New D-700, or keep D-300 and get 14-24, or...
Hello to all. I am just about paralyzed with all the choices out there right now for camera/lens combos. Talk about decisions, decisions! At presently I have a D-300 to which I attach Nikon's new 24-70nano, as well as a 70-200VR and 50/1.8; having recently sold my Nikon 12-24mm in anticipation of a fast and wide lens for FX. I am wondering if it would be best to wait till D-700 gets "upgrades" (possibly HDV, or with >DX mp's), and while waiting get the 14-24mm nano, and/or wide primes; AND/OR 85 1.4, 105VR macro, 300mm+, and maybe even selling my beloved 70-200mm in the interim since it doesn't perform as impeccably on FX as it does on DX? Would it be better to forgo the 14-24mm lens since it does not allow for use of filters, and possibly get primes or even the 17-35mm f/2.8 that do accept filters? Would the new wide angle 24mm tilt/shift work well in this lineup for wide angle panoramas, portraiture? So much to think about.
Does it seem likely that Nikon would introduce better/higher quality DX mode of the D-700 to enable further reach with my present lenses, (keeping the combination modes of FX/DX instead of FX/HDV)? And then if Nikon did improve DX I wonder just how much I would actually use the DX mode, (probably more so for wildlife as far as focal reach goes), once I got a taste of FX quality? Or would it be better to wait for a dedicated FX camera in D-700 style, and invest in glass during the interim that can be used on both, (my D-300 now and next generation FX)?
The announcement of the new 50/1.4 portends of good things to come...
#1. "RE: New D-700, or keep D-300 and get 14-24, or..." | In response to Reply # 0jacjac Registered since 31st Mar 2006Wed 24-Sep-08 06:38 AM
You already have two fantastic full frame lenses (the 24-70 and the 70-200VR). My suggestion, since you are asking, is get both the D700 and the 14-24. If an upgrade comes later to the FX line of camera bodies (HDV, built in cappuccino maker, etc.), reassess then. If you have only enough money for one or the other at the moment, get the lens. Enjoy the stuff that is here now and don't get paralized about over-the-horizon stuff, for there lies madness!
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#2. "RE: New D-700, or keep D-300 and get 14-24, or..." | In response to Reply # 1Wed 24-Sep-08 01:15 PM
This is exactly what I am thinking, (D-700 + 14-24mm), and it IS obtainable for me. From what I read on other posts, the fact there is no way to use filters does not seem to be too limiting to those who use this lens. My concerns about this thought is when shooting foliage on wet days, or close ups of detailed water type shots. How does one get around the glare/blown highlights issue? I am under impression that cpl use (effects) is non-available in post-processing.
IS the 70-200mmVR lens as fantastic on FX as it is on DX? I have read more than one posting that critiques this lens as being soft/vignetted in the corners when using it on FX camera?
Also, I really do enjoy the 24-70mm f2.8 lens, but have thoughts about getting three primes in this focal length instead to cover different shooting situations. In this regard, I ahve given thought to the 24mm tilt/shift lens (for wide angle scenics & wide angle close ups), the new 50mm f/1.4 (for portraiture, walk around), and the utterly awesome 85 1.4 (portraiture). I realize that the 85mm is not within the focal range of the 24-70mm. I do like macrography, and have heard good things about the 105mmVR macro lens, although many state the VR is "gimicky" and that the previous 105mm NON-vr is better.
I realize there will always be newer, better, faster lenses coming down the road. And there is a place for all of them, usually. I am finding out that I gravitate towards portraiture, candids, macro closeup, and wide angle specific foreground landscapes.
So, would the 14-24mm have a legitimate place in my bag, or would the primes be the way to go, (and one could use filters as needed)? And, if I went the way of primes, would they preclude the use of the 24-70mm? I do love the 70-200VR, however if it truly is soft/vignetty in corners on FX, I guess I would "need" to upgrade to "new" 70-200mmVRII? Yeah, I do have a bunch of colliding thoughts swirling around in my head, but am sure that fellow Nikonians will have applicable experienced views on this topic once again. Jon.
#3. "RE: New D-700, or keep D-300 and get 14-24, or..." | In response to Reply # 0
It might be worth considering a review of your existing gear to determine how well it fits your shooting needs. In your second post you stated that you "gravitate towards portraiture, candids, macro closeup, and wide angle specific foreground landscapes." You've already got a D300 which was and remains a terrific body - superb actually. The Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 is one of the best pro medium telephoto zooms ever made by any company. The problem is, the angle of view on your D300 is equivalent to 36-105mm. But wait! That's not really a problem because it perfectly covers your portraiture, candids, some landscape and the majority of anyone's walkabout needs. Great choice, serves several of your needs perfectly, capable of image quality as good (and in some cases better than) most top primes - keep it.
Next on your current list is your Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VR (equivalent to 105-300mm field of view on the D300). It's another superb pro lens which covers some landscape and a lot of walkabout needs for both urban and suburban shooting. The 70-200 has slightly soft corners when shooting film with my F100 or digital on my D700 or D3. Who cares!?! I can't remember the last time I either gave a darn about the last few millimeters on the edge or failed to crop off one or two edges of a shot during post-processing. Nay-sayers will argue, but I say keep the 70-200 VR and get full professional quality out of it on some future full frame body.
A Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 is also a great lens. Use outdoors for urban shooting, the occassional landscape, for portrait shots in available light (or when you don't want to lug around the 24-70) and night shooting sans flash in a variety of environments. Problem is, the 24-70 is so good that you may only ever trot out the 50/1.8 when you truly need a faster shutter speed without pushing the D300 ISO setting past 800. You won't have that concern with the D700 and its fabulous high ISO performance.
For wide angle shooting with the D300, why not consider the superb Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8. It's another pro lens capable of producing spectacular images. It's equivalent to 26-52mm on the D300 and the two pieces of gear work beautifully together. The 17-35 on the D700 is a match made in heaven. On either body, near-field landscape focus and large (or shallow) depth of field works beautifully. Near field landscapes, wide angle panoramas, general walkabout urban shooting.
For macro work, the newer Nikkor 105mm VR is unbeatable. The initial production run seemed to hunt focus a bit, but the production runs over the past couple of years are absolutely wonderful. Macro VR is kind of problematic if your subjects are moving (sliding, hopping, slithering, etc.) too much. Turn off the VR and engage 3D focus tracking instead, if needed. VR is useless when shooting from a stable tripod in any case. Shooting handheld macro subjects with VR on may turn you into a true believer however, because the number of sharp shots you get may increase dramatically.
If you're a product cycle type of person - getting that upgrade itch for new models - consider being completely delighted with your D300 until such time as a successor to the D700 is announced and then purchasing that successor immediately upon release. In that way you'll truly get the most out of the great D300, and then get to spend a long, long time with the D700 successor. Waiting until mid way through a product lifecycle (the D700 in this case) before making a purchase invariably shortens the time you feel you have to get the most out of the purchase. I also suggest that you look at your D300 photos and note that it's really hard to tell the difference between the best shots you've made with it so far and the best shots you'll make with a D700.
It's debated long and loud, but the fact remains that the differences in image quality between all of the top ranked cameras right now (including the D300, D700, and D3 using the quality of lenses you've already got) are far too small to be of concern to anyone except the most critical reviewers. The great benefits of the D700 and D3 - wonderfully extended low noise/high ISO performance and wider dynamic range to name the two most important ones - may be of greater concern to you than any of the lens considerations. If so, buy the D700 and don't look back.
S'my view. Keep the D300, 24-70/2.8, 70-200/2.8, 50/1.8, and purchase the 17-35/2.8 and the 105 VR macro. If you need low noise/high ISO and wider dynamic range, buy the D700 along with the two additional lenses.
#4. "RE: New D-700, or keep D-300 and get 14-24, or..." | In response to Reply # 3Wed 24-Sep-08 10:34 PM
I followed your line of reasoning all the way through, except some questions arise, Namely:
1) 70-200mmVR- it is the VR I, not II, and from what I read, I believe it is stated that this model of 70-200mm VR will not do its job of image stabilizing with a full frame sensor, that the VRII does better but problems with softness/vignetting in corners, (of which you spoke about), and the (hopefully) new VRIII (?) to be released will address those problems as well as allow for 4-5 stops of vibration reduction. IS this correct?
2)I DO love the 24-70mm I have, but with DX want wider, with FX longer, but I could take care of that issue by picking up the 14-24mm. I had Nikon's 12-24mmf/4, which was...nice. But found I was shooting nearer the bottom end than top, and details were not as clear/sharp, even w/tripod, remote shutter release, mirror up, beanbagging, etc. Getting away from extra work in PSCS3 and LR2 is a priority of mine. And for portraiture, isn't the 85/1.4 (poss w/nano) beyond any other lens?
3) DX is great for adding free focal length to ones lens reach, but the cost of extra noise and lower dynamic range (vs FX) is tangible. The D300 IS a wonderful piece of equipment. The D-700 is even a notch or 4 above, except for only being able to deliver ~6.1MP's in DX. Now, I know one can get very nice prints that are fairly large with that amount of MP's, but it is hard to swallow going down from 12.6FX to 6.1DX in the same camera body.
4) I am patient, kinda sorta, maybe, yeah, for the next gen D-700 to come out, and to keep shooting with my D-300. But the siren of wide angle is calling ever louder. The D-700 w/built in flash is a great thing to control off camera slave flash. I can wait, especially if the new D-700__ has >MP's for DX shooting. Then, in effect I have two sets of glass with each lens. I really like low light long exposure outdoor moonlite/moonscape scenes.
The 50mm1.8 is very nice. I wonder if the 50mm1.4 will be even better?
The 17-35mm is a gorgeous chunk of glass which if I went that way, would get me back to uniform 77mm filter size, a small consideration, but important when around water and wet foliage or glass.
I am not sure about the 105VR, haven't made my mind up, yeh or nay, as I do wonder if a 135mm or 180/200mm macro might be better because of background control (narrower angle)? Macro is a different world which is to me a great stress reliever. Imagine, getting "lost" all weekend on a lot-sized chunk of ground with diverse structure/foliage/insect/birds/ small animal life!
I have never felt that I am a product cycle type of person, until you mentioned it in above post. When I looked back before, I was always ready to make the transition as I progressed in experience. I know I do have a long ways to go, and as Len Sheppard states in his posts at times, it isn't the equipment as much as it is the person behind it which makes the picture, (or something like that, sorry Len). I guess the only way to solve this is the get the best glass I can, knowing that is an investment, and then getting to know it (the glass) intimately. And then, maybe the move to the next full frame sensor camera if it truly will make a difference. Arghh.. (PS If someone sees an error in thinking process here...jump in).
#5. "RE: New D-700, or keep D-300 and get 14-24, or..." | In response to Reply # 4agitater Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Thu 25-Sep-08 12:51 AM
>1) 70-200mmVR- it is the VR I, not II, and from what I read, I
>believe it is stated that this model of 70-200mm VR will not
>do its job of image stabilizing with a full frame sensor, that
>the VRII does better but problems with softness/vignetting in
>corners, (of which you spoke about), and the (hopefully) new
>VRIII (?) to be released will address those problems as well
>as allow for 4-5 stops of vibration reduction. IS this
I use the 70-200/f2.8 VR on my D700 and D3 several times every week. I and others can assure you that VR works very well, just as it was designed to do. There is no perceptible difference between the quality and effectiveness of the VR optical stabilization using the lens on my D300 and my full frame bodies. As for VR I, II & III, I can't even begin to speculate on technology comparions between existing and non-existent items. My old Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR zoom contains Nikon's original VR assembly (VR I if you prefer), and it works perfectly well to consistently allow me to use shutter or aperture settings two to three stops slower than normal when shooting handheld (depending on the shooting circumstances) at any fixed ISO. As you know already from using your own 70-200 VR, the stabilization is excellent, highly reactive and should consistently allow you to use shutter or aperture settings three stops slower than normal when shooting handheld (depending on the shooting circumstances) at any fixed ISO. There is no question that viewfinder corners in the D700 and D3 are noticeably dark when using the 70-200, but it's only a direct result of the unusual forward position of the rear lens element - dark viewfinder corners are inevitable - but the effect on actual images is slight and easily corrected if it's even a factor in the first place. I seriously doubt the actual technical capabilities of any stabilization system which claims a four stop advantage. In any event, multi-stop stabilization advantages are a relative measurement. Many people simply don't have the ability to position themselves as a stable handholding platform or have just never learned proper technique. For those people, a three stop advantage conferred by VR might mean being able to shoot handheld at 1/80s and get consistently sharp shots. For others (with better handheld technique), a three stop advantage might mean being able to shoot consistently sharp shots at 1/15s. It's all relative.
>2)I DO love the 24-70mm I have, but with DX want wider, with
>FX longer, but I could take care of that issue by picking up
>the 14-24mm. I had Nikon's 12-24mmf/4, which was...nice. But
>found I was shooting nearer the bottom end than top, and
>details were not as clear/sharp, even w/tripod, remote shutter
>release, mirror up, beanbagging, etc. Getting away from extra
>work in PSCS3 and LR2 is a priority of mine. And for
>portraiture, isn't the 85/1.4 (poss w/nano) beyond any other
Obviously, I can't see what you see in your own shots. My own results with the Nikkor 12-24mm f/4.0 have been consistently razor sharp. As a matter of fact, my only real regrets after moving to full frame was the trade-in of my 17-55 DX, 12-24 DX and, ultimately, my D300. These were and are wonderful lenses and the D300 is a terrific camera without doubt. In any case too, the 12-24 is only marginally useful on a full frame body (and besides that, you've already sold it). There are only a small number of Nikkor lenses that aren't sharp, but 12-24 DX is not one of them. Either you had one that needed calibration, or your sharpness requirements are unusually high, or your technique needs work. For my purposes similar to yours, I personally find the 17-35/f2.8 to be a better choice than the 14-24. While the 14-24 may be the sharpest lens ever made in this form factor, the 17-35 remains wonderfully sharp and accepts 77mm filters and a conventional lens cap. I have cracked, scratched and messed up enough screw-on filters to know without doubt that I have saved my self thousands of dollars in lens repair/replacement costs over the years. The 14-24 with its bulbous front element does not leave me with any great feeling of security. Note though that there are thousands of supremely delighted 14-24 users who scoff at the idea of accidental damage, stating in no uncertain terms that normal care of and attention to such an expensive piece of pro glass is sufficient to maintain it in good condition.
>3) DX is great for adding free focal length to ones lens
>reach, but the cost of extra noise and lower dynamic range (vs
>FX) is tangible. The D300 IS a wonderful piece of equipment.
>The D-700 is even a notch or 4 above, except for only being
>able to deliver ~6.1MP's in DX. Now, I know one can get very
>nice prints that are fairly large with that amount of MP's,
>but it is hard to swallow going down from 12.6FX to 6.1DX in
>the same camera body.
Okay . . . all technical and gotta-have-it-because-it-is-the-latest considerations aside for a moment please. How on earth did all sorts of award winning pro and amateur photographers using digital five years ago get by with 6 megapixel cameras and many of the same lenses we're touting today? The answer is simply that absolutely smashing marketing has convinced us that there isn't enough detail captured by 6 mp sensors and that digital noise factors inherent in older sensor designs are utterly unacceptable, and on, and on ad infinitum. The problem is, all of the fabulous photos taken five years ago (and some as recently as just yesterday we should note) with 'aging' D1, D70 and D100 cameras are still the same fabulous photos. Did all the great 6 mp photos suddenly turn to dust when we weren't looking? How about the wonderful prints made from those 6 mp photos. The more-megapixel argument has technical merit without doubt, but the quality of images depends largely on composition, lighting, interesting subject matter and the photographer's desire to go out and find great shots. 6 mp is enough for anything I want to print, but I've been sucked down the great feature/function/mp vortex just like everyone else. So now I can generate gorgeous 20" x 30" prints from images shot with my D300, D700 and D3. Problem is, I never print that big. Ever. DX mode is included in the full frame bodies as a nod to photographers who've spent serious money on pro DX glass such as the 17-55 and to a slightly lesser extent it's also a nod to those who own great glass like the 12-24.
>4) I am patient, kinda sorta, maybe, yeah, for the next gen
>D-700 to come out, and to keep shooting with my D-300. But the
>siren of wide angle is calling ever louder. The D-700 w/built
>in flash is a great thing to control off camera slave flash. I
>can wait, especially if the new D-700__ has >MP's for DX
>shooting. Then, in effect I have two sets of glass with each
>lens. I really like low light long exposure outdoor
The hope for high mp DX from an FX sensor will only appear if the density of photosites is increased in order to increase the overall sensor mp rating. In that way a DX crop will obviously cover a greater number of photosites, thereby resulting in an image containing more pixels. All other things being equal, a given sensor size onto which a greater number of photosites are packed generally results in more digital noise at higher ISO settings. Although physicists and engineers are of course working to increase photosite density on FX sensors while at the same time reducing high ISO noise, it's more of a technical marketing and corporate competitive game than it is a benefit to photographers. We live in houses and apartments with walls that can accommodate quite a few 20" x 30" prints, paintings and so on. There are certainly services to output prints of that size. But how many people actually print that large, and of those who do, how often? Let's cut the pure pros out of the answer group. If more mp in the future comes hand in hand with greater detail and clarity and color accuracy, well hooray and I'll be standing in line to make the purchase. For now though, the tech has reached the point where I'm having a hard time telling the difference between prints made from images shot with my D300 and images shot with my D700. The 'law' of diminshing returns applies to designing and purchasing photography tech just as it does in other areas of tech development.
>The 50mm1.8 is very nice. I wonder if the 50mm1.4 will be even
>The 17-35mm is a gorgeous chunk of glass which if I went that
>way, would get me back to uniform 77mm filter size, a small
>consideration, but important when around water and wet foliage
So far, based on a review of the announced specs, the main advantage of the new 50/1.4 over the existing 50/1.4 is a built in focus motor which will allow the new model to work on D40-series cameras. I don't see anything in the specs to make me want to trade my existing 50/1.4. As for trading 'up' from the 1.8 to the 1.4, let's just agree that the 1.8 is a superb lens capable of consistently producing scary-good images. So my view is why bother with the additional expense and weight of the 1.4 for a lousy one-third of a stop?
>I am not sure about the 105VR, haven't made my mind up, yeh or
>nay, as I do wonder if a 135mm or 180/200mm macro might be
>better because of background control (narrower angle)? Macro
>is a different world which is to me a great stress reliever.
>Imagine, getting "lost" all weekend on a lot-sized
>chunk of ground with diverse structure/foliage/insect/birds/
>small animal life!
It's a personal decision. Rent the lenses, one at a time, to determine which one will best suit your needs. I have gotten lost as you described it, albeit in a more concrete jungle. The 105 VR suits my purposes. The other three lenses are just as remarkable, longer, and suited to some people better than others. It's a personal decision.
>I have never felt that I am a product cycle type of person,
>until you mentioned it in above post. When I looked back
>before, I was always ready to make the transition as I
>progressed in experience. I know I do have a long ways to go,
>and as Len Sheppard states in his posts at times, it isn't the
>equipment as much as it is the person behind it which makes
>the picture, (or something like that, sorry Len). I guess the
>only way to solve this is the get the best glass I can,
>knowing that is an investment, and then getting to know it
>(the glass) intimately. And then, maybe the move to the next
>full frame sensor camera if it truly will make a difference.
Len (and others - myself included) are right without equivocation: keeping in mind that we're not talking about $149 point & shoot stuff here, it's the photographer, not the gear, that makes great photos. That's the main reason I urge you to consider sticking with the D300 and investing in the 17-35 & 105 VR (or one of the other micros if you prefer), then spending all your time shooting and developing your craft. Most serious photographers (amateur and pro alike) eventually begin to spend so much time shooting, sorting, processing and printing that they become very attached to their favorite gear and refuse to give it up even when something demonstrably (technically) better comes along. The funny thing is too that even when such remarkably 'better' gear comes along, all the great photos those photographers have previously taken still look absolutely great.
The camera companies manage to convince almost every single one of us, from time to time, that the terrific gear we already own is suddenly pathetic when juxtaposed against the newest shiny round twiddly thing.
I remember the first time I pushed a roll of film to 1200ASA and got the results back from the lab. Looking at those slides now is an exercise in hilarity - grain, edge definition issues and hopeless source material for my scanner. But I nonetheless got some shots I was proud of and had them blown up and printed. Now we think nothing of 'pushing' a D300 to ISO800 and leaping at our monitors crying foul if we see even a bit of noise. D700 and D3 owners are even worse (myself included <sigh>), but we don't actually start frowning until we get way past ISO3200. The situations are ridiculous and all of these cameras and lenses are fabulous.
#6. "RE: New D-700, or keep D-300 and get 14-24, or..." | In response to Reply # 0
Per your request, not so much an error in your thinking, but there is an assumption buried in there that may not be achieved with the next camera iteration:
- The high megapixel you are considering waiting for, lets call it a D800, 27 megapixel camera (12 meg crop) may not have the D700/D3 level of high ISO and better dynamic range. Instead it could have the D300 level of ISO performance due to current sensor architecture limitations. Having said that, lets hope that it does have the D3/D700 high iso/high DR!
- until such time as the best of all worlds is available, there are still very good reasons for owning both an FX for wide and low-light and a DX camera for telephoto, wildlife and super-telephoto work. I.e. where adding focal length is not always a possibility for both financial and handling reasons (weight/size/cost). Therefore you may wish to plan to keep your D300 when you acquire an FX camera and that solves the 70-200 issue.
Anyhow, with regard to dizzying, it has been crazy of late, look at the 8 or 9 sensor variations that could come at us, all of which may achieve further yet unparalleled ISO and dynamic range improvements:
- Nikon patent that uses 'little mirrors' to achieve added DR and ISO capability;
- Fuji just announced a new Super CCD EXR sensor technology (albeit for point and shoots) that the user can selectively choose enhanced DR (effectively HDR in one shot!), enhanced low ISO, and a third choice I didn't quite understand. One sensor, three choices in-camera!
- gapless sensor technologies (already out);
- Kodak optimizations on recent announcements (some in use by Hasselblad and Leica);
- Nikon MX rumors;
- post-bayer sensor advancements that render bayer obsolete;
- possible modular Nikon with differently optimized sensors pluggable (B&W, high iso, high-res, high DR, or low res but crazy-high ISO 51,200 anyone?);
- Sony patented "back of the sensor" technology (sorry that is not the correct name);
- stuff going on to embed IR filter differently (Kodak) and maybe eliminate strong AA filters to achieve far more 'sharpness' with existing megapixels; and (phew)
- plus I really want D-movie too
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'A camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.' -- Dorothea Lange
#7. "RE: New D-700, or keep D-300 and get 14-24, or..." | In response to Reply # 6PeteG Registered since 06th Jun 2008Thu 25-Sep-08 01:05 PM
I found this discussion to be incredibly helpful. I too have struggled with lens choices since I purchased my D700. I've rented the 70-200 VR, the 400 mm f/2.8, and demo'd some 24-70mm, and 11-14 mm. I shot my daughters soccer games with the 70-200mm handholding and was very impressed with the sharp results with the FX. In my spare time I shoot some fund raising events for a non-profit, using mostly an old 24-135mm f/3.5, and a 17-55 f/2.8. Based on the research, and now your opinions, it looks like I'll soon be the happy owner of a 24-70mm and a 50 mm f/1.8. Oh Santa...