New Lens or New Camera?

OldManJim

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
May 25, 2017
Messages
405
Reaction score
162
Location
Newark, DE
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
I have been shooting for nearly 50 years and I think I've gotten the basics down by now. My long term goal is to produce large images of animals, people, macro in sizes of 20-24 and up. In the past, I've done this using my 4X5 cameras but those have been sold off now and I'm concentrating on digital.

Presently, I have a Nikon D7100 with a lower quality telephoto 70 - 300 lens, a kit 18-55 "walk around" lens, and a 24 - 85 Nikkor lens. I also have a 50mm f1.4, a 28mm Tamron and a 90 mm Tamron macro lens. I usually used reversed enlarging lenses for macro, 50 and 75 mm because of the working distances and magnifications.

I'm considering a new full frame camera, perhaps the D750 or D810 (can't afford the D850) or a fast (2.8) 70 - 300 Nikkor lens. I understand that eventually, I'll need both but which one gets bought first is the question I'm asking.

I'd also appreciate any suggestions for other fast, sharp telephoto lenses going out to 300 mm. I lean more toward zoom lenses to aid in framing but I'm not opposed to prime lenses. It used to be that prime lenses were always sharper than zoom lenses but I think that may have changed. Again, I'd be interested in your opinions.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
 

smoke665

TPF Supporters
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2016
Messages
13,162
Reaction score
6,739
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Can't help you on Nikon gear, but I'll just throw this out. If you've been shooting 4x5 all those years are you really going to be happy even with a full frame? The Pentax 645z, Fugifilm GFX505, and others can be had for only a little more than a good full frame, especially if you can find a good used one.
 

jcdeboever

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Sep 5, 2015
Messages
19,866
Reaction score
15,919
Location
Michigan
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
D850 or a used D800e? To many issues from what I read and know of the D750. From what I see on here, the 300 prime lens are super nice and for extra reach, a TC is good on primes. If you weren't into wildlife, I would have recommended the Fujifilm GFX medium format digital.
 

jaomul

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Feb 4, 2011
Messages
5,715
Reaction score
1,554
Location
Cork Ireland
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
If you can for example get images that you are happy with in the sizes you require with the d7100 and the tamron for example then your camera is good enough and go for lenses.

If the above combo still leaves you wanting then you probably need a better camera.

However, don't overlook the very good enlarging algorithms that much modern software has. 24mp allows for a 20x13 print at 300ppi. You could enlarge these prints quite a bit and successful with software
 
OP
OldManJim

OldManJim

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
May 25, 2017
Messages
405
Reaction score
162
Location
Newark, DE
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Can't help you on Nikon gear, but I'll just throw this out. If you've been shooting 4x5 all those years are you really going to be happy even with a full frame? The Pentax 645z, Fugifilm GFX505, and others can be had for only a little more than a good full frame, especially if you can find a good used one.

Forgot to mention that I have a complete Mam iya 645 pro tl system for medium format. My interest in a new digital camera is more for the higher ISO than I can get with film.
 

weepete

TPF Supporters
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2011
Messages
6,068
Reaction score
2,404
Location
Glasgow, Scotland
Website
www.petecrawford.co.uk
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Glass first. I'm not very familiar with Nikon lenses so I'll leave that for others to comment on. I do know than Canon now have a few 2nd or 3rd generation zooms that are at least as sharp as some older primes (with the latter being considered pretty much tack sharp). So there's no doubt lens technology has improved quietly though the focus of a lot of photographers is the tech in the body. I expect Nikon will have made similar advancements.

I think you could resonably expect a modern top quality lens to last 20 years plus! Compare that to camera bodies which are pretty much surpassed every couple of years and to me it makes more sense to upgrade glass first to a high end spec, then once you have done that get whatever body at the time fills your quality requirements. The one exception to that would be if your current camera isn't capable of taking the shots you want, then it may make more sense to upgrade the body frst so you can make use of it while you are waiting to upgrade the lenses.
 

smoke665

TPF Supporters
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2016
Messages
13,162
Reaction score
6,739
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Forgot to mention that I have a complete Mam iya 645 pro tl system for medium format. My interest in a new digital camera is more for the higher ISO than I can get with film.

Ah ha, I thought it odd that a large format guy could make that switch cold turkey. LOL To muddy the water a little more then, have you considered the Pentax K1? This comparison was based on the original Pentax K-1 vs Nikon D850 Comparison Review the updated model scheduled to come out next month, offers up 819,200 native ISO, so it uses the electronic gain, rather than software to attain that sensitivity. Plus the addition of the increased shake reduction makes the pixel shift option even better.
 

Derrel

Mr. Rain Cloud
Joined
Jul 23, 2009
Messages
48,227
Reaction score
18,923
Location
USA
Website
www.pbase.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Primes are still a bit sharper than zooms, but the zooms are plenty good these days. If you go to DxO Mark you;ll see all the lenses they have tested on the Nikon D810:
Nikon D810 : Lenses Tested | DxOMark and here is part II, the Best Lenses for D810, by category and type (wides,wide zooms,teles,etc).

Some fine, fine lenses.Best lenses for the Nikon D810: Part II – Wildlife and Landscape primes and zooms - DxOMark

They have other articles. As to the camera for you? The D850 has the 45 MP sensor....the D800,D800e,and D810 all use the excellent 36 MP sensor, which is quite,quite good. I dunno...I suggest USED bodies,all the time. I have a D610 and D800, but yesterday saw a nice D3x, a mere 24MP, but a better-made, better-handling body,and am considering going back to it.

I would buy a Tamron 90mm macro lens for close-in work.
 

ac12

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
2,442
Reaction score
808
Location
SF Bay Area, California, USA
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
You have the experience to know most of this, but also for others.

Think it out over several years.
  • If you get lens first, get FX lenses, and plan a FX logical kit that will also work for DX. The dual DX/FX kit is is not always easy to do. I am currently dealing with that problem myself, as I ponder migrating from DX to FX.
  • If you get a FX body, you will also need to get FX lens(es) at the same time, as your current lenses (18-55 and 70-300) are DX lenses.
    • The 24-85 is a FX lens, so you are OK there.
    • You will need a mid/long FX lens(es).
About the long lens(es)
  • Nikon does not list a 70-300 f/2.8 zoom lens. They do list two 70-200 f/2.8 lenses at $2,100 and 2,800.
    • To get to 300mm at f/2.8, you need the Nikon 300mm f/2.8, which is a $5,500 prime lens.
    • So considering the cost, do you REALLY NEED a f/2.8, 300mm lens?
  • The lens kit planning is important here, so that you don't excessively duplicate lens ranges. But there are exceptions.
    • Example the 24-70 + 70-200 is the standard 2-lens pro kit.
    • BUT, if you shoot things that end up in the middle, you don't want to be constantly switching lenses between the 2 lenses. So having the 24-120 can also makes sense, even thought there is significant overlap in focal range.
    • Similarly for the long end. What degree of long coverage do you need, and how do you get to 300mm?
      • 24-120 + 300
      • 24-120 + 70-300
      • 24-85 + 70-200 + 300
      • or ???
    • There are several Nikon FX zooms that cover the 300mm point; but none are f/2.8 fast, and some are crazy EXPENSIVE.
      • 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 AF-P FX ($750)
        • This is a consumer/prosumer grade lens. Hence the lower price in comparison to the other lenses below.
        • CAUTION. This lens is NOT compatible with older cameras. You NEED to check the compatibility chart.
        • Your D7100 may require a firmware upgrade to use this lens.
        • When going to FX, you again need to check the compatibility chart to make sure that the FX camera will work with the AF-P lens.
      • 80-400 f/4.5 ($2,300)
      • 180-400 f/4 ($12,400)
      • 200-400 f/4 ($7,000)
      • 200-500 f/5.6 ($1,400)
 

ac12

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
2,442
Reaction score
808
Location
SF Bay Area, California, USA
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
I just found a Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 lens. $3,400, at B&H.
So a 300mm f/2.8 zoom does exist, but not by Nikon.
And it is EXPENSIVE, at $3,400.
And it weighs 7-1/2 pounds.

Same question as before, do you REALLY NEED a f/2.8, 300mm lens?
 
OP
OldManJim

OldManJim

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
May 25, 2017
Messages
405
Reaction score
162
Location
Newark, DE
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Thanks for all the replies!

Smoke665 - I have a bunch of Nikon stuff including 3 SB800 flash units, so I want to stay in the Nikon world. I also have a couple of really good Nikon lenses in the short ranges that should work very well.

Derrel - thanks for the link; I'll check that out. I agree with you on used bodies, about the only new body I would but is the D850 - but that 's probably out of the price range - and I don't think there are any used bodies available right now.

act12 - thanks for the lens listing. I think I'm going to have to re-think the 70 - 300 f2.8. I may be able to make a 70 - 200 work with a 2X converter - or look at the Sigma or Tamron 400 mm lenses. More research needed here.

I really appreciate all the information and the time everyone spent answering my question. At this stage in my life, this is probably the last big camera/lens buy, so I wanted to get things right. Of course the budget precludes buying everything - I'm sure I'm not the only one with that problem!

I need to learn more about how the tradeoff in higher ISO/noise would work with lower light levels and relatively fast shutter speeds to capture moving subjects. Fortunately, reading doesn't cost much and I have the time, so the journey continues.
 

Most reactions

Top