Upgrading from a Nikon F3

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by davidg06, Feb 15, 2012.

  1. davidg06

    davidg06 TPF Noob!

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    Hi all, this is my first post on this forum, and I thought this would be the best way to get some sound advice.

    Growing up my dad was really into photography, he even built his own dark room in our house. Unfortunately about 9 years ago he passed away leaving a huge collection of camera equipment. We sold or donated most of the dark room equipment and specialty equipment to local colleges and high schools but kept a core set of cameras for me and my sister. I was too young at the time to know what to do but for the past year I've begun taking my own pictures with the equipment he left for me.

    My equipment is as follows:
    Nikon F3HP
    Nikkor 28mm 1:2.8
    Nikkor 50mm 1:1.8
    Nikkor 105mm 1:2.5
    RMC Tokina 70-210mm 1:3.5
    RMC Tokina 28-85mm 1:4

    I think at this point, for various reasons, I'm ready to upgrade to a digital SLR, after researching I really like the Nikon D3100.

    My question is:
    What Nikon cameras will accept these lenses?
    Are these lenses worth keeping despite being fixed focal length because they have a low f-stop, or do the high ISO ranges on new DSLRs make up for the availability of a low f-stop?
    If the answer to the previous question is No, what are a more relevant set of specs to look for in buying a new set (probably just one or two since I'm a broke college student :lol:)

    Thank you so much for any help

    David


     
  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I used to shoot the F3-HP with very similar Nikkors. I would DEFINITELY keep the 105/2.5, and probably the 28 and the 50 as well.

    The D3100 will "accept" basically ANY standard F-mount lens, since it has no AI-coupler and also has NO minimum aperture-sensing pin. Of course, only the higher-end D200,D300, and D7000 and D1-D2-D3-D700 lenses will actually give you light metering with Ai- Ai-S, or Ai-converted Nikkors. SO, the 28,50,105, and the two zooms will MOUNT, and SHOOT on the D3100, but you will have no light metering, and will need to shoot flash in manual modes.

    Focusing the 28/2.8 by hand and eye will be a bit "iffy"; he 50/1.8 ought to focus okay, and the 105/2.5's combination of length and lens aperture, plus its smooth focusing action and optimized hand-focusing helicoid have ALWAYS made the 105/23.5 on of the absolute-easiest manual lenses to focus...

    If you have good eyesight and some experience with the lenses, your transition to using them on a D3100 ought to be relatively smooth, but keep in mind, the overall viewfinder quality and viewfinder "experience" of a penta-mirror camera like the baby Nikons is nowhere near the big, bright, optimized viewfinder system of the F3 HP. You might find that the "newish" 70-300 f/4.5~5.6 VR Nikkor can replace the Tokina for all decent-lighting type scenarios, with BETTER optics, and autofocus. Aftermarket zoom lenses like the two 25 year-old Tokina zooms are worth much more as shooters than they are as trade-ins!!!
     
  3. davidg06

    davidg06 TPF Noob!

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    Okay, I had a feeling most people would advise keeping the fixed lenses for the value of the low f-stop. From your first paragraph, my understanding is that basically if I do get the D3100, I will be doing all of my focusing manually which is not a change from my present situation and I already own a nice point and shoot (Canon G9). Does not having light metering mean that the camera will not be able to use Aperture priority mode or Shutter priority mode because it cannot determine the amount of light I'm working with? That's a huge down point for me because I'm not looking to buy an SLR with the intention of leaving it in auto-mode all the time so I can take pictures of my dog and post them on Facebook :lol:

    Well I wasn't planning on selling any of the lenses unless I bought a complete copy of one for some reason, if anything I would probably by a basic zoom lens to replace one of the Tokina lenses and I don't think the 28-85mm Tokina is that essential given that I already have a set of fixed lenses that cover that range well.

    Also I didn't totally understand the view finder comment, are you saying that with a camera like the D3100 or other entry DSLRs the experience using the viewfinder for my photographs won't be as enjoyable?
     
  4. djacobox372

    djacobox372 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'd suggest a used nikon d200, which costs about $100 less then a new D3100 body. The D200 is fully compatible with all your old lenses, it does not have as good of high-iso performance as the D3100, but it's better in just about every other way (build, features, speed).
     
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  5. davidg06

    davidg06 TPF Noob!

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    I had not thought of purchasing a used camera yet, seems like a great deal but is it? I wouldn't want to spend the money and get a camera that breaks right after buying... what are the most common repairs and are they worth the savings of buying a used camera? Also the D200 looks like a much better option, especially the weather-proofing which is a huge plus since I want a camera I can take backpacking.
     
  6. djacobox372

    djacobox372 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The pro and prosumer nikons are built VERY well, the risk of it breaking is minimal, just make sure u buy one with a reasonable shutter count (less then 10k). Id also recommend u buy from ebay from a seller with a 7 day return policy--that way u have a week to discover any problems as well as third party protection.

    Ive purchased all my gear used, ive only ever had problems with third party brands. And that includes a d200 and d700 which are still going strong many years later.

    The only major downside of the d200 is high iso ability, u wont want to use it over 1600iso, whereas the d3100 is good up to 3200. It's also a battery hog so budget in an extra battery.
     
  7. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Yes--a D3100 will have NO aperture priority and no shutter priority light metering, and NO flash metering, when used with your older, manual focus lenses. And YES, the viewfinder experience with the D3100 is severely lacking compared against the F3-HP's superb finder...the D3100 has a much smaller finder image, and just a crummier finder, compared against the F3-HP's. The best way to describe the D3100 finder is "squinty". GO look at one. You will literally see the difference.
     

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