctly) rounded up, the D700 firmware team rounded down.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 136
    • Version 1.00 pad to select it. 4. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the JPEG quality you wish to use (JPEG fine, JPEG normal, or JPEG basic), and press the > key on the Direction pad to select it. 5. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the Image size option and press the > key on the Direction pad to see the options. 6. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the JPEG size you wish to use and press the > key on the Direction pad to select it (note that the pixel count and megapixelThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 137
    • Version 1.00 count will change with the Image area setting). 7. Use the Direction pad to navigate to JPEG compression and press the > key on the Direction pad to select it. 8. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the option you wish to use (Size priority or Optimal quality).This last bit (Steps 7 and 8) first appeared on the D2x and isrelatively new to Nikon DSLRs. You may think it’s anotherway to set JPEG fine or JPEG normal. Not quite.Remember, JPEG images are compressed and thecompression is variable. If you shoot something with a lot ofdetail in it (and especially if you have settings active thatenhance acuity, such as sharpening), then the file size will beThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 138
    • Version 1.00noticeably larger with Optimal quality setting. When youselect Size priority, you force the JPEG engine to use crudercompression on highly detailed images (partially overridingyour Image quality setting).Alternatively, Image quality (RAW TIFF FINE NORMBASIC) can be set by holding down the QUAL button on thetop of the camera and rotating the Rear Command dial;Image size (LMS) can be set by holding down the QUALbutton and rotating the Front Command dial (assumes youhaven’t used Custom Setting #F9 to change the dialfunctions):Top LCD:Let’s examine how the three JPEG options impact the look ofan image. Surprisingly, there’s not a very big penalty for usingthe various JPEG settings. My overall test scene looks like this:Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 139
    • Version 1.00 This is a tough, mixed lighting, strong-contrast scene that attempts to show issues with camera settings. Some of the colors (red roof) will go out of gamut in some of my tests—this is intentional. White Balance is set to Auto. ISO is 800 in this test so as to demonstrate the differences more fully (at ISO 200 the D700 doesn’t show much difference in JPEG quality settings). Other camera controls other than the ones being tested are at the camera default. While the image looks underlit in the background, it is properly exposed—the slight lack of definition in the white is caused by Nikon’s change in gamma (Brightness setting), and the dark background is intentional, as you’ll eventually see. One word of warning: go by what I write, not necessarily what you see. First, I’ve evaluated a lot of different images to make my conclusions. While my test setup is geared to generate some basic data for evaluation, JPEG compression can and does render different scenes differently. My comments are the accumulation of shooting a number of different scenes using these settings. Second, the multiple compressions these images go through to get into the PDF file and the non-100% view you’re likely to be looking at make it tough to evaluate fine detail from the eBook pages.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 140
    • Version 1.00 JPEG fine Optimal quality. No real issues. Size is 4.2MB. The results are clean and free from artifacts. JPEG fine Size priority. The file size dropped 3.6MB. No truly visible issues, though there is a slight bit of color edging starting to appear on the finest detail that wasn’t apparent on the first example. Still, perfectly acceptable results, especially for ISO 800.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 141
    • Version 1.00 JPEG normal Optimal quality. File size is now 2.8MB. Also quite good, though a very slight hint of increased noise, emphasis on the very slight. JPEG normal Size priority. File size is now 2.6MB. Quite remarkable considering that we’ve lost almost half the data from the highest quality level. I can clearly see noise, though again it’s low in level. Surprisingly, this doesn’t seem to impact the detail much.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 142
    • Version 1.00 JPEG basic Optimal quality. File size is now 1.5MB. One-third the size of the original and still quite good. All the things that have been trending in the previous samples continue to progress to more visibility, but still are quite mild in impact. JPEG basic Size priority. Size has dropped to 736K. At this level of compression we have clear edge artifacts on fine detail and an overall “dullness” starts to set in. I’m seeing edge artifacts even on large detail (bottom of the orange in the Camera Shop sign has some mild JPEG blocks in it) and I’m seeing slight changes in colors (the standard deviation in a block of color is increasing). Still, not bad for the large level of compression and ISO 800.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 143
    • Version 1.00The biggest issue between best and worst JPEG compressionat this ISO value appears to be a very slight increase incontrast and some visible but not objectionable edge artifacts.You’ll also lose fine detail (I see resolution complications onthe bars at three size levels larger when using basic Sizepriority versus fine Optimal quality).Contrast is always more difficult to remove from an imagethan it is to add it. Thus, I would recommend sticking toOptimal quality if possible, and either fine or normal. Theonly reason to use the other settings would be to save space atthe expense of potentially unremoveable contrast buildup andsome edge detail confusion at high sharpening levels. Notethat samples above were all produced at camera defaults forsharpening.So let’s take the two extreme samples and apply the sameamount of capture sharpening to them using Photoshop:Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 144
    • Version 1.00Can you tell which one is which now? I sure can. The JPEGfine Optimal quality (top image) sharpens up nicely withoutlosing anything up to its resolution limit. The JPEG basicSize priority (bottom image) shows all kinds of edge issueson the bars and numbers, including some false color, andeven JPEG block issues under the “Shop” in “Camera Shop.”Look just to the right of the leftmost column of numbers in theUSAF target and you’ll see plenty of JPEG mosquitoes (see“JPEG Artifacts” on page <148>).All the issues I just pointed out simply get worse and worse asyou go above ISO 800. That’s because noise buildupproduces false detail that starts getting embedded into theJPEG compression in visible ways. Below ISO 800 the D700’snoise levels are so low that you generally don’t see muchdegradation due to increased JPEG compression. At ISO 800,the impacts are low, but starting to be visible on closeexamination. Above ISO 1600, the problems get worse. Bythe time you get to ISO HI2, heavy compression will destroydetail and produce so many artifacts that you’ll want to avoidit. In tabular form:Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 145
    • Version 1.00ISO Value Usable JPEG What to Avoid CompressionLO1, 200-640 Any setting None800-1600 fine, normal, at basic either Optimal quality or Size priority2000-6400, HI1, fine, normal, only basic at anyHI2 at Optimal quality JPEG compression, and normal at Size prioritySo what are we to conclude from the above? The D700always does a pretty good job of rendering, even when JPEGcompression is cranked up and until you bump ISO valuessignificantly above ISO 800. As you move to highercompression levels you get a slight contrast build up. Athigher ISO levels you get increasing amounts of fine detaildestruction due to the interaction of noise and JPEGcompression. Still, the size savings can be impressive: a JPEGbasic image can be less than 20% the size of a JPEG fineimage. Yet despite that data reduction you’re not seeing anobnoxious level of artifact build up at anything but the highestISO levels.JPEG RenderingThe D700 renders JPEG images a bit differently than earlierNikon DSLRs. While not publicly talked about, apparentlyNikon is using a NuCore JPEG engine to do the actualrendering. What is known is that all manipulation of theimage is done using 16-bit data (early Nikon DSLRs used 8-bitprocessing, later Nikon DSLRs used 12-bit processing). Thetranslation to 8-bit JPEG on a D700 is done only after all thedemosaicing, color manipulation, sharpening, and othereffects are first handled. In other words, the D700 takes the12-bit or 14-bit raw data, renders that into a 16-bit data set,uses that 16-bit bit data set and camera settings to render a setThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 146
    • Version 1.00of 16-bit pixels, and then reduces those to 8 bits only at thepoint where the actual JPEG encoding is performed. Here’swhat that looks like in terms of data flow:While this doesn’t sound earth shattering, it does have animpact on the images the D700 produces. When you applysharpening, tone curves, or color manipulation on 8-bit data,you risk posterizing bits of the data. Posterization means thatsome bit values just don’t exist. Too much posterization canresult in visible artifacts, usually “bunched up” or unnaturaltonal ramps. The problem is compounded if you take an 8-bitrendered image and do additional post processing on it. Left: a histogram from an image using Photoshop’s Levels command. Right: the same image overly manipulated, which reveals big posterization (gaps) in the darker levels. Posterization of highlight detail makes for detailless highlights; posterization of shadow areas makes for blotchy looking shadows. Once image data has been posterized, each additional manipulation can compound the problem.For example, one typical problem found by D1x users wasthat they’d underexpose slightly to make sure highlights wereproperly captured, and later use a Curve to reshape the tonalramp (similar to what the example shows above, actually).Unfortunately, posterization in the shadow detail would oftenthen become visible, resulting in a blotchy, muddy look in thedarker areas of the image. By keeping the in-cameramanipulations in 16-bit data, the D700 avoids this problem.Shadow detail in JPEGs made on a D700 is much better thanThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 147
    • Version 1.00most previous Nikon DSLRs (though it can be slightly noisy atthe highest ISO values if noise reduction isn’t turned on).JPEG ArtifactsJPEG compression produces two primary types of visibleartifacts. The higher the compression used, the more visiblethese artifacts tend to be. Also sharpening set to high levelstends to trigger these artifacts.The first artifact is best described as “visible blocks” (seeexample, below). Visible blocks are created because JPEGoperates on images in 8x8 pixel blocks.Blocks are most often seen in areas where there is little detailbut a continuously variable color (shading on an unevenly litwall, for example). The quantization step attempts to throwaway minor differences in colors or gradients, but when thereis a gradual change of color that spans blocks, the blockaverages sometimes differ enough that you can see the blockboundaries. JPEG “blocks” tend to appear in broad areas of gradually changing color, as in the highly magnified portion of sky, here. To the right of the arrow, you’ll see several left edges of blocks. The blocks don’t always appear in 8x8 pixel size. This sky, for example, varied gradually from top to bottom, but not left to right, resulting in bands of blockiness rather than distinct blocks. (I’ve exaggerated the contrast to make the blocking more visible.) The only way I can get even a hint of blockiness from the D700 is to use JPEG compression set to Size priority, JPEG basic as the JPEG Quality, and to post process on a smooth tone ramp.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 148
    • Version 1.00 Here’s an example of the mosquito artifact. Look closely at the very edges of the letters in this example. All the letter edges have obvious edge issues, and the insides of the P and R in the word “PRODUCT” are completely white.A second artifact is usually seen at sharply defined edges (seeexample, above). At high compression levels, these artifactscan be extremely annoying, and often are called“mosquitoes,” as it looks like a large swarm of flying insectswas present when you took the picture. This is the primaryartifact I see (rarely) in D700 JPEG images, though it isdifficult to produce in a way that’s clearly visible. But let’s try:Here’s a piece of a JPEG shot with the lowest possible settings at a high ISOvalue. Let’s look at it a little more closely:Looking at the edges of the letters you’ll see slightly more and rougher“noise” than in the open areas outside the letters. In particular, lookbetween the “p” and “o” and should see that there is more “noise” therethan you see elsewhere. But let’s make it more obvious:Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 149
    • Version 1.00When I apply a bit of noise reduction in post processing you should see thatthe edges of the letters are still suffering more from noise than the rest of theimage. That’s because the JPEG artifacts buried at the edges of detail areinterfering with the noise reduction routine. Even if we get very aggressivewith our noise reduction we’re left with obvious remnants of problemscaused by the JPEG compression:Curiously, applying a small amount of “blur” to the originaldata before applying JPEG compression reduces the visibilityof artifacts and the size of the resulting file. That’s becausehard edges contain conflicting data the compression schemeneeds to resolve, and more bits are needed to hold thatinformation. Thus, setting high levels of sharpening with JPEGfiles at high ISO values using the lower JPEG quality settingsshould be avoided, when possible, with the D700.Don’t believe me about the blurring idea? Here’s the samesample with a slight Gaussian Blur applied before noisereduction and sharpening:Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 150
    • Version 1.00Edge integrity on that sample is a little better than the previousones, though we’ve lost a bit of sharpness overall. This, ofcourse, is one of the things we fight with digital: we’re lookingfor the combination of settings that minimizes visual artifactswhile preserving detail. My point is that the more JPEGcompression you use, the more you’ll fight that problem.The D700 is like many previous Nikon DSLRs, though:something in the JPEG rendering scheme used tends to makeJPEG fine and JPEG normal images relatively immune toover sharpening and edge artifact issues, at least at mosttypically-used ISO values and when you’ve picked Optimalquality for JPEG compression. Indeed, if you run aresolution test on both JPEG and NEF images from a D700,you’ll find that the NEF image resolves slightly more detail, anindication that JPEG encoding is “smoothing” edges a bit.(Just in case it’s not clear from the preceding: it’s okay to usehigher levels of sharpening on D700 images at the lower ISOvalues and higher JPEG quality levels. It’s not okay to usehigher levels of sharpening if you’re using higher ISO valuesand lower JPEG quality levels.)Note: If you rotate a JPEG file and resave it, it is possible to lose information! That’s because each 8 x 8 block must be rotated in place to preserve its compression information. If an image editing program simply grabs rows of pixels and converts them to columns, when you resave the file, a JPEG recompression may again be applied to the entire file. If the 8x8 blocks are rotated in place and each block individually placed in the new orientation, JPEG compression is preserved and no new recompression takes place. Fortunately, almost all current programs that allow rotation, including Adobe’s and Nikon’s, preserve the data during rotation (and can do so automatically during downloads to the computer if you’ve set Image rotation to On). But make sure you know what the programs you use do if you are using older software! Pre-2003 software programs tend to recompress rather than rotate correctly.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 151
    • Version 1.00Note: There used to be a persistent myth circulating that said that any time you resave a JPEG file that you’ll force a full recompression of the file, adding artifacts. Well written software doesn’t do this. For example, beginning with version 6.0 of Photoshop, the only recompression that is done on JPEG images that are resaved is on portions (8x8 pixel blocks) of the image that have changes made to them. In other words, if you bring a JPEG file into Photoshop 6 (or later version) and make no changes, resaving it results in no degradation of the image. We’re now four major revisions of Photoshop past version 6, so the myth doesn’t get repeated often, but don’t fall for it if you hear it.This is probably a good point to introduce the interactioneffect of certain camera features, since I’ve already mentioneda few. The D700 does have a few image quality issues thatyou need to be aware of, and we’ve come to one of them.• JPEG compression has a tendency to increase the visibility of moiré. For example, if you’re shooting a tight fabric pattern—which might generate moiré—you probably should avoid high levels of JPEG compression and high levels of sharpening together. Put those three things together—moiré, JPEG compression artifacts, and sharpening artifacts—and you’re asking for trouble. It’ll be extremely difficult to remove the color fringing that’ll occur.• Higher JPEG compression produces more artifacts at very high ISO levels. The noise on the D700 tends to be very granular and visible at very high ISO levels, and this triggers the compression engine towards mosquito-type artifacts on hard edges. Avoid JPEG basic and Size priority at ISO 3200 and above. Still, the D700 is better than any previous Nikon DSLRs in this regard.• JPEG compression interacts with sharpening at high ISO levels. It’s the luminance noise that’s the problem. However, high degrees of sharpening can further trigger excessive artifacts on edges. Again, avoid JPEG basic and Size priority at ISO 3200 and above, and definitelyThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 152
    • Version 1.00 consider lowering the sharpening level as you increase the ISO value.In each of these cases you can create image defects that won’tbe easily removed after the fact. Moiré can sometimes beremoved (or at least downplayed) by moiré removal tools (ora bit of well-applied Gaussian Blur), but if JPEG edge artifactsget melded into the image data along with moiré orsharpening, all bets are off.I’ll describe these interactions more when I get to the shootingsuggestions later in this book.Overall, however, the D700 exhibits almost no tendencytowards producing JPEG artifacts at the lower ISO values.Only at high ISO values do I sometimes see mosquito-typeeffects, and some of this is actually noise destruction of edgesthat triggers JPEG rendering issues. JPEG blocks are almostnon-existent on the D700, probably because the data is keptin the 16-bit realm while manipulating it.You might wonder if turning up the High ISO NR settingwould help with the things I just mentioned. Yes and no. Itcertainly helps remove edge destruction artifacts. However, indoing so, you lose detail. Noise reduction techniques, nomatter if applied in camera or via post processing software,tend to “blur” distinct edges. It’s difficult to get the balance ofnoise reduction and sharpening just right. Too much noisereduction and any sharpening tends to make for what somecall very plastic-looking detail. Too much sharpening makesfor visible edge changes (see “Sharpening” on page <454>).The two together can result in very unnatural looks to youredges.JPEG RecommendationNote the file sizes of the various JPEG formats: fine producesfiles about twice as large as normal which in turn producesfiles about twice as large as basic. That’s a good indicator ofhow much information you’re losing with each ratchet up thecompression ladder (i.e. half!). Stick with fine if you can.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 153
    • Version 1.00Likewise, stick with Optimal quality if you can. The higheryou set the ISO value, the more emphatic I make thosestatements and I start dropping the “if you can” at the reallyhigh ISO values.TIFF FormatThe D700 also can store information in TIFF format (inWindows, the three-letter file extension limit reduces this to.TIF). TIFF (pronounced TIF) stands for Tagged Image FileFormat, which was originally proposed by a group ofmultimedia software developers and later standardized.TIFF is a unique format in that it provides a set of “tags” thatallow the file to define information it contains in a way so thatvirtually every computer and OS can render the file correctly.For example, IBM PC-type machines that use Intel processorsstore data in a different “byte-order” for information than doMotorola-based Macintoshes, but TIFF has a tag to specifywhich order the information is stored in.While TIFF supports various compression techniques, Nikonchose not to compress TIFFs. This guarantees that a computercan resurrect exact pixel values from the file (i.e. thecomputer gets exactly the same image captured by thecamera, with no artifacts or reduction of resolution due tocompression), but it also means that file sizes are larger thanthey could be.Of course, those pixel values are not the raw image data fromthe camera’s sensor, but instead represent the camera’sinterpolation of the sensor data. While this is a subtledistinction, it is an important one, as data is eventuallyreduced from the original 12 bits to 8 bits per value.The translation to 8-bit TIFF on a D700 is done only after allthe demosaicing, color manipulation, sharpening, and othereffects are first handled. In other words, the D700 takes 12-bitraw data, renders that into a 16-bit data set, uses that 16-bitbit data set and camera settings to render a set of 16-bitThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 154
    • Version 1.00pixels, and then reduces those to 8 bits only at the pointwhere the actual TIFF file is created.Because no compression is used, TIFF files tend to be quitelarge. So why would you want to use this format? Because:• It doesn’t use data-damaging compression; therefore, there are also no compression-generated artifacts.• Color fidelity may be a bit better than JPEG, as pixel values don’t need to be converted to equations and back (as JPEG requires). Rounding errors in the JPEG conversion process can lead to a slight random color drift.The question that always comes up is this: “I can’t see thedifference between my JPEG and TIFF images, so should I justshoot in JPEG?” The answer is maybe. Or probably. Or evenyes. If you’re shooting for publication and need high-qualityout-of-camera files, TIFF is probably the right answer, as theart director will appreciate not having to worry about anypotential JPEG artifacts that might pop visually as they postprocess the image.It’s unlikely that you would see the difference between thebest JPEG image the D700 can produce and a TIFF. At leastnot under normal conditions. But critical image users can,and they are annoyed by very small differences that can arise.For example, in large tonal ramps of sky, if you start trying topost process a JPEG to provide a polarization effect, youmight start encountering issues at the 8 pixel margins of theJPEG compression blocks. Perhaps not big issues, but enoughto roughen up the continuous tonal ramp in those areas.Likewise, as you start to sharpen up the image you mightdiscover that there are JPEG artifacts at a high-detail edge thatnow become more visible.TIFF renders all those potential problems as non-existent. Youjust won’t encounter them. In general, the more potentialproblems you can remove in your image the better off you aredown the road. Still, the tradeoff is unbalanced: you’reThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 155
    • Version 1.00increasing the file size by over 6x to get a potential smallvisual benefit. That’s a tough trade to make. Most people willpick the smaller file size.The D700 creates one type of TIFF file, an RGB TIFF that haspixels stored with 8-bit red, green, and blue components. Imention this because the D1 series could create a secondtype, YcBcR TIFF, which had one 8-bit luminance and two 8-bit color components. Also, the D700 embeds an ICC colorprofile with the TIFF if Color space is set to AdobeRGB.Setting TIFFThe D700 allows you to create six sizes of TIFF images:Image Image Pixels Megapixels TIFF SizeArea SizeFX Large 4256 x 2832 12mp 35.9MB Medium 3184 x 2120 6.7mp 20.7MB Small 2128 x 1416 3.0mp 10MBDX Large 2784 x 1848 5.1mp 15.3MB Medium 2080 x 1384 2.8mp 8.8MB Small 1392 x 920 1.2mp 4.3MBUnlike JPEG, the TIFF sizes are essentially set in stone, as no compression isinvolved. Thus, you don’t get smaller sized TIFFs if you shoot somethingwith almost no detail versus something with lots of detail.õ To set the D700 to record TIFF images: 1. Press the MENU button to show the menu system. 2. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the SHOOTING menu (green camera icon). 3. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the Image quality option and press the > key on the DirectionThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 156
    • Version 1.00 pad to select it. 4. Use the Direction pad to navigate to TIFF (RGB) and press the > key on the Direction pad to select it. 5. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the Image size option and press the > key on the Direction pad to see the options. 6. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the TIFF size you wish to use and press the > key on the Direction pad to select it (note that the pixel count and megapixelThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 157
    • Version 1.00 count will change with the Image area setting).Alternatively, Image quality (RAW TIFF FINE NORMBASIC) can be set by holding down the QUAL button on thetop of the camera and rotating the Rear Command dial;Image size (LMS) can be set by holding down the QUALbutton and rotating the Front Command dial (assumes youhaven’t used Custom Setting #F9 to change the dialfunctions):Top LCD:TIFF RecommendationIf you know that you need the best possible out-of-cameraresults and have the card space, don’t be afraid to set TIFF(RGB). Indeed, I’d go one step further and say setSharpening to 0 in your Picture Control if you don’t mindsharpening after the fact. Why? Because a TIFF image with nosharpening in it has essentially no artifacts in it—you’ll bedoing your post processing sharpening on the best possible setof data the camera can provide outside of raw files. And youcan do better sharpening during post processing than thecamera can do.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 158
    • Version 1.00Just make sure you optimize your exposure for the scene,though. Reducing image data to 8-bits is dangerous if youneed to do exposure correction after the fact, as you just don’thave many bits to work with in the shadows.Personally, I’m glad Nikon gave us TIFF back, as it gives us animage format that can produce very high quality images ifexposed correctly. Just remember that it results in large files,so you’ll need plenty of card space to use it.NEF FormatNEF format often confuses Nikon DSLR newcomers (Nikonand others sometimes also refer to this format as RAW). Nikonadvertises it as the highest quality format, one that preservesthe “raw” image photosite data. What Nikon doesn’t tell youis that you usually need to purchase an additional softwareproduct to really get the most from this format. Nikon CaptureNX2 is what Nikon recommended when the D700 shipped,but other alternatives exist (see the appropriate section in theIntroduction to Nikon Software eBook that accompanied thisone). Nikon ViewNX, which was included with all D700shipments, can also do basic NEF conversions.Note that the data saved in a D700 NEF file is pretty muchwhat comes from the Bayer-pattern sensor in the camera. That“pretty much” qualification in the last sentence has partly todo with the way Nikon defines “black” in raw data, partly dueto the way data gets defined by the ADC, and partly to dowith the compression options for raw data.Nikon has long differed from Canon in how “black” is placedin the bit storage of raw files. This reason gets quite technicaland is generally only of interest to those using their camera toshoot astrophotography (e.g. through a telescope). I’ve alreadycovered it in the section on the Nikon sensor, so I’ll cut to thechase: essentially, Canon places the black value higher in thebit storage and allows the “noise” in the black signal to befully recorded. Nikon places the center of the black signal at0, essentially clipping some of the noise. This really doesn’tThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 159
    • Version 1.00make any tangible difference unless you’re trying to resolvevery low magnitude stars using image stacks.There’s long been debate about whether a raw file containsthe exact values coming off the ADC. As the definition ofblack might indicate, the answer is no, raw is not exactly thecount of electrons the sensor stored at each photosite duringthe shot. Normally, the ADC circuitry applies a “gain” to theactual data, meaning that if the number of electrons stored ata photosite was 10,000, the value stored in raw file for thatpoint might actually be 38,800. Gains can and do vary withbit recording level, ISO value, and other camera settings.Thus, there are sometimes small differences between raw filescreated from the same photosite data. 14-bit versus 12-bit isone example where it appears that Nikon has tweaked theGain carefully to try to maximize the signal-to-noise ratiorecorded in the data.Raw file compression has an effect on the other end of thedata (the highlights). Nikon now supports two types of NEFcompression: Lossless compressed and Compressed.Obviously, the lossless option has no impact on the data: youget back the original data when the file is uncompressed.However the second compression option is what Nikon refersto as “visually lossless.” It does lose and modify data (more onthat in a bit in the section labeled “Compressed NEF”).But I’m getting ahead of the discussion here. Let’s back up fora moment. Data coming off the ADC is a set of either 12-bitor 14-bit raw information, essentially the photon count foreach photosite multiplied by some gain factor. For raw files,this information simply needs to be saved into a file alongwith the camera setting information (EXIF data) and an imagethumbnail. The image thumbnail is generated by the EXPEEDimaging ASIC, which creates a JPEG thumbnail image whilethe raw data is in the memory buffer, then the file is written tothe card. The format used is Nikon’s derivative of the TIFF-EPstandard. In other words, a Nikon NEF is a TIFF file withNikon-defined tags pointing to various special information,Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 160
    • Version 1.00including the raw data. Instead of .TIF as the extension, .NEFis used instead.This special TIFF (NEF file) has three primary data repositories:the raw image data, the EXIF data for the camera settings, anda JPEG thumbnail created from the raw data by the imagingASIC. If set to 12-bit, the raw image data is packed as two 12-bit values in every three bytes (three bytes = 24 bits). If set to14-bit, the data is packed differently. We’re mostly interestedin this raw data section of the NEF at the moment.When an uncompressed NEF is unpacked, the first pixel in thetop row of the raw image data is 12 (or 14) bits of green data,the second is 12 (or 14) bits of red data, and this patternalternates throughout the first row. The second row starts with12 (or 14) bits of blue data, then 12 (or 14) bits of green data,and then this pattern repeats.No interpolation or major corrections are applied to thisdata—NEF files contain essentially what the Analog-to-Digitalconverter obtained from the photosites, multiplied by a gainfactor, and potentially with that pesky visually losslesscompression I’ll eventually get around to talking about. Rawdata is “linear,” meaning that it is recorded exactly as thecamera saw it (each doubling of light doubles the electroncount). Our eyes will eventually require a non-linear (gammacorrected) version to interpret as a photo. This is one reasonwhy NEF files require special software to decode; the sensordata must be converted (demosaiced) into RGB pixel data andcolor corrected.Tip: If you’re a programming wizard and want to know the exact format of the NEF files, here’s a quick explanation: the file is built in standard TIFF format (technically TIFF-EP) but given a NEF extension, and starts with tags for EXIF header information and white balance tables, then a thumbnail image (in JPEG BASIC format), and finally the raw pixel data stored in a simple left-to-right, top-to-bottom format.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 161
    • Version 1.00 If you’re a programmer, you might want to examine the C code that can be found at: http://www.cybercom.net/~dcoffin/ --it’s the same code that’s formed the basis of Bibble, Photoshop, and other converters (though many of these have now modified that code). If you’re just curious about how software converts the Bayer pattern data into RGB data, send your browser to www.liralab.it/teaching/SINA/papers/demosaicking-JEI- 02.pdf, which contains a short discussion on common demosaicing methods.Since I know you’re curious and want instant gratification, asimple demosaic routine for the D700 might work somethinglike this (warning, geek speak ahead):• Decompress (if necessary) and unpack the sensor data.• Convert all data for the green positions into luminance values (Y).• Obtain luminance values (Y) for red and blue positions by averaging/interpolating the data values for adjacent green positions.• Calculate the color channels for the red and blue positions: Cr = R – Y while Cb = B – Y.• Obtain Cr and Cb values for the positions that don’t yet have them by averaging/interpolating the adjacent values.• Obtain RGB data from the Y Cr Cb 50 data: R = Y + Cr, B = Y + Cb, and G = 0.2R + 0.7G + 0.1B.Many other demosaic routines exist; the one just given is oneof the simplest (especially if you use “averaging” instead of50 Geeks will have already guessed that this is essentially CIE Lab Color space, thegrandfather of all color processing definitions. You can write demosaicing routinesfor just about any color space you’d care to define, but most that I know of stick toLab Color, RGB, and CYM(k).Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 162
    • Version 1.00“interpolating” for the missing data 51). Thus, each softwareproduct that understands the NEF file format tends to performthe interpretation of the photosite data slightly differently (andat different speeds!).If you open a NEF file with Bibble, Photoshop CS3, CaptureOne, and Nikon Capture NX2 side by side, you will see subtledifferences in rendering of color and detail. If you’re gettingthe idea that it might be worthwhile to sample all the NEFconverters, you’re right. Fortunately, most have trial versionsavailable. See the separate Introduction to Nikon SoftwareeBook that accompanied this eBook for more discussion ofthe software used for conversions.Compressed NEFsThe D700 supports two types of compressed NEF files. Oneversion is said to be “lossless” (and labeled as such in thecamera), while the other is said by Nikon to be either“virtually lossless” or “visually lossless,” meaning that resultsvisually indistinguishable from those that would be producedby the original data can be recovered. Lossless compressed NEF truly lossless Compressed NEF visually lossless“Visually lossless” isn’t quite the same thing as “lossless.” Inthe truly lossless version the original data created by thecamera’s ADC circuitry is recovered exactly when the data islater uncompressed, so we don’t have to worry about ordiscuss further what happens with the data in the Losslesscompressed NEF option.51 Okay, we’re in footnote hell. An interpolation routine generally tries to do morethan just average two adjacent data points. Complex interpolations examine a matrixof adjacent cells, usually a minimum of a 3 x 3 grid, but sometimes as wide as a 16 x16 grid. Obviously, the smaller the grid, the faster the results are generated. But also,the smaller the grid, the cruder the results will be. Most raw converters tend to use a5 x 5 pattern for their demosaicing.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 163
    • Version 1.00In the visually lossless version (Compressed NEF) you getsome of the original data back (in the shadows and some mid-tones), but the highlights are posterized in a way that isconsistent with human vision’s capabilities. We do need todiscuss how this works, as it can produce visual effects inyour images.I’m not sure I’d term the methodology Nikon uses for thevisually lossless format as “compression,” but here’s how itworks: when photosite data comes off the ADC, it has 12 or14 bits of value to it. Let’s use 12-bits to keep things simple. A12-bit value from the ADC of 0 would represent “no data”(black), a value of 4095 would represent “saturation” (white).If that was the way we stored the data, we’d need 12 bits(4096 values) to store each photosite’s data. In order toreduce storage size, the D700 (and other Nikon DSLR bodies)includes a special method of “compressing” NEF data(Compressed NEF set via the D700 SHOOTING menu)which works as follows:• Shadow and low mid-range values are passed on as is.• High mid-range and highlights values are split into groups (essentially, neighboring values are rounded to a central value; for example values of 1023, 1024, and 1025 might all be grouped together and stored as a single value). The manner in which this is done isn’t linear. The last possible group value (almost white) has more adjacent values in its group than the first. This non-linearity is designed to correspond to the way our eye is able to distinguish between bright tones.Thus, there are significantly fewer than 4096 values possiblein this scheme for 12-bit data. As it turns out, 689 values forthe D700 (also for the D3 and D300). And significantly lessthan 16384 values for 14-bit data (2753 values in theCompressed NEF). The resulting “compressed data” is furthercompressed using a somewhat traditional method that looksat adjacent differences and is truly lossless; the final data isalso packed across byte boundaries for space efficiency. TheThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 164
    • Version 1.00result is that the 12 bits of original data stores in about 6 bits(and 14 bits of original data stores in about 7 bits).To get back to 12 bits of data, a NEF converter such asCapture NX2 simply does the following: the final form oflossless compression in the file is undone, the shadow andmid-range values are then decoded as is, while the groupeddata is placed at the center position of each group (e.g. thevalues that were originally at 1023, 1024, and 1025 in theoriginal data that were grouped together will all be placed at1024). The resulting “uncompressed” data is finally placed inthe top end of 16-bit containers (computers operate mostefficiently with data that has 8-bit boundaries).The problem, of course, is that there will now be “data gaps”that get progressively larger as we go higher in value—manyoriginal values in the highlight range are essentially roundedto a different value, with the rounding being more aggressiveas we move to brighter and brighter objects.With a single trip through this compression/decompressioncycle, D700 compressed NEF images are usuallyindistinguishable from what you’d see with no compression.Our eyes don’t resolve the small differences that are made tothe data in the brightest areas of the photo. That’s partlybecause our eyes work in a non-linear fashion with brightness(sensors are linear—this visually lossless NEF compressionscheme mimics our eye’s non-linearity), but also because oureyes generally are thought to distinguish tonal changes onlyabout equivalent to those produced by 8-bit RGB data. Evenwith the visually lossless compression scheme used in theD700, we still have the equivalent to more than 8-bits oforiginal data. Since we almost always reduce 12-bit datadown to 8-bits for printing anyway, the minor tonal loss thatthese compressed NEFs introduce into highlights isn’t usuallya big deal.There is a slight possibility that the data loss introduced by asetting of Compressed NEF will show up in some way,Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 165
    • Version 1.00though. Such changes would appear mostly in the highlightdetail, and only if you made very dramatic post-processingchanges with the data still in 12-bit form (abnormally highsharpening amounts, lots of color shift, etc.).Personally, I don’t like posterization in my image data (ittends to get exaggerated as you make post processingchanges), thus I don’t use a setting of Compressed NEFexcept when I’m rapidly running out of storage space andneed the smaller file size.Fortunately, the D700 has an alternative: Losslesscompressed NEF. This choice uses a different form ofcompression that guarantees that the recovered data afteruncompressing it will be the same as before the compression(truly lossless). The downside is that this format isn’t asefficient as Compressed NEF (files are between 15 to 20%bigger). The upside is that you lose no data whatsoever, yetstill manage to create a file that’s typically two-thirds the sizeof an Uncompressed NEF. As far as I can see, there’s noreal penalty for picking Lossless compressed NEF overUncompressed NEF.Why NEF?Why would you want to use NEF files?If you have software that can understand this format, you’llget a more consistent tonal range in your images than withJPEG images and more subtle and accurate colors. Using 12or 14 bits to record color data instead of 8 bits makes gradual(non-edge) transitions look smoother and subtler. You’ll alsoget a bit more detail than with JPEG images (resolution chartnumbers are a few percent higher; they can be considerablyhigher in NEF if you’re using noise reduction in the camerawith your JPEG files).Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 166
    • Version 1.00Post-processing exposure changes are also more easily madewith NEF files (these are not really exposure changes, butchanging of the linearity52 of the exposure, which is why itworks better to correct underexposed images instead ofoverexposed ones, though note that underexposure definitelybrings up more noise on a D700, so the amount of correctionrange you have will be dependent upon your tolerance fornoise). You also gain full post-shooting control over colorcorrection and white balance decisions (with JPEG thosedecisions are irrevocably recorded in the data when thepicture is taken). Finally, you can use a Color Space bigenough to capture all of the color data your camera is capableof (see “Color Profiles and Color Spaces” on page <735>).With JPEG images, you’re working from the camera’sinterpolation of the color and white balance. While you canoften rebalance images using a program like AdobePhotoshop CS3 or Lightroom, you’re one step removed fromthe original information—in digital media, each interpolationof original data can result in lost data or changes to data. Themore changes you make, the more likely that artifacts of thosechanges become visible.Tip: Remember that every NEF file embeds a JPEG basic image in it that can be extracted, if necessary. A free extraction utility for both Mac and Windows users can be found at http://www.rawworkflow.com (look for the IJFR link).52 You may wonder what “changing the linearity” means. Normally, each rise in bitvalue represents an equal corresponding rise in “brightness”—when we change thelinearity, we change the progression. Instead of a data increase of, say, 16 beingoutput as a value 16 higher, we might lower that number (e.g. an increase of 16 isoutput as an increase of 8) or raise it (e.g. an increase of 16 is output as an increase of32). Moreover, as shot, images have an input-to-output relationship that is almost astraight line from 0,0 on a graph to 255,255 (you may have seen such a line in yoursoftware’s Curves tool). We can actually change the straight line to a curved one,which is close to what post processing exposure corrections for raw files are.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 167
    • Version 1.00Setting NEFNEF allows you to create a whopping 12 different kinds offiles:Image Compression Pixel Count TypicalArea SizeFX Lossless 4256 x 2832 12mp 16.4MB14-bit Compressed 14.2MB None 25.5MBFX Lossless 4256 x 2832 12mp 13.5MB12-bit Compressed 11.5MB None 19.6MBDX Lossless 2784 x 1848 5.1mp 7.2MB14-bit Compressed 6.1MB None 11.1MBDX Lossless 2784 x 1848 5.1mp 6MB12-bit Compressed 5MB None 8.5MBNEF file sizes vary in size with the amount of detail in a scene. The moredetail in the scene, the larger the file will be (for compressed formats), andvice versa. Even uncompressed NEF files will vary slightly in size with detaildue to the way the information is saved.õ To set the camera to record NEF images: 1. Press the MENU button to show the menu system. 2. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the SHOOTING menu (green camera icon). 3. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the Image quality option and press the > key on the DirectionThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 168
    • Version 1.00 pad to select it. 4. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the NEF (RAW) option and press the > key on the Direction pad to select it. (You can also pick one of the NEF (RAW) + JPEG options)Tip: A JPEG image (basic quality) is already stored along with the NEF image! It’s embedded as the preview image. Software exists that lets you extract this JPEG (see http://drchung.new21.net/previewextractor/) or Instant JPEG from Raw (http://www.rawworkflow.com/downloads.html), so the NEF+JPEG choices are a bit redundant. Too bad Nikon didn’t provide an option to extract the embedded JPEG from NEF files during downloading from camera to computer or to change the embedded JPEG type. 5. I always suggest checking the NEF (RAW) recording setting after setting any quality that includes a NEF, just to make sure it is still at the setting you wish. Use the Direction pad to navigate to NEF (RAW) recording and press the > key on the Direction pad toThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 169
    • Version 1.00 select it. 6. Use the Direction pad to navigate to NEF (RAW) bit depth and press the > key on the Direction pad to select it. 7. Use the Direction pad to navigate to your choice of 12-bit or 14-bit and press the OK button to select it.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 170
    • Version 1.00 8. Use the Direction pad to navigate to Type and press the > key on the Direction pad to select it. 9. Use the Direction pad to navigate to your choice of compression type (or Uncompressed) and press the OK button to select it.Alternatively, Image quality (RAW TIFF FINE NORMBASIC) can be set by holding down the QUAL button on thetop of the camera and rotating the Rear Command dial;Image size (LMS) can be set by holding down the QUALbutton and rotating the Front Command dial (assumes youhaven’t used Custom Setting #F9 to change the dialfunctions):Top LCD:Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 171
    • Version 1.00Here’s the rub: since you set the NEF compression typeseparately from Image quality (as you would when using theconvenient QUAL button on the top of the camera) it’s easyto forget that you’ve left it set. For example, you shoot withCompressed NEF to save space on a card during onesession. Later you switch the camera to shoot JPEG. Still lateryou decide to shoot NEF again, but want UncompressedNEF. Unless you remember to cancel compression separatelyvia the menu system, you’ll still get compressed NEFs whenyou set your image quality.If you use the QUAL button shortcut to set the RAW Imagequality, you’ll never see the compression setting (which isshown only in the menu system). I understand why Nikonchose to do it this way—we would have had even morechoices to scroll through in the Image quality setting list—but I can think of better implementations than they chose, anda compression indicator would have been nice (it doesn’teven appear on the display that appears when you press theinfo button).Note that you don’t normally set the Image size when youselect NEF (RAW) format, as the D700 always records the fullimage size for NEF files (adjusted for Image area; obviouslyan FX-sized image is larger than a DX-sized one). However, ifyou elect to record a JPEG image along with your NEF, youcan set the size of the JPEG image that’s recorded usingImage size (or the Front Command dial with the QUALbutton).Note: If you select any form of compressed NEFs, the file size is smaller, but the Frames Remaining indicator does not necessarily reflect this. For example, Lossless compressed and Uncompressed display the same number of images remaining! Only Compressed NEF displays a different value, though the number it reports is only a rough guide. With Compressed NEF, you can usually store more images than the camera indicates when the card is empty.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 172
    • Version 1.00 For Lossless compressed, you can usually store about 1.5x the number the camera indicates (e.g. if the camera says 24 frames remain, you really have space for about 36). The worst case I’ve seen for a single D700 NEF file is a 1.25x change (e.g. if 24 frames remain, you really get 30 on the card). So we can generally assume that you’ll get something between those two values for Lossless compressed. Personally I multiply by 1.5 and then watch carefully when the indicator gets below 10. Worse still, the Frames Remaining indicator may also go to 0 while any form of compressed NEF image is being written to a nearly full card, but after completing the write, the Frames Remaining indicator may pop back up to 1 or 2. This has ramifications in continuous shooting, as the camera won’t shoot if it thinks there are no frames remaining, even if this is only a temporary condition. Yes, this is very annoying, and it’s been a problem for compressed NEFs on almost every Nikon DSLR to date.NEF RecommendationsBasically, you have two choices you need to make if youshoot NEF: bit-depth and compression.The gains made from 14-bit versus 12-bit in image qualityonly show up in a few circumstances. In general, you’llclearly see the difference only if you have to bring up deepshadows by many stops. A low contrast image properlyexposed wouldn’t show any visible difference, even afterlarge adjustments. A high contrast image underexposed andneeding substantive exposure change in the shadows mayshow visible differences in the deepest shadows.In the highlight realm there is also a very small difference inbit values between 12-bit and 14-bit, but here it is generallytoo small to make visible during even extreme imageprocessing.I certainly use 14-bit when I shoot high dynamic range (HDR)image brackets, as I want even the underexposed images toThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 173
    • Version 1.00have the cleanest data possible before integration into a singleimage. Shooting NEF images, I tend to use 14-bit, as I preferhaving slightly better data available for my raw converter. ButI’m not afraid to switch to 12-bit to save space on a card, if Ineed to.Compression is easy: use Lossless compression. If you getinto a situation where you’re running critically low on storagespace, choose Compressed NEF until you can get somemore storage. I see little point in shooting UncompressedNEF. Any converter that understands the D700’s NEF formats,understands the compressed formats as well as theuncompressed.Here’s what I set on my D700 and why:• 14-bit Lossless compression. My default setting. You lose nothing other than some card space using this setting.• 12-bit Lossless compression. If I know I need to conserve card space, I drop the bit-depth to 12-bit.• 12-bit Compressed NEF. I’ll only shoot this format if I’m running out of card space.You’ll find these settings in the SHOOTING bankrecommendations I provide later in the eBook (which you canload on your camera via a loadable file on the CD).EXIFEven if you’re a seasoned computer graphics pro, you may besurprised to find that JPEG, TIFF, and NEF files contain morethan the image data. This extra information about the photo issometimes referred to as metadata 53.Nikon D700 cameras follow a standard developed by theJEITA (a Japanese standards body), sometimes referred to asEXIF (Exchangeable Image File Format). The current standardversion is EXIF 2.21, and is supported by the D700.53 Metadata = data about the data.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 174
    • Version 1.00The additional data EXIF tags attached to an image include:• The name of the camera maker (Nikon).• Camera model (D700).• The camera’s firmware version number.• Information about the exposure itself: shutter speed, aperture, exposure mode, ISO value, date/time, overall brightness of scene (EV), exposure compensation, focus distance, metering mode, flash mode, focal length, and even the average compression ratio.• Thumbnail image.If you’re interested in the esoteric inner workings of yourD700, a fuller description of the EXIF file format is available athttp://www.exif.org/Exif2-2.PDF. Note that just understandingthe EXIF tags isn’t enough—programs must also know whateach of the values each manufacturer assigns means. Bibble,DigitalPro, Photoshop CS3, Nikon ViewNX, and NikonCapture NX2, amongst others, all can display EXIF data andunderstand most of Nikon’s values. Some programs may notfully display all the EXIF data values, though. And becausecodes are used instead of full text (to keep the data small),new lenses and features sometimes mean that a program can’tdisplay information about the latest things you use with thecamera (at least until the software is updated).Not only is looking at EXIF data fun for the merely curious,but if you study the information closely, you may even learnabout the idiosyncrasies of your camera and your shootingpractices.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 175
    • Version 1.00 Here’s the EXIF (Metadata) window as shown in Nikon ViewNX. Note how all the most important exposure data is shown, as is information about a number of additional camera settings.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 176
    • Version 1.00EXIF is one of the reasons why you can’t create or edit a JPEGfile on your computer, save it back to the camera, and thensee it on the camera’s LCD, by the way. When you performany Save or Update action on your computer, some of theEXIF tags in the file get modified (or removed) in ways that theD700 detects. This is too bad, as it prevents you from editinga series of JPEG files on your computer, then moving them tothe camera for playback as a slide show. (In theory, if youreplaced the EXIF tag with the correct, camera-consistentinformation and didn’t edit the thumbnail, you might be ableto display edited pictures on the D700. In practice, I don’tknow of anyone who’s successfully doing this.)Note: For a program to display the correct EXIF information for an image, it has to know something about the camera and the codes that are stored in the EXIF tags (e.g. “18-70mm F/3.5- 4.5” isn’t stored in the lens field, but is instead stored as a short code that is unique to this lens). Now that the Nikon DSLRs have firmly established themselves (and because Nikon used consistent codes for many of the manufacturer functions in the various digital SLR models), most software applications correctly identify most D700 EXIF data. However, if you find the program you’re using doesn’t, check to make sure that you’re using the latest version. If you are, suggest to the developers that they contact Nikon for the EXIF codes for Nikon cameras. In theory, products that use Nikon’s SDK should return correct EXIF data tags.Note: Older EXIF specifications define the Color Space of all digital images as being sRGB, and a number of digital editing programs, including earlier versions of Photoshop (but not CS or later), assume that sRGB is the Color Space of any JPEG file that is opened and has EXIF data. The current EXIF definition has a special way of dealing with Color Space: the file is named differently for AdobeRGB Color Space: instead of DSC_####.JPG the file would be named _DSC####.JPG. This is implemented in the D700 firmware. Some programs you use may not recognize the color space if they haven’t been updated to support the new standard. See “Color Profiles and Color Spaces“ on page <735> for more information on this subject.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 177
    • Version 1.00IPTCAnother type of metadata is referred to as IPTC (InternationalPress Telecommunications Council). IPTC is an organization,and the standard they developed for common digital photometadata was originally named DNPR (Digital NewsphotoParameter Record). For the purposes of this eBook, I’ll refer toit as IPTC, as do almost all software programs.Like EXIF data, the IPTC metadata is stored with the photo file,in this case using Adobe’s XMP framework. An IPTC-awareprogram is required to show and edit the IPTC metadata. Ifyou shoot photos for news organizations or majorpublications, you need to be aware of this data and havesome way of entering it, as most of them require it to be inplace with photo submissions—it’s become the primarymethod by which news organizations track captions andphotographer credits. IPTC has defined a common set ofcoding guidelines, but you should also check with thepublication you’re working with, as they may have their ownspecific standards for using the individual fields, as well.Though the D700 doesn’t create any IPTC metadata on itsown, many software programs allow you to add it to yourD700 files, including Nikon Transfer. Nikon Transfer’s imagetransfer function also has a setting that allows you to copysome basic EXIF data into IPTC fields, which I recommendusing. I’ll deal with that in the section on the Nikon softwarein the companion Introduction to Nikon Software eBook youreceived with this Complete Guide.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 178
    • Version 1.00 Here’s the IPTC/EXIF Information window for one of my images as shown in Nikon ViewNX. The amount of information that can be stored with the image is actually quite high, including ratings, keywords, categories, contact information, and much, much more.To find out more about IPTC, go to the organization’s Website, http://www.iptc.org. Note that the list of softwaresupporting the standard that’s available on that site isincomplete.DPOF and PictBridgeThe D700 supports DPOF information in the image files.DPOF stands for Digital Print Order Format and wasdeveloped by Canon, Kodak, Fuji, and Matsushita to allowCompactFlash cards (or other storage cards) to containinformation that automatically instructs a printer (or photofinishing machine). Amongst other capabilities, DPOF-capable cameras can specify:Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 179
    • Version 1.00• Which photos to print.• How many copies of each photo to print.• Whether or not to print a thumbnail index of all the images.• Whether photos should be rotated.• User information (name, address, etc.).• Picture information (title, description, date, etc.).A summary of the DPOF specification is available at:http://panasonic.jp/dc/dpof_110/white_e.htm.You select the pictures to print on your D700 by adding themto a Print Set (see “Printing Your Images” on page <796>).When you remove the CompactFlash card from your D700that has a defined Print Set and insert it into a DPOF-capableprinter, such as the Epson Photo 875, the printerautomatically prints out all the photos you’ve selected.PictBridge is related to DPOF. Think of DPOF as the printdata embedded in the image file and PictBridge as acommunications protocol to transmit files from camera toprinter. The D700 supports PictBridge, so you can connect aprinter directly to the D700 and print from the storage card inthe camera (see “PictBridge Printing” on page <801>).If you’re confused about why I just covered DPOF in theImage Formats section of the eBook, remember that DPOF isa set of standardized information that is stored with the imagefiles.File Names and FoldersThe D700 follows an industry standard practice for puttingimages on CompactFlash storage (Design Rule for Camera FileSystems, sometimes referred to by the abbreviation DCF; the1.0 standard is published at http://www.exif.org/dcf.PDF).Unfortunately, the designers of this format didn’t make itparticularly friendly. Moreover, many of the standards digitalThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 180
    • Version 1.00cameras follow are interwoven. DCF is related to the EXIFspecification, for example.Essentially, the standards committees put together by the earlydigital camera manufacturers were trying to establish a set ofrules that made it easier to interchange data betweenconnecting devices. So while the standards seem arcane andconfusing, remember they’re actually there to make the userexperience simpler. Really.One problem with DCF is that almost all of the firmware incameras was being designed using a relative of DOS, and thatoperating system (and its ancestors) used a specification thatproduced short filenames (called “8 dot 3” by those of us whogo back that far in high tech, because the name consists ofeight characters, a period, and a three-letter file extension).This limited size for the name makes for some serious issuesthat we camera users now have to deal with.As with current personal computers, files are organized in ourcameras within a hierarchy of folders, so you need tounderstand both the folder structure and the file namingstandards.FoldersThe top-level folder for a digital camera is named DCIM(Digital Camera Images—all image storage occurs in thestructure underneath this folder). Within the DCIM folder,digital cameras place one or more additional folders, each ofwhich can have up to 999 images in them.On the D700, Nikon names the first such folder 100ND700,the second 101ND700, and so on. DCIM +----100ND700 +----101ND700Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 181
    • Version 1.00Like all previous professional Nikon DSLRs, we don’t get tooverride the name (though we can change the three-digitnumber prefix). I’ll get to how you make prefix changes in amoment. First, we need to deal with something else about thefolders that live under the DCIM folder.For example, if you use multiple cameras and move your cardbetween them, you may find multiple folders under the DCIMfolder, thus you need to know how your cameras name these: For cameras that use Secure Digital cards54: Camera Folder Name Example D40 ###NCD40 100NCD40 D40x ###ND40X 100ND40X D50 ###NCD50 100NCD50 D60 ###NCD60 100NCD50 D80 ###NCD80 100NCD80 Coolpix ###NIKON55 100NIKON For cameras that use CompactFlash cards: D1h ###NCD1H 100NCD1H D1x ###NCD1X 100NCD1X D2x ###NCD2X 100NCD2X D2xs ###ND2XS 100ND2XS D2h ###NCD2H 100NCD2H D2hs ###ND2HS 100ND2HS D3 ###NC_D3 100NC_D3 D70 ###NCD70 100NCD70 D70s ###ND70S 100ND70S D100 ###ND100 100ND100 D200 ###ND200 100ND20054 I’m including Secure Digital cameras because some day you may transfer an entireDCIM folder over to your computer and then need to figure out what lives in it.55 As with the D40 series, D60, D50, and D70 series, on some Coolpix models youcan rename the lettered portion of the name.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 182
    • Version 1.00 D300 ###ND300 100ND300 D700 ###ND700 100ND700 Coolpix ###NIKON 100NIKONNote: Obviously, there’s a pattern to the folder naming: the first three characters are a numeric value that starts at 100 and goes as high as 999; the next five characters indicate the camera maker and model. Usually Nikon uses the first two to indicate that this is a Nikon Camera (NC) and the final three characters indicate the type of camera that created the folder (D80). But not always. With cameras that have only one or that have three digits in their name you get a slightly different pattern.Remember, if you move a CompactFlash card between twodifferent camera types, each camera creates an appropriatefolder name under the DCIM folder! And each camera usuallywon’t deal with the images already on the card from anothercamera (a D700 will show D3 images). However, if youformat the card, you will remove those other folders.Short of doing a complete card format, you won’t be able toremove a D70 folder that has images in it using your D700.And, of course, if you perform a format on the D700 you maybe removing folders created by other cameras even if that’snot what you want (this is one of the reasons why I’m a never-swap-cards-between-cameras guy).Other pitfalls occur with multiple cameras, too. Rememberthat three-digit number? If your D300 is set to use a foldernamed 145ND300, then if you take that card out of the D300and put it into your D700 and do something that triggers anew folder creation, the number for the D700’s folder will beincremented to one past what the D300 was using (i.e.146ND700 in the example).Yet another problem to watch for: if you have multiple folderson a card, the D700 uses the highest number it can find,regardless of whether that was from a D700 or anothercamera. Okay, it’s a little subtler than that: images are savedThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 183
    • Version 1.00into the folder name using the highest three-digit prefixnumber unless you’ve told it to do otherwise by using theActive folder option in the SHOOTING menu.The D700 allows you to do three things with folders:• Select an active folder from existing folders • Create a new folder (number)• Select a playback folder (or folders) That’s all, folks. And even that minimal set of options is confusing (e.g. what’s the difference between an active folderand a playback folder? 56).Before I tell you how to do those things, here’s myrecommendation: don’t. Consider that recommendationboldfaced and italicized if you use multiple DSLR bodies ofdifferent models. Don’t.Astute readers have noticed my use of the words “pitfall” and“problem” in relation to folders. The classic worst casescenario is this: you use multiple folders to capture images,but end up downloading the images from only one folder(perhaps because you used a drag and drop method from cardto computer instead of using Nikon Transfer), then reformatthe card. Goodbye images. I’ve learned the hard way not toget too creative with folders.Okay, you’ve been warned. Should you choose to play withfire, uh, I mean folders, keep reading.õ To create a new folder: 1. Press the MENU button to show the menu system. 2. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the SHOOTING menu (green camera icon).56 The active folder is where any new images are stored. The playback folder is whatis used to display images (e.g. for the Slide show option).Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 184
    • Version 1.00 3. Use the Direction pad to navigate to Active folder and press the > key on the Direction pad to select this option. 4. Use the Direction pad to navigate to New folder number and press the > key on the Direction pad. 5. In the display that appears, enter the three-digit prefix: a. Use the Direction pad  and  keys to increase or decrease the value for a digit, use the  and  keys to move between digits. The D700 has a wrinkle to note if you’re coming from an older Nikon DSLR: if you attempt to create a folder number that exists, an icon appears to the left of the number:Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 185
    • Version 1.00 Three icons are possible: indicates that the folder is empty, indicates that the folder has images in it, and indicates that the folder is full (has 999 images in it). b. Press the OK button when complete.To abort the new folder creation process, press the MENUbutton at any time prior to the last step (5b). Note that themere creation of a new folder doesn’t mean the camera usesit! You must make it the active folder (see below).New folders are created automatically by the camera when:• The number of images in the current folder reaches 999.• The last filename stored ended in 9999.• Sometimes when you “touch” the card format or data with something other than a camera or other DCF device (e.g. you put the card into a PC and edit a file on the card).õ To select a different active folder: 1. Press the MENU button to show the menu system. 2. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the SHOOTING menu (green camera icon). 3. Use the Direction pad to navigate to Active folder and press the > key on the Direction pad to select thisThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 186
    • Version 1.00 option. 4. Use the Direction pad to navigate to Select folder and press the > key on the Direction pad. 5. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the name of the folder you wish to make the active one and press the > key on the Direction pad.Should you ever get to a folder name that is named999ND700 and a filename that contains the number 9999 oris the 999th file in the current folder, the D700 locks up andrefuses to take another photograph. In this situation you mustcreate a new folder name (hint: try 100ND700) and make itactive.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 187
    • Version 1.00See “Dealing with Folders” on page <555> for information onhow to deal with Playback folders.File NamesIndividual files are normally named DSC_####.XYZ, where#### is a sequential image number and “XYZ” is replaced bythe appropriate three-letter file format extension (e.g. JPG, TIF,or NEF). (The “DSC” stands for Digital Still Camera, by theway; some digital cameras can create movies, hence thethree-letter prefix). Thus after you’ve taken a few pictures on aCompactFlash card, the structure looks like this: DCIM +---100ND700 +---DSC_0001.JPG DSC_0002.JPG DSC_0003.JPG Etc.The folder name and filename are displayed on the top line atthe bottom left corner of the Color LCD when you reviewimages (assuming you’re on the main review page):In this example, the folder name is 101ND700 and thefilename is _DSC1622. (The placement of the _ in thefilename indicates that the Color Space is set to AdobeRGB.)Note: When I shoot with both a Fuji S3 Pro and a Nikon D700, I can immediately tell which images came from which camera: the Fuji uses an F instead of _ in their filenamesThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 188
    • Version 1.00 (e.g. DSCF0001.JPG). If you use more than one digital camera, do yourself a favor and note the different folder and file naming conventions of the two cameras. Some day you’ll be glad you did.The D700 allows you to rename the “DSC” portion of thefilename with three letters of your own choosing. This isuseful mostly to identify multiple cameras in an organization;three letters aren’t enough flexibility to use filename changesto keep track of assignments.õ To rename the DSC portion of the filename: 1. Press the MENU button to activate the menu system. 2. Use the Direction pad keys to navigate to the SHOOTING menu (green camera icon). 3. Use the Direction pad keys to navigate to File naming and press the > key to select it. 4. Press the > key again to enter the review screen (this screen shows you what the current file names look like for both Color Spaces).Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 189
    • Version 1.00 5. Press the > key again to enter the entry screen. Enter the name you wish to use: a. Use the keys of the Direction pad to navigate to the letter you wish to enter (white letters on gray background). b. Use the center button on the Direction pad to enter the highlighted letter at the highlighted position in the lower box (black letters on white background). c. Use the Thumbnail/Zoom Out button (hz) plus the Direction pad keys to move the cursor (gray highlighted letter) between the three letter positions in the lower box. d. When you’re done entering your selection, press the OK button.Because the D700 doesn’t provide very many options withfile names, you need to develop a discipline in movingimages from the camera to your computer. If you don’t, you’llend up with hundreds, perhaps thousands, of image files thathave nothing else to distinguish them than a four digit number(and, of course, if you get to the tens of thousands, you’regoing to have duplicate file names).Nikon Transfer, as well a growing number of third partyprograms (e.g. Adobe Lightroom, Photo Mechanic, and soon), allow you to automatically transfer files from camera (orstorage card in a card reader) to the computer with arenaming scheme of your own choosing (e.g. copyThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 190
    • Version 1.00DSC_0001.JPG to PhillyzooApril001.JPG, DSC_0002.JPG toPhillyzooApril002.JPG, etc.). Other programs allow you torename files once transferred (even Photoshop CS3 has decentrenaming capabilities).I suggest you do the following: 1. Leave the default folder name intact on your D700. While you can create and name folders and move between them, capturing some images in one folder, some in another, etc., this can get confusing in practice57. If you need to organize images as you shoot, it’s probably better to use multiple CompactFlash cards, though you’ll need to be careful in labeling them. For example, if in the morning you shot at the zoo, then in the afternoon went to a museum to shoot, save your zoo photos on one CompactFlash card. Then, before starting to shoot at the museum, take that card out and put in a new one. (If your memory is like mine, you probably ought to write this down and label your cards, just in case a few days pass before you can get the images off the CompactFlash card. The trick I use is to bring a bunch of small envelopes with me, and then I just put the card in the envelope, label the envelope, and seal it. Any sealed envelope I encounter obviously has a shot card in it.) 2. On your computer, create descriptive folder names that match the locales you shot in (e.g. in the example, I’d create folders named PhillyZooApril01 and MomaApril01 on my computer; I add the month and year to the folder name because I often revisit the same sites; also, these folders live in a folder hierarchy57 I think the primary reason most users change folder names is to distinguishbetween multiple cameras, but I’d argue the Image comment or the File namingoptions are better places to do this, as the information stays with the images.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 191
    • Version 1.00 that helps me re-find them: e.g. US/PA/Philadelphia/PhillyZoo/PhillyZooApril01). 3. Put each CompactFlash card you shot into your computer’s card reader and use a renaming-capable program such as Nikon Transfer to move images from the card to your computer58. Personally, I use Adobe Lightroom’s import function, and it offers a flexible renaming function, as well. Some Nikon shooters swear by other software. The key is you really need to use a program that’ll rename files during the transfer. If you merely use an operating system copy from card to computer, you can’t easily automate the renaming of the files as they’re copied, which I highly recommend. The reason you want to rename: eventually you’ll take more than 9999 photos and you’ll end up with duplicate file names that can confuse you and your computer. If you don’t use Sequential File Numbering and also don’t use file renaming during transfer, I’d say you’re headed for a massive file naming confusion on your computer. I’ve seen one fellow’s computer where he had several dozen files all named DSC_0001.JPG! Good luck finding the right image, buddy, and I hope you don’t accidentally copy two of those to the same folder. 4. If any of the files you copied in Step 3 are JPEG files59, you should also consider immediately using a product that’ll resave them in a form without compression (you can set up a Photoshop Action, for example, to take58 One nice thing about Nikon Transfer’s renaming is that it correctly assigns thesame name to both files when you shoot one of the NEF+JPEG options. Thus, youend up with file names such as PhillyZoo_0001.JPG and PhillyZoo_0001.NEF. One badthing about Nikon Transfer is that it always places both files in the same folder. Iprefer having my preview files (JPEGs) in a different folder than my “negatives”(NEFs). Macintosh users have an answer, though: download the SeparateJPEGsAutomator action from the Apple Web site.59 If you’re shooting NEF+JPEG you can safely ignore this advice, as you have a NEFfile that isn’t affected in this way.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 192
    • Version 1.00 all the files in a folder and save a .TIF or .PSD version for editing. If you don’t perform this step, then you’ll need to be attentive when you open files for manipulation, since some software applies JPEG compression every time you save a file in the JPEG format (i.e. you could end up compressing previously compressed files, adding artifacts). Fortunately, Photoshop versions 6.0 and later don’t do that, but beware of touching your JPEG files with other products. (Note also that some programs perform image rotation without recompressing JPEG images. I find it safer to avoid the problem entirely by moving my original files out of JPEG format as soon as possible, even before rotating them.) 5. After verifying that the files you copied in Step 3 are on your computer intact and backed up, put the CompactFlash card back in your camera and reformat it so that it is cleared of image files and ready for your next shooting session. If you delete individual files and leave folders instead of reformatting, you’ll eventually end up with file fragmentation on the card, which reduces size and performance. Formatting is the only option that guarantees that the card is optimized for storing new data.These steps are part of what is sometimes called “digitalworkflow,” the consecutive actions you make on an imageafter taking that picture with the camera. The above steps area simple form of workflow. I’ll describe ways of automatingthe workflow in the Introduction to Nikon Software eBookthat accompanied this Complete Guide. What I’ve justdescribed is about the minimum you should do with yourimage files.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 193
    • Version 1.00While file names are generally created consecutively (e.g.DSC_0001.JPG, DSC_0002.JPG, etc.), a number of thingsmay 60 cause the camera’s numbering to reset:• Creating a new folder (if File Numbering Sequence is turned OFF; see “Custom Setting #D6 File Number Sequence 61” on page <608>).• Using the File number sequence option (Custom Setting #D6) to Reset the file numbers.• Moving a CompactFlash card that already has images on it between different cameras.• Writing to a CompactFlash card when it is mounted in a card reader attached to a PC.• Removing the battery without first turning the power switch to the OFF position (same with power supplied to the DC IN socket on the side of the camera).• Sometimes when a camera comes back from Nikon repair facilities it will be reset (essentially, if internal memory was wiped, you’ll get a reset).Whatever the cause, you should see that having a camerareset the numbering is not a trivial event. If you develop badhabits that trigger frequent numbering resets, you could endup with a computer filled with images all numbered the same!I can’t say this strongly enough: develop a discipline withyour camera use and workflow so that you don’tunintentionally trigger numbering resets, and rename yourimage files to meaningful names as soon as possible. It’ll saveyou a lot of grief later.Remember, you can change the “DSC” portion of thefilename on the D700. If you have multiple D700 bodies, Istrongly recommend doing so. Using the filename change60 Other than the three items listed previously, a file numbering reset doesn’tnecessarily happen every time these other events occur.61 I’ll mention this again in the Custom Settings section, but Nikon has a horriblehabit of renumbering custom settings with new cameras. This function is #D6 on theD300 and D700, #D5 on the D2h, and #D4 on the D2x and D3, for example.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 194
    • Version 1.00ability for keeping track of jobs might be useful for someoneshooting weddings or other major event type shoots, but thelimited number of characters makes it less useful than it couldbe, and you’ll need to be disciplined to make sure you don’taccidentally use the same sequence twice. A more usefuloption for identifying jobs or bodies is to use Imagecomment.File Number SequenceThe D700 allows you to specify when file numbers are reset.You have three choices:• Off. File numbers are always started at 0001 whenever a new folder is created, when the storage card is formatted, or a new storage card is inserted into the camera.• On. File numbers are incremented until they reach 9999, at which point a new folder will be created and the file numbering will begin again at 0001.• Reset. The file number is reset to 1+the current file number in the current folder (if there are no images in the current folder, numbering is reset to 0001).Of these options, On makes the most sense, and is the one Iuse on all my Nikon DSLRs. That’s because file nameduplication is dangerous—you could accidentally erase oroverwrite a file you wanted to keep. If you set the camera toOff, you’ll generate a new DSC_0001.JPG (or .TIF or .NEF)file every time you format the card and start shooting again.I guess that I and others have been complaining aboutNikon’s choices for file numbering long enough: the D700sets On as the default, whereas almost all previous NikonDSLRs have had it set to Off.A few photographers also rename the “DSC” portion of thefilename each time the camera “turns over” from 9999 to0001 (e.g. AAA_9999 becomes AAB_0001). This allows themto guarantee that they don’t have duplicate filenames, but theproblem is that you need to watch carefully for the rolloverThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 195
    • Version 1.00(hint: if you find that the card you just filled has a really highnumber, such as AAA_9451, use Reset on the File numbersequence menu and then increment the three-letter portionusing File naming on the SHOOTING menu when you insertthe next card).Personally, I think this technique of renaming the filename onrollover is risky behavior. It’s just too easy to lose track ofwhat you’re doing and if you mess up you could still getduplicate filenames, which will be a major hassle andpotentially can cause data loss when you do.To set the file numbering sequence, use Custom Setting #D6(see “File Number Sequence” on page <608>).Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 196
    • Version 1.00Camera SetupBefore using your D700, you need to make a fewsettings changes to establish some basic information thecamera needs. In this chapter I’ll introduce the SETUPmenu, then take you through a few of the things youought to set the first time you use the camera.How Menus WorkMany of the D700 settings you’ll want to make requirenavigating options displayed on the color LCD (see “D700Color LCD” on page <241>. When you press the MENUbutton on the back of the camera, the color LCD displays amenu of selections to choose from. Color LCD Autofocus Direction PadThe menu system consists of three elements: Menus (tabs),Menu Items, and the Current Selections for the Menu Items.Menus—which I also sometimes call tabs—are groupedcategories of Menu Items. The Menus from top to bottom are: Icon Menu Name Color Play button PLAYBACK menu blue Camera SHOOTING menu green Pencil CUSTOM SETTING menu pink Wrench SETUP menu orange Brush RETOUCH menu purple Check MY MENU menu grayThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 197
    • Version 1.00Note that each menu has an associated color, and the line justunder its name (and the names of Menu Items when you’re inthe sub-choices) is of this color. This is a subtle reminder ofwhere you’re at in the menu system.The last item that sometimes appears in the Menus column isa question mark icon. This isn’t a menu you can reach, butsimply indicates that if you press the ? button on the camerayou can get help for the currently displayed Menu, MenuItem, or Setting.The Menu Items lead to individual choices or sub-options.The entire system is simply a hierarchy of choices. Forexample:Tab Menu Items Sub-Choices More ChoicesCamera  NEF (RAW) recording  Type NEF (RAW) bit depth  12-bit 14-bitPut another way, to set 14-bit, you must navigate to theSHOOTING menu (green camera tab), select NEF(RAW)recording, then select NEF(RAW) bit depth, then select 14-bit. To accomplish this navigation, you use the Direction pad(just to the right of color LCD) to move through the menusystem:Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 198
    • Version 1.00• Use the % and " keys62 on the Direction pad to navigate up and down between Menu Items, or up and down between Tabs. The currently selected Menu Item or Tab is highlighted in yellow.• Use the > key to move from the Tabs area to the Menu Item area, or to select the currently highlighted Menu Item.• Use the < key to move from the Menu Items area to the Tabs area at the left of the menu system display.If there are sub-choices for any Menu Item, you again use the% and " keys to navigate up and down between choices, thenuse the > key to select one.The D700 displays at the end of an option to indicate thatyou should press the OK button to make your selection (youmay usually also press the > key on the Direction pad). If onlya > appears at the end of the Menu Item, that means that thereare more choices in a sub-menu.Some menu choices require you to press the OK button onthe back of the camera to accept a choice (i.e. the > keydoesn’t work to make the selection). Generally this is usedonly for destructive behaviors, such as formatting yourCompactFlash card, or for functions that require verificationby you (changing names of things, for instance). By movingthe acceptance gesture from using either option to pressingthe OK button, the D700 makes it a little harder toaccidentally lose or change critical data.Before you move on, make sure that you understand how younavigate between menus (Tabs), and within menus (MenuItems). In practice, you’ll find that you quickly adapt to usingthis navigation and selection method, but it does throw some62 While I refer to these as “keys,” they aren’t actually separate buttons, but merelysides of a bigger button, the Direction pad. If you look closely at the Direction padyou’ll see little arrows molded onto it. So when I say press the > key on the Directionpad, I mean press the Direction pad in the area labeled with the > marking.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 199
    • Version 1.00first time users off, as the menus can be relatively deep (havelots of sub-items) at some points in the system.The SETUP MenuThe SETUP menu is where you go to change things that yourarely change on your camera, but need customization, suchas the language the camera uses to display information.õ To get to the SETUP menu, press the  button, then usethe % and " keys on the Direction pad to navigate to theSETUP Tab (the wrench icon in the middle left of thedisplay—you may have to use the < key to get over to the Tabarea first!). Press the > key on the Direction pad to get to theindividual options within the SETUP menu.You’ll see a short list of options:Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 200
    • Version 1.00Format memory card Wipes all information stored on the CompactFlash card (see “Using CompactFlash” on page <119>).LCD brightness Sets the brightness of the color LCD on the back of the camera (see “Setting the LCD Brightness” on page <218>).Clean image sensor Sets the built-in sensor shake cleaning method options and triggers a cleaning (see “Keeping the Sensor Clean” on page <752>).Lock mirror up for cleaning Enables the mirror to be locked up out of the way for sensor cleaning. This option is grayed out unless the camera is running off power connected to the DC IN socket (e.g. the EH-5a AC Adapter) or has a full battery. See “Keeping the Sensor Clean” on page <752>.Video mode Sets the video format (see “Television Playback“ on page <808>).HDMI Sets the type of HD output the camera presents on the HDMI interface (see “Television Playback” on page <808>).World time Sets the date and time (see “Setting Date and Time” on page <205>).Language Sets the language used for the menus on the color LCD (see “Setting Language” on page <210>).Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 201
    • Version 1.00Image comment Allows a comment to be appended to your image files (see “Programming a Comment” on page <211>.Auto image rotation Enables or disables the automatic image rotation sensor (see “Rotating Images” on page <546>).Dust off ref photo Allows you to take a dust removal reference photograph for use with Nikon Capture NX2. See the supplemental eBook Introduction to Nikon Software.Battery info Displays additional information about the battery status (and how many pictures you obtained with the battery). See “Battery Notes” on page <107>.Wireless transmitter Allows you to set up and control the WT-4 wireless options. The WT-4 instructions will be available in the future as a supplemental update to this eBook. This item will be grayed out if no WT-4 is connected to the camera.Image authentication Allows you to set the D700 to work with Nikon’s Image Authentication software.Copyright information Sets the Artist and Copyright info fields in the EXIF file. Note that these are not IPTC fields. See “Copyright information” on page <214>).Save/load settings Saves the current camera settings to a file, or loads previously stored settings into the camera’s options. See end of the section on “Setup Menu” on page <514>.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 202
    • Version 1.00GPS Sets the options for use of a GPS receiver connected to the camera, and displays the current position (if connected). See “Connecting to a GPS” on page <493>.Virtual horizon Displays an aircraft style level indicator on the color LCD (see “Virtual Horizon” on page <501>).Non-CPU lens data Provides the ability to add focal length and maximum aperture information for older lenses that don’t have CPUs in them (basically, most manual focus lenses). See “Lenses and Focusing” on page <391>.AF fine tune Provides the ability to tune the focus mechanism to better correspond to an individual lenses performance. See “Adjusting Your Lenses” on page <431>.Firmware version Displays the current firmware version of the camera (see “Firmware Version” on page <228>).Despite the name “SETUP”, not all of the items grouped onthis menu are things that you do when you initially set up thecamera. I’ll tackle the items on this menu in the order andorganization I think more appropriate.Worse still, Nikon has gotten terribly confused on thedistinction between things you set while shooting(SHOOTING menu), things you customize on the camera(CUSTOM SETTING menu), and things you set up once(SETUP menu). Just looking at the SETUP menu, you canprobably tell that there are items you use often and things thatyou tend to do once or less often.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 203
    • Version 1.00For example: Use all the time Use less often Use once or rarely Format memory card LCD brightness Video mode Battery info World time Image comment Clean image sensor HDMI Auto image rotation Wireless trans. Copyright information Image auth. AF fine tune Save/load settings Firmware version GPS Language Non-CPU lens data Lock mirror up for cleaning Virtual horizon Dust Off ref photoYet look at the order in which these items appear in theSETUP menu: it doesn’t reflect their likelihood of use. MYMENU gives you a method of dealing with this (see “MYMENU” on page <519>), and I’d strongly suggest that youconsider moving any SETUP item you use frequently to theMY MENU menu.In this section of the eBook, however, we’re simply looking toget the camera set up properly for shooting. Individual settingswe might change in response to the scene we’rephotographing or the equipment we’re using will be dealtwith later (note the “see…” pointers after most items in theinitial description of each item, above).Date, Time, and LanguageAs noted in the section on power, an internal battery powers aclock/calendar function within the D700. The clock/calendaris used to add information to the EXIF header about when apicture was taken.Note: If the & icon is blinking near middle of the top LCD, then the internal battery ran low on power and the date and time were reset. Make sure you have a fully charged EN-EL3e in the camera and leave it there for a few days (see “ClockThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 204
    • Version 1.00 Battery” on page <95>).Setting Date and Timeõ Set the date and time using the following steps: 1. Press the MENU button to show the menu system. 2. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the SETUP menu (yellow wrench icon). 3. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the World time option. Press the > key to select it. 4. Use the Direction pad to navigate to Time zone. Press the > key to select it.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 205
    • Version 1.00 5. In the screen that appears, use the < and > keys on the Direction pad to place the highlighted area in your time zone (names appear at the bottom of the screen). Press the OK button to select the currently highlighted area. 6. Use the Direction pad to navigate to Date and time. Press the > key to select it. 7. Use the % and " keys on the Direction pad to set the Y (year) value. Press the > key to move to the next field. 8. Use the % and " keys on the Direction pad to set the M (month) value. Press the > key to move to the nextThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 206
    • Version 1.00 field. 9. Use the % and " keys on the Direction pad to set the D (day) value. Press the > key to move to the next field. 10. Use the % and " keys on the Direction pad to set the H (hour) value. The clock uses the 24-hour format (e.g. 11pm is hour 23). Press the > key to move to the next field. 11. Use the % and " keys on the Direction pad to set the M (minute) value. Press the > key to move to the next field.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 207
    • Version 1.00 12. Use the % and " keys on the Direction pad to set the S (second) value. 13. Press the OK button to save the data you just entered.Note: If you pause for 20 seconds or more during Steps 6 through 13, the D700 automatically turns off the display and cancels any changes you’ve made up to that point. Alternatively, you can press the shutter release halfway (or more) or press the MENU button during Steps 6 through 13 to cancel the operation.You can also change the format in which the date appears:Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 208
    • Version 1.00 14. Use the Direction pad to navigate to Date format. Press the > key to select it. 15. Use the Direction pad to navigate to your choice of formats and press the > key to select it.Finally, you can tell the camera whether daylight saving timeis active: 16. Use the Direction pad to navigate to Daylight saving time. Press the > key to select it. 17. Use the Direction pad to navigate to your choice of On or Off and press the > key or OK button to selectThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 209
    • Version 1.00 it.Note: The camera’s internal clock does not maintain accurate time settings, and should be periodically checked to ensure that the time is accurate. If your computer’s clock is synced to a network time source, you can update your D700 by using Camera Date and Time in Camera Control Pro 2 and pressing the Use Current Date/Time button. You can also set the preferences in Nikon Transfer to synchronize camera and computer automatically.Setting LanguageThe D700 can display menus on the color LCD in fourteenlanguages: Chinese (both traditional and simplified), Dutch,English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean,Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish. If you’vepurchased an official import of the D700 (i.e. not a graymarket 63 model), it should already be set to the appropriatelanguage.õ If you’d like to change the camera’s displayed language: 1. Press the MENU button to show the menu system. 2. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the SETUP menu (yellow wrench icon).63 Gray market products are those that are brought into a country by someone otherthan the official importer. Nikon’s warranties only apply to officially importedcameras. In the US, especially, Nikon is particularly careful to only repair officiallyimported cameras.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 210
    • Version 1.00 3. Use the Direction pad to navigate to Language and press the > key on the Direction pad to select it. 4. On the new menu that appears, use the Direction pad to navigate to the language you desire (the languages are in rough alphabetical order (if you use their International abbreviations)—German, English, Spanish, Finnish, French, Italian, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, and Swedish, followed by the Asian languages. Press the > key on the Direction pad or the OK button to lock in your choice.Note: Changing the camera’s language only applies to the menus displayed on the color LCD. Information displayed in the viewfinder and on the top LCD and viewfinder remains in Anglo-based icons.Programming a Commentõ The D700 allows you to place a short comment in the EXIFdata of every photograph you take: 1. Press the MENU button to show the menu system.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 211
    • Version 1.00 2. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the SETUP menu (yellow wrench icon). 3. Use the Direction pad to navigate to Image comment (before you set it, the current value is shown as OFF rather than ON) and press the > key on the Direction pad to select it. 4. Use the Direction pad to navigate to Input comment and press the > key on the Direction pad to select it. 5. On the input screen that appears: a. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the next letter you want to enter (white letters on black background). Lowercase letters require you toThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 212
    • Version 1.00 scroll downward to reveal; some special characters, such as the Copyright symbol, are not available. b. Press the center of the Direction pad to enter the selected letter (highlighted in yellow) into the current position in the bottom box (highlighted slightly with a light gray background). c. If you need to move the cursor in the bottom box back to fix something, hold down the Thumbnail/Zoom Out button (hz) and use the Direction pad keys to move it. d. Use the Delete button (p) to remove the currently highlighted letter (gray highlight) in the bottom box. e. If you have more letters to enter, return to Step 5a, otherwise press the OK button to return to the previous menu. 6. Use the Direction pad to navigate to Attach comment and press the > key on the Direction pad to select it. The box should be checked if you want to use the comment.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 213
    • Version 1.00 7. Navigate to Done and press the > key or OK button to finish.Note: Step 7 is necessary. Just performing Step 6 does not actually attach the comment!Tip: As you can tell from the sample screens, I use the comment bythom.com D700 A on my first D700 (and B on the second), which allows me to tell which camera body it came from. You can enter up to 36 characters in your comment. Choose wisely grasshopper. (One person has suggested that you enter IF FOUND CALL ###-####, but remember this is what appears on your images—it doesn’t normally show on the camera itself except during setting.)Copyright InformationUnfortunately, the Copyright information setting isn’t quitewhat it appears at first. What it looks like is two of thestandard IPTC fields for metadata (Artist and Copyright). Whatit is turns out to be just another set of unique Nikon Maker’stags in the EXIF data. If Nikon is going to do this, they need toalso support moving that information automatically into theIPTC data or XMP sidecars when the file is transferred usingNikon Transfer. Alas, you’ll have to do that manually at thistime, so it isn’t as useful as it should be.õ You fill in the Copyright information this way: 1. Press the MENU button to show the menu system. 2. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the SETUP menu (yellow wrench icon).Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 214
    • Version 1.00 3. Use the Direction pad to navigate to Copyright information (before you set it, the current value is shown as OFF rather than ON) and press the > key on the Direction pad to select it. 4. Use the Direction pad to navigate to Artist and press the > key on the Direction pad to select it. 5. On the input screen that appears enter the photographer’s name: a. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the next letter you want to enter (white letters on black background). Lowercase letters require you to scroll downward to reveal.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 215
    • Version 1.00 b. Press the center of the Direction pad to enter the selected letter (highlighted in yellow) into the current position in the bottom box (highlighted slightly with a light gray background). c. If you need to move the cursor in the bottom box back to fix something, hold down the Thumbnail/Zoom Out button (hz) and use the Direction pad keys to move it. d. Use the Delete button (p) to remove the currently highlighted letter (gray highlight) in the bottom box. e. If you have more letters to enter, return to Step 5a, otherwise press the OK button to return to the previous menu. 6. Use the Direction pad to navigate to Copyright and press the > key on the Direction pad to select it. 7. On the input screen that appears enter the Copyright notice that you wish to use (the Copyright owner may be different from the photographer taking the image):Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 216
    • Version 1.00 a. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the next letter you want to enter (white letters on black background). Lowercase letters require you to scroll downward to reveal; some special characters, such as the Copyright symbol, are not available. b. Press the center of the Direction pad to enter the selected letter (highlighted in yellow) into the current position in the bottom box (highlighted slightly with a light gray background). c. If you need to move the cursor in the bottom box back to fix something, hold down the Thumbnail/Zoom Out button (hz) and use the Direction pad keys to move it. d. Use the Delete (p) button to remove the currently highlighted letter (gray highlight) in the bottom box. e. If you have more letters to enter, return to Step 7a, otherwise press the OK button to return to the previous menu. 8. Use the Direction pad to navigate to Attach copyright information and press the > key on the Direction pad to select it. The box should be checked if you want to use the comment.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 217
    • Version 1.00 9. Navigate to Done and press the > key or OK button to finish.Note: Step 9 is usually necessary. Just performing Step 8 does not actually attach the Copyright information!Tip: A proper Copyright notice has three elements: (1) the word Copyright, the abbreviation Copr., or the symbol © (which you can’t assign on the D700); (2) the year of first publication; and (3) the name of the owner of the Copyright. That’s it. There is no date range (e.g. don’t use © 1999-2008 Thom Hogan), you can’t use the (c) construct instead of ©, and you shouldn’t omit the year for photographs (a number of people have misconstrued the “may be omitted when a pictoral…” clause, not noting that it has a dependency of “is reproduced in or on…”. Note that Nikon’s approach appears to rely on the clause “…is acceptable if it appears on a tag or durable label attached to the copy so that it will remain with it as it passes through commerce.” Thus, there are the only two forms that you should enter into the Copyright field: Copyright YYYY Owner Copr. YYYY Owner where YYYY is either the year the image was shot or the year you expect to first publish it, and Owner is the legal entity claiming Copyright.Setting the LCD Brightnessõ The D700 allows users to set a brightness value for thecolor LCD screen on the back of the camera:Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 218
    • Version 1.00 1. Press the MENU button to show the menu system. 2. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the SETUP menu (yellow wrench icon). 3. Use the Direction pad to navigate to LCD brightness and press the > key on the Direction pad to select it. 4. Use the % and " keys on the Direction pad to select a brighter or darker display. You’ll see a swatch of patches from black to white to help you assess your adjustment. You should see every ramp position in the swatches; if the two whitest swatches blend together, the brightness is too high, while if the two darkest swatches blend together, the brightness is too low. You’re looking for the setting that allows you to distinguish the extreme dark (left) and extreme bright (right) patches at the same time. This setting is possibly a bit dark for bright light (it looks fine in dim light, actually; the screen capture is hiding the black in ways I don’t see directly). 5. Press the > key on the Direction pad or the OK button to confirm your choice.Novice DSLR users have a tendency to “crank up” thebrightness of the color LCD. Moreover, they rely upon it tooThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 219
    • Version 1.00much to make visual assessments of the photo they just took.Unfortunately, both of these practices will lead to incorrectevaluation of the pictures that are taken.The swatch of patches shown in Step 4 is there to help youget a full tonal range display from black to white with acomplete gradation in between. If you arbitrarily set thebrightness higher, you’ll note that several of the patches onthe right side become all white (the opposite, setting too low,would produce multiple black patches on the left side).You’ve effectively told the display to show all bright tones aswhite—you’ll never be able to see what’s going on in thehighlight regions of your image.The correct setting for the LCD brightness is to see all 10 ofthe tonal patches distinctly from one another and with evengradations, which almost always means a setting of-1 to 0 on the D700 in normal and outdoor light.But the bigger problem is that the color LCD is not color orfully brightness (gamma 64) profiled. If something looks toobright or too red on the color LCD, it may or may not be inyour actual photo data. It’s actually worse than that: the colorLCD comes closer to reproducing the sRGB gamut than theAdobeRGB gamut. If the camera is set to sRGB as the ColorSpace, the colors you’ll see are slightly more accurate. Manyusers who’ve set AdobeRGB complain of a slight green cast,though in looking at ColorChecker charts on my color LCDand moving between the various options, I see very littleuseful difference (though sRGB is slightly more accurate).Remember that the image you see on the color LCD is fromthe embedded JPEG if you’re shooting in NEF. That meansthat all camera settings are being applied to it.64 Gamma refers to how the mid-tone values are set. In general, images on theD700’s color LCD seem to have the gamma set a bit bright, which is mostly due tothe slightly exaggerated gamma the EXPEED processor is generating.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 220
    • Version 1.00The only way to completely visually assess an imageaccurately is to display it on a color-calibrated monitor usingthe correct color space profile.Set Up Recommendations SummaryHere is the full list of important things that I think you shouldgenerally set up once prior to using your camera. Note thatsome of these things are dealt with in other places in thiseBook.Date and time set to the current date, time, and time zoneLanguage set to your preferred languageImage Comment set to something that identifies you orwhich camera for general purposes; or set to individual jobnames for event shootersCopyright information set to Copyright YYYY OwnerLCD Brightness set to -1 or setting that shows all 10 patchesActive folder set to 100File naming set to your preference or leave at DSCFile No. Sequence (Custom Setting #D6) set to OnVideo mode set to your standard (usually NTSC)Auto image rotation set to ONNote that none of these things show up on the top LCD orwhile you’re shooting—everything we’ve set so far mostlyimpacts data recorded with the image (date, time, comment,file number, image rotation, active folder, file naming), howthe menus appear (language and brightness), or how thecamera connects to other devices (video and USB).Everything else you set via the menus is either a personalpreference (as in the CUSTOM SETTING menu options) orsomething specific to a particular shooting situation(SHOOTING and CUSTOM SETTING menu options mostly).I’ll deal with these items in the section “Shooting Pictureswith the D700” that begins on page <234>.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 221
    • Version 1.00Viewfinder AdjustmentThe D700 allows you to manually adjust the viewfinder tohelp accommodate small differences in vision.Just to the right of the viewfinder on the side of the prismyou’ll find a small knob marked + ---- -. What this knobcontrols is the diopter value used for the viewfinder. Diopteris a unit of measurement that describes the refractive power ofa lens. The default value (the center click stop on the dial,where - is exactly at 3 O’clock and + is at 9 O’clock) is set at–1 diopter, and the range that’s supported directly by theviewfinder goes from –3 diopters to +1 diopter.In prescriptions for glasses, negative diopter numbers indicatecorrection for nearsightedness. In camera viewfinders, thediopter value controls the apparent distance at which theviewfinder appears (the default is 1 meter away, theequivalent of –1 diopter). If your corrected or uncorrectedvision isn’t sufficiently able to focus on objects at thatdistance, you’ll need to adjust the diopter value.õ To adjust the diopter value: 1. Defocus the lens on the camera until the scene in the viewfinder is completely blurred. 2. Point the camera at something plain, like a clear blue sky. 3. Look carefully at the focus area markers in the viewfinder. Are they sharp and distinct? If not, pull out and rotate the Diopter Adjustment knob until the focus area marker is sharp.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 222
    • Version 1.00 4. Press the Diopter Adjustment knob back in to lock the adjustment. 5. Verify the setting by having the camera focus on a subject and checking to see that the image in the viewfinder appears sharp (it may not be perfectly so, as the viewfinder glass tends to diffuse detail slightly, but you should still be able to verify that focus is sharp).If you wear glasses or contact lenses, make sure to let youroptometrist know that you’re a photographer, and that theviewfinder image is formed at a distance of 1 meter with aneyepoint relief of 18 mm. He may make slight adjustments toyour prescription that helps you see the image in theviewfinder more clearly.If you need more correction than the built-in adjustmentallows, you can purchase alternative eyepiece correctionlenses. You can buy –3, -2, 0, +1, or +2 lenses to add to theviewfinder, and it’s easy to do (they mount in place of the DK-17C rubber cup). The range of adjustment remains the same.In other words, if you add a –3 lens, your adjustment rangewould shift to –5 to –2 instead of –2 to +1.Note: When you use the optional correction diopters, you can’t use the DK-17C rubber eyepiece that comes with the camera, nor can you use the optional DR-4 or DR-5 right- angle finder, DK-17A anti-fog eyepiece, or any of the other options that mount into the viewfinder eyepiece socket.õ If you want to remove the eyepiece to use any of theoptional viewfinder accessories (DR-4, for example), flip theViewfinder Shutter level closed before attempting to unscrewthe eyepiece. The D700 has an interlock on the eyepiece thatprohibits it from releasing accidentally (though this can easilybe overpowered with a bit of force, which tends to ruin thethreads on the accessory).Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 223
    • Version 1.00Focus ScreensThe D700 comes with a Type B BriteView Clear Matte VIfocusing screen installed, on which autofocus sensor areasand gridlines can be superimposed. Nikon does not make anyoptional focus screens for the D700. Third party focusingscreens are not currently available, and may not be availabledue to some of the unusual aspects of the D700 viewfinder.DX cropping is normally done via lines superimposed in theviewfinder:Full frame DX cropSetting this crop is done using the Image area function,described in “Setting Image Area” on page <408>.What you’re seeing when looking through the viewfinder isactually the reflection from the main mirror in the cameraprojected onto a “focus screen.” The focus screen lives justabove the mirror box and below the prism area of the camera.As noted earlier, Nikon provides a standard “B-type” screenwith the camera.Resetting the CameraBecause the D700 has an enormous number of user-settableoptions, Nikon has provided a quick reset system to bring thecamera back to the factory default settings.Resetting Basic Settingsõ To reset the basic camera settings, hold the QUAL andexposure compensation buttons (both marked with a green •)for more than two seconds. The following basic camerasettings are returned to their defaults for the currentThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 224
    • Version 1.00SHOOTING menu bank; see “SHOOTING Menu” on page<505>):Settings after ResetSetting DefaultImage quality JPEG normalImage size LargeISO Sensitivity ISO 200Picture Control Any modifications removedWhite balance Auto with 0 adjustment (e.g. + and – adjustments are canceled); the default Choose color temp. value is set to 5000KFocus area Central sensorFlexible program Canceled (e.g. camera follows regular program table)Exposure lock OffExposure compensation 0 stops (e.g. no exposure compensation set)Flash exposure compensation 0 stops (no compensation set)Bracketing Off (bracketing increment is also reset to 0.3 stops or 1 for white balance bracketing)Flash options Front curtain sync (e.g. no Slow or Rear Sync option is set)FV lock Off (any lock is canceled)Multiple exposure OffResetting Other SettingsThe two-button reset just described doesn’t reset every menuoption, nor does it reset Custom Settings.õ Menu Items for the current SHOOTING MENU bank (see“SHOOTING Menu” on page <505>) can be reset to thefactory defaults by doing the following: 1. Press the MENU button to show the menu system.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 225
    • Version 1.00 2. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the SHOOTING menu (green camera icon). 3. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the Shooting menu bank option and the > key to select it. 4. Navigate to the bank you wish to reset and press the > key to select it. 5. Navigate to the Reset shooting menu option and press the > key to select it.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 226
    • Version 1.00 6. Navigate to Yes and press the > key to select it.Settings after ResetSetting DefaultShooting menu bank AActive folder 100File naming DSCImage quality JPEG normalImage size LargeJPEG compression Size priorityNEF Recording Lossless compressed, 12bitWhite balance AUTOSet Picture Control StandardColor space sRGBActive D-lighting OffLong exp. NR OffHigh ISO NR NormalISO sensitivity 200, auto control OffLive view Handheld, SMultiple exposure OffInterval timer shooting OffSettings in orange should usually be changed to other, more useful settings,in my opinion. You should change these immediately after a reset.Resetting Custom SettingsSee “Reset Custom Settings for Current Bank” on page <573>.The Last Resort ResetThe D700 contains considerable electronics, including a CPUand dedicated digital processors. Like a computer, it cansometimes get confused.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 227
    • Version 1.00õ If the camera is locked up or displaying unusual or garbledcharacters, you’ve got one last option for attempting to resetthe camera: 1. Turn the camera OFF. 2. If you’re using battery power, remove the main battery. If you’re using AC Power, unplug the adapter. 3. If possible, let the internal clock battery discharge (this normally takes days). 4. Turn the camera ON for several minutes. 5. Turn the camera OFF. 6. Replace the batteries taken out in Step 2. 7. Turn the camera back On.If the camera is now working normally, redo any settings youmay have lost. If the camera still isn’t working properly andyou’ve checked to make sure that you haven’t made a settingthat is causing a problem, you’ll have to return it to Nikon forservicing (see “Getting Service” on page <822>).Why turn the camera On in Step 4? We want the camera toexhaust any internal capacitors that are storing charge andholding values that need to be reset. We want the camera tocome up in a “clean” state when we restore power.Firmware VersionThe D700 shipped with firmware labeled A1.00, B1.00, andfor the WT-4 L1.0.As I write this, there have been no updates to the firmware.Note: The three letter-number combinations refer to different sections of the software in the camera. Speculation has it that A refers to user software (menu system) after initialization, while B refers to the low-level firmware; L refers to the WT-4 firmware and appears only if the accessory is attached.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 228
    • Version 1.00õ To determine which version you have: 1. Press the MENU button to see the menu system. 2. Use the Direction pad keys to navigate to the SETUP menu (yellow wrench icon). 3. Use the Direction pad keys to navigate to Firmware version. 4. Press the > key on the Direction pad to display the firmware version.õ To see the firmware version for the WT-4: 1. Make sure the WT-4 is connected to the D700. 2. Press the MENU button to see the menu system. 3. Use the Direction pad keys to navigate to the SETUP menu (yellow wrench icon). 4. Use the Direction pad keys to navigate to Wireless transmitter and press the > key on the Direction pad to select it.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 229
    • Version 1.00 5. Use the Direction pad keys to navigate to Device info and press the > key on the Direction pad to select it. 6. Use the Direction pad keys to navigate to Firmware version and press the > key on the Direction pad to select it. 7. The firmware version should be displayed:Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 230
    • Version 1.00õ To update your D700 to new firmware 65: 1. First, download the firmware updates from one of the Nikon Web sites. 2. Even though the firmware file is relatively small, Nikon chose to compress the file, so you’ll need to use Winzip (Windows) or Stuffit (Macintosh) or equivalent programs to expand the archive into the update files. The names for the update files will be something like A700####.BIN and B700####.BIN 66. 3. Copy only the A700####.BIN file to the top level (root level) of a CompactFlash card. Do not place it in the DCIM folder! 4. Put the card you created in Step 3 into the camera. 5. Make sure the camera batteries are fully charged or you are using AC power via the EH-5a. 6. Press the MENU button to see the menu system. 7. Use the Direction pad keys to navigate to the SETUP menu (yellow wrench icon).65 Warning: It’s quite possible that the update routine may change in the future, soplease double check the instructions on Nikon’s Web sites before attempting anyfirmware installation. Also note that sometimes only an A or B update is done, notboth simultaneously as described here. Finally, the order in which the A and Bupdates are done could change in the future. Always look at Nikon’s instructions andfollow them if they differ from the ones shown here. However, Nikon usually givesupdate instructions that require your camera to be connected to your computer viathe USB cable, and that’s not the only method possible of getting information to thecamera. I prefer the sequence given here, as it means you don’t have to take the WT-4 off.66 Nikon can and does make changes to their naming methodology that I can’tanticipate or predict. The numbers shown here reflect the way Nikon has beennaming firmware files.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 231
    • Version 1.00 8. Use the Direction pad keys to navigate to Firmware version. 9. Press the > key on the Direction pad to display the firmware version. 10. Navigate to Update and press the > key on the Direction pad to get to the update dialog. a. Use the Direction pad to navigate to Yes.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 232
    • Version 1.00 b. Press the OK button to start the update. 67 c. Wait until you see message on the color LCD that indicates that the update has been completed. d. Turn the camera OFF and remove the card. e. Turn the camera ON, press the MENU button, navigate to Firmware version on the SETUP menu, press the > key on the Direction pad and verify that the updated version appears in the screen that appears. 11. Erase the A700####.BIN file from the card (technically not necessary, but helps you keep track of what you’re doing), and then repeat Steps 3 through 10, except with the B700####.BIN file.67 The exact display is a bit different, but the D700 turns off the video while updating,so the display can’t be captured. The wording is the same as the screen shot shownhere, though; only the progress bar in the middle is different.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 233
    • Version 1.00Shooting Pictures with the D700Camera and Shooting ControlsNow that we’ve gotten some basics and initial cameraset up out of the way, let’s look at the specific controlsthat come into play as you take pictures.This section of the eBook is the portion you’ll wanthandy when you’re first shooting with your D700, as itexamines each of the camera’s main controls and tellsyou when and how to use each. Note that anabbreviated version of the summaries and step-by-stepinstructions is in the printed Thom Hogan’s D700 To Gothat came with this eBook.We’ll start off the section by identifying all the controls(buttons, switches, and dials), then study them in moredetail.Note: The D700 is shown mounted on the optional MB-D10 in order to provide a complete set of callouts for all controls.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 234
    • Version 1.00D700 ControlsFront View 1. Focus Mode Selector switch 2. Lens Release button 3. Lens Alignment mark 4. 10-pin Remote socket (under rubber cap) 5. PC Sync socket (under rubber cap) 6. Autofocus Assist and Self-Timer lamp 7. Depth of Field Preview button 8. Fn (user-assignable Function) button 9. Front Command dial (called sub-command dial in Nikon manuals) 10. Shutter release 11. (MB-D10) Front Command dial 12. (MB-D10) Shutter releaseThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 235
    • Version 1.00 13. (MB-D10) Shutter Release Lock lever 14. Camera strap attachment pointsTop View 15. Exposure Mode button (doubles as Format button k) 16. Exposure Compensation button £ (doubles as one of the Reset buttons •) 17. Flash hot shoe (under removable rubber cover) 18. Power switch (far position is LCD illumination: ®) 19. Diopter Adjustment knob 20. Top LCD Display panel 21. Focal Plane68 indicator  22. Shooting Method Lock Release button 23. Shooting Method dial (Mode dial in Nikon manual 69)68 What’s a focal plane? It’s the point at which the image is focused (i.e. the surfaceplane of the sensor for a D700 or the surface plane of the film for a 35mm filmcamera). In close up (macro) work, it’s sometimes necessary to measure distancesfrom the focal plane, thus the mark.69 Yes, there’s a reason why I sometimes deviate from the Nikon manuals innomenclature. In consumer cameras, Nikon refers to the “Mode dial” as the thingthat controls exposure mode, yet here it controls shooting method. I’ve tried todevelop a consistent wording across bodies and stick to it. Those of you who’vemoved up from other Nikon bodies should appreciate that.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 236
    • Version 1.00 24. QUAL (image quality) button (doubles as one of the Reset buttons •) 25. WB (white balance) button 26. ISO (ISO sensitivity) buttonBack View 27. Playback button  28. Delete button p (doubles as Format button k) 29. Color LCD display 30. Viewfinder eyepiece (DK-17C) 31. Viewfinder Shutter lever 32. Metering Method lever (surrounds AE-L/AF-L button) 33. AE-L/AF-L button 34. AF-ON button 35. Rear Command dial (main command dial in Nikon manuals)Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 237
    • Version 1.00 36. (MB-D10) AF-ON button 37. (MB-D10) Rear Command dial 38. (MB-D10) Autofocus Area Direction pad 39. Autofocus Area Direction pad (doubles as Autofocus Sensor selector and Direction pad for the menu system) 40. Direction Pad Center button 41. Direction Pad Lock lever 42. Autofocus Area Mode Selector switch 43. MENU button 44. Protect button (doubles as Help button) n 45. Thumbnail/Zoom Out button h± 46. Zoom In button h 47. OK button 48. INFO button 49. CompactFlash Card Access lampSide View 50. Video Out connector (under rubber flap) 51. Mini HDMI connector (under rubber flap) 52. DC In connector (under rubber flap)Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 238
    • Version 1.00 53. USB connector (under rubber flap) 54. Flash Options button 55. Flash Release button 56. (MB-D10) Battery Compartment Release leverD700 DisplaysThe D700 features three displays, all of which can presentinformation about the current camera settings.On the top of the camera is the familiar (to 35mm film users)informational panel (called the Top Control Panel by Nikon),though it displays additional information not found on thefilm bodies. This monochrome LCD is primarily used to showthe camera’s main shooting modes, exposure settings, framesshot and remaining, and active primary features. Most of theinformation on the top LCD is associated with cameracontrols on or near the top of the camera. A few of the areason this LCD have multiple uses, so pay close attention to theinformation being presented. In this book, whenever I refer to“top LCD,” I’m referring to this display.D700 Top LCDThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 239
    • Version 1.00 57. Internal Clock Battery Condition indicator & 58. Exposure Compensation indicator £ 59. Shutter Speed indicator (also shows exposure compensation value, ISO sensitivity, white balance Kelvin value, number of shots in bracketing sequence, number of intervals, and focal length when setting or using other shooting options) -88.88 60. Aperture indicator (also shows number of stops, exposure and flash bracketing increments, WB bracketing increment, number of shots per interval, maximum aperture, and PC connection indicators when setting or using other shooting options) [8.8 61. Exposure Bracketing indicator BKT 62. White Balance Bracketing indicator WB- 63. Frames Remaining indicator Note: remains displayed even when camera is turned OFF. (also shows buffer remaining, capture mode indicator, preset white balance recording indicator, and non-CPU lens number) 888 64. Over 1000 Frames indicator K 65. Flash Options indicator dg 66. Battery Condition indicator ! 67. Exposure Mode indicator ] ^ lThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 240
    • Version 1.00 68. Flexible Program indicator * 69. Beep indicator 70. Aperture Stops from Maximum indicator  71. Metering bar/Bracketing Progress indicator/Exposure Compensation value (also displays tilt indication, bracketing progress indicators, PC connection indication) òóô 72. Interval Shooting Method indicator INTVL 73. Flash Sync indicator X 74. Aperture Lock indicator ? 75. Shutter Speed Lock indicator ? 76. GPS indicator GPS 77. Multiple exposure indicator ~ 78. (MB-D10) battery indicator BP> 79. Flash exposure compensation indicator 80. Auto-ISO indicator ISO-AUTO 81. Image Size indicators L M S 82. Image Quality indicators RAW TIFF FINE NORM BASIC 83. White Balance indicators 84. White Balance Adjustment indicator #D700 Color LCDOn the back of the camera is a large (~3”) color LCD (Nikonrefers to this as the “Monitor”), which can be used to reviewimages taken with the D700 or to display shootinginformation.The color LCD, besides being larger than previous NikonDSLR color LCDs, has another key attribute: it has more dotsarrayed in a different pattern.For example, the D2 series color LCD typical had 230,000dots arrayed in what is known as a delta array. A delta arrayuses offsetting colors in a mosaic similar to what sensors usein order to provide the appearance of a colored pixel viasomewhat adjacent Red, Green, and Blue dots.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 241
    • Version 1.00 delta arrayThe D700 uses a color LCD with 920,000 dots arrayed in astripe pattern: stripe arrayThis is the way in which most LCD TVs display coloredinformation. Indeed, the screen on the D700 is essentially asmall VGA-sized television (640x480 pixels70).You’ll note the strange terminology (dots instead of pixels). Ittakes three colored dots to make up what we interpret as anRGB pixel. The old delta array of the D2 series and otherearlier Nikon DSLRs fools us into thinking a low definitiondevice (320x240) is really a set of pixels, but the offset used inthe colors and the large dot size make for a visibly crudeimage.Go ahead, take a magnifying glass to a D2 series color LCDand you’ll see something like this:70 In actuality, due to the striped nature, the dots are arrayed as 1920 x 480. Threehorizontally adjacent dots form a visible “pixel.” You’ll note that the dots are tall andnarrow because of this design.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 242
    • Version 1.00The higher density of the D700 color LCD and the use of thestripe array makes for a visibly better image on which it’seasier to evaluate sharpness:The difference is most noticeable when you’re zooming in onimages to assess the focus. Even with the side-by-side colors,the implied pixel pitch of the D700’s color LCD is 266 dotsper inch, which is about as high as it gets right now ondisplays. On the older display technology, it’s often difficult tosee how much acuity is in the image. On the D700’s newerdisplay technology, it’s much easier to make that assessment.The color LCD also allows you to see the image well from170°, essentially any angle that you can manage to see thedisplay from.Finally, the color LCD on the D700 comes with a BM-9protector (curiously, the D3, which uses the same display,Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 243
    • Version 1.00doesn’t). The LCD has a tempered glass cover over the actualLCD. Some people are misinterpreting what tempered glassmeans, thinking that it is completely scratch resistant orimpervious to damage.Nikon did switch to a glass covering on the LCD to make itmore resistant to scratching, but that’s compared to the olderstyle acrylic or plastic covers used on some LCDs. Like anyglass, you can still manage to scratch the covering on thecolor LCD; it’s just much more difficult to do with the glassNikon is now using.If you were to sustain impact damage to the color LCDenough to break the covering, tempered glass will break intosmall cubic pieces and not long knife edge shards. Indeed,any impact strong enough to break the tempered glass coverwill probably shatter the entire cover, requiring replacement.My recommendation is to leave the BM-9 cover on the LCD.The color LCD displays 100% of the picture when viewingimages. If you’ve turned on automatic rotation of verticalimages, the color LCD rotates those images.In this book, whenever I refer to the “color LCD,” I’m referringto this display.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 244
    • Version 1.00 85. Frame Number indicator (upper right corner) 9/17 86. Extent of focus area 87. Extent of center-weighted area 88. Focus indicators (used indicator in red)  89. Folder Name 101ND700 90. Filename _DSC1622.JPG 91. Image Quality FINE 92. Image Area FX 93. Image Size (L, M, or S and/or pixel count) 4256x2832 94. Protected File indicator (not shown here) n 95. Wireless Transfer indicator (not shown here) 96. Date and Time 26/08/2008 14:59:38 Note that other information about the photo appears on separate information pages (selected by pressing the  or  keys on the Autofocus Area Direction pad while viewing images). See “Image Review” on page <535>.D700 ViewfinderWhen you look through the viewfinder, you’ll see aninformation display below the image area. This lighted displayis activated when you press the shutter release partway, andThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 245
    • Version 1.00turns off automatically with the metering timeout to conservepower. In this book, whenever I refer to the “viewfinderdisplay,” I’m referring to this information. 97. Battery indicator ! 98. Focus Confirmation indicators >=< 99. Metering Method indicator t 100. Flash Lock indicator ?L 101. Flash sync speed indicator X 102. Exposure Lock indicator AE-L 103. Shutter Speed Lock indicator ? 104. Shutter Speed value 88.86Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 246
    • Version 1.00 105. Aperture value [8.8 106. Aperture Lock indicator ? 107. Aperture Stops from Maximum indicator  108. Exposure Compensation indicator £ 109. Flash Exposure Compensation indicator 110. Exposure Mode indicators P A S M 111. Manual Exposure display/Exposure Compensation setting/Tilt Indicator 112. Frame Count indicator/Frames Remaining indicator/Preset White Balance/Exposure Compensation value/PC Connection indicator 88.8 113. Over 1000 Images indicator k 114. Flash Ready light ç 115. Automatic ISO indicator ISO AUTO 116. ISO Sensitivity value 888.8 117. Autofocus Sensor areas  118. Extent of autofocusing areas 119. Center-weighted metering area 120. On-demand gridlinesAutofocus Sensor indicators that double as spot meter targetsare sometimes superimposed over the image:One or more of the 51 sensor areas may be highlighted andindicate the active autofocus sensor (or sensors) duringautofocus. I’ll have a lot more to write about this in varioussections of the eBook, but pay close attention to spot metering(see “Spot Meter Point” on page <268>).Unlike previous Nikon DSLRs, the D700 doesn’t really haveas good a way to visually estimate the area comprised by theThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 247
    • Version 1.00center-weighted area when you set that method of metering.Basically, it’s the circle that’s defined by the upper and lowercurved lines at the center of the autofocusing area. The areaused for center-weighted metering can be changed usingCustom Setting #B5 (see page <595>), but if you make such achange you’ll have to guess at how large that area is in theviewfinder.The image area you see in the full viewfinder is 90% of thearea that is seen by the sensor when shooting normally. It ispossible for this to be a few pixels off due to smalldiscrepancies that come up during the manufacturing process.A 95% viewfinder means that you’ll miss seeing about 213pixels across the long axis and 142 pixels on the short axis.Drawn to scale, that’s what 95% looks like (white area within black 100%area).If you need more accurate framing capabilities and are on atripod, use Live View, which will show you a 100% view ofthe image area.Image QualityI covered it earlier (in “Image Formats” on page <129>), butsince image quality and size settings are something that youThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 248
    • Version 1.00may change often while shooting, this is a good place tosummarize the choices and the method of setting them.The D700 supports five basic levels of image quality (plus youcan record RAW and JPEG qualities simultaneously:RAW (NEF) Images are not demosaiced and do not have camera control settings applied to them; you’re saving the 12-bit or 14-bit sensor data and a list of camera settings, not a finished image (though a finished JPEG basic thumbnail is saved in the file). The result can be saved with either no compression or one of two forms of compression (lossless and visually lossless). The highest quality image the D700 can capture would be a 14-bit NEF (that isn’t compressed using the visually lossless scheme).TIFF (TIFF) Images are demosaiced by the camera, camera controls are applied, data is reduced to 8 bits, and the result is stored as a TIFF file. This is the highest quality image the D700 can produce internally (RAW requires you to convert the image externally).fine (JPEG) Images are demosaiced by the camera, camera controls are applied, data is reduced to 8 bits, and the result compressed at a ratio of about 1:4 and stored as JPEG files. Compression artifacts are present, but generally not visible.normal (JPEG) Images are demosaiced by the camera, camera controls are applied, data is reduced to 8 bits, and compressed at a ratio of about 1:8 and stored as JPEG files. Compression artifacts are present, and may be visible on close examination (especially if sharpening is used or you’re using a high ISO value).basic (JPEG) Images are demosaiced by the camera, camera controls are applied, data is reduced to 8Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 249
    • Version 1.00 bits, and compressed at a ratio of about 1:16 and stored as JPEG files. Compression artifacts are present and often visible (especially if sharpening is set or you’re using a high ISO value).You also have a choice of Large, Medium, and Small sizesin the three JPEG and the single TIFF formats.Starting out, you probably should select JPEG fine Large toshoot in, as this will result in high quality, reasonably-sizedfiles that can be used in virtually any digital photo softwareproduct. It also has the decided advantage—in my humbleand slightly sadistic opinion—of showing you when you makeother setting mistakes, which helps you learn faster. What do Imean by that? Well, if you get the white balance settingwrong while shooting JPEG images, the color in your photoswill be wrong. If you get white balance wrong when shootingNEF, you simply change the setting in editing.Approximate Maximum Images Per CardFX Format:Format 2GB 4GB 8GB14-bit RAW Uncompressed 85 170 34012-bit RAW Uncompressed 112 223 44614-bit RAW Lossless 129 257 51512-bit RAW Lossless 158 315 63114-bit RAW Compressed 152 304 60812-bit RAW Compressed 191 381 763TIFF Large 58 117 234TIFF Small 210 419 839JPEG Fine Large 368 736 1472JPEG Fine Medium 655 1311 2621JPEG Fine Small 1498 2996 5992JPEG Normal Large 723 1446 2893JPEG Normal Medium 1311 2621 5243JPEG Normal Small 2996 5992 11984JPEG Basic Large 1498 2996 5992JPEG Basic Medium 2621 5243 10486JPEG Basic Small 5243 10486 20972Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 250
    • Version 1.00DX Format:Format 2GB 4GB 8GB14-bit RAW Uncompressed 196 392 78412-bit RAW Uncompressed 259 518 103614-bit RAW Lossless 300 599 119812-bit RAW Lossless 368 736 147214-bit RAW Compressed 350 699 139812-bit RAW Compressed 446 892 1785TIFF Large 137 274 548TIFF Medium 238 477 953TIFF Small 488 975 1951JPEG Fine Large 839 1678 3355JPEG Fine Medium 1498 2996 5992JPEG Fine Small 3495 6991 13981JPEG Normal Large 1748 3495 6991JPEG Normal Medium 2996 5992 11984JPEG Normal Small 6991 13981 27962JPEG Basic Large 3495 6991 13981JPEG Basic Medium 6991 13981 27962JPEG Basic Small 10486 20972 41943So why does your camera report and save different amounts than the onesabove, you ask? For two reasons, typically. First, actual available space oncards is variable. Some 4GB cards have 4,194,304 bytes on them, somehave 4,000,000 bytes, and bad sectors may reduce those numbers further.Second, for all but the TIFF formats, the actual size of a file will dependupon how much detail is in the scene and the sharpening setting you’veused. I’ve used “near average scene” numbers in the table with lowsharpening values in the above table to create an approximate maximum ofwhat you should expect. Like automobile mileage, what you get will vary(both from these tables and from the tables Nikon provides in its manuals,which tend to understate average storage capacity a bit). If you want to playit safe, reduce the table numbers by 10%.õ To set Image quality (and Image size): 1. Press the MENU button to show the menu system. 2. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the SHOOTING menu (yellow camera icon).Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 251
    • Version 1.00 3. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the Image quality option. Press the > key on the Direction pad to see the sub-options. 4. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the quality you want to use. 5. Press the > key on the Direction pad to set the quality. If you’ve set NEF (Raw) (no JPEG file added), you’re done with this part of the change (see “NEF Format” on page <159>). 6. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the Image size option. Press the > key on the Direction pad to see the sub-options.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 252
    • Version 1.00 7. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the size you want to use. 8. Press the > key on the Direction pad to select it.If you selected RAW or one of the RAW+JPEG formats, youneed to set the NEF(RAW) recording options: 1. Press the MENU button to show the menu system. 2. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the SHOOTING menu (yellow camera icon). 3. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the NEF(RAW) recording option. Press the > key on the Direction pad to see the sub-options. 4. Use the Direction pad to navigate to NEF(RAW) bit depth. Press the > key on the Direction pad to see theThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 253
    • Version 1.00 sub-options. 5. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the option you want to use. Press the > key on the Direction pad to complete the setting. 6. Use the Direction pad to navigate to Type. Press the > key on the Direction pad to see the sub-options. 7. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the option you want to use. Press the > key on the Direction pad orThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 254
    • Version 1.00 the OK button to complete the settings.If you selected JPEG or one of the RAW+JPEG formats, youneed to set the JPEG compression option: 1. Press the MENU button to show the menu system. 2. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the SHOOTING menu (yellow camera icon). 3. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the JPEG compression option. Press the > key on the Direction pad to see the sub-options. 4. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the option you want to use. Press the > key on the Direction pad orThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 255
    • Version 1.00 the OK button to complete the settings.Some confusion exists about the difference between Sizepriority and Optimal quality.Normally, JPEG compression is variable in the file size itcreates. If you shoot something with lots of detail in it (acomplex landscape with lots of trees and bushes, for example)at JPEG fine you’ll get a bigger file size than if you shoot asubject with very little detail (e.g. a plain sky). That’s becauseof the way JPEG compression varies with the amount of detailin the underlying data. What the JPEG compression optionprovides you is with a way to force the JPEG compression toreact to the detail differently.When you select Optimal quality, the JPEG engine doesexactly what you expect. At JPEG fine, JPEG normal, andJPEG basic levels the EXPEED engine applies a fixedcompression level to the data and the file size will vary withthe amount of detail in the scene.When you select Size priority, you’re telling the camera thatyou always want the expected median file size71 for the JPEGlevel you’ve selected. If you’ve set JPEG fine and Sizepriority and the camera encounters a scene with more detailthan “normal,” it will increase the compression level from the1:4 that JPEG fine normally uses. For the better JPEG qualitysettings this generally isn’t a big issue, but if you’re setting71 Yet another thing that Nikon doesn’t tell us in their technical documents.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 256
    • Version 1.00JPEG basic and shooting lots of detail, you want to becareful with setting Size priority as you will get a highlycompressed image with potentially visible JPEG artifacts.Alternatively, Image quality (RAW TIFF FINE NORMBASIC) can be set by holding down the QUAL button on theback of the camera and rotating the Rear Command dial;Image size (L M S) can be set by holding down the QUALbutton and rotating the Front Command dial (assumes youhaven’t used Custom Setting #F9 to change the dialfunctions):Top LCD:Metering and ExposureCameras need some way to adjust the amount of light thatgets through to the digital imaging sensor. In very brightscenes, for example, we may need to limit the total amount oflight or the time that the light hits the sensor. In dark scenes,we may need to increase the total amount of light or time thelight gets into the camera. Such control is called “setting anexposure.”For any fixed amount of light and camera ISO setting, thereare one or more aperture opening (size of the hole in the lens)and shutter speed (length of time the sensor gets light)combinations that can be used to get a “correct exposure.”Back in the early days of film photography we used to have tomeasure the amount of light by using an external (handheld)meter, and then manually set both the aperture and theshutter speed on the camera. Today, all SLR-type camerasThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 257
    • Version 1.00such as the D700 have multiple automatic ways to do thesame thing.First, the D700 has an internal and automatic metering system(see “Metering Methods” on page <258>), and this system hasa variety of settings to control how the metering isaccomplished. Second, the D700 has multiple methods ofinterpreting what the meter says is the proper exposure, calledexposure modes (see “Exposure Modes” on page <290>). Weneed to examine both things, as they are direct contributors towhether you get the right exposure or not.Metering MethodsThe D700 has three metering methods available: matrix,center-weighted, and spot. The next sections will describeeach separately.Matrix Viewfinder Metering Method Selection dialMatrix metering is a system that divides the image area intopieces (the “matrix”) and analyzes the differences betweenthem. The brightness pattern seen in the matrix is comparedagainst a Nikon-proprietary database of image patterns storedin the D700’s internal memory and against other inputs (mostnotably the autofocus information), and the exposure is setaccordingly.The D700 uses a dedicated 1005-cell CCD in the viewfinderto provide metering, a function introduced with the F5 over adecade ago. All Nikon DSLRs use a variant of this matrixmetering, though there have been many subtle and not-so-subtle changes to the system over the years.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 258
    • Version 1.00Nikon used to call this system 3D Color Matrix II. However,starting with the D3, D300, and D700 Nikon is now touting itas a Scene Recognition System. That’s because the CCD inthe viewfinder is more integrated with the other componentsin the camera: The 1005-cell CCD covers virtually all of the image frame. The grid is 15 rows of 67 columns , and consists of 72 alternating color sensors (RGB; but it’s not the Bayer pattern described in the section on the sensor).If a D-type or G-type lens is used (with or without flash),matrix metering also takes into account the focus distance tohelp guess where the subject is and what kind of shot you’re72 Actually, I’m a little unsure of this. Nikon says the LCD is 1005 pixels. Closeexamination of the actual part appears to show that it has 19 rows of photosites,which, of course, doesn’t divide into 1005 equally. I also count 22 RGB clustersacross the part, which would give us a total photosite count of 1254. It’s possiblethat, like the main imaging sensor, some of these sites are masked off and not useddirectly.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 259
    • Version 1.00taking. Example: normally, the pattern recognition portion ofthe matrix meter would discount brightness in the upper halfof the scene, as it thinks this is sky and unimportant; however,if you’re using a wide angle lens and are focused near infinity,the camera thinks that you’re taking a landscape photo andwouldn’t discount the sky exposure as much.However, if you’re used to the way the D2 series or D200matrix meter worked, for example, you may find that theD700 doesn’t quite meter the same way. The integration ofthe autofocus sensor information adds another twist into thecomplex decision the matrix metering system applies, as ittries to reconcile what you’re focusing on with what it thinksyou might be taking a picture of. Simply put, the AutofocusArea Mode you select plays a part in how exposure isdetermined:• If you set Single Point Autofocus: the matrix metering system is subject to biasing the exposure slightly towards what’s underneath the selected autofocus sensor. If what’s under that sensor is dark, exposure may be increased; if what’s under that sensor is bright, exposure may be decreased.• If you set Dynamic Area Autofocus: the matrix metering system works more like the old D2 series meters, as it tends to look at the wider pattern of sensors (9, 21, or 51 points) to determine how much, if any, to bias the exposure, and it is less prone to biasing in the first place.• If you set Auto Area Autofocus: the metering system tends to be biased against bright highlights, reducing exposure if it sees areas of great brightness under any autofocus sensor.But we’re not done yet. The D700 matrix metering systemalso relies on four other key data points: 1. The overall brightness of the scene.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 260
    • Version 1.00 2. The differences in light measured across the 1005- pixel sensor data (i.e. the “patterns”). 3. Distance and focal length information from the lens. 4. The color (or colors) of the areas measured.The key word in item #2 is “differences.” Sky, for example, isusually very bright; near subjects we photograph tend to beless bright73. You can probably guess that if the upper left andupper right areas metered are considerably brighter than thelower left and lower right areas and are mostly blue, then thecamera is going to use #2 and #4 to determine you’re taking apicture of someone with sky in the background. If it sees aflesh tone under the current AF sensor, consider thatassessment confirmed. In such a case, the sky usually isn’tconsidered as important to the exposure, so the cameraadjusts its exposure to match what it sees in the other areas.Just remember that it’s the difference in brightness betweenareas that is a primary key to the matrix metering system, notthe actual values measured.However, note that no meter can perfectly deal with anysituation that has a higher contrast range (large variation inbrightness; remember I call this exposure dynamic range) thanthe camera’s dynamic exposure (which, by the way, describesabout half of the daylight scenes you might shoot). In sceneswith a large exposure range either the bright portions of thescene will have to be overexposed or the dark portionsunderexposed.One thing that catches many by surprise is that the D700’smatrix meter sometimes tries to preserve highlight detail overshadow detail in high contrast situations, especially if you’veselected Auto Area Autofocus. That’s because a highlight,once overexposed, is unrecoverable on a digital camera (onprint film, you could often recover something that was as73 An early Kodak study showed that most outdoor scenes tend to form a bell curve inoverall exposure range, with something around 7.5 stops being the peak (160:1).Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 261
    • Version 1.00much as three stops overexposed). By “tries to preserve” Idon’t mean that the meter necessarily keeps the image fromhaving blown highlights, but that it will keep such blowoutsfrom being too dramatic.Whether the camera picks the right thing to expose properlydepends upon a number of things:• If the difference in brightness across the entire matrix meter is minimal (by definition, a low contrast scene), the matrix metering is nearly perfect (and the meter tends to use what it sees in the central region as the primary measurement, almost like center-weighted metering). Indeed, even color variations and white or black objects tend to be exposed correctly in this situation74.• Nikon’s matrix meters tend to underexpose off-center subjects in very high contrast situations, especially so if the subject is outside the autofocus sensor areas. The D700 seems much less prone to this than previous Nikons, probably because the scene recognition system is now better at recognizing things like skin tones.• Overall scene brightness plays a part in the final camera metering decision. Nikon once tried to build a diagram of how brightness and contrast information interacted, but it was very confusing and didn’t reveal much detail useful to the casual photographer. The key point that diagram revealed was that in very bright and very dim scenes the camera sets exposure differently than in “normally” lit scenes. If I had to characterize this, I’d do so as follows:74 A “middle yellow value” doesn’t have the same reflectance as a “middle grayvalue,” or a “middle red value” for that matter. The color ability of the Nikon matrixmeter corrects for this, however. If your subject is a big gray blob filling most of theimage area, the gray blob will be placed near the midpoint in the dynamic range ofthe camera. If your subject is a yellow parakeet filling most of the image area, theparakeet’s yellow will be placed near the midpoint in the dynamic range of thecamera. Why “near” and not “at”? Because Nikon tries to account slightly forperceptual differences between colors.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 262
    • Version 1.00 • In very dark scenes, the central region (e.g. the center- weight circle) is often considered the most important, and exposure is sometimes biased towards what is seen there. Lesson: be careful with very off center subjects in low light. Anything outside the autofocus sensing areas is what I consider off-center, so keep the AF sensors over the critical area for exposure. • In very bright scenes, the camera sets exposure either biased towards the lowest value it sees (usually only when contrast is low), or towards an average across the scene (when contrast is very high). My observation is that Nikon has modified that latter point to be “towards a setting that will hold the majority of the highlight detail,” which can be lower in exposure than the average in some situations. Lesson: when it’s bright, highlights are at slight risk, especially if the contrast is high, while mid-tones and shadows are more likely to be underexposed. • The camera biases exposure slightly towards the brightest area in a scene when contrast between regions it is measuring is seen as low, and you’re in “normal” lighting (not too bright, not too dim). Lesson: low contrast scenes get exposed right most of the time. • If the contrast between matrix regions is very low, there’s always a tendency for the matrix meter to set an exposure based upon the central area, regardless of brightness. Lesson: watch exposure with off-center subjects when contrast is low. Again, keep the autofocus sensors over the critical exposure area, if possible.Don’t panic. While that was a lot of detail, we’ll make a bitmore sense of how to evaluate an exposure in the Histogramdescription coming up later in this section. And I should pointout that the latest iterations of Nikon’s matrix meteringprovide excellent exposures most of the time. I’m only tryingto point out conditions where the system might set less thanoptimal exposure.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 263
    • Version 1.00Before leaving the matrix metering, we need to discuss oneother thing: gamma. One relatively common complaint byfirst-time D700 users coming from older Nikon DSLRs is thatthe camera “overexposes.” But if you look at some of theimages these people are objecting to, the image isn’t actuallyoverexposed (i.e. the highlights aren’t blown out).It appears to me that Nikon’s interpretation of mid-rangebrightness changed with the D3, and thus now the D700, aswell. The Standard Picture Control has a default Brightnesssetting of 0. But this produces mid-range tonalities that aresomewhat higher in exposure than the D2 series produced.Where a D2xs might have placed a value at 122,122,122 theD700 is placing that same value at something more like128,128,128, which appears visually brighter. Yet values inthe extreme highlight realm are pretty much the same.Essentially, the mid-range is getting a bit of a boost, visually.The reason for discussing this with the metering system is thatyou need to be careful to assess exposure separately fromtonal placement when you’re trying to figure out the meteringsystem. Those new Picture Control settings are a little tricky,and interact with exposure settings a bit.I have a couple of final comments about the matrix meteringsystem after having used it now in the field for awhile:• Watch the AF sensor! Especially in Single Point AF mode the D700 is prone to compensate somewhat for what’s under the autofocus sensor you pick. If that’s darker than middle gray, your exposure may be “brightened,” while if it’s brighter than middle gray, your exposure may be “lowered.” Most of the inconsistent metering complaints I’ve heard can all be traced back to this.• Snow good! More so than any previous Nikon matrix system, the new one in the D700 seems to capture snow and very bright scenes more like we would using traditional spot metering and compensation. If you’re used to dialing in compensation in bright situations, back awayThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 264
    • Version 1.00 from that control and let the camera do its thing if the overall contrast range isn’t too great. Having shot on glaciers and in snow several times now, I’m impressed at how much better the D700’s meter is at getting it right (or at least close) than previous matrix meters were. Indeed, I did many night exposures on the Perito Moreno glacier with the D3 and it still found white correctly; I’d expect the same with the D700.Center-weighted Viewfinder Metering Method Selection dialNikon’s center-weighted metering system measures the entireframe, but effectively separates it into two zones, the centralarea and the outer area. The exposure is based 75% on thecentral area, 25% on the outer area. (Note that the manualdoesn’t point out the 75/25 split except in the Specificationssection.) In other words, if the central area metered f/4 at1/125 and the outer area metered f/16 at 1/125, the exposurewould be set somewhere around f/5.6 at 1/125. Center-weighted metering normally uses a circular area about the same size as the green area in illustration at left for 75% of the metering value. The remaining 25% of the meter value is based on the area outside this area (white area in illustration)The central measuring area is normally 8mm (0.31”). You canchange the size of the central area by using Custom Setting#B5 (see “Center-weight Metering Circle Size” on page<595>), though I personally don’t find this to be an overlyuseful feature.One throwaway note in the Nikon literature should be calledout: if you’re using a filter that has an exposure factor of onestop or more, use Center-weighted metering instead of matrixmetering. That would, for instance, apply to polarizing filters.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 265
    • Version 1.00The reasoning behind switching metering types with strongfilters is simple: the matrix patterns were created using nofiltration. Strong filters can greatly alter what the matrix seesin two ways: they reduce the overall brightness level, which issomething that the matrix system uses to determine whatpattern to use; and some types of filters have variable impactson different areas of the frame, altering the pattern the matrixmeter sees. For example, a polarizing filter can bring down abright sky value quite a bit without affecting foregrounds atthe same intensity. That means that the matrix pattern for“landscapes with sky” might not be recognized as easily.Spot Viewfinder• Metering Method Selection dialMost professionals tend to use spot metering when they haveenough time to do a critical evaluation of a scene. That’sbecause they can isolate individual bright and dark objects tohelp make critical exposure decisions.Nikon claims that Spot metering targets a tight 4mm area(approximately 1.5% of the frame). The spot area is alwayscentered on one of the autofocus sensors. I question thisclaim, however. In practice I see “exposure pollution” withpoint sources of light over a far greater area than 1.5% on myD700 body (and usually a bit more elliptical in nature thancircular). The spot pattern on the D700 is tighter than onmany other Nikon DSLR bodies, though, a result of the FXsensor size and the autofocus areas being smaller. That’ll takea bit of getting used to if you switch between a D700 andD300 body.The spot metering point follows the autofocus sensor beingused. Most photographers use the outer edges of theautofocus brackets to envision the circle of what’s beingmetered. This sometimes gets them into trouble. The actualarea is at least 50% larger than the brackets in size, and aslightly different shape (see illustration, below).Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 266
    • Version 1.00 Spot metering occurs centered on one of the autofocus sensor areas (green). Note the area metered is somewhat larger than the autofocus sensor brackets indicate.A couple of spot metering nuances can catch some users bysurprise (and confuse others). The D700’s spot meter uses thecurrently selected autofocus sensor. But “currently selected”doesn’t necessarily mean the autofocus sensor you selected.In Dynamic Area with Continuous Servo autofocus, the D700tries to follow subjects that move beyond the autofocus areayou select, and will use different sensors for the focus, andthus, the spot metering.The D700 uses the autofocus sensor you select via theDirection pad as the initial sensor in Dynamic Area autofocusmode if Continuous Servo autofocus is also selected. If thecamera detects that the subject has moved to one of theadjacent sensors (you can choose whether that’s 9, 21, or 51sensors for the focus to move to) it moves the autofocussensor being used and spot metering follows!This is a bit less confusing than some previous Nikon DSLRs.Essentially, three possibilities exist with spot metering:• Camera uses the autofocus sensor you select to spot meter with. This is the case with Single Point autofocus and with Dynamic Area autofocus if Single Servo autofocus is selected. Note also that this is the case for Manual focus.• Camera may move the spot metering point (and focus) from the initial autofocus sensor you select. This only happens when both Dynamic Area autofocus and Continuous Servo autofocus are selected.• Camera picks both the autofocus and spot metering point. Auto Area autofocus does all the heavy lifting for both theThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 267
    • Version 1.00 spot metering and autofocus decisions. Basically, spot metering occurs where the camera focuses.Spot Meter PointFocus Settings Spot Metering occurs atManual focus User-selected focus sensorSingle Point AF (any Servo) User-selected focus sensorDynamic Area AF (Single Servo) User-selected focus sensorDynamic Area AF (Cont. Servo) Focus point selected by cameraAuto Area AF (any Servo) Focus point selected by cameraAI or AI-S Lens Used User-selected focus sensorMetering CompatibilityLens Type Matrix Center-weighted SpotAF type D or G Yes (3D) Yes YesAF-S or AF-I Yes (3D) Yes YesAF-I Teleconverter Yes (3D) Yes YesAF (non-D) Yes Yes YesAI-P (non-shifted) Yes Yes YesAI-P (shifted) No Yes YesAI, AI-S, or AI upgraded Yes (if CPU Yes Yes parameters set)AI Teleconverters Yes (if CPU Yes Yes parameters set)“CPU parameters set” means using Non-CPU Data to establish focal length andmaximum aperture for the lens.Setting the Metering Methodõ The Metering Method Selection dial is located around theAE-L/AF-L button on the upper right back of the D700.Rotate the Metering Method Selection dial until the white lineon it is aligned with the appropriate icon that appears in whiteon the camera back (here shown at matrix metering):The Viewfinder display shows the metering method icon foryour current selection as a reminder:Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 268
    • Version 1.00 So Which Metering System Should You Use?Short answer: matrix for most situations; center-weighted forbacklit subjects in very bright light (snow, sand, etc.), or ifyou’re using a polarizing filter.Given that matrix metering is accurate most of the time andthat the other methods require some knowledge of exposureand how to set it accurately, ask yourself whether or not youhave enough knowledge to do a better, more consistent jobthan the matrix metering system is producing. I see threeinstances where this is likely:• Very high contrast and bright scenes. The matrix metering pattern sometimes has problems with very bright scenes with a great deal of contrast in them. Part of this is that the matrix meter itself has a brightness limit of 17.3EV. The other part is that the matrix does try to keep from blowing out highlight detail.• You’re using Single Point autofocus. As noted earlier, the matrix system tends to overemphasize the value it sees under the current autofocus sensor if you’re in Single Point autofocus. Thus, if you focus on something darker or brighter than a middle tone, the exposure may be off.• Some flash situations. While the matrix meter is generally very good with on-camera flash, it does less well with off camera flash. Note that FV Lock actually changes to aThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 269
    • Version 1.00 spot-type of measurement with on-camera flash, even if you’ve set matrix metering.Remember, you have the Histogram information andExposure Compensation to help “tune” your exposures (see“Options for Evaluating Exposure” on page <276> and“Exposure Compensation” on page <330>).Using other metering methods as your primary choice boilsdown to three basic situations: 1. In very bright light (snow, sand, etc.), the matrix meter’s ability to measure light accurately can be compromised by its upper brightness limit. Center- weighted metering may give you slightly more accurate results, assuming you’re using this method correctly. 2. You’re coming from a film camera that sets exposure using the center-weighted method and you’re more comfortable keeping the same system on your new DSLR. If that’s the case, by all means change the metering system of your D700 to Center-weighted and set the system to match the circle size from your original camera (some earlier Nikon SLRs used a smaller center circle, some larger than the 8mm the D700 uses). Be aware, however, that a Custom Settings reset (see page <573>)—will change the center-weight circle size back to 8mm if you’ve changed it using Custom Setting #B5 to better match your older camera. 3. You understand exposure and tonal values well and encounter situations where a precise setting for a particular object is necessary (metering off a gray card so that a particular object falls to a specific differential exposure value; for example, you want a very dark bison to be the very dark color he really is, notThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 270
    • Version 1.00 exposed to become more like a middle tone value75). If you’ve got the knowledge of how exposures work and need to make specific readings of small portions of the scene, by all means try spot metering. Just be aware that the “spot” can change (see “Spot” on page <266>).Metering with Digital Requires CareFor a few of you reading this eBook, the D700 is your firstexcursion into digital SLR cameras. If you’ve previously useda 35mm SLR body with print film, you’re likely going to be abit frustrated with exposure when you first start using theD700.Print film has advantages that you may not have knownabout, but certainly benefited from:• Print film has a wide “latitude,” or tolerance to exposure error. Indeed, overexposing print film is something that professionals tend to do routinely, as it has little consequence on highlight detail but increases density of shadow areas for most films.• Print film has a wider dynamic range. Print film holds a wider range from dark to bright than does a digital camera. Views differ on the exact difference, but it could be as much as three stops.• Automated print processors “fix” most minor problems. Besides correcting for exposure errors of from –2 to +3 stops, they also rebalance colors.75 Not to be condescending, but if you didn’t understand what I wrote there, spotmetering probably isn’t for you. Spot meters allow you to isolate one particular thingin a scene and then use the information you obtain to place the tonal value for thatobject at a particular place within the dynamic range of the capture device. As theprevious sentence implies, you have to understand and master quite a few bits ofinformation to use a spot meter well. Indeed, entire books have been written on thesubject.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 271
    • Version 1.00When you use a DSLR, you lose these advantages. Exposurefor digital cameras has to be precise—there is virtually nomargin for error76.Consumer digital cameras such as the Coolpix do a great dealof image post-processing (a bit like those automated printmachines used in the lab where you had your filmdeveloped), and often make substantive contrast changes todeal with possible exposure errors. In some moresophisticated cases, the highlight values are “compressed,”sacrificing bright detail for overall contrast. For snapshotshooting and small print sizes, that’s a tolerable tradeoff.But one reason to move to a DSLR is to get away from a keyliability of the consumer digital cameras: propensity for noise(especially in shadow areas). Heavy contrast and exposuremodification in camera tends to make any underlying noiseproperties more visible, thus DSLRs aren’t any where near asaggressive at “fixing” exposures, even though they have betternoise tendencies than their consumer cousins.So, by moving to a DSLR you get more control over what thecamera does. Heavy processing of images by the camerawould prevent you from exercising that control. (Not to saythat you can’t make your D700 do a lot of image processingin the camera. The new Picture Controls and tools like ActiveD-Lighting have a wide range of ability to change the image.)Let’s cut to the chase: shooting with a DSLR like the D700 isakin to shooting with a slide film that has an expandeddynamic range on a 35mm SLR: to get the best possible imagequality out of the camera, you’ll need to be fairly precise insetting exposure, though you’ll be able to capture scenes with76 You’ll hear that NEF files can have their exposure adjusted after the fact. That’s notexactly true. When you use a conversion program to change NEF exposures youdon’t actually change the exposure, you mostly change the way the underlying datais interpreted (similar to using a Curve in Photoshop). Since NEF data stays in the 12-bit or 14-bit realm, it may sometimes seem like you’re recovering “lost” highlightdetail while making a post processing “exposure adjustment,” but you’re not.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 272
    • Version 1.00more contrast in them than you were able to do with film.Overexposure results in loss of data (on slide film, clearacetate; in digital, bits maxed out at the highest possiblevalue).Nikon’s DSLR designs, to date, all have some tendency topreserve highlight detail with their matrix metering system.The D700 does, too. In digital, when more light photons hitthe sensor than it can hold (i.e. overexposure), no additionaldata is recorded; the photodiode and the electron well thatholds the electrons it produces is said to be saturated. This islike a brick wall for exposure: any truly overexposed area willsimply record as the maximum data value (255,255,255 for 8-bit data; 4095,4095,4095 for 12-bit data; and16383,16383,16383 for 14-bit data). This is called “blowingout the highlights.” With inkjet printer technologies, no ink isput down on the paper in areas at the maximum data value,making for a visible discontinuity if you look carefully77.Overexposure is therefore bad news.The matrix metering system in the D700 has a tendency toproduce images that don’t blow out highlights, though thissometimes makes them look a bit dull and underexposed. Thesimplest way to deal with such images is to change theexposure linearity using a Curve in Photoshop. Another way isto alter the camera’s settings; in particular, you can use aCustom Curve in your Picture Control (see “Picture Controls”on page <363>). Yet another method is to use Active D-Lighting (see “Active D-Lighting” on page <333>).Unfortunately, underexposing on any DSLR has the tendencyto increase noise when you later adjust the exposure. Thus,you’re often put into the situation of needing to choosebetween preserving highlight detail or revealing noise. I’lldiscuss this again later in the eBook, but the short answer:77 Some recent printers attempt to fill in these non-printing areas with a clear coatingso that the entire surface of the paper has something on it, though. This avoids the“gloss differential” created by the different sheen of the ink versus uninked paper.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 273
    • Version 1.00almost always you should preserve the highlight detail, even ifit’ll eventually mean that you have to sacrifice shadow detail.I’m going to modify that statement a bit for the D700 whenshooting raw files, though. Unlike previous Nikon DSLRs, theD700 does seem to have a small bit of exposure latitude atthe high end. I don’t worry too much about a highlight thatwas overexposed by a third of a stop (or even a half stop) ifI’m shooting NEF. Moreover, I’m not too worried about low-level noise for an underexposure at the lower ISO levels. (Justso I’m clear, if you shoot JPEG or over ISO 1600, you’re backto almost no latitude for exposure on a D700.)I should also point out that individual color channels can beblown out. This actually is the most difficult thing to learnabout digital exposures: your exposure may look correct, butif an individual color channel is blown out (a value of 255,4095, or 16383), this will come back to bite your butt later.This is still true for those that shoot NEF. In particular, I’velearned the hard way that the red channel is prone to blowout with red and near-red flower blossoms in bright light.What happens then is that you lose any chance ofmanipulating color after the fact without getting what I call“nuclear colors” (see petal of rose in shot, below [taken froma converter test in my newsletter]).In my newsletter I pointed out that digital photographers needto learn the colors that trigger channel blow out. Bright red,bright green, and bright blue are easy to recognize, but learnto recognize the colors produced by maximum Red+Green,Red+Blue, and Blue+Green channels. See one of those sixThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 274
    • Version 1.00colors in the brighter areas of your scene? Check the colorhistograms to make sure you haven’t blown out a channel(see “Options for Evaluating Exposure” on page <276>). Justso that you know which colors I’m talking about, here theyare:Yes, those are old favorites: red, green, blue (the primarycolors picked up by the sensor) and yellow, magenta, andcyan (the alternate colors on the color wheel). Of the six, Ifind myself blowing out the Red channel a lot (red patch), andRed+Green channels a lot (yellow patch).In short, take the time to learn how to control exposure withyour D700. Fortunately, the camera has some useful toolsthat’ll help you do just that, which I’ll cover next.Locking ExposureThe D700, unlike the D3, does not have a Lock button. Onthe D3, the Lock button is used to lock either shutter speed,aperture, or both, and thus tends to be used in conjunctionwith metering.Some question why a Lock button is even needed. Theanswer is that this prohibits unintended changes of exposuredue to accidental rotation of a Command dial. Normally, youwould want this control when you’re leaving the cameraunattended (as in a trip wire shoot), but some studio shootersprefer to set up a Manual exposure and lock it in using theLock button.The D700 substitutes Custom Settings for the Lock button. ViaCustom Settings #F5, #F6, or #F7 you can assign abutton+dial combination to mimic the missing Lock button(see the sections on these Custom Settings that begins on page<561>). You can also force a lock with Custom Setting #F8.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 275
    • Version 1.00Unlike consumer cameras, the D700 does not normally lockexposure when you partially press the shutter release. If you’dlike this behavior, change Custom Setting #C1 to On. Undercamera defaults, the AE-L/AF-L button does lock exposurewhile it is being held.When you lock exposure via the shutter release (if CustomSetting #C1 is set to On) or AE-L/AF-L button (as long asCustom Setting #F7 is at the default setting), you can stillchange some settings via the Command dials:Exposure mode What you change versus the cameraProgram Shutter speed and aperture change in tandem when you rotate Rear Command dial (Flexible Program)Aperture-priority If you change aperture with Front Command dial, the shutter speed changes automaticallyShutter-priority If you change shutter speed with Rear Command dial, the aperture changes automaticallyIn each of the above instances referred to in the table, the“overall exposure” remains the same (“locked”) as long as youhold the exposure lock via the shutter release or AE-L/AF-Lbutton. Note that you can’t change the exposure mode whilean exposure lock is being held.Options for Evaluating ExposureThe D700 has two useful exposure evaluation features thatanalyze the exposure data after you’ve taken a picture: RGBHistogram and Highlights.õ To turn these features on: 1. Press the MENU button to see the menu system.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 276
    • Version 1.00 2. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the PLAYBACK menu (blue playback button icon). 3. Use the Direction pad to navigate to Display mode and press the > key on the Direction pad to select it. 4. Use the Direction pad to navigate to each option you wish to set and press the > key on the Direction pad to toggle it on or off ( indicates it is turned on). Of particular interest to us is Highlights and RGB histogram. I recommend that you turn both on at first. If you don’t turn RGB histogram on, you’ll only get a smallish luminance histogram, and Highlights is useful initially—at least until you learn to pull up highlights on the RGB histogram page. 5. When you’ve selected all the options you want active, use the Direction pad to navigate to Done and press the OK to complete the selection. Note the options you picked in Step 4 are not applied until you complete this last step!Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 277
    • Version 1.00Here’s what each option does: Data This option toggles the appearance of four additional information display pages for each image; these pages overlay the camera setting data (from the EXIF tags) over the image. RGB histogram Adds an information display page for each image that shows overall and individual channel histograms for the image. This helps you detect channel blowout. The individual channels are on the right and colored to match the channel (red = red, green = green, blue = blue). The white histogram below the image is the luminance histogram.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 278
    • Version 1.00 This page can also be made to show highlights for individual channels. Hold down the Thumbnail/Zoom Out button (h±) plus press the > key on the Direction pad until the RGB, R, G, or B indicator in the bottom left corner is highlighted in yellow; the corresponding histogram is also outlined in yellow. There’s also a “no highlights displayed” option when you move between the B and RGB settings (shown here). Highlights Adds an information display page for each image that shows just the highlights information. The Highlights option shows locations of pixels that exceed a certain value by blinking them. If a large group of pixels is blinking, you may have overexposed the image (at a minimum, you’re likely losing highlight detail).  Note that some of the white areas have turned black in the right-hand screen. These areas blink black to indicate that these sections of the image have exceeded the camera’s preset white level and are probably blown out (have no detail).Note: Highlights worked slightly different on the original D1 than it does on all subsequent Nikon digital SLRs, which could beThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 279
    • Version 1.00 important to understand if you’re upgrading from a D1 to the D700. On the original D1, only pixels that were 255, 255, 255 (absolute white) were blinked. On the D700, pixels “near” absolute white are also blinked (Nikon hasn’t disclosed what level triggers blinking, but blinking starts when you’re somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 stop away from channel blowout). On a D700 I will often perform a trial and error on exposure until I just generate blinking on the highlights (with NEF files). Even if I’m a bit aggressive in doing this, the converters I use can usually pull back in the slight blowout. Focus area Adds an overlay to the information displayed on the main image page on the color LCD. The overlay shows the location of the focus sensor that was used for focusing highlighted in red. It may be a little hard to see in this example, as it just below the “Camera” in the Camera Shop sign.You may not want all of these options turned on once you’velearned how to use the camera as they increase the number ofkey presses needed to cycle through the review pages for anindividual image. However, as you’re learning how yourD700 works, I think it’s important to have all of these optionsactive and use them to review what the camera is doing.Over time, you’ll probably want to just select RGBhistogram. Remember, with RGB histogram active you canstill get the overall highlights display as well as ones for theindividual channels by holding the Thumbnail/Zoom Outbutton (h±) at the same time as pressing the > key on theThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 280
    • Version 1.00Direction pad to highlight which channel(s) you wanthighlights for. Note that the flashing black that represents theblown out area will always be for the channel indicator thatblinks in the lower left corner of the LCD (the selectedchannel also has a yellow border around its histogram). Youcan scroll through the highlight setting for each channel aswell as the overall image exposure (there’s also a “none”position, where no histogram is highlighted and no highlightsdisplay is made).How to Interpret HistogramsMuch has been written about how useful it is to see theexposure histogram on the color LCD after taking a shot.However, not everyone understands exactly what he or she isseeing.A simple histogram’s horizontal axis ranges from dark valuedpixels (0=black) at the left to bright valued pixels (255=white)at the right. The horizontal axis shows the luminance channeland does not tell you anything about the individual Red, Blue,and Green channels. Here’s the standard screen on the D700displays a histogram:This part of the screen contains the histogram:Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 281
    • Version 1.00Black ………………………. Midtones ………….……….. WhiteThe vertical axis is the number of pixels in the image with aparticular luminance value. The vertical axis scales with thedata, and is not particularly important (other than to identifywhat’s happening with a particular tone vis-à-vis others; hereyou should see that while the scene has a wide mix of values,there’s one darker value that predominates). The horizontalaxis goes from black at the left side (luminance value of 0) towhite on the right (e.g. luminance value of 255 for 8-bit data).Note: Nikon took a step backwards with this basic histogram. The white-on-white presentation makes it difficult to ascertain blown highlights because any spike at the right edge looks essentially the same as the right-hand border marker (if you look carefully, blown highlights are a teeny bit wider than the border). Previous Nikons used a yellow-on-red style that made it easy to see luminance blowouts. Curiously, the old style histogram is possible on a D700, but you have to set Custom Setting #F2 to use the center button of the Direction pad to pull up the histogram. Then you get this (as long as you hold down the button):Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 282
    • Version 1.00 It’s much easier to see what’s happening at the edges of the histogram with the yellow data versus the red borders. This image is underexposed in the luminance channel (the yellow values don’t quite make it to the three-quarter line). I should point out, however, that this image is properly exposed. Take a look at the full RGB histogram: The red values go right to the edge of the histogram for that channel! This is the reason why I say that it pays to look carefully at the channel histograms. You risk blowing out channels if you only look at the luminance histogram all the time.So what does a well-exposed image look like? It’s actuallyeasier to define what constitutes a poorly exposed image.Here are some things to watch for:• Most pixels skewed to the right of the histogram. If a significant number of pixel values exist at the extreme right edge, it’s likely the shot is overexposed. Histograms that are “right-heavy” make it difficult to control highlight detail. Check the Highlights display to see if you’ve blown out any highlight detail.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 283
    • Version 1.00 Spike at the right edge and the entire histogram skewed towards the right edge with nothing in the left portion of the histogram? Overexposed! Note the washed out colors in the actual image.• Most pixels skewed to the left of the histogram. If a significant number of pixel values exist at the very left edge, it’s likely the shot is underexposed. Histograms that are “left heavy” tend to have troublesome shadow detail. If there is little or no exposure shown in the right side of the histogram, you need to add more exposure to the shot. Note that underexposed images are easier to recover detail from than overexposed images. Everything skewed left and lots of unused histogram space at the right? Underexposed! Note how dark the image is. Some saturated colors pop through, but overall we have a hard time telling what this is image is showing.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 284
    • Version 1.00• Pixels are scattered over the entire width of the histogram. The overall image is likely to be high in overall contrast. Consider varying the lighting, if possible. While a broadly scattered pattern in the histogram is fine, you might not be satisfied with color saturation or contrast of the final image. Consider adding fill lighting if you have lots of dark areas. This histogram has values from black to white, but no spikes going up either side of the histogram. Dead on exposure! Note that the two spikes towards the left simply tell us there’s a lot of dark values in the image (this is intentional in this setup: I was testing noise at high ISO values, so I wanted large blocks of darker areas).• Pixels are mostly in a narrow band in the histogram. The image is likely very low in contrast (or it could be monochromatic, as would be the case of taking a picture of a gray card).Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 285
    • Version 1.00• Any spike at the right edge means lost highlight detail. This is probably the worst thing you can see in a histogram. The higher the line crawls up the right edge of the histogram frame, the more blown-out pixels you have in your image. What makes this bad is that our eyes immediately go to the brightest area of a photo when we view it, and all those pixels stacked up at the right edge of the histogram will eventually reveal the color of the underlying paper when printed78 (yuck!).• Any spike at the left edge means lost shadow detail. Or it could simply mean you have some totally black areas in your shot. Our eyes aren’t bothered as much by dark areas in a picture (unless, I suppose, that area is your subject).In general, you’re looking for a moderately wide distributionof the pixel values, usually with the largest peaks for theimportant portions of your scene somewhere in the middlethree-quarters of the range. If you’re working in a scene thathas many bright values (e.g. snow), the largest peaks may beto the right of the histogram. Likewise, if you’re working in ascene that contains many dark values (e.g. unlit, shadowareas), the largest peaks may be to the left of the histogram.Either case is usually okay, as long as you have a widedistribution of pixels and neither extreme runs off the edge ofthe histogram.Note: Most users find it easier to “fix” dark images (e.g. increase shadow detail) than to fix bright images (e.g. “pull back” highlight detail). This is even true of NEF images, where you can apply exposure compensation after the fact. However, note that due to the way digital images are captured, noise is more prevalent in the “dark” areas of your image than it is78 Put another way, no ink will be placed down in these areas (there’s no such thingas a “white ink” on current inkjet printers.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 286
    • Version 1.00 in the bright areas79. Normally you don’t see the noise as it is buried in very dark areas that print at or near black, but when you use post processing techniques to “boost” shadow areas in an image, you’ll also be boosting noise, perhaps into visible range.Note: Photoshop histograms are calculated a bit differently than those the camera shows. One thing that confuses many NEF shooters is that Photoshop histograms only show the top 8 bits of data. If you use Capture to output 16-bit images to Photoshop, be aware of that!The D700, like the D2 series, the D3, the D200, and theD300, has the ability to show individual channel histograms.So what have we been looking at up to this point in thissection? Something called a luminance histogram, whichdoesn’t take color into account.If, as I suggested earlier, you primarily use the RGBhistogram setting instead of the plain histogram display,you’ll get four histograms on the screen at once: theluminance histogram (white) is displayed underneath thepicture, and a histogram for each of the Red, Blue, and Greenchannels is placed along the right side.79 Why? Because the signal to noise ratio for a pixel value of 1,1,1 is lower than onewith a value of 254,254,254. Let’s examine a hypothetical example to find out why.Let’s say that your camera has random noise “base” that averages 2 photons. Further,let’s assume that the 1,1,1 value represents a photosite that has captured 100photons. The signal to noise ratio for that pixel is 50:1. The 254,254,254 valuerepresents capture of perhaps 10,000 photons, so the signal to noise ratio is 5000:1.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 287
    • Version 1.00This example shows why the channel histograms are important. Note theluminance histogram shows the blue felt was “properly exposed” for amidtone. But look at the red and blue channels. The red channel has verylittle light energy in it while the blue is getting close to blowout. Often youcan predict things from the channel histograms. For example, if that redchannel was significantly lower than it shows here, I’m pretty sure that I’dhave trouble holding back noise in the red channel (and thus the image).Likewise, any more exposure on this image and I’ll start losing the bluechannel and cripple my ability to change color in post processing.All the same things I said about the luminance histogramapply to the individual channel histograms. Spikes at the rightedge are blowouts in the highlights (in the case of anindividual channel that would be called a “channel blowout,”as in “I blew out the Red channel”). Spikes at the left edgemean shadow detail is lost in that channel.So why are channel histograms important? Remember thosenuclear colors I mentioned before? Well, channel histogramswould be the one tool on the camera that might alert you tothe fact that you’ve got one. But even in some situationswhere you might not be expecting it, the channel histogramscan save you from an exposure error.The classic example for my type of photography is the redrock country of the US Southwest (Northern Arizona andSouthern Utah, for example). If you take a picture of alandscape feature that’s in bright sun, all that red in the rockThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 288
    • Version 1.00has a tendency to push the red channel up, often enough toblow the channel out completely. This has an impact after thefact: when you go to post process that picture and perhaps tryto alter the white balance a bit, the blown red channel willprohibit you from many manipulations you might want to do,and the tonal ramp in the areas that have been blown out maybe compromised. Unfortunately, the luminance histogramalone may lie to you in these situations, saying that theexposure is okay.Note the example picture I’ve been using in many of thedescriptions in this section (taken with a D3 in Patagonia; butthe D700 uses the same imaging chain so would have donethe same):Note how the luminance histogram seems to implyunderexposure (it doesn’t even reach to the three-quarterline). But the red channel is pushed right up to the far rightedge! Technically, you can’t say for certain that red isThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 289
    • Version 1.00“blown” or not unless you use a UniWB setting80, butgenerally, as long as your white balance setting is nearaccurate for how you’ll convert, the channel histograms willgive you a reasonable basis upon which to base yourexposure decision.Red rock isn’t the only thing you have to watch out for, by theway, which is why you just have to pay attention to thechannel histograms all the time. Any red or blue channelblowout means you need to reduce exposure. Green channelblowouts are a little less likely to occur and lessproblematic81, but if you have a large expanse of green inbright light (like a lawn on a golf course) you may still need tobring the tonal value down.Exposure ModesThe D700 has four exposure modes:P Program exposure mode In this exposure mode, the D700 automatically adjusts both the aperture and shutter speed to create a properly exposed image. The combination picked is based upon a predetermined table in the camera (see “Program Exposure Table” on page <294>). You may override the selection chosen by the camera by rotating the Rear Command dial (called Flexible Program by Nikon). For most new-to-DSLR users, this is probably the exposure mode you should start with. It gives you “semi-smart82”80 I’ll have more to say about that in the section on white balance, but a UniWB is aspecial setting that essentially eliminates all white balance twists for individualchannels and shows you the histogram for the raw data.81 That’s because most color manipulations you’d make after the fact impact the blueand red channels more than the green, which is in the middle of the spectrumbetween the two.82 If you have either my D50 or D70 eBook, you may remember this as saying“smart.” Yes, those consumer cameras are smarter than the D700 in one way: theirprograms try to preserve shutter speeds that would minimize camera shake. TheD700 (and D2 series, D3, D200, and D300) use a simpler program that does notchange with focal length, figuring that the camera operator is smart enough tooverride the program if shake might be an issue.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 290
    • Version 1.00 automation backed with the flexibility to override. Warning: when you start using flash you’ll want to avoid this exposure mode, though (see page <658>).A Aperture-preferred exposure mode You control and choose the aperture setting (using the Front Command dial) and the D700 automatically picks the correct shutter speed to create a properly exposed image. Note that the shutter speed the camera picks is incremented in 1/3 stops with the default camera settings in this mode. As you get more serious about your photography you’ll discover that the aperture you select has a great deal to do with what is in and out of focus. Most serious amateurs gravitate towards this exposure mode as they master concepts like depth of field. Many professionals use this exposure mode.S Shutter-preferred exposure mode You control and choose the shutter speed (using the Rear Command dial) and the D700 automatically picks the correct aperture to create a properly exposed image. The aperture chosen is incremented in 1/3 stops in this mode with the default camera settings. When you shoot sports or other fast moving action, Shutter-priority exposure mode gives you the ability to set an action-stopping shutter speed and let the camera do the rest. Professionals who shoot sports tend to use this exposure mode.M Manual exposure mode You control and choose both aperture (Front Command dial) and shutter speed (Rear Command dial); the D700 advises you on exposure by activating an analog metering bar in the viewfinder and top LCD showing what your current choices would produce:Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 291
    • Version 1.00 Viewfinder: Top LCD: underexposure correct exposure overexposure The number of bars indicate how much under or over exposed the image may be. The big “ticks” are each a stop apart, the little “ticks” (at default settings) a third of a stop apart. Thus, the bars show from -2 to +2 (viewfinder default or -3 to +3 stops (top LCD). Beyond that you get the continuation indicator, . Manual exposure mode gives you full control, much like the older “match-needle” cameras that were prevalent in the early days of SLRs. Many users gravitate to Manual exposure mode when they want to make sure that a particular combination of aperture and shutter speed is used (as when they meter off one area and compose in another). Some professionals use this exposure mode because it forces them to deal with both their aperture and shutter speed choice and can be a pragmatic way of “locking” exposure.Note: The references to Command dials in the previous and following descriptions can be reversed by using Custom Setting #F9 (see page <647>). The exposure indicators can be reversed by using Custom Setting #F12 (see page <652>).õ To select the exposure mode, press the MODE button onthe top of the camera (behind the shutter release) and use theThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 292
    • Version 1.00Rear Command dial to choose the desired exposure mode(displayed as P, A, S, or M on the top LCD; a * indicatesyou’re in Flexible Program exposure mode).Top LCD: ]^lNote: If the lens mounted on the D700 does not have what Nikon calls a CPU83 (i.e. it is an AI or AI-S lens) and you are in matrix metering with Program, or Shutter-priority exposure mode set, the camera won’t take a picture. Switch to Aperture-priority or Manual exposure mode. Also, if you’ve programmed the camera to know about the lens with Non- CPU lens data, the matrix metering restriction doesn’t apply.Flexible ProgramAs noted earlier, the Program exposure mode uses apredetermined combination of aperture and shutter speedbased upon how much light is in the scene and the maximumaperture of the lens. This is called the “program.”You can override the program by rotating the Rear Commanddial when the meter is active. Note, however, that the overallexposure remains the same; in other words, if your overrideincreases the shutter speed, the aperture is decreased, andvice versa. A small asterisk appears next to the ] (e.g. ]*) inthe top LCD when you’ve overridden the camera’s programsettings. Note also that once you override the program, itremains overridden by that same amount until you change the83 It’s not actually a central processing unit as the name implies, but rather a chip thatpasses on a set of values that describe a few pieces of data about the lens (maximumaperture, focal length, focus distance).Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 293
    • Version 1.00exposure mode, turn the power switch to OFF, or perform acamera reset.Program Exposure Table (at ISO 200)EV Aperture Shutter Speed0 f/1.4 2 seconds1 f/1.4 1 second2 f/1.4 1/23 f/1.4 1/44 f/1.4 1/85 f/1.7 1/126 f/2 1/157 f/2.4 1/238 f/2.8 1/309 f/3.5 1/4510 f/4 1/6011 f/4.8 1/9012 f/5.6 1/12513 f/6.7 1/18014 f/8 1/25015 f/9.5 1/35016 f/11 1/50017 f/13 1/75018* f/16 1/100019* f/16 1/200020* f/16 1/4000* Not possible with matrix metering, as itexceeds the meter’s brightness range;camera uses a center weighted strategy.Students who’ve been to my workshops know that I’m not afan of Program exposure mode. That’s mostly becauseProgram exposure mode has some hidden liabilities whenusing flash, but also because most users don’t take the time tounderstand exactly how the camera is making its exposuredecisions or even that once they’ve overridden the “program”it tends to stay overridden.Don’t be a “lazy” photographer and use Program exposuremode casually. If you’re serious about controlling depth offield, camera shake, subject motion, and a host of otherThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 294
    • Version 1.00factors that come up while making photographs, get out ofProgram exposure mode and take more direct control overwhat the camera is doing.ISO SensitivityThe D700 allows user controllable ISO values from 200 to6400, in as little as one-third stop steps (you can alter thesettings to half or full stops using Custom Setting #B1 [seepage <590>], but I’d suggest just leaving the camera at thedefault)84.The D700 also has settings of LO 0.3, LO 0.7, and LO 1.0, HI0.3, HI 0.7, HI 1.0, and HI 2.0, which are approximatelyequivalent to ISO 160, 125, 100, 8000, 10,000, 12,800, and25,600 respectively. These last seven values are not labeledwith an ISO value because they have image qualitylimitations that the numbered ISO values do not. The non-numbered ISO values are a warning to you that some aspectof image quality will be compromised:• LO values: the LO ISO values can compromise highlights. What tends to happen is that if you use the same exposure highlight data gets “clipped” in high contrast scenes: Think of it like this: the data from the ADC is given a different bias (gain). This has one primary effect: bright highlights that were near blowing out at ISO 200 now tend to be blown out and the camera has to bring them back. In my experience, LO values work okay for low contrast scenes exposed normally, but are dangerous for high contrast scenes exposed normally due to the possible loss of highlight information. The dynamic range is actually exactly the same for ISO L0 1.0 as it is for ISO 200, thus if you slightly underexpose to make sure you84 If you set Auto ISO, the camera actually uses 1/6 stop increments.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 295
    • Version 1.00 don’t clip highlights you get essentially the same dynamic range. Trying to find this “underexposure point” is a bit tough, as it tends to vary a bit with the contrast in the scene and how the channels are handling the highlights. I routinely use -0.3EV exposure compensation when I set ISO L0 1.0 as a starting place, then back off from my usual highlight clipping point.• HI values: the HI ISO values compromise overall camera dynamic range. As you move ISO values up, the camera dynamic range decreases. Eventually, that range becomes suspect and it gets difficult to reproduce a wide range of tones. Nikon marks that changeover point by stopping the use of numeric ISO values: The dynamic range goes down as you boost ISO because the ADC is using higher gain settings (amplification) on the underlying data. You’re amplifying noise as well as signal, so the more you amplify, the more prevalent the noise becomes, lowering the dynamic range. In table form, here’s my measured useful dynamic ranges (rounded to nearest half stop):ISO Dynamic Comment RangeLO 1.0 9 stops But watch out for highlight clipping200 9 stops Best of any Nikon DSLR400 8.5 stops Note that even a slight boost in ISO reduces dynamic range a bit; still quite good800 8 stops About as good as most older Nikon DSLRs at their base ISO1600 7 stops Still slightly better than slide film3200 6 stops Some issues for even normal contrast scenes6400 5 stops Definite issues with normal contrast scenesõ To set ISO values on the D700:Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 296
    • Version 1.00 1. Press the MENU button to show the menu system. 2. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the SHOOTING menu (green camera icon). 3. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the ISO sensitivity settings option and press the > key on the Direction pad to select it. 4. Use the Direction pad to navigate to the ISO sensitivity option and press the > key on the Direction pad to select it. 5. Use the Direction pad to select an ISO value and press the > key on the Direction pad to select it.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 297
    • Version 1.00õ Alternatively: Hold down the ISO button and use the RearCommand dial to select an ISO value.Top LCD:While it may seem that you should simply set the camera tothe highest ISO value and leave it there (or use the ISOsensitivity auto control function available in theSHOOTING menu), don’t. As you increase the D700’s ISOvalue, your images lose dynamic range capability andpotentially gain considerable digital noise. Much as using ahigher ISO film in a 35mm film body results in increasedvisible grain. Added digital noise makes an image lookrougher (most noticeable in large areas of a single color).Worse still, digital noise added by the D700 is not trulyrandom, unlike film grain. And remember, dynamic range isimpacted, too.That said, the D700 is one Nikon camera on which I amperfectly happy to set a modest automatic ISO value, as noiseis very well controlled at modest ISO values and dynamicrange hits aren’t terrible until you get above ISO 800.The D700 has a variety of noise reduction schemes, some ofwhich work automatically and some of which are usercontrolled. Long exp. NR (on the SHOOTING menu) hasnothing to do with ISO: it controls a type of noise that buildsup when a sensor sits collecting light photons for long periodsof time (1 second or longer on the D700).High ISO NR (also on the SHOOTING menu) is a setting thatdoes apply to noise caused by ISO settings. Because higherISO values are typically caused by amplifying data, smallinconsistencies in data are amplified as you increase the ISOThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 298
    • Version 1.00setting. High ISO NR is a setting used to combat that; itbegins working at ISO 800 or higher if specifically turned onby you, but it is always active in some form at above ISO HI0.3 (ISO 8000 equivalent and above).But noise reduction routines aren’t perfect, and they also havea tendency to reduce edge definition.All of the detailed examples in this book were taken with aNikkor 70-180mm Micro-Nikkor lens, and use standard testcharts (there’s a non-proprietary sample chart on the CD; kids,do try this at home!). The small samples I’ll show are takenfrom the area towards the bottom. White balance was set forthe light. The camera was set to sRGB color space. PictureControl is set to Standard in these examples. Noisereduction was turned off in the camera. Histograms werecarefully examined to ensure that the full range of the chart fitwithin the boundaries. All shots here are post-processed JPEGimages. The only Photoshop processing is cropping (and forthe shadows, a Levels boost in midtones). Note that thesesamples are only a few of the ones I examined to make mycomments. Go by what I write, not necessarily by what yousee. ISO 200. We’re again looking at samples from my standard testing scene. At the lowest ISO value, the patches in the ColorChecker chart are clean, bright, and fairly accurate. You’ll note that I’m showing a different section for the second sample now, one that should help reveal noise production due to how deeply in shadow it is.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 299
    • Version 1.00 To help show the noise in shadows, I’ve lifted the gamma to 1.4 on these second samples. ISO 400. One thing that happens as we boost ISO is that we get contrast buildup. But ISO 400 is essentially like ISO 200. I’d have no problems using either. ISO 800. Still incredibly good, though close examination shows that a hint of noise is starting to become evident in the shadows. Overall, usable in almost any situation.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 300
    • Version 1.00 ISO 1600. Close examination shows low levels of noise starting to appear in the boosted shadows. Colors are just starting to lose a tiny amount of accuracy and saturation. Again, probably usable in just about any situation. ISO 3200. Okay, now we’re starting to see visible signs of differences. Colors are now drifting due to contrast changes, and noise is prevalent, though not obnoxious (see 250% sample at bottom). I’ve seen no other camera produce results that come close to matching this ISO 3200Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 301
    • Version 1.00 performance. ISO 6400. The entire image is now riddled with noise. You can even see it in the ColorChecker chart (look at the near black patch). With noise reduction turned off like this, we’re seeing slight color noise as well as luminance noise (look at the detail sample at bottom), and edges are losing their definition. Contrast is building, and subtle tonality changes are lost.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 302
    • Version 1.00 ISO HI 1. The digital nature of the capture is now inarguably visible. All the things that happened at ISO 6400 have increased in visibility, but now to the point where you cannot ignore them under any circumstances. ISO HI 2. Simply ugly. Note the colored spots in the ColorChecker patches. There’s almost a hot pixel type of quality now appearing randomly throughout the image. Edges have lost all definition, tonal ramps all subtlety, and colors all accuracy. Post processing noise reduction (last sample) doesn’t really help. We still have those odd bright pixels, large amounts of noise, and all the other bad attributes. (Remember, this is withThom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 303
    • Version 1.00 noise reduction turned off in the camera, which will still apply a bit of noise reduction to the image.)Note: Underexposing is a bit like setting a higher ISO. Some of the complaints I’ve heard from D700 users about “wait a second, it still seems noisy” can be attributed to this. For example, let’s say you were shooting at ISO 800 but underexposed by two stops. Do your images look as if they were shot at ISO 3200 when you run a correction on them in post processing? I’m betting that, yes, they do. Just like with the other Nikon DSLRs, I see an almost direct one-to- one correspondence between results from underexposure and higher ISO use on the D700.As you increase ISO you’ll find that colors tend to lose a bit oftheir punch (e.g. get “muddy”), and contrast is lowered. At theextreme, it can result in the equivalent of a 2-bit or higherreduction in individual color values, which is easily seen inimages. HI 1.0 shows obviously less color saturation, but theeffects begin as early as ISO 3200.I haven’t tested my D700 yet in my local gym, but as I’vedone with the D2x, D200, D300, and S5, I tested my D3 atone of my weekly basketball games. Since the D3 and D700share the same imaging chain and produce identical results, Ican use that D3 test here to talk about what I’d likely see withthe D700.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 304
    • Version 1.00I set my D3 to essentially the worst possible scenario (ambientlighting on a bad day, Auto white balance, ISO 3200, HighISO noise reduction set to Off), somewhat underexposed. Iwas at f/2.8 at 1/1250, which should be fine for stoppingaction (note the ball). Here’s the NEF file with defaultconversion in Adobe Photoshop (100% view):And here’s the same thing with a slight exposure tweak andnoise reduced slightly via Neat Image:Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 305
    • Version 1.00Overall, a superb result, and one of the reasons why low-lightshooters have been picking up D3 bodies as fast as they canfind them. Colors stay decent, detail isn’t compromised, andnoise is low enough that you really don’t have to use highamounts of detail-reducing noise reduction. What othercamera can you say that about at ISO 3200 andunderexposed?Note: I’m sure a lot of you are wondering what I did in processing the NEF. This particular one was brought into Adobe Photoshop through ACR. It needed exposure tweaking (almost a full stop) and the white balance also needed a modest change. No other changes were made to the ACR default settings. Once in Photoshop, I applied Neat Image using the Auto Profile ability, then did a very slight (30% opacity) sharpening using the High Pass filter.Indeed, the difference between the D3 (and by implication,D700) and previous Nikon bodies for low-light work isastonishing. I shot this next shot on the same day, from thesame position, with the same settings, with my D300:Note how muddy and uncolorful the underexposed D300image is at ISO 3200. Yes, the D3 and D700 are that good(the D300 actually manages to be barely adequate in thissituation if you nail the exposure).Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 306
    • Version 1.00Noise Reduction SettingsThe D700 has two noise reduction abilities:• Long exp. NR—performs a dark frame subtraction on long exposures to remove thermal pattern noise and hot pixels (photosites where the data values get “stuck”). Surprisingly, this is not a particularly necessary function on the D700, as the camera seems only modestly prone to such problems at normal shutter speeds. Still, if you shoot long exposures (anything over 1 second) you should turn this option On, otherwise you’ll find that hot pixels start to become a problem.• High ISO NR—performs in-camera noise reduction on images taken at ISO 2000 or higher. The manual and menu system seem a little out of sync with one another here, so let me clarify the situation: ISO 100 to ISO 2000 to ISO HI 0.3 to ISO 1600 ISO 6400 ISO HI 2.0 Off No noise No noise Minimal amount reduction reduction of noise applied applied reduction applied Low No noise Minimal amount Moderate reduction of noise amount of noise applied reduction reduction applied applied Normal No noise Moderate Large amount of reduction amount of noise noise reduction applied reduction applied applied High No noise Large amount of Extremely large reduction noise reduction amount of noise applied applied reduction appliedSince this is apropos to a discussion of ISO, let’s look at hownoise reduction fares at one of the higher ISO values, HI 1.0.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 307
    • Version 1.00 Here’s High ISO NR set to Off at ISO HI 1.0. Not terrible, but definitely needing some help. Here’s High ISO NR set to Low at ISO HI 1.0. Note the change in the background color. Some of the color noise is being removed.Thom Hogan’s Complete Guide to the Nikon D700 Page 308
    • Version 1.00 Here’s High ISO NR set to Normal at ISO HI 1.0. We’re picking up a bit of contrast, and some color fringing at low levels of detail. Curiously, there’s an interaction between the detail reduction and the noise at this setting that’s making the “pebbling” slightly more evident and colorful than at the Low setting. Here’s High ISO NR set to High at ISO HI 1.0. Better in terms of noise reduction, but detail is getting lost and we still have some color fringing on the fine detail that remains. Note that “white” has gotten slightly darker, but slightly more neutral in color.There’s no simple answer with noise reduction. Moreover,what I keep finding as I examine more images is that youabsolutely need to tune your High ISO NR setting to both theISO you’re setting and your need for detail versus clean