Where are image sensors going and the lens to illuminate them?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by osprey76, Oct 27, 2007.

  1. osprey76 macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2004
    Oklahoma City, OK
    I have been looking at the DSLR scene for a while. I have a Nikon N70 that uses the old fashioned celluloid stuff. My wife has a Canon Rebel, also film-based. We're probably going to buy a DSLR next year when our budget will allow for it.

    I have been watching mainly what Canon and Nikon have been putting out for some time. It seems like both companies are heading toward a full-frame sensor now that Nikon announced just that in their D3. If that size sensor moves into the full line-up, it seems like DX lenses could end up being a liability down the line. What do you think?
  2. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    I don't think the smaller sensor is going anywhere for the next little while, and has lots of uses due to the "cropping effect" you get from using a smaller sensor.

    The only way I see APS sized sensors disappearing is when a 24 MP full frame sensor is the norm and can be found in every DSLR. Once that happens, maybe you can shoot using DX and FX using the same camera just by selecting it in a camera menu. That way, if you want the crop factor, you can have it because the sensor will just "shut off" so that only a DX sized area on the FX sensor is capturing the image. If you want full frame, you can have it too.

    Of course, "DX" in this case doesn't suffer from a cropping effect. It could literally just be a crop of the image itself. Of course the viewfinder needs to be able to see things in FX and DX mode.

    I think this will happen after 5 years.
  3. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Apr 14, 2001
    Sendai, Japan
    Canon's EF-S lenses (those for Canon dslrs with APS-C-size sensors) do not work on full-frame Canon bodies.

    Nikon's DX lenses work just fine on full-frame bodies, because the camera recognizes the lens and switches to `crop mode'. You don't need to switch anything. So on Nikon's side, DX lenses aren't really a liability -- you can still use them.

    In any case, I don't think this is particularly relevant for the moment, unless you want to make an investment of several thousand dollars. I don't expect the price of full-frame cameras to drop any time soon to the level of -- say -- a Canon 40D (something an ambitious amateur could afford). I wouldn't worry about full-frame just yet.

    Plus, megapixels have become largely irrelevant. I just got a 7 MP compact camera for a friend of mine; they basically offered the same camera with an 8 or 10 MP sensor, but for 90 % of the people, there is little practical advantage (in particular since noise is getting stronger and the crappy lenses usually limit the actual resolution). A few years ago, I bought a 5 MP dslr (Olympus E-20). I've blown up pictures to 30x40 cm with no `artefacts' or so (if you put your nose to the frame, you can discern some pixels, because I tweaked contrast and colors). My new dslr (Nikon D80) has twice as many megapixels, but I don't think it would have a significant impact on the (large format) prints.
  4. miloblithe macrumors 68020


    Nov 14, 2003
    Washington, DC
    I like to think that full frame will come to be the standard for both lineups, and when it does both will implement what the Nikon D3 now does of allowing lenses designed for the smaller sensors to be used. But I do think this will take a long time at the lower ends of the lineups. So for Nikon, while some eventual successor to the D300 will probably be full frame within, say, 5 years, I think it'll take a lot longer for the D80 and especially D40. For Canon, that's even more confused because they already have full frame not at the top of the line. I could imagine the 5D successors just migrating down in price for a while while the Rebel and xxD line remain APS-C sized. I could also see Both Nikon and Canon dropping the two different top of the line models (one for speed and one for resolution) as the capability to have high-speed, high resolution in one design improves (and who knows, Nikon may have already done this with the D3).

    Who has the best lenses, you or her?
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Both companies will continue with the small sensors in their lower end cameras. I think the high end of the line will go full frame but I bet you every full frame DSLR will have a mode where it can read out only the central part of the frame, simulating a smaller sensor. It will be many years before the DX size sensor disappears if it ever does.

    Notice that all of Nikon pro level lenses are full frame. Nikon is doing this so they will not make people mad who bought a $4,000 lens.
  6. mrthieme macrumors regular

    Nov 29, 2006
    My thought has been that full frame is where I want to be someday, so I won't invest much in crop body glass. It only really hurts on the wide angle lenses, and is almost a benefit on telephoto. The 5d has been coming down in price, I believe just over 2k. When my 30d is ready to retire I'm quite certain there will be a FF body I can afford.
    Here is one from this morning that I like, 30d with a Zeiss 50mm 1.7.

    Attached Files:

  7. seany916 macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2006
    Southern California
    You could start with a full frame dSLR, or wait for a more affordable one to be released.

    We've been shooting small sensor for a while now. No problems. We have a D300 on order and plan to be shooting small sensor for at least 2 more years. We'll reassess then what we should do based on what's available and the benefits offered (low light, lower noise).

    Until then, we're perfectly happy shooting with what we have.

    I wouldn't worry about "where the market is going". If you're a professional, just get a full-frame (if Nikon, you will probably be able to use your current lenses). If you're a professional, get a DX camera and don't worry about it.

    Point is, you'll be splitting hairs. If it's your first dSLR, go with a low end one and see what your needs are and the results you get with digital.
  8. osprey76 thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2004
    Oklahoma City, OK
    We both have the mediocre 35-80mm f/4-5.6 lens that was with the camera kit. I did buy a pretty good 70-300mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom for my camera. So, we're not heavily invested in lenses. I have a preference for Nikon, though I haven't looked at Canons in a serious way since I made the decision to get the N70 over the Rebel a number of years ago.

    Thanks for all of the responses. I didn't realize the D3 and more to come automatically adjusted for DX lenses. That's a nice feature and certainly keeps those lenses useful. My general thought has been to stay away from the DX lenses. One, that makes the lens useful on my current camera. The N70 body is worth more to keep around as a backup than to sell. Then, too, it will fully use a full-frame sensor in the future.

    On the subject of sensor size, I agree that resolutions are plenty high enough. I think that the noise performance in a full-frame sensor is the most desirable quality. I look forward to seeing what http://dpreview.com has to say about the D300 when it starts shipping. That's the highest level of body I'd venture to pick up. I wonder how it's low light performance compares to Canon's now that Nikon went to a CMOS sensor. That should help battery life, too.

    My photography has just been for fun, so far. My wife has been interested in learning more. If nothing else, a dSLR would be a great teaching tool since you can change settings and see the results immediately. If we can't get to a D300 by next summer, the D40x is pretty compelling overall. Of course, perhaps we'll have a CMOS D90 by then, too.

    Thanks again for everyone's thoughts.
  9. seany916 macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2006
    Southern California
    if you can afford it, get the D300.

    the D200s are still on backorder sometimes.

    Resale value should be great

    no tax if through Ritz Camera

    minimum loss if you sell it later
  10. kcross macrumors member

    Jun 8, 2007
    when it comes to anything other than wide angle i won't buy ef-s mount lenses, but i bought a used 10-22 and its been a really good choice in my opinion because it gets rid of some of the wide angle desire (16-35 equivalent), with close focusing distance (.24m), and sharp glass.

    on top of all of that there are a handful going in the mid five hundred dollar range all the time, so its not extremely expensive and could be resold later.

    plus, now i don't have to tell people about that really great wide angle shot that i'm gonna take when i get a FF...
  11. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    CMOS isn't the major factor, the D2x has had a CMOS sensor and CCDs are generally cleaner- astronomers tend to use CCDs, though there are some interesting CMOS research things happening at NASA. Active pixel sensors have closed the noise gap for all but the most demanding applications.

    However- and just like the FF argument CMOS, just like a smaller sensor- is much cheaper for the manufacturer. All things being anywhere near equal, cheaper will win in manufacturing. Expect both trends to continue.

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