I’m ready to replace my Nikon D200 and I’m trying to decide whether to buy the D700 or the D7000. It has a full-frame sensor and that’s supposed to be a real advantage. Do you agree? And if so, why aren’t Nikon and other companies making more digital SLRs with a full-frame sensor?
Well Rick, there are several reasons why DSLRs with the huge 24 x 36 mm sensor—vs. the more typical 15.8 x 23.6 mm sensor—are not more common. First they are much more expensive to manufacture because of the cost of the large sensor and the much larger shutter, reflex mirror, pentaprism, etc. Most shooters prefer to pay less and get a smaller camera. As well, a full-frame DSLR must be used with the larger/heavier/more expensive multi-platform (or FX) lenses. And by now, most photo enthusiasts already own several of the smaller (or DX) lenses.
If those are not drawbacks for you, then the full-frame Nikon D700 ($2500) would be ideal if you often shoot at ISO 1600 and above. While the D700 provides lower resolution (12 vs. 16 megapixels) than the D7000 image quality is superior at high ISO due to the greater light gathering ability of its oversized pixels. This rugged, weather-resistant magnesium alloy camera is packed with capabilities including built-in flash and Live View but no Movie mode. It features a large viewfinder with 95% scene coverage and a fast 5 fps burst mode; for blazing 8 fps speed, simply add the optional battery grip.
On the other hand the newer, smaller and less expensive ($1200) Nikon D7000—with the more typical DX sensor size—is a fabulous camera too, with even more features, including a full HD Movie mode, 100% viewfinder coverage, higher resolution LCD and 6 fps burst mode. (A faster framing rate is not provided by the optional battery grip.) It’s fully compatible with both the FX and DX series lenses. Since this is a more recent camera it includes some new technology that provides additional benefits. While I do own a full-frame DSLR, I can certainly understand why most photo enthusiasts are fully satisfied with the best cameras that employ the smaller sensors.