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My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated

Zevi

Ann Arbor, US
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Zevi Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Feb 2008
Thu 13-Oct-11 04:16 PM

Greetings!

First, heads-up: this request for advice/opinion may involve some speculation or guessing. Some people can get really irked if asked for such opinion without having 100% of the data at hand; if that is the case, please accept my apologies and just ignore this thread.

OK, now that we got this out of the way, I'd like to ask for your opinion/hear your thoughts regarding my next body/lens(es). Although I'm not convinced that it will be FX, I am posting this question here because I assume that "almost all FX users have/had DX," while the reverse is not true.

I'm considering the options for moving out of my D80 to a new body and some new glass in the near future. I was tempted by the D7000, but somehow the body just didn't feel right in my (big) hands. I can't say exactly why -- but I didn't really get excited about it. Although older, the D300 excited me more when I held it. I had a chance to try the D700, and I loved how it felt, not to mention how it performed (but I'm preaching to the choir here, I know...)

So, this is what I have in mind: glass upgrade to 24-70 f/2.8, and 70-200 f/2.8 VR2, and a new body. I've been drooling over these lenses for quite some time, and in fact -- I just rented such a pair to try them out.

Body options that I consider are in the $2000 range: a good used D700 or wait for the new (with specs TBD) D400 when it comes. Although the above two lenses I mentioned are FX, I really don't think it necessarily points to the D700 as the obvious choice. My photo interests are quite diverse: the usual family, kids & pets, landscape & nature, sports & aviation.

So, with that in mind, I would really appreciate hearing from those of you who were seriously exposed to both FX and DX -- if you had to pick just one -- which body would it be? Get the known-technology D700 in the immediate future, or wait for the unknown DX later on? On one hand, if the D7000 is any indication, the D400 is expected to really shine; on the other hand you may say "no matter how good the DX is, I will never give up my FX for it."

Of course we can just wait and see what the D400 looks like, but I'd really like to see what you think about it, even with some speculation/guessing involved.

Thank you,
Zevi

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ericlsoft

Stockholm, SE
371 posts

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#1. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 0

ericlsoft Registered since 13th Jul 2007
Thu 13-Oct-11 02:39 PM

As background, I have a D3 as my main camera, a D90 as my backup and vacation camera, and a D2x that used to be my main camera.

- FX cameras perform better in low light, all other factors being equal.

- FX cameras have bigger and brighter viewfinder image. You have a much better chance of noticing and correcting AF errors, especially in low light.

- Given your varied interests, a DX camera means buying a 12-24mm or similar lens, in addition to what you are already planning. If you switch to FX later on, this lens will be dead weight. Personally, I would rather spend that money on something else.

blw

Richmond, US
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#2. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 1

blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004
Thu 13-Oct-11 03:09 PM

> a DX camera means buying a 12-24mm or similar lens

His profile shows that he already owns the Nikkor 12-24/f4.

> this lens will be dead weight

No it isn't, it just means that it would likely be sold. There's a very vigorous market for used lenses such as this. My experience with this is that DX ultra-wides that are priced appropriately will sell very quickly. (I sold three of them over time and all of them went within two or three days.)

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nrothschild

US
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#3. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 0

nrothschild Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Registered since 25th Jul 2004
Thu 13-Oct-11 03:16 PM | edited Thu 13-Oct-11 03:19 PM by nrothschild

My impressions are not unlike Eric. Where I can fully frame my subject (meaning for the most part anything but wildlife) I certainly prefer and use the D700.

In your prior discussion you were looking closely at the relative advantages of the bigger pixels inherent in the current D700 verses D300/D7000 offerings.

In good light where you can shoot base ISO I think most people would have trouble distinguishing the images between current FX/DX. Where it is obvious to me is in dark (underexposed) out of focus bokeh or blue sky where the D700 at ISO 200 really excels. But you generally only see it when looking at or near 100% on the screen or maybe making prints and it is certainly of a minor enough nature that a little noise reduction will take care of it. I mention it mainly just to point out differences and to me those differences are fairly minute except at the extreme.

Lenses for an FX sensor are expensive. The 70-200 is a good all around lens and I use it on FX and DX. There is not really a DX alternative (at f/2.8).

The 24-70 is a great lens- I have one and love it. I did not love it on DX because it is not wide enough for what I want out of a wide-short tele zoom. The 17-55 is a more usable range for my own use. The 24-70 is quite a bit more expensive but it may be worth it within the range it covers even on DX. I don't know much about the 17-55 except I read more disparity of opinions than I read for the 24-70.

The biggest problem is replacing your 12-24 DX lens, where you do not have many choices in the Nikkor line except the again very expensive 14-24. And it is this lens that makes FX very expensive.

Beyond that whatever you do past 200mm (or 280 or so with a TC on the 70-200) you will generally need to spend much more money and carry a much bigger lens to get a comparable field of view at the same wide open aperture. For example, on FX you would need a 300/2.8 to equal the long end of the 70-200 on DX.

I think you have to balance the very incremental increase in quality you get from FX in good light against the very real excessive cost. I love FX but it was an expensive adventure. I use it enough in difficult low light situations that I don't regret the decision but if I spent most of my time at base ISO I might have some regrets in terms of economics.

What I am trying to say is that you need to be careful about applying what you read about those "bigger, higher quality pixels" in current FX offerings to the real world reality of diminishing returns because DX is very good and the D7000 shows that it is getting even better.

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ericlsoft

Stockholm, SE
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#4. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 2

ericlsoft Registered since 13th Jul 2007
Thu 13-Oct-11 03:23 PM

I live in Sweden where there is currently one Nikon 12-24mm for sale, and it is a disguised ad for a photo store that of course has this and many other lenses for sale... But if Zevi can sell his 12-24mm easily, this is money that can be used towards the purchase of an FX camera

ericlsoft

Stockholm, SE
371 posts

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#5. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 3

ericlsoft Registered since 13th Jul 2007
Thu 13-Oct-11 03:42 PM

Hmm, it seems that Nikon has discontinued the 17-35mm/2.8 without offering any alternative! This doesn't make any sense to me - this lens was sold out for months when it came out, and for a reason! It is a very practical range and the lens is excellent. The 14-24mm is not an alternative, it is huge, heavy, does not take filters, and above all it only goes to 24mm. There is the 16-35mm but it only opens to f/4, although I guess this is fine in most cases (I shoot events so I often use the 17-35mm at f/2.8).

This being said, with an FX camera one does not automatically need a shorter focal length than 24mm. I know people who have nothing wider and don't mind. With DX I think it is fair to say that most people will want something shorter than 24mm x 1.5.

I completely agree about the teles. I groan every time I have to carry the 300mm/2.8, and it also takes forever to pack and re-pack - and of course it costs a fortune. DX makes a lot of sense for small or shy animals.

ericbowles

Atlanta, US
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#6. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 5

ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005
Thu 13-Oct-11 04:25 PM

One comment related to the 16-35. I also shoot events and have found that VR is a really nice plus. There are also some places where VR works well for landscape. For example, I bought my 16-35 specifically to address images from a canoe or boat. The f/4 aperture is not an issue for most situations.

The 14-24 is a wonderful lens - te best in terms of quality. But the 16-35 has its place. It also uses filters - which is nice for photographing moving water and using a Vari-N-Duo or CP.

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nrothschild

US
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#7. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 5

nrothschild Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Registered since 25th Jul 2004
Thu 13-Oct-11 05:00 PM

I forgot about the 16-35 when I wrote that. I'm sure it's a fine lens and is every bit as good as the DX alternatives for similar field of view. I still think, on average, FX tends to lead to much higher expenditures on glass, simply based on the number of times I see it mentioned here in that context.

It does lead to one other point. I think, in general, it is true that even when spending more for more "professional" FX lenses, in most cases there are more issues with corner sharpness and vignetting and maybe linear distortion with FX lenses. Those issues do not bother me too much but again, just from what I read I think I see a fair amount of disappointing upgraders to FX that discover that it is harder to find a "perfect" FX lens across the entire frame even considering the focal length on DX has to be 2/3 wider for the same field of view.

Or it may just be that a lot of people go for upgraded FX glass and discover those problems do not go away even though they've upgrade to a higher level lens. I'm trying not to get into specifics. I'm just saying that those things should be researched ahead of time if they are important, and compared to whatever frame of reference one has with his existing DX lenses.

This is especially true when shooting FX lenses on DX like the 70-200 because all the vignetting in the lens was out of the frame, as well as any corner softness that may be visible on FX.

I think one of the reasons people like the 14-24 so much is that, aside from linear distortion at the extreme wide end it is pretty much a perfect optic across the frame? I'm not lucky enough to own one to say for sure

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ericlsoft

Stockholm, SE
371 posts

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#8. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 6

ericlsoft Registered since 13th Jul 2007
Thu 13-Oct-11 05:08 PM

Interesting! I had not thought that VR would work on boats - good to know! Do you use the dynamic or regular VR setting? I am guessing regular since a boat moves slowly.

The events I shoot are strictly on firm ground so I would rather have one stop of extra light than VR for a wide-angle lens. Below 1/30 and at ~20mm, subject blur far exceeds handshake, especially people moving from the left of the image to the right or vice-versa. Sometimes it looks cool and dynamic and sometimes it just looks bad, like a group shot where two people are in motion while the rest are static.

I was one of the guys who kept walking into camera stores and asking if they happened to have the 17-35mm due to accidental cancellation, unexpected arrival of more units than expected or other divine intervention... This lens has been SO convenient that it is hard to think back to the time when it did not exist and I carried an array of primes and kept swapping - or just left it all at home and took the 20mm only. But the vignetting and general lack of sharpness at f/2.8 is a disappointment in the evening or indoors. I would gladly buy a 17-35mm/2.8 II that delivered the optical quality of the 14-24mm in a more practical focal range and with a filter thread.

Zevi

Ann Arbor, US
340 posts

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#9. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 4

Zevi Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Feb 2008
Thu 13-Oct-11 05:53 PM

As indicated, I do have the 12-24 DX, which at some point will have to be replaced if I go with FX.

However, it is not of an immediate concern: In addition to the high quality and sharpness of this lens, reviewers clearly note that "...the 12-24mm can be used on a 35mm body from about 18-24mm." (quote from Thom Hogan).

12-24 on DX is equivalent to effective 18-36 FX; so at 18-24mm usable range of this lens on the FX body, I "lose" the effective 24-36 mm range (will be covered by the 24-70mm). Indeed, now I will not have the usable lower end (labeled "12-18") of this lens, but I never really had this range on the DX (should have zoom range down to 8mm).

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ericbowles

Atlanta, US
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#10. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 8

ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005
Thu 13-Oct-11 06:01 PM

I use regular VR from boats. The critical images are things like sunsets where light is low and you need the benefit of VR.

For events, I find people ar ebetter with the 24-70, but environmental images of an entire room or a stage can work with the 16-35. For that situation I need as much depth of field as possible - typically f/4 to f/5.6. I'll increase ISO, but in some situations I am still shooting at 1/8 sec. The 24-70 is the main lens. For big rooms the 70-200 is also used. The 16-35 is just for a few shots - and VR does not helpwith moving subjects.


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Zevi

Ann Arbor, US
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#11. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 7

Zevi Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Feb 2008
Thu 13-Oct-11 06:20 PM

(Neil, I almost feel that we moved from room #1 to room #2 to continue the discussion... Thanks for your insight!)

Actually, this reminds me that I neglected to mentioned in my original post my primary motivation to move to a new body: low-light performance. When I started to consider the D300, it was about the time the D7000 came out. With all the rave reviews it received about it's high-ISO capabilities, I started to re-think the D300. But I never really "clicked" with the D7000. With other life-events getting in the way, I sort of gravitated de-facto to wait for the D400. Then I realized that if I get these lenses I covet so much (24-70, 70-200) - I'm half-way to FX!

So here I am again: if the D7000 is any indication - the D400 could out-shine the D700 in IQ. And price-wise, they are expected to be the same ballpark. (Did that Thailand flood throw a giant monkey-wrench in my plans?...)

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nrothschild

US
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#12. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 11

nrothschild Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Registered since 25th Jul 2004
Thu 13-Oct-11 06:41 PM | edited Thu 13-Oct-11 07:18 PM by nrothschild

Here's my suggestion...

If you really love this avocation and you really want to shoot low light (like I do) and the money is not a huge issue then try to go FX. Especially if you are looking at those two lenses - 24-70 and 70-200. If you need to go a little longer then get a TC14.

I have gotten so many shots I could never get with my D300 just because of the ability to crank the ISO almost as high as I could want. It is actually to the point where they need to make the meters more sensitive because now instead of worrying about noise I have to worry about that "Lo" on my meter display

(I get by that though )

But at this point in time you are faced with the following:

1. If you get a D700 now, that is serious money (I think) and you may psychologically end up in a bad way if a successor is announced in the near future. And I know from experience that Nikon is very skilled at giving us reasons to upgrade. They may take more time than most people feel is "proper" to get an upgrade out but when they do it's always been good.

2. People have been waiting for a year or two already for a D700 upgrade and they are still waiting so that was a bad strategy for a lot of people.

3. As time goes on disaster #1 is statistically more likely than disaster #2

I can't help you on that .

One thing I would add is that I think there is a huge demand to step up the pixel count on FX in order to increase sensor density to more like we are accustomed to on DX. And also to deal with the simple realities of camera marketing where megapixels is the top selling point. I suspect 12 mpx is a tough sell these days in big box land.

That means that further meaningful increases in low noise performance may take a back seat to more pixels, which may be good or bad if you wait. And of course this is all total speculation.

P.S. Now you have your own room all to yourself and your invited guests

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Neil


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ericlsoft

Stockholm, SE
371 posts

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#13. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 10

ericlsoft Registered since 13th Jul 2007
Thu 13-Oct-11 07:20 PM | edited Thu 13-Oct-11 07:36 PM by ericlsoft

I always show up long enough in advance to scout the location (unless I know it well) and I will then shoot "stills," usually around 17-20mm. People have not arrived yet so I can get the DOF I need with low speeds. Then I swap out of the 17-35mm for good, except that if there are more people than expected I will make crowd shoots to show that the event was a success. And this is when I would shoot at f/2.8 because by the time people have arrived it is usually starting to get dark or has been dark for a couple hours. Or someone might get the idea that I need to make a group shot of team XYZ now that everyone has arrived, and I will need something wider than my trusty 85mm/1.4. Otherwise I don't use wide angles at all, but one invariably gets picked as a background or backdrop or crowd shot. So in a way these shots are important because I only make a dozen or so but I know one will be picked.

I have a genetic disorder so I often bring the 300mm/2.8 to events. It has the side effect of giving me control over other photographers because everyone wants to borrow it for a few test shots So I am much less likely to get elbowed by people with a Nikon camera

Click on image to view larger version

D3, 300mm/2.8@2.8, 3200 ISO, 1/60 sec, exp -1 adjustment

This was as "pitch dark" as it ever gets before people start tripping on each other and security comes in with flashlights.
Attachment#1 (jpg file)

ericlsoft

Stockholm, SE
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#14. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 11

ericlsoft Registered since 13th Jul 2007
Thu 13-Oct-11 07:33 PM

As background to my coming advice , I own a lot of lenses, but I do almost all my shooting with just three of them:

1. 17-35mm/2.8 from... 2001?

2. 85mm/1.4 from 2001 as well I think, replacing the 85mm/1.8 from 1989 or so.

3. 180mm/2.8 from 1988.

Other than the big teles that I could not afford when I was young, my only lens acquisition since ~2001 was a 14mm/2.8 from before FX and before the 12-24mm existed. Going from film to DX, I was going crazy with the lack of wide angles and bought this lens in desperation. I almost never use the 14mm but when I do it is usually for the whole shoot - it is very handy for shooting office space for instance.

So my advice is to invest in premium FX lenses because they will probably last you a lifetime barring accidents, and you will not regret buying them. When I was young I bought lenses like the 24-50mm/3.5-4.5 because I could afford them. I do not regret this, these were the lenses available back then and for the budget I had. But I have not used these lenses since the 80s or maybe early 90s.

I hate buying DX lenses because I don't know if Nikon will even sell DX cameras 10 years from now. FX lenses work on DX, that makes them a safer buy.

The lenses are or at least can be life-long investments. The bodies, well...

nrothschild

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#15. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 13

nrothschild Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Registered since 25th Jul 2004
Thu 13-Oct-11 07:33 PM

That's a wildlife lens, not a portrait lens.

But I guess that's ok since she's wearing rabbit ears, or something like that

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blw

Richmond, US
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#16. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 9

blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004
Thu 13-Oct-11 07:35 PM

> ...the 12-24mm can be used on a 35mm body from about 18-24mm.

Sure, and how good is the corner quality on FX? Since the lens is designed (and priced) for DX, it's hard to imagine Nikon putting a lot of resources into optimizing FX corner quality. I certainly can say that the 17-55's FX corner quality is surely not up to Nikon standards, even though it too covers FX from 28-55.

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ericlsoft

Stockholm, SE
371 posts

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#17. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 15

ericlsoft Registered since 13th Jul 2007
Thu 13-Oct-11 07:38 PM

Well, maybe we all define wildlife differently Another shot where the 300mm/2.8 came in handy. Who said you can't shoot one in church? I would never have gotten these skin tones with the D90. It would have been green and blue and red pixels.

Click on image to view larger version


Attachment#1 (jpg file)

ericlsoft

Stockholm, SE
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#18. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 16

ericlsoft Registered since 13th Jul 2007
Thu 13-Oct-11 07:48 PM

The corner quality of the premium pro 17-35mm/2.8 SUCKS unless you go to f/5.6-8 depending on focal length. I think this may be why the 14-24mm is so popular, people say it is good corner-to-corner. I have just about every wide angle prime and the only seriously good one is the 35mm/2. Actually, the 14mm/2.8 was surprisingly good given the extreme focal length. But I think poor corner quality is a fact of life with wide-angle zooms, the 14-24mm being arguably the exception. I wish I could borrow it for a couple days to find out.

nrothschild

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#19. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 17

nrothschild Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Registered since 25th Jul 2004
Thu 13-Oct-11 08:12 PM | edited Thu 13-Oct-11 08:16 PM by nrothschild

Both beautiful images . You're right I need to get out more. My definitions are all wrong now.

I've never used my 300 for portraiture. It's a bit short for wildlife and I have a better (longer) tool for that job. And it's rather big and bulky for the few events I do. I have a venue where I was thinking about bringing it but it's a long (and generally very dusty) 9 hour day and I'm not sure what to do with it when I'm not using it. It's not like the 24-70 or 85/1.4 sitting out of sight and out of mind in a ThinkTank pouch on my belt. I thought about using my GlassTaxi maybe.

That might seem a little bit like thread drift but it really isn't because it brings up some interesting aspects of FX vs DX.

If I am shooting DX I can use my 70-200 and get the same shot, with the same reach, and same shutter speed that I get with the D700 + 300/2.8. So that seems like a very bad deal because not only do I need a $6000 lens instead of a $2000 lens, I need the $2000 lens anyway because who can live without a 70-200?

You can put a TC on the DX/200mm lens but then you're at f/4 (hold that thought).

But then consider that with FX you "lose" a stop of depth of field if you shoot a lens at 1.5x focal length. You could not do on DX what Eric did with the above two images without a 200 f/2 and now you are more or less back where you started . And of course, you could put a 200/2 on an FX body and do some really insane things with it too that you could never do on DX since there are no 135/1.4 lenses to set up the same depth of field at the same shooting distance and perspective.

That's one of the subtle interesting benefits of FX and it applies to all focal lengths so, for example, you can do things with an 84/1.4 on FX you can't do with DX simply because there is no f/1 lens around the equivalent 50-55mm range (or any focal length, of course).

It's also the insanity that drives people like Eric to go out and do portraiture with a 300/2.8 . That afflicts a lot of FX shooters so be careful . It's part of that lens affliction I mentioned before.

There is a potential downside (there always is ). Ironically you buy a D700 for low light performance. But since you lose a stop of depth of field at any given aperture, in the case where you are trying to shoot more than one person you generally need more depth of field, not less, which forces you to stop down an extra stop beyond what you need for DX, mitigating that noise benefit . There is a reason Eric's images have only one person in them

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nrothschild

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#20. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 9

nrothschild Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Registered since 25th Jul 2004
Thu 13-Oct-11 08:36 PM

Speaking from experience, actually trying to get quality images from the 12-24 on FX is an exercise in frustration.

At best, what you see in the viewfinder is something like a fisheye effect because the edges are completely vignetted. Somewhere inside the vignette is the clean area but it is difficult to figure out exactly where that is when you are looking through the viewfinder and likely concentrating on your subject.

The biggest problem is that this extreme softness just outside the DX boundary follows the zoom. In other words, there is no more good area at 24mm than there is at 18mm. You might pick up 1mm or a tad more than you would get in DX mode, at any focal length.

In principle, you can shoot a scene and go home and crop in until you find the clean area.

If you misjudge, though, you mis-frame the scene and lose something important.

There "may" be some usable area outside the DX area but if I do shoot that lens on FX I simplify my life, guarantee I will get the usable framing I want and just shoot it in DX mode. Since I shot a 4 mpx D2h almost exclusively for 4 years the idea of "only" having 5.2 mpx doesn't bother me as much as it might other people.

Obviously this is not the way to shoot a landscape intended for a 40x60 poster sized print .

I somewhat question if Thom ever actually tried to use the 12-24 on FX in real life because his suggestion seems a bit theoretical to me, not considering how quickly the image degrades just beyond the DX boundary.


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ericlsoft

Stockholm, SE
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#21. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 19

ericlsoft Registered since 13th Jul 2007
Thu 13-Oct-11 08:44 PM

Thanks! But arguably, the background is still distracting in the church shot and would be even more distracting with a DX sensor. I would love to win a 200mm/2 at the Nikon Spam Lottery or something, but as for buying one, the truth is that it is only useful for a specific set of conditions, at least for what I usually shoot. The 300mm/2.8 is enormously useful if you bring a pair of teleconverters, and it is short enough to fit in a standard full-size bag - and I am a mule. Heavy, yes, but hard to pack and bring along, surprisingly not!

I would not have gotten either shot with the 180mm/2.8 because the AF just isn't fast enough in low light vs. the subjects' rapid movements (both shots are candids). I would not have gotten them with the 70-200mm/2.8 because I already determined many years ago that the value/weight ratio of that lens is below my motivation factor given the hand-holding versatility of the 180mm/2.8. Granted, the 180mm won't get every shot but if you know how to work around the AF in low light, it will in fact get almost every shot and 6h+ of lifting the 70-200mm, no way! I used the 300mm in the church because I had just bought it like 2 days before , and because it was a big church and the priest kept frowning at the sound of my camera so I figured I should go spend some quality time in a dark shadow near the back of the church. It worked so well that I started bringing it to events in larger venues. It works amazingly well when you stop telling yourself that it is an absurd idea During a break, another photographer spent 10 min telling me that the 70-200mm was better and more versatile until I put my monopod in his hand and told him to take a few shots just for fun. He did and he said, "Ok, maybe not better but lighter. How much did you pay for it?"

I enclose two group shots with the 300mm/2.8 at f/2.8 And I know that not everyone is in pin-sharp focus but that is not always desirable. In fact, IMHO, it usually is not.

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ericlsoft

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#22. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 21

ericlsoft Registered since 13th Jul 2007
Thu 13-Oct-11 08:50 PM

Similar conditions with 300mm/4 so I have to go to 6400 ISO. It just isn't the same. You see the little red-green-blue dots, or a pattern of them, or something. Or maybe it is my eyes. This should have been a premium shot but I felt like I had missed the target

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nrothschild

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#23. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 22

nrothschild Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Registered since 25th Jul 2004
Thu 13-Oct-11 09:47 PM

So... let me get this straight... the 300/2.8 is easy to manage but the 70-200 is too heavy? Okeydokey

I sort of understand what you are saying. I use the zoom a lot on the 70-200 so the extra weight just comes with that territory, plus the VR is really handy.

Now, your first image of the fading line of young girls... that is really a solo portrait where isolating #1 really helps.

The flutist and the violinist is exactly where I have depth of field problems, and it is often with musicians (thinking about a venue where this comes up a lot). I wouldn't mind if one were well faded out but I don't like it when one person is just slightly out of focus. To me it doesn't look artistic; it just looks like I didn't stop down enough . Not to be critical but just to explain why I brought that up in the first place. We each have our thing and what we try to portray. The important point is that it's tough to do group shots at f/2.8 if you want everyone in focus and it just gets tougher on FX.

I don't see little red, green and blue dots in the last shot but I'll take your word for it . I don't like having to shoot 6400 if I'm trying to get a quality shot either. 3200 is my comfort zone, the same way 800 is about my zone on the D300 although 1600 is really pretty decent if I don't obsess too hard.

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ericlsoft

Stockholm, SE
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#24. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 23

ericlsoft Registered since 13th Jul 2007
Thu 13-Oct-11 10:19 PM

The 300/2.8 isn't heavy when on a monopod and is used from a relatively static position. I do move around to follow the action but it is lift monopod, move, anchor monopod. I am not mobile. At 180mm I am not far enough back to be static. Someone just said "Excuse me!" in my back and I have to yield. Sometimes I am static with the 180mm though. It depends, but I do have a choice. With the 70-200mm I cannot be mobile, not for the duration of a typical corporate event where the funny photo ops begin once everyone has had a few drinks. Oops, I hope nobody is reading this

I think the picture of the teenagers was the lineup at the end of the performance when everyone is applauding and so on. Theoretically they should all be sharp and posing but they had arranged themselves as a long fading line and it looked very nice in the viewfinder, so I hit the trigger and the AF did the rest.

The violinist location was absolutely ridiculous - some kind of historically authentic church like in the Viking days or whatever. There was some light when someone opened the door, then you got blinded for a couple seconds and then it was dark again. You can see the noise being out of control even on the mighty D3. Even then, I thought I saw a glimpse of light in the violinist's eye and I thought this would create a solo portrait and the AF did the rest. Everyone in the public was looking at me thinking I was the digital version of the idiot who has not even realized that has no film in his camera. I got this shot, they got artistic dark flakes in red, green and blue.

These are extreme pictures. Give me plenty of light and either the D3 or D90 will take great shots. I chose these shots because they are FX photo ops. I you always shoot in bright sunlight, it probably doesn't matter.

ericlsoft

Stockholm, SE
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#25. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 23

ericlsoft Registered since 13th Jul 2007
Thu 13-Oct-11 10:23 PM | edited Thu 13-Oct-11 10:26 PM by ericlsoft

Same historically accurate church, all-black subject, I decided to really brace myself against the massive stone pillars and hold my breath and so on and shoot at 3200 ISO instead. A bit of "artistic blur" (the boy was restless too!) but not as much digital grain.

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Zevi

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#26. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 20

Zevi Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Feb 2008
Thu 13-Oct-11 11:50 PM

Well, on the subject of using DX on FX, all I know is what I read. I don't have the FX body to try it. However, I should say that in addition to Thom (which I hold as credible), the usability of the 12-24 DX on a full-frame body was described here, and by Ken Rockwell.

How much did they really try it? I can't tell. But that's why I posted here, so that I can directly from people who really tried it.

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Zevi

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#27. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 14

Zevi Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Feb 2008
Thu 13-Oct-11 11:59 PM

Eric, I absolutely agree on the lens investment issue. That's why Im aiming to get the 24-70 and 70-200 even with a possible DX body. All I was saying is that the 12-24 DX on the FX body buys me some time; it is not too urgent to replace.
"A good glass is forever; A good body is novelty"...

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nrothschild

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#28. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 26

nrothschild Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Registered since 25th Jul 2004
Fri 14-Oct-11 10:13 AM

Here is an example of my 12-24, shot at 18mm f/11.

The cropping rectangle is what I consider the maximum usable area but that is certainly a matter of opinion and will vary. I am not hugely picky about corner softness but I would not use this image without some crop- it is only a matter of where to stop.

I also included a crop of original pixels of the lower left corner so you can decide for yourself how far you would go.

The dimensions of this crop is about 2344x3516. The D700 delivers 2832x4256. I calculate that my crop is equivalent to 22mm. Given all the uncertainties of framing I mentioned previously I usually just shoot 24mm on my 24-70. Or actually I use a 20/2.8 Ai instead.

Because the corners are bad at all focal lengths there is no point in shooting 19-24mm because then after cropping out the corners you would likely end up with 24mm equivalent or worse. Certainly shooting at 24mm would be counterproductive.

It will tide you over for awhile. It most likely will not be a permanent solution but maybe this image will help you make that decision before you dive into FX.

The edges along the long side are not bad. Because of that, you can make a decent 8x10 without additional crop, for example, because the 8x10 crop can naturally remove the bad corners.

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duncanrichards

Worthing, UK
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#29. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 0

duncanrichards Silver Member Nikonian since 03rd Jul 2011
Fri 14-Oct-11 04:09 PM

Hi Zevi

Ive just upgraded from D80 to D700 a week ago. I ordered the D700 for £1577 (not sure what that is in $) from One Stop Digital in Hong Kong with free shipping to UK and 1 yr warranty. Its heavy (almost double the D80) but just look at the quality, its sublime! The large viewfinder, weatherproofing and all round quality make it worth every penny (or cent!) plus you can use so many film era Nikon lenses from way back. I couldnt wait any longer for the D700 replacement (Id waited a year already), besides who needs 36mpx when the D700 files print large anyway.

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Zevi

Ann Arbor, US
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#30. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 28

Zevi Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Feb 2008
Fri 14-Oct-11 05:01 PM

Well, I will have to agree with you Neil about this one. It does show that this lens is not really useful outside the cropped area (focal length of 20mm, assuming your calculation is correct). I wonder why 18mm is the more widely-accepted limit. It could simply be because your standards as far as what's acceptable is higher, or an issue with the specific lens?

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nrothschild

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#31. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 30

nrothschild Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Registered since 25th Jul 2004
Fri 14-Oct-11 05:39 PM

If you are asking why I picked 18mm, I thought I covered that but let me be clearer.

If you set the lens to 24mm you will still have to crop some out if you shoot FX. So let's say you end with 28mm equivalent, just to pick a reasonable number (I have not computed that from a sample, but I could). You are clearly better off shooting the 24-70 or some other good 24mm FX lens and you will get corner to corner coverage that is at least usable if not perfect in the corners.

Remeber that even at 24mm, it is only designed to deliver that within the DX areas of the sensor, so that equates to 36mm FX. If it delivers 28mm or so on FX (after cropping) it is still delivering more than it was designed to do.

Assume my 22mm number is correct. You have the crop numbers to compute your own estimate, plus the image corner to verify my assessment of the "usable area". If you shoot at 20mm then you should end up somewhere around 24mm or greater and then surely you are better off with the 24-70.

Maybe I should post some other samples at other zoom settings, especially below 18mm where in theory you might think you can squeeze more out but my impression is that it is even more difficult to figure the right framing and it's just kind of ugly . If I get a chance I'll take another look.

If you had a 28-something lens or a 28mm prime as your widest FX prime then it might make more sense to do this and be more productive.

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nrothschild

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#32. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 31

nrothschild Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Registered since 25th Jul 2004
Fri 14-Oct-11 06:30 PM

Here is my best crop at 15mm, encompassing what I think is the usable area. The crop is 3024x2224 pixels or about 6.7 mpx, not much more than the 5.2 mpx you would get in regular DX mode. Once you go below 18mm or so the vignetting just gets worse and you lose pixels as fast as you might think you are picking up field of view, or something like that . This might be more or less equivalent to a 19mm field of view but you are losing a lot of pixels.

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ericbowles

Atlanta, US
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#33. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 32

ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005
Fri 14-Oct-11 08:37 PM

Neil - thanks for posting these examples. They do a great job of illustrating the issue.

I've tried something more extreme - in a pinch. The Nikon 18-70 at 18mm on an FX body. This is a lens that visibly vignettes if you simply stack two filters. On an FX body it creates a porthole effect - with a solid vignette around the entire image rather than just a hint of shadow or blurred focus area.

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Zevi

Ann Arbor, US
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#34. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 31

Zevi Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Feb 2008
Sat 15-Oct-11 01:27 AM

Thank you for these images, Neil. I think I'm convinced that if I go with an FX body -- I should plan on a new lens for the wide range. Probably a 17-35, which I have seen some good used copies for about $1000.

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#35. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 29

Zevi Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Feb 2008
Sat 15-Oct-11 01:47 AM

Hello Duncan -- welcome to Nikonians!

I'm glad to learn about your successful migration to the D700. Maybe I'll follow one of these days... That's a nice £300 less than the price in GB, right? Other than saving, is there also an issue of availability? Personally, I'll be too scared to make a purchase like that. If I read your profile correctly, of the 4 lenses you listed only the 80-200 is designed for the FX. What is your experience using the other three on the D700?

Cheers,
Zevi

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Len Shepherd

Yorkshire, UK
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#36. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 1

Len Shepherd Gold Member Nikonian since 09th Mar 2003
Sat 15-Oct-11 05:06 AM

>- FX cameras have bigger and brighter viewfinder image.
Sorry - this is not right.
Better FX have a viewfinder magnification of about 0.72 and better DX have about 0.94.
This means DX viewfinders are about 1 stop brighter than FX, and the theoretical size gain of the FX viewfinder over DX is reduced to about 15%.
As I do a lot of low light work I prefer the DX viewfinder to FX, though I use both formats.

Photography is a bit like archery. A technically better camera, lens or arrow may not hit the target as often as it could if the photographer or archer does not practice enough.

Len Shepherd

Len Shepherd

Yorkshire, UK
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#37. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 18

Len Shepherd Gold Member Nikonian since 09th Mar 2003
Sat 15-Oct-11 05:11 AM

>The corner quality of the premium pro 17-35mm/2.8 SUCKS unless you go to f/5.6-8 depending on focal length.
It depends on your definition of "sucks". It was a good lens in it's era. The 14-24 and 24-70 are better in the corners but (confirmed in Nikon's MTF) still lacking in the corners of FX at f2.8.
Any lens poor in the corners on FX has the poor corner area cropped out on DX.

Photography is a bit like archery. A technically better camera, lens or arrow may not hit the target as often as it could if the photographer or archer does not practice enough.

Len Shepherd

Len Shepherd

Yorkshire, UK
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#38. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 3

Len Shepherd Gold Member Nikonian since 09th Mar 2003
Sat 15-Oct-11 05:25 AM

>or blue sky where the D700 at ISO 200 really excels. But you generally only see it when looking at
>or near 100% on the screen or maybe making prints
Horses for courses!
Whether you agree viewing at 100% has no purpose other than checking for edge halos when sharpening or pixel by pixel cloning is another topic.
When it comes to viewing at 100% most monitors are 72 dpi, limited colour gamut, and like viewing through a low quality low power microscope
Few can get a top quality print at less than 150 dpi - so 100% equivalent size of 72 dpi on a monitor is not a first class idea when making prints.
I subscribe to the view (based on results) printing to 20 inch wide using pro lenses the differences between 12 MP DX and FX are nit picking - with very occasionally DX winning where the tighter DX pixel pitch exactly matches subject fine detail.

Photography is a bit like archery. A technically better camera, lens or arrow may not hit the target as often as it could if the photographer or archer does not practice enough.

Len Shepherd

Len Shepherd

Yorkshire, UK
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#39. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 0

Len Shepherd Gold Member Nikonian since 09th Mar 2003
Sat 15-Oct-11 05:40 AM

Part of your problem is the D300s, D700, D3s and D3x being overdue for replacement - and the D7000 being the only recent "high end" upgrade.
I can understand your point the quite small D7000 is too small for your hands - but if you want the latest technological advantages it is D7000- or wait for other new bodies.
For those comfortable with a D7000 in their hands it is well built, very affordable, has base ISO at 100, has better fine detail recording ability than Nikon's 12 MP bodies at low ISO's - and obviously better resolution at high ISO's where it handles noise with less resolution loss than a D700. Noise is close at high ISO to my D3.
I do not see the D700, D3s or D3x being in production next spring - and lots of new products likely to be better all round performers than the D7000. What price they will be is another topic.

Photography is a bit like archery. A technically better camera, lens or arrow may not hit the target as often as it could if the photographer or archer does not practice enough.

Len Shepherd

ericlsoft

Stockholm, SE
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#40. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 36

ericlsoft Registered since 13th Jul 2007
Sat 15-Oct-11 01:53 PM

Magnification is defined as the ratio of what you see through the viewfinder to what you see from the same position when not looking through the viewfinder, with a 50mm lens on the camera. The reference lens is 50mm whether the camera is FX or DX. The magnification of DX viewfinders thus includes the DX focal multiplier. The real magnification of DX finders is less than that of FX finders, which is why DX finders appear smaller.

A finder with higher magnification is not brighter but darker than a finder with less magnification, all other things being equal. But the larger FX frame size enables a larger mirror and prism assembly that collects more light. I do not know the exact sizes of mirrors and prisms in Nikon's various cameras but an FX frame is 2.25 times larger than a DX frame. If we assume a comparable ratio in prism/mirror size, the FX viewfinder would be approximately one stop brighter.

I suspect that we are talking about different things. I am saying that I would rather shoot an indoors event with a D3 and 85mm than with a D90 and 50mm lens because I will see things more clearly in the viewfinder. I am not comparing D3 at 85mm to D90 at 85mm.

Zevi

Ann Arbor, US
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#41. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 39

Zevi Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Feb 2008
Sat 15-Oct-11 03:04 PM

Len, thank you for the input! Sure, technologically, the D7000 currently has the "latest & greatest." For reasons I mentioned before, my (current) candidates are D700 (with known specs) or D400 (with speculated specs). So the D400 will definitely have the upper hand technologically, but it's still DX with all the +'s and -'s. I'm at the point of contemplating the "FX or DX" question, that's why I am very interested in the experience of people who use both.

Actually, I have to say that my (un-scietific) guess is that you are the exception to the rule: having both D3s and D7000, you mark the 7000 as your main body; with all due respect to the new technology, I would expect it to to be the other way around. But either way -- it must be nice to have the choice...

Cheers,
Zevi

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ajdooley

Waterloo, US
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#42. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 41

ajdooley Gold Member Nikonian since 25th May 2006
Sat 15-Oct-11 08:38 PM

Two issues:
-- Bird in hand vs. in bush: We cannot know what the Dxxx will offer, when it will appear and at what price. We know well what the D700 provides. If that is what you feel you need, it is indeed a bird in the hand. We are starting to see some pretty nice ones trickling into the used market.
-- Wide angle end: If you buy a D700, the 24-70 and 70-200mm f2.8s, you will have a very capable package. If you want more on the wide end, I have found, for the somewhat limited use I have, a used Sigma 15-30mm is a very good alternative at about 1/4 the cost of the 14-24. If I used the extreme wide end a lot more than I do -- I find the 24mm end of the 24-70 wide enough for most of my work -- I'd be motivated to get a 14-24mm sooner than I eventually will.

Finally, as has been said, good glass is an investment, while bodies come and go. Building the glass base will enable you change gears in the FX arena when you wish and can.

Alan
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ericlsoft

Stockholm, SE
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#43. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 42

ericlsoft Registered since 13th Jul 2007
Sat 15-Oct-11 08:51 PM

There is a very compact 20mm/2.8 that I bought a millions years ago when the widest available zoom only reached to 24mm. It is gathering dust on a shelf because of the 17-35mm, but I remember with nostalgia the days when I saw a landscape so stunning and so wide that I started looking for the 20mm in my bag because it was worth a hunt-and-swap. It is maybe a little bigger than a 50mm and you can toss it in a dark corner of your bag and forget that you even carry it until you need it, and it makes great pictures without taxing your biceps. This lens is not "sexy" due to lack of AF-S, which you absolutely do not need at that focal length, but it is still being made and I often see it on secondhand shelves in photo stores. This was my wide-angle lens for over 10 years

duncanrichards

Worthing, UK
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#44. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 35

duncanrichards Silver Member Nikonian since 03rd Jul 2011
Sun 16-Oct-11 04:10 PM

Hi Zevi

To answer your question about the lenses I own. As Ive just purchased the D700 the only lens I had that was FX capable was the 80-200 f2.8. However, the Tokina 11-16mm f2.8, although a DX lens, works perfectly well at 16mm without any vignetting, see Ken Rockwells test on this.
Today I purchased the Nikkor 50mm f1.8G, a super standard lens that weighs next to nothing (185g or 6.5oz) and this negates a lot of the weight issues of FX format bodies.

Regards

Duncan

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parch2k

Toronto, CA
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#45. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 43

parch2k Silver Member Charter Member
Mon 17-Oct-11 06:46 AM

I have had a D700 for a just under a couple years now and it was a move up from the D300, which is still my backup.

The D700 is used almost exclusively and I continue to be amazed at its quality, which is very close to the D3. So much so that I'm now wondering if I will ever move up to whatever Nikon's newest incarnation of the D700 or D300s proves to be.

I also have no use for video in an SLR, so that feature is wasted on me. The general feel of the D7000 is one of smallness and even the layout is a little non-intuitive -- for me. It does have excellent high ISO performance though! On the other hand, both the D300 and D700 have a real camera feel without being overly cumbersome.

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dbnorton

Mt. Washington, US
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#46. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 45

dbnorton Registered since 03rd May 2006
Mon 17-Oct-11 02:21 PM

I am contemplating the same jump. I currently have a D80 as well and being I do a lot of real estate photography I use my 12-24mm all the time. I am looking at getting the D700 and a 14-24mm, so it looks like I need about $4700 to make the initial jump.

Dustin Norton
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briantilley

Paignton, UK
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#47. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 46

briantilley Gold Member Deep knowledge of bodies and lens; high level photography skills Donor Ribbon awarded for his support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 26th Jan 2003
Mon 17-Oct-11 02:44 PM

It would be possible to save a little of that outlay by going for a 16-35mm f/4 rather than the 14-24mm. As well as being quite a bit cheaper, it has the benefit of VR and still offers a wider view on a D700 than your 12-24mm does on the D80.

Brian
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Zevi

Ann Arbor, US
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#48. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 47

Zevi Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Feb 2008
Tue 18-Oct-11 11:30 AM

From what I read and looked around, there are two good candidates for the wide view instead of the 14-24. (Prices below are what I've seen for good used lenses.)

For about $1000(-) you can get the 16-35mm f/4, or for $1000(+) you can get the 17-35mm f/2.8.
The 17-35 gets you the extra stop, but the 16-35 has the Nanocoating and VR. Other big differences between the two? Which would you prefer?

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ericlsoft

Stockholm, SE
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#49. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 48

ericlsoft Registered since 13th Jul 2007
Tue 18-Oct-11 11:41 AM

Nanocoating is marketing, but if the 16-35 has better image quality at large apertures, that's something I would find useful. The 17-35 is soft in the corners and has some serious vignetting at f/2.8. On the other hand, you can't shoot the 16-35 at f/2.8 The 17-35 has no noticeable geometry problems, though. It was arguably the first wide-angle zoom that took images that didn't look like they came out of a wide-angle zoom.

An extra stop of light is much more useful than VR at this focal range in my opinion. If there are people in the scene, or animals, or wind, or waves, or any kind of motion, the ability to shoot at 1/4 or even 1/2 isn't going to be worth a whole lot. You can already shoot at 1/15 without VR and at that speed people walking normally will be blurred. With another stop of light you can shoot at 1/30 instead.

Zevi

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#50. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 49

Zevi Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Feb 2008
Tue 18-Oct-11 12:11 PM

(we're gonna get yelled at for discussing lenses outside the lens forum... )

I see your point, but I got to disagree with:
(1) Nanocoating: Although there may be some hype about it, I'm sure it's way more than just "marketing."
(2) "17-35 is soft in the corners and has some serious vignetting at f/2.8" - I have not tried it myself, but if that was really an issue how come Bjorn, Rockwell, and Thom Hogan gave it such rave reviews? Thom even goes as far as saying "Perhaps the sharpest wide angle zoom you can buy for a Nikon body".

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ericlsoft

Stockholm, SE
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#51. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 50

ericlsoft Registered since 13th Jul 2007
Tue 18-Oct-11 01:01 PM

Of course nanocoating is real technology Any technical product is bound to have dozens of technical features, 3-4 of which are highlighted by marketing because they think it can help sell the product better than the other stuff. In the end, what matters is the result.

Having read Rockwell's review, I don't see any factual disagreements in our respective assessments of the lens. This was the first wide-angle lens that could approach or at the sweet spot even exceed prime quality, and had consistent geometry throughout (perhaps the most important feature of this lens). Before the 17-35, a wide-angle zoom had varying but major distortion outside the sweet spot. Rockwell actually says the same thing as me about soft corners, he just says it his way "The only gotcha is that if you are dumb enough to shoot at f/2.8 in daylight at 17mm and then look in the farthest corners with a microscope, it's soft. Pros don't do that." As usual, Rockwell only considers the things he shoots himself: landscapes, his kids, and photo gear. You would be an idiot to shoot any of this at 17mm f/2.8, case closed. Now if you need to shoot a room full of people at an evening event, and you don't have an array of studio strobes deployed at strategic locations in the room, you would be an idiot to shoot at f/8. Different needs, different concerns. If you have a lot of f/2.8 shots, there will be the time when you wish you could make a crop out of something that happened to be in a corner and that you did not notice when you took the shot.

briantilley

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#52. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 50

briantilley Gold Member Deep knowledge of bodies and lens; high level photography skills Donor Ribbon awarded for his support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 26th Jan 2003
Tue 18-Oct-11 01:52 PM

>(we're gonna get yelled at for discussing lenses outside
>the lens forum... )


<-- that's me yelling...!

Brian
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Ned_L

Philadelphia, US
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#53. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 3

Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter Member
Wed 19-Oct-11 11:06 AM

With regard to replacing the AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 12-24mm f/4G IF-ED, the AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED isn't really the only viable and quality replacement, in my opinion.

I think the AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR would be an excellent replacement.

The 14-24mm is a bit sharper in the corners and has somewhat less distortion at the wide end than the 16-35mm, but this lens is quite susceptible to lens flare and does have some vignetting when wide open. Due to the design of the optics, the lens can't take a filter. At f/2.8 it is 1 f/stop faster than the 16-35mm.

On the other hand the 16-35mm while not having the susceptibility as the 14-24mm to lens flare, is certainly not immune. While the 16-35mm is not as fast as the 14-24mm, it has Nikon's VRII, which to my mind, more than makes up for the loss of speed, and adds to the versatility of the lens. This lens can be very useful for landscapes, including seascapes. I shoot near water often and being able to fit a polarizing filter on this lens is a real plus and was part of the reason I chose the 16-35mm instead of the 14-24mm.

Ned
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GaryMorrison

Bloomington, US
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#54. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 9

GaryMorrison Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Sep 2008
Wed 19-Oct-11 11:21 AM

I just purchases a D700 a few weeks ago. I sold my D90 backup camera and now use my D300 as a backup. I'm also in the process of selling my DX lenses (My 70-300mm is always on the D300). The last to sell is the 12-24mm DX which I used a lot on the D300.

My strategy for the D700 was to sell my FX lenses and purchase the 14-24mm. However, a good friend suggested I not move so quickly (we both photograph landscapes, he is a pro). He has the 14-24mm, but seldom uses it, it is fantastic when he does. Thus far, I have not needed the 14-24mm as the 24-70mm and the 70-300mm have met all my needs. I am not sure I have even used the 24mm -28mm range yet.

So, I am waiting to purchase another lens based on my experiences over the next few months. The 14-24mm is a really great lens, and I sort of want one. But, I decided to see if I really need it before the purchase this time....


Gary

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rodsky77

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#55. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 54

rodsky77 Registered since 08th Jan 2008
Mon 31-Oct-11 10:46 AM

I definitely second this strategy in terms of the 14-24 lens.

I have one, it produces stunning images - sharp corner to corner with beautiful colors and contrast. However, it is very much a specialy lens and unless you need the UWA for hardcore landscapes, architecture, and inside shots cathedrals, churches, etc) - you can definitely get by with the 24-70 as 24 is wide enough for almost everything and the rest of the focal range is much more useful than the 14-24. The 14-24 weighs 1kg 100 grams more than the 24-70, it does not accept filters and has a built in hood - so, you have to constantly be very careful with it and always put the lens cap on as the hood will not protect that enormous front element when it is extended to 14mm.

And as I carry my setup on a Blackrapid strap at waist level, I always have to be careful.

If I had to do it again, I would definitely skip the purchase of the 14-24 as I don't really shoot the type of architecture shoots where I need UWA - 24-70 does it well enough for me. But I will not sell it, now that I do have it, as I would take a tremendous loss as well as the fact that even though I use it for less than 5% of all my shots, the shots that it produces are absolutely tremendous.

>So, I am waiting to purchase another lens based on my
>experiences over the next few months. The 14-24mm is a really
>great lens, and I sort of want one. But, I decided to see if I
>really need it before the purchase this time....
>
>
>Gary


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jdroach

Milwaukee, US
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#56. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 39

jdroach Platinum Member Fellow Ribbon awarded. John exhibits true Nikonian spirit by frequently posting images and requesting comments and critique, which he graciously accepts. He is an inspiration to all of us through constant improvement in his own work, keen observations and excellent commentary on images posted by others. Donor Ribbon. Awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Donor Ribbon awarded for his most generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 21st Mar 2009
Mon 31-Oct-11 12:11 PM

Well, I am an advancing amateur whose most recent acquisition is the D700. I figured why wait for the FX of the future when I had no idea when that release would happen. I wanted the low light large format capability.

I have immersed myself and practice as much as I can, since retiring 15 months ago, with the goal to become a really good photographer. Concurrently, I am building the arsenal of equipment that will help me along the way. At this point, I have probably overwhelmed myself with things to learn and the equipment to do it with...but what fun!

My first Nikon was a FE followed by a FM2 over 30 years ago. I never really did much with those old film cameras like I do even today in that I drifted away from photography for many years. Then I returned to them after getting a Nikon 3700 Coolpix several years ago because I figured out what a wonderful hobby photography would be during retirement.

At age 65, I purchased my DSLR--the D90 2-1/2 years ago followed by an array of compatible DX lens. Then, I decided to get the D7000 this past June and shifted the fine D90 to back-up status (a mighty fine back-up given I had an accident with the D7000 and it needed repair). I also wanted got a replacement for the 3700 for when I am just out & about and don't want to lug the bigger SLRs around. I got a P7000 and have been absolutely delighted with its supplemental power and even decent manual mode flexibilies for grab shots.

So there you have it, I originally had film cameras, got a Coolpix, and then embraced DX DSLR. All along the way, I had thought long about FX and experiencing it. I finally decided that I didn't want to wait for the successor to the D700. So, I got it along with a couple of FX lenses (16-35mm f/4 and the 28-300mm, f3.5-5.6) a few weeks ago.

Now I am "done" with new cameras purchases for a good while; perhaps forever. As far as I am concerned, it will be a long time until I am ready to be enticed by a new release given the power of these systems I already own. The D700, D7000 as well as the D90 and P7000 offer me hours of learning opportunities and enjoyment.

At this point, unless my NAS (Nikon Acquistion Syndrome) goes absolutely ballistic, my focus will be on learning my cameras and getting during the next couple of years a few more really good FX only lenses (like 24-70mm and 70-200mm both f2.8), and an SB-900 to compliment my already owned SB-600, SB-700, and the R1C1 Speedlight System. Now that is a lot of stuff to continue to learn and master.

It will take a lot of study and practice to learn to effectively use what I got. Nonetheless, it will be fun to learn about what future releases Nikon brings out.....but, I am not going to restlessly wait for that experience. I have my stuff. From my perspective the D700 is the best of FX at a still reasonable price and will give me low light opportunities, and the D7000 will give me the best of DX for many years to come.

By the way, you can still have fun with the old equipment, indeed, for amusement and joy, I just recently got a used motor drive for the FM2. Wow is that fun! I almost sounds like a small gatlin gun when it shoots a roll of film--not a good idea if birding, but what fun.


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nrothschild

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#57. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 56

nrothschild Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Registered since 25th Jul 2004
Mon 31-Oct-11 12:17 PM

> Now I am "done" with new cameras purchases for a good while; perhaps forever...

There are a lot of people with the same attitude, myself included...

Nikon has had a great roll the past 8-10 years or so as this infant technology has matured to the point where there are a lot of us thinking this way. But they have a huge challenge now. They need to keep selling cameras, preferably (for Nikon) at the same replacement/upgrade clip.

It will be interesting to see what exactly they come up with to make us eat our words so they can keep us upgrading those bodies

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jdroach

Milwaukee, US
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#58. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 57

jdroach Platinum Member Fellow Ribbon awarded. John exhibits true Nikonian spirit by frequently posting images and requesting comments and critique, which he graciously accepts. He is an inspiration to all of us through constant improvement in his own work, keen observations and excellent commentary on images posted by others. Donor Ribbon. Awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Donor Ribbon awarded for his most generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 21st Mar 2009
Mon 31-Oct-11 12:26 PM

Well said, Neil. I sort of remember mentioning a year or two ago that the D90 would last me forever and that I would never consider upgrading. When we learn more about "painting with light," we become easy prey for the next enticement.

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nrothschild

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#59. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 58

nrothschild Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Registered since 25th Jul 2004
Mon 31-Oct-11 01:02 PM

> I sort of remember mentioning a year or two ago that the D90 would last me forever and that I would never consider upgrading.

Hehe

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ericlsoft

Stockholm, SE
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#60. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 56

ericlsoft Registered since 13th Jul 2007
Mon 31-Oct-11 10:33 PM

I think learning to use what you have before "going ballistic" and buying a bunch of new gear is absolutely the correct way to become a great photographer. This being said, you have an outstanding FX camera and your main lens is the 28-300mm, which I have admittedly never used but it is a long consumer zoom. And you mention the SB-900. I have one and always carry it in my bag because a flash is a must, but other than fill light and extreme cases, I hardly ever use it any more. The pictures I posted in this thread are all taken with available light... But I could not do this with a consumer f/5.6 zoom.

So my advice is to reallocate your SB-900 budget to an f/1.8 lens, either the 50mm or the 85mm. Personally, it would be the 85mm for sure - I never liked shooting at 50mm. But the 50mm lens is cheaper. The ability to shoot at f/2 and blur backgrounds will add a new dimension to your portrait photography, and your pictures will be sharper.

nrothschild

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#61. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 60

nrothschild Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Registered since 25th Jul 2004
Mon 31-Oct-11 10:40 PM

I want you to know you made me drag my 300/2.8 around for 3 looong 10 hour days the past few weeks.



It was a lot of fun and I hope to do it again . And it really was not a hardship at all.

Back to your point, I think a fast 85 (or whatever floats the boat) is a good idea and can be more rewarding than flash, o rin many cases just doable, as you suggest.

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Zevi

Ann Arbor, US
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#62. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 61

Zevi Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Feb 2008
Tue 01-Nov-11 12:02 AM | edited Tue 01-Nov-11 12:12 AM by Zevi

>I want you to know you made me drag my 300/2.8 around for 3
>looong 10 hour days the past few weeks.

You took the portrait lens on a hike? (#15)

The more I thought about it and the more I read the comments here, the more I'm convinced that there's a D700 in my near future. To get a taste of some legendary FX lenses,I rented the 24-70 and 70-200 VR II, and used them on my D80. Probably it's me, but some of the images (see below, or unedited full-size version in the gallery) were quite disappointingly-out-of-focus (especially when you'd expect razor-sharp images from the 24-70).

Is there a way to find out what exactly the sensor focussed on?

BTW, Eric -- with the less-than-stellar low-light performance of the D80, my SB900 is a life-saver. It is often on my camera. Also, from the results that I've seen, I will definitely be hunting for an 85 or better yet - 105 to use on the D700.



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nrothschild

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#63. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 62

nrothschild Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Registered since 25th Jul 2004
Tue 01-Nov-11 12:29 AM

Hi Zevi,

>> You took the portrait lens on a hike? (#15)

No, this was an event (Renaissance Festival). If I were doing a wildlife hike I would take the 500/4, not a small lens like the 300/2.8

Open the image in ViewNX. Click Image|Show Focus Point. YOu can do the same in CaptureNX2... click View|Show Focus Point.

You should open the image from the original out of camera file. Saving the image As... in other apps will lose that EXIF data.

If there is no focus point then the camera is telling you something although it's never been clear to me exactly what it is saying . Also check your EXIF to make sure the focus mode is AF-S or AF-C. If it's "manual" then you may have accidentally nudged the focus ring.

I have always considered my 24-70 to be very sharp, and very easy to shoot, with rarely if ever a focus error. I've always thought of it as special in that way.

At 38mm f/3.5 and 8 feet working distance (my estimate) your depth of field is about +/- 8-9 inches, which would cover his hands and face, more or less, regardless which was focused. If the area of the focus rectangle (plus some bleed area) covers objects at more than one distance (hands or arms/body or face, for example) it may not be clear what exactly grabbed focus. Analyzing focus points is an imperfect science because it is not a "point" but a general area.

I wouldn't even guess here without seeing the original image. I think it's a nice image, though. It has nice pop. If you want it digitally sharp, add sharpening .

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Neil


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Zevi

Ann Arbor, US
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#64. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 63

Zevi Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Feb 2008
Tue 01-Nov-11 12:58 AM

Neil,

I downloaded View NX and the image below shows the focus point. Shouldn't it be sharper? I also have the original image off the camera in my gallery.

Yes, your estimate is correct -- I think it was about 8 ft, and again - I would expect a sharper image. The image also includes the in-camera sharpening (+1 setting).

Thanks for the encouraging words!

Zevi



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jdroach

Milwaukee, US
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#65. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 60

jdroach Platinum Member Fellow Ribbon awarded. John exhibits true Nikonian spirit by frequently posting images and requesting comments and critique, which he graciously accepts. He is an inspiration to all of us through constant improvement in his own work, keen observations and excellent commentary on images posted by others. Donor Ribbon. Awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Donor Ribbon awarded for his most generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 21st Mar 2009
Tue 01-Nov-11 01:36 AM | edited Tue 01-Nov-11 01:36 AM by jdroach

All things in time was my point and it is the 24-70 and 70-200 that interest me as well as the SB-900. I already have the 50mm 1.8. For me, I do little in the way of portrait photography.

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nrothschild

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#66. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 64

nrothschild Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Registered since 25th Jul 2004
Tue 01-Nov-11 02:23 AM

I think it should be a bit sharper. Take a look at the concrete around his feet. You might get some insight into the actual focus point.

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Len Shepherd

Yorkshire, UK
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#67. "RE: Maybe not" | In response to Reply # 64

Len Shepherd Gold Member Nikonian since 09th Mar 2003
Tue 01-Nov-11 06:59 AM

>Shouldn't it be sharper?
Maybe not
It may surprise some - but this is an example of a subject where AF may not be accurate with any DSLR - Nikon or Canon etc.
Parts of the face contain very little detail, are the same tone and are low contrast.
AF is not always infallible - as Nikon explain in camera instruction books and at https://nikoneurope-en.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/4585
The lips are off centre - if the AF decided to centre the lips on the AF detection lines (when it should not have done) the effect can be similar to front or back focus.
Posting an image based on a less than ideal AF target is not evidence as to how sharp or unsharp a camera can be.
That said the D7000 has fewer AF points than a D300/700/3 . There are always a few AF targets each camera locks on easy that confuse a different camera model.

Photography is a bit like archery. A technically better camera, lens or arrow may not hit the target as often as it could if the photographer or archer does not practice enough.

Len Shepherd

Ned_L

Philadelphia, US
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#68. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 55

Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter Member
Tue 01-Nov-11 01:11 PM

Gary, I was definitely going to be with you until I got to the point you said, "...unless you need the UWA for hardcore landscapes, architecture, and inside shots cathedrals, churches, etc) - you can definitely get by with the 24-70 as 24 is wide enough for almost everything and the rest of the focal range is much more useful than the 14-24."

I'm out in the Middle East right now on assignment, and combining that with some vacationing. Just like I found 18mm for my old D200 just didn't cut it all far too often in city shots, I find that 24mm isn't enough on my D700 either.

I left Turkey yesterday after spending time in both Istanbul, Kusadasi, and Alanya. In Kusadasi I could have gotten away with 24mm, but was very happy to be able to use a wider angle lens. In Alanya, and especially Istanbul, almost 30% of the shots were with my Nikkor AF-S 16-35mm f/4G ED VR lens. I would not have been able to get the shots of the cityscapes and street scenes with only my 24-70mm f/2.8. There wasn't enough room to get back to get the coverage with the 24-70mm.

While the Nikkor AF-S 16-35mm f/4G ED VR isn't quite as fast as the 14-24mm it has VR which to me makes up for the slower speed and then some. Moreover, it's about $850 less expensive. It's IQ isn't quite the 14-24mm either, but it's close, and it certainly meets my needs. The 14-24mm won't take a circular polarizing filter, which is a big negative to me as I use my 16-35mm often near the sea and lakes too, and being able to put a filter on it is important to me.

I don't think either of these lens is essential for everyone, but there are many more uses for these focal lengths than most people consider. Having focal lengths less than 24mm is often essential for travel photography and street photography.

When I travel, I always take my core lenses:
Nikkor AF-S 16-35mm f/4G ED VR
Nikkor AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
Nikkor AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II

I just don't leave home without them.

Ned
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jdroach

Milwaukee, US
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#69. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 68

jdroach Platinum Member Fellow Ribbon awarded. John exhibits true Nikonian spirit by frequently posting images and requesting comments and critique, which he graciously accepts. He is an inspiration to all of us through constant improvement in his own work, keen observations and excellent commentary on images posted by others. Donor Ribbon. Awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Donor Ribbon awarded for his most generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 21st Mar 2009
Tue 01-Nov-11 01:36 PM

I got the 16-35mm f/4 to use with my D700 pending the ability to spend for the 24-70mm and 70-200mm. I like that lens a lot and it gives great coverage with the ability to use filters. I already have the 70-300mm and the 28-300mm which while more consumer units, certainly give me some interim capabilities that are not bad if I have the light until I can purchase the 24-70 and the 20-700. They also give me some flexibility that I like. I agree that the 14-24 is limiting without the ability to include a CP filter since often that is needed in landscape work. Thus, I have little interest in that unit.

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rodsky77

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#70. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 68

rodsky77 Registered since 08th Jan 2008
Tue 01-Nov-11 02:56 PM

Ned,

I am only saying that for my style of shooting, I could probably do without
the 14-24 . I am not saying that everyone can

Some people would not leave the house without their 14-24.

Just depends on your shooting style.

Cheers,
Kevin

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briantilley

Paignton, UK
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#71. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 70

briantilley Gold Member Deep knowledge of bodies and lens; high level photography skills Donor Ribbon awarded for his support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 26th Jan 2003
Tue 01-Nov-11 03:20 PM

The confusion might have arisen from where you said (my italics) "...you can definitely get by with the 24-70 as 24 is wide enough for almost everything..."

Brian
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rodsky77

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#72. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 71

rodsky77 Registered since 08th Jan 2008
Tue 01-Nov-11 03:42 PM

>The confusion might have arisen from where you said (my
>italics) "...you can definitely get by with the
>24-70 as 24 is wide enough for almost everything..."

I should've put more of an emphasis on the word "almost"

It's all about one's perspective: some people love to shoot street
with a UWA because of the view they get and can manage getting
Really close to their subjects. I for one can't and don't shoot that many
Landscapes, although I recently used the lens exclusively for an entire
Trip to Lausanne, Switzeland - the pictures came out beautifully


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Zevi

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#73. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 66

Zevi Silver Member Nikonian since 20th Feb 2008
Tue 01-Nov-11 04:10 PM

>I think it should be a bit sharper. Take a look at the
>concrete around his feet. You might get some insight into the
>actual focus point.

Sure, I also noticed the sharper concrete lines; if View NX were to tell me that that's where the focus was -- I'll admit defeat for placing the focus sensor in the wrong place. But since this is not the case, I'm assuming that if I had the capability to do in-camera focus fine-tuning, it might have helped. When all is said and done, the camera should focus of what *you* tell it, not the other way around.

Cheers,
Zevi

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nrothschild

US
10916 posts

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#74. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 73

nrothschild Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Registered since 25th Jul 2004
Tue 01-Nov-11 04:34 PM

It is also important to look at a large sampling of images. One of the problems we have here with focus issues is that typically one image is posted and then analyzed to death. Autofocus is an imperfect mechanism and like all human inventions is not 100% reliable (more so than many other mechanical devices). It is not practical to provide enough samples to get past the issue of random outlyer images.

In particular, since you only had the lens for a short time that makes things tougher. If you rented it long enough to get to know it with any certainty you might be better off just buying it and then reselling if you are unhappy . Unless, of course, you spend an intensive weekend with it, studying the results, re-shooting, and shooting several hundred images or so.

In any case, it is important to be clear as to the frequency of the problem- did you shoot a hundred images with all of them soft? Was it soft stopped down? Different focal lengths? A zoom takes a lot of testing or real world shooting because of all the combinations of focal length and aperture you need to plow through.

And finally, since it was a rental lens you should not make a buy decision based on the performance of that one lens. You don't know where it's been, from how high it has been dropped, and how often .

I tried to come up with a good sample image to show you for comparative purposes, even though it would be shot on an FX body (D700). What I found after 10 minutes or more of searching is that coming up with something near f/3.5 and near 38mm, and near base ISO was tougher than I thought. But I don't shoot that lens every day, being very focused on wildlife. And I seem to tend to shoot it in tough light at high ISO's. I did see examples that clearly showed me far better results (and better apparent focus) but I thought it might be confusing if not close enough.

_________________________________
Neil


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briantilley

Paignton, UK
30235 posts

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#75. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 72

briantilley Gold Member Deep knowledge of bodies and lens; high level photography skills Donor Ribbon awarded for his support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 26th Jan 2003
Tue 01-Nov-11 04:48 PM

It was the "you" that gave me a problem, not the "almost". Saying "you" suggested that you think other people can also get by with 24mm.

But I think we're all on the same page now - which focal lengths we like is a matter of individual preference

Brian
Welsh Nikonian

Ned_L

Philadelphia, US
8057 posts

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#76. "RE: My next body - your opinions sought and appreciated" | In response to Reply # 75

Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter Member
Tue 01-Nov-11 07:17 PM

I agree Brian.

Ned
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