"Future Proofing"? - or just buy for the moment?

Started Sep 14, 2012 | Discussions
Bearum New Member • Posts: 2
"Future Proofing"? - or just buy for the moment?

I'm just about to bite the bullet and purchase a D7000. With the recent price drops and a generous leaving gift from the job I just left, it seems silly not to.

It's going to be my first DSLR, which I'm hoping will be a dramatic improvement from the Panasonic FZ50 I've been using for the last six years. Even if a D7100 or 7200 is around the corner, I'm not going to be feeling remotely lacking with the 7000 given where I'm coming from.

I'll be getting the kit lens with it, and I'm also planning on getting the 35mm 1.8G DX. (Unless someone feels like persuading me otherwise?)

My question is this:

If, in five or ten years, (or sooner!), I want to go FX, are there sensible, reasonably priced lens choices I can make that will leave the upgrade smooth and painless?

I guess what I'm saying is that I'd like to be able to buy mostly FX lenses for my DX camera over the next few years, in the hope that at some point I will move on to an FX body and won't then have to buy a load of new lenses.

What trade-offs would I be making in terms of price/performance by using mostly FX lenses on a DX body? Are there any DX lenses which don't have an FX equivalent?

Generally, and opinions or recommendations?

Thanks for reading!

Nikon D7000 Nikon D7100 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50
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JamesRL Senior Member • Posts: 2,343
Re: "Future Proofing"? - or just buy for the moment?

Again I see a fixation with full frame, when for the vast majority of photographers, the current generation of crop sensors are more than adequate for their needs. There are many pros who shoot great shots with crop cameras. Just check out the D300 forums and the D7000 forums for example.

But to answer your question, you can use any of the f2.8 "pro" lenses on a crop camera, and there are more modest full frame lenses as well. The 70-300 for example will work on both, as will most of the primes(if you see them marked DX, then they will vignette on the full frame cameras).

But of course, when moving from DX to FX, your lenses will have a different field of view, so you may have to make some adjustements to your lineup.

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Dennis Forum Pro • Posts: 19,071
Re: "Future Proofing"? - or just buy for the moment?

Bearum wrote:

If, in five or ten years, (or sooner!), I want to go FX, are there sensible, reasonably priced lens choices I can make that will leave the upgrade smooth and painless?

Not really, not without unnecessary compromises now. You could get a 24-85 now. It's a "decent" lens. In five or ten years, it's probably not going to look impressive on your 48MP full frame. Meanwhile, you have a zoom that leaves you wanting for WA coverage and isn't going to be as sharp on a 16MP APS-C sensor as, say, the 16-85 (or maybe even the 18-105).

When it comes to primes, I like certain focal lengths. I like the 35/1.8. (I'd prefer a 28 over a 35, but the 28/1.8 is too big, too expensive and 35 is close enough for me). I like 85mm on APS-C. 85mm lenses are FF lenses, but if I were to ever jump to FF, I'd sell it to buy a longer lens. I'd sell the 35/1.8 and get a 50. I don't want a 50 now because it's too long or too short for everything.

Then, who knows what new lenses will be available in 5 or 10 years ? Maybe you'd kick yourself for having bought something now when something better is going to come along in another 5 years.

I guess what I'm saying is that I'd like to be able to buy mostly FX lenses for my DX camera over the next few years, in the hope that at some point I will move on to an FX body and won't then have to buy a load of new lenses.

I don't see the point. You don't know what you'll want in 10 years so why spend money now ? In 10 years maybe Canon will have a system that stomps all over Nikon. Or maybe you'll want to go mirrorless because of the advantages it offers. Or maybe you'll be like many of us and see no need to go full frame. I've been at it for 20+ years now. I have a 20"x30" print in my office from a 4-year old 12MP camera and it was shot at ISO 400 and cropped slightly.

My advice is: buy what you need now. Buy what you need in the future. Buying what you think you might need is a waste of money much of the time.

What trade-offs would I be making in terms of price/performance by using mostly FX lenses on a DX body?

They're not available with the same zoom ranges a the wide end. They're often not as sharp, because FF is less demanding on a per unit basis (you're paying extra money in some cases for performance over a 24x36mm frame and not using half of it).

Are there any DX lenses which don't have an FX equivalent?

Are you asking if there are lenses that don't have an FX lens with the same range ? If so, most of your WA lenses, like 18-105 or 16-85. You'd end up with an expensive 17-40 or 16-35 or something like that, plus another zoom to cover the longer end. There are "full frame equivalents" meaning lenses that give you similar coverage when used on a FF camera ... 24-120 instead of 16-85 for instance.

Forget FF until one day you're making prints measured in feet and they're not sharp enough, or you're shooting candids and having only one eyeball in focus with an f/1.4 lens still isn't shallow enough for you. It's just noise that's only gotten louder because of a $2000 camera

  • Dennis

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Catallaxy Veteran Member • Posts: 3,724
Re: "Future Proofing"? - or just buy for the moment?

Get what you need today.Sell them off if or when you move to full frame later.

FX lenses are usually bigger and heavier, so if you buy full frame lenses now, you will be carting around a lot of extra weight for several years.

FX lenses have a different effective field of view on a DX camera. So even if you get "great lenses" they will not have the same effective focal length when you cross over to full frame.

Your needs or wants may change, or Nikon or some third party may come out with a newer/better lens. Note how many new primes have come out lately. Who knows what might be the best full frame lenses five years down the road.

A few select primes are useful on both FX and DX. I think a 28mm lens is great as a moderate WA on FX, and is a nice somewhat wide normal on DX. An 85mm is a nice standard portrait lens on DX, and makes a good somewhat short portrait lens on FX. The 50mm lenses are odd and do not work as well on DX. Similarly the 105mm is odd on DX. 60mm works ok on DX, but is odd on FX.

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leoda Regular Member • Posts: 224
Re: "Future Proofing"? - or just buy for the moment?

5 or 10 years from now ?

No one has the slightest clue where digital photo equipment is going to be out there.

Just look back 10 years !

sh#t . . look back 2 years !

digital photography is maybe 20 years away from being a mature technology.
maybe 30.

My words are always harsh sounding, I know, but I do mean what I say and I don't mean to hurt any feelings.

zirtico Contributing Member • Posts: 737
Re: "Future Proofing"? - or just buy for the moment?

5 or 10 years is far too long away to start thinking about FX. The FX lenses are much larger, heavier, and significantly more expensive, generally speaking. You may not think so at the moment, but you really will miss the DX form factor when you're lugging around your 3 lb body in the future. I would say, if there is an FX lens, like the 70-300 VR which works great on the DX and does what you need it to, get it. Otherwise, don't be afraid of buying DX, because you may decide you want to keep a DX AND FX body in the future.

dwa1 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,386
Re: "Future Proofing"? - or just buy for the moment?

fwiw... As a first DSLR, I would suggest that you get a used D300 or D300s and put the savings in fast glass . Among many other advantages, the D300/s have a much better layout (of controls) and they just feel much better in your hands. Other than your experience and skills as a photog, glass is the real difference maker. The D7000 may be a good camera, but the D300 and D300s are great workhorse cameras. My D300 has over 120,000 actuations on it.

imho... For new lenses with a multi-year warranty, due to the current "state" and "attitude" of Nikon USA Service, I would suggest getting 3rd party lenses rather than Nikon (provided that there is a 3rd party equivalent to your desired lens). There have been far too many complaints / problems with Nikon USA Service during the past year or more for me to buy a new Nikon lens. For used Nikon lenses or those with just a 1-year warranty, I can get them properly calibrated and repaired by APS in Chicago. APS also does the work for me on new or used camera bodies.

Others on these Nikon forums have reported good experiences with lenses such as the Sigma 150 2.8 Macro (OS and older non-OS versions) and the new 70-200 2.8 OS. Also Tamron and Sigma have a 70-300 VC / OS versions that are also receiving good feedback here and elsewhere. I've had very good service on my Sigma 150 2.8 macro and my Tamron 90 2.8 macro lenses.

Hope this helps in some way. Over the next few days you should get some great feedback here from many other experienced Nikon shooters. Good luck in your quest for knowledge and welcome to the "Nikon shooting gallery".

Wayne

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InTheMist
InTheMist Veteran Member • Posts: 3,078
Re: "Future Proofing"? - or just buy for the moment?

I did the same: upgraded from D7000 to full frame and it was a series of expensive mistakes.

Shoot the kit and (excellent!) 35/1.8 (or 50 which is FX). After that, 70-200/2.8 and be amazed. Then slowly, no rush, build yourself a FX gold-ring f2.8 collection.

Don't be temped by exotic DX lenses, you'll be sorry some day. The only one I kept is the 17-55/2.8 for my D7000 which I have as a backup and for the rare cases when I have a second shooter (girlfriend usually).
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nikkorwatcher Contributing Member • Posts: 684
Re: "Future Proofing"? - or just buy for the moment?

The waffle about FX reminds me of medium format. I avoided medium format because I could live without the extra quality and it was very, very expensive. You can rest assured Nikon will always keep FX bodies a few hundred dollars more expensive because it signifies a serious photographer. FX lenses are another matter, because there are so many second hand ones. If you buy new DX lenses they won't do well on FX and if you sold them you'd lose money.

t3htriste
t3htriste Regular Member • Posts: 107
Re: "Future Proofing"? - or just buy for the moment?

I bought the D7000 body-only along with the 35mm f1.8 DX some time ago prior to going on holiday. Ended up purchasing a second-hand 18-70mm f3.5-4.5 DX.

So...yes--go for the kit lens unless you know exactly what you're gonna be using the camera for!

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sfnikon Senior Member • Posts: 2,298
Re: "Future Proofing"? - or just buy for the moment?

I don't think there is any such thing as future proofing since imaging technology is changing so quickly. It's not even a certainty Canon and Nikon will be major players in the future. Consider the example of polaroid and kodak.
Do smart buys for now.

I would agree with 35/1.8 and would also add 85/1.8G (or 85/1.8D since it's still good optics at ~$240).
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Brev00
Brev00 Veteran Member • Posts: 9,644
Re: "Future Proofing"? - or just buy for the moment?

I am amazed at how quickly you are leaping to full frame while your new dx kit is still in transit. Like most things, as you focus on what is at/in hand, things will get clear

Enjoy the kit. Find out what you like to shoot. When you think you want a particular lens, you will have a set of choices. Some choices will be full frame but there will be pluses and minuses (weight, cost, field of view, etc.). I chose the dx Sigma 17-70 over the fx Tamron 28-75 primarily because of the wider angle (also faster af. better bokeh, etc
). Don't get ahead of yourself. When you get there you will know more.
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RSchussel Regular Member • Posts: 238
Re: "Future Proofing"? - or just buy for the moment?

I cant diagree more.
Right now the D7000 is the best DX camera body.Why buy the D300.

Despite the hysteria most peoples experience dealing with Nikon about lens repair is positive.Nikon still makes the best lens.Whether they are worth the price to you is another story.There are macro lens from 3rd parties that are very good but most of the other lens they make are not as good as Nikons best no matter what hype is being posted

My advice is to not worry about 10 years out. First find out whether you like photography enough to make a serious investment of $$$$. For the money the 18-105 zoom is a very good buy used--$250. The 35mm f1.8 and 85.f1.8 are good values also.Buy the lens that fit your shooting style.

I have Nikons pro f2.8 zooms because I wanted more speed and sharpness etc wide open. But at 1800+ its a big hit for most people.

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Leonard Shepherd
Leonard Shepherd Forum Pro • Posts: 17,480
Re: What gain!

Bearum wrote:

What trade-offs would I be making in terms of price/performance by using mostly FX lenses on a DX body?

All the f2.8 zooms and primes faster than f2.8 have relatively poor FX corner quality.
On DX the relatively poor FX lens wide open corner quality gets cropped out

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slimandy Forum Pro • Posts: 17,157
Re: "Future Proofing"? - or just buy for the moment?

If you buy what you might need in 3 years time it won't necesarily be what you need now. And guess what? It might not be what you need in 3 years time either! You will be buying lenses that are bigger and more expensive than you might need too. In 3 years time there might be better choices. You might not go FX anyway, who knows?

If the best lens for a particular job happens to be FX then get it. But buy what you need. Don't waste money buying what you might need later.
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slimandy Forum Pro • Posts: 17,157
Re: "Future Proofing"? - or just buy for the moment?

Another thought.... I will probably buy a smaller format of mirrorless camera in the next few years to save on bulk and weight. I am waiting for the quality to catch up and i think we are getting there. We need a better range of lenses.
The technology keeps changing!
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Leonard Shepherd
Leonard Shepherd Forum Pro • Posts: 17,480
Re: Sort of on topic

Once upon a time 6x4.5 film format was better than 35mm - because film had limited performance. Films improved and the difference became negligible.

It is fair to say technology is moving so fast that the best of the "new compact systems" are as good as DX 3 years ago, DX is as good as FX was 3 years ago, and FX is getting as good as some medium format digital was a year ago.

Right now 12 MP DX can produce a good 16x12 inch print at 1600 ISO, the D7000 a bigger print, the D600 and D800 yet bigger prints, and the D3s/D4 good 16x12 prints to at least 6400 ISO.

This raises the questions - how big and how fast do you need to go, and how much better will technology be in 5 years.

My guess is in 5 years time medium format will have gone, and DX will be better than the D800 is now.
How do you "future proof" against this?

Short term I might buy the due zoon P7700 with f2-4 zoom, 12 MP decent size sensor as a lightweight alternative to the 18-200 DX zoom on a DX body
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Dennis Forum Pro • Posts: 19,071
Re: Sort of on topic

Leonard Shepherd wrote:

This raises the questions - how big and how fast do you need to go, and how much better will technology be in 5 years.

I see so many posts from people itching to go to full frame as if it's the holy grail of digital cameras. And I can understand that: having shot 35mm for many years (and even dabbled in medium format) and now using 35mm lenses on a "crop sensor" and knowing intuitively that "bigger is better", the siren song of full frame is always there. Sort of like a luxury car - sure, you know your car is good enough, but who wouldn't buy the luxury car if it were offered at a $1000 or so premium ?

35mm became so popular because it offered the right combination of price, convenience and quality. Now you'd have to look at the market a little differently: most people shoot pictures with cell phones or tiny sensor digicams because of the combination of price, convenience and quality. You have to look at a small segment of the market buying ILCs. For my money, APS-C still hits the sweet spot. I wonder how many people who are about to buy D600s and 6Ds are going to see any practical benefit from the quality boost that they're going to get in exchange for a possibly less convenient and likely more expensive kit. Maybe the joy of ownership will be enough.

Short term I might buy the due zoon P7700 with f2-4 zoom, 12 MP decent size sensor as a lightweight alternative to the 18-200 DX zoom on a DX body

I've been toting my NEX-5 with me for the last couple years when my DSLR was unnecessarily big, but am very tempted to replace that with an RX100.

  • Dennis

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slimandy Forum Pro • Posts: 17,157
Re: Sort of on topic

Dennis wrote:

I see so many posts from people itching to go to full frame as if it's the holy grail of digital cameras.

What I find harder to understand is why they are convinced they will go FF but are not doing so now.
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Dennis Forum Pro • Posts: 19,071
Re: Sort of on topic

slimandy wrote:

Dennis wrote:

I see so many posts from people itching to go to full frame as if it's the holy grail of digital cameras.

What I find harder to understand is why they are convinced they will go FF but are not doing so now.

You mean the "which lens should I buy if I plan to go FF one day ?" crowd ? I especially like the ones buying a D3200 and wondering if they should get the kit lens or a FF lens

Oh well ... we'll see where the market takes us. I'm sure it would have been a very different picture had Nikon actually managed to pull off a $1500 FF. That $600 price tag plus the perceived difference in lenses is probably enough to hold back many of the "I want it but I don't know why" types. (It's enough to keep me from having to fight any irrational thoughts on the matter !!!)

  • Dennis

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