FX for a casual shooter?

Started Feb 17, 2014 | Discussions thread
Robin Casady Forum Pro • Posts: 12,898
Re: FX for a casual shooter?

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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Robin Casady
"Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please."
—Mark Twain

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