Longer Tele capability and FX V DX

Started May 24, 2013 | Discussions
Graham Sp
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Longer Tele capability and FX V DX
May 24, 2013

Up to last year my best setup was D7000 with Sigma 120-400 but studying closely now I think the lens is only good to 300 or may be 330mm. I have Kenko DG Pro 300 X1.4 Tele converter but I have not found that of much use on DX.

Now I have a D600 also, I intend to do 1.25 crops on the computer to get 16MP if using it for telephoto, but what lens upgrade to use on the tripod for mainly landscapes?  Will an FX camera handle a X1.4 or X1.7 converter better than a DX would?  I have the Tamron 700-300 already for hand held use that seems OK to 240mm to me on either camera.

My current thoughts are

1/  Discontinued Sigma 100-300 F4 and Sigma X 1.4 that gives me a better 100mm F4 and a better 300mm as well.

2/  Tamron 200-500

3/  Nikon 300mm F4 and Nikon X 1.7 although most expensive and less convenient adding and taking the converter.

What are anyone’s comment or experance on lens choice and will upgrading my DX body in the future also improve my tele capability or not (in strong daylight).  Many thanks

Graham

Leica X1 Nikon D600 Nikon D7000
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PatMann
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Re: Longer Tele capability and FX V DX
In reply to Graham Sp, May 24, 2013

Extenders and zooms both make compromises, often significant compromises, in some aspect of image quality (resolution, distortion, vignetting, chromatic aberration, contrast) compared to quality prime lenses in the long telephoto range. DX is more demanding of lens resolution because of its higher pixel density, but with lenses designed for full frame use, DX is using only the highest quality center of the image circle, throwing away the most-distorted and softest parts of the image.

If you are seriously interested in highest image quality and tired of the marginal quality you are getting from these compromises you are currently making, I would first eliminate the extender + zoom combination from consideration completely. I would second eliminate 2x extenders except for the TC20eIII (with the lenses it works well with - which seems by some reports to include the latest 70-200 f/2.8 but no other zooms). If you are shooting in good light, and not shooting action that requires the highest shutter speeds and gets into higher ISOs as a result, DX should not be a major compromise compared to FX, and your budget will be less strained in the telephoto range. As soon as you move above 300mm, your costs for quality glass go up exponentially. If you move to FX and want the same angle you get with 300mm on DX, you are committing to at least a 400mm lens, at 2-3 times the cost of a 300mm lens of the same aperture.

I suggest that you work on your shooting discipline, support, and settings that maximize what you get from your current cameras, and saving money for the best prime lenses. Who knows, by the time you've saved up the $2500-3500 required, Nikon may have  brought a nice 400mm f/5.6 AF-S with exceptional image quality to market for your D600. They might even have produced a new formula 1.4x extender that makes a minimal compromise in image quality with optics matched to that lens.

For shorter focal lengths, I suggest the 70-200 f/4, rather than trying to make one lens do it all. It won't.

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Leonard Shepherd
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Re: Longer Tele capability and FX V DX
In reply to Graham Sp, May 24, 2013

Graham Sp wrote:

will upgrading my DX body in the future also improve my tele capability or not (in strong daylight).

The more MP you put on the captured image area the greater the resolution - though you have to print bigger than 16x12 to see a difference viewing close at 15 inches distance from 17MP - which you have with your D7000 or cropped D600.

Despite some web noise there seems negligible image quality difference between DX and FX same technology same MP (e.g. D7100 v D600) below 1600 ISO.

What and how you shoot comes into any decision.

The D7100 gives you more long lens reach at 24 MP than your D600, and the interesting option for a lot of action photography of AF points across the entire frame at 16 MP with the D7100 1.3 crop mode.

The D600 has better noise and resolution at high ISO's though if highest quality resolution and dynamic range is your came it is a case of what you do not get rather than what you might like with either camera by 6400 ISO.

I have the D800 and plan to upgrade my D7000 to the D7100 soon, but your needs may be different to mine.

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Leonard Shepherd
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Graham Sp
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Re: Longer Tele capability and FX V DX
In reply to Leonard Shepherd, May 25, 2013

Thanks for the comments so far.

I have also looked up the number of elements in the teles on my list now and clearly the 150-500 at 21 is highest, the 300mm prime has just 10, with the other two on 16.  Too many being bad in general.

If it was not for the attraction of using the 100-300 without the matched sigma converter as well (it may get used more), I think the 200-500 would be my choice as powerfull enough to use on the D600 with my 1.25 crop plan.  It is usable to 450mm in reviews I have read.

Graham

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bflood
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Re: Longer Tele capability and FX V DX
In reply to Graham Sp, May 26, 2013

Not sure why 500 mm is a driving force for landscape shooting, there certainly are uses.  Any lens that long, even the really expensive glass, will encounter limitations that no lens can control.  If you plan to shoot over significant distance, as in most landscape shots, atmospheric conditions will become a factor, and the more the image on the sensor is magnified, the more glaring the haze and thermal distortion will be apparent. Something to consider.

Tamron 200-500: I have one and it is very sharp for subjects within about 40 yards of me, but definitely gets softer at greater distances. Because of the unavoidable production variations that happen in this price range, I recommend that you only by a Tammy 200-500 that you have connected to your body, taken some shots, and find them acceptable. Don't even let the store give you one "in an unopened box" after you've chosen the lens - you want the one you know works for you.

300+1.7: I've seen some very nice bird photos with this combination, but they are all at rather close distances, too, compared to landscape use.  Don't know if it would work for you - the 300 prime will have better short distance-long distance behavior than a zoom, but the 1.7x may change all that.

A possible alternative: landscape shooting generally doesn't require focusing on moving objects, so a manual focus lens wouldn't be much of a handicap.  The Nikon 400 f3.5 AIS lens is probably about the price of a new Tammy or a little more, and optically in the ballpark of the 400 2.8 (lens coatings will be older technology, but still...). Even if you decide to shoot animals, the AIS lens will still be awfully good, but birds in flight and fast moving squirrels would be more of challenge than I'd want.

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Bobby Handal
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Re: Longer Tele capability and FX V DX
In reply to Graham Sp, May 27, 2013

I think you should look into the 50-500mm OS, it is sharper than the 120-400mm and it works great with either fx or DX (I can probably say up to 450mm is quite great, and at 500mm at f/8 is excellent). I know its more expensive than the Tamron you ask, but  you really miss stabilization. The macro ability with the sigma is scary.

I usually crop quite a bit, so the above shots are probably cropped.

best regards,

Graham Sp wrote:

Up to last year my best setup was D7000 with Sigma 120-400 but studying closely now I think the lens is only good to 300 or may be 330mm. I have Kenko DG Pro 300 X1.4 Tele converter but I have not found that of much use on DX.

Now I have a D600 also, I intend to do 1.25 crops on the computer to get 16MP if using it for telephoto, but what lens upgrade to use on the tripod for mainly landscapes?  Will an FX camera handle a X1.4 or X1.7 converter better than a DX would?  I have the Tamron 700-300 already for hand held use that seems OK to 240mm to me on either camera.

My current thoughts are

1/  Discontinued Sigma 100-300 F4 and Sigma X 1.4 that gives me a better 100mm F4 and a better 300mm as well.

2/  Tamron 200-500

3/  Nikon 300mm F4 and Nikon X 1.7 although most expensive and less convenient adding and taking the converter.

What are anyone’s comment or experance on lens choice and will upgrading my DX body in the future also improve my tele capability or not (in strong daylight).  Many thanks

Graham

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Graham Sp
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Re: Longer Tele capability and FX V DX
In reply to Bobby Handal, May 30, 2013

Yes Bobby I am starting to think a used 50-500 might be a useful step forward over the 120-400.  Another affordable option I have spotted is a Sigma 400 F5.6 APO (non macro), this is cheap enough I could keep the Sigma 120-400 to use as my tripod lens from 120 to 300mm.  The 400mm will not be the best prime lens in the world but it is a prime, and will not need a teleconverter other than photgraphing the moon that seem not to show up the damage they do to qualtiy) and would be lighter if I want to walk up a hill to use it.  Also half the price on most of the other options (assuming I do not find a used Tamron 200-500 to try before I buy).

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Lance B
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Re: Longer Tele capability and FX V DX
In reply to Graham Sp, May 30, 2013

What about the new Sigma 120-300 f2.8 OS and use a 1.4x TC? The new Sigma is supposed to be a real gem:

http://www.ephotozine.com/article/sigma-120-300mm-f-2-8-dg-os-hsm-s-lens-review-21955

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moony16
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Re: Longer Tele capability and FX V DX
In reply to Graham Sp, May 30, 2013

Graham Sp wrote:

Up to last year my best setup was D7000 with Sigma 120-400 but studying closely now I think the lens is only good to 300 or may be 330mm. I have Kenko DG Pro 300 X1.4 Tele converter but I have not found that of much use on DX.

Now I have a D600 also, I intend to do 1.25 crops on the computer to get 16MP if using it for telephoto, but what lens upgrade to use on the tripod for mainly landscapes?  Will an FX camera handle a X1.4 or X1.7 converter better than a DX would?  I have the Tamron 700-300 already for hand held use that seems OK to 240mm to me on either camera.

My current thoughts are

1/  Discontinued Sigma 100-300 F4 and Sigma X 1.4 that gives me a better 100mm F4 and a better 300mm as well.

2/  Tamron 200-500

3/  Nikon 300mm F4 and Nikon X 1.7 although most expensive and less convenient adding and taking the converter.

What are anyone’s comment or experance on lens choice and will upgrading my DX body in the future also improve my tele capability or not (in strong daylight).  Many thanks

Graham

I bought the Sigma 100-300 f/4--just superb glass, on Dx & Fx!  It works nicely with the Sigma 1.4 TC, as does the Nikkor 300mm f/4 w Nikkor 1.4.  I struggled picking between the two, but the Sigma is so excellent from 100-300, with almost no distortions and almost no CAs, that I could not be happier--truly can't say enough good things about it.  The problem is finding one.  Let me know if you want samples & I can provide a link to a thread with plenty I posted.  Best!  JT

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