Nikon F100 stolen; advice on replacement welcome

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Scepticalscribe, Sep 5, 2009.

  1. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #1
    My beautiful Nikon F100 (film camera, professional standard) which I have had for a number of years and travelled everywhere with me was stolen from my suitcase a few weeks ago on my way back to the Caucasus, from western Europe, presumably at a stopover in Istanbul. The suitcase eventually arrived at my final destination - over 24 hours later - but minus my camera, which, to put it mildly, mightily annoyed me.

    I had been contemplating - at leisure - switching to digital, but this theft has put a bit of urgency into the idea of plunging into the digital world. I am not used to being without a camera.

    So, as someone who has no experience whatsoever in digital photography, but who has been used to excellent film SLR cameras for over twenty years (Minolta, Pentax, Nikon), what model - and lenses - would members of the forum recommend that I purchase; one of my colleagues at work has recommended the Canon 500D.

    Thank you in advance for any responses you submit and any advice which you may offer.

    Cheers and good luck
     
  2. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #2
    If you already have Nikon gear, and particularly so if you have top-quality lenses, buying a Canon body doesn't make much sense.

    The F100 body was used as the basis for the D100/200/300/ line, and you would likely find it familiar in shape, along with some of the controls.

    If you've never used a digital body before, the crop factor may require a bit of an adjustment, should you choose to purchase a body that has a crop factor (all Nikon DX bodies use a 1.5 crop, while Canon splits between 1.3 and 1.6). You already know what a full frame body perspective looks like because it's all you've used. I own a D700 and love it, and definitely like it more than the D300 I had before that. Others swear by the D300 (now the D300s) and understandably so. It's a great camera, and the D300s is arguably the best DX camera in existence right now (with tough competition coming from the new Canon 7D). DX=crop and FX=full frame in Nikon terminology. The D3, D3x and D700 are Nikon's full frame DSLRs, while Canon has the 1Ds Mark III and Canon 5D Mark II as full frame cameras.

    Or you can go with a smaller body like the D90, which draws its roots from the N80, another camera I own. It's an excellent body, if not quite as robust or suited for action.

    In terms of lenses, do you use a combination of zooms and primes or stick mainly to one or the other? Not knowing what you shoot, it's hard to make recommendations.

    Finally, sorry for your loss :(. What a bummer.
     
  3. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    #3
    I know how you feel right now. My trusty Canon AE-1 locked up on me and I have been standing at the Digital Divide for a while trying to decide where to dump money.

    Have a look at the links in the MR stickie posted below.

    Folks in the Digital Photo forum use a wide variety of equipment. If you download some of the pics you can view the photo and camera info in PhotoShop. The only thing that seems to be of consensus is to buy a camera from a camera company. Pentax, Canon and Nikon all make good cameras and lenses.

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=257862

    Dale
     
  4. Scepticalscribe thread starter Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #4
    Thanks for the swift response; my lenses are gone, too, but for convenience, as I travel a lot for fairly long periods of time (and weight and space considerations) I tended to use zoom mostly; the Nikon had a lovely 28-105 lens, and I also had a 100-300.

    As to what I do, a bit of portraiture, but also a lot of landscape and cityscapes; I have worked in quite a few former war-zones in the Balkans and the former SU over the past decade, (democraticisation, election monitoring, etc and I'm currently with the EU monitoring mission in Georgia). My background and profession is history so anything with a remotely historical slant gets photographed and I am also interested in how different political cultures treat the "public space" and try to record this. I suppose that is a long winded way of saying I photograph a bit of everything, with a sharp eye on the historical record.

    Thanks again; cheers and good luck
     
  5. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #5
    In terms of features and positioning, the Nikon D300 or Nikon D700 are the equivalent of the F100 now. They will also have a metal frame, professional AF system (they share the AF system with the pro-body, the D3 and D3x), etc. As pointed out before, the D700 is probably the `best' replacement for a F100 -- since you have gotten used to (= spoiled) with a large, brilliant viewfinder.

    For sure, you will find the Canon 500D disappointing in this regard, it's viewfinder is a lot smaller and darker. A step up in the Canon line-up are the 40D and 50D. However, if you have Nikon glass and you're happy with the feel of the camera, you should stick with Nikon.

    The downside of the D700 is the same as that of the F100: it's expensive. The D300 and D90 are cheaper, because they are based around a much smaller sensor. The D300 has just been replaced by a slightly updated version, the D300s, so you can get the D300 a little bit cheaper now.

    What equipment do you still have?
     
  6. dmmcintyre3 macrumors 68020

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  7. Scepticalscribe thread starter Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #7
    Alas, my lenses (I had the 28-105 and 100-300 both of which were excellent Nikon lenses) are also gone, so I am both camera less and lens less, and thus, will be starting entirely from scratch. I am also thinking of buying another film camera, just to have it, as a stand-by, perhaps a good second hand model.

    Cost is not the major issue here, but getting the right sort of replacement is. Some years ago, before I got the Nikon F100, I had the F75, which wasn't a patch on it, it was too flimsy. At the time, I should have bought the F80, which was mentioned by luminosity and it is a camera which I know to be very good. In fact, I had planned to buy the F80 but was offered the F100 at a very competitive price and have to say it was a superb camera (but heavy if walking around cities - and mountains - a lot, as I do).

    Thanks for all of the advice - much appreciated.

    Cheers
     
  8. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #8
    I love my D700/N80 combination, because it offers two radically different body weights that give me the same perspective because they're both full frame. The N80 lacks only the ability to meter with AI/AIS lenses and the rugged body/autofocus system of the F100. I appreciate that it's lightweight, and paired with the 50/1.8, it's almost weightless. I should mention that I like film a lot, and obviously shoot with it often enough (since I have the camera and use it).

    I like the control wheel on the left side of the N80 (no idiot modes, by the way) more than the D700's exposure mode control to some extent. I can change it instantly, rather than the moment it takes with the D700.

    The D700 is probably going to be updated soon, as the rumblings about that are starting to get louder and more credible (either about a D700s or a D700x, which wouldn't be a true replacement). I'd wait for the end of October before pulling the trigger on one.

    At 1600 ISO, the D700 still looks beautiful. The D300 has already begun a decline by then.

    If you have the cash, the 14-24/24-70/70-200 (new version of the 70-200 coming in November) may be all you ever need, if you're okay with the heftiness of each. I'm a prime shooter myself, but that's just me.
     
  9. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #9
    If you start from scratch, you'll have to give us an idea what you'd like to spend -- and what kind of lenses you'd like.

    By the way, I've had the F80 and I've loved the camera. I probably would still have it if I didn't kill it in an accident caused by my own stupidity.
     
  10. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #10
    My N80 almost came to an early end when I came close to kicking it into a set of D.C. Metro train tracks at a station there. It came to rest just a couple feet short of the edge. Still not sure how I managed to kick it in the first place.
     
  11. Scepticalscribe thread starter Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #11
    Thanks for all of the responses. I take luminosity's point about waiting until the end of October/November to wait to see what appears by way of updates, and that set of lenses sounds like an excellent combination. As I'm in Georgia at the moment, I have no intention of buying anything until my next trip home - which should be a brief visit in October. In any case, I am tempted to buy a F80 when I next return home to tide me over until what I need is available digitally.

    To OreoCookie, finance is not really an issue; I'm perfectly happy to spend €2,000-€3000 or more as long as it is the right camera. I tend to look after my cameras well, and to hold on to them (unless they are feloniously removed from travelling suitcases, of course) for years at a time.

    Once again, thanks to all of you who took the time to respond.
     
  12. wheelhot macrumors 68020

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    #12
    Hmm, I think he should stick with Nikon because if I recall correctly, someone said (written somewhere in the web), that the D300/D700/D3/D3x button layout is based on its film cameras (lots of buttons).

    I love the Nikon Dxxx ergonomics and the camera build feels like a real camera, not like those cheap plastic feeling kind of camera. Just a personal opinion :rolleyes:
     
  13. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #13
    The D700's body costs $2,700 alone (full frame sensors are very expensive), so I think that may be above your budget. The D300s is about $1k cheaper. If you want lenses similar to the ones you've had, I recommend, you have a look at Tamron's 17-50 mm f/2.8 and get a Tokina 50-135 mm f/2.8 to complement that. Your reach will be shorter (135*1.5 mm = 202.5 mm), but all your lenses will be faster.
     
  14. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #14
    Before buying anything, I'd read up on what's available (avoiding Ken Rockwell along the way), though I'm sure you'll do that regardless. One of my favorite lens review sites is http://www.photozone.de/, which reviews Canon, Nikon, Sony and Pentax lenses (primarily the first two).

    The Nikon 14-24 is almost otherworldly in its performance, and may be the finest lens the company has yet produced. The 24-70 is similarly outstanding. The new 70-200 shows every sign of measuring up to the other two, based both on the existing 70-200 and also its released MTF chart.

    The 85/1.4 is a bit old now, but still delivers reliable performance. There are many other top quality lenses, of course, and you probably know about many of them as it is.

    Going with the D300s or any DX camera means a commitment to the DX line of cameras and lenses. Many are excellent, but are based on a cropped sensor and cannot be fully used with FX cameras or film cameras. You strike me as the type that would do well with a D700 or another FX body (one available now or in the future). There's no certainty that DX cameras will last well into the future, though both Nikon and Canon continue to actively support it by way of making new crop sensor cameras and lenses to go with them.

    The D700 body can be purchased for about $2,400 from B&H, and I got mine brand new from them for $2,365 at the end of July. They have to advertise at a certain price, but adding to the cart generally lowers it.

    This shot was taken with my D700 at 25,600 ISO (no post processing was done):

    [​IMG]

    No DX camera can match that kind of performance.
     
  15. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    I suspect I would try to stay with Nikon. As the others have said the D300 and D700 are top notch. I personally would shy away from the plastic-bodied cameras as it sounds like you're quite serious and keep them for a while. As a replacement for what you had before lens wise, probably the closest thing is the 16-85mm (if you got the D300), I'm not so well versed on Nikon's full frame offerings but I know the 24-70 f/2.8 is the top dog!

    Clearly because the sensor on the D300 is 1.5x smaller than 35mm film the 16-85 is effectively a 24-127.5mm, there's also the 18-70, the more expensive nikkors and various other lenses from sigma, tamron, tokina which are fine. The D700 is the best of the cameras discussed here, it is a 'full frame' camera and really in a slightly different class of quality and expense, but if you mainly shoot at ISOs less than 800 the D700 would probably be unnecessary.

    The other camera which I would look at very seriously if I were you would be the new Pentax K7. Since you are starting from scratch you might appreciate it. It's small, metal, weatherproof and you can get it with a couple of weatherproof lenses (the 18-55, 55-200 AL WR) which are reasonable. I personally would probably be tempted to get another lens, either a prime or other zoom for when quality is absolutely paramount, but these weatherproof lenses are very good value so they're worth getting. You can do video with this thing too, if that matters. http://www.dpreview.com/previews/pentaxk7/
     
  16. Scepticalscribe thread starter Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #16
    Luminosity, that's a lovely shot. When I'm next back in civilisation, I'll take a long, hard look at the D700. Your advice and suggestions about lenses are very welcome and I hear what you are saying about DX versus FX (a distinction I was unaware of). You are perfectly right, it seems as though I would have a strong preference for FX. However, as you seem to recommend waiting for a further month or two until we see what comes down the tracks by way of changes, I'll do that. What is your take on the Nikon 24-120 lens?

    OreoCookie, to be honest, I'd hate to have to drop back to Sigma or Tamron lenses, decent though they are. I have been used to excellent lenses and an excellent camera, so that is what I'll go for when the time comes. The odd thing is that - as usual -I'm a bit out of step with the wider western world. During the boom, I was a university teacher - and loved it - but I cannot say that the remunerative rewards were considerable. However, at the moment, I have a very challenging, interesting and well-paid job in a sometimes demanding and difficult environment; finance really is not an issue here, but getting a camera which is really excellent, well-made, lasts a long time (as I mentioned in an earlier post, I look after my cameras), sturdy, but does not (the only drawback of the F100) weigh a ton, and feels right for me, is what is important.

    Leighonigar, while I'm very fond Nikon, I'm not a slave to it and I have very fond memories of two Pentax cameras which I owned. In fact, my very first SLR camera was an exquisite Pentax ME Super, bought over twenty years ago when I was a grad student, with my first cheque from correcting a vast number of student term essays (and a very welcome addition to my income as a tutor); it was a lovely camera, and I followed it up, some years later, with a Pentax P30T, a wonderful, rugged camera which travelled with me all over the former eastern Europe and the Balkans and did everything I asked of it and more. So, I'll certainly take a look at the K7.

    Once again, thanks to you all; cheers and good luck
     
  17. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #17
    If you get a D700, you have to get similarly expensive lenses
    to match the camera. Pairing a D700 with a cheap lens won't do you any good and you should rather invest in good lenses instead. A good lens to pair the D700 with is Nikon's 24-70 mm zoom -- which costs ~$1,800 (list price, likely a tad less expensive).
    This is a lens developed for film and technology has progressed a lot since. I don't want to go into technological detail (I can if you want to), but digital sensors do not behave the same way as film -- and hence newer lenses are constructed differently.

    I wouldn't recommend it for digital.
    I was giving you a suggestion that would have stayed within the budget you have mentioned, about $3k. If you don't mind going beyond that budget, then by all means, we can recommend you better equipment.

    BTW, I was recommending Tamron and Tokina (not Sigma, although some of their lenses are also great) for a reason: they are very good and unique (Nikon simply does not have a 50-135 mm zoom). I have Nikon pro glass, a better kit lens (the 18-70 mm that came with the D70) and a Tokina. When you know which lens to buy, third-party lenses is actually better. This is true for ultra-wide angle zooms, for instance -- unless you want to shell out ~$1,700 for Nikon's 14-24 mm. The built quality of my Tokina (the venerable 12-24 mm) is a lot, lot better than that of the better kit lens, the 18-70 mm Nikkor (which is close to the 24-120 mm in terms of construction).

    I'm just saying, I have experience with Nikon glass and third-party lenses. You should shed some of your preconceptions. Sigma, for instance, offers unique pro-grade tele zooms that have no Nikon or Canon equivalent.
    That's a good suggestion.
     
  18. dazey macrumors 6502

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    #18
    Coming from film, get a D700, you won't be happy with a crop sensor. Your old lenses will be fine. I only shoot primes. I have a couple of ai converted lenses (35 1.4 and 28 f2) that work wonderfully.
     
  19. juanm macrumors 65816

    juanm

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    #19
    Nope. The D100 was pretty much a F80/N80 with a sensor stuck inside. I had one (F80), and loved it. Great little camera.

    E.G:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    To the OP, I'd say D700. Same sturdiness (if not more) than the F100, pretty much the same control layout. It'll take a couple hours browsing the menus, to fully understand the digital part, but, essentially, you'll be up and running in 30 seconds.
     
  20. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    This is the funny thing - we almost all came from film and we all deal with DX. It's not as if the quality is worse. Often I'm pretty sure I get better quality out of my S5 Pro than I ever did from film. But granted I was a bit young at the time. As long as you've got good glass of the right length, and a decent enough viewfinder DX isn't really a problem. DX is not 110 film, digital sensors are much, much better. Depth of field is all you might want to consider.

    The OP mentions a Pentax ME super - I had the ME as my first proper camera. It was lovely. I believe you can use old MF primes on the K-7 too, if you found any.
     
  21. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #21
    What is your take on the Nikon 24-120 lens?

    The general consensus is that it's considered a subpar lens. Certainly not in the same league as the Canon 24-105L.

    If you get a D700, you have to get similarly expensive lenses

    Why?

    That just isn't so. A 50/1.8 at 5.6 gives you virtually the same sharpness as you can get from any other lens. I've got excellent image quality from just two lenses, the 50/1.8 and 85/1.8, total cost to me being about $400. Part of going with Nikon is being able to use older AIS/AF lenses that are top quality but aren't very expensive. The 105/2.5 AIS is every bit the lens that Nikon's heavyweights are today, minus the autofocus. There's a test available on the web that shows it matching the 70-200 step for step. Total cost for that lens used is about $200-300.

    This is a lens developed for film and technology has progressed a lot since.

    If you're talking about the VR release of the 24-120, that's not true. It was just released a couple years ago. The original 24-120 is certainly older, but that's not what he would likely get.

    The one weakness of the D700, if you can call it one, is the lack of megapixels, at least compared to certain other cameras. Of course, the lack of resolution is part of what gives it such astounding high ISO capabilities. The size of each pixel is relatively large, and I personally think that's part of what makes it what it is, just as was the case for the Canon 5D.

    By comparison, the 5D Mark II has 21 megapixels, and the new Sony a850 has 24, which uses the same sensor in the a900 (and basically by extension, the D3x, although the D3x sensor is modified a bit). There's talk of a D700x, though no one knows how realistic that is. The D700 sensor is now a couple years old, since it came along in the D3 back in 2007.
     
  22. wheelhot macrumors 68020

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    #22
    Hmm, well I don't agree with the first bolded statement. Cause owning a DX body doesn't meant commitment to the DX format, he can still buy FX glasses and use it on a DX body albeit the 1.5x crop factor. Like what I am going to do when I get my D300, invest on FX lens for my future FX body.

    Regarding the second bolded statement, I definitely agree with you, there are no certainty that DX will last well into the future, heck it might just ended up in entry level bodies in the future :rolleyes:
     
  23. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #23
    That's a good point about just using FX lenses for a DX body. Still, as costs gradually come down, I just don't see much of a future for DX, except for sports and wildlife photography.

    DX sensors will continue to improve, of course, but so too will FX sensors, and at 24 by 16, the ceiling for improvement is smaller for DX than the 35 by 24 sensor found in FX cameras.
     
  24. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #24
    Sure, that's the nifty-fifty, it works fine on the D700. But if you think of zooms (which the OP is clearly interested in), it makes more sense to invest in glass rather than the body, it's that simple. Putting a comparatively mediocre lens on a $2.5k body makes no sense to me.
    You don't have to convince me, I shoot Nikon as well. The OP will have the same lens compatibility with the D300(s) as with the D700.
    It was released in 2003 if memory serves right, at around the same time the first consumer dslrs were released (Nikon D70/Canon 300D).
     
  25. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #25
    But if you think of zooms (which the OP is clearly interested in), it makes more sense to invest in glass rather than the body, it's that simple. Putting a comparatively mediocre lens on a $2.5k body makes no sense to me.

    It's somewhat more true for zooms than for primes, but even there, Tamron steps in with the 28-75, which is excellent if you have a good copy. There's also the Nikon 28-70, which is going for rather high prices at KEH (more than the 24-70 went for new earlier this year), but is trading for lower than that and can be had for $1K if you know where to look and have some patience.

    You don't have to convince me, I shoot Nikon as well. The OP will have the same lens compatibility with the D300(s) as with the D700.


    But not completely. They will be subject to a crop factor and will not appear to be the same perspective.
     

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