Nikon has officially confirmed the launch of its second FX-format digital SLR in the shape of the 12.1-million-pixel D700 - billed as an 'affordable' full-frame model.

Nikon has officially confirmed the launch of its second FX-format digital SLR in the shape of the 12.1-million-pixel D700 – billed as an ‘affordable’ full-frame model.

Features borrowed from the flagship D3 include an FX-format CMOS imaging sensor and EXPEED image processing engine aimed at delivering a top equivalent ISO sensitivity of ‘25600’.

Like the D3, launched last year, the sensor measures 36×23.9mm – enabling the D700 to capture images similar in size to a frame of 35mm film.

Unlike the D3, the newcomer carries a price some £1,400 less than its big brother cost when first launched. The D700 will cost a penny under £2,000 (body only) when it goes on sale this month.

‘The biggest market will be those who have have been waiting for a full-frame affordable camera,’ a Nikon UK spokesman told journalists at the launch in central London.

The D700 is also aimed at photographers seeking a back-up camera for their D3, as well as studio photographers, he added.

Marketed as a lighter, more compact version of the D3 ? yet with ‘uncompromising specification’ – the D700’s weaponry includes the same 51-point AF system. This includes 15 cross-type sensors in the three centre rows.

Live View operation is also featured, along with a 3in LCD monitor carrying a resolution of ‘920,000’ dots.

The camera’s 40millisecond shutter release time lag and 0.12sec start-up time gives it a ‘speed, response and power’ to rival the D3, adds the D700’s 24-page marketing brochure.

Also on board is an Integrated Dust Reduction System similar to that on board the Nikon D300, a model which it sits above in the range.

Nikon explained that the D700 can deliver a burst speed of five frames per second (fps). Though less than the 9fps on the D3, this rate can be boosted to eight fps when using the optional Multi-Power Battery Pack.

The D700’s body is built of a thicker magnesium alloy construction than the D300. ‘So, it is more rugged for the professional lifestyle we envisage it being used for,’ according to the firm.

Nikon explained that the D700 has weather-proofing comparable to its F6 film-based model, adding that it excels the D300 and is ‘not far behind the D3’ in this respect.

The viewfinder provides 95% frame coverage and the new model incorporates three AF modes: Single-point AF; Dynamic-area AF and Auto-area AF, designed to equip the user for different shooting situations.

The D700 weighs 995g (without battery) and measures 147x123x77mm.

We understand that the camera will be available in a kit form at a later date but, initially, it will be sold on a body only basis.

Nikon has also unwrapped a new flashgun, the SB-900, which it claims is ‘ almost future proof’. This is because customers will be able to upgrade the unit through future firmware updates.

Improvements on the new flash unit (priced £349.99) include the ability for the flash to cover a 17-200mm focal length range, easier operation of wireless flash and a better LCD display.

Click here for the full Nikon D700 UK specifications

Nikon D700images of the D700 see the next page.

Nikon D700Nikon D700