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Thread: New camera, full frame or stick to the DX crop?

  1. #1

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    New camera, full frame or stick to the DX crop?

    Hey.

    I'm doing some research as to which camera to get next, but I'm not sure whether or not I need to do the jump to full frame yet. I'm currently hovering between the Nikon D300s and the D700.

    I have several DX lenses already, so for compatibility and getting the most out of those I'd be best off getting the D300s, and I could probably get another good lens or a tripod along with the camera for the same price as the D700.

    I started out leaning towards the D700, but now I'm leaning more towards the D300s. I saw Colin saying something in a different thread yesterday that I should just buy the best and justify it later, but I'm on a tight budget and I can't afford anything else than the camera if I go for the D700.

    Tl;dr: Full frame or DX crop?

  2. #2
    jiro's Avatar
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    Re: New camera, full frame or stick to the DX crop?

    For practicalities sake, go for the D300S. For a long term investment... i will always recommend the D700.

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    The Blue Boy's Avatar
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    Re: New camera, full frame or stick to the DX crop?

    Hi André,

    I had the excact same problem recently. So I went to a local shop (I've a mate that works there) and went through a few of the specs. Realistically the D700 is the better model but for me it's too heavy and bulky. So I went for the D300s and I'm a very happy bunny indeed. Hope this helps.

  4. #4

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    Re: New camera, full frame or stick to the DX crop?

    Thanks for the replies guys!

    I think it's the smarter move for me right now to go for the D300s. New camera, a tripod and perhaps even a new lens to boot. I'm sure I'll get myself a full frame eventually.

    While I'm on the subject, what tripods do you guys recommend? I've been looking at some Manfrotto ones, but I'm unsure what heads to get. And I'm also a bit curious about the battery handle thing, does it make a huge difference?

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    Re: New camera, full frame or stick to the DX crop?

    I was faced with the same decision - D700 or D300s. Full frame is undoubtably better but the thought of replacing all my lenses - no way could I justify the cost. So I went for the D300s, nice camera and I'm perfectly happy with it. Could I take better pictures with a D700 - probably not, in fact are my pictures any better after the upgrade from my D80 - probably not, being realistic ,but the D300s gives me more flexibility that's for sure.
    Battery handle thing - no idea what that is but I'm sure I need one

  6. #6
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    Re: New camera, full frame or stick to the DX crop?

    If you plan to make the jump to full frame eventually consider buying full frame lenses even if you buy the D300. at least then you won't have the DX lenses weighing on your soul when you abandon them. The D700 will use DX lenses: as it automatically crops down to suit the lens but you lose some pixels in the transition so it is not a great option.

    I had to make the same decision and made the jump to full frame last fall. My rationale was I do a lot of shooting in the winter and I need the light gathering ability of the D700 (who am I fooling; I needed a new camera less than I wanted one and I needed the justification to satiate my need; sort of like a heroin addict needs heroin). Seeing as you live in a Northern country perhaps you can steal my rationale to fulfill your own desires and crush your guilt. I live at the same latitude as Edinburgh so maybe you have a greater need than even I did. Give in to the dark side and feel the full power.

  7. #7
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    Re: New camera, full frame or stick to the DX crop?

    I am not a Nikon shooter so I would like to generically address the full-frame vs. crop question.

    IMO, a lot has to do with your final use of the images. If you are shooting and consistently printing large images, definitely go for the full-frame. However if your only or if your main use for the camera is to shoot the kids with Rover, the dog, and to email the images to the grandarents and or if most of your printing is done at the counter of a discount store, then full-frame may be overkill. If I were shooting weddings for a living, I would definitely be shooting full frame gear and if I were doing any other work which regularly needed large blow-ups, I would be using full frame equipment. However, I print mostly 11x14" and smaller images and on the occasions that I need to go bigger, the crop quality with top line glass still serves me well.

    If you are shooting with crop equipment AND TOP LINE LENSES and you are getting very good to excellent imagery, you may very well benefit from switching to full-frame gear. However, if you are shooting with crop equipment and are not getting very good to excellent results; then you might first think of switching to top-line lenses and/or improving your technique.

    Full frame equipment is often considered a panacea which will automatically make a poor photographer into a photographic artist. As the old song title goes, "It Ain't Necessarily So!"

    I have not been scouring the Internet looking for images from full-frame vs. crop cameras but, I will venture a guess that these images are generally better than those from entry level crop cameras of any brand. Images on the Internet from top-line and expensive lenses are, I am guessing again, usually better than those from lower quality and less expensive glass. IMO, however, at least some of the differences in image quality of full-frame cameras and expensive glass compared with that of entry level crop cameras and entry level lenses is due to the expertise of the people who buy the equipment. The more experienced (and possibly more skilled) photogrphers will be the ones buying full-frame equipment with top-line glass while the more inexperienced (and likely less skilled) photographers will most often start off with entry level crop cameras and kit-lenses.

    I consider my imagery, shot with 1.6x crop cameras and excellent lenses to be quite good. Those images are certainly good enough for my tastes and I am a picky when it comes to image quality. See my 1.6x crop images at: http://rpcrowe.smugmug.com/

  8. #8

    Re: New camera, full frame or stick to the DX crop?

    Hi,

    I am mostly an observer in forums, but could not resist reacting on this one.
    I have been shooting both Dx and full frame. Dx with a Nikon D2x and a NEX-3. recently with a Nikon d7000. My full frame body is the Sony a900 with CZ optics.
    The a900 has probably slightly less resolution compared to say a D3x. Compared to a D700 it is in a different class. And still I use my d7000 the most. It has a better dynamic range, the same pixel detail (yes, the same detail) and often gives comparable or better results due to better focusing (LV).
    Perhaps I digress a bit, but what I mean to say is that I do not see the big difference in resolution, at a pixel level, between full frame and Dx. Possible a d700 is slightly better a pixel level, larger pixels, but I am sure it does not reach the resolution level of a d7000. Ok, you need decent glass. But even a humble Nikon 16-85 is very decent glass on a d7000.

    Hans

  9. #9
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    Re: New camera, full frame or stick to the DX crop?

    I think it depends on your needs really. If I just stick to DX the D7000 seems to have the advantage at the moment, I agree with Hans on that. It beats the 300S on most things, except for buffering I guess. And the 300S is a bit more rugged. But also older in terms of technology. Price is about the same.
    The D700 is full frame, so dependent on your needs make your choice. Given that you have some DX lenses already I would probably go for the D7000.

    @Jiro: what do you mean with long term investment here?? These are digital cameras, so better models will come along pretty soon is my guess.

  10. #10
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    Re: New camera, full frame or stick to the DX crop?

    Quote Originally Posted by Letrow View Post
    @Jiro: what do you mean with long term investment here?? These are digital cameras, so better models will come along pretty soon is my guess.
    Hello Peter, on a personal opinion (as always) I always find full frame digital SLR's as long term investment. Well, maybe because I have tasted what a DX body can do for me and been wanting an FX body as my ultimate dream camera. Long term - because it would take me a LONG TERM to raise the money to buy a D700 for myself.

  11. #11
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    Re: New camera, full frame or stick to the DX crop?

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    Hello Peter, on a personal opinion (as always) I always find full frame digital SLR's as long term investment. Well, maybe because I have tasted what a DX body can do for me and been wanting an FX body as my ultimate dream camera. Long term - because it would take me a LONG TERM to raise the money to buy a D700 for myself.
    Yeah, I get what you mean now.
    I misunderstood slightly and just wondered about it. Analogue cameras as a long term investment I get, because quality won't change, but if there is a D800 sometime in the future it will probably make the D700 slightly more obsolete.

  12. #12
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    Re: New camera, full frame or stick to the DX crop?

    Quote Originally Posted by Letrow View Post
    Yeah, I get what you mean now.
    I misunderstood slightly and just wondered about it. Analogue cameras as a long term investment I get, because quality won't change, but if there is a D800 sometime in the future it will probably make the D700 slightly more obsolete.
    You got that perfectly right, Peter. It's just that right now, for me, the D700 makes me think that I could be more creative given its good low light capability. If the price of the future D800 will not go far from the present D700 I would denounce myself and proselyte to the new one in an instant.

  13. #13
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    Re: New camera, full frame or stick to the DX crop?

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    You got that perfectly right, Peter. It's just that right now, for me, the D700 makes me think that I could be more creative given its good low light capability. If the price of the future D800 will not go far from the present D700 I would denounce myself and proselyte to the new one in an instant.
    Ah low light
    But then you should get the D7000 of course. In manual mode with automatic ISO, you set speed and aperture and the camera looks after ISO. Or you use Aperture mode and the camera does the rest. Pretty good results to higher ISO.

    Edit: one example from my Doggies thread

    New camera, full frame or stick to the DX crop?
    F/2.0 1/100sec ISO6400
    Last edited by Letrow; 16th June 2011 at 02:19 PM.

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    Re: New camera, full frame or stick to the DX crop?

    Hmmm, I haven't tried the auto ISO yet...perhaps I will today.

  15. #15
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    Re: New camera, full frame or stick to the DX crop?

    You might find Thom Hogan's arguments for and against D700/D300 interesting. Look HERE

  16. #16
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    Re: New camera, full frame or stick to the DX crop?

    I did my homework, Mike. It's still D700 as the dream camera for me. Now, I need another dream as to where to get the money. Hahaha!

  17. #17
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    Re: New camera, full frame or stick to the DX crop?

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    I did my homework, Mike. It's still D700 as the dream camera for me. Now, I need another dream as to where to get the money. Hahaha!
    I'm with you.

  18. #18
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    Re: New camera, full frame or stick to the DX crop?

    I Thank you guys for this information. My Nikon D700 is on the way and I can't wait to get my hands on it.

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    Re: New camera, full frame or stick to the DX crop?

    Quote Originally Posted by nubia View Post
    I Thank you guys for this information. My Nikon D700 is on the way and I can't wait to get my hands on it.
    Congrats,

    Do drop back and show us some pictures, or ask questions if need be.

    Cheers,

  20. #20
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    Re: New camera, full frame or stick to the DX crop?

    I am sure you will like the D700; it's a great camera. Hopefully you are a better photographer than me and can use the camera to it's full potential. I probably use the same percentage of the D700's capability as I do for my cell phone; about 10%.

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