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Nikon D700 vs D800

The Nikon D700 and the Nikon D800 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in July 2008 and February 2012. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. The D700 has a resolution of 12.1 megapixels, whereas the D800 provides 36.2 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Nikon D700 VS Nikon D800
Nikon D700 Nikon D800
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
12.1 MP, Full Frame Sensor 36.2 MP, Full Frame Sensor
no Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 200-6400 (100-25600) ISO 100-6400 (50-25600)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD, 922k dots 3.2" LCD, 921k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
8 shutter flaps per second 4 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
1000 shots per battery charge900 shots per battery charge
147 x 123 x 77 mm, 1074 g 146 x 123 x 82 mm, 1000 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D700 and the Nikon D800? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Nikon D700 and the Nikon D800. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Nikon D700 vs Nikon D800
Compare D700 versus D800 top
Comparison D700 or D800 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D700 and the Nikon D800 are of equal size. However, the D800 is markedly lighter (7 percent) than the D700. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the D700 gets 1000 shots out of its EN-EL3e battery, while the D800 can take 900 images on a single charge of its EN-EL15 power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D700» 147 mm 123 mm 77 mm 1074 g 1000 Y Jul 2008 2,999iNikon D700
 
Nikon D800« 146 mm 123 mm 82 mm 1000 g 900 Y Feb 2012 2,999iNikon D800
 
Nikon D850« » 146 mm 124 mm 79 mm 1005 g 1840 Y Jul 2017 3,299 iNikon D850
 
Nikon D810« » 146 mm 123 mm 82 mm 980 g 1200 Y Jun 2014 3,299iNikon D810
 
Nikon Df« » 144 mm 110 mm 67 mm 760 g 1400 Y Nov 2013 2,749 iNikon Df
 
Nikon D610« » 141 mm 113 mm 82 mm 850 g 900 Y Oct 2013 1,999 iNikon D610
 
Nikon D800E« » 146 mm 123 mm 82 mm 1000 g 900 Y Feb 2012 3,299iNikon D800E
 
Nikon D3S« » 160 mm 157 mm 88 mm 1240 g 4200 Y Oct 2009 5,199iNikon D3S
 
Nikon D300S« » 147 mm 115 mm 81 mm 938 g 950 Y Jul 2009 1,799iNikon D300S
 
Nikon D3X« » 160 mm 157 mm 88 mm 1260 g 4400 Y Dec 2008 7,999iNikon D3X
 
Nikon D3« » 160 mm 157 mm 88 mm 1300 g 4300 Y Aug 2007 4,999iNikon D3
 
Nikon D300« » 147 mm 114 mm 74 mm 925 g 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799iNikon D300
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The two cameras under review were launched at the same price and fall into the same market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.

 

Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Technology-wise, the D800 uses a more advanced image processing engine (EXPEED 3) than the D700 (EXPEED), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Nikon D700 and Nikon D800 sensor measures

With 36.2MP, the D800 offers a higher resolution than the D700 (12.1MP), but the D800 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.88μm versus 8.43μm for the D700). Yet, the D800 is a much more recent model (by 3 years and 7 months) than the D700, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

The resolution advantage of the Nikon D800 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D800 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 36.8 x 24.6 inch or 93.5 x 62.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 29.4 x 19.6 inch or 74.8 x 49.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 24.5 x 16.4 inch or 62.3 x 41.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D700 are 21.3 x 14.2 inch or 54.1 x 36 cm for good quality, 17 x 11.3 inch or 43.2 x 28.8 cm for very good quality, and 14.2 x 9.4 inch or 36 x 24 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Nikon D700 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D800 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-25600.

D700 versus D800 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the D800 offers substantially better image quality than the D700 (overall score 15 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.8 bits higher color depth, 2.2 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.3 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D700 Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832none23.512.2230380Nikon D700
 
Nikon D800 Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/30p25.314.4285395Nikon D800
 
Nikon D850 Full Frame 45.4 8256 55044K/30p26.414.82660100Nikon D850
 
Nikon D810 Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.714.8285397Nikon D810
 
Nikon Df Full Frame 16.2 4928 3280none24.613.1327989Nikon Df
 
Nikon D610 Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/30p25.114.4292594Nikon D610
 
Nikon D800E Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/30p25.614.3297996Nikon D800E
 
Nikon D3S Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832720/24p23.512.0325382Nikon D3S
 
Nikon D300S APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.512.278770Nikon D300S
 
Nikon D3X Full Frame 24.4 6048 4032none24.713.7199288Nikon D3X
 
Nikon D3 Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832none23.512.2229081Nikon D3
 
Nikon D300 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.112.067967Nikon D300

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The D800 indeed provides for movie recording, while the D700 does not. The highest resolution format that the D800 can use is 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D700 and the D800 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinder in the D800 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the D700 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. On the other hand, the viewfinder of the D700 has a higher magnification (0.72x vs 0.70x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon D700 and Nikon D800 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D700optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0 Y n Nikon D700
 
Nikon D800optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/8000s 4.0 Y n Nikon D800
 
Nikon D850optical Y 3.2 2359 tilting Y 1/8000s 9.0 n n Nikon D850
 
Nikon D810optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D810
 
Nikon Dfoptical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5 n n Nikon Df
 
Nikon D610optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/4000s 6.0 Y n Nikon D610
 
Nikon D800Eoptical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/8000s 4.0 Y n Nikon D800E
 
Nikon D3Soptical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n Nikon D3S
 
Nikon D300Soptical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y n Nikon D300S
 
Nikon D3Xoptical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n Nikon D3X
 
Nikon D3optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n Nikon D3
 
Nikon D300optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n Nikon D300

The Nikon D700 and the Nikon D800 both have an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.

The D700 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the D800 uses Compact Flash or SDXC cards. The D800 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the D700 only has one slot.

 

Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Nikon D700 and Nikon D800 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D700Ynonenone--mini2.0---Nikon D700
 
Nikon D800YmonomonoYYmini3.0---Nikon D800
 
Nikon D850YstereomonoYYmini3.0YYYNikon D850
 
Nikon D810YstereomonoYYmini3.0Y--Nikon D810
 
Nikon DfYnonenone--mini2.0---Nikon Df
 
Nikon D610YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Nikon D610
 
Nikon D800EYmonomonoYYmini3.0---Nikon D800E
 
Nikon D3SYstereonone--mini2.0---Nikon D3S
 
Nikon D300SYstereomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D300S
 
Nikon D3XYnonenone--mini2.0---Nikon D3X
 
Nikon D3Ynonenone--mini2.0---Nikon D3
 
Nikon D300Ynonenone--mini2.0---Nikon D300

Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.

Both the D700 and the D800 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D700 was replaced by the Nikon D800, while the D800 was followed by the Nikon D810. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon website.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is the Nikon D700 better than the Nikon D800 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Advantages of the Nikon D700:

  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.72x vs 0.70x).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1000 versus 900) on a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in July 2008).


Reasons to prefer the Nikon D800:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (36.2 vs 12.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 73%.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (15 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.8 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (2.2 EV of extra DR).
  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (EXPEED 3 vs EXPEED).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
  • More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years and 7 months of technical progress since the D700 launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D800 is the clear winner of the contest (11 : 4 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

D700 04:11 D800

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D700 and the Nikon D800 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the D700 and the D800 in practical situations. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cam
era
  labs  
dp
re
  view  
e
photo
  zine  
ima
ging
resource
photo
graphy
  blog  
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D70089/100+ +4.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2008 2,999iNikon D700
 
Nikon D800+ +82/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2012 2,999iNikon D800
 
Nikon D850+ +89/1004.5/55/55/5 Jul 2017 3,299 iNikon D850
 
Nikon D810..86/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 3,299iNikon D810
 
Nikon Df..81/1004/54/54/5 Nov 2013 2,749 iNikon Df
 
Nikon D610+ +87/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 1,999 iNikon D610
 
Nikon D800E..84/1005/54.5/55/5 Feb 2012 3,299iNikon D800E
 
Nikon D3S..89/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2009 5,199iNikon D3S
 
Nikon D300S+ +82/1004/55/54.5/5 Jul 2009 1,799iNikon D300S
 
Nikon D3X..86/1004/55/55/5 Dec 2008 7,999iNikon D3X
 
Nikon D3..+ +5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 4,999iNikon D3
 
Nikon D300+ ++ +5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799iNikon D300
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Nikon D700:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D800:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Nikon D700 vs Nikon D800

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Nikon D700 Nikon D800
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date July 2008 February 2012
    Launch Price USD 2999 USD 2999
    Sensor Specs Nikon D700 Nikon D800
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 36.0 x 23.9 mm 35.9 x 24.0 mm
    Sensor Area 860.4 mm2 861.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43.2 mm 43.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 12.1 Megapixels 36.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4256 x 2832 pixels 7360 x 4912 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 8.43 μm 4.88 μm
    Pixel Density 1.40 MP/cm2 4.20 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 200-6400 ISO 100-6400 ISO
    ISO Boost 100-25600 ISO 50-25600 ISO
    Image Processor EXPEED EXPEED 3
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 80 95
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 23.5 25.3
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.2 14.4
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 2303 2853
    Screen Specs Nikon D700 Nikon D800
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.72x 0.70x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.2 inch
    LCD Resolution 922k dots 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D700 Nikon D800
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 8 shutter flaps/s 4 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy150 000 actuations200 000 actuations
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inIntervalometer built-in
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards CF or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D700 Nikon D800
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 3.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port no MIC socket External MIC port
    Headphone Socket no Headphone port Headphone port
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Nikon D700 Nikon D800
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type EN-EL3e EN-EL15
    Battery Life (CIPA)1000 shots per charge900 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 147 x 123 x 77 mm
    (5.8 x 4.8 x 3.0 in)
    146 x 123 x 82 mm
    (5.7 x 4.8 x 3.2 in)
    Camera Weight 1074 g (37.9 oz) 1000 g (35.3 oz)

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