Buying advice: full-frame vs wide-angle lens

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Pandakopanda, Dec 29, 2008.

  1. Pandakopanda macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2008
    #1
    Hi. I'm trying to decide on going full-frame (Nikon D700) vs keeping my old D80 and buying a wide-angle lens for those landscape/architectural photos, which I like to shoot.

    Wide-angle lens
    • Much cheaper (spending <1000 EUR for the lens)
    • Can keep my old D80 body (though I probably will buy a D300 if I go for this option)
    • Can keep my Nikon 18-200 lens which I absolutely love as an all-purpose walk-around lens. I didn't find a full-frame equivalent for that lens and I doubt there will ever be one since a full-frame equivalent lens would be too heavy and bulky.
    • May have to get rid of all the DX lenses I buy now and in the future if I decide to go full-frame at a later time.

    Full-frame
    • Much more expensive (EUR 3000 - 4000 for a D700 and a good starters lens).
    • No good replacement for my Nikon 18-200 DX VR lens.
    • Full-frame lenses in general more heavy and bulky and more expensive.
    • Future-proof.

    Anyone give me some good advice? Will the DX cameras disappear in a few years in favor of the full-frame cameras or will they continue to coexist?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

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    Dec 23, 2006
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    In my imagination
    #2
    If you have to ask, then stick with the D80, or if you want a shiny new body then get the D90 or D300 and the wide angle lens.

    p.s. no such thing as future proof.
     
  3. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #3
    Nikon's likely to offer a DX crop mode for a long time, even if they don't offer DX cameras- however- DX sensors are good enough for 99% of work, so why would a manufacturer use a more expensive sensor?

    If there's an argument for a larger sensor, then that argument makes much more sense in going even bigger than 35mm. Had the global economy not collapsed we'd likely have seen larger "medium format" offerings from Nikon and Canon who both reportedly had prototypes in the works.

    If someone figures out how to get sensors without defects (100% yields,) then it's still going to be a sensors per wafer economy of scale, though that might at least make the math significantly more attractive.

    Most of the folks whining about "full frame" never invested in it. Now they're whining about the price of "full frame," it's size, or lenses vignetting- I don't expect we'll see significant adoption of non-DX bodies over DX bodies in the next five years even if everything works out as well as it can.

    What he said.
     
  4. wheelhot macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2007
    #4
    So far I'm very impressed with Nikon D300 low light performance, it can't beat a full frame, but for a APS-C sensor SLR, it beats Canon D50. I wonder if Canon is deliberately not caring about improving their APS-C SLR high ISO image quality or only focus on getting their Full Frame sensor pricing to be lower.
     
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #5
    Is landscape/architectural you primary area of photography?
    What do you do with the images? Do these go on the web or other electronic screen or do the images go onto prints, if so what size.

    If the images are only going to be seen on electronic screens then you can use a 6MP DSLR. Even the D40 has way more pixels then you need. But if the goal is fine art size and quality prints you will be limited even by the current FX size DSLRs and you may want to consider medium format or larger as FX is really only a small step up from DX.

    Will DX be around for long? Good question. I think it will survive for a long time as a consumer format but eventually in 10 or 12 years the FX format will become cheap enough that DX will loose it's advantage except at the very low end. I can imagine a class of camera that has no viewfinder or reflex mirror and just a Live View LCD with interchangeable DX lenses. I think this is where DX is headed in 10 to 12 years At that time serious landscape shooters will be using the 645 format as these will have come down to only maybe the $4K range. So is FF the future? No it's just a step in a series of steps

    If fine art landscapes are your thing then you might just want to bypass the whole FX things and take 2 or 3 steps up as one step is just no that noticeable in terms of the final print. If you stay with film two steps up is actually cheaper than a D700
     
  6. Edge100 macrumors 68000

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    #6
    Canon has decided that megapixels sell cameras to non-pros, and that's where they're going with their consumer and prosumer lines (XXXD and XXD). The 50D has hit the wall in terms of high ISO performance; most reviews suggest it is poorer than the 40D in pixel-level noise (though the 50D may still produce better prints because the pixel size is smaller). The 60D or whatever-D will, undoubtedly, have even more pixels, and be even more noisy. Sooner or later, those pixels are going to be too small, and noise will become too much.

    On the other hand, in its pro-level cameras, Canon has the right idea; 21MP in the FF 1DsIII and only 10MP in the 1.3x 1DIII; they havent let megapixels dominate here (yet). Yes, 21MP is high, but the pixel density is still reasonable (about the same as a 30D).

    All of the talk I've heard from pro-level Canon users is that Canon needs to give it a rest for a while on the MP front, and just put some money into R&D directed at improving the sensors they already have.
     
  7. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #7
    I know plenty of people selling lots of FA prints from DX sensors- the guy I bought my D2x off of sells a boatload of a single image taken with it.

    Most of the galleries I've looked at recently are perfectly happy with prints from APS-C cameras, and they all print significantly larger than Super A3 (13x19.) I've never had an issue with a customer asking about IQ from my own fine art prints either.

    While you certainly can get stunning images by going with a larger sensor, I'd argue that for landscapes and architecture the movements from a view camera are the real advantage for moving upwards.
     
  8. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

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    #8
    What I predict, and hope for, from the Canon front would be a complete removal of the 1.6x cropped sensor in favor of the 1.3x used in the 1D. I thought that would be Canon's move this go round but I guess they are trying to squeeze all that they can out of their 1.6.

    I have a feeling that even the chip used in the 50D was a bit rushed to market, and just the last one Canon would feel comfortable making. Hopefully, the 60D and new rebels will step up above Nikon and go 1.3x with amazing IQ and performance but hopefully not too large a jump in price.

    I have seen amazing FA prints from D2h bodies at 13x19 and one that wasn't too bad from a distance at 20x30. I was very surprised to see the power of even the 4.1MP D2h sensor, let alone the chip out of the D200 and D2xs.

    As for the rush to FX. I think Nikon is banking on the desire for many pros to want to keep their pro build bodies and move up to the significantly better D3 or settle for a D700.
     
  9. Edge100 macrumors 68000

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    #9
    I hope you're right. The density on these 1.6x sensors is as high as it can go without seriously affecting IQ and noise.

    The problem is, Canon has sold a lot of EF-S lenses that wont work with the 1.3x sensors.
     
  10. FrankieTDouglas macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2005
    #10
    Also keep in mind that the full frame cameras enable shallower depth of field, if that's something you wish to have in some of your images. They'll both provide large depth of field, but if you put a 50mm on a FF and a DX, stand where you need to frame a subject the exact same way in both cameras, and shoot at f1.8, the full frame camera will be shallower.
     
  11. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

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    #11
    Very true, and I think Canon will either pull just the 60D up to 1.3x and leave the rebels down to 1.6x or render all the EF-S lenses useless on the new bodies.

    I don't know about the lens elements, so someone can tell me if a high speed crop is possible with EF-S glass, or (much like Nikon*) Canon could just have users buying all new glass for the better IQ that will come from the larger sensor.

    * I say like Nikon because using a D3, D700, or D3x with DX lenses defeats the purpose in my eyes of having a FX body. They had many believing they would never go FX, so we sold all of our FX glass for DX equivalents... then BAM! Anyone that has nothing but DX lenses shouldn't move up to FX unless they have the cash to shell out for all new glass, or they should just get the D300 or D90.
     

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