What System Meets My Many Needs?

Started Jan 12, 2013 | Discussions thread
Guidenet
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Re: What System Meets My Many Needs?
In reply to hval, Jan 12, 2013

hval wrote:

AltLens,

Thank you for such a prompt response.

I am looking for a full frame camera for a few reasons, that possibly I have misunderstood. these reasons are: -

1/ I print out some pictures at A3 size (420 x 297 mm) plus and sometimes larger (A1)

2/ I am led to believe that full frame cameras are generally better in low light. Since I prefer not using a flash I thought that a full frame camera would be a better option

3/ I will not be able to afford a lens greater than 400mm I reckon, so full frame offers a better crop factor

4/ I like to look at some of the photographs on a HD television.

A DX camera can do all of the above except number 3 which I do not understand. An FX camera does not have any crop factor at all. That's the point of it. You're shooting full frame, not a crop of full frame. Also, if you can't afford greater than 400mm, you probably can't afford a good 400mm either as they are quite expensive in the Nikon lineup.

Before people start telling you a crop camera like DX offers greater reach, let me tell you it does not. It only crops a smaller images from a full frame image. There is no magnification, just a smaller image with the same size subject, all else equal.

That all said, I would agree with you about full frame and I've totally exited from the DX arena. I find that FX is not only better suited for dim light but also contributes to better images in any light. Other than price, I see no reason to go to a crop or DX type camera anymore and price is fast closing between them.

And yes, FX glass can be more expensive and can be slightly larger, but then the glass is usually better quality as well, both build quality and optical quality. Nikon doesn't make any gold ring DX lenses and hasn't made any new pro-level optics in DX for many years. I don't think they're going to start doing so either. All the top optics are FX.

The D600 is an FX camera with similar controls, size and weight to the D7000. It's only larger in the pentaprism to house the larger viewfinder for FX, another big advantage. It has a slightly dumbed down version of the controls you're used to in your D200. If you want the same control layout and build level you currently enjoy in the D200, you need to look at the D700 or new D800. Both of these are full frame extensions of the line of D100, D200 and D300 --> D700, D800. The D600 is more of a full frame extension of the D80, D90, D7000 --> D600. It's still a great camera and less expensive, but I'm considering your comfort with the layout and build of the D200.

I feel the same. I moved from the D200 and D300 to the D700 and D800, both of which are more comfortable to me. You could pick up a new D800 or used D700 and use it right away with very little learning curve from your D200. Most everything is where you expect it to be. There is no Green Auto and no Style Modes, fortunately, to get in the way. Depending on whether your existing lenses are DX or FX, they should work just fine. Even if they are DX, all Nikon's FX cameras automatically step down to DX when a DX lens is mounted. You just lose the FX advantages. Canon doesn't allow this on their Full Frame models. They do not allow you to shoot their Full Frame models in crop camera modes using crop lenses, EF-S, only EF can be used. I don't know about the Sony A99's ability to shoot in crop mode.

One nice thing about both the D600 and D800 is the extra detail in shadows and highlights. What might be blown with lesser cameras, still has the detail. Highlights, where before you just had a blown white area, now have beautiful detail showing. This is because of a much greater dynamic range allowed by these FX cameras, as well as color depth. Often in instances where I thought I'd need to employ some tone mapping or other HDR techniques, I'm just fine with my D800. It's an amazing ability, especially for a 36 megapixel camera. Rare to get blinkies anymore.

As far as bird photography goes, you must consider expensive lenses to do it right. The cheapest budget birder combo in my opinion is the Nikon 300 f/4 AFS with a Nikon 1.4 converter for a total of 420 f/5.6 telephoto. From there the price climbs rapidly. The D600 has 24 megapixels and the D800 36 megapixels which allows quite a bit of cropping of bird images after the fact so your shot gets in quite tight as if you used a lens many times as long. This does have an effect on IQ, though.

So, contrary to many of the users in this beginner's forum, I suggest you looking at FX is a good idea and is very useful, long term. Enjoy.

Have a great weekend.

D800 with a 50 f/1.8 AFS mounted. That's a full frame high quality lens that costs only $219 USD. The hood is over a third of its apparent size and it weighs almost nothing.



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Cheers, Craig
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