I am trying to understand the difference in quality of glass between the Nikon DX and the FX lenses.
So if I took an 80-200 2.8 lens and tested against the 70-200 f4, would they be equal quality? What if I put them on a D800?
It appears the FX lenses cost less and I assume that is because of the absence of the aperture ring. So are the FX lenses even better than the old equivalent DX ones?
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#1. "RE: Quality of glass" | In response to Reply # 0jrp Charter MemberWed 19-Dec-12 05:52 AM | edited Fri 21-Dec-12 03:40 AM by jrp
DX lenses are generally less expensive than FX lenses of the same generation because they are smaller, have smaller sized elements of expensive glass.
G lenses do not have aperture rings in neither of both DX and FX incarnations.
In general, full frame lenses that do work well on FX will also do well in DX.
In fact, usually even better because chances for vignetting are none since on DX you will be using just the lens' center, area where there are no light fall-offs.
You need to compare each DX lens by lens against its FX counterpart in the same focal length.
Talking about your example, all the 80-200mm lenses do perform very well. All are FX lenses.
Comparing them to the 70-200mm versions, (also FX lenses) the latter may show better image quality, simply because they have newer features incorporated, like nano coating, being from newer generations.
I wrote "may" because it largely depends on how large you print.
Also, you need to define what is "better" for you.
Pro FX lenses are fast (wide aperture) while most DX lenses are not, to make them more economical, especially when it comes to zooms.
For example: The 12-24mm f/4G DX AF-S is not better than the 14-24mm f/2.8G AF-S.
None has an aperture ring, but the second one (FX) is faster and has improved image quality because it is a newer generation lens.
The DX is cheaper; again, because it is smaller.
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#2. "RE: Quality of glass" | In response to Reply # 0briantilley Nikonian since 26th Jan 2003Wed 19-Dec-12 07:25 AM
I think you may be confusing some terms...
The 80-200mm f/2.8 and 70-200mm f/4 Nikkors are both "FX". Nikon's newer lenses tend to lack aperture rings, whether they are FX or DX. The "G" designation denotes the absence of a ring.
In general, there is no relationship between FX/DX and quality - there are lower-end "consumer" lenses in both DX and FX lines - though it is true that most of the top-end lenses tend to be FX.
#3. "RE: Quality of glass" | In response to Reply # 0ericbowles Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005Wed 19-Dec-12 10:22 AM
Looking at the 80-200 f/2.8 vs. the new 70-200 f/4, I would expect the new design and coatings to be better in terms of image quality, but the loss of a stop is another thing.
The area where some older lenses may still outperform new lenses would be some top of the line primes. Some of the older prime lenses are known for fabulous image quality. Where they may fall down is the lack of coatings to manage reflections and chromatic aberration.
While there are some very good DX lenses - and some real bargains - most are designed for a specific price point with compromises as needed to keep cost down. It would be great to see some new high quality DX lenses.
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#4. "RE: Quality of glass" | In response to Reply # 0Leonard62 Nikonian since 15th Mar 2009Wed 19-Dec-12 12:04 PM
Even though you use a DX body, all the lenses in your profile are FX. Nikon has been making the 80-200mm fixed aperture lenses for a long time. Starting with the pre-AI f4.5 model they are pro quality lenses and can produce pro quality images. The heavy f2.8 models did have their weaknesses though. The earlier AF and AFS 80-200mm f2.8 lenses have excellent resolution but they can suffer from vignetting wide open and lens flare when shooting towards or close to the sun. Nano coating had not been invented yet and they didn't have VR. These issues were mostly corrected in the 2nd version of the AFS 70-200mm f2.8G lens. But the lens was still very heavy and very expensive due to the massive elements required to keep a fixed f2.8 aperture throughout the range. Now enter the new AFS 70-200mm f4 lens. It's much easier and cheaper for a designer to make an f4 lens versus one at f2.8. The lens elements are much smaller and it's easier to design away vignetting and other distortion problems. So I would expect the new f4 lens with it's nano coating, multi ED elements and VR to perform very closely to the latest f2.8 version. Some improvements may be it's wide open performance, it's much lighter weight and certainly it's reduced cost. What it doesn't have is an f2.8 aperture and the tank like build quality of the older 80-200mm lenses. If you stay with a DX body, except for flare, you may not see a difference between the new and the old.
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