DX weight savings myth

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by cube, Jul 2, 2011.

  1. cube macrumors G5

    May 10, 2004
    I just did a quick check, and it weighs about the same to have:

    D700 + 12-24 + 17-35 f2.8 + 35-105 f2.8

    D300 + 8-16 + 11-16 f2.8 + 16-50 f2.8 or 17-55 f2.8 (top 82.5 equiv.)
  2. carlgo macrumors 68000

    Dec 29, 2006
    Monterey CA
    I think the D300 is a very heavy DX camera. Seems like lenses are the real loads unless you like to just carry around one small prime...
  3. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    Care to put the actual weights down? I can't find any weight info on the ancient 35-105 f2.8 (I'm assuming it's the Tamron)

    Anyhow, if you start comparing apples to apples instead of cherry picking lenses, the picture is quite different:

    D700: 1075g with battery
    D300: 903g with battery

    Sigma 12-24 FX: 615g
    Sigma 8-16 DX: 555g

    Nikon 14-24 FX: 1000g (arguably a closer match to the 11-16 than the 17-35)
    Tokina 11-16 DX: 548g

    Nikon 24-70 FX: 902g (again a much better comparison both in FL and build quality)
    Nikon 17-55 DX: 760g


    FX body + lenses: 3592g
    DX body + lenses: 2766g

    Difference: 826g or 1.82lbs, or a 25% difference. Swap the 14-24 for the 17-35 f2.8 (730g) and the difference is more like 18%.

    Also, the above comparison does not consider bulk, of which the DX options are considerably smaller than their FX counterparts.

    It is true that once you start getting to longer FLs, the differences diminish. That is partly why you don't see Nikon making a 50-135 or 50-150 DX lens- it would probably end up too similar to the 70-200 in size, weight, and cost.
  4. cube thread starter macrumors G5

    May 10, 2004
    11 DX is 16.5 FX, hence starting at 17 for FX, and not give a wideangle advantage but a weight disadvantage to FX, which cannot be converted into a tele advantage by starting way lower at 14.

    The Tamron 35-105 f2.8 weighs 624 grams.

    My comparison is more appropriate;

    D700: 1075g with battery
    D300s: 938g with battery

    Sigma 12-24 FX: 615g
    Sigma 8-16 DX: 555g

    Nikon 17-35 FX: 745g + Tamron 35-105: 624g
    Tokina 11-16 DX: 548g + Tokina 16-50: 610g (Nikon 17-55: 755g)

    FX: 3059g
    DX: 2651g (2796g)

    Difference: 15% (9.4%) heavier
  5. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    Yeah but the 11-16 stops at what is essentially 24 FX, so the 17-35 just weights the FL discrepancy on the tele end whereas the 14-24 weights it on the wide end. It can be argued that the total FL discrepancy is less with the 14-24 than the 17-35 (9.3-16mm DX equivalent vs. 11.3-23.3 DX equivalent)

    Also, it's a bit of a stretch to compare the Tamron 35-105 f2.8 with the 17-55. You cannot just match focal lengths and apertures, you must also take into consideration build quality as well. Which is why I submit the 24-70 as the best candidate against the DX 17-55. The FLs are almost exactly consistent and both are designed as full-on "pro build" lenses, and built by the same manufacturer. If anything the 24-70 has a weight advantage since it's of a more modern construction, and likely utilizing more plastics/composites than the older 17-55, which featured a lot of metal.

    In reality, what this really highlights is that 1:1 comparisons like these are of limited utility, and often have no practical relevance unless you are fortunate to be able to pick 2 lenses that are near perfect FX-to-DX matches of each other.

  6. cube thread starter macrumors G5

    May 10, 2004
    it is not a lens against lens comparison. it is a kit against kit comparison. That's why we are looking at the total weight, and your alternative is biased, as you're penalizing FX with a lot of extra wide-angle.

    The Tamron is also a respected metal lens, not some trash.

    A comparison where it might be mildly acceptable to include the 14-24 would be 14-24 + 24-70 + 70-200 against 11-16 + 16-50 + 50-150, but the weight of the OS version of the last lens is still unknown.
  7. cube thread starter macrumors G5

    May 10, 2004
    Another completely fair comparisons would be if you save weight by not carrying the overlapping slow extreme wideangle or the overlapping fast wideangle:


    FX: D700 + 17-35 f2.8 + 35-105 f2.8
    DX: D300 + 11-16 f2.8 + 16-50 f2.8 or 17-55 f2.8 (top 82.5 equiv.)


    FX: 12-24 + 24-70 f2.8 + 70-200 f2.8
    DX: 8-16 + 16-50 f2.8 + 50-150 f2.8

    The first one we can compute already:

    D700: 1075g with battery
    D300s: 938g with battery

    Nikon 17-35 FX: 745g + Tamron 35-105 FX: 624g
    Tokina 11-16 DX: 548g + Tokina 16-50 DX: 610g (Nikon 17-55 DX: 755g)

    FX: 2444g
    DX: 2096g (2241g)

    Difference: 16.6% (9%) heavier.
  8. carlgo macrumors 68000

    Dec 29, 2006
    Monterey CA
    Anyway, in less than 10 years DSLRs will be fairly rare, replaced by far smaller and lighter EVIL designs.
  9. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    For entry-level consumers, maybe. But no matter how good EVIL designs/sensors get, full-size DSLRs will always perform better from a sensitivity and resolution standpoint (by nature of a larger sensor), and unless some new revolutions in AF technology come about, will always outperform EVIL cameras in AF as well. Therefore DSLRs will often be the choice for serious shooters looking for maximum quality.
  10. H2Ockey macrumors regular

    Aug 25, 2008
    Could say the same thing about your comparison is biased to try and make a pointless point really. D700 v. D300 is only part of the argument and to be fair the D700 was developed specifically to get a full frame body into the same weight and size as a DX body BECAUSE there is a noticeable size/weight difference. Look at pre-D700 choices. D3 vs D300? lenses won't even matter with that argument.
  11. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    Well to be fair you really should be comparing something like the D2x with the D3, as the D300 and D3 are in completely different leagues (integrated vertical grip vs. standard body) Sensor format has little to do with the size difference of the D300 vs the D3.
  12. Vudoo macrumors 6502a


    Sep 30, 2008
    Dallas Metroplex
    I didn't realize that there was even a myth. A few grams in the body is hardly noticeable.
  13. Nostromo macrumors 65816


    Dec 26, 2009
    Deep Space
    DX is not to save weight or have a reduced size.

    The sensor is just the most expensive part of the camera.
  14. pdxflint macrumors 68020


    Aug 25, 2006
    Oregon coast
    I think the main distinction between DX and FX has to do with cost and high ISO low noise performance, not so much weight difference. The entry level cameras are all DX, so naturally they're much lighter... but the same was true when they were all 35mm. With the cost of full-sized sensors being what they are, it's basically prohibitive to make a "cheap" camera using one, but certainly a FX sensor could be engineered into a D3000 if Nikon wanted to risk that. But the sensor would probably cost 3 times the whole camera to make, and who would spend that on a lightweight, reduced featureset, entry level body?

    I shoot DX, largely because for about half the price I could get an equivalent pro quality body (D300 vs D700) that would perform for me with the kind of shooting I had in mind. It's heavier than my last 35mm (full frame) camera. My lenses are a mix of DX (Tokina 12-24, Nikkor 17-55) and FX/full-frame (50mm, 80-200f/2.8 and 300mmf/4) and the quirky lensbaby system. None of my primary lenses were chosen because they were lightweight, but because of their performance for the money. But, if I considered the typical kit lenses available for DX bodies these days they'd all be featherweights in comparison to anything available for FX bodies. I think it has more to do with construction quality than anything else. When 35mm was still the mainstream, entry level Rebels and Nikon 4004s etc. and their plastic "kit" lenses were about as light as their crop-format equivalents of today.
  15. miloblithe macrumors 68020


    Nov 14, 2003
    Washington, DC
    But Tamron is known for making light lenses, just as Tokina is known for making very solid (and relatively heavy) lenses. I think you'd have to compare a Tamron with a Tamron, to some degree.

    Also, you're cherry picking focal lengths by only choosing wide angle and normal range. It you compared 200mm lenses to 300mm lenses, there's going to be a huge difference, even in the normal range, a 50mm f/1.4 is about 10oz and a 85mm f/1.8 is 17.

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