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Pros and Cons - FX versus DX. Why switch?

alaska2012

US
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alaska2012 Registered since 08th Jul 2012
Thu 19-Jul-12 11:31 AM

I currently have a D300 and a 70-200 f/2.8 lens and the 17-55 f/2.8 DX lens. Most photography I do are landscapes and travel vacation photos as well as some wildlife. I don't do wedding, portrait, still life or sports photos.

Besides the obvious price difference in the bodies and lenses, based on your real-world experience, what are the advantages of switching from DX to FX? What are the cons? If you had one choice, which format would you go with?

Anyone with experience on both the D300 and D700, can you explain to me the advantages of upgrading to the D700? Are the advantages worth the price or are these 2 camera bodies too similar to invest in and am I better off waiting for the D800 or something newer that comes along?

Thank you all in advance for your responses and help.

CharlieS

US
1729 posts

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#1. "RE: Pros and Cons - FX versus DX. Why switch?" | In response to Reply # 0

CharlieS Registered since 29th Aug 2007
Thu 19-Jul-12 10:27 AM

For me, the deciding factor to go with a D700 was the low light high ISO performance. Up to ISO 6400 I find the D700 noise free with well exposed images vs ISO 1600 for the D300.
If I need the advantage of crop factor, the D300 still see's quite a bit of use.
There is a distinct difference in the appearance of images between the two bodies, with DOF being the noticable difference. Along with the perceived increase in magnification of a lens with DX, there is a corrisponding increase in depth of field also.
Whether or not its worth owning both bodies or upgrading to one of the newest generations, is a decision only you can make.

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briantilley

Paignton, UK
30235 posts

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#2. "RE: Pros and Cons - FX versus DX. Why switch?" | In response to Reply # 0

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
Thu 19-Jul-12 12:37 PM

The FX format has no magic associated with it...

What I mean by that is that any differences in image quality that we see are not because a camera is FX per se but because of the generation of sensor and processor and the pixel count.

The D700 outperforms the D300 in high-ISO performance because it has much larger photosites (which collect more light) - in other ways they are very similar (I used both alongside each other for some time).

On the other hand, the D800 bests both of them because it uses today's technology, even though it has even smaller photosites than the D300

Unless you have the funds to also swap your 17-55mm DX for something like the 24-70mm Nikkor, you may not see too much benefit from a D700 - especially if you don't often shoot in low light.

Brian
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Floridian

Tallahassee, Florida, US
2937 posts

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#3. "RE: Pros and Cons - FX versus DX. Why switch?" | In response to Reply # 0

Floridian Silver Member Nikonian since 11th Feb 2007
Thu 19-Jul-12 01:06 PM

>...what are the advantages of switching from DX to FX?...
> Are the advantages worth the price...

You've posted this in the D700 forum and will surely get responses explaining why it's worth the price to move to FX by people who have done so and are happy with their choice (or even, just justifying it).

I'm an amateur hobbyist, perhaps not as serious as many Nikonians, but I see the advantages of DX (for me) outweighing the disadvantages. The advantages are, you have a smaller, lighter, and less expensive set of cameras and lenses. How much weight do you really want to carry around to take photos?

I'll concede some advantages in image quality, but when I look at the quality of my own photos I'm delighted with them. So, look at your photos. Where are the shortcomings in them that might be enhanced by going to FX? If you don't see many, maybe DX is the better option for you.

I wouldn't argue this is true for everybody and that there's no point in going to FX, but I think it's true for me, and probably a lot of people who have gone to FX, just because they think its better, even if you can't see that in their photos.

Randy

GiantTristan

Stamford, US
2670 posts

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#4. "RE: Pros and Cons - FX versus DX. Why switch?" | In response to Reply # 0

GiantTristan Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Jan 2006
Thu 19-Jul-12 01:08 PM | edited Thu 19-Jul-12 02:12 PM by GiantTristan

I have a D200 and a D700 and I can give no opinion on the D300. For a comparison D300/D700 you might want to have a look at www.dxomark.com

This is my subjective assessment of the pros for DX and FX, respectively:

DX: Longer reach due to 1.5 crop factor.
Less vignetting.
Better results with less than stellar lenses - corner softness is
less noticeable.

FX: Better low light capability - D700 about 2.5 stops better than D200.
Higher dynamic range - easier to recover highlights.
Can use lower apertures before onset of diffraction - D700, f/16 vs.
D200, 1/f11.
Better colors and better bokeh when using identical lenses.

For me the decisive factor for getting the D700 was the desire to fully utilize the capabilities of the Nikon 14-24/2.8.

Tristan

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grizzly200

Solano County, California, US
707 posts

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#5. "RE: Pros and Cons - FX versus DX. Why switch?" | In response to Reply # 0

grizzly200 Registered since 18th Dec 2011
Thu 19-Jul-12 05:57 PM

If I were a pro, and my livelihood was based on my images, I would go full frame. I'm not, and it isn't, and my D300 fills the bill nicely for me. And, BTW, its high ISO performance is fine with me, after shooting ASA 25-400 film for 40 years.

James

piniongear

Houston Texas, US
466 posts

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#6. "RE: Pros and Cons - FX versus DX. Why switch?" | In response to Reply # 4

piniongear Registered since 29th Jul 2006
Thu 19-Jul-12 08:06 PM

I also will add......don't forget with an FX you can actually use a wide angle lens and get true wide angle.

This is a primary reason I moved up to a D700.
I have 15mm and 17-35mm and I enjoy not having those lens resulting in a 1.5 crop factor.

On the long telephoto........ the DX has an advantage, making a 400mm into a 600mm with no light stop loss.
So a person should have goth a DX and an FX in my view.
Perry

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Floridian

Tallahassee, Florida, US
2937 posts

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#7. "RE: Pros and Cons - FX versus DX. Why switch?" | In response to Reply # 6

Floridian Silver Member Nikonian since 11th Feb 2007
Thu 19-Jul-12 11:09 PM

>I also will add......don't forget with an FX you can actually
>use a wide angle lens and get true wide angle...

It's true that for any one lens, it will be wider on FX. But on DX you can use a Sigma 8-16mm wide angle that won't cover the FX frame, and it has the field of view of a 12mm lens on FX. There are lots of DX wide angles, so I don't see that as a strong argument for FX.

Randy

piniongear

Houston Texas, US
466 posts

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#8. "RE: Pros and Cons - FX versus DX. Why switch?" | In response to Reply # 7

piniongear Registered since 29th Jul 2006
Thu 19-Jul-12 11:24 PM | edited Thu 19-Jul-12 11:25 PM by piniongear

Yeah. if you want to shoot with a variable F stop lens, go ahead.
The Sigma is a 4.5 t0 5.6 lens.
The lens I choose to shoot with are all Nikon and they are all fixed F stop, most being 2.8 F stop.

I consider a 4.5 lens a very slow lens and it is not a lens I would ever use. Then again a lot of my shooting is in low light so your mileage may very.
Perry

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GiantTristan

Stamford, US
2670 posts

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#9. "RE: Pros and Cons - FX versus DX. Why switch?" | In response to Reply # 7

GiantTristan Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Jan 2006
Thu 19-Jul-12 11:35 PM

>

>It's true that for any one lens, it will be wider on FX. But
>on DX you can use a Sigma 8-16mm wide angle that won't cover
>the FX frame, and it has the field of view of a 12mm lens on
>FX. There are lots of DX wide angles, so I don't see that as
>a strong argument for FX.

You are obviously correct and I have used the excellent Tokina 12-24/4 DX for many years. However, let's not compare apples and oranges - there is no comparison in terms of IQ with the FX Nikon 14-24/2.8.

Tristan

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Floridian

Tallahassee, Florida, US
2937 posts

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#10. "RE: Pros and Cons - FX versus DX. Why switch?" | In response to Reply # 8

Floridian Silver Member Nikonian since 11th Feb 2007
Thu 19-Jul-12 11:42 PM

Good point, Perry, but a different one from being able to go wider on FX. There is the Tokina 11-16 f2.8 DX lens that has the same field of view as a 15.5mm FX lens. Just about as wide as your 15, and a constant f2.8.

Randy

Floridian

Tallahassee, Florida, US
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#11. "RE: Pros and Cons - FX versus DX. Why switch?" | In response to Reply # 9

Floridian Silver Member Nikonian since 11th Feb 2007
Thu 19-Jul-12 11:53 PM

I agree completely, Tristan. If you want the absolute best image quality, get an FX camera and Nikon's pro FX lenses. I'm not saying DX is just as good as FX in that regard. But in some ways it's better, because a DX kit is smaller, lighter, and less expensive. So, there's a trade-off. For some photographers (like me), the value of a smaller and lighter kit outweighs any improvement I might get in image quality. Frankly, I'm thrilled with the photos I get from my D300.

Randy

avm247

Rancho Cordova, US
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#12. "RE: Pros and Cons - FX versus DX. Why switch?" | In response to Reply # 0

avm247 Moderator Awarded for high skills in documentary architecture and aviation photography Donor Ribbon. Awarded for his support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Charter Member
Fri 20-Jul-12 04:22 PM

I went from film to FX, so my comments are biased. Same angle of view with my lenses, same Depth of Field at a given F-stop.

One thing I didn't see mentioned in this thread is the difference in depth of field at a given f/stop due to the sensor size, circle of confusion and focal length of the lens: DX bodies will approximately 1-stop difference in Depth of Field vs. the same lens on an FX body.

This may be minor to some or it could significant for others...I mean can anyone tell the difference of a image shot at f/2 on an FX or DX body? What about f/2.8? At what point does the DOF difference matter? I'm not sure, as I haven't shot with DX enough to really know.

(What I like about the D800 is pixels on subject...great for cropping and still having excellent resolution; great low light performance, too.)

The excellent low light performance of the D700 works for me and is what sold me on the camera. (Yeah, I guess I could have waited several more months for a D800 but I finally needed to jump in to digital so I did. No regrets on my end with a D700.)

Anthony

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jpFoto

US
1114 posts

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#13. "RE: Pros and Cons - FX versus DX. Why switch?" | In response to Reply # 8

jpFoto Registered since 25th Jun 2010
Fri 20-Jul-12 06:17 PM | edited Fri 20-Jul-12 06:23 PM by jpFoto

Perry

I own the 14-24 2.8 and the 16-35 f/4, and I just bought a Nikkor DX 10-24 f/3.5-4.5 for my new D3200. The 10-24 is a super sharp lens. It may just be the 24 mp on the D3200, but I think that it gives my 14-24 a pretty good run for the money considering that it's half the price.

An f/3.5-4.5 lens is not that slow when compared to a 2.8 lens. It's only 2/3 of a stop slower at the wide end and 1-1/3 at the other. Now if we were talking about f/1.4 primes that would be a different story.

Here are a few samples that I posted in the D3200 forum. The one with the 400% crop of the serial number was not focused on that serial number.


https://www.nikonians.org/forums/dcboard.php?az=show_topic&forum=312&topic_id=6235&mesg_id=6235&page=

jP

Edit: One of my shots is labeled as being taken at f/5 which is incorrect, but all of the exif data is there.

jdroach

Milwaukee, US
6974 posts

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#14. "RE: Pros and Cons - FX versus DX. Why switch?" | In response to Reply # 0

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
Fri 20-Jul-12 07:32 PM

For me, it was about learning that each format has its place. I particularly like FX for night photography and landscape work. DX is wonderful when I travel and what to go light!

jdroach

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cbhensleyph1

Muskogee, US
1 posts

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#15. "RE: Pros and Cons - FX versus DX. Why switch?" | In response to Reply # 14

cbhensleyph1 Registered since 22nd Sep 2012
Sun 23-Sep-12 11:25 PM

   I bought my first Nikon (a Photomic Ftn)in 1969 in Sasebo,
Japan. That was when the 50mm/f1.4 was the "kit
lens". About the third lens I bought was a 20mm/f3.5. I
fell in love with that lens. You could back into a corner to
shoot an entire room, and it was tack sharp. When the D700
came out it was the fist Nikon full frame DSLR I could afford
and I had too much legacy glass to not have an FX sensor
camera.
   If you get past the 1.5x magnification and realize it is
actually a 50& crop, you just have to decide how important
it is to have that extra image size to work with when you
print and want crop a little more.

Bud Hensley, returning member

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olivierrychner

Boudry, CH
5255 posts

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#16. "RE: Pros and Cons - FX versus DX. Why switch?" | In response to Reply # 0

olivierrychner Gold Member  Awarded for his long standing high level of commitment to the Nikonians community and demonstrated excellence in the art and science of photography. Nikonian since 03rd Jan 2005
Thu 27-Sep-12 09:48 AM

Hi!

As Brian Tilley here above, I've had both the D300 (bought second-hand) and the D700 (bought new in the beginning of 2011) alongside for a while, about a year.

I quickly realized that most of my shooting "slid" from the D300 to the D700, effortlessly: I had a vast array of lenses, from AIs to AF-S VR, and I shoot mostly landscape and architecture, so the 1.5 crop factor was not really important to me. I finally sold my entire DX collection this year in March: a 18-70, a 18-200VR, a Sigma 18-50/2.8 and a 35/1.8 DX along with the D300 itself. The money I got from that deal offered me a 28-300VR and a Fuji X10 - I had to add about 100 Swiss francs to make the deal.

As has been stated, the main advantage is high-ISO and low-light, but I also found it easier to shoot wide-to-moderately-wide landscapes (a Sigma 12-24 and a Nikon 17-35 are among my favourite lenses), and the depth of field is thinner, making for nice portraits (50/1.8, 28-70/2.8, 85/1.8, 80-200/2.8). The only domains that I am now "less well equipped" to tackle are wildlife, but I don't do much of it, and macro, and I really do it seriously only in the spring. My dedicated lenses for those two fields are an aging 80-400VR and a Tamron 90/2.8. I am thinking of getting rid of both to fund a longer macro lens such as the Sigma 150 or Tamron 180, but I am in no hurry for that.

All in all, I'd encourage going FX for high-iso (but a D7000 DX camera has good low-light, high-ISO capabilities), wide-angle shots (but there is the Nikon DX 10-24 and an announced Samyang 10mm!) and thinner depth-of-field, and of the three reasons here only the last one is substantially impossible to reproduce in DX. All the rest, as I have just shown, is not limited to FX, so there is really no magic: sensor technology and embarked processing power are progressing by huge steps, as is proved by the difference between a not-quite-ten-year-old Coolpix 5400 and a brand-new Fuji X10: I would never have guessed that I could use a compact camera at ISO 1600, or even 3200, with results that actually beat those I got with the D70 of 2003 and equal the 2005 D200!

Another, more decisive factor would be an existing set of lenses; such was my case as I inherited my father's Nikon arsenal when he died 10 years ago, and it was a pity not to use that 28-70/2.8: a 42-105 is not a range I favor

Olivier Rychner
__________________________________________
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hillsidekim

Hillside, US
549 posts

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#17. "RE: Pros and Cons - FX versus DX. Why switch?" | In response to Reply # 0

hillsidekim Silver Member Nikonian since 31st Jan 2008
Sat 29-Sep-12 09:46 PM

Right now, I have the best of both worlds. I had been shooting a D200 and D300 when I had the opportunity to buy a D700 with MB-D10 and 5 batteries for $1500 just about 2 months ago now. And it was in new condition with only 1700 actuations. Needless to say I sold the D200 and purchased the D700. I now have the MB-D10, which can be used with either camera and allow 8fps with either. As others have stated, I have tended to shoot more with the D700 since I got it(new (to me) camera syndrome). I still use the D300 (bought new in Feb, 2008 and has about 9000 clicks on it) when I want to reach out there, birding and wildlife or macro. When I'm taking pictures at parties or in the bar, I'll grab the D700 for low light and also for the relatively wider field of view.
I realize not everyone can go with two bodies, but the ability to pick up either of these two and be instantly familiar with 99% of the controls is fantastic. They are almost identical in ergonomics and control layout.
The picture quality of either of these cameras is excellent and it will be quite some time before I feel I have a need to upgrade as both of these cameras take wonderful photos even when placed side by side with anything out there today by either Nikon or Canon.
Just color me happy.
Kim
Western burbs of Chicago

cwils02

HIXSON, US
826 posts

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#18. "RE: Pros and Cons - FX versus DX. Why switch?" | In response to Reply # 5

cwils02 Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Apr 2012
Sun 30-Sep-12 02:53 AM

>If I were a pro, and my livelihood was based on my images, I
>would go full frame. I'm not, and it isn't, and my D300 fills
>the bill nicely for me. And, BTW, its high ISO performance is
>fine with me, after shooting ASA 25-400 film for 40 years.

You were living the high life with that "ASA" 25-400. I used to thrive on Kodachrome 10 & 12 ASA.

Charlie

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cwils02

HIXSON, US
826 posts

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#19. "RE: Pros and Cons - FX versus DX. Why switch?" | In response to Reply # 13

cwils02 Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Apr 2012
Sun 30-Sep-12 02:58 AM

Love the self-potrait even before I knew it was a self-potrait.

Charlie

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DavidHarsay

Fort Myers, US
34 posts

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#20. "RE: Pros and Cons - FX versus DX. Why switch?" | In response to Reply # 17

DavidHarsay Registered since 09th Sep 2012
Mon 01-Oct-12 09:22 PM | edited Tue 02-Oct-12 12:26 AM by DavidHarsay

I had the D300S for a few years, and went to a D700 at the start of this year.

I know you said that you don't do sports, but...In addition to what everyone's written, there's an additional benefit to the D700. You mentioned that you have a 70-200 f/2.8. This lens for me was much better at focusing quickly and accurately on the D700. So much so that the crops from the D700 always looked better than full D300S image with the better reach.

Maybe not the best example, but here's a demonstration of a generous crop w/D700 from a very fast moving target (from the top of the grandstands at 1/250s using a 1.4 TC):

http://www.flickr.com/photos/87558320@N08/8010244615/sizes/o/in/photostream/

The D300S would not have been able to do that with the 70-200. It would not have nailed the focus.

Edit - Here's a great article on the comparison between the D300S and the D700:

http://photographylife.com/nikon-d700-vs-d300

Bass rock

Scotland, UK
968 posts

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#21. "RE: Pros and Cons - FX versus DX. Why switch?" | In response to Reply # 0

Bass rock Registered since 21st Dec 2007
Tue 02-Oct-12 06:07 AM

One issue no one seems to have mentioned yet is the difference in size and weight. I think this is another 'real world' difference you asked about. OK, there is not such a big difference in the bodies, but there is in lenses. For example, the 10-24mm DX is much smaller than the 14-24mm FX. I note you use the 70-200mm f/2.8 which has 300mm 'reach' on DX, to get 300mm f/2.8 on FX requires a much heavier and more expensive lens.

I went from a D300 to the D700 and, to be honest, I regret the move. The D700 is a wonderful camera, but the additional cost, size and weight of the move were not worth it for me. Note, that is "for me" and everyone will have their own views. I am now waiting to see what Nikon do (if anything) in terms of upgrades to the D300 and D700, and the 17-55mm, before I make a decision on which way to go next.

Bill
North Berwick, Scotland

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