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Thread: Nikon DX DSLR??

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    Nikon DX DSLR??

    Andrew, Jerry and others, I?m looking for a DSLR camera for my daughter for Christmas. She is a college senior and has taken a lot of photography classes. She was using a fairly new Canon rebel but it was stolen a few weeks ago. Since she has no lenses left, she wants to move over to the Nikon platform. That is the brand she wants and I would not try to change her mind ]I don?t think she needs (nor do I want to buy) a full-frame (35mm format) camera. The APS-C (23.6mm x 15.7 mm) format should be fine. In Nikon that is the DX.

    Within the DX family, what does anyone recommend??? I was looking at the 18-200mm VR II as a versatile all purpose lens. Yes/no?? Your help and thoughts will be much appreciated

  2. #2
    Z8Mania
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    I honestly think for the money, you are best off with the D600 which is a FX format camera. The sensor is off the charts good and the body is supposedly really good. Its hard for me to do a lot of research right now because my broadband is still down and I am using my cell phone for internet hotspot. I can look around more in the next few days. It seems your choice of lens is a good one just based on its being versatile. Is she taking more photography classes or will she just be doing some photography for personal enjoyment / hobby?

  3. #3
    I'd also recommend the D600, it really is a stunning bit of kit, incredible chip, game changing performance. I'm using D800's at work, and continue to be more and more impressed by the day. Nikon have really come on leaps and bounds.

    However, if you were thinking of going APS I'd suggest the incredible Sony NEX7 because that is such an incredible camera, seriously I'd take that over any APS SLR.
    Andrew Macpherson

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    Jerry, Andrew,

    So you both think the 35mm format is the way to go?
    If so, the 18-200mm VRII will not work with that. It is for the smaller format sensor. How about the D600 with the 28-300mm VR (for 35mm/FX)?

    Jerry - just a hobby.

    Thanks for your help.

  5. #5
    I don't know that lens, but conventional wisdom is that a short range zoom will have much higher quality through out it's range, so I'd suggest something in the 28-135 range. I use the 24-70 for almost everything at work, then the 105 macro. That's it, my entire working life is done on just two lenses!
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  6. #6
    Z8Mania
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    The reason I say the D600 is because it is SOOO much camera, and its going for a few dollars more than the upper DX level cameras. There are lesser DX cameras but, then I agree with Andrew, that you are likely to get superior results with the new Sony gear at perhaps less of a getting in cost. The only thing I think the D600 doesn't provide its user is that kind of big, hefty old school SLR feel. A friend rented one and it just didn't have that precise, mechanical feel to it. But now you are talking about hundreds or thousands of dollars for feel. Performance wise the camera is really off the charts. So I think its likely to last your daughter for a very long time.

    I can't argue with Andrews lens suggestions. The 24-70 gives you good wide angle and the 70 zoom is pretty good. And the lens is a serious investment but it also has the performance to match. I think how much zoom depends on what she is likely to be shooting. If its sports, you might want more zoom. The I think the 28-300 is a great "walk around" lens, it might actually be a good choice as a first lens in this system- it can kind of do everything, it might not be as spectacular as the 24-70, but that lens or others could be future additions to the arsenal.........

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    Jerry, Andrew,

    You have both been very helpful and have changed my mind. I was leaning toward the D7000 but will now get the D600. I was going to ask about the 28-300 lens but coincidentally, Jerry suggested it. As a first lens, it will do everything. She rides horses so the 300mm with VR (vibration reduction) will get used at the horse shows. Also, the D600 can be set to correct the distortion that you will get in a moderately priced 11:1 zoom lens. The reviews on the 24-70 look terrific so as Jerry suggested perhaps her second lens.

    Long ago, I used to follow Luminous Landscape. I like Reichmann's writings even though I rarely take pictures anymore. He uses a D800 (among others of course) but spent a couple of days with the D600 in September and praised it highly. By the way, he is fighting bladder cancer.


    Where do you guys go for equipment reviews?


    Thanks again,

    Phil
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  8. #8
    Luminous Landscape is a great site, but honestly I pretty much just follow the quality testing at DXO, because photography is my world of work I find I'm the only reviewer I need!
    http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Len...a-Lens-Ratings
    Andrew Macpherson

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  9. #9
    Z8Mania
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    In addition to your links

    I like to read

    http://www.dpreview.com
    http://www.stuckincustoms.com
    http://www.photozone.de

    For your application I think the 28-300 will work nicely. What happened in my case is I have a few lenses in this class and then I realized I wanted to get even more sharpness/ crispness in the images and that called for better glass. But no matter what you do in the future, the 28-300 will always be a good choice because its flexible. Probably good to travel with etc.

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    Hi again Jerry and Andrew,

    I didn?t realize that there is a Photography section here. Andrew, move this thread there if you want.

    I have read five or six reviews of the 28-300mm lens and most reviewers like the lens and recommend it for amateur/consumer use especially as a walk around lens. DXO ranked it rather low due to technical performance but for the most part, the actual users of the lens were very satisfied. The distortion is corrected by the D600 along with some of the color issues.

    My daughter is going to study in India and that was the deciding factor for me. ?Just one lens to rule them all? I hope.

    Thanks again!

    Best regards,

    Phil
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  11. #11
    Z8Mania
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    I agree Phil. Congratulations to your daughter and of course our wishes for a wonderful visit to India and a safe return. I think you have the right combo. This will give her flexibility for years to come. It says it has a built in flash. I say give her the chance to see how that works and if/ when she gets more serious, it might be time for a more serious flash. Just a small clarification- the camera (based on your comment) will correct for lens distortions when saving as JPEG. If you save as RAW, then you will depend on the software in the computer to correct for it. Some software supports it. And some lenses are supported but not all. Saving as JPEG is the easiest thing and a good way to get up and going. When she gets comfortable with the camera, she should try working with RAW.

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    Hi Jerry, Andrew,

    I figured RAW was RAW but was not sure at what point the D600 would provide the corrections.

    I looked at the detailed DxO testing for the lens and at an aperture of 11 or below, the test results are not all that bad. Even the transmission data was not bad considering that the actual f number is increasing with focal length.

    Have you used any version of the DxO Optics Pro software?

    Thanks for following the thread.

    Regards,

    Phil

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  13. #13
    Z8Mania
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    It most likely would do those corrections in its conversion to JPEG so if you never get to that step you never get those corrections.

    I don't use DxO. It looks like good software but Im happy with what I use (Photoshop) and I dont feel the need to add this right now.

  14. #14
    Ditto, I haven't used DxO software either.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  15. #15
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    Hi Phil, some more thoughts: there are many fine systems available nowadays that are very small & lightweight with amazing quality (Olympus OM-D, Sony NEX, etc.), where you need not haul a big heavy bag of gear around anymore

    however, if she is happy with the bulk, weight & size of 'traditional' 35mm, the D600 is a fine choice (i have one and love it). the 28-300 is certainly a jack of all trades & handy when one doesn't want to be juggling lenses (or multiple bodies). this traditional DSLR format also still tends to be the superior choice when it comes to action photography with fast, accurate AF (for now at least)

    a personal suggestion i would make if you think she'd like to get serious about the hobby, is to think about at least one fast prime lens as well. although 'less versatile', this will enable her to get images with a 'look' that no APS-C (DX), 4/3 or smaller camera can ever duplicate due to its narrow DOF. compared to a fast zoom, these lenses are usually lighter, sharper, and cheaper. (as a bonus, they can shoot in almost complete darkness as well w/ today's high ISOs!). depending on her preferred subject matter the economical 50/1.4 could be a good starting point (if she get serious about it, the 85/1.4 is also highly regarded for portraiture, but also a lot pricier)

    good luck - it is a great hobby, capturing memories for a lifetime!

  16. #16
    Z8Mania
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    I agree 100%.

  17. #17
    If you asked me for a pick of just one lens it would be the 35mm f1.4, that is the best single do all lens, which is why it is the standard on so many old pre-zoom p&s cameras.
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    Thanks all - I appreciate the inputs. Before it was stolen she was working with a Canon DSLR and that is the camera type to which she wants to return.

    The new rangefinder and mirrorless cameras look really interesting and I may find myself looking at that class of camera.

    Andrew, I thought that the old 35mm film standard lens was 50mm because it resulted in a picture that was closest to how our eye sees unaided?

    Regards,

    Phil

  19. #19
    Technically 50mm is the closet to the eye's sight, but 35mm is closer to the perceived width of vision, hence it is the lens that came on most fixed focal length cameras in the old days.
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    Andrew,

    I guess I never paid attention to the exact focal length on the old film cameras. I bought a Nikon FA with a 50mm lens when they first came out and I guess I just figured that was standard.

    raka, Jerry,

    Thank you for the detailed suggestions. You have made good points that I will keep in mind. I will get her a very good fixed lens next. I'm sort of hoping that after she spends some time with the 28-300, (with a FX sized sensor), she will have a better idea of which focal length she would find most useful.

    The new non-SLRs are facinating and I may get one but as you point out you can't beat the picture quality of the modern full frame sensor (unless you go to medium format). Here is great article that describes why this is:

    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/es..._cameras.shtml

    Regards,

    Phil

  21. #21
    Brings us right back to my dream camera, Sony really made this one for me!
     
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    From all your comments and some stuff I read on the internet, it seems one needs to ask how close is the end of the SLR camera?

    All you would need is:
    1) High accuracy, bright, fast display
    2) 35mm sensor (full frame)
    3) Interchangeable lenses with professional "f" levels f/1.2 etc (probably larger than current mirrorless lenses)
    4) Lenes designed to be closer to the sensor since the mirror is gone
    5) Adapter to use old Lenses.
    6) Body size between current DSLRs and the new mirrorless design.

    It does not seem like we are there yet but is there some fundamental reason why this will not be the high-end camera of the future? If so, how far off is it?

    Phil

  23. #23
    I'd suggest not far at all, and I'd also guess that it'll be Sony or Fuji who make it as they don't have a legacy SLR business to protect. The NEX system is really good, and rumor is they'll bring out a full frame version next year, so that might be it, and the Fuli XPro is stunning too, the next logical step for that range is into full frame.
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    Andrew,

    For a price, perhaps the Leica M9 is nearly there.

    Thanks for your input.

    Regards,

    Phil

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  25. #25
    I think Leica is also trapped by it's traditional rangefinder legacy, and that makes it hard to really innovate. They do get great reviews, but I wouldn't consider one at that price point.
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  26. #26
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    If you're now looking at FX sensors, include the Sony a99 too. It shres it's sensor with the D600, but has more capable processing and software.
    thegunguy

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    Andrew,

    DxO gave the Leica M9 sensor a poor review.

    GunGuy,

    I am definately looking at FX. My problem now is will an SLR look like a dodo bird in 3-5 years?

    Regards,

    Phil

  28. #28
    Any camera you buy today will be a dodo in five years, all today's cameras have a life cycle of a laptop or a cell phone. The only reason to buy a system is because you really want all the flexibility that comes with having a bunch of gear, and of course to invest in premium glass, which usually has an 8-10 year update cycle.

    Yesterday I traded in 20,000 worth of Canon gear for just 3,500 - the oldest thing was the just five years old, but all the lenses and the body have become obsolete in that time, and Nikon have also bettered Canon, making Canon obsolete for me.
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    Andrew,

    Good point - "in the long run, we are all dead"

    Regards,

    Phil

  30. #30
    Z8Mania
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    Regarding if SLRs will become obsolete- I think probably not. Its a format that has room inside for all kinds of innovations and there are ton of people with lenses out there. I think what is likely to happen, which is already happening, is the low end point and shoot cameras are going away in favor of the smart phones. The low end SLRs are being replaced by these micro 4/3 etc type cameras. Thats kind of why I suggested going with the D600 because its not crazy expensive but on the flip side, its got a ton of horsepower. So if you buy the M3 of today with 444 HP will it be out classed by the M3 of 10 years from now? (or M4 ) Sure. But it will still drive great- as will the D600. Andrew needs to be on the cutting edge because thats his profession. As a hobby, if you're using the last generation stuff, it really won't matter too much.

    FWIW, I love having the 35mm prime lens. Its the exact lens Andrew is talking about above and its terrific. Its just the right amount of everything for most situations. There are times Id like a wider angle and then I swap it out, but if I had to pick just one lens to have- honestly- Id probably just pick this. Its that good- and its super crisp.

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    Jerry,

    Certainly a high end, mirrorless, full format with interchangeable lenses camera will appear someday. The mirror has size, motion, and possible focusing problems. An articulating display (like a video cam) would allow the photographer physical options when composing a picture. Someone has pointed out that the act of covering your face with an SLR when taking a picture can have an effect on living subjects who are looking back at the camera/photographer.

    Will that be the end of the SLR??? I don't know. I'm not going to wait for that camera to come along anyway.

    As you point out one should still be able to take great pictures with the D600 like DSLR's of today and the lens options are enormous and this will be true for many years.

    Regards,

    Phil

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  32. #32
    Z8Mania
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    I guess the real question is whether the SLR format might become like vinyl- a small but die hard contingent holding on and propping up a market. All I know is this latest crop of cameras is really outstanding.

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    Or vacuum tube amplifiers!!

    What is the exact part number for the Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 you guys are talking about?

    Thanks,

    Phil

  34. #34
    Andrew Macpherson

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  35. #35
    Z8Mania
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    Yep that looks like it.

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    Andrew, Jerry,

    I was surprised at level of plastic in that lens. It actually has a symbol on the lens that means "disposable - 10 years expected service life". Seemed odd for a $1600.00 lens. The DxO report looks good. So if you want auto focus it is the only game in town. I guess that manufacturing standards have changed these days.

    Thank you for the reccomendation!

    Andrew,

    I came across your photography website - Holy Smoke!! You are the Photographer to the stars!! Very impressive!

    Best Regards,

    Phil

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  37. #37
    Z8Mania
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    Andrew is the man.

    The lens feels good to me but it seems to me that your criticisms are valid. I guess thats how it is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Z8Mania View Post
    Andrew is the man.
    Impressive across the board!!

    Jerry,

    I?m not criticizing the lens really and I will get my daughter one eventually. I appreciate you guys bringing it to my attention. Like I said, like you said, this is how they are making them today.

    However, I do think the recycling symbol is funny.

    Yesterday I entered the website and the Midnight Metallic Blue and Arizona Sun car came up on the Gallery. I?m partial to dark cars anyway so? WOW!!

    Regards,

    Phil

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    Gentlemen,

    I have decided on the Nikon D600 with the 28-300mm Nikkor lens. I discussed the new (smaller) options (Sony nex7, Fuji etc.) with my daughter and she definitely wants to stay with the high end DSLR. Also, I still have a Nikkormat FT (1966) and a Nikon FA which have lenses that will work on the D600 albeit manually. I forget exactly which lenses were with those cameras but they were all good Nikkor lenses. I will back into some prime lenses as soon as we see what focal length works best for her.

    I want to thank all of you who helped me make this decision (especially Jerry and Andrew). I was pretty locked on to the D7000 but this new full frame Sony 24MP sensor is really special.

    Best regards,
    Phil
    61115
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  40. #40
    Z8Mania
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    You're welcome. I hope your daughter will be willing to share a few shots with us.

  41. #41
    I still have my very first Nikkormat FTn from 1975, and a couple of others, an all black FT2 & FT3 that I picked up along the way. I also still have my beloved F3P's, the cameras I really built my career with, and all the key lenses. I've sold or traded in everything I've ever had, except my old Nikon gear because I was so attached to it, so it feels good being back in the Nikon camp. I do hope they don't squander their lead to Sony or Canon once again.
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    Vettel in the lead?.

    Jerry,

    The India stint should generate some interesting pictures although she will not return from there until next summer. I?ll post a couple of those then. If she gets some good shots off before she goes I put them up here.

    Andrew,

    I need to dig out my old Nikkor lenses and see what is there. If I find them I?ll list them here ? maybe they will jog an old memory or two.

    Regards,

    Phil
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  43. #43
    Z8Mania
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    Great stuff guys! Nikon FTW!

  44. #44
    Great race, finally Lewis drove the way we always thought he should, it's a shame he'll be in a slower car next year.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  45. #45
    Z8Mania
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    Im a little slow on the F1 scene- why is Lewis in a slower car next year? The new track looks like a winner.

  46. #46
    That's a long story Jerry, but in my distant nutshell view he's a petulant spoilt little brat who wanted more space on his car and suit for his private sponsors than his team would give him, so he left for a team with lesser machinery to get his way. My prediction is that these may well be the last races he ever wins.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  47. #47
    Z8Mania
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    That sounds right. So he is leaving McLaren then?! Wow thats big news.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by macfly View Post
    I still have my very first Nikkormat FTn from 1975, and a couple of others, an all black FT2 & FT3 that I picked up along the way. I also still have my beloved F3P's, the cameras I really built my career with, and all the key lenses. I've sold or traded in everything I've ever had, except my old Nikon gear because I was so attached to it, so it feels good being back in the Nikon camp. I do hope they don't squander their lead to Sony or Canon once again.
    Andrew, your post brought back some memories!

    i dug up this image i took of my 1st ever SLR, the Nikon F2S. I still have it - haven't used it in years, but the pictured lens (classic 105/2.5) still works great on my current DSLRs

    footnote: the photo was taken with my 1st ever DSLR, the mighty 2.7MP $5,500, Nikon D1

    i stuck with Nikon DSLRs all the years, though i almost jumped ship at the time of the Canon 5D (i do use and like Canon's p&s and video cameras)

    speaking of the F2S and the D1 - we've come such a looong way with today's cameras - almost doesn't feel right to complain about anything!
     

  49. #49
    I had one of those too, but when the F3 came out it stole my heart, then when they launched the F3P I knew I'd found my true love! I worked with them for almost a decade, but the F4 was such a poor camera compared to the original EOS that I jumped ship, that was in '92, so I've been with Canon twenty years. Happy to be back with Nikon though, they do make great cameras!
    Andrew Macpherson

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  50. #50
    Z8Mania
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    Great stuff!!!