A: A wedding photographer’s sample images showed me what I needed to know. That is that the 5D Mk-II doesn’t really eclipse the D700 at ISO-800+. It is better, yes, but it doesn’t have a commanding lead over the Nikon.
Why is it relevant how big the lead is? When is better not better?
I agree that an imaging lead is a strong selling point, so long as the list of other pros and cons for each camera is comparable. The reality is that it isn’t that close however. The Nikon is a modern professional camera bristling with Nikon's latest technology, and much of the 5D Mk-II is from a twice-warmed-over 20D.
Here the relevant features of the D700 are:
1) Solid metal body with weather seals
2) 51-point grid AF with luminance/color tracking
3) Built-in i-TTL wireless flash commander, with free fill flash
4) Configurable Auto-ISO that combines intelligently with A/S/M modes
5) Coupling to Zeiss ZF with all metering modes, focus indication with direction and EXIF
If the sensor doesn’t make the sale on its own merits, then the 5D Mk-II has little that’s compelling in comparison. Its live view mode is more intelligently designed, okay.
Of course the wildcard here is the video feature. I will be the first to admit that I was really looking forward to it. I may be a very conservative photographer, but I relish the challenge of making professional-quality video with everything that entails (e.g. planning, lighting, placement, focus, editing).
This said, still photography comes first and the 5D Mk-II was not the best still camera package from my point of view, so my amateur career in video will have to wait.
There. It’s said.