1 bloody good reason to try the camera before you buy

The answer is PAIN.

I recently upgraded cam­eras and pur­chased a Nikon D700. It’s an awe­some cam­era and I love it except for one thing…it does not feel great in my hand. In fact, after using it for a month it has been caus­ing me a good deal of pain in my shoot­ing hand.


I should know bet­ter, I coun­cil peo­ple to try before they buy and yet I did not fully lis­ten to my own advice. Here’s what hap­pened — I actu­ally tried the D700 for a week­end 4 months ago. On that week­end I shot with the D700 for two peri­ods of about 1 hour and my hand felt fine. I did notice that it was a heavy cam­era but I felt fine so I fig­ured all was good.


I mean when I go out to shoot nor­mally, on a gig or for plea­sure, I USUALLY shoot for 3–4 hours (plus plus). So test­ing on 2 peri­ods of 1 hour was a huge mis­take. But I was in a “rush” to test the cam­era as it was only on loan for the weekend..and week­ends are often busy.


Before you spend a whack of cash on a cam­era, test it for the length of time that you nor­mally shoot with. Try­ing it in the store or for an hour is bet­ter than noth­ing but it’s not an accu­rate test. Rent the cam­era you intend to buy for a week­end espe­cially if it is an expen­sive cam­era. Many larger brick and mor­tar cam­era stores will deduct the rental price off your new cam­era if you end up buy­ing it. For my own case, I think adding a bat­tery grip will solve the prob­lem as it will take the excess weight off my shoot­ing hand and divide it more evenly.….but this could have been avoided if I had fully fol­lowed my own advice.


  1. jimmy brown says:

    For what it’s worth. I love my D700. I love the weight when it comes to hand held shots. I love the larger size and feel in the hand. It took months to adjust to the fact that every adjust­ment and lens removal twist direc­tions are the oppo­site to Canon cam­eras. But now the D700 feels the norm. I think I will stay on the Dark Side ! — jimmy

  2. Victor says:

    Admit­tedly it’s my com­pany, but this frus­tra­tion is exactly why I started DabNab.com. Cam­eras are such a per­sonal pref­er­ence item that no amount of reviews or tes­ti­mo­ni­als will tell you what works best for you. Nikon is sup­pos­edly the king of ergonom­ics, but as you point out, not every­one shares the love. You should ABSOLUTELY try before you buy any expen­sive camera.

  3. f8&Bthere says:

    As one who also recently upgraded to a D700, I find this post inter­est­ing. Is it the weight of the cam­era, or just the ergonom­ics? I guess the lat­ter if you’re con­sid­er­ing adding a grip to the equa­tion. But even on smaller bod­ies, the pro glass, lenses like the 70–200/2.8, even on a D90 can not only make things heavy but also some­what imbal­anced. And as for ergonom­ics, I didn’t think the designs between brands were that dif­fer­ent. Sure, dif­fer­ent grip con­tours and maybe some dif­fer­ent but­ton place­ment, but all pretty much the same thing, no? I haven’t shot with mine for any long peri­ods, and a lot of what I do is tri­pod mounted. But I guess I’ll find out soon enough!

  4. WickedDark says:

    Funny you should men­tion this, Marko, I recently moved to a weight­ier cam­era and lens combo and that added to much more shoot­ing has resulted in some local­ized pain — the 2nd joint of my right thumb. That’s all but it’s weird. I can live with it though, the E-30 & the 12–60 are worth it.

  5. Michael says:

    I carry it in my right hand always and the pain I’ve tol­er­ated for the last few months while still there is eas­ing up a lot. I car­ried my old E-3 the same way, neck strap wrapped around the wrist while my hand held the grip, it was a heavy beast also but the d700 took pain to new lev­els as it’s quite a bit heav­ier. A real pic­nic for me now is walk­ing around with the d90…Sort of like car­ry­ing around a big mac and fries…OK…And a cou­ple of milk shakes…LARGE! Add to this count­less hours of mou­s­ing and you can eas­ily become a semi invalid.

  6. kkjensen says:

    Exer­cise man! Rent a big honker of a lens and use it for a few hours, then go back to your reg­u­lar run-around glass. You’ll feel liberated!

    I’ve got the D300 and notice a bit of sore­ness the first few days I used it. Mostly because my pre­vi­ous cam­era, a D60, was soooo small and light I was used to wield­ing it in an near point-and-shoot man­ner, with just one hand. Bring on the big guns and this hand needed some help. Now I am becom­ing accus­tomed to using my right hand for con­trols and my left for sup­port­ing the major­ity of the weight…much better.

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