FX for a casual shooter?

Started 9 months ago | Discussions
Penny123
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FX for a casual shooter?
9 months ago

I am just wondering if there is any huge advantage to using FX as a casual shooter to some of the newer DX models, ie D7100.  I had a D40 and have been using a D90 this past year, I have had some focus issues but never really got to the bottom of if it was me or the camera.  It has been to nikon and they found errors but never said what so I have it back with me.  Focus issues aside I am starting to find the iso rather restricting.  I have been using iso 800 at a push but really notice the quality fall especially if I need to start pulling shadows ad adjusting exposure.  I take quite a lot of shots in woodland and Scotland can be pretty dull at times so to keep a good shutter speed I am often having to push it up a bit.

I mainly shoot portraits of my dog and landscape with a bit of everything else thrown in.  I feel my photos have gotten better this past year but nowhere near the high standard I see on here and I will always purely be doing this as a hobby.  What I am looking for is a camera that will last me the next 4 years (at least) and I have narrowed it down to the D610 or the D7100.  FX seems appealing as a camera to develop my skills with but is it overkill for what I do?  What I am after is a camera with excellent image quality (most new cameras fit this) and one where hopefully I can use ISO 800 or above but the images look just as good as if it were iso 200.

What put me off the D7100 is the buffer as I sometimes shoot shots of my dog running.  She is a bit older now so this isn't a make or break deal and I would be happy shooting in crop mode.  I also read that you need superior glass and good technique for the 24mp.  I have a 40mm, 16-85 and 70-200.

On the other side of the coin what put me off FX is I have no way to try before I buy and I would need to see how it suits me with the different dof and clustered focus points.  Am I correct in thinking that if I bought a 24-120 fx lens that would give me the same field of view of my 16-85?  I would also need to assess if I would miss the extra reach that I get with my 70-200 on a cropped sensor.

For my needs and what I am looking for what do you think D610, D7100 or hold tight with the D90 and see what might come out later in the year?

Nikon D40 Nikon D610 Nikon D7100 Nikon D90
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romfordbluenose
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Re: FX for a casual shooter?
In reply to Penny123, 9 months ago

Penny123 wrote:

I am just wondering if there is any huge advantage to using FX as a casual shooter to some of the newer DX models, ie D7100. I had a D40 and have been using a D90 this past year, I have had some focus issues but never really got to the bottom of if it was me or the camera. It has been to nikon and they found errors but never said what so I have it back with me. Focus issues aside I am starting to find the iso rather restricting. I have been using iso 800 at a push but really notice the quality fall especially if I need to start pulling shadows ad adjusting exposure. I take quite a lot of shots in woodland and Scotland can be pretty dull at times so to keep a good shutter speed I am often having to push it up a bit.

The D7100, D610 and D800 will all blow away your D90 when it comes to noise and high ISO performance. The dynamic range is fantastic on all 3 cameras so you can push the shadows. I tested all 3 when I moved to a D800 and found that the increase in performance is visible as you go from the D7100 to the D610 to the D800. However, for a casual shooter the D7100 should be fine for you and you can keep your current lens.  The main reason I chose the D800 was that I was coming from a D300 and I preferred the facilities of the D800 over the D600. I wanted FX as I do a lot of indoor architectural shooting where DR and wide angle is very important to me.

I mainly shoot portraits of my dog and landscape with a bit of everything else thrown in. I feel my photos have gotten better this past year but nowhere near the high standard I see on here and I will always purely be doing this as a hobby. What I am looking for is a camera that will last me the next 4 years (at least) and I have narrowed it down to the D610 or the D7100. FX seems appealing as a camera to develop my skills with but is it overkill for what I do? What I am after is a camera with excellent image quality (most new cameras fit this) and one where hopefully I can use ISO 800 or above but the images look just as good as if it were iso 200.

Unless you have a need for FX as mentioned above the D7100 will be fine and the autofocus is arguably better.

What put me off the D7100 is the buffer as I sometimes shoot shots of my dog running. She is a bit older now so this isn't a make or break deal and I would be happy shooting in crop mode. I also read that you need superior glass and good technique for the 24mp. I have a 40mm, 16-85 and 70-200.

There is no way round the speed issue without buying a PRO camera with a better buffer. Mind you do you really need more than 5fps?

On the other side of the coin what put me off FX is I have no way to try before I buy and I would need to see how it suits me with the different dof and clustered focus points. Am I correct in thinking that if I bought a 24-120 fx lens that would give me the same field of view of my 16-85? I would also need to assess if I would miss the extra reach that I get with my 70-200 on a cropped sensor.

Yes the 24-120 is equivalent to the 16-85. Reach maybe a problem with the D610 as in DX mode the number of mp is quite small. Don't forget though that the 24-85 is equivalent to the 24-120 when used in DX mode which is a cheaper alternative to the 24-120.

For my needs and what I am looking for what do you think D610, D7100 or hold tight with the D90 and see what might come out later in the year?

From what you have said I see no reason for you to move to FX and have to swap lens.

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Robin Casady
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Re: FX for a casual shooter?
In reply to Penny123, 9 months ago

Penny123 wrote:

I am just wondering if there is any huge advantage to using FX as a casual shooter to some of the newer DX models, ie D7100. I had a D40 and have been using a D90 this past year, I have had some focus issues but never really got to the bottom of if it was me or the camera. It has been to nikon and they found errors but never said what so I have it back with me. Focus issues aside I am starting to find the iso rather restricting. I have been using iso 800 at a push but really notice the quality fall especially if I need to start pulling shadows ad adjusting exposure. I take quite a lot of shots in woodland and Scotland can be pretty dull at times so to keep a good shutter speed I am often having to push it up a bit.

You will get about a stop to stop and a half more dynamic range with a D610 than you will with a D7100. At 800 you are looking at about 8.7 stops with the D610. However, if you put the camera on a tripod for landscapes you can get around 10 stops at ISO 100 with a D7100 and about 11.5 with a D610. The higher the ISO setting, the lower the DR.

I mainly shoot portraits of my dog and landscape with a bit of everything else thrown in. I feel my photos have gotten better this past year but nowhere near the high standard I see on here and I will always purely be doing this as a hobby. What I am looking for is a camera that will last me the next 4 years (at least) and I have narrowed it down to the D610 or the D7100. FX seems appealing as a camera to develop my skills with but is it overkill for what I do?

It is not so much about what you do, but what you want from it. Only you know what level of quality will satisfy you.

What I am after is a camera with excellent image quality (most new cameras fit this) and one where hopefully I can use ISO 800 or above but the images look just as good as if it were iso 200.

It is more like 200 and 400, not 200 and 800.

What put me off the D7100 is the buffer as I sometimes shoot shots of my dog running. She is a bit older now so this isn't a make or break deal and I would be happy shooting in crop mode. I also read that you need superior glass and good technique for the 24mp. I have a 40mm, 16-85 and 70-200.

There are several models of 70-200 from Nikon and some from other brands as well. The f/2.8 VRII is fine on FX. The older f/2.8 VR is a little soft in the extreme corners, but that is subtle. The f/4 is reasonably good.

The 16-85 is a DX lens. You might be able to use it in the longer half of the range on FX. You would have to test it.

The 40mm is also a DX lens.

On the other side of the coin what put me off FX is I have no way to try before I buy and I would need to see how it suits me with the different dof and clustered focus points. Am I correct in thinking that if I bought a 24-120 fx lens that would give me the same field of view of my 16-85?

Pretty much.

I would also need to assess if I would miss the extra reach that I get with my 70-200 on a cropped sensor.

You would need to add a 300mm for the same reach. The Nikon 300mm f/4 if pretty decent for its price. The f/2.8 is very expensive.

For my needs and what I am looking for what do you think D610, D7100 or hold tight with the D90 and see what might come out later in the year?

I don't know whether anything will come out later in the year, nor how much it might improve on the current models. Both the D7100 and D610 are fairly recent. So, I doubt they will be replaced so soon. Before them we likely we will see a successor to the D800 next year or the year after.

You will see improvements over the D90 with a new camera, but for most people, improving technique will result in a greater gain than buying a new camera.

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capanikon
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Re: FX for a casual shooter?
In reply to Penny123, 9 months ago

Penny123 wrote:

I am just wondering if there is any huge advantage to using FX as a casual shooter

FX and "casual" don't really go together that well. Usually FX is something that more enthusiastic photos use.

to some of the newer DX models, ie D7100. I had a D40 and have been using a D90 this past year, I have had some focus issues but never really got to the bottom of if it was me or the camera. It has been to nikon and they found errors but never said what so I have it back with me. Focus issues aside I am starting to find the iso rather restricting. I have been using iso 800 at a push but really notice the quality fall especially if I need to start pulling shadows ad adjusting exposure. I take quite a lot of shots in woodland and Scotland can be pretty dull at times so to keep a good shutter speed I am often having to push it up a bit.

AF: Try turning off multi-guess AF and manually select the AF point instead. The center AF sensor is the best. Also, read the manual and practice a lot.

ISO: Get a tripod and shoot base ISO.

I mainly shoot portraits of my dog and landscape with a bit of everything else thrown in. I feel my photos have gotten better this past year but nowhere near the high standard I see on here and I will always purely be doing this as a hobby. What I am looking for is a camera that will last me the next 4 years (at least) and I have narrowed it down to the D610 or the D7100. FX seems appealing as a camera to develop my skills with but is it overkill for what I do? What I am after is a camera with excellent image quality (most new cameras fit this) and one where hopefully I can use ISO 800 or above but the images look just as good as if it were iso 200.

The differences between FX and DX from most significant to least are:

1) FX is more expensive.

2) FX lenses look like they used to on 35mm film bodies.

3) Noise is one stop lower.

4) DOF is one stop shallower.

I also read that you need superior glass and good technique for the 24mp. I have a 40mm, 16-85 and 70-200.

Probably true. Higher resolution sensors means errors and defects in a lens are easier to see.

On the other side of the coin what put me off FX is I have no way to try before I buy and I would need to see how it suits me with the different dof and clustered focus points. Am I correct in thinking that if I bought a 24-120 fx lens that would give me the same field of view of my 16-85? I would also need to assess if I would miss the extra reach that I get with my 70-200 on a cropped sensor.

16mm x 1.5 = 24mm. 85 x 1.5 = 127mm. So yes.

For my needs and what I am looking for what do you think D610, D7100 or hold tight with the D90 and see what might come out later in the year?

Any of those options will work ... up to you!

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capanikon
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Re: FX for a casual shooter?
In reply to Robin Casady, 9 months ago

Robin Casady wrote:

You will see improvements over the D90 with a new camera, but for most people, improving technique will result in a greater gain than buying a new camera.

Absolutely.

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Penny123
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Re: FX for a casual shooter?
In reply to capanikon, 9 months ago

Thanks all for the detailed responses definitely gives me something to think about.  Maybe casual shooter made me sound a bit too much like a newbie what I really meant was I am not a pro, don't take photos for anyone else bar myself and don't shoot anything arty.  I never use auto focus select and always manually select which point I want and also tend to shoot in manual mode these days whereas I used to be  P shooter.  I guess I really want a decent step up and the best that I can stretch too.  Wouldn't be using the DX lenses I would sell them and most likely get a 24-120 and perhaps a 60mm further down the line.  The 70-200 I have is the 2.8 vrii.

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Stacey_K
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Viewfinder
In reply to Penny123, 9 months ago

One thing no one mentioned is the larger viewfinder. Don't discount how much "nicer" that is.

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Robertomendo
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Re: Viewfinder
In reply to Stacey_K, 9 months ago

Agree, I went from a D7000 to a D600 and the larger viewfinder would be hard to give up for the reach and autofocus of the D7100!

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BasiliskPhoto
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Re: FX for a casual shooter?
In reply to Penny123, 9 months ago

I don't think people realise quite how dark it is in Scotland for half the year - it is bad enough in southern England - with cloud cover most of the winter. If you still want to shoot on days like this, then the extra light you get in full frame and the better sensitivity is a real bonus. You might consider paring a D600 with the Tamron 28-75 f2.8 if you want to keep fast glass. It isn't the best lens, but f2.8 zooms are otherwise very expensive. VR is good for low light, but doesn't really help with shooting twitchy dogs where you need fast shutter speeds.

Like you, I work in M mode; I let Auto ISO range up to 6400. Images taken at 6400 are still fine if you downsample to 50% which still gives an image bigger than my computer screen.

Lots of secondhand bargain fast full frame lenses available - especially primes; If you want to get in to shallow DOF photography, then it is a whole lot easier with full frame.

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Penny123
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Re: Viewfinder
In reply to Robertomendo, 9 months ago

Ideally I would love to rent D610 to give me a bit of experience with a full frame camera but unfortunately here in the UK to rent a D600 it is over £75 per day which just seems crazy to spend that amount of money.  I would need to change my technique quite a bit as I would need to focus and recompose a lot more for my dog shots so that would take a bit of getting used to.  Around 80% of my shots are at the standard focal length (16-85 in dx).  I have read that the D7100 auto focus system is very highly rated.  So much to consider as I want whatever purchase I make to last me the next few years so no more chopping and changing.

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Westmill
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Re: Viewfinder
In reply to Stacey_K, 9 months ago

You need to take a lot of this with a pinch of salt. The D800 is currently at the top for DR thats for sure. It has 14.4 EV range. The D600 being not far behind. The D7100 is not that far behind either with an impressive 13.7 EV range. That is not a huge difference. Then you need to put that into perspective as the D7100 beats a lot of FF cameras. The D3 for example only has 12.2 EV. Then there are things like lens choice. If you prefer a zoom and use mostly in the 28mm to 50mm region the new Sigma 18-35 F1.8 makes it a bit of an equalizer too. The sharpness of the D7100 is breathtaking if you have good enough glass fitted to it. This is due to the fact you are shooting at 58 million pixels. That is what it would be if the sensor was carried over to FF. There are reasons still for FF but those reasons are mostly ever shrinking as APSC has closed the gap considerably over the years. I am a full time pro of over 30 years and I have used everything from four thirds to medium format. I now use APSC as my chosen format because I prefer it to FF. This would not have been an option 10 years ago but things have moved on. All formats have there Pros and cons. There are Pros shooting with four thirds. I doubt very much they chose to do so because of stupidity ! It is down to the individual to decide what works best for them. The only way anyone can do that is simply by understanding the Pros and cons of each format. Anyone saying that one format is better than another is being pretty silly other than talking directly for themselves. You are asking a question that only you can answer !

My view is of course its good enough and even four thirds is good enough unless there is somewhere very specific where it fails

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Penny123
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Re: FX for a casual shooter?
In reply to BasiliskPhoto, 9 months ago

BasiliskPhoto wrote:

I don't think people realise quite how dark it is in Scotland for half the year - it is bad enough in southern England - with cloud cover most of the winter. If you still want to shoot on days like this, then the extra light you get in full frame and the better sensitivity is a real bonus. You might consider paring a D600 with the Tamron 28-75 f2.8 if you want to keep fast glass. It isn't the best lens, but f2.8 zooms are otherwise very expensive. VR is good for low light, but doesn't really help with shooting twitchy dogs where you need fast shutter speeds.

Like you, I work in M mode; I let Auto ISO range up to 6400. Images taken at 6400 are still fine if you downsample to 50% which still gives an image bigger than my computer screen.

Lots of secondhand bargain fast full frame lenses available - especially primes; If you want to get in to shallow DOF photography, then it is a whole lot easier with full frame.

Thanks, it does get rather dark unfortunately.  Last week I rushed home from work to take some shots of my dog in the snowdrops I managed to take shots at iso 800 whilst there was still a little bit of light and shot at 2.8 but the quality has evidently dropped and they don't have the same colour, clarity etc.. also the noise is very evident and not always easy to remove.  The noise is always worse in these poorly lit environments.  It is not always practical to have a tripod and use lower iso as I am often out walking and it adds the extra weight and inconvenience and even though my dog poses perfectly a tripod isn't ideal for those kind of shots.

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Penny123
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Re: Viewfinder
In reply to Westmill, 9 months ago

Thank you for taking the time to express your views.  What makes things worse is I am a very indecisive person and then worry I have made a mistake.  I love getting out with the camera, over the summer I am out almost every day and I feel in this past year I have progressed which I hope to continue doing.  I guess in some respects sticking with DX makes more sense as I have never had any issues with the range.cropped sensor and all I would need to do is add a wide angle lens.  I see you have a D7100 how do you feel this performs at say iso 800 compared to what I would get from my D90 as this is my main concern.  I think what scared me a little was all the comments on the D7100 saying how unforgiving it was which got me slightly worried that I may end up with lots of blurred photos as my technique may not be up to what I thought.

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j_photo
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Re: FX for a casual shooter?
In reply to Penny123, 9 months ago

You've gotten lots of good advice. Just a few thoughts to add:

Shooting FX generally involves heavier and more expensive equipment. If either of those are big negatives, you should be sure to consider them in your decision making. For example, you say you often shoot in low light. Along with the new camera, perhaps you should be considering a 2.8 zoom? If so, be sure to look at the size, weight, and cost of such lenses on both DX and FX. There is noticeable difference.

On the other hand, for some enthusiasts, shooting FX is in and of itself a pleasure--whether justifiable technically or not. If one can afford the gear and using it enhances their joy of photography, so be it.

Over a year ago, I moved from D7000 to D800. The increase in overall image quality was significant. The increase in in quality when shooting in low-light was even more dramatic. I shoot regularly in very low light so appreciate the advantage. And to be honest, I also just enjoy shooting FX.

Lastly, when shooting in at higher ISO, developing good post-processing skills also pays off quite a bit.

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David314
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yes and no
In reply to Penny123, 9 months ago

Penny123 wrote:

I am just wondering if there is any huge advantage to using FX as a casual shooter to some of the newer DX models, ie D7100. I had a D40 and have been using a D90 this past year,

either camera is going to be a decent upgrade in picture quality for you - going FX will cost you more as you will need to upgrade a lens or two

I mainly shoot portraits of my dog and landscape with a bit of everything else thrown in. I feel my photos have gotten better this past year but nowhere near the high standard I see on here and I will always purely be doing this as a hobby. What I am looking for is a camera that will last me the next 4 years (at least) and I have narrowed it down to the D610 or the D7100. FX seems appealing as a camera to develop my skills with but is it overkill for what I do? What I am after is a camera with excellent image quality (most new cameras fit this) and one where hopefully I can use ISO 800 or above but the images look just as good as if it were iso 200.

The D610 will be better

What put me off the D7100 is the buffer as I sometimes shoot shots of my dog running. She is a bit older now so this isn't a make or break deal and I would be happy shooting in crop mode. I also read that you need superior glass and good technique for the 24mp. I have a 40mm, 16-85 and 70-200.

if don't imagine the buffer will be an issue, if so, jpeg will work

On the other side of the coin what put me off FX is I have no way to try before I buy and I would need to see how it suits me with the different dof and clustered focus points. Am I correct in thinking that if I bought a 24-120 fx lens that would give me the same field of view of my 16-85? I would also need to assess if I would miss the extra reach that I get with my 70-200 on a cropped sensor.

go out and shoot at 130 and see how it frames, but remember you also are going to 24mpix

For my needs and what I am looking for what do you think D610, D7100 or hold tight with the D90 and see what might come out later in the year?

there is rumor of the D7200 later this year that might address the buffer issue

I don't think you can really lose on this decision

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Westmill
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Re: Viewfinder
In reply to Penny123, 9 months ago

Penny123 wrote:

Thank you for taking the time to express your views. What makes things worse is I am a very indecisive person and then worry I have made a mistake. I love getting out with the camera, over the summer I am out almost every day and I feel in this past year I have progressed which I hope to continue doing. I guess in some respects sticking with DX makes more sense as I have never had any issues with the range.cropped sensor and all I would need to do is add a wide angle lens. I see you have a D7100 how do you feel this performs at say iso 800 compared to what I would get from my D90 as this is my main concern. I think what scared me a little was all the comments on the D7100 saying how unforgiving it was which got me slightly worried that I may end up with lots of blurred photos as my technique may not be up to what I thought.

The images at 1600 ISO with the D7100 will be better than 800 ISO of the D90. Even 3200 ISO is very usable. 6400 ISO is not bad but I use that as a last resort. As long as you shoot RAW and with careful processing you can get an excellent A4 sized image at 6400 ISO.

It can be a little unforgiving yes, it will perform better when the lenses are tuned into the camera. Perhaps use a slightly higher shutter speed helps etc. This is overplayed a little though. The files are much bigger from the D7100 than the D90. If you print the same size from both cameras then you will not see the difference even if maybe the shot was not perfect on the D7100. I have owned the D300 in the past. With the D300 I did not like going past 800 ISO this has now gone up to 1600 ISO and not the end of the world at 3200 ISO. Combine this with a fast and exceedingly high quality lens like the new Sigma 18-35 F1.8 allows for a huge overall improvement. Any of these cameras mentioned are a very notable upgrade from the D90 that is very apparent when you first shoot with one.

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chuhsi
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Re: FX for a casual shooter?
In reply to Penny123, 9 months ago

Two quick thoughts. I really don't like clustered focus points since I was DX user. And the fx change will probably give you better pictures. It's just up to you to decide if it's worth thousands in body and lens costs. The 7100 is an excellent camera.

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ata3001
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Re: FX for a casual shooter?
In reply to chuhsi, 9 months ago

Do you realize that prior to digital cameras, with the exception of a very few half frame 35mm cameras, that every 35mm camera WAS full frame & with only 1 memory slot (the roll of film in it).

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InTheMist
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In reply to Penny123, 9 months ago

If casual, you mean a few times a month, I wouldn't recommend FX. But if you find that you're shooting a few times a week, or even every day, then you're firmly in the "enthusiast" rank.

Allow me some brutal honesty and overgeneralization: If, say, you will shoot 500 sessions in two years, and you strive to get the best out of your photography then your craft may be eventually good enough that you'll notice the difference between FX and DX.

But as a beginner or intermediate? No way. When I first bought my D800 (coming from a D7000) I was like "WTF, why didn't my photography magically get better?" but now, something like 30,000 shots later with constant study and self-critique I can honestly say that I can tell the D800 from the D7000 without too much pixel peeping - but not in every case! It depends mostly on how much light there is.

Another thing to consider: if I took any two of my cameras FX or DX and shot the same scene with teh same framing and printed at 8x10, I'm really not sure I could tell the difference. In fact, something similar has happened. My stepson and I went to the airport and it happened that we took two photos at exactly the same instant with nearly the same framing. The light was good enough. When I brought both photos in lightroom, I had to give a moment's study about which was his and which was mine. My kit: D800 and 300 f/2.8. His? D5100 and cheap Tamron superzoom. Now, don't get me wrong, when I started zooming, the difference was clear, but at full screen on a 27" monitor? Meh, mine looked a little better. Not six thousand dollars better!

That said, I do shoot fast action sports and in low light and then yeah, it's pretty obvious.

Take the following examples:

No obvious difference - Good light, nice lens.

Obviously better. I had to crop this a LOT (D800)

A bit better. Again, I had to crop a lot.

No difference without very careful examination. This is a DX shot.

No difference. The lighting is what makes this shot.

No difference.  This was taken with a $50 plastic film camera.

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It's more important how an image looks as a thumbnail than how it looks at 100%.
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Nikon D800 Nikon 1 AW1 Nikon Df Nikon D810 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED +12 more
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Re: FX for a casual shooter?
In reply to Penny123, 9 months ago

Penny123 wrote:

I am just wondering if there is any huge advantage to using FX as a casual shooter to some of the newer DX models, ie D7100. I had a D40 and have been using a D90 this past year, I have had some focus issues but never really got to the bottom of if it was me or the camera. It has been to nikon and they found errors but never said what so I have it back with me. Focus issues aside I am starting to find the iso rather restricting. I have been using iso 800 at a push but really notice the quality fall especially if I need to start pulling shadows ad adjusting exposure. I take quite a lot of shots in woodland and Scotland can be pretty dull at times so to keep a good shutter speed I am often having to push it up a bit.

I mainly shoot portraits of my dog and landscape with a bit of everything else thrown in. I feel my photos have gotten better this past year but nowhere near the high standard I see on here and I will always purely be doing this as a hobby. What I am looking for is a camera that will last me the next 4 years (at least) and I have narrowed it down to the D610 or the D7100. FX seems appealing as a camera to develop my skills with but is it overkill for what I do? What I am after is a camera with excellent image quality (most new cameras fit this) and one where hopefully I can use ISO 800 or above but the images look just as good as if it were iso 200.

What put me off the D7100 is the buffer as I sometimes shoot shots of my dog running. She is a bit older now so this isn't a make or break deal and I would be happy shooting in crop mode. I also read that you need superior glass and good technique for the 24mp. I have a 40mm, 16-85 and 70-200.

On the other side of the coin what put me off FX is I have no way to try before I buy and I would need to see how it suits me with the different dof and clustered focus points. Am I correct in thinking that if I bought a 24-120 fx lens that would give me the same field of view of my 16-85? I would also need to assess if I would miss the extra reach that I get with my 70-200 on a cropped sensor.

For my needs and what I am looking for what do you think D610, D7100 or hold tight with the D90 and see what might come out later in the year?

Just my .02. I have a D7100, and I have a D600 refurb, which I got for $1299 and came with ZERO shutter activations. I bought the D7100 new.

I prefer the D600 and a 50mm lens for walk-around and family. I like the out of camera jpegs best from my D600. However, if I had only one of those two cameras it would have to be a D7100. It is a better all-arounder. It is better for sports and wildlife in particular, and it is no slouch for those things you mention. You would love either camera. Both are great low-light cameras.

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Roy

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