FX for a casual shooter?

Started Feb 17, 2014 | Discussions
Rexgig0
Rexgig0 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,494
You are being too modest! You are serious shooter!

The D7100 is a serious camera, and would serve you well, while allowing your excellent 70-200mm lens, and other lenses, to perform as you are accustomed. FX would require some adjustments, as angle-of-view with your existing FX lenses will change, and your DX lenses will be less than optimal.

Whether you choose D7100 or D610, there is no "wrong" choice.

-- hide signature --

I wear a badge and pistol, and, primarily with 7D cameras, with 10-22mm and 100mm Macro L lenses, shoot evidentiary images at night, which incorporates elements of portrait, macro, still life, landscape, architecture, PJ, and occasional action. During personal time, I enjoy using both Canons and Nikons.

 Rexgig0's gear list:Rexgig0's gear list
Canon EOS 7D Mark II Canon EF 135mm F2L USM Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Canon EF 100mm F2.8L Macro IS USM Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 60mm F2.8G ED +49 more
Westmill
Westmill Senior Member • Posts: 2,137
Re: Or this or this :)

 Westmill's gear list:Westmill's gear list
Nikon D4S Nikon D810 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm F4G ED VR Tamron 15-30mm F2.8 +4 more
BasiliskPhoto Senior Member • Posts: 1,008
Re: Or this or this :)

Westmill wrote:

Nice photos - I was being a bit mischievous. Of course shallow DOF is possible on a crop frame camera especially at the longer end; but the wider you go, the more difficult it is to achieve. For instance to get the crop equivalent DOF of a (£100) 50mm f1.8D, you would need to get a 35mm f1.2. There is no crop equivalent of the 50mm f1.2 or f1.4

Wide fast lenses are very expensive.

Westmill
Westmill Senior Member • Posts: 2,137
Re: Or this or this :)

BasiliskPhoto wrote:

Westmill wrote:

Nice photos - I was being a bit mischievous. Of course shallow DOF is possible on a crop frame camera especially at the longer end; but the wider you go, the more difficult it is to achieve. For instance to get the crop equivalent DOF of a (£100) 50mm f1.8D, you would need to get a 35mm f1.2. There is no crop equivalent of the 50mm f1.2 or f1.4

Wide fast lenses are very expensive.

haha thank you ... me too lol

The top one was shot using the Sigma 18-35 F1.8 at F1.8   Outstanding lens that performs like 3 fast top primes. The bottom one was shot using the 8mm F2.8 samyang, which is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on and incredibly sharp for such a lens.

Just the two extremes of DOF

 Westmill's gear list:Westmill's gear list
Nikon D4S Nikon D810 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm F4G ED VR Tamron 15-30mm F2.8 +4 more
OP Penny123 Regular Member • Posts: 374
Re: That's not casual.

Thank you so much, I really do appreciate the comments and will really need to think what one is the camera for me.

OP Penny123 Regular Member • Posts: 374
Re: Beautiful gallery!

Wow they look great, very impressed   If thats what you can get with proper whippet racing I should be able to get something decent of my 10 and 1/2 year old enjoying a sprint

OP Penny123 Regular Member • Posts: 374
Re: D7100 3200 JPGs

Westmill wrote:

Just took these for you. They would be better with RAW of course but these are just JPGs and I have not touched noise control and both at 3200 ISO

Thanks for posting these they are certainly better than the raws I am producing at iso 800!  Good to see I would notice a definite improvement

OP Penny123 Regular Member • Posts: 374
Re: Beautiful gallery!

BasiliskPhoto wrote:

Try doing this with a crop sensor camera!

Maybe this isn't your cup of tea, but if you are interested in using fast primes for shallow DOF, then full frame really opens up possibilities

This was just a bit of messing around, as the old Nikon 50 f1.2 AI lens is a bit of a beast to get right, so I am definitely still in "practising" mode.

Nikon 50 f1.2 AI at f1.2

What a gorgeous dog you have, I can really see here what a narrow DOF you can get. I have never shot in that style before, I tend to try and get headshots with less obvious out of focus areas but then I don't have the equipment to practice this.

OP Penny123 Regular Member • Posts: 374
Re: Or this or this :)

I am seeing great photos from both types of camera here which makes any decision so much more difficult!  Each seem to have their pros and cons I guess it is really down to deciding what pros are more for me.

OP Penny123 Regular Member • Posts: 374
Re: You are being too modest! You are serious shooter!

Rexgig0 wrote:

The D7100 is a serious camera, and would serve you well, while allowing your excellent 70-200mm lens, and other lenses, to perform as you are accustomed. FX would require some adjustments, as angle-of-view with your existing FX lenses will change, and your DX lenses will be less than optimal.

Whether you choose D7100 or D610, there is no "wrong" choice.

Thank you   I think that is what makes it difficult, as you say, no wrong choice, it is not as though one camera is awful and one excels.  They are different though and I would need to change technique and get used to a new field of view.

OP Penny123 Regular Member • Posts: 374
Re: FX for a casual shooter?

Thanks, great to hear from someone who owns both and can give an impartial view

OP Penny123 Regular Member • Posts: 374
Re: Beautiful gallery!

windsprite wrote:

I also live in an area with short days and gloomy weather much of the year, and like you, I enjoy shooting my dogs (two whippets, as a matter of fact -- love your pretty Penny! ) plus landscapes and a hodgepodge of other stuff. FF works great for me, especially when trying to do action shots late in the day. I thought you might be a candidate for a larger sensor as well, but looking at your gallery, it seems you walk your dog in some very wide-open spaces and try to keep the DOF fairly deep in order to show off the lovely backgrounds, so you might miss the reach of DX and would be stopping down much of the time anyway if you had FX.

I definitely would not say FX is overkill for your photography, though. You have some stunning photos in your gallery. I think you are being too modest, or you are shooting to a higher standard than you realize. You have a good eye and seem to work hard on acquiring new techniques. If you have only gotten "serious" in the past few years, then -- wow -- there's no doubt that you will quickly grow into the highest-quality gear you want and can afford, and IMO you shouldn't be shy about acquiring it now, rather than waiting until you're "good enough," whatever that means. It's just a question of whether to go FX or DX.

I see the D800 isn't on your list of candidates, but I think it's worth considering. With 36MP you can do an in-camera DX crop and still have 16MP, which is more than what you have now, and the crop-mode DR, high ISO, and resolution will be like a D7000, which should also be an improvement over your D90 (though the D7100 will of course be even more of an improvement). Plus you will have the added DR and noise performance of the FX sensor when you need it.

This is why I went with FX four years ago when I came from Olympus. It seemed to me to be the more versatile format. In a sense, you can have the benefits of both FX and DX in one camera. Most of the lenses available are built for the FX sensor (or film). For example, you can put an 85/1.8 on a D800 and do a DX crop to get 128mm EFL with a very workable 16MP (or even 102mm and 24MP with the 1.2x crop mode), but you can't do the reverse and get 85mm or 102mm with that lens on a D7100.

The D7100 does have more resolution than the D800 in DX crop mode for telephoto shots, but the question is, do you need it? How much will you be cropping in post, and how large will you be displaying your images? And the other side of the coin is, the 36MP D800 will have more resolution than the D7100 when you aren't cropping. (But do you really need 36MP for uncropped shots?)

I realize the D800 is a lot of money and requires some new lenses, but I think it is a camera that will serve you for a very, very long time. I and a lot of other people are still using the D700 and D3, and those are 5-6 year old cameras with only 12MP and noisier DR-limited sensors in comparison to the D800. In this sense, if you can afford a D800 right now, I bet in the long run it will have better cost performance than a D610 or D7100. Especially if you are like most people I've observed here who waffle between FX and DX and initially decide to go DX because it seems to be the more economical option, but then they can't get the larger format out of their heads and wind up eventually going FX anyway!

I'm not saying everybody who buys into DX really wants FX because it is the "superior" format, but generally the longterm DX shooters know from the beginning that FX is not for them, and they don't come over here asking which format they should buy. However, if there is any doubt in your mind now, I think it highly unlikely to go away if you buy DX.

If you build your lenses around an FX system, you can always add a DX camera later if you feel you need even more reach (which is what I've done), but if you buy dedicated DX lenses and decide at some point that you want to go FX, then you are going to want to trade in most of your lenses, at a loss. So if you think there is any chance you will still want to go FX in the future, IMO it's better to just do it now, because frankly the chances are next to nil that you will buy a D800 (or even D610) and decide to junk most of your FX lenses for DX ones, while I've seen many, many people do the reverse.

Here is a good (and entertaining) essay along similar lines:

http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2010/05/letter-to-george.html

And his followup post:

http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2010/05/ps-but-not-to-george.html

All that said, I think a D7100 is a great camera that would also serve you just fine, especially if you are often shooting long. I wouldn't worry about the buffer unless you intend to shoot dog racing. I just thought it was worth mentioning the potential benefits of the D800, and the longterm implications of DX vs. FX.

Julie

Thank you for taking the time to to post such a detailed response.  I am amazed how many whippet owners  are in this thread   I guess I am quite hard on myself and always rather obsessive about getting shots just the way I want.  I am still learning and there is still situations I get frustrated with when the shot didn't work.  I was out at the weekend and there was a lovely view but the sky was rather blown out so I had to take three exposures and create a HDR to get the shot.

To try and answer some of your questions.  I hadn't really thought of the D800 due to the price and because I only use the camera for personal use I thought it seemed a bit high along with having to buy at least 2 fx lenses to match what I have now.  I completely see the benefit of what you say.  Having a fx camera that gives you 16mp in crop mode gives you the best of both worlds especially at the longer end I would get the same field of view with my 70-200 at 200mm as i do on the D90.  16mp is more than enough for me as I happily crop my 12mp D90 shots and they hold the quality especially compared to my old D40 which had limited crop ability.

I do crop quite a few of my photos as once I load them in to lightroom and play around with them I start to see some shots a little different or something pesky is in the corner of the frame but as I say, I have always managed ok with the 12mp so I can't see cropping being an issue with any camera.

There is pros and cons for me with both types of cameras.  The pros of DX are the reach for when I do shoot long, for many shots of my dog I do like to show where we are so that is easier to achieve with DX, the extra focus points which I have became accustomed to using in portraits, I would need to start using the af-on button and recompose more.

Then there is the pros to FX, higher iso ability, the narrower dof when I do want those kind of shots which I can't quite get at the moment, although shooting full body shots at 200mm and 2.8 helps, the higher dynamic range and the ability to grow in photography.

Westmill
Westmill Senior Member • Posts: 2,137
Re: Or this or this :)

Penny123 wrote:

I am seeing great photos from both types of camera here which makes any decision so much more difficult! Each seem to have their pros and cons I guess it is really down to deciding what pros are more for me.

It is like I said before, any of these cameras is a huge upgrade from the D90. Forget IQ as I do not think there are any top end camera that do not supply more than anyone could need lol

Sharpness will come from the lens. The feature set and handling are simply wayyyyyyy more important. Lenses are always a better investment too   Bang for bucks... D7100 with Sigma 18-35 F1.8   The good news is that you would be happy with any of them

It really really is all swings and roundabouts. No matter which way you look at it or from what angle... you are splitting hairs in reality. The most important aspect by a clear million miles is the photographer. Your images look great already

 Westmill's gear list:Westmill's gear list
Nikon D4S Nikon D810 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm F4G ED VR Tamron 15-30mm F2.8 +4 more
Rexgig0
Rexgig0 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,494
My upgrade path, in 2010
1

In 2010, I was using a Canon 40D, with an XTi (400D) as back-up. (For reference, the 40D can be considered the equivalent of the Nikon D200.) I contemplated acquiring  a Nikon D300s, a  Canon 7D, or a Canon 5D Mark II, the latter being Canon's "FX." I chose the 7D, the then-class-leading "DX" DSLR, and have no regrets. The next year, I bought a second 7D, to have two identical bodies to use at work. Then, later, to satisfy my curiosity, I started acquiring larger-sensor 5D and 1D cameras on the pre-owned market, at prices much, much lower than new.

Well, today, the D7100 is the class-leading DX DSLR. For low-light shooting, it is a generation, or two, better than my 7D cameras, and if Canon does not announce a successor to the 7D by the time of Photokina in September, I may add a D7100 to my kit. I may buy a D7100 for my wife's birthday, in May. She was a dedicated Olympus shooter in her film days, but became a total Nikon convert when her employer issued her a D300s. She now uses a D7000, which I bought for her while she was recovering from a shoulder injury, and needed to lighten her load.

-- hide signature --

I wear a badge and pistol, and, primarily with 7D cameras, with 10-22mm and 100mm Macro L lenses, shoot evidentiary images at night, which incorporates elements of portrait, macro, still life, landscape, architecture, PJ, and occasional action. During personal time, I enjoy using both Canons and Nikons.

 Rexgig0's gear list:Rexgig0's gear list
Canon EOS 7D Mark II Canon EF 135mm F2L USM Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Canon EF 100mm F2.8L Macro IS USM Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 60mm F2.8G ED +49 more
Rexgig0
Rexgig0 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,494
Re: My upgrade path...

Not that I would be "jumping ship" by adding a D7100; we are a multi-brand, household, anyway, and I enjoy shooting both Canons and Nikons.

Canon and Nikon each make wonderful lenses; I am a lover of lenses.

Not that I am an expert, of course. My wife is my first photography mentor, the real artist and "pro."

Regardless, DX requires no apology.

-- hide signature --

I wear a badge and pistol, and, primarily with 7D cameras, with 10-22mm and 100mm Macro L lenses, shoot evidentiary images at night, which incorporates elements of portrait, macro, still life, landscape, architecture, PJ, and occasional action. During personal time, I enjoy using both Canons and Nikons.

 Rexgig0's gear list:Rexgig0's gear list
Canon EOS 7D Mark II Canon EF 135mm F2L USM Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Canon EF 100mm F2.8L Macro IS USM Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 60mm F2.8G ED +49 more
mosswings Veteran Member • Posts: 8,954
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.

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?

Penny, I'm sorry that the problems with your D90 have you looking for other solutions. Like you, I decided last year that my D90's high ISO performance wasn't good enough - but in my case the slow lenses I used on my travels were the reason why I had to shoot at 800-1600 ISO. I also did NOT want to go FX, simply because I knew that in decently lit situations the differences between FX and DX were quite small, but the penalty in size, weight, and especially cost made no sense to this traveling photographer. So I took the plunge and got a D7100, thinking that its more modern sensor and higher pixel density would allow me to play postprocessing games to significantly up my high ISO image quality.

Long story short, you can do that. The D7100 in use yields perceptually cleaner files when viewed at the same image size, and maintains its color fidelity far better than the D90 did. When you start viewing things at 100%, or cropping heavily, then the purported difficulties with a high-resolution sensor come in to play...you realize that D7100 bulk noise levels haven't improved dramatically over the D90 era (though they're perceptually better by a large margin, because the noise is more luminance and less chrominance, so less detail-destroying confetti), and that you have to eat up some of that better noise performance in kicking the ISO and shutter speed up to freeze subject motion or operator shake.

You mention that you're frustrated that you can't get as good quality images as the shots you see here and elsewhere from the folks using top end equipment and larger sensors. I would counter that those folks are getting those shots primarily because they are using the right light; top quality equipment is nice but only in certain limiting situations is it absolutely critical to the shot.

You've got the problem that you go shooting when you can, not when the light is best. In this case, you could actually benefit from the best equipment, and you've started down that path with your 70-200 f2.8. And that's where I'd start changing things. Since you need more light, the most obvious thing to do is get a faster midrange lens.

If that doesn't cut it, move to a D7100 (though the D7100 would provide you with something to improve your focus quality that your D90 doesn't - AF fine tuning); but for maximum versatility at any aperture, you have to go to a larger sensor. Modern sensor technology has essentially plateaued in the last generation; we're not getting huge leaps in performance like we did going from the D80 to the D90 (CCD to CMOS); sensor area is the only thing left to exploit.

Your path may lead to FX, ultimately. Don't worry too much about high resolution; just print at your typical image size and things will work out (incidentally, a D800 is more sensitive to shake than a D7100, and a D610 is about the same - it's pixels/degree of field of view that matters, not linear pixel density). You probably should consider trading in your DX lenses for FX ones. First, you're not going to find the really fast midrange zooms in DX that you do in FX - at least from Nikon - and second, if your path is truly to FX, you spread out the financial pain of the switch.

The other things I'd suggest are 1) fill flash with a good flashgun, off camera; 2) to consider some form of support, like a monopod. It can buy you more stability in low light without compromising mobility too much. Ultimately, though, if the light is really cruddy most of the time, there's only so much even an FX camera with a fast lens can do, and we have to wait for the Gods to grant us good light. It's the curse of the photographer, and our predecessors knew that.

 mosswings's gear list:mosswings's gear list
Olympus XZ-1 Olympus Stylus 1 Nikon D90 Nikon D7100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm F3.5-5.6G ED VR +5 more
OP Penny123 Regular Member • Posts: 374
Re: My upgrade path...

Thank you, good to hear from a dx and fx shooter or different brands.  I have read a few people dismiss dx purely because it is a cropped sensor but there does seem to be pros and cons of both.

OP Penny123 Regular Member • Posts: 374
Re: FX for a casual shooter?

Thanks, I have been thinking about this a lot and have enjoyed reading everyones views on this.  What made me initially think of going FX was someone posted a deal on here of a D600 with 24-85 lens for £1,070 which seemed a bargain.  I wish I had bought it and not open it until I decided what I was doing.  At the moment I think moving to fx is going to be too costly but the time I buy a camera, walk around lens and then a 60mm to replace my dx 40mm.  Perhaps I would, as someone suggested be better slowly collecting fx glass instead of doing it all at once.  So at the moment I am thinking the best financial option is to go DX for the next four years and reassess things then but still not quite ready to press buy on the D7100.  I just hope whatever I go for will help me get better shots than the ones I took today like below.  Granted I used the focus point above the central one but well over 50% of my shots have missed focus like the one below using af-c, it was rather dark so again having to use iso 800.  It is disheartening that I got the pose I want etc.. but the focus is off in all the good ones - typical!

BasiliskPhoto Senior Member • Posts: 1,008
Re: FX for a casual shooter?

Penny123 wrote:

Thanks, I have been thinking about this a lot and have enjoyed reading everyones views on this. What made me initially think of going FX was someone posted a deal on here of a D600 with 24-85 lens for £1,070 which seemed a bargain. I wish I had bought it and not open it until I decided what I was doing. At the moment I think moving to fx is going to be too costly but the time I buy a camera, walk around lens and then a 60mm to replace my dx 40mm. Perhaps I would, as someone suggested be better slowly collecting fx glass instead of doing it all at once. So at the moment I am thinking the best financial option is to go DX for the next four years and reassess things then but still not quite ready to press buy on the D7100. I just hope whatever I go for will help me get better shots than the ones I took today like below. Granted I used the focus point above the central one but well over 50% of my shots have missed focus like the one below using af-c, it was rather dark so again having to use iso 800. It is disheartening that I got the pose I want etc.. but the focus is off in all the good ones - typical!

Do you use the AF-on focus technique (using the AE-L/AF-L button to control focus rather than the shutter release button)? There is an article showing how to do it with the D90 here:

http://diegocattaneo.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/back-button-auto-focus-with-nikon-d90.html

I use this technique all the time with the D600 - and wouldn't go back. It is great for moving objects, but perfectly good for stills, and makes focus and recompose a breeze. It isn't great for small hands - depends if you thumb can press the rear button while you also press the shutter release.

Whippet is a cutie - do you knit too?

OP Penny123 Regular Member • Posts: 374
Re: FX for a casual shooter?

No, that was a Christmas present for her

I have read lots on af on. I did try a couple like that today so will need to find them and see if they look any better. I used to focus and recompose af-s with the d40 using the 40 2.8 lens and most of the time they were great. I didnt focus and recompose with shutter in these shots but used the top focus point but using wide apertures and even the centre point I have started to notice issues.
Still cant decide whether to hold tight for now in the hope that another bargain may arise or just make a decision and hopefully start getting better shots.
--
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sarahb86/

Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads