FX lens on DX Camera

Started Sep 4, 2010 | Discussions
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Lawrie Silverberg Regular Member • Posts: 273
FX lens on DX Camera

Is there any problem using a FX lens on a DX camera? I doubt that I would be changing to a FX camera.
Lawrie

RBFresno
RBFresno Forum Pro • Posts: 11,135
Re: FX lens on DX Camera

Is there any problem using a FX lens on a DX camera? I doubt that I would be changing to a FX camera.

Hi!

Which FX lens did you have in mind?

Usually it's no problem, except that some FX lenses might be overkill in terms of expense and weight.

For example, the 105VR macro is a fine FX lens, but, if you are only going to use a macro lens on DX, the 85 VR macro is cheaper and lighter (it also has a smaller maximum aperture, i.e., it's a slower lens; and some would argue that it doesn't have the image quality of the 105VR)

Also be aware of the focal length issues, e.g. 35 can be considered wide angle lens on FX, but on DX it's almost a "normal"lens. The converse is true in the telephotorange.

RB

http://www.pbase.com/rbfresno/profile

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Leonard Shepherd
Leonard Shepherd Forum Pro • Posts: 10,675
Re: FX lens on DX Camera

Any auto focus lens will take a picture.

Some lower price DX bodies to not support auto focus with lenses which do not have a lens internal AF-s motor.
--
Leonard Shepherd

Practicing and thinking can do more for good photography than buying or consuming.

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Lawrie Silverberg OP Regular Member • Posts: 273
Re: FX lens on DX Camera

RBFresno wrote:

Which FX lens did you have in mind?

Hi RB,

To be honest, I really don't know. My 65th b'day is coming up and I have it in my mind that I want a new lens. I have a D90 with the 18-105 kit lens and the 35mm f1.8 prime. I haven't got a clue what I want. I've read that for someone like myself, who considers himself an enthusiast and takes pics mainly of the dogs and grandkids and any scenery that I like, that a 2.8 zoom is overkill because I don't shoot events. I don't have a flash and find that I'm happy without it so far (SWMBO is getting that for me, another decision :-(. I often use the prime at 1.8 indoors (I like the IQ and bokeh) and push the ISO if I'm using the 18-105 (I like the range)when needed. Yesterday I went to see the grandkids and I was indoors, outdoors, indoors and out. Not interested in constantly changing lenses. I like the IQ of the prime for inside and needed the zoom outside. I just took the prime as it was supposed to rain all day. It was good most of the time but a zoom would have been handy. The kit lens has a good IQ and according to posters the 2.8 zooms e.g. 24-70 is just subtly better and heavy. Unfortunately my brain keeps telling me that the 2.8 zoom is much better. Sorry for the rambling but I've go a serious headache from going over this over this over and over again.
Lawrie

BruceEvans Senior Member • Posts: 1,291
Re: FX lens on DX Camera

If you're not sure what you want to buy, don't buy anything yet. What don't your current lenses do? For about 90% of what you and I use our lenses for, you're not going to see much difference in IQ. Having said that, you'd have to pry my 17-55 mm f2.8 Nikkor out of my cold, dead hands to get it off my D300s. For grandkids, pets and a lot of activities, it's super.

If you want, look at my gallery--of one photo--on this site. I'd embed it in this message except I can't get the "Add a gallery photo to message" thing to work. That was taken with my Nikon 17-55 mm f2.8 on my old D200. A fantastic lens but pricey.

The other suggestion I'd make is to get into flash with a SB-600 or two. I'm not sure where you're at geographically but if you can get to the Nikonians seminar on CLS flash, you'll never be afraid to use it effectively again. Flash can add a whole new dimension to photography, particularly with fill lighting for granddaughters.

Bruce

Lawrie Silverberg OP Regular Member • Posts: 273
Re: FX lens on DX Camera

BruceEvans wrote:

The other suggestion I'd make is to get into flash with a SB-600 or two. I'm not sure where you're at geographically but if you can get to the Nikonians seminar on CLS flash, you'll never be afraid to use it effectively again. Flash can add a whole new dimension to photography, particularly with fill lighting for granddaughters.

Hi Bruce,

I can't get to the school but will get the DVD. So far the main use I've had for the onboard flash is at my grandaughter's soccer for backlit shots.
Lawrie

Mike Gunter Regular Member • Posts: 194
Re: FX lens on DX Camera

Hi,

I think Bruce is right that if you're unsure of what you need you might should hold off, and his recommendation to add a flash or two is spot on.

My lens collection is quite full, but my flashes is even more so, and I likely will add to it (the flashes) even more.

I rarely take any picture without a flash. That comes from a habit developed during my shooting days with newspapers. I wanted to have catch lights in the eyes then, and I do now, too.

I use an SB-800 or SB-900 on my camera as a commander for my remote slaves and sometimes as flash in concert with the slaves (something the on board flash can't do as the commander). It makes a big difference in where I can place flashes and the main camera, and putting catch lights in the eyes of the subject. With snoots, barndoors, scrims, gels, honeycombs, etc., you can have masterful works coming from a fairly small light kit consisting of 3 or 4 flashes.

That may be more than you want to get involved in doing with your grandchildren, but even a two flash kit will make a big improvement in your shooting.

My best,

Mike

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BruceEvans Senior Member • Posts: 1,291
Re: FX lens on DX Camera

Mike Gunter wrote:

That may be more than you want to get involved in doing with your grandchildren, but even a two flash kit will make a big improvement in your shooting.

Mike, you mustn't have grandchildren. You can never be "more than you want to get involved in doing with your grandchildren." Over fifty-percent of my pics are either of my granddaughter or practicing to shoot her.

Bruce

J Mankila
J Mankila Veteran Member • Posts: 4,234
Unequivocal no. :) [nt]

note xt

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regards
Janne Mankila, Finland

Mike Gunter Regular Member • Posts: 194
Re: FX lens on DX Camera

BruceEvans wrote:

Mike Gunter wrote:

That may be more than you want to get involved in doing with your grandchildren, but even a two flash kit will make a big improvement in your shooting.

Mike, you mustn't have grandchildren. You can never be "more than you want to get involved in doing with your grandchildren." Over fifty-percent of my pics are either of my granddaughter or practicing to shoot her.

Bruce

Hi Bruce,

No, I have 5 grandchildren. Two of them are here:

But in order to shoot them, I have to shoot others, too.

My best.

Mike

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PHXAZCRAIG
PHXAZCRAIG Forum Pro • Posts: 12,617
Re: FX lens on DX Camera

There is no problem using an FX lens on a DX camera. It's just that you may be wasting money, if there is a DX equivalent.

DX lenses have two possible design goals, compared to FX. Wide angle, and lighter weight. (Well 3, really, as they normally are cheaper, because they need less glass).

Since a DX sensor is physically smaller, the image circle created by a lens doesn't have to be as big, which means the lens can be designed to be smaller, lighter and cheaper. This is particularly important when it comes to wide angle, as it is more and more difficult to bend light to fit a sensor as the lens gets wider. The smaller sensor aids the design in that the lens doesn't have to be so big. On the other hand, the crop factor of the sensor works against the designer, since it is only using the center part of an FX lens. So a big expensive FX wide angle lens isn't as wide on a DX sensor, meaning it needs to be designed even wider to work on both. You'll notice that there aren't DX lenses past (I believe) the 85dx macro prime, other than zooms which have a wider component. So for long lenses, which are easy to build to cover both FX and DX and are going to be big anyway, you just see FX lenses.

Your big choices are down in the wide angle area. For instance, I have both a 12-24F4 dx lens and a 14-24F2.8 FX lens. The DX lens is smaller, lighter, cheaper and wider than the 14-24. (Though a lot of that size difference is also due to the 14-24 being F2.8 instead of F4). If you are not planning on getting an FX camera, you would need a pretty good reason to buy the 14-24 for the extra $$, size and weight drawbacks. It only makes sense to look at the DX wide angle zooms there.

If you really want to see just how different a DX and an FX lens can be, check out the 10.5 fisheye versus the FX 16mm fisheye. The DX lens is just tiny. (It's also a hoot to use!) The angle of view of 10.5 on DX is about the same as the 16 on FX.

There is one lens that makes me wonder which to choose sometimes. The 35mm primes from Nikon. You can get a 35F1.8 DX for about $200, and a 35F2 FX for about $350. They each have certain advantages over the other. I'd guess most DX camera owners would choose the DX lens based on price. (The DX also is AFS, so it will autofocus on the lower end Nikon cameras, where the 35 F2 AF-D will not).

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d1738 Regular Member • Posts: 160
Re: FX lens on DX Camera

This is not exactly about the FX DX problem you posed in the title.

But perhaps you can have a look at the Sigma 50-150mm f2.8 DX. If you like to shoot your grandchildren at few meters distance as your two photos above, the zoom range can be very useful. The Sigma has the short focal lens 50mm so that you can still easily get some shoot indoor, using large aperture (with a high ISO, say 800 or auto ISO). At outdoor the zoom range will be ideal for running kids. It is not too heavy as well. The draw back is that it is a DX lens, so if you want to go FX body at some stage, you may want to replace it by a bigger 70-200mm lens. I also wish it got VR (OS), but the present version (II) does not have OS.

ExposureMeter
ExposureMeter Senior Member • Posts: 1,747
Re: FX lens on DX Camera

No problem, but FX lenses are generally more expensive and heavier.
For lenses much longer than 300mm there is no option but FX lenses.

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Geoff
Gold Coast, Australia
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johnchap2 Contributing Member • Posts: 635
Re: FX lens on DX Camera

The only problem is that FX lenses tend to be bigger and heavier. there is no reason to go to FX unless you need really wide angle; and now the new Sigma 8-16 (or whatever) gives you FF equivalent of 12mm at the wide end, so now FX cannot get you wider.

edwardaneal
edwardaneal Veteran Member • Posts: 9,101
this might be worth reading

http://nikongear.com/smf/index.php?topic=28052.0

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My kit - D200, 10.5mm f/2.8D, 35mm f/1.8G, 50mm f/1.4G & 70-300VR
Wifes kit – D80, 18-105VR
SB800, SB600 and other misc lighting equipment

Lenses worth mentioning owned and sold– 12-24 f/4, 17-55 f/2.8, 35-70 f/2.8, 80-200 f/2.8, 20mm f/2.8, 35mm f/2, 50mm f/1.8, 50mm f/1.4D, 60mm f/2.8D, 85mm f/1.8, 105mm f/2D-DC, 180mm f/2.8, 300mm f/4D-ED

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Bjorn_L
Bjorn_L Veteran Member • Posts: 5,770
FX lens on DX Camera = works good

Lawrie Silverberg wrote:

Is there any problem using a FX lens on a DX camera? I doubt that I would be changing to a FX camera.
Lawrie

As was pointed out by others, it works fine. With a d90 you really do not need to worry about if the lens is FX or DX. Since that camera supports screw drive as well as AF-S type lenses. The only minor gotcha is limited metering on AIS lenses, but since those aren't the type of lenses you mentioned...

Just pick a FL that works for you.
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slimandy Forum Pro • Posts: 16,476
Re: FX lens on DX Camera

Most of the lenses I used on my D200 (and D100 before that) were FX lenses. They are bigger, heavier and more expensive, but also tend to be the best lenses you can get.
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