Was thinking of buying Nikon, but not so fast......

Started Sep 26, 2013 | Discussions thread
windsprite Senior Member • Posts: 2,689
Re: I'm thinking of buying Nikon, APS vs FF?

dave gaines wrote:

I will continue to use my E-5 for now. I have 10 great Olympus lenses. Only 1 is a standard grade, the 35 mm f/3.5 macro. I got that to fit my wife's E-PL2. The rest of my lenses are HG and SHG, all really superb lenses. Yes, it's all about the glass.

I also have a box full of Olympus accessories. The RF-11 ring flash, SHV-1 battery pack, The FP-1 flash power grip, a few FL-50 flash, a RRS L-Bracket, cable release, and so on... The biggest consideration for me is my underwater equipment. I have a housing and set of lens ports designed for the E-330 and several HG lenses. The resale value on this is very low, even though it's a great system. If I switch systems it would be very expensive for me to replace the UW housing and lens ports. I may keep the E-330 and several lenses while replacing the rest of my gear with a FF system.

The first thing I did was read about the lenses available for Canon and Nikon. I read a recent article here about the best lenses for Canon FF or Nikon FF, which leads to a DXoMark pair of articles about the sharpest lenses for both systems. I concluded that the Nikon lenses may be better than the Canons because the Nikons all beat the aftermarket Sigma and Tokina while Canon's lenses are often out-performed by the same aftermarket brands. The 2 articles were about lenses on either the 5DmkIII or the D800E. Then I read about the Nikon D800E. It seems like the most logical step if I want to upgrade image quality and have increased DR and low noise/high ISO capabilities. My only concern with the D800 is the file sizes. With a 36 MP sensor it will produce really large files. Ohyea, and then there's the price. The body is twice the price of an E-5 or E-M1 and the best f/2.8 OIS lenses are all at a price point similar to the Olympus SHG lenses.

I don't think APS is a reliable long term investment nor a big improvement over 4/3 or the m4/3 E-M1. APS may wither away, like 4/3, and then you're left with a bunch of DX lenses. I believe FF will be around longer and there will always be a camera capable of supporting these better lenses.

Does anyone have any thoughts on APS versus "full frame"?

I have plenty of thoughts. How many hours have you got?

I don't know anything about camera markets and the future of APS-C, but as far as four thirds users changing sensor formats, unless reach is the primary concern, I vote for full frame over APS-C.  If you're going to the effort and expense of switching, you might as well do it all the way, IMO.  I can think of very few Oly users who went from four thirds to Nikon DX that didn't eventually switch to FF.  Then you're stuck with lenses which will work on the new format, but in a sort of kludgy way. With the D800/D800E, in a pinch you can use the APS-C lenses by engaging the in-camera crop mode (which still leaves you with nearly 16MP image), but most people prefer to replace their APS-C lenses with FF-compatible ones.

The in-camera 1.5x crop is, however, a nice feature of the FF cameras when you need more reach or a different FOV for your lenses.  There is also a 1.2x in-camera crop mode on the D800/E, which results in a 25MP image, and there is a 5:4 crop mode (30MP).  With an FF body you can get the FOV of a crop body (albeit at a slightly reduced pixel count, if you're talking 36MP FX vs. 24MP DX, and with a masked VF ), but you can't do anything with a crop body that will get you the noise performance, shallow DOF, etc. of a FF body.

The other difference between FX and DX is that with the larger format, you can use old lenses at the FOV that god intended for them, and there again, you can still do an in-camera crop if you want a narrower FOV.

Lenses will often have more "pop" on FX than on DX, because the larger sensor strains the resolution less, and with the better noise performance on FX, you can stop down to sharpen them up even more.  Of course, the DX sensors crop out any flaws like vignetting and corner softness.  Choose your poison.  Again, though, at least you do have the choice when shooting FF.

One other thing I'll say is, the noise difference between FF and DX is not trivial.  I've been shooting with a D700 for over three years, and earlier this year I bought a D300 for times when I want more reach.  Even at ISO 400, the grain on the D300 annoys the crap out of me.  These are two 12MP sensors that came out around the same time.

So there it is.  I'm admittedly biased, but overall, I think it's better for most enthusiasts and pros to start with FF and then add a DX body if needed, rather than do it the other way around.


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Fujifilm FinePix F100fd Fujifilm FinePix F550 EXR Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 Nikon D2H Nikon D300 +45 more
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