Hey LahLahSr, thanks for the reply,
Yep, I had a medical scare with my eyes last year and so had to cancel my odyssey into photography.
Fortunately my sight has remained bar a small blotch on my left eye which only slightly affects my vision.
I realise that the D700 is 'last gen' and that croppers have improved with time, (those that have updated their sensors that is), personally that doesn't worry me too much unless we're talking about a D800.
I freely admit that there's a huge 'want' factor in owning and using a D700 but there's also the controls/buttons reason that you mentioned.
With the D700 you spend way less time navigating your way through menus while staring at the back of your camera.
Basically, it's easier to use in terms of the basic functions.
Cost and Purpose; Well I suppose it is a little expensive but I can afford it.
Purpose wise, I can't claim that I currently print that many photos a year but I haven't really begun to shoot seriously yet, (no real camera), so I don't know.
I am pretty keen and have a lot of time to put into it though.
At the end of the day I suppose I have two choices, buy a D5100 - D90 - D7K , start on my photography journey & upgrade later if I need or want to.
Buy a D700 and go forth shooting until the shutter falls out at which point the D800 prices may have come back to earth and pick one up then.
Using a D5100 to absorb much of my beginner talent wouldn't be a bad thing.