Nikon D700 vs Sony RX1R
The Nikon D700 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in July 2008 and June 2013. The D700 is a DSLR, while the RX1R is a fixed lens compact. Both cameras are equipped with a full frame sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 12.1 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D700 and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon D700 and the Sony RX1R is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony RX1R is considerably smaller (59 percent) than the Nikon D700. It is worth mentioning in this context that the D700 is splash and dust resistant, while the RX1R does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the RX1R has a lens built in, whereas the D700 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the D700 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the D700 gets 1000 shots out of its EN-EL3e battery, while the RX1R can take 270 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 power pack. The power pack in the RX1R can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Nikon D700||147 mm||123 mm||77 mm||1074 g||1000||Y||Jul 2008||2,999||ebay.com|
|2.||Sony RX1R||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Jun 2013||2,799||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon 5D||152 mm||113 mm||75 mm||895 g||400||Y||Aug 2005||3,299||ebay.com|
|4.||Leica X Typ 113||133 mm||73 mm||78 mm||486 g||350||n||Sep 2014||2,295||ebay.com|
|5.||Nikon D810||146 mm||123 mm||82 mm||980 g||1200||Y||Jun 2014||3,299||ebay.com|
|6.||Nikon Df||144 mm||110 mm||67 mm||760 g||1400||Y||Nov 2013||2,749||ebay.com|
|7.||Nikon D800||146 mm||123 mm||82 mm||1000 g||900||Y||Feb 2012||2,999||ebay.com|
|8.||Nikon D800E||146 mm||123 mm||82 mm||1000 g||900||Y||Feb 2012||3,299||ebay.com|
|9.||Nikon D3S||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1240 g||4200||Y||Oct 2009||5,199||ebay.com|
|10.||Nikon D300S||147 mm||115 mm||81 mm||938 g||950||Y||Jul 2009||1,799||ebay.com|
|11.||Nikon D3X||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1260 g||4400||Y||Dec 2008||7,999||ebay.com|
|12.||Nikon D3||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1300 g||4300||Y||Aug 2007||4,999||ebay.com|
|13.||Nikon D300||147 mm||114 mm||74 mm||925 g||1000||Y||Aug 2007||1,799||ebay.com|
|14.||Sony RX1R II||113 mm||65 mm||72 mm||507 g||220||n||Oct 2015||3,299||amazon.com|
|15.||Sony A7R||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||465 g||340||Y||Oct 2013||2,299||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony A3000||128 mm||91 mm||85 mm||411 g||470||n||Aug 2013||329||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony RX1||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Sep 2012||2,799||ebay.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The RX1R was launched at a lower price than the D700, despite having a lens built in. 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.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies 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.
Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the RX1R offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixels, compared with 12.1 MP of the D700. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 5.97μm versus 8.43μm for the D700). However, it should be noted that the RX1R is much more recent (by 4 years and 11 months) than the D700, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the RX1R has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Sony RX1R implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the RX1R for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D700 are 21.3 x 14.2 inches or 54.1 x 36 cm for good quality, 17 x 11.3 inches or 43.2 x 28.8 cm for very good quality, and 14.2 x 9.4 inches 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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-102400.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 RX1R offers substantially better image quality than the D700 (overall score 11 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.5 bits higher color depth, 1.4 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.1 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.
|1.||Nikon D700||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||none||23.5||12.2||2303||80|
|2.||Sony RX1R||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||13.6||2537||91|
|3.||Canon 5D||Full Frame||12.7||4368||2912||none||22.9||11.1||1368||71|
|4.||Leica X Typ 113||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.6||12.8||1491||78|
|5.||Nikon D810||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.7||14.8||2853||97|
|6.||Nikon Df||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||none||24.6||13.1||3279||89|
|7.||Nikon D800||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/30p||25.3||14.4||2853||95|
|8.||Nikon D800E||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/30p||25.6||14.3||2979||96|
|9.||Nikon D3S||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||720/24p||23.5||12.0||3253||82|
|11.||Nikon D3X||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||24.7||13.7||1992||88|
|12.||Nikon D3||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||none||23.5||12.2||2290||81|
|14.||Sony RX1R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||1080/60p||25.8||13.9||3204||97|
|15.||Sony A7R||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.6||14.1||2746||95|
|17.||Sony RX1||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.1||14.3||2534||93|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The RX1R indeed provides for movie recording, while the D700 does not. The highest resolution format that the RX1R can use is 1080/60p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D700 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the RX1R relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the RX1R can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the FDA-EV1MK. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon D700 and Sony RX1R along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Nikon D700||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.0/s||Y||n|
|2.||Sony RX1R||optional||n||3.0 / 1229||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|3.||Canon 5D||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0/s||n||n|
|4.||Leica X Typ 113||optional||n||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/2000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|5.||Nikon D810||optical||Y||3.2 / 1229||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|6.||Nikon Df||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.5/s||n||n|
|7.||Nikon D800||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|8.||Nikon D800E||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|9.||Nikon D3S||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0/s||n||n|
|10.||Nikon D300S||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||7.0/s||Y||n|
|11.||Nikon D3X||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|12.||Nikon D3||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0/s||n||n|
|13.||Nikon D300||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|14.||Sony RX1R II||2360||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|15.||Sony A7R||2400||n||3.0 / 1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||4.0/s||n||n|
|16.||Sony A3000||202||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|17.||Sony RX1||optional||n||3.0 / 1229||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One feature that is present on the D700, but is missing on the RX1R is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.
The Nikon D700 has 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 RX1R uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards.
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 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Nikon D700||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Sony RX1R||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon 5D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Leica X Typ 113||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Nikon D810||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||-||-|
|6.||Nikon Df||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Nikon D800||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Nikon D800E||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Nikon D3S||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Nikon D300S||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Nikon D3X||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Nikon D3||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Nikon D300||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Sony RX1R II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|15.||Sony A7R||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony A3000||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Sony RX1||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D700 (unlike the RX1R) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the D700 and the RX1R have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The D700 was replaced by the Nikon D800, while the RX1R was followed by the Sony RX1R II. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon and Sony websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Nikon D700 better than the Sony RX1R or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D700:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1000 versus 270) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in July 2008).
Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1R:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 12.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 41%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (11 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.5 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.4 EV of extra DR).
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p video.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 922k dots).
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the D700 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (113x65mm vs 147x123mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the D700).
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 4 years and 11 months of technical progress since the D700 launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the RX1R emerges as the winner of the match-up (13 : 11 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D700 and the Sony RX1R place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Prime Lens Compact Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D700 or the RX1R. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). 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.
|1.||Nikon D700||..||89/100||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2008||2,999||ebay.com|
|2.||Sony RX1R||5/5||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||2,799||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon 5D||..||88/100||..||+ +||o||..||Aug 2005||3,299||ebay.com|
|4.||Leica X Typ 113||3.5/5||..||..||..||3.5/5||4/5||Sep 2014||2,295||ebay.com|
|5.||Nikon D810||5/5||..||5/5||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||3,299||ebay.com|
|6.||Nikon Df||4/5||..||..||81/100||4/5||4/5||Nov 2013||2,749||ebay.com|
|7.||Nikon D800||5/5||+ +||..||82/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2012||2,999||ebay.com|
|8.||Nikon D800E||..||..||..||84/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2012||3,299||ebay.com|
|9.||Nikon D3S||5/5||..||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2009||5,199||ebay.com|
|10.||Nikon D300S||5/5||+ +||..||82/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||1,799||ebay.com|
|11.||Nikon D3X||..||..||..||86/100||4/5||5/5||Dec 2008||7,999||ebay.com|
|12.||Nikon D3||..||..||..||+ +||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||4,999||ebay.com|
|13.||Nikon D300||..||+ +||..||+ +||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,799||ebay.com|
|14.||Sony RX1R II||5/5||..||..||82/100||..||4.5/5||Oct 2015||3,299||amazon.com|
|15.||Sony A7R||5/5||+ +||..||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||2,299||ebay.com|
|16.||Sony A3000||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Aug 2013||329||ebay.com|
|17.||Sony RX1||5/5||..||..||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,799||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
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 a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Nikon D700 vs Sony RX1R
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 Model||Nikon D700||Sony RX1R|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||35mm f/2.0|
|Launch Date||July 2008||June 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 2,999||USD 2,799|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D700||Sony RX1R|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||36.0 x 23.9 mm||35.8 x 23.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||860.4 mm2||855.62 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.2 mm||43 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12.1 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4256 x 2832 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||8.43 μm||5.97 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.40 MP/cm2||2.80 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 25,600 ISO||50 - 102,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||EXPEED||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||80||91|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.5||25.0|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.2||13.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||2303||2537|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D700||Sony RX1R|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||922k dots||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D700||Sony RX1R|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/8000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||8 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D700||Sony RX1R|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Nikon D700||Sony RX1R|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1000 shots per charge||270 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
147 x 123 x 77 mm
(5.8 x 4.8 x 3.0 in)
113 x 65 x 70 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 2.8 in)
|Camera Weight||1074 g (37.9 oz)||482 g (17.0 oz)|
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