new camera help - - full frame??

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by NY Ron, Sep 25, 2009.

  1. NY Ron

    NY Ron TPF Noob!

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    I am now semi-retired and am getting back into photography. I used to photograph quite a bit - - and even worked at Kodak. But then a different career, kids and a whole lot of other things intervened.

    Lately I've been playing around with Canon point and shoots, and Nikon D40 and D70's by borrowing them. Now I would like to get my own camera.

    I plan on taking classes specific to dSLR photography - - but I do already have a pretty good feel for lighting, composition, shutter speed, aperture, etc. (That is, my photographic knowledge is pretty good circa 1985. :D)

    I have a decent budget for a new camera set-up. I've been a Nikon guy (sorry Canon and Leica folks) - - so would be most comfortable staying with them.

    My question is this, would it make sense to go right with a D700 and jump right in to full-frame? I think a D90 would probably meet my functional needs, but is obviously not full frame. I can "afford" the D700 plus good glass (and flashes, etc.), but don't want to waste money unnecessarily.

    I will be shooting a wide variety of photos (portraiture, scenic, inside, outside, sports, wildlife, etc.).

    I certainly understand the importance of good glass - - and that will be the focus of my investment. But I would like to get a body that I won't be frustrated with or "grow out of".

    Since I'm now in semi-retirement, and the kids are all "launched", I do expect to have a fair amount of time to dedicate to photography.

    thanks,

    Ron
     
  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Good explanation of your background and desires. I'd say for a guy in your circumstances, the new D300s or the D700 would make a bit more sense than the D90, mainly because of the more sophisticated AF system and the firing rate (which has a bearing on how fast the AF system can collect data on moving subjects) and the overall, total capabilities of the D300s and D700 when fitted with their battery grips.

    You mentioned portraiture, scenic, inside, outside, sports, wildlife, etc. In my estimation, the D700's larger sensor and better HIGH ISO capabilities make it the better camera for portraiture, scenic,inside,and sports shooting. The lens choices in the Nikon lineup are slightly tilted in favor of the FF camera also; Nikon's absolute best lenses are FF capable lenses. Wildlife is a tossup between 1.5x and FF, depending on the lenses and the wildlife itself. It sounds like you plan in buying some good lenses,and have enough money to get what to want now that the kids are grown,and you plan to spend a fair amount of time. FF will allow you to buy a lot of superb lenses that work on FF 'better' than on 1.5x, like the superb 14-24, 24-70,or the last generation 17-35 and 28-70 af-s and the 80-200 2.8 models, and also the new 70-200 VR-II coming out soon.

    You only live once. If your concepts are from 1985, I think you will appreciate the D700's full field of view with every lens,and honestly, it makes indoor shooting easier with many of the f/2.8 lenses and the primes Nikon has. The 1.5x FOV narrowing makes the 50 and 85 primes much harder to use indoors at closer ranges than if the sensor can "see" the lens' entire angle of view. The D700 is like the F3HP, only it shoots faster. And the "film" in it is currently state of the art for Nikon.

    The D700's image is 2.3 times larger than a D90 or a D300s capture; more room to crop, and a LOT more freedom when shooting indoors with 'normal' length lenses. Full-figure people work is done with 18-31mm lenses on the crop bodies; that produces a lot of apparent perspective distortion on people work at close range. Indoors, a 70-200 2.8 is awfully narrow-angled on a 1.5x body. Indoors, the superb 24-70 is awfully narrow-angled on a 1.5x body. And indoors, the 85/1.8 is awfully narrow-angled on a 1.5x body.

    You know what the D40 and D70 are like. I'm just stating some of the FF characteristics; I do think the D300s would be a more-comparable alternative body to the D700.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2009
  3. reng2009

    reng2009 TPF Noob!

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    It wouldn't be a waste to go with the D700. It hits the sweet spot in Nikon's line-up -- not outrageously expensive, like the D3/D3x; much, much better than the D90 (or D300, for that matter). It (along with the D3) has the best high ISO performance anywhere! It can shoot at a fabulous 8 fps (by using the battery grip). However, it has a 95% viewfinder.

    The D300/D300s has a 100% viewfinder, if that's important to you.

     
  4. HeY iTs ScOTtY

    HeY iTs ScOTtY TPF Noob!

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    just be ready to pay more for the lenses too.
     
  5. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    If you have a D700, prepare to shell out a bunch for lenses because there aren't a whole lot of full frame midrange or wide angle, or prime options that are recent.

    24-120vr is ok, not great. Just need to know what it can't do and you'll be fine.

    the 14-24 seems to be the only wide-angle worth beans nowadays.

    The 50mm is the only prime lens that's not a telephoto that's not a screwdriver design from the 80's.


    Whereas you can get a D90 + 16-85VR and the clarity will easily blow the D700+24-120 out of the water, and still fit most, if not all of your needs. When speed is needed, toss in a cheap 35mm f/1.8, 50mm f/1.8, and 85 f/1.8 and you're set. All for about what the D700 is body alone. less depending on where you buy from.
     
  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Sw1tchFx wrote, "The 50mm is the only prime lens that's not a telephoto that's not a screwdriver design from the 80's."

    Yeah, I guess that's one way to look at it, but screwdriver does not mean slow-focusing. The 60mm f/2.8 AFS-G Micro is a new AF-S prime. The 105 f/2.8 VR is a new AF-S prime. So is the 200mm f/2, as well as the 300 f/4, 300/2.8,400,500,and 600 VR-G models. The new 24mm, 45mm,and 85mm PC-E lenses are also quite new prime lenses, designed within the last couple years,and among the three finest lenses made for 35mm cameras, by any manufacturer. Like Canon's 24/45/90 trio, these are manually focusing lenses,as have been all tilt/shift lenses. So, that's 11 "new" prime lenses,all designed within the last few years. The 14mm/2.8 is also relatively new.

    The 105 DC is screwdriver focusing, yet still is "the" premier 100/105 lens for beauty/scenic work. The 135 DC compares quite well against the Canon 135/2-L,and focus seems about the same speed, in my personal experience.

    The 14-24 happens to be the best ultra wide zoom from any maker, and is better than many prime lenses made by Zeiss,Canon,and Nikon...as proven by multiple test sites catering to Canon landscape shooters.

    Rumors abound that Nikon has several more new AF-S primes in the wings, including an updated 85 1.4 and 300/4 VR.

    Also, just because a lens has screwdriver focusing does not make it slow to focus--the 85mm f/1.4 AF-D for example focuses about three times faster than Canon's 85mm f/1.2-L USM, which is a painfully slow focusing lens; same thing with the 50mm f/1.4 AFS-G--it too is significantly slower at focusing than the older, screwdriver focusing 1.4 AF-D or 1.8 lenses.

    As far as "primes" go--the screwdriver focusing 20,24,28,and 35mm lenses, as well as the 105 f/2 and 135 f/2 focus as fast as, say, Canon's USM lenses of identical focal length, especially on a pro-level Nikon body with a powerful motor and a sophisticated AF module.

    Not sure how one feels about it, but the older 17-35/2.8 AF-S is still an *excellent* zoom, as is the new 24-70, and the 28-70 AF-S also rates as an excellent wide-to-short telephoto/ f2.8 constant aperture lens. The 14-24 is considered to be the best wide zooms,at any price,rivalling even Zeiss's 18mm, which is itself about an $1800 lens. It's also a superb 14,15,16,17,18,20,21,and 24mm lens--all in one lens. Take a look at what perhaps the single best modern zoom lens can do,and how it stacks up to Canon's vaunted 24mm f/1.4 L prime,and how very much better it is than Canon's 14mm f/2.8 L prime

    Nikon 14-24mm f2.8 G First Test: Introduction
    16-9: Lens Test Archive and Reviews
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2009
  7. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    ^^ I totally forgot about the 60mm, and the T/S lenses.

    I should have been more specific and said fast 24, 35mm, and 85mm.



    And it's not that the screwdriver lenses are of bad quality, they're not. It's just that in comparison, they're just clunky as hell compared to Nikon's competitors.
     
  8. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    In many ways, "full-frame" digital is the new medium format.

    To put it in terms familiar to an old film users (like me), if your work could be done with 35mm full frame film then it can be done with DX format digital. If it required medium format film then seriously consider FX format digital.

    The D90 and the D300 or 300s mentioned in one of the replies deliver the same image quality since they use the same "film" (sensor and image processor). For that matter, the same goes for the little D5000. The differences are on the "camera" side of the fence; robustness (not "quality" as so many say) & features. The D700 is pretty much an FX equivalent of the D300. Little functional difference, just bigger "film".

    Before you make your jump, give some serious consideration to what you are going to do with the images. If you aren't going to be making large (>12x18) display prints and/or needing to use extremely high ISOs then its unlikely you'll see a difference between FX and DX.
     
  9. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Coming from 35mm film, you will probably find the D700 to be a good choice. I suspect that the viewfinder of any lesser camera would be unsatisfactory for you. Focal lengths and depths of field will also remain exactly as you're accustomed to (and the way God intended them to be :lol:)

    As you've said you understand how photography works, I'm not sure you really need to partake in a class. Exposure still works the same way (ISO/shutter/aperture), and what made a good photo in 1985 still makes a good photo today ;)

    I suggest going through the instruction manual or just fishing through the menus to teach yourself what does what.
     
  10. NY Ron

    NY Ron TPF Noob!

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    Hey everyone, thank you so much for your comments. It's been very helpful.

    I've been doing a fair amount of researching and thinking on this topic, and have decided to go the cheaper/crop frame for now. While I think I would enjoy the FF more (and keep track of the focal length much more easily), and I have great ambitions to take a lot of pictures - - I'm thinking it's better to first see if I really am able to give photography the time I would like to.

    I've seen some of the pics the new crop frames produce, and for my purposes for now they look great.

    Sooo, I'm thinking about a Nikon D90 with a fast 35mm lens (nearest equivalent to 50mm in crop frame I believe) and then let's see what kind of photo-ing I do.

    I'm also learning Photoshop Elements, so there's plenty on my plate for now.

    This looks to be a great forum, and I hope to be a good contributor.

    thanks again,

    Ron
     
  11. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I thought I'd point this out before you took the plunge: Sony A850. Not that I'd really recommend anything from Sony, but it is a full frame body for $2000.

    Nikon 35/1.8 DX. Probably the best fast Nikon lens for the money if you can find it for the $200 MSRP.
     
  12. FrankLamont

    FrankLamont TPF Noob!

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    Oh, you have good principles.

    Of course, to me it's not a waste of anything. If I were you, let's just say I'd not quite be able to afford anything else. ;)

    But seriously, the D700 and good glass is never a waste of money, especially if you're serious about photography. You'll eventually, one day, go down the path to good glass/body, so... that is, provided you have experience in photography, not just starting out. You know how to handle full manual, etc.

    If not, D90 is still an extremely versatile body.
     

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